Captain America: Civil War ***
A movie whose final act is far stronger than its first 70 minutes, Captain America: Civil War really doesn’t deliver the goods until you’ve almost lost interest. The complicated plot revolving around the evil Hydra and world-saving Avengers will make far more sense for those who’ve seen the countless others in the Marvel franchise. But even for the well initiated the story suffers under sometimes drab & dull cinematography and bogged down narrative all surrounding the ageless enhanced human, Captain America (Chris Evans). Not at all unlike the plot of Batman Vs Superman, the world is tired of rampaging superheroes accountable to no one but themselves for the death and destruction they leave in their wake. Meanwhile, the bad guys set up the innocent and honorable Cap’n and his misunderstood boyhood pal Bucky Barnes (The Winter Soldier) to take the heat, all while the guilt-ridden Tony Stark, Ironman (Robert Downey, Jr.) tries to rein in the destruction and handcuff his Avenger allies. New twists on the Spiderman character, the ultra-cool alien Vision, and the introduction of The Black Panther come as pleasant and fun additions, mostly in the last act, again, the only part of the film where anything interesting happens. Paul Rudd reprises his role as Ant Man, and the other principals in the outstanding cast help save the $250 mill film; Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, and Jeremy Renner all turn in fine performances. But with the recent release of really original superhero films, such as Deadpool and Ant-Man, this latest offering seems a little less super than hoped for.
Fans of comic duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele (Key & Peele), a team that came into fruition on Comedy Central beginning with their first season in 2012, will undoubtedly make their way to the theater to see the pair’s first feature-length film, a modern-day gangster farce, Keanu. The disarming charm of the mixed-race pair, who play both with and against African-American stereotypes on their sketch comedy show, is often hilarious. In Keanu, the ridiculous plot revolving around a gangster’s lost kitten, who is named Keanu by Jordan Peele’s character, Rell, has the team in what is essentially one long sketch. Filled with the same kind of humor and writing evident in Key & Peele’s TV show, the extended version features the talents of Will Forte as a very funny weed dealer, Method Man (as Cheddar), and Luis Guzman as drug kingpin Bacon Diaz. Filled with silly (but comically graphic) violence, Rell and Clarence (Key) must reluctantly go undercover as drug dealers in a ruthless cartel in order to save the kitten. You get the idea; funny for fans, strange for those who don’t know (or get) Key & Peele’s quirky, but intellectual and raw, brand of humor.