David Ayer

Fury Movie

By the looks of the Fury trailer, David Ayer found some not-so-secret plans in a forgotten bunker, dusted them off and followed them to the letter in order to create one more World War II film for the pile of World War II films. All the cliches are here. Empty fields with random explosions, the rookie, the crusty leader, the Jarhead-esque ennui, tanks jousting, one last job, impossible odds and Jason Isaacs. As a bonus, Brad Pitt sounds like he chugged cough syrup before every take. Unbelievably flat delivery in hand, I can only assume that they’ll discuss how disillusioned he is at length while he wanly recites koans like “war never ends quietly.” What does that even mean? It’s one of those statements that’s moronic yet desperate to be profound. Not to mention that wars end quietly all the time. A signature and refusal to shake hands in an isolated train car sometimes does the trick. At any rate, check out the trailer for yourself:

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Arnold Schwarzenegger and friends in SABOTAGE

Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s post-Governor career is an interesting, if not wholly successful, mix of a little bit of new and a whole lot of desperate clinging to the past. The former will be on display in the upcoming Maggie where he plays father to a daughter infected with a zombie virus, and the latter has been evident in The Last Stand, Escape Plan, his appearances in The Expendables franchise, and upcoming sequels to past triumphs. His action films have been cartoonishly unrealistic and as interested in being “fun” as they’ve been in being exciting. His latest film though is a far more serious affair. Deadly violent, incredibly gory, and saturated with themes that echo both Schwarzenegger’s past as an action hero and the real life cost of fighting evil. Unfortunately, David Ayer‘s Sabotage also wants to be fun, and therein exists just one of its missteps. John ‘Breacher’ Wharton (Schwarzenegger) is head of an elite DEA assault team populated by the manliest of men and one gung-ho woman. Their latest bust involves infiltrating a known drug dealer dwelling, and it ends with numerous dead bad guys, one of their own down, and $10 million in dirty money missing. The team brazenly steals and hides the cash during the bust, but when they return for their payout the cash is gone. An investigation and suspensions follow, but when the team returns to work they find themselves prey to a violent predator with a taste for the grotesque. It’s the end of days and […]

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David Ayer on Set of End of Watch

In a climate where most creative types can’t make money being a screenwriter unless they’re one of the lucky few who gets tapped to turn a board game or an old TV show into a movie, End of Watch filmmaker David Ayer has just sold his latest script on spec for $1m. The film is called Fury, and it’s a World War II story about an American tank and its five man crew battling a desperate German army as the Nazi regime crumbles around them. QED International was the company who foot the bill for the screenplay. They’ve hired Ayer himself to direct, and plan on setting him up for a fall production start. Ayer, for his part, says that his goal for Fury is to “bring a fresh execution to the genre. What these men went through is worthy of a complex, honest portrayal. This will have incredible, visceral action and complex rich characters. I plan to bring tank combat to life in a way that lands with a modern audience.” Given the found footage gimmick that Ayer needlessly implemented in his admittedly impressive cop drama, End of Watch, that sort of quote brings to mind a film made up solely of grainy, black and white newsreels of period war action, which would probably be pretty horrible, and is likely a worst case scenario for this one.

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There are a few rules for found footage: the sex tape kind will make the rich more famous; historical archives will be repurposed as propaganda following a revolution; the camcorder boom of the ‘80s and ‘90s has been a boon for today’s documentarians; and fiction implementations of the concept are all about providing evidence of how the movie’s main character(s) died. Does the new fictional found footage film End of Watch follow its respective rule?   [Warning: SPOILERS of the ending of End of Watch to come]

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End of Watch Review

In one sense, End of Watch is just another cop movie, something like the sixth written by filmmaker David Ayer. We’ve seen the valor and corruption seeping into your everyday urban police department writ large countless times before. But through its use of first-person found footage and it’s framing of the story from the point of view of LAPD officers Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Zavala (Michael Peña), Ayer’s film (which he also directed) finds a new way into the old formula. The movie offers a front seat portrait of these men as they traverse the fraught, dangerous terrain of South Central Los Angeles. With Taylor toting a camera for a class project” (he’s working towards a law degree), the officers sporting small recorders on their chests and your everyday squad car cameras offering a POV perspective, the movie offers an unvarnished look at these men on the job. We’re present as they respond to a variety of incidents, talk about everything from their families to the future to their love for Red Bull, and develop the sort of deep-rooted camaraderie that only comes from spending so many long, trying nights together.

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David Ayer on Set of End of Watch

Filmmaker David Ayer seems to really love cops. From the dirty ones to the good-natured kind, Ayer continuously explores the men and women who wear a gun and badge, and then sees how they use that power. With Street Kings, Dark Blue, and Training Day, Ayer showed that power can corrupt certain cops. With End of Watch, the writer/director does the opposite of what he’s known for: portraying good, incorruptible men. It’s not often we see cops this well-intentioned on the big screen. Not a single part of End of Watch delves into police corruption. It’s a real love letter to the force which strays away from certain genre conventions, something Ayer attempts to do when he’s writing solely for himself. Here’s what director David Ayer had to say about the large thematic world of law enforcement, the work-for-hire process, and the style of End of Watch:

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End of Watch Trailer

You’ve misjudged David Ayer‘s End of Watch. It’s okay – I did the same thing. Another cop movie from Ayer, you said? Another one set in South Central Los Angeles, you wondered? With the added gimmick of utilizing all manner of handheld footage, dash cams, all that shaky stuff that just doesn’t seem to feel fresh anymore? And starring a bald Jake Gyllenhaal? Pardon me, moviegoers, but what the hell? While we can’t share all of our thoughts on the Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena-starring End of Watch just yet, we can confirm that it’s far better than it sounds, is much more compelling and emotional than even Training Day or Harsh Times, and that it contains (at the very least) one performance absolutely deserving of awards consideration. Perhaps this new trailer for the film will help change your mind on the rough, dirty, and tension-filled joy that is End of Watch. At the very least, you can watch a ton of guns blazing.

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Up until this point they’ve been calling David Ayer’s upcoming Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring crime film Ten. Which has made sense, because its a story about 10 DEA agents who rip off a drug cartel and then get bumped off one by one. But Ten is also a generic title that could mean just about anything, so in order to make the film stand out and be more recognizable they’ve now given it the super descriptive and unforgettable title of…Breacher. Okay, so that just makes it sound like this is a movie about a whale or a submarine. Who actually knows why they changed the title, but the deed has been done, and the important thing to focus on is that there’s some new casting news that might be of interest. Breacher, as has been reported, comes from a Skip Woods script that’s loosely based off of an Agatha Christie story called “And Then There Were None.” Christie’s original story detailed the systematic comeuppance of ten previously unpunished murderers. Seeing as the very core of this story is a group of people getting what’s coming to them, it’s going to be very necessary for Ayer to compile an ensemble cast. And as much as we all might love to watch Schwarzenegger don various wigs and prosthetics to play every part, that’s kind of Eddie Murphy’s thing, and wouldn’t be appropriate.

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With most of the movie-going world still unsold on Sam Worthington as a leading man (really, guy, Man on a Ledge? The Titans films?), the Aussie actor has perhaps made a very wise choice for his next big action role. Variety reports (via ComingSoon) that Worthington is in talks to join (and is, in fact, expected to accept an offer) for David Ayer‘s Ten, a film that would see him starring alongside, you guessed it, ten other stars (including Arnold Schwarzenegger, who joined the project in May). Reportedly a “testosterone-heavy riff” of an Agatha Christie-penned classic (“And Then There Were None”), the film has been scripted by Skip Woods and sounds like one hell of a blast. It will follow “an elite DEA task force that deals with the world’s deadliest drug cartels. Specializing in complex mobile operations, the team executes a tactical raid on a cartel safe house. What looks to be a typical raid turns out to be an elaborate theft operation, pre-planned by the DEA squad. After hiding millions in stolen cash, the team believes their secret is safe – until someone begins assassinating them one by one.” Sounds like a more cerebral spin on The Expendables, which sounds like some superb popcorn cinema.

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Since the end of his political career, action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger has dove back into the world of movie-making head first. He popped into Sylvester Stallone’s action star team-up, The Expendables, for a cameo, he signed on to play an aging Sheriff in Last Stand, and he agreed to work with Stallone again, playing a career inmate in The Tomb. While running into a familiar face from the old days is usually a welcome experience, Arnie’s comeback has been met with doubt and derision by a huge segment of the film fan population. At 65 years of age, should the big guy still be making action movies? When he’s asked to have those big hero moments where he strikes a pose and drops a cheesy pun, will it still play as awesome, or will he now look wrinkled and sad? Up to this point it’s seemed like his comeback roles have been chosen wisely to reflect the realities of being an aging actor. He’s a badass from the old days, a cop at the end of his career, or a veteran convict who’s been locked up for years. Words like “grizzled” and “tough as an old boot” come to mind when you picture Arnie slipping into characters like these. But with his new role, where he’s going to be playing a member of an elite DEA task force, he may be pushing things a little too far. What sort of an elite task force would include a retiree as one […]

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Scarface: Redux

Such an obviously lame idea deserves that terribly puny title. Screenwriter David Ayer — the man behind such films as U-571 and Training Day — has been assigned the task of reworking the concept of Scarface for a contemporary audience by Universal Pictures. It will most likely follow a gutsy gangster on his climb to the top, only to see him fall victim to his own self-indulgence. He may also yell catchphrases.

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“You know, I don’t know if it really makes sense to call it Commando. Maybe it does or maybe doesn’t. It is the reboot of it and all of that stuff.” That’s producer John Davis, inspiring confidence that he knows what he’s talking about since 2011. The producer revealed to Collider that he’d been working on a remake of the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring action flick that let us all blow off a little steam. Harsh Times writer/director David Ayer has written the script and may direct the film himself, but it’s unclear (thanks to Davis) how closely it will follow the original. “Bad guy steals girl and is pursued by guy who won’t die” is a bit too high concept to speculate on when it comes to remake territory, so a ton of the work will fall on Ayer’s script. The bigger question is whether a faithful remake will make sense in a world of more realistic action films. That modifier should be taken with a grain of salt considering a movie came out last year where a tank was dropped out of a plane, but Commando featured a literal one-man army killing thousands without getting scratched. It also had more one-liners per cubic foot than any other action movie. Can Ayer top that record? Remember when they promised to remake Commando last?

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Now I’m starting to see the downside to remaking Predator. The Arnie remake floodgates will open, and Fox isn’t saving Commando for last.

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We

From the man that brought you Training Day and Street Kings comes a science fiction battle of epic proportions. Now, which David Ayer will actually show up to set?

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Street Kings Movie Review

David Ayer is back and still busy telling us how corrupt the cops of the Los Angeles Police Department are in this Keanu Reeves cop drama.

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