Tag Archives: Alice Eve


Neither critics nor audiences seem to like this one much, but everyone’s game to give it a try because Keanu Reeves is in it. Should you?

Replicas is a sci-fi film, not unlike Altered Carbon in terms of the science, but very much different in terms of the fiction. In the future, a dying person’s “self” (the content of their minds) can be uploaded to a server, and then downloaded into another body. Keanu plays William Foster, a brilliant scientist trying to make that concept workable at a secret facility in Puerto Rico. The upload and the download both go well, but the robotic bodies always seem to reject the process, sometimes even destroying themselves in the process. He’s been working on this for a while, but if his breakthrough doesn’t come soon, they may lose their funding. Even so, William opts to take his family on vacation – after all, he has asked wife Mona (Alice Eve) and their three kids to uproot for him, but he hasn’t been around much. So of course he accidentally kills them all in a terrible traffic accident that very night. In a grief-crazed panic, he calls fellow researcher Ed (Thomas Middleditch), and forces him to quickly upload all 4 of the recently deceased. William knows that the download into robot bodies isn’t viable, so he guilts Ed into using his own area of research to help: human cloning. And as if having a whole family of secret clones isn’t difficult enough, they have to steal very expensive lab equipment to do the job, and then lie about their success to their boss.

This premise is loaded with potential, and the film contains lots of threads that justify anyone choosing this material. So why don’t we like it?

In part, something researchers call  “uncanny valley” which basically posits that as robots become more human-like, we go from admiration to revulsion. Anything that we know is unreal, but seems real, makes us feel a bit uneasy. And now William’s living in a whole house of them – very good copies of his family, but copies nonetheless, and not entirely perfect either. As humans, we have a natural revulsion to this. 2001’s Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within had ultra-realistic human animation, and suffered defeat at the box office. Steven Spielberg’s A.I. made some serious money, but the movie creeped out both audiences and critics, some of whom have since revised their originally ambivalent reviews. But still: this stuff makes us uncomfortable, and usually for good reason.

The uncanny valley isn’t Replicas’ only problem though. Ultimately, its own ambition topples it. The first half sometimes feels a bit silly, and William’s choices are consistently problematic. Of course we’d all like just a little more time with our lost loved ones, but William takes it to extremes, and drags his buddy into the mess with him, which is a lot to ask of a coworker who only ever consented to looking after a fish.

The uneasiness generated by a family that now consists mainly of the undead (not zombies, but kinda definitely zombies) would do better in a horror film, but instead director Jeffrey Nachmanoff commits to a family drama but can’t quite make it work. And there was plenty to work with: grief, survivor’s guilt, basic human existential questions of identity of self – but instead Nachmanoff gets bogged down explaining imaginary science as if this was a term paper and not a piece of entertainment. Keanu manages to stay serious even whilst wearing the silliest hat of the future AND waving his hands in the air like he just don’t care, but the script goes from suspicious to limp and I’m pretty sure the director was in the can for the entire back 9. Replicas does not work well as a movie, but it does star the internet’s boyfriend, and for his presence alone, I bet people will continue to watch.

Before We Go

Captain America made a movie that feels like a cheap knock-off Richard Linklater.

Chris Evans directs himself in a starring role as Nick, a trumpet player busking in Grand Central Station one night when he can’t help but notice Brooke (Alice Eve) in distress when she misses the last train by a fraction of a second. Her purse has been stolen and now she can’t get home to Boston, and her tears tell us it’s imperative that she does.

Structurally similar to Linklater’s Before Sunrise movies, the couple spend one romantic night together roaming the streets of New York City, talking and getting to know one 1297744296232_ORIGINALanother. Like any first date, the movie doesn’t play all its cards right away. It flirts with us a bit, hinting at what’s still unsaid. The unfortunate thing is that this movie never puts out. It teases a lot of things that never actually develop. When our pants are down, nothing’s doing. This movie turns out to be a disappointing date: there’s no heat, no essential spark. It never delivers on its promise. And I was really frustrated with it dropping the ball so often. That’s just lazy.

Evans and Eve are charming, but not charming enough to overcome the sometimes cheesy script and the frankly unlikely scenario. Have you ever been on a first date and wished there was a big red button that you could push to end it? Like, you don’t want to hurt their feelings, they’re not really a bad person, just not the right person. You’re already bored 10 minutes in and you’re dying to abort, but now you’re stuck – and god forbid they order dessert. You want an out.

While real-life dates don’t have big red buttons, Netflix kind of does. It’s called STOP. I could have stopped this movie at any time and I didn’t. I kept willing it to get better. I thought I might warm up to it. That maybe I was just nervous, and it couldn’t possibly be this dull. But it was. Lesson learned. You gave me cinematic blue balls once, Captain America. Shame on you. I will not be going back to his place for “coffee” any time soon.