Capsule reviews of 'Dredd 3D,' other new releases

Associated Press Modified: September 20, 2012 at 5:01 pm •  Published: September 20, 2012
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"Dredd 3D" — A wickedly dark comic streak breaks up the vivid violence and relentless bleakness of this 3-D incarnation of the cult-favorite British comic series "2000 A.D." The visceral visuals, shot in 3-D by Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire" cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, feature extreme close-ups and sequences of super-cool slow-motion photography, which wisely are spread sparingly throughout the course of the picture. Karl Urban stars as the stoic Judge Dredd, the baddest bad-ass of them all in a dystopian future where enforcers like him serve as judge, jury and executioner. Dredd is the most fearsome of the judges in the squalid, densely populated Mega City One, with his ever-present helmet and a low, monotone grumble that recalls both Christian Bale's Batman and Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name. (For the uninitiated, Dredd is actually much funnier than this description makes him sound; his terse, deadpan responses to the most absurd and depraved situations provoke the biggest laughs.) Olivia Thirlby has a calm yet confident presence as the rookie Judge Anderson, who happens to have been assigned to Dredd for training upon one particularly bloody day. Her psychic abilities make her an asset when things get especially chaotic, and her slightly ethereal nature provides a nice complement to Dredd's intense groundedness. Dredd and Anderson respond to a triple homicide at the Peach Trees housing complex, a 200-story ghetto ruled by the ruthless prostitute-turned-drug-lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). When they take one of her lieutenants (Wood Harris) into custody, Ma-Ma puts the whole place on lockdown and insists she'll keep it that way until the judges are killed. R for strong bloody violence, language, drug use and some sexual content. 98 minutes. Three stars out of four.

— Christy Lemire, AP Movie Critic

___

"End of Watch" — You've seen the buddy cop movie a million times before, especially the racially mismatched buddy cop movie. You've also seen the found-footage movie a million times before, beginning with the precedent-setting "Blair Witch Project" in 1999 and again in recent years following the success of the low-budget 2007 horror film "Paranormal Activity." ''End of Watch" combines these two approaches: It's a racially mismatched buddy cop movie in which the cops record their daily activities while on patrol, from mercilessly teasing each other in the squad car between calls to tracking bad guys through the dangerous streets and narrow alleyways of South Central Los Angeles. But admittedly, the found-footage aesthetic infuses the film with both intimacy and vibrancy; it creates the illusion that what we're watching is unscripted, and so we feel like we don't know what's going to happen from one moment to the next. And co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena have such tremendous chemistry with each other, they make you want to ride alongside them all day, despite the many perils in store. As they insistently goof on each other in often hilarious fashion, their banter reveals not just an obvious and believable brotherly bond but also the kind of gallows humor necessary to make the horrors of their profession tolerable. After responding to a series of seemingly random calls successfully, the partners find themselves the targets of a stereotypically vicious Mexican street gang, which may have even more dangerous ties south of the border. R for strong violence, some disturbing images, pervasive language including sexual references and some drug use. 108 minutes. Three stars out of four.



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