End of Watch

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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Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Hard Romanticker The streets of Tokyo are awash in blood and attitude in this tale of warring thugs battling for supremacy and revenge. An old woman is killed during a burglary, and her hoodlum grandson mistakenly believes Gu (Shota Matsuda) was behind the murder. Gu finds himself targeted, but he’s far too cool to run and instead finds time to cause some carnage of his own. This is a hard and brutal film that finds both cruelty and black humor in the lives of these punks. No one escapes unscathed, and women fare extremely poorly, but the film makes an effort to take the romance out of these junior yakuza’s lifestyles. Artsploitation Films is still a young label, but their third (and best) release continues to get everything right. In addition to the fantastic film they’ve included a booklet featuring two in depth essays on the film. Also, while this may only matter to nerdy collectors like myself, they’re also wisely numbering their releases on the spine a la Criterion and Drafthouse Films. [Extras: Trailer, collector's booklet]

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sorel_pi

When contemplating my favorite films of the year, I keep forgetting about Life of Pi. Yet very few narrative features wowed me as much as Ang Lee’s spectacular adaptation. Given how much I enjoyed it in the theater, the film should have stuck with me more than it has. I blame the ending, which traded the magnificent visuals and wondrous sea adventure for a talky bookend that too directly spelled out the point of the story within the story. I don’t know that I’d say the ending ruined the rest of the film for me. I could go back and re-watch the whole thing and still appreciate all the effects and thrills and drama that excited me the first time around. But if that’s the stuff I want to remember first and foremost, I’ll probably have to leave a few minutes early next time. Lee surely is familiar enough with the craft of storytelling to know that endings are extremely important, that they can make or break an audience’s satisfaction with a movie by being the part that it is left with. He would presumably disagree with me that Life of Pi has a weak ending. And at least the staff of Entertainment Weekly believes the film actually has one of the best endings of the year. And that is fine, because a lot of people hated the endings of Prometheus, The Bourne Legacy and Savages, and I think those movies have three of the best endings of 2012. The […]

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End of Watch

On the heels of two Independent Spirit Awards nominations for actor Michael Pena (for Best Supporting Male) and cinematographer Roman Vasyanov (for Best Cinematography, naturally), Open Road Films has just announced that they will re-release End of Watch into theaters on December 7th. Yes, this is what a late-breaking awards season push looks like, and it’s a damn fine way for audiences to catch up one of the year’s best underseen gems. But End of Watch might not be the only awards contender that Open Road has on their hands, nor the only one they might re-release for a late-year push. Earlier this week, The Grey director Joe Carnahan tweeted: “Not official yet but @OpenRoadFilms looks like its going to re-release @TheGreyMovie in December for an awards qualifying run. Stay tuned.” While we haven’t heard any other news since about this possibility since Carnahan’s tweet, with the official news that End of Watch is coming back to screens, it seems even more likely that Open Road would roll out a similar strategy for their other best film of the year.

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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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Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

To paraphrase Loverboy, everybody’s waiting for the weekend… to read the best original movie-related content on the web. So, come on baby, let’s go back to the start and give the past week of Film School Rejects a second chance. But first, we want to remind you of the category links on this page that will help you find the most recent reviews (including new releases Dredd 3D, End of Watch and The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and trailers (new spots for The Hobbit and The Life of Pi included) as well as the sidebar of all your favorite columns. And, of course, this week brought the start of Fantastic Fest, so you’ll want to look back on what films we’ve covered so far, such as Frankenweenie and Holy Motors. Keep this link handy through the next five days or so.

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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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Looper

Finally the summer movie season is over. It was decent, never truly great or terrible. The main films that left any lasting impression were the little guys, besides The Avengers and maybe one or two other exceptions. Now that we’re out of summer, it’s fitting this month seems to be a hybrid of what we expect from the previously exited season and awards time. We got the new Paul Thomas Anderson film, while we are also in store for the movie you all really care about: Dredd 3D! Overall, it’s a light month ahead of us, but one with enough potential. Plus, even if we were getting a new Resident Evil pic every weekend this month, we’d still have The Master to overshadow all that blandness and Milla Jovovichness.

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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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