End of Watch
Say what you will about David Ayer, but the man has staked out some territory. From Training Day to Dark Blue to S.W.A.T. to End of Watch, he's written some of the grittiest L.A. cop dramas of our time. Not only that, but he's attracted some killer talent to his projects, including Denzel Washington, who won an Oscar for his Training Day role; Ethan Hawke, who was Oscar-nominated for his performance in the same film; and now past Oscar nominees Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Kendrick to End of Watch (which Ayer also directed.)
The premise is explosive: A couple of uniformed L.A. cops (Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) stumble on a drug stash house; as a result, they run into some problems from a Mexican cartel. But up to the point that happens, you're mostly watching a couple of dudes just kicking around, shooting the shit, giving us a glimpse at the camaraderie that develops between partners.
New and Notable
Searching for Sugar Man
Though '70s musical artist Rodriguez never really took off in his native U.S., he was bigger than Elvis in South Africa, which is why a pair of South Africans set out to unravel the mysterious story of his death in this documentary.
This is the one where Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron.
This look at embattled football players at a tough Memphis high school won the Oscar for Best Documentary last year.
You may have read David Grann's fascinating story of Frédéric Bourdin, a daring French imposter who impersonated a long-missing Texas teen, in The New Yorker. This is the documentary film version of Bourdin's story. Grann's version is better (and worth buying from the New Yorker archives); the film is also very good.
Death Race 3: Inferno
Danny Trejo and Ving Rhames presumably made some money to send their grandchildren to private school by starring in this very unnecessary straight-to-home video threequel.
Stephen Dorff and Soulja Boy: together at last!
With the state of his marriage in doubt, John Hawkes road-trips his confused and angry kids to California.
Tai Chi Zero
This martial-arts movie might be great, but the snarky trailer voice-over doesn't inspire much confidence.
Thor: The Legend of the Magical Hammer
Did any actual children enjoy the movie Thor but wish it was goofier and animated in the cheapest, crappiest-looking style imaginable? If so, this is the movie for them.
Shun Li and the Poet
A Chinese immigrant working in Italy strikes up a friendship with an elderly Serbian poet.
"In Theaters" VOD Picks
The Taste of Money
"THE INSIDE STORY OF KOREA'S MOST PRIVILEGED FAMILY," the trailer promises. Money sure doesn't seem to make them very happy!
Weird Indie of the Week
What you need to know about this wacky Irish heist film (which is On Demand in advance of a promised theatrical release) is that it was originally titled Whole Lotta Sole (and no one's bothered to put out a new trailer since it's been generically renamed); the trailer contains a baby audibly pooping its diaper; Brendan Fraser's in it; and Brendan Fraser has a mullet.
Early VOD Premieres of the Week
Girls star Alex Karpovsky plays a film editor who considers cheating on his girlfriend with a sexy actress (Arielle Kebbel).
What starts as an intervention on a resistant drug addict turns into a paranormal suspense film. I know it sounds crazy, but it looks pretty compelling!
Sorry, Thor! The animation on this Western take on Cinderella looks even worse.