FELINE FILMS | AUGUST 2016

Collin Cougar's October 2017 Movie Reviews

I should probably start with an apology.  Those of you with cat allergies . . . look, it’s hot out, and I can’t help shedding.  I’m trying to keep it contained to small areas but, hey, sometimes wind happens.  I’m sorry.  The good news is, I think my summer coat is all grown in now, but I apologize about the floating dander you may have encountered shuttling between classes.

Let’s switch gears to something more important.  I’m taking a couple of chances this month.  Comedy is very subjective and just because I think something is funny does not mean that you won’t think it is dumb.  However, I think I’ve got a good one for you this month.  But don’t think I’m not taking things seriously either.  I’ve also got a great, timely documentary to keep you engaged and informed but which doesn’t offer easy answers and can be a little technical in nature.  Both of these movies could be potential bombs for you.  But I don’t think they will.  In fact, I think you’ll probably be glad you watched both of them.  You just may want to save the comedy for the end.

Keanu (2016) [R]
Keanu (2016) Poster
Of course I would review a movie about a cat.  How could I resist?

Keanu is the feature film debut for sketch comedy duo Key and Peele.  If you are a fan of the pair, you already know what to expect but if you don’t know them, perhaps the trailer here would give you a good idea of what is in store for you.

Ostensibly, the plot of Keanu is very simple.  The freshly dumped and depressed Rell is saved from his doom and gloom by the arrival of a lost kitten which he names Keanu only to promptly lose him again.  Rell calls on his buddy, Clarence, to help him get Keanu back at all costs.

Simple premise, right?  I was worried before I watched the movie that it would just seem like a sketch that goes on way too long.  I found Keanu to be funny and entertaining the whole way through.  Part of that, I’m sure, is because of the chemistry between the two leads, but it is also a testament to the script.

Are there points where the plot slows down or a joke goes on a little too long?  Sure.  Is the movie going to appeal to everyone?  Probably not.  But overall, I think you’ll find Keanu to be well worth your time and attention.  Oh, and the cat is pretty adorable as well.

7 paws out of 10

Zero Days (2016) [PG-13]

Zero Days (2016) PosterZero Days is the latest documentary by Oscar winner, Alex Gibney.  Gibney is the man behind, well, a ton of the most important and thoughtful documentaries of the last almost 40 years.  It concerns a piece of self-replicating malware called Stuxnet.

“Whoa, Collin!  You’ve already nerded me out here.  Self-replicating malware?  Who cares?”  Don’t let the technical nature of this documentary scare you off.  The first part of the documentary is more mystery than a technical discussion.

You see, when Stuxnet first appeared nobody really knew what it did or who created it.  All anybody really knew was that it was bad.  Really bad.  If you aren’t familiar with the term, a Zero-Day is an undisclosed vulnerability in software that can be exploited.  Software vendors have had zero days to mitigate the flaw.  They are fairly rare and can command quite a price on the black market.  Malware that uses a zero day exploit is very uncommon.  Stuxnet used four of them.  Who would have access to or need to use four zero days in a piece of malware?

The second half of the documentary argues that cyber-attacks using methods like those used in Stuxnet are the future of warfare.  Because of how closely everything we do incorporates computers, not only does malware like Stuxnet offer a chance to spy, it can also be used as an offensive weapon.  Unlike conventional weapons, there are no laws or conventions that govern the use of these cyberweapons.  Should there be?  How would you regulate pieces of code?

These are some of the questions that Zero Days asks and explores.  It is a fascinating glimpse into our recent history and a peak into our future.  Whether you care about computers or not, your world is shaped by them at every turn.  Zero Days is an examination of what that can mean for you and everyone else we share this planet with.

8 paws out of 10

As always, if you have a movie you think I should check out or you want to talk further about one of these reviews, drop me a line at collincougar@collin.edu or leave me a message on Facebook.

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