End of Watch
8 10 12
End of Watch is one of the more thrilling cop films released in recent years. Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star in this portrait of two buddies in the LAPD. Writer and director David Ayer is probably best known for The Fast and the Furious and Training Day, but End of Watch proves to be his most impressive project. Gyllenhaal and Peña play patrol officers who get tangled up in some nasty South Central gang violence.
To Be Heard
In lieu of running an AB Films selection, the English department has organized a screening of To Be Heard, the debut documentary from Edwin Martinez. According to the Carnegie Mellon University Lecture Series website, “_To Be Heard_ follows the life journey of three best friends who met in a high school poetry class in the Bronx, and make a pact to always support each other. Yet, when everything starts to go wrong and the road toward their childhood dreams becomes more perilous than ever, their hopes for the future and the strength of their friendship are put to the ultimate test.”
8 10 12
Ben Affleck chooses some flashy Oscar bait for his third directorial feature. After turning in some legitimately impressive work with Gone Baby Gone and The Town, Affleck directs and stars in Argo, a thoughtless but intense political thriller. The movie is loosely based on the Canadian Caper, a historical event during which the CIA faked a Hollywood production to extract six near-hostages from revolutionary Iran. The film succeeds in direct proportion to how much it follows history, finding great moments in its outlandish, stylish suspense but failing when trying to milk the relevance cow.
The Good Shepherd
6 9 12
Ben Affleck’s buddy, Matt Damon, stars in The Good Shepherd, another (albeit very different) story that misattributes several things to the CIA. Damon turns in a spectacular performance in this muddy historical tracing of the CIA. However historically dubious it may be, Robert De Niro’s direction makes The Good Shepherd a top-shelf political thriller for the first hour. The script eventually bogs itself down in the fathers-failing-sons metaphor, but still maintains a solid level of juice. The film is worth it for Damon’s performance alone, which is possibly the finest of his career.