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(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

All Keanu Reeves Movies Ranked

He’s traveled through time in search of knowledge, saved Sandra Bullock from getting blown up on a bus, freed humanity from being enslaved by computer overlords, and delivered some of the most righteous vengeance ever exacted on behalf of a murdered puppy — and all that really only scratches the surface of all the stuff Keanu Reeves has been up to on the big screen. Since making his mark as a quirky young lead in the ’80s, Reeves has followed his cinematic muse all over the genre map, from hit comedies like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure to blockbuster action thrillers like Speed, John Wick, and Point Break, as well as dramatic showcases like Dangerous Liaisons and My Own Private Idaho. Also, he knows kung fu. Whoa.

On the horizon, we got The Matrix Resurrections and another John Wick. Now, we’re ranking all Keanu Reeves movies by Tomatometer.

#57
#57
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In New York, an escort-service driver (Keanu Reeves) and his two pretty friends (Bojana Novakovic, Adelaide Clemens) document their escapades... [More]
Directed By: Mark Mann

#56

Exposed (2016)
8%

#56
Adjusted Score: 8663%
Critics Consensus: Exposed lays its flaws fittingly bare for all but the least discerning viewers to see, starting with a dull yet convoluted plot that utterly overpowers the efforts of an intriguing cast.
Synopsis: While investigating the death of his partner, a detective (Keanu Reeves) uncovers police corruption and a dangerous secret involving a... [More]
Directed By: Declan Dale

#55

The Watcher (2000)
11%

#55
Adjusted Score: 13076%
Critics Consensus: The Watcher has Keanu Reeves cast against type, but the movie is short on thrills, suspense, and believability.
Synopsis: "The Watcher" is an exciting psychological thriller that takes a unique look into the minds of both a serial killer... [More]
Directed By: Joe Charbanic

#54

Replicas (2018)
11%

#54
Adjusted Score: 12677%
Critics Consensus: Equal parts plot holes and unintentional laughs, Replicas is a ponderously lame sci-fi outing that isn't even bad enough to be so bad it's good.
Synopsis: Neuroscientist William Foster is on the verge of transferring human consciousness into a computer when his beloved wife and children... [More]
Directed By: Jeffrey Nachmanoff

#53

Siberia (2018)
12%

#53
Adjusted Score: 14148%
Critics Consensus: Icily inhospitable to compelling performances or a sensible narrative, Siberia offers audiences a harsh and seemingly interminable exile from entertainment.
Synopsis: An American diamond merchant and his lover get caught in the crossfire when a business deal goes wrong in Russia.... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Ross

#52
#52
Adjusted Score: 14504%
Critics Consensus: Clumsily derivative, shoddily assembled, and fundamentally miscast, Feeling Minnesota sets out for romantic comedy and gets irrevocably lost along the way.
Synopsis: Sam Clayton's (Vincent D'Onofrio) marriage to ex-stripper Freddie (Cameron Diaz) comes about when she's strong-armed into the match by Red... [More]
Directed By: Steven Baigelman

#51

Sweet November (2001)
15%

#51
Adjusted Score: 18441%
Critics Consensus: Schmaltzy and manipulative, Sweet November suffers from an implausible plot and non-existent chemistry between its leads.
Synopsis: Nelson Moss (Keanu Reeves) and Sara Deever (Charlize Theron) have nothing in common except an hour spent in DMV hell.... [More]
Directed By: Pat O'Connor

#50

47 Ronin (2013)
16%

#50
Adjusted Score: 17985%
Critics Consensus: 47 Ronin is a surprisingly dull fantasy adventure, one that leaves its talented international cast stranded within one dimensional roles.
Synopsis: In feudal Japan, Lord Asano rules his province with fairness. However, jealous Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano) fears that the shogun... [More]
Directed By: Carl Rinsch

#49

Chain Reaction (1996)
18%

#49
Adjusted Score: 18434%
Critics Consensus: Ironic given the scientific breakthrough at the story's core, Chain Reaction is a man-on-the-run thriller that mostly sticks to generic formula.
Synopsis: At a Chicago university, a research team that includes brilliant Eddie Kasalivich (Keanu Reeves) experiences a breakthrough: a stable form... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Davis

#48
Adjusted Score: 19618%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A beautiful young woman with unusually big thumbs, Sissy Hankshaw (Uma Thurman) decides, fittingly enough, to become a hitchhiker. After... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#47

Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
19%

#47
Adjusted Score: 19874%
Critics Consensus: As narratively misguided as it is woefully miscast, Johnny Mnemonic brings the '90s cyberpunk thriller to inane new whoas -- er, lows.
Synopsis: In this film based on the William Gibson story, Johnny (Keanu Reeves) is a data courier who has a secret... [More]
Directed By: Robert Longo

#46
Adjusted Score: 27788%
Critics Consensus: Heavy on special effects, but without a coherent story at its base, The Day the Earth Stood Still is subpar re-imagining of the 1951 science-fiction classic.
Synopsis: Klaatu (Keanu Reeves), an extraterrestrial visitor to planet Earth, becomes the herald of upheaval on a global scale. As the... [More]
Directed By: Scott Derrickson

#45

The Whole Truth (2016)
34%

#45
Adjusted Score: 35512%
Critics Consensus: The Whole Truth, unfortunately, is that courtroom drama fans have already seen better examples of everything this lazy entry in the genre has to offer.
Synopsis: A defense attorney (Keanu Reeves) tries to get his teenage client (Gabriel Basso) acquitted for the murder of his father... [More]
Directed By: Courtney Hunt

#44

The Lake House (2006)
35%

#44
Adjusted Score: 41479%
Critics Consensus: The plot of The Lake House is a little too convoluted, and the film fails to pull off the sweeping romance it aims for.
Synopsis: A lonely doctor (Sandra Bullock), who once lived in a beautiful lakeside home, falls in love via letters with its... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Agresti

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 41560%
Critics Consensus: A disappointing conclusion to the Matrix trilogy as characters and ideas take a back seat to the special effects.
Synopsis: In a dystopia overrun by robots, Neo (Keanu Reeves), mankind's greatest hope, is trapped in a limbo world. Meanwhile, the... [More]

#42

Street Kings (2008)
36%

#42
Adjusted Score: 41815%
Critics Consensus: Street Kings contains formulaic violence but no shred of intelligence.
Synopsis: Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves), a veteran member of the LAPD, is still mourning the loss of his wife and trying... [More]
Directed By: David Ayer

#41

Knock Knock (2015)
38%

#41
Adjusted Score: 39316%
Critics Consensus: Knock Knock brings a lot of talent to bear on its satirical approach to torture horror, but not effectively enough to overcome its repetitive story or misguidedly campy tone.
Synopsis: Two nubile, stranded women (Ana de Armas, Lorenza Izzo) reveal a sinister agenda after they spend the night with a... [More]
Directed By: Eli Roth

#40

Hardball (2001)
41%

#40
Adjusted Score: 44159%
Critics Consensus: Although Hardball contains some touching moments, they are not enough to transcend the sports formula.
Synopsis: Conor (Keanu Reeves) is a ticket scalper, gambler and, now, Little League coach for a rag-tag team of kids in... [More]
Directed By: Brian Robbins

#39

The Replacements (2000)
41%

#39
Adjusted Score: 43785%
Critics Consensus: The cliched characters and obvious outcome make all the fun and excitement amount to nothing.
Synopsis: It's late in the season; the playoffs are fast approaching; and the Washington Sentinels have just gone on strike. Scrambling... [More]
Directed By: Howard Deutch

#38

Henry's Crime (2010)
42%

#38
Adjusted Score: 42369%
Critics Consensus: Supporting actors Vera Farmiga and James Caan give the movie a little heft, but Henry's Crime is an otherwise predictable heist/comedy with slow pacing.
Synopsis: After serving time for a crime he did not commit, a man (Keanu Reeves) conspires with his former cellmate (James... [More]
Directed By: Malcolm Venville

#37

Youngblood (1986)
44%

#37
Adjusted Score: 42941%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Dean Youngblood (Rob Lowe) is an exceptionally skilled young ice hockey player trying to make a name in the Canadian... [More]
Directed By: Peter Markle

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 46256%
Critics Consensus: A Walk in the Clouds aims for sweeping period romance, but quickly unravels thanks to a miscast leading man and a story that relies on cheap melodrama.
Synopsis: When soldier Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves) is on his way home after World War II, he realizes that he barely... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Arau

#35

The Bad Batch (2016)
46%

#35
Adjusted Score: 51930%
Critics Consensus: The Bad Batch has its moments, but it's too thinly written and self-indulgent to justify its length or compensate for its slow narrative drift.
Synopsis: Arlen is abandoned in a Texas wasteland that is fenced off from civilization. While trying to navigate the unforgiving landscape,... [More]
Directed By: Ana Lily Amirpour

#34

Constantine (2005)
46%

#34
Adjusted Score: 55279%
Critics Consensus: Despite solid production values and an intriguing premise, Constantine lacks the focus of another spiritual shoot-em-up: The Matrix.
Synopsis: As a suicide survivor, demon hunter John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) has literally been to hell and back -- and he... [More]
Directed By: Francis Lawrence

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 50044%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Soap-opera scribe Pedro Carmichael (Peter Falk) has been hired to juice up the scripts at a radio station in 1950s... [More]
Directed By: Jon Amiel

#32

Permanent Record (1988)
50%

#32
Adjusted Score: 50254%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: High school student David (Alan Boyce) appears to be totally happy, as well as bright, funny and well-liked. However, the... [More]
Directed By: Marisa Silver

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 55526%
Critics Consensus: Destination Wedding reunites Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder for a sour comedy whose initially promising misanthropic twist overpowers the chemistry of its leads.
Synopsis: When Frank and Lindsay meet on their way to a destination wedding, they soon discover they have a lot in... [More]
Directed By: Victor Levin

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 57174%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Joey (Kevin Kline) and his wife, Rosalie (Tracey Ullman), run a pizza joint with the help of Devo (River Phoenix),... [More]
Directed By: Lawrence Kasdan

#29
Adjusted Score: 58835%
Critics Consensus: Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey has the same stars -- and cheerfully wacky sense of humor -- as its predecessor, but they prove a far less effective combination the second time around.
Synopsis: Amiable slackers Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are once again roped into a fantastical adventure when De Nomolos... [More]
Directed By: Peter Hewitt

#28

The Gift (2000)
57%

#28
Adjusted Score: 61397%
Critics Consensus: With a reported budget of around 10 million, The Gift is obviously a labor of love for those involved. Unfortunately, the A-list cast can't prevent the movie from becoming a by-the-numbers whodunit with an ending that's all but unsatisfactory.
Synopsis: In the tiny town of Brixton, Georgia where nothing is private, a woman with supernatural clairvoyance, a young beautiful socialite... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#27

The Neon Demon (2016)
59%

#27
Adjusted Score: 74225%
Critics Consensus: The Neon Demon is seductively stylish, but Nicolas Winding Refn's assured eye can't quite compensate for an underdeveloped plot and thinly written characters.
Synopsis: Jesse (Elle Fanning) moves to Los Angeles just after her 16th birthday to launch a career as a model. The... [More]
Directed By: Nicolas Winding Refn

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 65187%
Critics Consensus: Though it is ultimately somewhat undone by its own lofty ambitions, The Devil's Advocate is a mostly effective blend of supernatural thrills and character exploration.
Synopsis: Aspiring Florida defense lawyer Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) accepts a high-powered position at a New York law firm headed by... [More]
Directed By: Taylor Hackford

#25
Adjusted Score: 69256%
Critics Consensus: Although its story may leave fans on the surface, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run is a wondrously wacky visit to Bikini Bottom that retains the charm of the original series.
Synopsis: In the first-ever all CGI SpongeBob motion picture event, THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE ON THE RUN, SpongeBob SquarePants, his best... [More]
Directed By: Tim Hill

#24

Point Break (1991)
69%

#24
Adjusted Score: 74092%
Critics Consensus: Absurd, over-the-top, and often wildly entertaining, Point Break is here to show you that the human spirit is still alive.
Synopsis: After a string of bizarre bank robberies in Southern California, with the crooks donning masks of various former presidents, a... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

#23

A Scanner Darkly (2006)
68%

#23
Adjusted Score: 75003%
Critics Consensus: A faithful adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel, A Scanner Darkly takes the viewer on a visual and mind-blowing journey into the author's conception of a drug-addled and politically unstable world.
Synopsis: In the near future, as America virtually loses the war on drugs, Robert Arctor, a narcotics cop in Orange County,... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#22

Little Buddha (1993)
65%

#22
Adjusted Score: 66520%
Critics Consensus: Little Buddha's storytelling may be too childlike to best service its audacious plot, but Bernardo Bertolucci's direction and Vittorio Storaro's cinematography conspire to deliver a visually strong epic.
Synopsis: A Buddhist monk, Lama Norbu (Ying Ruocheng), believes that a 10-year-old American boy, Jesse (Alex Wiesendanger), is the reincarnation of... [More]
Directed By: Bernardo Bertolucci

#21

To the Bone (2017)
70%

#21
Adjusted Score: 73186%
Critics Consensus: To the Bone offers an insightful, empathetic look at a widespread issue, led by exemplary work from Lily Collins in the central role.
Synopsis: Ellen is an unruly 20-year-old anorexic girl who spent the better part of her teenage years being shepherded through various... [More]
Directed By: Marti Noxon

#20
Adjusted Score: 71230%
Critics Consensus: Reverential and offbeat, the road trip film Private lives of Pippa Lee takes emotional detours and is elevated by great performances, particularly that of Robin Wright-Penn.
Synopsis: Pippa Lee (Robin Wright Penn) is a middle-aged woman married to a much older man named Herb (Alan Arkin), a... [More]
Directed By: Rebecca Miller

#19

Man of Tai Chi (2013)
71%

#19
Adjusted Score: 72045%
Critics Consensus: It may not be groundbreaking, but Man of Tai Chi represents an agreeably old-fashioned picture for martial arts fans -- and a solid debut for first-time director Keanu Reeves.
Synopsis: A young martial artist's amazing skills in tai chi grant him entry into an underworld fight club.... [More]
Directed By: Keanu Reeves

#18

Thumbsucker (2005)
71%

#18
Adjusted Score: 75272%
Critics Consensus: Though quirky coming-of-age themes are common in indie films, this one boasts a smart script and a great cast.
Synopsis: In the strange land known as suburbia, introverted adolescent Justin (Lou Pucci) spends the majority of his life pining after... [More]
Directed By: Mike Mills

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 76793%
Critics Consensus: Though it occasionally stumbles into sitcom territory, Something's Gotta Give is mostly a smart, funny romantic comedy, with sharp performances from Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, and Keanu Reeves.
Synopsis: When aging womanizer Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) and his young girlfriend, Marin (Amanda Peet), arrive at her family's beach house... [More]
Directed By: Nancy Meyers

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 81666%
Critics Consensus: Though its heady themes are a departure from its predecessor, The Matrix Reloaded is a worthy sequel packed with popcorn-friendly thrills.
Synopsis: Freedom fighters Neo (Keanu Reeves), Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) continue to lead the revolt against the Machine... [More]

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 79910%
Critics Consensus: Overblown in the best sense of the word, Francis Ford Coppola's vision of Bram Stoker's Dracula rescues the character from decades of campy interpretations -- and features some terrific performances to boot.
Synopsis: Adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic vampire novel. Gary Oldman plays Dracula whose lonely soul is determined to reunite with his... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 83195%
Critics Consensus: A tantalizing glimpse of a talented director and his stars all at the top of their respective games, Gus Van Sant's loose reworking of Henry IV is smart, sad and audacious.
Synopsis: In this loose adaptation of Shakespeare's "Henry IV," Mike Waters (River Phoenix) is a gay hustler afflicted with narcolepsy. Scott... [More]
Directed By: Gus Van Sant

#13
Adjusted Score: 85239%
Critics Consensus: Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are just charming, goofy, and silly enough to make this fluffy time-travel Adventure work.
Synopsis: Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are high school buddies starting a band. However, they are about to fail... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Herek

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 100373%
Critics Consensus: As wholesomely goofy as its heroes, Bill and Ted Face the Music is a rare long-belated sequel that largely recaptures the franchise's original charm.
Synopsis: The ruler of the future tells best friends Bill and Ted they must compose a new song to save life... [More]
Directed By: Dean Parisot

#11

John Wick (2014)
86%

#11
Adjusted Score: 95291%
Critics Consensus: Stylish, thrilling, and giddily kinetic, John Wick serves as a satisfying return to action for Keanu Reeves -- and what looks like it could be the first of a franchise.
Synopsis: Legendary assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) retired from his violent career after marrying the love of his life. Her sudden... [More]
Directed By: Chad Stahelski

#10

River's Edge (1987)
88%

#10
Adjusted Score: 87795%
Critics Consensus: A harrowing tale of aimless youth, River's Edge generates considerable tension and urgency thanks to strong performances from a stellar cast that includes Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, and Ione Skye.
Synopsis: Teenage burnout Samson (Daniel Roebuck) has murdered his girlfriend and left her naked body lying on the bank of a... [More]
Directed By: Tim Hunter

#9

The Matrix (1999)
88%

#9
Adjusted Score: 95178%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the Wachowskis' imaginative vision, The Matrix is a smartly crafted combination of spectacular action and groundbreaking special effects.
Synopsis: Neo (Keanu Reeves) believes that Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), an elusive figure considered to be the most dangerous man alive, can... [More]

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 108749%
Critics Consensus: John Wick: Chapter 2 does what a sequel should -- which in this case means doubling down on the non-stop, thrillingly choreographed action that made its predecessor so much fun.
Synopsis: Retired super-assassin John Wick's plans to resume a quiet civilian life are cut short when Italian gangster Santino D'Antonio shows... [More]
Directed By: Chad Stahelski

#7
Adjusted Score: 110176%
Critics Consensus: John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum reloads for another hard-hitting round of the brilliantly choreographed, over-the-top action that fans of the franchise demand.
Synopsis: After gunning down a member of the High Table -- the shadowy international assassin's guild -- legendary hit man John... [More]
Directed By: Chad Stahelski

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 92749%
Critics Consensus: Kenneth Branagh's love for the material is contagious in this exuberant adaptation.
Synopsis: In this Shakespearean farce, Hero (Kate Beckinsale) and her groom-to-be, Claudio (Robert Sean Leonard), team up with Claudio's commanding officer,... [More]
Directed By: Kenneth Branagh

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 94500%
Critics Consensus: Carried by the infectious charms of Ali Wong and Randall Park, Always Be My Maybe takes familiar rom-com beats and cleverly layers in smart social commentary to find its own sweet groove.
Synopsis: Childhood sweethearts have a falling out and don't speak for 15 years. They reconnect as adults when Sasha runs into... [More]
Directed By: Nahnatchka Khan

#4

Parenthood (1989)
91%

#4
Adjusted Score: 95630%
Critics Consensus: Bolstered by a delightful cast, Parenthood is a funny and thoughtfully crafted look at the best and worst moments of family life that resonates broadly.
Synopsis: Perfectionist Gil Buckman (Steve Martin) struggles with the deficiencies of his children, thinking they reflect poorly on his parenting --... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 94685%
Critics Consensus: Stylish, seductive, and clever, Stephen Frears' adaptation is a wickedly entertaining exploration of sexual politics.
Synopsis: The Marquise de Merteuil (Glenn Close) and the Vicomte de Valmont (John Malkovich) display the petty jealousies and jaded insouciance... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Frears

#2

Speed (1994)
94%

#2
Adjusted Score: 98622%
Critics Consensus: A terrific popcorn thriller, Speed is taut, tense, and energetic, with outstanding performances from Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, and Sandra Bullock.
Synopsis: Los Angeles police officer Jack (Keanu Reeves) angers retired bomb squad member Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper) by foiling his attempt... [More]
Directed By: Jan de Bont

#1

Toy Story 4 (2019)
97%

#1
Adjusted Score: 124742%
Critics Consensus: Heartwarming, funny, and beautifully animated, Toy Story 4 manages the unlikely feat of extending -- and perhaps concluding -- a practically perfect animated saga.
Synopsis: Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang embark on a road trip with Bonnie and a new toy... [More]
Directed By: Josh Cooley

This week on home video, we’ve got a steamy sequel, a scary prequel, some heartfelt animation, a stylish horror debut, and a couple seasons of popular (and well-reviewed) television, plus more. Read on for the full list:


Magic Mike XXL (2015) 65%

The Kings of Tampa decide that if they’re going to leave the adult entertainment world behind, they should go out with a bang. So they head for the Male Strippers Convention in South Carolina to strut their stuff one final time. On the Blu-ray, you’ll get two featurettes and an extended dance scene of Malik (Stephen Boss aka “Twitch”).

Get it Here


Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015) 58%

The third installment of the Insidious series goes back to the origins of the story in a prequel, recounting how a psychic (Lin Shaye) attempted to help a tormented girl (Stefanie Scott) by contacting the dead. Extras include a making-of doc, a breakdown of a key stunt sequence, a look at character design and effects, and more.

Get it Here


When Marnie Was There (2014) 91%

The latest animated treat from Studio Ghibli’s Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arrietty) tells the story of a lonely foster child who meets a mysterious friend during a summer trip to Hokkaido. Bonus features include a look at the artwork, storyboards, and a making-of featurette, plus more.

Get it Here


We Are Still Here (2015) 95%

Writer/director Ted Geoghegan makes a strong, stylish feature debut with this horror story about a grieving couple who move to a secluded home after the tragic death of their son; little do they know that their new home has a bloody past. The Blu-ray comes with standard extras like commentary and a behind-the-scenes featurette.

Get it Here


Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief (2015) 95%

Alex Gibney’s multiple Emmy-winning HBO documentary makes use of first-hand accounts and archival footage to profile the history and inner workings of Scientology and delve into the accusations of abuse that have been leveled against the organization over the years.

Get it Here


Penny Dreadful: Season 2 (2015) 100%

Showtime’s horror drama improved upon its strong debut season, offering more insight into the life of Vanessa (Eva Green) and following up with Dr. Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), Ethan (Josh Hartnett), and Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton). Extras include a history of the occult, a behind-the-scenes featurette, a video production blog, and more.

Get it Here


The Leftovers: Season 1 (2014) 82%

Based on the novel of the same name, HBO’s The Leftovers focuses on a small town family as they and their community attempt to make sense of a mysterious event where 2 percent of the world’s population suddenly vanished into thin air.

Get it Here


My Own Private Idaho (1991) 79%

Gus Van Sant’s acclaimed drama stars River Phoenix as a narcoleptic street kid and Keanu Reeves as the mayor’s son he falls in love with. Already available on DVD, the new Criterion Blu-ray includes a new 4k digital transfer, a making-of doc, deleted scenes, a conversation between Van Sant and Todd Haynes, and more.

Get it Here

Gus van Sant and Dustin Lance Black - J. McCarthy/WireImage.com

Gus Van Sant and Dustin Lance Black look rather exhausted at this stage in their publicity whirlwind for Milk. The day RT sits down with them, the film has just received four BAFTA nominations, including one for Lance’s original script. The jetlag seems to be getting to them, but they perk up when they start talking about Harvey Milk and their very different journeys into this project.

Milk is an interesting companion piece to Rob Epstein‘s Oscar-winning documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, which is credited as a key reference.

Dustin Lance Black: It was an inspiration because of a speech that’s in it, and I heard that when I was in college. I’m from San Antonio, Texas, and Harvey says, “There’s a kid out there in San Antonio who’s going to hear my story and it’s going to give him hope.” And it’s true – it really did do that. I’d heard of Harvey about six years before that, from a theatre director who told me his story, and it was a revelation to me that there was such a thing as an out gay man, much less one who was elected to public office and celebrated. You don’t have that in Texas!

But it’s tough to do a comparison between the films. The thing I wanted to do in the script was get much more personal. The documentary doesn’t have most of the stories that I was drawn to. It doesn’t have Cleve Jones’ story, which is a father-son story, which I related to the most. And it doesn’t have Scott Smith and Harvey’s story. It doesn’t have Jack Lira. It doesn’t have any of the actual love stories. But it has the political framework, which is great. And the most transformative time in Harvey’s life was that political time, so obviously both Rob Epstein and I were drawn to that. I just thought it was an opportunity to get more into the personal stories – of what it was to be gay in that transformative time. In narrative I can take liberties and create that; in documentary maybe there wasn’t the material there to dive into those stories. To me it felt like there was more to be told.

Milk

How did you get in contact with the people from Harvey’s life?

DLB: It was a challenge. It was unfinanced, and there was no movie or book to base it on, because I didn’t have the rights to anything. But also it was a great opportunity, because I was forced to make those drives to San Francisco to meet all the real people. It started with Cleve Jones in 2004, because a friend introduced me to him and he started telling me the stories. He’s very candid, so he didn’t tell me the stories that would lionise Harvey or make him into a saint, but stories of a failed businessman who really messed up his relationships. And that humanised him in the kind of way that said to me, “Hey you can make a movie out of this!” Because if it’s just pure hagiography, who cares? You want to know that a real human being who’s kind of like you could achieve these things.

Next were Danny Nicoletta and Anne Kronenberg – meeting all of his allies – and then I moved on to meeting his political foes. It was difficult at first because these people had been told that a movie was going to be made for two decades, but it never happened. They’ve been sharing these stories, but they aren’t easy stories. It’s entertaining, beautiful and moving for us, but for them it’s incredibly painful. So once that dam broke and they did trust me enough to share, then a lot of people came out of the woodwork. I was just trying to build a history and get a sense of a man who I could never meet – and you can get that by talking to the people who he shaped, because they were so young back then.

Milk

Gus, you’ve been living with this project for quite a lot longer.

Gus van Sant: Well, I was involved in the other project, which was in 1992. Oliver Stone had attached himself to a project that producers Neil Meron and Craig Zaden had begun with Randy Shilts’ book The Mayor of Castro Street. It’s a pretty grand book – it’s a grand story and there’s a cast of lots of characters, with tens of thousands of people marching in the streets. It’s the birth of the “out” part of gay history, and at the centre is Harvey becoming a more out person, and his rallying cry to come out. And then Oliver joined on and it was like the jackpot: Oliver Stone, major Academy Award-winning films from Platoon to Wall Street. JFK was about to come out, and he was developing this script – it was edgy and hard-hitting and it was backed by $40 million from Warner Bros. And Robin Williams was going to play the role.

Then when JFK came out, Oliver decided he wasn’t going to do it. I don’t know what his other projects were – he might have had 10 other things in development at Ixtlan, his production company. So the studio was in an awkward place because they’d had one of the biggest guys. They did go to Ron Howard, because he told me, and Coppola, Spielberg – well, I would have if I was them. Then one day I was meeting with Rob Epstein socially – we’d met on the festival circuit in ’84 – and he told me Oliver had just dropped out of the film. I didn’t know there was a film – I didn’t even know there was a book! I’d seen Rob’s film about Harvey, and he was saying, “Oliver dropped out and they’re looking for a director – you should do it!” And when I told Warner Bros I might be interested in being considered, I was all of a sudden pushed in.

GVS: Oliver was a big supporter of my work, and I think that what was going on was that Oliver was looking at me as a compatriot, someone he respected as a director, whereas at Warner Bros, the executives and the producers, were looking at my demographic. I’d made Drugstore Cowboy, which made $5 million, and My Own Private Idaho, which made $15 million, which was pretty good, but I was a low-budget filmmaker. I hadn’t made a big-budget film, and in Hollywood there’s a sort of man and boys situation. You’re a man, you make $80 million movies! As if it’s harder to make an $80 million movie. Well, I guess businesswise it is because you have more executives to argue with.

DLB: Well, the meals are better!

GVS: Yeah! But making a $3 million film is a different business. So I lasted about one draft. I didn’t really have the support, not for any real reason, but my ideas were like, “This doesn’t look like a gay movie because they don’t look gay, they don’t kiss, nothing happens to signify that they are gay.” And I was met with, “You don’t understand why this is an important thing.” They just wanted me to do Oliver’s script, which was really asking the question: why did Dan White shoot these guys? That was really the theme. Harvey was the guy he shot, and he happened to be from the Castro, but Harvey wasn’t the central character – it was about the overall begging question, which is a big begging question. So that’s where I was.

Milk

Are the studio – and the public – more ready for a film like this now, with its more emotional approach?

GVS: Yeah I think there’s a lot of that. The media has gone through lots of things that make it a less foreign thing to have your lead character be gay. I think Ellen helped changed that.

DLB: I think society has opened, but we’re now in a post-Aids, gay rights era. We’re talking about rights again instead of survival. And so that’s starting to sound more like Harvey’s era. So it feels like it’s a part of the dialog of today. And in that way I think the public is ready to discuss this again.

How did you feel about the parallels between Prop 8 last November and 1978’s Prop 6?

GVS: There was no indication that was going to happen, at least not while we were shooting. And also, Barack Obama wasn’t the candidate, and Sarah Palin didn’t exist. All this stuff happened during our editing period: the world began to resemble some things in our movie. Obama, because he used the word “hope” so much, started to resemble Harvey and especially his hope speech. And Sarah Palin because she just looked like Anita Bryant.

DLB: And sounded like her! But there were clues when I started writing. Because it was 2004, so you had the re-election campaign of George W Bush and the Karl Rove strategy with the language of it sounding so much like Anita Bryant and the “save our children” campaign, bolstering their base through fuelling this fight between evangelicals and the gay community. We started hearing the same lines that I was looking at in my research!

Milk

You’re working together on a film of Tom Wolf’s 1968 book about Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. This subject is also getting the doc approach, and I know you’ve been in contact with Alex Gibney about his project.

GVS: He’s a lot further ahead with his film than we are. He’s incredible, and his filmmaking’s incredible. But Lance is writing our script, and I haven’t seen it.

DLB: Yeah, I’ve got to go now – I’ve got to get back to work! I have a draft, I just haven’t had a chance to work on it in like two weeks.

Have you taken the same approach as with Milk, interviewing the real people?

DLB: Yeah. You have to kind of act like there’s not a book, at least for a bit, and just discover the story yourself. But the book is wonderful, a great thing to guide you. When we finally get done with these press interviews for Milk, hopefully I can find two hours to read it head-to-toe with no break – to read it like it’s the movie. It’s that far along, but then we’ll see what Gus says.

Milk opens in UK on Friday and in Australia on 29th January. It’s out now in the US. Also on RT: Milk star James Franco chooses his five favourite films.


James Franco - Steve Granitz/WireImage.com
Having established his name in the Spider-Man movies, these days James Franco is clearly making some more personal career choices. He was in three films in 2008, notable for their vastly different styles. His extended cameo as Richard Gere‘s son in the weepy Nights in Rodanthe, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel, was followed by two far less forgettable roles; opposite Seth Rogen in Pineapple Express (for which he received a Golden Globe nomination) and as Sean Penn‘s boyfriend in Milk (for which he has been nominated with the cast for the SAG ensemble award).

He says he signed on for Pineapple because it was a chance to work with Judd Apatow and company, whom he knew from his days on the TV series Freaks and Geeks. “We did a lot of goofing around in a kind of constructed way,” he says of the film. “It’s a lot of improvisation, just letting the camera roll and doing the scene over and over again and seeing what happens. And I loved that!”

When asked to contrast the experiences on the two sets, he stops and thinks. “Milk had its own kind of looseness,” he says. “Gus Van Sant has his own approach, and there was the freedom to try different kinds of things. And Sean really encouraged that too. So it was somewhat improvisational, but what it did was to make the performances more natural. And it may be funny to say, but it was the same with Pineapple. I think that’s one of the things that Judd Apatow brings to comedies: there are wacky situations but it feels more emotionally grounded.”

Clearly this on-screen naturalism is important to him. He’s been studying film at New York University, and chooses five favourites that are all firmly rooted in authenticity…

 

Gimme Shelter (1970, 100% Tomatometer)



Gimme Shelter
It’s just amazing. I’ve been watching all of the Maysles Brothers‘ films and I’m really into their approach, which they called “direct cinema”, and the whole school that came out of DA Pennebaker, Robert Drew and so on. I love the whole idea that life can be as dramatic as fiction. It’s very different than reality television, because that’s very manipulated.

The Maysles’ approach is minimal interaction and being as observational as possible. Gimme Shelter has such drama, and it’s so well-done. As are all of their films.

I also love Salesman, which also proves that their philosophy can really work, because it just has these real Bible salesmen. But to me it has as much drama and tension as Arthur Miller or Eugene O’Neill – it’s like the Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh all rolled together – but it’s real! I just can’t get enough of it.


My Own Private Idaho (1992, 85% Tomatometer)



My Own Private Idaho
Even before I started acting, this was a very important film to me. Obviously I was really drawn to the performances and characters, but the whole film just kept bringing it back.

Gus has changed his style somewhat beginning with Gerry and all this Bela Tarr and Chantal Akerman influence, which I love too. But back then it was really about collage.

Idaho actually started as three different projects – three scripts – through Orson WellesChimes at Midnight, which was a distillation of Shakespeare, and this other story about street kids in Portland, and then something else about a kid finding his parents in Italy. And then this whole narcoleptic thing that was influenced by George Eliot. He’s got all that just in the script, and then there’s the way it’s shot – he had two DPs, plus time-lapse for the cloud sequences and 8mm for the dream sequences.

I love all of Gus’ movies. I think Drugstore Cowboy is a hilarious movie. I love how he can take a situation like that and make it funny. I think Matt Dillon gives one of the best comedic performances in that movie. Gus is taking a very personal approach in the film – from the look of Bob Yeoman‘s cinematography to the way Gus captures Portland on screen.


The Bicycle Thief (1948, 95% Tomatometer)



The Bicycle Thief
All of my favourite films are approaching realism in a different way. This is Italian neorealism – obviously there’s a script and a story and everything, but it’s shot in the street and it has the feel of Italy, of being in the streets and, like Idaho, a deceivingly, simply constructed narrative. But there’s so much emotion that’s evoked from these very simple stories.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2008, 97% Tomatometer)



4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Again, a very simple approach, but there’s so much power in that film. You’re not quite sure what’s happening from the beginning, but you’re just kind of thrown into it. All you know is that these women have this mysterious meeting, and it takes you from there. The film gives you a great sense of what it was really like to live in Romania in the 1980s.

The Wrestler (2008, 98% Tomatometer)



The Wrestler
I loved this film! I really like the films of the Dardenne Brothers, like The Child and The Son, and I’m sure The Wrestler was influenced by the Dardennes, especially in the beginning when the camera is following the back of Mickey Rourke‘s head through the hallways.

I know Darren Aronofsky a little bit, and I remember meeting with him just when The Fountain was coming out, and he told me to look at the Dardenne Brothers because they were doing some really good stuff, so I know he’s a fan.


Milk opens in UK on Friday and in Australia on 29th January. It’s out now in the US.

Friends, readers, Tomato-fans, lend me your ears. Not stepping o’er the bounds of modesty, we at RT humbly present to you the Greatest Shakespeare Movies, a list of the Bard’s best-reviewed films that (we hope) is fit for the gods.

One of the wonderful things about William Shakespeare‘s works is how adaptable they are. Thus, our list contains adaptations both reverent (Sir Laurence Olivier‘s Hamlet) and revisionist (Ten Things I Hate About You, My Own Private Idaho). We’ve got the Bard in outer space (Forbidden Planet), in high school (O), and in feudal Japan (Throne of Blood). Our list also contains great performances from some of the finest actors ever to tackle Shakespeare’s deft, mysterious verse, including Orson Welles, Kenneth Branagh, Denzel Washington, and Rick Moranis.


“I’d say you’re more like a Winter’s day.”

Though our list may seem to be madness, there is method in’t: each of the films presented here has at least 20 reviews, so you won’t see such classics as the Marlon Brando-toplined Julius Caesar or Olivier’s Richard III. And we omitted movies like Shakespeare in Love and Looking For Richard, as we avoided films that weren’t taken directly from a specific work and were primarily about staging the plays.

Can one desire too much of a good thing? Check out our list and be the judge. As the Bard might say, “The best is not, So long as we can say, ‘this is the best-reviewed.'”

I attend several film festivals each year, but there’s always one movie-centric event that I’d really love to attend: The San Diego Comic-Con. Movie geek heaven is what I like to call it. Read on to find out why…

From the pre-con report at Dark Horizons: "With a little over a week to go, the full schedule has been announced with this year’s various panels to include appearances and Q&As with the likes of Nicolas Cage, Samuel L. Jackson, Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Jason Statham, David Wenham, Rosario Dawson, Amber Tamblyn, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Eva Mendes, Kristen Bell, Ali Larter, AnnaSophia Robb, Nick Frost, David Arquette and The Wayans Brothers.

Joining them will be directing and producing luminaries such as Sam Raimi, Alfonso Cuarón, Bryan Singer, Kevin Smith, Richard Kelly, Robert Rodriguez, Guillermo del Toro, Stephen Hopkins, Jon Favreau, Edgar Wright, David Goyer, James L. Brooks, Mark Steven Johnson, Zack Snyder, Joel Silver and Stan Winston.

Potential footage debuts from the likes of ("Spider-Man 3"), "300," "Grind House" and possibly "Transformers" will draw much talk as well. Amongst the films getting panels or being shown footage from are: "300," "The Ant Bully," "The Children of Men," "Crank," "DOA: Dead or Alive," "Fantastic Four 2," "Flyboys," "Ghost Rider," "Grind House," "Happy Feet," "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," "Iron Man," "Open Season," "Pan’s Labyrinth," "The Reaping," "Saw III," "Skinwalkers," "Snakes on a Plane," "Southland Tales," "Spider-Man 3," "Stardust," "Surf’s Up," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning," "Transformers" & "The Wicker Man."

Wow.

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