Won’t Back Down

(PG) ★★☆☆☆

In this hyperbolic statement on the dismal state of public education in this country, Maggie Gyllenhaal plays a single mother who takes more than a passing interest in her daughter’s flailing education. Nona (Viola Davis) plays a teacher at her school, who is coping with a divorce and her own son’s learning challenges. It isn’t a badly made film, and it makes some vaguely salient points about education, but most of the film is overplayed and misses the mark. Once a movie sinks to that kind of hyperbole, not even Davis can salvage it.

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By Michael Phillips, Tribune Media Services

Writer-director David Ayer has described his new film End of Watch as akin to “watching YouTube—where something in your mind tells you this is real.” This film is like YouTube meets Training Day in a lot of ways.” (Ayer wrote Training Day, which won Denzel Washington an Oscar for his role as a dirty LAPD detective.) So: What does that YouTube comparison mean, exactly?