Keanu Reeves is like a streamlined Gregory Peck from a quiet planet where people have slow thoughts. As Henry in Henry’s Crime, he rises from his dull life as a tollbooth attendant thanks to a bank robbery at which he is barely a bystander. Sent to prison, he meets a savvy, old lifer (James Caan) and comes to see that, “I did the time, I may as well have done the crime.” Once paroled, he heads back to the same bank in Buffalo, determined to rob it. The juicy slant in this comedy from director Malcolm Venville (44 Inch Chest) and writer Sacha Gervasi (Anvil! The Story of Anvil) is that the vault is best entered through a theater.
There the star (Vera Farmiga) of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard is a snarky spitfire, and the director (Peter Stormare) is so fiercely Slavic that he is like a hairy samovar. The star falls for Henry, who works on the heist while also acting Lopakhin, even though Reeves is often more wooden than the orchard’s fabled trees. The writing is not quirkily inspired enough to make the elements achieve absurd combustion, and the ending is like Chekhov held hostage. But doing time with this one is no crime.
Newsreel: After its first winter series, the Cinema Under the Stars venue, 4040 Goldfinch in Mission Hills, is offering its summer spread. The atmospheric patio site screens movies Thursday through Sunday, starting at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $14 or $15, and reservations can be made at 619-295-4221 or topspresents.com. Here are shows through June: The Seven Year Itch (May 19–21), The Big Lebowski (May 26–29), Chinatown (June 2–3), The Man Who Knew Too Much (June 4–5), American Beauty (June 9–10), Baby, the Rain Must Fall (June 11–12), The Woman in the Window (June 16–17), Never Say Never Again (June 18–19), The Big Sleep (June 23–24), How to Marry a Millionaire (June 25–26), The Princess Bride (June 30–July 3).
Newly reviewed in the movie listings: The Double Hour, The First Grader, Forks Over Knives, and Soul Surfer.