Among the many new releases arriving this weekend, David Ayer’s visceral, you-are-there LA cop drama “End of Watch” boasts outstanding performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, which may or may not support Open Road’s ultra-wide (2800) theater break. The film did gain some buzz in Toronto, as did Lionsgate/Summit’s boy-centric coming-of-age tale “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” which favors Leo Lerman and Ezra Miller over post-“Harry Potter” Emma Watson. The mainstream crowdpleaser is Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams as father and daughter in the baseball drama “Trouble with the Curve,” while Jennifer Lawrence’s horror entry “The House at The End of the Street” is finally hitting theaters in order to captalize on the “Hunger Games” star’s fame. Remake “Dredd 3D,” starring “Star Trek”‘s Karl Urban, is playing well to the Comic-Con crowd. The best-reviewed of the bunch is David France’s eye-opening doc about how smart activists turned around the AIDS epidemic, “How to Survive a Plague,” which is also Criticwire’s pick of the week.
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” Summit, USA | DIR: Stephen Chbosky CAST: Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Logan Lerman, Dylan McDermott, Paul Rudd | 76% Fresh | NYT: “Likable, unsurprising and principally a showcase for the pretty young cast, notably Mr. Miller, who brings texture to his witty if sensitive gay quipster.” | Indiewire talks to Miller.
“How To Survive a Plague” IFC, USA | DIR: David France | 100% Fresh | LAT: “An exceptional portrait of a community in crisis and the focused fury of its response.” | How to Make a Powerful AIDS Documentary.
“The House at the End of the Street” Relativity, USA | DIR: Mark Tonderai CAST: Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Shue | 12% Rotten | Toronto Star: “A thriller with a twisted ending that feels clumsy, laboured and unconvincing throughout.”
“End of Watch” Open Road, USA | DIR: David Ayer CAST: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Anna Kendrick, Frank Grillo | 86% Fresh | Village Voice: “As social insight, End of Watch is useless, but as engrossing entertainment, it’s irresistible, thanks to Ayer’s gift for dialogue, the relentless pacing set by film editor Dody Dorn, and gorgeous performances by Gyllenhaal and Peña.”
“Trouble with the Curve” Warner Bros, USA | DIR: Robert Lorenz CAST: Amy Adams, Clint Eastwood, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Matthew Lillard | 55% Rotten | SF Chronicle: “‘Trouble’ is second-rate Eastwood, existing in a parallel universe where the celebrity has been reduced to a Hallmark movie-of-the-week actor, not one of the most respected directors in Hollywood.”
“Dredd 3D” Lionsgate, US/UK/IN | DIR: Pete Travis CAST: Carl Urban, Rachel Wood, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey | 77% Fresh | Arizona Republic: “With its dark characters and the grim setting, the film masterfully creates a compelling, nightmarish atmosphere.”