Friday, March 28, 2014

Movie Spotlight: End of Watch (2012)

Here is another new blog segment I will be trying out from time to time where I focus on a director, or an actor (depending on which is more accessible in my movie database), who is releasing a movie this weekend. Well you're probably why I chose to focus on a movie from David Ayer this weekend instead of Darren Aronofosky who is releasing Noah. That is because I will be reviewing Pi sometime next week, and it's on the list. Anyways, Ayer is releasing Sabotage, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger this weekend, which seems like a far cry from the work he did on End of Watch. Actually, I was shocked by how good End of Watch was.

Summary: Brian and Mike are two young LAPD officers working the tough streets. They seem to have a lot of success catching bad guys, which honestly makes them feel pretty confident. Just as their personal lives are transitioning completely into adulthood, and they are beginning their own families, they find themselves getting mixed into crime that is above and beyond the street gangs they are acquainted with.

Acting: I haven't always been 100% sold on Jake Gyllenhaal's acting abilities. I know he's been in some great stuff, and I thought he's good, but with End of Watch he seems to really finally stand out. Gyllenhaal feels real as the lead, Brian. Michael Pena, who you can also see in a movie coming out this weekend called Cesar Chavez, also shows his ability to act as Mike. What works great is that these two actors feel like they are friends for real. Their dialogue comes off real and lively. Not only that they have chemistry with the other actors as well like the women in their lives. Natalie Martinez is Gabby, Mike's wife, and every scene with them in it brings a bit of romance to the movie along with the scenes of Brian and Janet, who is portrayed by Anna Kendrick. While I do like Kendrick as an actress, and have enjoyed the movies she is in, I also feel she continues to prove she is just a one trick actress. She doesn't have much range as far as what she can do. She is sweet with a bit of sass, and that about sums up her in every role, but you know what if it works then it works, and it has proven to work for her. America Ferrera is also in this movie, she plays fellow cop, Orozco, and does show she has range that would be exciting to see if she can keep her career going along. She is also is starring in Cesar Chavez with Michael Pena as well this weekend.

Filming: The movie is shot in documentary style, and while that can sometimes be annoying I can't think of any other way you would convey this movie. The raw feel of the documentary vibe gives the movie a real life vibe that helps to bring out the characters and their surroundings. I don't think the emotions would have come off as real had Ayers chose to shoot it in another style. He also uses really kick butt music to convey certain scenes. I do have one problem with documentary style that I can't help but notice, but what about the moments it isn't the characters shooting the movie, how do you explain that? I get they weren't the main ones filming, but the jumping back and forth between their cameras and what isn't theirs does leave it inconsistent if you over think it. Regardless, I still like how it came together. I think while it doesn't stay in one perspective it works great for this movie.

Plot: The plot at first seems to just be about seeing how the guys handle the crime in the rough city, but as the movie progresses you see something bigger is being pulled into the movie. The cops are just going about their business busting crime, and even getting a little nosy, but they have no idea what is lurking there. For two guys who have killed and seen some awful crimes, the things they discover are even beyond what they had imagined out there. I think people who are police officers will enjoy this movie as well, because it shows them as real people, and doing a very tough job at that, and while sometimes we may have our own hate because of a traffic ticket or what not, it shows these people still have a job that most of us wouldn't want to stomach, but yet they do.

End of Watch was a whole lot better than I was expecting. It's impressive that David Ayer wrote and directed the movie as well. Now he seems to have an interest in the DEA, cops, and crimes because most of his movies focus in on that. Now my expectations is that Sabotage won't do great this weekend. It's got a lot of competition, and I have seen no advertisements for it. Plus, Arnold just isn't a huge selling lead anymore. He hasn't brought in a hit in a while that even met what it needed in a weekend. Back to End of Watch though, you also have two actors in this movie you can see on the screen in this weekend, Pena and Ferrera, who are starring in a movie about civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, which is the name of the movie.

Rating 8.5 of 10.

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