With the arrival of December, awards season is in full swing, and usually that just means limited releases of some big new films, to establish them as Oscar contenders. And so a film like Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty will open in New York and LA on December 21, but won’t go wide until January 11.

But we also see the occasional re-release, meant to remind Academy voters that films are worth considering for awards. And so December 7 sees two films re-opening, the better to angle for Oscar. Open Road is doing a nationwide re-release of David Ayer‘s End of Watch, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña as LA cops. And as the following tweet shows, Joe Carnahan‘s The Grey is getting a two-week run at two LA-area theaters:

Granted, Carnahan’s film, starring Liam Neeson as one of a team of roughnecks stranded in the Alaskan wilderness, has been on DVD for months; you can even stream it on Netflix right now. But it’s a solid film, and I’m happy to see it get a small shot at awards recognition.

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Training Day writer and Street Kings writer/director David Ayer seems to have put together a solid street-level LA cop movie in End of Watch, which features Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña as close-knit LAPD partners who come up against a vicious drug cartel after a routine traffic stop. A new trailer for the film plays up some of the important character background of the two cops, crucially grounding them as recognizably real people, before things go all to hell.

Anna Kendrick, Frank Grillo, and America Ferrara also appear; see them in the new trailer, below. Read More »

A few months ago, End of Watch wasn’t on anyone’s radar. One trailer here, a Comic-Con panel there and now the LAPD action drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena and directed by David Ayer has a ton of positive buzz rolling with it. This latest red band trailer is sure to continue that train as it features brutal language, disturbing violence and a level of intensity rarely enjoyed by films in this genre. Check it out after the jump. Read More »

Orlando Bloom‘s most memorable roles tend to be dashing fantasy hero types, a la Lord of the Rings‘ Legolas or Pirates of the Caribbean‘s Will Turner, but Lance Daly‘s indie thriller The Good Doctor will see him heading toward the dark side, and in realistic, contemporary garb, no less.

Bloom plays Martin Blake, a bright, ambitious young doctor whose just can’t seem to get over a deep-seated sense of insecurity. When a flirty teenage patient (Riley Keough) gives him the ego boost he so desperately wants, he purposely keeps her ill so that she can’t leave his side. Taraji P. Henson, J.K. Simmons, Michael Peña, Rob Morrow, and Troy Garity also star. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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There are a lot of big, attention-getting films in 2012, and one that I forget about once in a while is Gangster Squad, the film in which Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer follows the efforts of a squad of LA cops (Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Mackie) to stop the incursion of organized crime into LA, led by Sean Penn as famed mob boss Mickey Cohen.

A trailer has just been released for the film, and it looks like a good period cops and robbers story, bolstered by that cast into a level of quality that might let it sit alongside other period LA crime tales such as L.A. Confidential. Check out the trailer below. Read More »

As the writer behind Training Day and the helmer of Street Kings and Harsh Times, David Ayer‘s clearly got a deep and abiding interest in the LAPD. So it’s no surprise that his latest directorial effort, End of Watch, centers around that same theme.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star as a pair of young officers assigned to some of Los Angeles’ roughest neighborhoods. Though the guys are used to being targeted — as one of them says, “We’re cops, everyone wants to kill us” — when they stumble upon a dangerous discovery, they find themselves in the crosshairs of a drug cartel. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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Michael Peña has called labor organizer Cesar Chavez his dream role, and now the actor is set to play the part in Chavez, which will be produced and directed by Diego Luna. That’s a great step up from supporting roles in films like Battle: Los Angeles, Tower Heist and The Lincoln Lawyer.

Peña will be joined by America Ferrera as Helen Chavez, and Rosario Dawson as Dolores Huerta. Variety says the film, scripted by Keir Pearson, “depicts Chavez organizing the largest non-violent protest in U.S. history to accomplish his ultimate goal of obtaining basic human rights for over 50,000 farm workers in California.”

Chavez will start shooting in Sonora, Mexico in April. Gael Garcia Bernal and John Malkovich are also among the film’s producers. This is Luna’s second film about a public figure, as his first directorial effort was the documentary J.C. Chavez, about Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez.

After the break, Jennifer Beals produces and stars in a jazz-themed indie called The Lord of Vinyl, and the supernatural YA adaptation Beautiful Creatures gets a little addition from Project X. Read More »

Dreamworks Animation announced Turbo a while ago; the animated film features Ryan Reynolds as the voice of a garden snail who dreams of being a racing champion.

Today the rest of the major voice cast has been announced, and it features some excellent names. Paul Giamatti, Luis Guzman, Maya Rudolph and more are part of the lineup. And Robert Siegel (The Wrestler, Big Fan) has been announced as a co-writer, which is also a welcome detail. Read More »

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