Thursday, 29 November 2012

End of Watch (2012)

End of Watch - Film Review - Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick

End of Watch, Trailer

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick
Director: David Ayer
IMDB Rating: 7.8/10
My Rating: 7.2/10
Runtime: 1hr 49mins

Synopsis: Described as a mix of reality TV meets Hollywood cop drama, (or as the director cites his own hit film)  David Ayer said, Training Day meets YouTube, End of Watch certainly ticks many of both boxes. Gyllenhaal has had quite a topsy-turvy career since 2001's Donnie Darko, highlights including Brokeback Mountain and Zodiac, lowlights being Jarhead, The Day After Tomorrow, and the likes of the slightly underwhelming Source Code falling in between two stools, which is where I would place End of Watch. Having said that I would recommend this film,the director certainly has a keen interest police dramas, following S.W.A.T.Harsh Times (starring Christian Bale) and especially Dark Blue, possibly Kurt Russell's last decent role. 

And now to the film itself, Gyllenhaal and Pena perform the traditional cop 'buddy routine' without over-cooking it, with the film centring on their very close bond, from light-hearted to semi-philosophical conversations as they cruise the streets of L.A.'s South Central. After a string of early successes officers Brian Taylor and Mike Zavala become emboldened and take more risks in answering the call of duty, which eventually leads them on course to a showdown with a ruthless Mexican gang, probably emulating Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13 - see here for good documentary ). While End of Watch does come across at times, as slightly testosterone filled, overall it is quite entertaining, probably the type of film that you would leave on if you saw it on TV a few years later, the car chase scenes are shot very well and the soundtrack is excellent, especially Public Enemies 'Harder Than You Think' which kicks in during a chase, see here!  

While by no means a classic, I would recommend End of Watch as the perfect Sunday night movie, just enough to keep you guessing, without challenging ones brain too much.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

1961 Bill Evans - Sunday at the Village Vanguard

'Waltz for Debby'

Info: William John Evans, or Bill Evans, as he was commonly known, was born on 16th of August, 1929 in New Jersey to a Welsh father and Ukrainian mother, and died in September, 1980. Evans was a classically trained pianist and from the ages of 6-13 he would only play classical music scores, citing Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven as his preferences. In his early career he generally operated as part of a trio, and rejected the new waves in jazz such as free-form and jazz fusion. In 1958 he joined Miles Davis' sextet, which he heavily influenced, and was a key member of the band when they recorded Kind of Blue, the biggest selling jazz album of all time. Evans left Miles Davis' group in late 1959 and went on to record no less than 10 critically acclaimed albums over the next 4 years, an immense output, starting with Everybody Digs Bill Evans in 1959 to Conversations With Myself in 1963. In 1961 Evans released Sunday At The Village Vanguard, followed shortly after by Waltz For Debby, a track from which I've featured in the video above, purely because there are no performed videos of any of the songs on this album available at present that I can find. Inevitable success was unfortunately followed by tragedy, as both Evans' long-term girlfriend, Elaine, and his brother, Harry, committed suicide, leading to him succumbing to both cocaine and heroin addictions, which would eventually get the better of him and lead him to his early death in 1980. 

Track Listing:

1. Gloria's Step
2. My Man's Gone Now
3. Solar
4. Alice In Wonderland
5. All of You
6. Jade Visions