Sep 21 2012

End of Watch

Young L.A.P.D. Officers Brian and Mike (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena) are partners on patrol and best friends off beat. Whilst navigating and protecting the wilds of the city the two accidentally stumble into several operations of a Mexican cartel. Meanwhile, the two also happen to be going through major life changes at home with wives Gabby and Janet (Natalie Martinez and Anna Kendrick), marriage, kids, the list goes on. As pressure mounts on the job, the strength of family and community is pulling for Brian and Mike, but will it be strong enough to keep the two alive when the cartel marks them for death? Hands down some of the best writing and character development and seriously strong acting from all involved. Writer/Director David Ayer has successfully created real, believable, three dimensional characters that we as an audience can actually become invested in. The rub? The basis of the film is assembled in a found footage/documentary style, but the shots aren’t always consistent or even really from the perspective of the cameras we’re supposed to believe we’re seeing. So, it’s selective found footage which can pull you out of the narrative if you think about it too hard; a minor beef considering the strength of the rest of the parts. Mind you, this will get grizzly, but it’s worth it. End of Watch is rated R.

Sep 21 2012

Trouble With The Curve

Old school baseball talent scout for Atlanta, Gus (Clint Eastwood), is tasked with taking the road one more time to watch an up and comer in the Carolina’s. But, with his eyes and overall health failing the job might be more than he can handle. To avert disaster family friend and coworker, Pete (John Goodman), contacts Gus’s daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) and begs her to accompany Gus on the journey. Mickey, feeling abandoned multiple times by her father is reluctant, but goes anyway. Now on the road, father and daughter hash out unsaid differences while the game of baseball plays through, but it’s newcomer Johnny Flash (Justin Timberlake) who really works to sort things out for the two. Will father and daughter resolve their differences, will Atlanta sign their new prospect, and what about Mickey and Johnny’s new found interest in each other? Serving as proof that even really good actors can’t always help a crummy script. Loaded with cheap lines, predictable setups, and zero suspense, the trouble with the curve here may be that the overall film is so manufactured, congenial, and convenient, you might feel a little sick after the fact. Better luck next time, maybe a rental when you’re looking for a mindless joyride. Trouble With The Curve is rated PG-13.

Sep 7 2012

2 Days in New York

Marion (Julie Delpy) and Mingus (Chris Rock) are an interracial and international couple living in New York. The two have a charming and quirky relationship based on the cultural strains they put on each other; but, Mingus may be in for more than he can handle as Marion’s obnoxious family comes to visit for a few days. With Marion’s father, sister, and soon to be brother in law (Albert Delpy, Alexia Landeau, and Alex Nahon) cramming into their apartment stress levels start to rise and niceties are done away with. How to manage, and will the couple ever get time alone together? Written, acted and directed Julie Delpy, the film seems to accomplish what it sets out to achieve, setting up for awkwardness and stress testing the audience. Drifting between what feels like scripted dialogue and improv creativity the film has its moments of wit. Meanwhile we’re exposed to a plethora of scenes and scenarios that each seem interesting by themselves but in totality don’t really make for much more than a collage. Still, interesting without overstaying its welcome, maybe worthy of a matinee, maybe. 2 Days in New York is rated R.