oscars 2015

FILM REVIEW: WHIPLASH

‘Whiplash’download (4)

Written by: Damien Chazelle

Directed by: Damien Chazelle

Starring: Miles Teller, JK Simmons

Story: A young drummer struggles with the ’make or break’ coaching style of his mentor who will stop at nothing to help him realize his true potential.

Writer and Director Damien Chazelle struggled to get funding to make ‘Whiplash’. Despite his efforts, he just could not afford to get it made. Instead of being discouraged, he turned Whiplash into a short film and submitted it to the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Short Film Jury Prize. On the coattails of this success, Chazelle generated enough money to turn Whiplash into a feature length masterpiece. Whiplash is now one of the lowest grossing films in history to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. JK Simmons is hot tipped to take home ‘Best Supporting Actor’. The film is speeding towards a 9 star rating on IMDB.com and boasts a 96% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

All of this begs the question: Is Whiplash worth the hype? And can it be enjoyed by anyone, or is the audience very select?

The truth of the matter is that Whiplash is potentially one of the most intense, emotional, well made, and universally enjoyable films of the last ten years. Even if we keep saying this and driving it home, you will probably still be surprised by how it touches you and exceeds your expectations. 

Whiplash is a film with two main characters: everyone else is really contextual padding. Teller comes into his own and plays an incredibly childish character with maturity we have not seen from him before. His character is stunted and one track minded Whiplashand compliments Simmons character perfectly. Simmons is the driving force of the film: turning a boy into a man, and challenging him, incentivizing him, and degrading him towards success for the 1hr 45 minute running time. We have not seen JK Simmons like this EVER: he takes on this leading role and owns it completely to the point where you wonder if anyone else could of ever even been considered. He is deranged, but with a purpose stronger than many other lead characters this year. The driving force of both characters are clear, but not too clear, and their evolving relationship makes one thing very clear: true artistry, drive and passion are all worthy of respect.

One thing that really stands out in Whiplash is the editing which is *almost* drool worthy. We do have a few moments where the soundtrack is off key with what we see on the screen, but as we can imagine the drumming is done with such ferocity it would be near impossible to match up. Cuts and slides only add to the intensity of the viewing experience: we dare you to sit still! 

It is almost criminal that more people have not seen Whiplash: it made a paltry $135k on opening weekend. However, there is no mistaking that this is truly the start of something for Damien Chazelle and a lesson to all of us: do not get discouraged.

Rating: 9.5/10

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OSCAR PREDICTIONS: BEST DIRECTOR & BEST PICTURE

Best Director:

download (2)Nominees:

Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman)

Richard Linklater (Boyhood)

Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game)

Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)


The Films:
The difficult thing about the Academy is that they do not split genres into Comedy/Musical and Drama. This means that we have to take and analyze many films from different genres and different styles of  directorial effort.It is difficult to put a film like The Grand Budapest Hotel right next to Boyhood or Foxcatcher, and ask which Director did their job to better effect. The reality is, though, that Richard Linklater embarked on a 12 year journey to create one of the most authentic films we have seen, and that gives him a standout advantage. Having said this, Birdman has been gradually gaining steam, with nothing but praise being heaped upon Alejandro G Iñárritu. It seems that the other three nominees will unfortunately be left behind which seems a shame. Foxcatcher was a labor of love for Bennett Miller, and one he has been trying to pull together for almost as long as Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’. Wes Anderson finally gained critical reception with Grand Budapest, although this caused him to lose many of his loyal followers. 

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Who Should Win?
Richard Linklater. It’s close to call between him and Iñárritu, but Linklater’s long term dedication should see him snatch it. Perhaps them most impressive part of Birdman is the cinematography which should still be recognized. 


Who Will Win:
 
Richard Linklater. And it is about time, too!

 

SNUBS: Christopher Nolan (Interstellar), Ava DuVernay (Selma), Jean-Marc Vallee (Wild)

Best Picture:

The Nominees:

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Birdman

The Grand Budapest Hotel

American Sniper

Whiplash

The Imitation Game

Selma

The Theory of Everything

The Films: Possibly the most underwhelming batch of ‘Best Picture’ nominees we have seen in a while. The Academy really didn’t feel like taking any risks this year. All of the films have been received well both by the public and critics, and have received awards consistently throughout 2014-2015. Having said this, it really is a two movie race this year. Despite previous wins, Grand Budapest Hotel likely won’t win any of the big five awards this year, nor will Selma or The Imitation Game. Theory of Everything will succeed in the Acting category but nothing else. Whiplash is probably one of the most deserving films, but is also historically one of the lowest grossing to ever be nominated for Best Picture, which slims down it’s chances of success. Really, the only films that are going to be successful enough in majority of categories to justify a ‘Best Picture’ win are Birdman and Boyhood. And between these two it is a super tight race.

Who Should Win? The ‘Best Picture’ winner is not always the film that is universallyAMERICAN-SNIPER-4-1940x812 enjoyed. Think back to last year’s winner ’12 Years A Slave’ – how many of you actually enjoyed the experience of watching it?! Many have felt the same about Birdman, which put it as a bit of a frontrunner, particularly because of it’s spread of nominations in other categories. Having said this, Boyhood still carries a lot of weight and is a true feat of cinema. We’re going with Boyhood on this one as the more deserving recipient.

Who Will Win: Birdman. Yep, we’re calling this one. Birdman has been gaining so much momentum lately it seems unstoppable. We wouldn’t be surprised if Boyhood can hold on, but at the moment it seems it is being edged out. 


SNUBS: Interstellar, Wild, Nightcrawler, Foxcatcher.

OSCARS 2015: THE NOMINEES…

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And the nominees are…

Best Picture:

American Sniper

Birdman

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Selma

Whiplash

The Theory of Everything

Best Director:

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) – Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Boyhood – Richard Linklater

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson

The Imitation Game – Morten Tyldum

Foxcatcher – Bennett Miller

Best Actor In A Leading Role:

Steve Carell

Bradley Cooper

Benedict Cumberbatch

Michael Keaton

Eddie Redmayne

Best Actor In A Supporting Role:

Robert Duvall

Ethan Hawke

Edward Norton

Mark Ruffalo

JK Simmons

Best Actress In A Lead Role:

Felicity Jones

Julianne Moore

Rosamund Pike

Reese Witherspoon

Marion Cotillard

Best Actress In A Supporting Role:

Patricia Arquette

Keira Knightley

Emma Stone

Meryl Streep

Laura Dern

Best Animated Feature:

– Big Hero 6

– The Box Trolls

– How To Train Your Dragon 2

– Songs Of The Sea

– Tales Of Princess Kaguya

Best Animated Short Film:

The Bigger Picture

The Dam Keeper

Feast

Me and My Moulton

A Single Life

Best Cinematography:

Birdman

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Ida

Mr Turner

Unbroken

Best Costume Design:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Inherent Vice

Into the Woods

Maleficent

Mr. Turner

Best Documentary Feature:

Citizen Four

Finding Vivian Maier

Last Days In Vietnam

Salt Of The Earth

Virgunga

Best Documentary Short Subject:

Crisis Hotline 1: Veterans Press

Joanna

Our Curse

The Reaper

White Earth

Best Film Editing:

American Sniper

Boyhood

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Whiplash

Best Foreign Language Film:

Ida – Poland

Leviathan – Russia

Tangerines – Estonia

Timbuktu – Mauritania

Wild Tales – Argentina

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:

Foxcatcher

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Original Score:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Interstellar

Mr. Turner

The Theory of Everything

Best Original Song:

Everything Is Awesome – The Lego Movie

Glory – Selma

Grateful – Beyond The Lights

I’m Not Gonna Miss You – Glenn Campbell, I’ll Be Me

Lost Stars – Begin Again

Best Production Design:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Interstellar

Into the Woods

Mr. Turner

Best Sound Editing:

American Sniper

Birdman

The Hobbit: Battle Of Five Armies

Interstellar

Unbroken

Best Sound Mixing:

American Sniper

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Interstellar

Unbroken

Whiplash

Best Visual Effects:

Interstellar

Captain America Winter Soldier

X Men Days Of Future Past

Interstellar

Guardians Of The Galaxy

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Inherent Vice

Imitation Game

Whiplash

Theory Of Everything

American Sniper

Best Original Screenplay:

Birdman

Boyhood

Foxcatcher

The Grand Budapest Hotel

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NOTEABLE SNUBS: Unbroken (Best Director), Interstellar (Best Director), Gone Girl (Best Adapted Screenplay), Nightcrawler (Best Actor), Cake (Best Actress)