Whiplash

 

I love this snow! Before you begin reading, please make sure to press play on the audio above. Trust me, the soundtrack for this next film will put you in the mood (the actual sound starts at 0:16). So another movie I decided to watch was Whiplash, which won 3 Academy Awards recently. Seriously, my heart is still pounding from this one!

Whiplash centers around a promising student jazz drummer (Miles Teller) who enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor (J.K. Simmons) who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.

If you look at the poster above for Whiplash, you will see many different words that have been used to describe the film, all of which are so true. “Astounding” “Electrifiying” “Exhilerating” See, one of the things I love most about awards season, is that oftentimes it bring deserved praise and buzz to a film that might not have reached a great audience before. Whiplash, in my opinion, was fantastic.

What stands out most, besides from the great, great music involved, is the amazing performances. I am actually surprised Miles Teller did not receive more recognition for this role. He was incredible and put 100% into this role. Fun fact: he actually is a drummer and some of the blood that you see on the drum set in those intense scenes is actually his! However, the real breakout performance was J.K. Simmon’s. That man deserved every single award he won. He too put everything into this role and the result is incredible. I cannot even imagine being one of his students! His unconventional and hardcore teaching methods really make one wonder whether he is the ‘good guy’ or the ‘bad guy’. I myself am still unsure of this. The complicated and ever-changing relationship present between Andrew (Teller) and Fletcher (Simmons) produced some of the best acting performances in 2014.

Whiplash is one of the lowest-grossing movies to ever be nominated for an Academy Award, but do not be fooled. The sound, the story, the performances make it so hard to turn away. On the surface, the film may appear to be a simple student vs. teacher scenario, though there is much more. It is a film about reaching your potential but also determining your limits.

ALL IN ALL: Whiplash is an intense and thrilling film that delivers some of the best performances of the year.

image from: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51wq6VXHpRL._SY355_.jpg

Birdman

Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) Poster

So with all the snow coming down on the East Coast, these snow days have provided me the perfect opportunity to catch up on some of the most highly acclaimed films of 2014. First up on my list was Birdman, our recent Oscar Best Picture winner. Birdman was the film I was most curious about, mainly because I hardly knew anything about it. Oh buddy, this film so deserved Best Picture!

Birdman, directed by the awesome Alejandro González Iñárritu, follows a washed-up actor (Michael Keaton), famous for his role as superhero Birdman, as he attempts to salvage his family, his career, and himself in the days leading up to the opening of his Broadway play.

Probably my favorite part of Birdman, was the cinematography (which deservedly won an Oscar). Iñárritu is a genius and came up with the idea of making a film that appears to filmed in a single shot. The result is fantastic. It is unique and almost mesmerizing. The score that consists entirely of drums and classical pieces is at once iconic. The story is satirical and slick but so truthful. Have I used enough adjectives?

Michael Keaton. Oh my Michael Keaton. I cannot be one to fully judge, due to me still having not seen Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything, however I can say with great vindication that Keaton gave the best performance of the year (again, of what I have seen). HE KILLED IT! Savvy viewers will probably be quick to pick up on the parallels between him and his character Riggan, both of whom are very well-known for their past superhero roles (Batman and Birdman respectively). However, one simply forgets this when watching Keaton in this film. He battles with his ego, loses hope and regains it all in one swoop, hits rock bottom but somehow manages to fly again. The other performances were grand too most notably and surprisingly Edward Norton and Emma Stone, both of whom were very impressive.

I probably have not made much sense in this review, but then again neither does Birdman and that to me is what makes it great. It mixes fantasy with hard reality and I simply do not have very many words to describe it. I loved it and praise it wholeheartedly as a most deserving Best Picture winner.

ALL IN ALL: Birdman is a layered piece that mixes great cinematography and story into a film that is not so much a vehicle, but a showcase for the film’s many impressive performances.

image from: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2562232/

OSCARS 2015!!

This is late and I know the Oscars are probably off your mind by now, but oh well! How were the Oscars everyone? I for one was pretty satisfied with the winners. I was not a huge fan of Neil Patrick Harris though. He just was not that funny to me but you have to give the guy props because hosting the Oscars is no easy job. There were some great music performances too (“Glory” by Common and John Legend, The Sound of Music tribute by Lady Gaga).Let’s go over the winners, shall we?

THE WINNERS (check mark ✓  and x mark ✗for my predictions being right or not)

    • Best picture: Birdman ✗ Wow I was totally expecting Boyhood but I am psyched Birdman won!!
    • Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu – Birdman ✗ I was rooting for him though! He’s such a cool guy
    • Actor in a leading role: Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything ✓   I wanted Michael Keaton, but Redmayne was so excited when he won!
    • Actress in a leading role: Julianne Moore – Still Alice 
    • Actor in a supporting role: J.K. Simmons- Whiplash 
    • Actress in a supporting role: Patricia Arquette- Boyhood ✓
    • Writing (adapted screenplay): Graham Moore- The Imitation Game He had such an inspiring speech!
    • Writing (original screenplay) : Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo- Birdman ✓
    • Animated feature film: Big Hero Six ✗ (I thought How to Train Your Dragon 2)
    • Animated Short: Feast ✗
    • Foreign language film: Ida – Poland✗
    • Music (original song): “Glory” – Selma 
    • Music (original score): Alexandre Desplat – The Grand Budapest Hotel  ✗
    • Cinematography: Birdman✓ A shoe-in, the film was made to like one single shot!
    • Costume designThe Grand Budapest Hotel✓ 
    • Documentary (feature): CITIZENFOUR ✓ 
    • Film editing:  Whiplash 
    • Makeup and hairstyling: The Grand Budapest Hotel 
    • Production design:  The Grand Budapest Hotel✓
    • Visual effects: Interstellar ✓
    • Sound mixing: Whiplash
    • Sound editing:  American Sniper ✓
    • Short film (live action)L: The Phone Call 
    • Best Documentary Short: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 

So I got 16/24 = 66% like last year! Man, I got to step up my game!

Now onto the RED CARPET! I was very pleased this year with all the dresses and also the #AskHerMore campaign!

My Favorites:

  • Anna Kendrick in Thakoon (for some reason, it looked a lot brighter on my TV screen, but I still love the color)

  • Rosamund Pike in Givenchy Haute Couture

Rosamund Pike may have found herself on the worst dressed list time and time again this awards season, but the "Gone Girl" star had arguably one of the best looks of the evening when she donned an absolutely ravishing red Givenchy gown at the 87th Academy Awards on Feb. 22, 2015.

  • Oprah Winfrey in Vera Wang. She looked FAB!

Oprah Winfrey

  • Reese Witherspoon in Tom Ford (This is for Asha A, who has been in love with Reese’s looks all awards season)

Reese Witherspoon

  • Lupita Nyong’o in Calvin Klein (It looked so good it got stolen for a bit!)

Lupita Nyong’o

  • Emma Stone in Elie Saab

Emma Stone

Not-S0-Good:

  • Felicity Jones in Alexander McQueen

Felicity Jones

  • Scarlett Johansson in Versace

WORST: Scarlett Johansson in Versace

  • Julianne Moore in Chanel Haute Couture. Okay so honestly this dress was not terrible at all, just not my favorite

BEST: Julianne Moore in Chanel Haute Couture

Wait. That was it? Awards season is over?? I’m heartbroken but it was fun guys! Congrats to all the winners and nominees!

pics:

https://www.yahoo.com/style/the-best-and-worst-dressed-c1424655806625.html

http://oscar.go.com/red-carpet

 

 

Oscar Predictions 2015

People, it’s that time of year again….THE OSCARS! The show is set for tomorrow so here are Ticket Stub Love’s predictions for the big winners!

full list of nominees, click here

Best Picture: Boyhood. It’s not my favorite (check out our review), but it will most likely win

Director: Richard Linklater for Boyhood. Though, I would prefer Alejandro G. Iñárritu for Birdman 

Actor in  Leading Role: I am honestly split between Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything or Michael Keaton for Birdman. I am going to guess Redmayne because he’s been sweeping a lot of major awards, but man I really want Keaton!

Actress in a Leading Role: Julianne Moore for Still Alice (Rosamund Pike was awesome though in Gone Girl, gotta give her props)

Actor in a Supporting Role: J.K. Simmons for Whiplash 

Actress in a Supporting Role: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood

Original Screenplay: Birdman: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo

Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game: Graham Moore

Animated Feature Film: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Foreign Film: Leviathan (Russia)

Best Music (original song): “Glory” from Selma

Music (original score): The Theory of Everything: Jóhann Jóhannsson

Cinematography: Birdman: Emmanuel Lubezki

Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel: Milena Canonero

Documentary Feature:  CitizenFour

Film Editing: Boyhood: Sandra Adair

Makeup and Hair styling:  The Grand Budapest Hotel: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier

Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel: Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration)

Visual Effects: Interstellar: Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher

Sound Mixing: Whiplash: Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley

Sound Editing:  American Sniper: Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Short Film, live action: Parvaneh

Short Film, animated:  The Bigger Picture

Documentary Short: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Yay! Make sure to tune in to see the 86th Academy Awards hosted By Neil Patrick Harris on Sunday, February 22 at 8:30pm ET on ABC. Red carpet coverage will probably start at 7. HERE WE GO!!!

 

Boyhood

Boyhood is the movie this awards season that has been getting tons of buzz since its release. Now a front runner for Best Picture, Boyhood has been lauded by many critics as a “masterpiece” and “the best movie of the year”. I’m sorry but was it really? It is just that I watched Boyhood and I did not feel as strongly about it as almost every other film critic.

Directed by Richard Linklater and shot over the course of 12 years with the same cast, Boyhood follows the life of a young boy, Mason (Ellar Coltrane), from ages 5 to 18. Depicting Mason’s adolescence, the film also focuses on his divorced parents (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke) along with his sister (Lorelai Linklater).

The concept behind Boyhood is breathtaking in a way. 12 years, one boy, the audience literally gets to see him grow up before their own eyes. Yet, I have a feeling that this concept is the reason the film is sweeping the awards.

Boyhood does deserve some of the praise. It is amazing that they were able to accomplish such a unique and landmark film. The movie is like a time capsule. The only way to really distinguish the passing years other than the characters’ haircuts, was the cultural references. It was cool to hear the popular music of each year and have memories thrown at you of playing Oregon Trail in school and waiting for the Harry Potter books to be released. The film takes you back. However besides the 12 years concept and besides the nostalgia Boyhood brings, what else was there? There was no story. It merely scratched the surface of the characters, showing random and quick glimpses into their lives. By the end, the reel just kept going on and on. There was no connection or underlying point. Was that the point of the movie? That life is just a handful of memories and snapshots that bring some kind of significance but no real meaning. If so, then I missed the point of the movie.

Are film critics so caught up in the 12 year concept that they were either too astounded or afraid to badmouth any part of the movie? (Sorry for all the questions, I promise I’m done!) I was simply disappointed by the end. I found myself waiting, waiting for some kind of moment that would tie it all together. Perhaps some moment of appreciation between Mason and his mom (which by the way I feel should have been a relationship showcased more than that of him and his dad) or maybe one scene where the sister did not complain about something! I wanted to care about Mason, really connect to him and maybe I did in the beginning of his childhood but by the end, I was over him. He grew to be a moody artistic soul who simply drifted. The only character with some sort of development was Mason Sr, the father.

The acting in the film was fine and I thought Patricia Arquette gave a solid performance for her underrated character. Everything about Boyhood was pretty solid, except the story. Again, if that was the point then forgive me. However I was just unsatisfied at the end. Okay so I watched 2 1/2 hours of this boy coming of age, but somehow I feel like he did not grow at all.

ALL IN ALL: While the concept behind Boyhood is great and deserves praise, the film’s central premise and story does not deliver any satisfaction.

SAG AWARDS 2015

Yay! The Screen Actor’s Guild awards were on Sunday and we have some awesome and surprising winners!

full list of winners: click here

The highlights:

  • Outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture: Birdman, wow Boyhood better watch out
  • Outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything, Is Eddie going to win the Oscar? Man I really want Michael Keaton though!
  • Outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
  • Outstanding performance by a male actor in a supporting role: Alan Arkin, Whiplash. yup
  • Outstanding performance by a female actor in a supporting role : Patricia Arquette, Boyhood. yup
  • Outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series: Downton Abbey, wow!
  • Outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series: Orange is the New Black, wow!
  • Outstanding performance by a male actor in a drama series: Kevin Spacey, House of Cards. yup
  • Outstanding performance by a female actor in a drama series: Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder, YAS! I loved her speech
  • Outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy series: William H. Macy, Shameless, wow!
  • Outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series: Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black, YAS! I loved her speech too

Now onto the RED CARPET!

My favorites:

  • Julianne Moore in Ricardo Tisci (great color on her)

JULIANNE MOORE photo | Julianne Moore

  • Reese Witherspoon: Giorgio Armani (She’s been great all award season!)

REESE WITHERSPOON photo | Reese Witherspoon

  • Rashida Jones in Emanuel Ungaro (I don’t know, I liked it)

RASHIDA JONES photo | Rashida Jones

  • Viola Davis in Max Mara (lots of white on the red carpet!)

VIOLA DAVIS photo | Viola Davis

Not So Good

  • Jennifer Aniston in Galliano

JENNIFER ANISTON photo | Jennifer Aniston

  • Lorelei Linklater in Honor

Lorelei Linklater in Honor

That’s all for now folks! Join us next time for our Oscar predictions and all that jazz.

images from: http://www.peoplestylewatch.com/people/stylewatch/package/gallery/0,,20881791_20895795,00.html

GOLDEN GLOBES 2015

THIS IS SO LATE BUT I DON’T CARE…HERE WE GO……AWARD SEASON 2015!!!! woo

How’s everyone doing? Long time, no see! So I’m going to get right down to the point here, before this award season, I had very to little interest in the movies nominated. It definitely seemed like a lackluster award season, but now I am actually getting pretty excited. There are some pretty good movies out right now (my challenge: see all Oscar best pic nominated before the show on 2/22)!

So I Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted the show for the 3rd and last time. Overall I thought it was a pretty good show. The duo was funny but I felt like they really played those North Korea and Bill Cosby jokes to the point where it got cringe-worthy but hey Tina and Amy rock so…

Some highlights:

  • Best Motion Picture Drama: Boyhood, (yup = called it)
  • Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical: The Grand Budapest Hotel, what. Where did Wes Anderson come from, also how did this get 9 Oscar nominations??
  • Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama: Julianne Moore for Still Alice, not expecting that! Still rooting for Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl or Reese Witherspoon for Wild
  • Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama: Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything, not expecting this either but good for him!
  • Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical: Michael Keaton for Birdman, yup and I love his speech, best one of the night
  • Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical: Amy Adams for Big Eyes, yup
  • Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture: Alan Arkin for Whiplash, yup and btw Whiplash looks great!
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood, yup
  • Best TV Series Drama: The Affair, not expecting that
  • Best TV Series Comedy: Transparent, not expecting that either, all the TV winners were new winners too
  • Best Actor in a TV Series Drama: Kevin Spacey for House of Cards, yup
  • Best Actress in a TV Series Drama: Ruth Wilson for The Affair, not expecting that
  • Best Actor in a TV Series Comedy: Jeffrey Tambor for Transparent, again I was so bad at predicting the TV winners!
  • Best Actress in a TV Series Comedy: Gina Rodrguez for Jane the Virgin, yay I loved her speech too! She really deserved it!

Okay so I do not really feel like typing out the rest so check out the full list of winners here

Yes so let us finally get down to the best part….THE RED CARPET!

Here are favorites:

  • Jenna Dewan Tatum in Carolina Herrera

  • Reese Witherspoon in Calvin Klein

  • Jessica Chastain in Atelier Versace

Jessica Chastain | All The Looks On The 2015 Golden Globes Red Carpet

Honestly, there were’t too many looks that I really loved this year.

The Not-So-Good

  • Kiera Knightley in Chanel

  • Patricia Arquette in Escada

  • Lana del Rey in Travilla

That concludes our Golden Globe coverage, join us next time for the SAG awards on January 25th!

images from:

http://www.elle.com/fashion/celebrity-style/news/g14804/all-the-looks-from-the-golden-globes/?thumbnails

The Huger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1

Shoutout to Aimee J for taking me to see Mockingjay for my birthday! Here is a link to the review podcast we did together for Aimee J’s site! Okay so let’s talk. Out of all The Hunger Games books, Mockingjay was my least favorite. I am going to try super hard throughout this post to not give any spoilers whatsoever for those shameful people who have not yet read the books, but let’s just say the book was too different than the other two and much more political for my liking. I was not expecting much going in to see the movie, but I am pleasantly surprised with the result!

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1 follows Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) after she has survived the Hunger Games twice and finds herself in District 13. Becoming the symbol of the rebellion against the Capitol, she must unite the districts and save Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) from the hands of President Snow.

Overall it was a good movie. Not the best, I still like the previous films more, but it was a surprisingly well done adaptation of the novel. Kudos Francis Lawrence for making such a dislikeable book into an enjoyable movie. I was always on the edge about Mockingjay being split into two films because honestly if they were able to fit Catching Fire into one, then Mockingjay would definitely work as one too. However, it is nice to see them not have to rush or take too many scenes out. The changes that were made were fine. It was a great move to make Effie into a much more prominent character. However, I am not sure how the change in President Coin (Julianne Moore)’s character will play out because it really is much different than that in the book. Not to give anything away, but it also surprised me where the movie decided to end. You won’t be disappointed but it was interesting to see how it foreshadows Part 2.

Let’s talk about my favorite part of the movie. The Hanging Tree. Readers of the book will recognize it as a song Katniss sings in Mockingjay briefly but the movie took it to a whole ‘nother level. First of all, Jennifer Lawrence did a great job singing along with whoever laid down the track because you just get goosebumps when you start to hear the music rise and the actions in the movie being played out to the tune. It is simply haunting, beautiful, and worthy of praise. In all seriousness though, it reflects the tone of the film. Mockingjay is not at all similar to the last two films. The games are gone, and this is war. The one person who I really thought encapsulated this shift into darkness was Josh Hutcherson. What a great performance! His visible and emotional downfall is really powerful though he has substantially less screen time.

Critics of the movie: I get where you are coming from. Mockingjay Part 1 does feel like mostly rising action but it does a great job of leading into the events of Part 2. Fans of the book will be pleased overall and it is a well done adaptation. Yes, I am still not a fan of Mockingjay in the series but the film was satisfying. Also, it was a nice tribute to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman so I do recommend that you see it!

PG 13, 123 minutes

Interstellar double review

And we’re back! Fall movies are abound and the big one right now is Interstellar, directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. Interstellar tells the story of a team of space travelers who travel through a wormhole in search of new habitable planet. The movie has received mainly positive reviews but still many viewers and critics alike are split. In a segment new to Ticket Stub Love, we have brought in two viewers of the film to do a review and talk about their very different opinions!

Amanda A

“You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened… or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move on.” –Tupac

Tupac must have anticipated that Interstellar was going to come out because he perfectly describes the attitude that everybody watching this movie should have. We’re talking about a plot that centers on a mission to find a habitable planet in another galaxy. Of course you are going to have to suspend your belief and just accept that not everything is going to make sense!

I actually really liked this movie right after I finished watching it. It reminded me of Inception (long plot with many flashbacks), but it has a much more satisfying ending. Then I came home and tried to think about the plausibility of some of the events in the movie. Then I gave up and decided to accept Interstellar for what it is: a movie with a great plot, great acting, and fascinating premise.

The premise is worth pointing out. In the movie, the earth can’t produce any more food, so massive dust storms appear. At one point, Matthew McConaughey’s character says, “This world’s a treasure, but it’s been telling us to leave for a while now.” Interstellar is basically saying that if we are more environmentally-friendly, then we will be able to stay on Earth, and Matthew McConaughey won’t be sent far away. What better argument is there for appreciating our planet?

 

Asha A

Unfortunately Asha A was not able to do a full review and I also wanted to do this post before Interstellar faded out of the limelight so I’m just going to summarize her thoughts. Right when she came home from viewing the the film, her first words were “Wow, that has to be one of the worst movies I have ever seen.” Pretty extreme right? Here is her explanation though. The main problem was the time, which truth be told, 169 minutes is a bit too long for a movie that does not fulfill it. Character development was lacking along with a logical plot that could actually be understood. Some of the scenes with Matthew McConaughey thinking philosophically were simply too ridiculous and reminded her of his Lincoln car commercials, and the visual effects in Gravity were much better according to her.

A very big thank you to our two reviewers Amanda A and Asha A! Well folks, it’s up to you to decide who’s side you’re on and what you think about Interstellar.

Interstellar: PG-13, 169 min

image: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/custom/Blog_Images/interstellar3.jpg