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Non-Review Review: End of Watch

For its first two thirds, End of Watch is a rather novel examination of the routine of the boys in blue who patrol X-13, the most notorious district within Los Angeles’ notorious South Central. Centring on two police officers, Brian Taylor and Mike Zavala, it offers a portrayal of the Los Angeles Police Department that feels almost novel. Rather than centring on the city’s infamous racial tensions, or the allegations of corruption within the force, End of Watch offers a candid and insightful examination of what an average day on the beat might look like, helped along by natural interplay between leads Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña.

The movie runs into problems with its third act, when it opts to abandon its naturalistic, almost documentary, approach to these officers and their world, forcing a climactic confrontation that never really feels like it entirely belongs.

Arresting drama…

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Non-Review Review: Ghost Rider – Spirit of Vengeance

I’m convinced that there must be a half-decent Ghost Rider movie to be made. In fact, I’m sure that Nicolas Cage already made it, in the form of the deliciously pulpy Drive Angry, which touched on a lot of the grindhouse and B-movie qualities one expects from a movie featuring a stunt driver with a flaming skull who sucks souls from criminals. In contrast, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance feels like it’s trying a little too hard. The script feels just a little bit too stilted and conventional, while the direction seems to overcompensate, feeling gimmicky to the point of being distracting and almost disorientating.

Hell’s Angel…

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The Sequel Dilemma: What Does It Take to Convince You To See a Sequel to a Really Bad Movie?

I can’t help it. I am kinda excited to see Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. I know the first Ghost Rider was terrible. I sat through it. However, there’s still a little part of me that’s yearning to get a look at what Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor have done to the series. After all, the pair helmed Crank, perhaps the quintessential “very silly, very exciting” action movie. And, to be fair, there have been any number of movie franchises that have recovered from a near catastrophic instalment to offer something new and exciting and engaging.

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Second Chances for Sequels…

What if you have to pee when you’re on fire?

It’s awesome.

I have a confession to make. I am actually kinda looking forward to Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. The trailer looks like it could be either off-the-wall over-the-top brilliant, or mind-numbingly terrifying, but promises to be interesting either way. Still, the taint of the original Ghost Rider, perhaps the weakest comic book adaptation of the past decade (and there have been some weak adaptations), hangs around the title, and I can’t help but wonder if my dislike of the original film should somehow mute my anticipation for the sequel. After all, I’ve seen the concept fail on screen before, so why should I feel even a hint of excitement for a follow-up to a ridiculously crap film? Appropriately enough, with sequels, is it once burnt and twice shy?

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