The cliches and laughably hammy dialogue are scattered about just as liberally as the spent bullet casings in this ultraviolent but tired bad-cop yarn, which is surprising and disappointing given that it comes from a story by “L.A. Confidential” writer James Ellroy, who also co-wrote the script. Director David Ayer pretty much remakes “Training Day,” which he also wrote, complete with a rogue Los Angeles detective (Keanu Reeves), an idealistic sidekick (Chris Evans) and cameos from various rappers (Common and The Game in place of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg).

Reeves stars as Tom Ludlow, who has long carried out dirty deeds for his dirty boss, Capt. Jack Wander (Forest Whitaker, eyes bulging and channeling Idi Amin once more). Ludlow slugs vodka nips to make his way through each day; it’s how he copes with his wife’s death (though Reeves is so typically low-key, you’d never know his character is supposed to be drunk). But when he’s implicated in the murder of his former partner (Terry Crews), a do-gooder who’d been snitching to internal affairs, he must do some investigating of his own to defend himself. The poorly managed supporting cast includes Hugh Laurie as the sneaky head of IA and Jay Mohr as a sergeant in a porn mustache. Cedric the Entertainer gets a couple of amusing moments, playing against type as a drug dealer. Rated: R for strong violence and pervasive language. Rating: 1½ out of 4 stars.

– By Christy Lemire, AP movie critic



“The Visitor” – Writer-director Tom McCarthy presents Richard Jenkins in a rare starring role that’s a perfect fit for the veteran character actor’s mix of surface composure and inner agitation. Once you’ve seen Jenkins inhabit the sad, compassionate, lonesome yet longing academic at the center of the story, it’s impossible to imagine McCarthy making the film without him. Jenkins stars as a widowed economics professor living an utterly empty life until he encounters a Syrian immigrant (Haaz Sleiman) and his Senegalese girlfriend (Danai Gurira) living in the little-used apartment he keeps in New York City. An odd bond forms among them and eventually the Syrian’s mother (Hiam Abbass), enriching the lives of each even as they are pulled apart by circumstance. The story gets heavy-handed in its indictment of the cold, impersonal bureaucracy behind U.S. immigration policy, but McCarthy thankfully avoids preaching too much, keeping the focus on his rich, full-bodied characters. PG-13 for brief strong language. 106 min. Three stars out of four.

– David Germain, AP Movie Writer


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