[caption id="attachment_146181" align="alignleft" width="300"] Open Road Films[/caption]
This week: Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena star as two LAPD partners that unwittingly make themselves targets of a dangerous drug cartel in the gritty, violent police drama "End of Watch."
Also new this week is the controversial Southern-fried drama "The Paperboy" starring Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey, as well as the raunchy-sweet chick flick "For a Good Time, Call …" featuring a breakout performance by funny lady Ari Graynor.
'End of Watch'
[caption id="attachment_162245" align="alignright" width="220"] Universal[/caption]
Box Office: $41 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 85% Fresh
Storyline: Officers Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Pena) have formed a strong bond as partners working some of the most dangerous beats in the LAPD. However, nothing can prepare them for the violent backlash that transpires after their routine actions threaten to expose a notorious drug cartel that tries to take them out in retaliation. "End of Watch" is seen from the point of view of the officers, gang members, surveillance cameras, dash cams and ordinary people caught in the line of fire.
Extras! Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain deleted scenes, five behind-the-scenes featurettes and commentary with writer-director David Ayer, the writer of "Training Day."
We Say: Whether or not you can watch until the end of "End of Watch" depends on your tolerance for shaky handheld cams — even a scene featuring a simple shot of one of the officers talking seems like it was filmed by a jittery cameraman jacked up on too many Red Bulls. Nauseating camerawork aside, this gritty film provides an intense portrait of the daily life of an LAPD officer and takes viewers down the city's darkest streets to shine light on the ugliest excuses for humanity ... for those unafraid to take a peek.
[caption id="attachment_162246" align="alignright" width="220"] Millennium[/caption]
Box Office: $693, 286
Rotten Tomatoes: 39% Rotten
Storyline: Set deep in the South Florida backwaters in the 1960s, this racially charged film noir follows two investigative reporters (Matthew McConaughey and David Oyelowo) as they try to prove a violent death-row inmate (John Cusack) was framed for killing a corrupt local sheriff. Zac Efron plays the titular paperboy and younger brother of McConaughey who becomes infatuated by the prison groupie played by Nicole Kidman in this racy film directed by Lee Daniels of "Precious" fame.
Extras! Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a making-of featurette, interviews and a peek behind the scenes.
We Say: After splashing around the mucky bayou for 106 minutes with these characters — McConaughey has a dark sexual fetish, Cusack is sexually violent and Kidman pees on Efron's face — you'll want to make a beeline for the shower to scrub yourself down with something 99.9% pure. "The Paperboy" is so over-the-top sordid that any dramatic impact is lost in the sleaze, although Kidman deserves credit for her flawless portrayal of a trashy Southern swamp slut — about as far removed as you can get from the Oscar-winning Australian actress' real life.
'For a Good Time, Call ...'
[caption id="attachment_162247" align="alignright" width="220"] Focus Features[/caption]
Box Office: $1.3 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 56% Rotten
Storyline: Two former college frenemies — the reserved Lauren (Lauren Anne Miller) and the wild-at-heart Katie (Ari Graynor) — reluctantly agree to try out being roommates after being reintroduced by their mutual gay friend (Justin Long) so that the young women can afford the cool Gramercy Park apartment of Katie's recently deceased grandmother. After a rocky start, this odd couple starts to bond when they build a phone-sex business and learn things about each other that they never would have guessed.
Extras!: Both the Blu-ray and DVD contain an audio commentary with the two leads, director Jamie Travis and producer Katie Ann Naylon. Also included are a brief promotional featurette and several deleted scenes.
We Say: If you're all about the rise of raunchy female-driven comedy in the past few years since the release of "Bridesmaids," you owe it to yourself to check out this indie gem that rises to hilarious heights thanks to the wacky appeal of Graynor, who deserves more comedic leads after this breakout performance. Whether she's filming a homemade phone-sex commercial in her bathtub or perfecting giving good phone to clients, she is that rare perfect combination of raunchiness and sweetness.
Also New This Week:
"Death Race 3: Inferno"
"Deadly Blessing" Blu-ray
"Keep the Lights On"
"Searching for Sugar Man"
"Tai Chi Zero"