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"Jupiter Ascending" never raises to the occasion

Posted by jargononline on February 15, 2015 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

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If there is one thing that can be said about the Wachowskis it’s that they have no shortage of uniqueness in any of their work. In most regards that’s a wonderful thing. “The Matrix” reinvented sci-fi for the new generation and “Cloud Atlas” is a beautiful beast all it’s own.

 

But then you get to films like “Speed Racer” and now “Jupiter Ascending” that are brimming with so much said originality that it bursts out of the seams and into the realm of so unbelievably weird that even if there was a coherent story you’d have no way of deciphering it.

 

Jumping between Earth and Jupiter, “Ascending” is the tale of a plain, dull girl aptly named Jupiter (Mila Kunis) who is thrust into a world of space hotties (and weirdies), gravity boots, space lizards and Sean Bean. Now who wouldn’t want to see that movie? I couldn’t imagine anyone raising their hands until they realize that it plays out more like a story of political deception fueled by soap opera tendencies and pacing. And there go the hands.

 

Now a story of good vs. evil set in operatic style may sound like “Star Wars,” but it ends up being more like “Phantom Menace” than “Empire Strikes Back.” Way too long, more boring than exciting and with actors performing at a fraction of the level they could with three-dimensional characters. At least “Phantom” had dual lightsabers.

 

There is not a single memorable action scene in the lot and if you can recall one I bet you $100 you can’t describe what was going on. This film was pushed back seven months to work on the effects and I can honestly say it was all wholly unnecessary.

 

The Wachowskis put far too much detail into all the ships and scenery. There is so much clutter that when characters are spinning around and firing lasers in circles, you can’t discern who is who or where they are.

 

One scene involves our hero Caine (Channing Tatum) and Sean Bean fighting a horde of space drones, and the whole thing seems to be done in close-up as everything explodes while they navigate a pile of rubble. Now imagine how mind numbing that could be and double it. It’s like having someone spin you around for an hour and then shoving you in a dumpster.

 

Kunis and Tatum have done far better work and seem to be here simply to say they were in a possible franchise (don’t get your hopes up). Even when Kunis finds out what’s going on she approaches it with a “Well, okay” sense of calm. Tatum as a half-man, half-wolf legionnaire mopes around until he starts skating on his gravity boots. Then he looks constipated.

 

But I would take all of the above had they cut out the pointless sense aspect of political “intrigue” between the creepy space family fighting for control of whatever it is they want. Even with the fantastic Eddie Redmayne hamming it up for the screen I couldn’t care in the slightest for what they were talking about. All of the fancy dinners and elegant sitting can’t add up to the “Game of Thrones” style they were obviously going for.

 

This results in two full conclusions and climaxes one after the other and a movie that should have been 20-plus minutes shorter. But there were some glimmers in the 3D and the visuals when they are given space to flourish and though Redmayne may get some flack his screen eating is more than welcome against “Twilight”-esque acting. But a movie where half-wolf Tatum fights a giant, winged lizard should’ve been more fun and less blatant oddness mixed with political realism—especially for something aimed at 15-year-olds.


C-

 

 


"Project Almanac" is a failed experiment

Posted by jargononline on February 15, 2015 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

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When you discover the movie you’re watching is a product of MTV, the harbinger of ceaseless brand recognition and over-played pop-rock hits, you really have no choice but to pray to all the gods of Olympus you make it out intact.

 

But I didn’t make it out intact. I came out truly hating found footage for the first time, with what microscopic respect I had for producer Michael Bay officially morphing into full blown contempt.

 

“Project Almanac” is nothing but a lame-ass attempt to make a found footage movie for teens at a time of year when they have nothing better to do. The result is a dumber-than-you-thought-going-in story, shameless promotion of everything “cool kids” are hip to, and plugs for whatever music they are getting paid to play endlessly.

 

Focusing on a genius high-school senior who finds his father’s attempt at a time machine, “Almanac” tries to be high-concept teen fare, but just becomes regular ol’ been-there-done-that. There are his two equally smart friends who are made to seem lesser because they are hornier; his sister who does nothing but wear tank-tops and look hot (P.T. Anderson has one shots as his staple, Bay has this); and the girl who is too hot for him but is not just hot but is really complex and deep because she says “what do you mean girls like me?”

 

Basically, if you’ve seen one throwaway teen movie, then you have seen this movie. Once the time machine is made, by hooking it up to what appears to be nothing but car batteries (as you do when making such a device), they do nothing but win the lottery, go back and re-do tests and go to Lollapalooza. So in short, they try to prove how rad indeed it would be to have a time machine in high school. Forget any of that in-depth stuff. Use it to get laid!

 

But then when our lead takes it too far to get laid, too many things go wrong. How do things go wrong? Because he went back in time! What did he do to mess things up? Who cares? Time travel!

 

Then he keeps going back in time to fix the mistake, only to come back and see he’s messed up something else. He goes back and forth until you realize this is the entire climax until he decides to go back and destroy the machine so “none of this ever happens!” Conclude with a head-slapping ending meant to blow the minds of 12-year-olds and there’s your movie. All the while, it’s being filmed with an “old” camera that just so happens to have the quality of a $10,000 one with perfect focus and technology.

 

Here is a movie aimed at the MTV audience but insults them by assuming all they wanna see are awesome parties they wish they could see, endless supplies of money and the geek getting the girl—all happening to people just like them.

 

Forget the movie doesn’t attempt to honor their intelligence (if that’s what we’re calling it at that age) with a rich story and good performances.

 

The people who made this think teens are dumb enough to not notice when they are being peddled Red Bull, Imagine Dragons and GoPro cameras. Instead they have their actors over-act and respond to things with either “no way!” or “holy s***!” Ah MTV, you really are hip the young people, aren’t you?


D+

"Selma" a towering tribute to MLK

Posted by jargononline on February 14, 2015 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (0)

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Martin Luther King Jr. was such a magnificent figure that for years how to approach making a movie focusing directly on his efforts would be ridiculed if not perfect down to the last detail. But, my friends, that movie exists in “Selma”, a movie so filled with passion that it oozes out of every scene with either a fiery spirit or a refined grace thanks to fearless direction by Ava DuVernay and a spellbinding performance from David Oyelowo.

 

 

Focusing on the events that led up to the Voting Rights Act, which guaranteed that African Americans could register to vote without interference or prejudice, “Selma” tells a story some may not know that much about versus the famed March on Washington most associate with King.

 

 

But this is the story that needs to be told. Voting laws and regulations are all over the place today, some states going as far as to deny those without “proper identification” from voting. Not to get political, but what is depicted in “Selma” and in the history books can’t help but cause one to look at the state of things now—as a good historical bio-pic should do.

 

 

DuVernay should be showered with praise for her work here proving women can be as of aggressive of filmmakers as any man. She never allows for the film to step out of the harsh and often haunting light that these events were cast in. The violence is heart-wrenching and brutal as non-violent activists are beaten to a pulp in the city streets of Selma, Alabama.

 

 

A certain bridge scene is equally— if not more so than — as effective as any dark thriller at conveying absolute terror. The bridge is cloaked in smoke as police bash men and women while protestors run for their lives. The sounds alone are enough to coil the whole body—but it’s all necessary.

 

 

And on the other end is anger and love in the form of Oyelowo’s brilliant portrayal of King. Perfectly embodying King’s demeanor and his articulate Southern drawl, with a hint of a deep rumble, he brings King to live with startling realism. If you were to close your eyes you would say “Hey, who has the MLK video on?” He’s that good.

 

 

He is at his best during the many speeches he gives to the somber public. King is most notorious for his manner of speaking. Oyelowo exhibits his combination of call-to-action rage and unmatched wisdom with confidence and poise, making each sentence as gripping as King himself could’ve made them. You wanna rush off to Selma and say “Where’s all the action at?” after hearing him speak.

 

 

I can’t imagine a movie like this more passionate and full of inspiration. There is nothing half-assed or dishonest about it. It’s grim, sobering, intense, electrifying and full of love for its subject and what he stood for.

 

 

I can’t help but believe that while making the movie everyone involved was thinking about where we are at now in terms of race relations. I’m not going to get political but if the movie will do anything it will cause the audience to think about how far we’ve really come. My answer is not far. Sure we may not be galloping towards people on horses with Billy-clubs, but choking them out on the street for nothing isn’t that much different.

 

 

In the end, the important realization about this movie is this: Last Monday we took a day to commemorate the spirit of the magnificent Martin Luther King Jr. The gravity of his work and efforts has created in him an iconic figure that will stand long after we have gone. Now through the beauty of film his actions and struggles have been realized for a new generation who could not even begin to imagine the era which King tried so desperately—and even succeeded— to change. “Selma” sheds light on the man himself and the fact that work he did, though glorious and unforgettable, is nowhere near done. Celluloid for the win!

 

 


A

 

"American Sniper" shot dead

Posted by jargononline on February 2, 2015 at 11:05 PM Comments comments (0)

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“American Sniper” is probably one of the most Americana movies made in recent memory. Sadly, that is not a good thing. Cold, one-dimensional and completely misses the opportunity to showcase something more complex in favor of blunt storytelling. It’s not that I don’t love my country; I would just prefer we don’t make movies that praise subjects and their actions as acts of patriotism when it’s really sociopathic behavior.


Now I’m not gonna go into some political rant about Iraq and the military and blah, blah. Not only would that be pointless, but it would also make this piece overlong and dry—much like the movie itself. No, I will critique this movie as a movie and then take it from there. So let’s get started.


As a film, “American Sniper” is continuing evidence that Clint Eastwood has lost any spark or versatility he once had and is now settling for meandering material and executing with simplistic style. The movie plays like a dull drive through a down-home American town: There is persistent feeling of sadness, every person thinks the same, and you swear you’ve past that same drug store a thousand times but soon you realize it’s just that everything in this town looks exactly alike. People in the Midwest and Texas will feel right at home.


Even with the most advanced scope on the market it would impossible to find any resemblance of charm or grace in any scene. Eastwood rushes through scenes as if—given his old age—he wanted to finish them so he could yet again run to the bathroom. No time is taken to make anything intense or create any atmosphere, and even when the killing is done, there is little padding so we can see if each kill took a little something away from the title character, Navy sniper Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper); its bang, bang and on to the next scene of soldierly banter, home where he and his wife have one-dimensional conversations, and then back to killing. Lather, rinse, repeat.


Not that this movie seems to understand the psychology of its lead, though, as the range of emotions they allow him to between either angry or happy. For instance we know how “passionate” about his job he is because on two whole occasions he is exposed to violence on TV and just looked so darn-tootin’ mad. So obviously he was born to be an American hero because he was appropriately flustered by the media. And, of course, he is from Texas where clearly only true Americans are born.


Cooper is fine in the role of Kyle, but I know he can be phenomenal with the right material and this is not it. Being from Wyoming I have had the pleasure (wait, that’s not the right word. Give me a minute I’ll try to figure it out) of being exposed to about a bazillion Chris Kyle’s. There are simple ranch folk who like beer, girls and horse poo. Nothing is wrong in that lifestyle and embracing a simple, pro-American anti-everyone else persona, but that doesn’t make them interesting people. And much like them I could only listen to Cooper talk in his Texan drawl before I could feel the brain cells evacuating at mass while I became more and more curious about the music of Toby Keith. These movies should come with release forms.


Most of this, especially the blandness that is Kyle, would’ve been acceptable had it not been for the utter disregard for the real questions this movie skims over like a redneck at a bookstore looking for Tom Clancy: What does this lifestyle do to a man’s psyche and is it all justified for the defense of freedom. By minute 30 the movie’s answer is “Who cares?” and “America!”


Kyle is treated like an American hero for killing 250 men overseas (160 confirmed), even though in his book he is quoted with saying it was “fun” and that he wished he “could’ve killed more”. That is trademark of a sociopath, which would’ve made for a great psychological drama, working as a companion piece to “The Hurt Locker”. But no, Eastwood and adapter Jason Hall have no time for such questions, not while there’s an American soldier that needs praising. Not to mock soldiers, whom I have immense respect for; I just want them to get the fair treatment they deserve by people seeing an unabashed account of what being in a warzone can do to you. There are many great movies that illustrate that point, and “American Sniper” is not one of them.


One scene that particularly made my blood boil and gave me the impression of where this movie stood is when Kyle and his team are dining in the home of an Iraqi family. They are having a nice time until Kyle expects something evil in the head of this household. He goes to inspect the house and finds storage of guns. Raise the alarm! This man must be stopped by this hero! In short, you can’t trust brown people. Awful I know, and I’m sure you could find more guns in the homes of “good Americans”.


Now it’s not all bad. Eastwood still knows how to set up some tense scenes and Cooper does a good job with what he’s given. It’s just I just have no time for a movie like this. It’s slow, monotonous, unsympathetic, and caters to a very specific audience who want something very specific values portrayed in their movies: Americans are great; terrorists are bad; rock, flag and eagle. Think “The Blind Side” with guns. But on a positive note the movie did make me think. Granted about only negative feelings the movie gave me, but still, that’s worth at least something

 


C-


Blu-Ray Quickie: Frank

Posted by jargononline on January 27, 2015 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (0)

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"Frank" is full of some of the weirdest characters and moments you will ever in a recent movie. But the message behind is that it is the goals and fears of those who are considered "normal" that will destroy not only creativity but the soul as well. Sounds very bleak, but it is actually funny, sweet, intoxicatingly quirky and very well acted.

 

Michael Fassbender continues to prove he cannot be stopped in his oddest, funniest and most vulnerable performance he's ever given as the title character Frank, the leader of a band whose genre is indescribable and who always wears a giant paper mache head. He seems totally crazy but movies like this always make the case that those he seem the most looney are in fact the sanest of the bunch.

 

That dynamic switches as we watch the other central character, Jon (Domhall Gleeson), try to push his agenda on the group and ends up bringing it all down in a quest for fame and fortune. A terrible songwriter brought into their odd, unique band he is focused on his own plans than making "great" music and forgets the whole purpose of the process: freedom.

 

There are also great performances by Maggie Gyllenhaal and Scoot McNairy as other band members who have their own quirks but are truly tragic underneath. But it's not all gloom. It is consistently funny and embraces its true sense of odd, mostly thanks to Frank himself. You have to expect that much from a guy who always wears a fake head, even when eating and showering.


"Imitation Game" a timely and tremendous tale

Posted by jargononline on January 26, 2015 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)

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Just like any good piece of historical cinema, “The Imitation Game’s” noblest feat is what it teaches us about how we should act in the present. And that is that although people may act different it doesn’t mean they can’t do great things. Genius should always be treated with admiration and given all the room to soar.

“It’s the people who no one imagines anything of who can do the things no one imagined.” That is a quote straight from the movie and speaks to the man it is about: Alan Turing. He was by all accounts a genius like Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking. What he did during World War II saved millions of lives and future generations from Nazi rule. Later on his working would stand as a prelude to modern day computers, something that has no doubt changed the world as we know it. Through all of this he was able to overcome adversity just for being a little odd, some would say arrogant and cruel, but ultimately he was just different.

And yet he committed suicide at the age of 41 because he was forced to undergo chemical castration after being charged with indecency for being a homosexual. A tragic end to a magical mind all because, even after proving his worth, people never could understand him or others like him. Sound familiar?

“Game” seeks to address the issue that for some reason will never be solved: No matter whom the person is people never seem to get past the little things that make them different from themselves. The movie proves that it is what is inside that makes us all capable of great things, and that sexual orientation or even an awkward personality, hardly make the measure of a man.

The movie does so with warmth that may on one occasion cross the line into sappy waters (look for the ever persistent “nod of approval” from character to another) but proves rewarding with help from a witty script and a bravo performance by Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing. He reminded of Colin Firths brilliant portrayal in “Kings Speech”. It’s one that rings with genius and wit to mask the utter pain and isolation beneath watered eyes. As he is explaining his story to the police who arrested him you see the suffering anyone like him who have had to explain themselves just because they are different. It is a process just as tragic as the unfortunate death of Turing himself.

Not only did he prove himself a genius far beyond his years but the movie also shows the beauty in the coming together of opposite sides to do what is right. On one side is the awkward Turing and on the other are all his co-workers who at first despised him and his methods, preferring work done by men other than machine. But in the end, as these movies do, they come together and put aside their differences to save the day and embrace each other for who they are. Sound like something that should be done in a certain capital of American politics?

Kiera Knightley is also tremendous as the female of the group, Joan Clark, who helped and found a commonality in Turing as being a woman meant she was under the same scrutiny. The two make for perfectly charming leads without the sappy romance. They are kindred spirits who bottle up their insecurities for the common good. And after a certain point you realize maybe being funny is a good defense mechanism.

Unlike the white-washed “American Sniper”, “The Imitation Game” is the movie America needs. Poignant, effortlessly witty and with a timely message that is needed now more than ever; I’m sure I could tell you what that is, but that would take all the fun away from you, wouldn’t it?


A

 

 


Has Serkis' character in Age of Ultron been confirmed?

Posted by jargononline on January 23, 2015 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (0)

After months of scratching heads and suffering from uncontrollable wobbly-knee syndrome, the moustache-less, bearded face dawned by Andy Serkis in the “Avengers: Age of Ultron” trailer has reportedly been confirmed as Ulysses Klaw.

No comment yet by Serkis’ people yet, but the uncanny resemblance to the character in the comic books and the attachment to said character to the Black Panther (his own movie due 2017) make this rumor seem pretty sound. Plus, why wouldn’t you want Serkis in your movie?

The news comes from Schmoes Know who claims it comes from a reliable source at Marvel. Many a nerd have been speculating on this rumor since the trailer’s drop in November, and Serkis being Klaw has always been the go-to answer. That being the case there doesn’t seem to be a reason to lie, seeing as how that would just be late speculation to a long-running party.

If the rumor is false Marvel will most likely jump on it pretty quick, hopefully providing the right answer. The movie comes out in about four months so there’s little reason to keep hiding details. Just give up the goods, Marvel!

 

 


The Wedding Ringer divorces itself from comedy

Posted by jargononline on January 22, 2015 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

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There is nothing wrong with a little suspension of disbelief. Not every little detail needs to be perfect or even thought about. But rarely does a movie like “The Wedding Ringer” come around that mistreats human logic so much that it feels like the movie screened is being absorbed by your sucked out brain cells. In short this is a very stupid movie, which would’ve been okay if it were even the slightest bit funny. But, in shorter, it’s not.

Kevin Hart is at it again proving the only way for him to be funny is if he talks really fast and yells and people. It can work when he tells stories in his stand-up routines, but in his it’s just unbelievable all his characters are the exact same people. Here is plays Jimmy, a guy who offers to be the best man at other guys weddings for money, and his new client is fat loser Doug played by Josh Gad. We know he is a fat loser because the very first scene is him calling old friends asking to be his best man. They all say no, hence him being a loser. Then he sits on his glass desk and it shatters, hence being fat. Through the process of deductive reasoning we can conclude, henceforth, he is in fact a fat loser.

These two guys pal around trying to pull off a Golden Tux, a premium service package that requires Jimmy to hire six groomsmen—something which has never been done before (dun dun dun). They make this point very clear through many loud conversations, but Jimmy seems to pull of almost effortlessly. All he has to do is get his weird, perverted, rapist co-workers “back in the game”. And yes, one of them is actually a rapist, a hilarious character detail made subject of many riotous jokes. That, my friends, was a joke.

Then it’s nothing but party montages, hot girls, and crass blunt “humor”. Now there’s nothing wrong with any kind of joke as long as it’s tasteful, but here they settle for plain of vile. Whenever they use a “fag”, “pussy” or “fuck” it never comes attached to a joke. Characters throw them out as flat insults that are flat-out cruel. But they want you to laugh because, hey, that’s an adult word they used. Basically it’s funny if you’re twelve. On top of that there are plenty of over-the-top physical gag, like when poor ol’ Cloris Leachmann is engulfed in flames to get a few laughs. But see it’s okay because in the next scene she only has “minor” burns after she was engulfed in flames for several minutes. See this is where the whole logic thing comes into play.

Forget the lazy sight-gags and dull use of potty mouth, it’s the fact that the movie in all of its major plot points makes zero sense. For one, Jimmy plays the best friend of these schlubs who hire him and no one asks any questions. Some would be like, “Why have I not seen this man before?” and, “Why have I not seen him sense?” These are all questions any sane person would ask when meeting someone who was supposedly their fiancée’s best friend. Even the parents don’t say anything. Wouldn’t they remember a sleep over or two?

Then as a terrible addition to this awful sundae is the worn “this girl doesn’t really love me, I should be with this one instead” storyline. It comes out of nowhere because it seems that until Doug happens to see another skinner, prettier, blonder girl his fiancée (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting) seems nothing but pleasant. Sure she may not wanna have sex with him 24/7 and she may be too into what salad dressing to pick, but she seems loving. But the Doug spends one, conversation-less night with who appears to be a prostitute and immediately falls madly in love because, well, of all the reasons I just said. And we are supposed to buy all of this because, as many of these movies like to point out, there is always room for men to upgrade their women. Ah, what a stand-up guy.

I won’t grade this too harshly because it’s a comedy and there is no greater a subjective genre. It works differently for everyone. I just so happened to hate this unfunny, half-assed attempt to make Kevin Hart a star. He can do better and frankly so can everyone involved with this mess. Oh well, I guess that’s why it came out in January.

 

 


D

Writer-director Steven Knight promises fresh take on "World War Z" sequel

Posted by jargononline on January 20, 2015 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)

After an impressive indie venture with “Locke” and a Netflix hit in “Peaky Blinders” someone is finally giving writer-director Steven Knight a shot at the big time in the form of the “World War Z” sequel. The trend makes sense: Hardy, Irish gangsters and then zombies. Hey, everyone has to do it.

However, the great news is not that Knight will be helming the sequel to smash-hit, but how he is going to do it. In an interview with the great Anne Thompson at Indiewire, Knight mentioned how he will wipe the slate clean and start fresh, most likely with a whole new story.

Here is what he said:

"I thought, 'why not? What fun.' It’s not quite like the other, we're starting with clean slate. When they've signed off we're on."

It’s not a whole lot to go on, especially how the script probably isn’t even written yet, but it’s an exciting tidbit. Knight is a truly great writer and I’m sure what he has planned will be stupendous. “Locke” was one of the unsung greats of last year and what I’ve heard about “Blinders” is nothing short of excellent.

No telling if Brad Pitt will still be acting in film, but his Plan B productions will still be producing. I’m still cool with this as his producing credits are almost as good as his acting ones, and this includes the Best Picture-winning “12 Years A Slave”.

The rest of the interview covers his show, “Locke” and his writing schedule. Not a tremendous amount on the zombie sequel, but a fine article nonetheless. Click the hyperlink above to read it all. Or just trust everything I’ve said on your own. I’m cool with either.

 

 



"Whiplash" will make your head spin, with awesomeness

Posted by jargononline on January 19, 2015 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

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I wish I was good enough at anything as some people are at playing musicians. I mean, I’m great at being lazy and I can make a killer Risotto, but nowhere as good as the lead character in “Whiplash” is at jazz drumming. However, with skill comes a teacher, and at the center of this tale is a monstrous villain of a mentor bringing full circle an intense and often electrifying tale about the psychology of success.

Right from the get-go this movie has been perfectly advertised. The trailers immaculately gave the impression this is not some “fight for your dreams” sentimental dribble. No, this movie was going to (and does) focus on the often barbarous mental anguish that can come with trying to achieve perfection. If I may alter the fine words of Samuel L. Jackson from “1408”; “This is one evil fucking movie.”

A proper statement that is, because the film operates much like a horror movie. You can see the fear in the eyes of the students of this sadistic monster of a teacher (J.K. Simmons). They never make eye contact, and that’s how he likes it.

There is even plenty of gore. Andrew (Miles Teller in a star-making role) literally plays the skin off his fingers. Desperately trying to win the praise of his teacher and become a child prodigy he plays so hard the skin comes off his finger in chunks. He then applies a bandage, and plays on. A scene where he breaks up with his girlfriend reminded me of a reverse Mark Zuckerberg from “The Social Network”. He is obviously a genius at what he does, but he alienates everyone so he can become the best, whereas Zuckerberg did everything to be popular. I read Teller played drums as a younger lad, but I discovered that he trained hours a day to make it all seem real. Yes, even though the drumming is mostly mimed, and I’m the close-ups of hands are of an actual drummer, none of that matters. The music is electrifying and Teller lives the part so well he makes it seem 100% authentic. Acting!

But the star of the show from the moment the movie opens in Simmons as one of the best villains of the 21st century in teacher Terence Fletcher. He is a cunning predator, a man who can manipulate with a calm and cool demeanor but is a true animal. Vicious in his treatment of his students so everything can be perfect leads to racist slurs, image bashing and flat-out hucking of inanimate objects as they are playing. Simmons seems like the sweetest man on earth in other roles, but here he is the villain you can’t see enough of. It would be easy to say you wouldn’t take that kind of treatment from an audiences perspective, but I had to admit if I was in Andrew’s shoes I would work my fingers bloody too. There is something colossal about his evil presence that is undeniably enticing, and Simmons sells it all at second one. Double acting!

This battle of minds and music leads up to possibly one of the best final moments of any movie in 2014, if not the last few years. The war between two men of conflicting egos explodes when after Fletcher attempts one last time to bury his student, Andrew delivers one last fuck you to his teacher in front of everyone with an epic drum solo, which even Fletcher can’t deny is the best he’s ever seen.

In short, nothing can really prepare you for “Whiplash”. It’s as unpredictable as the musicians are talented and Fletcher is sinister. Few movies have ever captured the youth’s internal mental struggle of accomplishing their dreams, often having to see them crushed. But by the end there is something truly inspiring in his defiance that will keep the future writers writing, painters painting and actors paying for plastic surgery. At the very least watch it for Teller and Simmons, two actors from opposite generations at the top of their game and who couldn’t have been better matched. Jon Lovitz would be proud.

 


A+



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