Sunday, January 26, 2014

Whiplash (2014)

Director: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Damien Chazelle

Composer: Justin Hurwitz

Starring: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist, Austin Stwoell, Jayson Blair, Kavita Patil, Michael D. Cohen, Kofi Sirboe, Tarik Lowe, Tian Wang, Dakota Lupo, Keenan Henson, Marcus Henderson, C.J. Vana, Adrian Burks, Calvin C. Winbush, Rogelio Douglas Jr., Charlie Ian, Jesse Mitchell

More info: IMDb

Plot: Andrew, a promising 19-year-old drummer at a cutthroat Manhattan music conservatory, has little interest in being just a musician. Haunted by his father’s failed writing career and plagued with the fear that mediocrity just might be genetic, Andrew dreams of greatness. Determined not to follow in his father’s footsteps, he practices daily until his hands literally bleed. The pressure of success ratchets into high gear when he is picked to join the school band led by the infamous Terence Fletcher, a brutally savage music instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential. Under Fletcher’s ruthless direction, Andrew begins to pursue perfection at any cost—even his humanity.

My rating: 10/10

Will I watch it again? Yes!!!

Sundance Film Festival 2014

HOLY FUCKING COW!!!  This was the last film I saw at the festival and it was shown at Eccles, the best theater in the film festival.  I read the synopsis on the flight over and it didn't intrigue me even though I'm a jazz musician.  It's been getting a ton of positive buzz and, after winning the audience award and Grand Jury award for best picture, AND at the severe urging of my friend and reason why I'm even here, I gave it a shot.  Blown.  Away.  This is one hell of a movie.  It's like a psychological jazz musician thriller but it's not a traditional thriller.  This is some good shit.  This Miles Teller kid is fantastic and totally believable in the role.  J.K. Simmons, I knew he was good but god damn is he nothing short of balls-out amazing in this picture.  I'm really blown away at the performances, the severe head games played by Fletcher (Simmons) and the role music plays in this picture.  The finale is insanely moving and fantastic.  You know, one of those 'punch the air' kind of endings.  I will be stunned if neither of these men are nominated for Oscars next year.  I'm so glad I got to see this and I'm really pleased that it was my last film here.  It's a great way to end a great week of films.  For as good as every film was I saw, this one deserves my 10/10.  It's the 'must see' picture of the 'must sees' this year.

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