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Michael Pe^BENT^00F1^EENT^a (left) and Jake Gyllenhaal take it to the streets as a pair of tough L.A. cops. I swear they're not strippers.
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"END OF WATCH" (R) HHH
JAKE GYLLENHAAL, MICHAEL PEÑA,
If you can overlook some ridiculously obscene language from gang members and the unnecessary use of shaky footage, this film about two street cops really grabs you.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña have strong chemistry as two Los Angeles patrolmen who face their job with humor and a tough edge.
When they manage to anger the wrong guys--a drug cartel trying to establish itself--things get tough for the pair.
But until then, we get some insight on the job and the men and the women who love the people who do it.
Gyllenhaal unexpectedly takes his character into tough-guy territory, complete with a shaved head and macho vibe. But in his dealings with his partner (Peña) and the girl he falls for (a sweet Anna Kendrick), we see a softer, more thoughtful side.
As for the shaky footage, get over it, Hollywood. It's just distracting and needlessly unsettling. The amateurish technique is explained here by the fact that one of the buddies is making a video for a class.
Rated R for strong violence, disturbing images, pervasive language including sexual references, and some drug use. 109 min. [MC, RA, RF]
"THE MASTER" (R) HH
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN, JOAQUIN PHOENIX,
Does amazing acting matter if the film it's in goes nowhere?
Not so much, as this movie with amazing, possibly Oscar-worthy performances from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix demonstrates.
Yes, as the hoax-master of a cult-like group, Hoffman once again demonstrates he's at the top of his profession.
And Phoenix inhabits the role of a perverted, mentally -ill Navy vet as few others could.
But by film's end, we don't know much more about either character than we did when it started. The rambling story doesn't really make any statement about the cult, its leaders or followers, and you're left with nothing but admiration for the two actors and a wish that they'd been in a film that was more than a display of their skill.
Rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity and language. 136 min. [RF]
"TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE" (PG-13) HH