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

The Spectacular Now

One of the many films this year that garnered critical acclaim was The Spectacular Now. It did well at Sundance, it received a 92%  on Rotten Tomatoes, naturally I was intrigued. Then I watched the movie. I’m really confused, was it supposed to be good?

Based on the book by of the same name by Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now tells the story of Sutter (Miles Teller), a charming hard-partying high school senior whose outlook on life changes when he meets Amy (Shailene Woodley), the “not so typical nice girl”.

I know, from that summary, this movie sounds like every other high school movie. However, I felt like the writers were trying too much to make the whole story real. Have it relate to actual high school students and show life as it really is, etc. I, on the other hand, was not pleased with this attempt. The story was weak and did not make sense at times. Not every high school student drinks, parties, and is promiscuous! I understand they were trying to portray this dimension on the character of Aimee but she just turns out to be smart girl who does not seem to have any judgmental common sense. She forgives Sutter for terrible, terrible stuff and depends on him like a drug. I hated her character. She’s also supposed to awkward? Uh Shailene Woodley is a very pretty girl casting people. The climax had a good shock factor but its aftermath left me frustrated. To add to that, the ending left me sitting in my seat, wondering why I even decided to watch the movie in the first place.

The only good thing about this film was the performances. Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley did great jobs as their respective characters. Kyle Chandler, who I never even knew was in the film, gave a surprisingly emotional and understated performance as well. After I watched the film, I was very confused of all the acclaim it received. I was actually thinking about watching it again to see if I missed something, but then I figured it would be a waste of my time because if I have to watch a movie more than once to analyze its themes and hidden messages, then it has not done it’s purpose as a film. I did like the portrayal by the main characters of feeling like you are losing time and trying to live every moment, but this seemed to determine all of their decisions. Not too sure if I would recommend The Spectacular Now.

ALL IN ALL: The Spectacular Now is a disappointing film with unlikable characters and a weak story that overshadows the otherwise well done performances.

Rated R, 95 minutes

image from: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/18/The_Spectacular_Now_film.jpg