Tag Archives: Anna Kendrick

End of Watch

Brian Taylor (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) is smart. He’s always thinking …  his mind’s ticking over all the time. He’s a cop – in Los Angeles South Central, one of the toughest areas of the LAPD jurisdiction. He loves it. His partner on the beat, Mike Zavala (by Michael Peña), known as “Z”, is his brother in arms. Together they’ve forged a good working style, smooth approach to policing and a light-hearted banter that keeps the horrors of every day bearable. Their partnership extends to friendship with an unspoken but deep respect for each other. They watch each other’s back and work as one. Through the shift, they share their personal lives and their deep love for their partners – Mike’s high school sweetheart is Gabby (by Natalie Martinez) and Brian has recently hooked up with Janet (by Anna Kendrick), who keep them both grounded. One day, they attend a routine job but stumble into a deeper, more sinister situation than they ever imagined. This brings the two beat cops to the attention of seriously high ranking people in an operating Mexican drug cartel who will stop at nothing to get them out of the picture ….

This is a good movie. Jake Gyllenhaal shines here as beat cop Taylor – his performance is authentic and the way he’s so natural is remarkable and commendable. Michael Pena is great too – these two guys work well together on screen and the action is entirely believable. It took me a little while to get into this one, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. The support roles by the police officers and the two female characters, Anna Kendrick and Natalie Martinez, are very good too – all playing strong support but always one step “behind” the two leads, which is appropriate. The relationships are all real and believable. The direction is marvellous and the action is very well done, it’s “in your face” and totally realistic. The whole thing is well done and could easily actually be a documentary rather than a thriller movie. For some reason this movie had a very low profile at the box office in Australia, but that is our loss, it shouldn’t have – if you get the chance, see it.

Made in 2012. Directed by David Ayer.

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Posted by on February 21, 2014 in Movies


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The Company You Keep

Jim Grant (played by Robert Redford) cares for his young daughter on his own since his wife’s death in a car accident. They live in a small town where Jim is a lawyer. In his heady younger days, Jim was an activist in the radical group Weather Underground. They were opposed to the Vietnam War and demonstrated this in actions that sometimes became violent. A fellow member, Sharon Solarz (by Susan Sarandon) has turned herself in, after thirty years in hiding and Jim realises he and his daughter are in danger, after the FBI refresh their search for the group members to bring them to trial. Ben Shepard (by Shia LaBeouf) is an ambitious and inquisitive local journalist who gets onto this story for his small town newspaper and he starts to piece together the crime and intrigue from decades ago. The FBI and the reporter follow a trail of clues to pursue the real story and try to find Jim Grant, now on the run …

This is a nicely made movie with a magnificent cast. Robert Redford is okay, but not great. Anna Kendrick’s character is superfluous really and once again, Stanley Tucci is good but understated – same goes for Richard Jenkins. Overall, I found it “not quite enough for me”. There’s something of a young Russell Crowe about Shia LeBeouf and he’s fine. It’s great to see Julie Christie again – I haven’t seen much of her since Dr Zhivago. Others … Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper and Sam Elliott are good to see. Redford tries to create a thriller, but to me it’s a little pedestrian and those strong performers just seem to be going through the motions. Another, Susan Sarandon, is there but nothing much is really made of her character either – maybe I missed something? The movie won two awards at the Venice Film Festival in 2012 and it is based on a novel by Neil Gordon. Perhaps it would have had more impact for me if I had been aware of the real story in history.

Made in 2012. Directed by Robert Redford.

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Posted by on September 7, 2013 in Movies


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Adam Learner (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is 27 years old and living a pretty settled and successful life. His two best friends are his girlfriend, Rachael (by Bryce Dallas Howard) and his long-time buddy and co-worker Kyle (by Seth Rogen). Adam’s a pretty laid back and “take it as it comes” kind of guy. Even when his relationship starts to show some bumps, he’s sensitive to what may be causing it, so doesn’t make much fuss about it. He’s not one to complain about much, really. His life is pretty steady, but lately he’s noticed a pain in his back that isn’t going away, so he goes to get it checked by a doctor. He discovers he has a rare form of cancer and he needs chemotherapy immediately. When he tells Rachael, as their relationship is relatively fledgling, he gives her an “out” and says he would understand if she didn’t want a part of it and left him. But she says she’ll “be there for him”. Kyle, on the other hand, is very upset but supports Adam through it in his own way. Adam’s mother, Diane (by Anjelica Huston) is put out at being the third person to find out (and not the first). Adam’s father has well progressed Alzheimer’s disease and Diane already takes care of him, but like a martyr and doting mother, she assumes she will also care for Adam during his illness, but this is the last thing Adam wants. To help him face all the issues ahead, he starts to see therapist Katie McCay (by Anna Kendrick), but she is very young and inexperienced, so Adam doesn’t hold out much hope of help from her. Still, he takes this in his stride too. As with most things, at first Adam says he’s fine, his friends rally around for a while, but when things get difficult the true friends shine through and Adam starts to appreciate what’s really important in his life.

This is a movie that addresses some difficult and potentially emotive issues – but it does it in a very entertaining and gentle way. It’s very well done. The boys, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen are great and their performances are very complementary – totally authentic. Bryce Dallas Howard plays her role well and Anna Kendrick is very good too – she seems to play “inexperienced” well. Anjelica Huston is almost unrecognisable as Diane. I really enjoyed this movie. At times the issues are confronting, but overall it’s a very good and nice movie.

Made in 2011. Directed by Jonathan Levine

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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Movies


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Up in the Air

Ryan Bingham (played by George Clooney) is a consultant who hires himself out to organisations who want to fire their employees but don’t want to actually deliver the news themselves. He’s good at this work – he has long experience and he’s well practiced in dealing with the range of reactions he gets from the recipients of this hard message. He does his job by travelling allover the US, he spends 322 days a year out of town, flying (always first class) with the same airline, staying in the same hotel chain, renting the same type of car etc. He does have a home, but it is is sparse and cold as he is rarely there. The same could be said for his personal life. He lives out of a suitcase and likes it that way – it allows him to meet women wherever he goes. In one city, he meets Alex (by Vera Farmiga) who he is attracted to because she lives a similar lifestyle and puts as much kudos as he does on hotel services, frequent flyer points, bonus gifts and super corporate rates available to such business travellers. Ryan has a fairly settled life until the day his boss (by Jason Bateman) hires ambitious 23-year-old graduate Natalie (by Anna Kendrick) who wants to streamline the “firing process” and Ryan with it, which causes Ryan’s entire life to undergo major change.

This movie is clever, smart and elegantly made. George Clooney’s performance is good and he works well with Anna Kendrick. In fact, all the supporting roles are realistically played and I found I really was transported into the lives of the people where I felt their pain at being sacked. There’s real emotion in Ryan’s own life also – not only does he have to deal with the ongoing stress in his job, but he has his own life ups and downs also.

I liked this movie a lot.

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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Movies


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