End of Watch

David Ayer brings us this year’s action cop movie. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena play LA cops that went through the academy together and became partners as well as best friends.  Gyllenhaal’s character is mentioned to be taking classes to pursue a law career and is carrying a camera around documenting his work for a class. His camera allows for a lot of shots where the actors are aware they’re on camera, which was pretty cool.

Pena and Gyllenhaal establish humor right from the beginning and continued it throughout.  They play practical jokes on other cops and have a lot of hilarious exchanges while riding around on their patrol. I was definitely surprised by how funny I thought this film was, Pena especially.

The plot heats up when the cowboy pair make a few busts connected to a Mexican cartel and a hit is put out on the pair. This might not be for those with weaker stomachs as it does get pretty graphic with some of the violence. I really enjoyed the way humor was riddled throughout, balancing the intensity and gruesomeness of a lot of the scenes.

This movie will make you laugh and then possibly make you cry (not me of course). Very good. I give it 4 of 5 Beach balls.

Lawless

This is a tale of three brothers who ran a lucrative moonshining and distribution business in Franklin County, Virginia during prohibition. The Bondurant brothers were said to have traces of Native American in their blood and legend had it that they simply could not be killed. As you might suspect, the business that they dealt in brought along with it plenty of danger and opportunities for violence. The Bondurants carried and earned a reputation for being people you did not want to cross.

Their operation becomes threatened when county official brings in a lawman from Chicago to clean up the moonshining problem. Franklin County was said to be the “wettest county in the world” at this time. Guy Pierce, plays the arrogant city-slicker and I thought did a great job. I thoroughly hated this character by the end of the movie. Even his appearance disturbed me. Possibly the worst part ever in his hair and I was having a hard time telling if he even had eyebrows or not.

The two main characters were a pair of the brothers, Forrest and Jack. Tom Hardy (Bane in Dark Knight Rises) played Forrest, the head of the operation and possibly most feared man in the area. Forrest was a man of very few words or emotions until it came time for action. He kind of reminded me of Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive. Shia LaBeouf played Jack, the youngest brother who was somewhat disappointingly smaller and weaker than his two older brothers. He did some of the driving for their operation but he aimed to be more included and have more responsibility. Forrest saw him as weak and was reluctant to include him. Throughout the movie Jack yearned for acceptance and approval from his big brothers.

The film did not quite go as far in depth to any of the characters as I think could have made it a little better. I did like the repeated theme of family and how the three brothers would defend each other regardless of their shortcomings. Probably my favorite part of the movie was LeBeouf’s hair cut, just perfect. You’ll have to see the movie and check it out, I personally hope that it starts a trend, who knows, I may try to do my part in that.

I give Lawless 2 3/4 Beach balls, just above average. Not spectacular but entertaining.