Movie Review: Whiplash (2014)

Whiplash poster

Plot: A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.

Rating: 8/10

I watched Whiplash earlier this year but somehow I’ve never gotten around to reviewing it – preposterous, because it is really good.

 I enjoyed Whiplash very much. Miles Teller proves the faith I’ve put in him. I haven’t heard ANYTHING good about Fantastic Four, so we won’t talk about that, he did well enough in Divergent (although that whole franchise now borders on the Meh scale pretty high) and he even has a romcom thing under his belt from That Awkward Moment, and I really enjoy the guy when he is on screen.

Teller walked into Whiplash and shattered all previous records of how well a relatively new actor could fare in such a serious film. He is fantastic as Andrew. Andrew is a complex, layered character and it is admirable that such an inexperienced actor pulled this off. I think Teller and Andrew have some similarities – they are both incredibly talented and very determined to be a success (hopefully Teller’s determination is slightly healthier). Andrew is not only determined to be famous, he wants to be the famous name in the jazz world. His mental health is questionable, because while a drive to reach the top of your field is admirable and expected, he comes across as overzealous and unstable. I think if you are not some martial artist, blood is never an indication of the success of your work.

Whiplash 1

JK Simmons as Terence Fletcher… wow. This guy is such a horrible person and he justifies his actions by claiming he wants to produce greats in the music industry. Every time I thought I couldn’t dislike him more than I did he went and did something that proved the complete opposite. JK Simmons deserved that Oscar. He was phenomenal and brought Fletcher to life few other people could have done.

I thought the camera work was beautiful and clear and accentuated the music and instruments especially. The final scene brought the movie to its crescendo – you think Andrew will get his traditional ending but that end is so much more worth than what would have been “pleasing”. Whiplash is deservedly one of the best movies of 2014. I think it might shift the balance in the top ten rankings of 2014 when I revisit that after I’ve seen the movies I still want to get to of last year. It is a great watch but heavy, so watch it if you are willing to be blown away!

Advertisements

Top Fifteen Favorite stars in young Hollywood

Woohoo! Happy Friday!! This post was supposed to be a Five things Friday but as you can see it escalated quite quickly! Here is some love for all the young ones in Hollywood… I know some of them can’t really be classified as really young, or even really good, but I like all of these for a variety of reasons. Read, enjoy, and let me know if you agree or disagree. I might just do one for older Hollywood too at a stage. I’ve linked to the posts of the movies I’ve reviewed of these stars so go take a look if you are wildly bored!

Emma Stone

Emma-Stone

Why I admire her: She is crazy talented, extremely funny and incredibly beautiful. She also seems to have a genuinely nice personality off screen, which is quite important to me.

Best role: What’s not to love? Zombieland, Easy A, Crazy Stupid Love, the list is endless.

Worst role: Ghost of Girlfriends Past

 Benedict Cumberbatch

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch poses for photographs on the red carpet for the new movie "The Imitation Game" during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on Tuesday, September 9, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Why I admire him: There is such a unique and startling quality to him. He is incredibly talented and well suited to his most famous role. He has these unique looks that make no sense. I’ve never pinpointed why he is so attractive – it shouldn’t work and yet it does extremely well.

Best role: Sherlock (as Sherlock Holmes)

Worst role: har-har

Emma Watson

Actress Emma Watson attends the "Noah" Germany Film Premiere at Zoo Palast on March 13, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. (AP Photo/Axel Schmidt)

Why I admire her: Not only is she a staunch equal rights activist, Emma Watson has manage to exit her Harry Potter years with grace and determination. I honestly can’t wait for her to be Belle in the new Disney adaption!

Best Role: Perks of Being a Wallflower (as Sam)

Worst Role: Harry Potter (as Hermione Granger)

Chris Hemsworth

 chris-hemsworth-2013

Why I admire him: Hehe, he’s ridiculously hot. The muscles and arms and hair and eyes and length and did I mention muscles? I’ve mostly really just liked the look of him, but he really did impress in Rush, which makes me believe that he can be in some really good films in the future.

Best role: Rush (as James)

Worst role: Thor (as Thor)

Chris Evans

 chris evans

Why I admire him: He has this extremely likable boy next door vibe. I also think he is exceptionally well cast as Steve Rogers, capturing that genuine essence of good so central to the character.

Best role: Captain America (as Steve Rogers)/Snowpiercer (as Curtis)

Worst role: Fantastic Four (as Human Torch)

Tom Hardy

 Tom-Hardy

Why I admire him: Well, duh. Look at him. He’s done some phenomenal roles as well, and has the extra addition of having pulled himself from a difficult past to be what he is today. #respect

Best role: Lawless (as Forrest Bondurant) and The Dark Night Rises (as Bane)

Worst Role: This Means War (as Tuck)

Andrew Garfield

 andrew garfield

Why I admire him: He’s extremely cute and extremely likeable and very good in the things I’ve seen him in.

Best Role: The Amazing Spiderman (as Peter Parker)

Worst Role: I’ve only seen him in Never Let Me Go other than as Spidey, and I liked that too, so I guess I don’t have one for him

James McAvoy

 James McAvoy

Why I admire him: The Scottish accent, the brilliance of how he portrays Charles Xavier. The hair. The acting. Have I mentioned the Scottish accent?

Best role: X-men (as Professor X)

Worst role: Wanted (as Wesley Gibson). He wasn’t necessarily bad, I just didn’t like the movie at all.

Ryan Gosling

ryan-gosling-LP

Why I like him: He inspired the “Hey Girl” meme. He’s pretty good at acting. He is the best Nicholas Sparks hero ever. He was hilarious in Stupid Crazy Love. He’s pretty much the coolest.

Best role: Drive (as the Driver)

Worst role: I will say as Noah Calhoun in the Notebook, but he’s actually really good in that too

Emily Blunt

 emily-blunt

Why I admire her: Her role as Rita. GIRL POWER. I also really enjoyed her in The Devil Wears Prada. She’s pretty cool.

Best role: Edge of Tomorrow (as Rita)

Worst role: The Five Year Engagement (as Violet)

Emilia Clark

emilia-clarke

Why I admire her: She seems like a person who enforces her privacy, and I think it is really important if you want to stay sane in Hollywood. I really like her casting as Dany – she does such a great job. And how insanely beautiful is she?!?!

Best role: Game of Thrones (as Daenerys Targaryen)

Worst role: Has she even been in anything else?

Shailene Woodley

shailene woodley

She’s the girl who made us all cry uncontrollably last year. She’s quirky and the outrageous things she says keeps me laughing for days. She seems genuine and she has such great stores of talent that she’s busy developing.

Best role: The Fault in our Stars (as Hazel Grace Lancaster)

Worst role: Divergent (as Tris Prior)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

 JGL

Why I admire him: He’s the cute geeky kid who grew up. I would really like to see him lead in something now!

Best role: Ten Things I Hate about You (as Cameron James)

Worst role: Another actor that I find extremely enjoyable even when I don’t like the movie 😀

Zac Efron

zac efron

did your screen also steam up for a second? 

Why I admire him: The funny thing is that this guy still needs to prove himself. I just really enjoy his looks, although he hasn’t been atrocious in his work, even if the movies have been bad.

Best role: The Lucky One (as Logan Thibault)

Worst role: Highschool musical (as Tray Bolton)

Channing Tatum

channing tatum

Why I admire him: He’s the extremely likable guy who finally made a name for himself.

Best role: 21/22 Jump Street (as Jenko)

Worst role: The Vow (as Leo)

 Honorable mentions: 

Ansel Elgort

Kit Harrington

Miles Teller

Chloe Grace Moretz (who recently won me over with Kick-Ass)

Rachel McAdams

Liam Hemsworth

Brit Robertson

What did you think? Let me know!

Watchlist: April, May and Possibly June

EEK! All these movies have me super excited to see them. However, realistically I know that they will be spread over a couple of months due to exams 😦

Read, enjoy, and comment below!

Whiplash

Whiplash_poster

Plot: A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential

I’m very much with the general population excited about Miles Teller. He’s got some excellent acting skills and has an everyday attractiveness to him that I particularly appreciate. I haven’t heard one bad word about this movie and would really like to check what the fuss is about. I’ve also heard that it is intense and compelling, and I really need an intense and compelling movie in my life right now.

Furious 7

Fast-and-Furious-7-Pic-1940x891

Plot: Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for his comatose brother

I’m such a massive fan of the franchise. It is buckets full of mindless fun and the characters seems like real family. Above and beyond Paul Walker’s death and his exit from the franchise, this was already a movie I was amped for before the tragic incident of his death.

The Longest Ride

The-Longest-Ride-7-Britt-Robertson-and-Scott-Eastwood

Plot: After an automobile crash, the lives of a young couple intertwine with a much older man, as he reflects back on a past love.

If not only for the inappropriate comments I already wish to utter about that title, I have this thing where I love watching Nicholas Spark’s movies regardless if it is really bad or not (and let’s face it, it is mostly bad). The Longest Ride stars Scott Eastwood and Brit Robertson and seems like a very nice cheesy feast with romance and country boys making city girls fall for them. It also stars Oona Chaplin from our favourite GoT love story (fuck you, Filtch) so I would love to head out and see what these kids have to offer.

Pulp Fiction

pulp

Plot: The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster’s wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.

This one is for my Blindspot choices. I’ve actually started it quite a few times but then I see the time it runs and I remember I have this life I need to run and get other things done. I would really like to see what the fuss is about and if I like it as much as the rest of the world.

Jurassic Park 2

jurassic park 2

Plot: A research team is sent to the Jurassic Park Site B island to study the dinosaurs there while another team approaches with another agenda.

I’m working through all these dinos movies before Chris Pratt graces our big screen with his adorable mug and getting chased by new mutant dinos, which translates as I’ve managed to watch one of them and procrastinated on the rest. The First movie is big buckets full of fun, so I can see myself really enjoying the rest of them!

The Godfather (with Zoë)

The_Godfather_Part_2

I’m the most scared to do this, because Mobster Bestie might rear her head if I don’t like this! #scared #running #formylife. This is also for my Blindspot series and it seems high time that I see why everyone loves it so much.

Insurgent

Insurgent-Movie-Download

Plot: Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side.

I will definitely wait this one out for the DVD release. Can’t see myself really getting lyrical about it, but it will be nice to continue the series.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

age of ultron

IT IS FINALLY HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Which movies are you looking forward to?

Movie Review: Divergent (2014)

Divergent

Plot

After years of war and discord, Chicago closed itself off from the outside dangers and divided its society into five factions – each faction representing and developing characteristics needed to make society successful. Abnegation lead the government because they were selfless and that is an important part in leadership, Amity farmed and they were the lovers of peace, Candor told the truth, Erudite were the intelligent part and found resources to keep people safe and healthy and the Dauntless were the brave upholding the law and protecting the citizens.

Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) lives with her parents Andrew (Tony Goldwyn) and Natalie (Ashley Judd) and her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) in Abnegation. The year a teenager turns sixteen they have to undertake a test to establish which faction they are most likely to succeed in but it is made clear that the choice remains with them and that they can choose.

Beatrice tests with a Dauntless woman named Tori (Maggie Q). Her results are inconclusive, and Tori tells Beatrice that it means she is Divergent – something that makes her not easy to control and will cause her death. She tells Beatrice to pretend she was sick and not tell anyone her results.

That night at dinner their parents tell them that the Erudite, led by Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) is spreading lies about the Abnegation because she wants to control Chicago. One of the stories she is spreading is that one of the Abnegation leaders, Marcus Eaton (Ray Stevenson) abused his son Tobias and that is the reason Tobias defected from his faction when he had the option.

The next day is the choosing ceremony and Caleb defects towards Erudite and although Beatrice intends to choose Abnegation she chooses the Dauntless faction she’s always admired from afar. Beatrice meets her fellow initiates, Christina (Zoe Kravitz) and Al (Christian Madsenn) who defected from Candor and Will (Ben Loyd-Hughes), an Erudite transfer. The new initiates are immediately put to the test when they have to board a train running at full speed. When they arrive at the Dauntless compound they are introduced to Eric (Jai Courtney), a young and brutal Dauntless leader. He tells them they need to jump into a dark pit to get to the compound and if they don’t they have failed their first test and will become Factionless, homeless beggars who belong to no faction and is the outcasts of their society. Tris volunteers to jump first and is helped from the net she lands in by Four (Theo James), the initiates instructor. Beatrice introduces herself as Tris when Four asks her name.

Eric tells the Dauntless initiates that there are only space for a certain number and that the weakest will become Factionless. As training starts, Tris knows that she will be thrown out if she doesn’t improve. She gets her ass kicked by Molly, a girl nearly twice her size. She slowly improves until a fight with Peter (Miles Tanner) an Erudite transfer who mocked her from day one. She is beaten unconscious and is hospitalized. Christina and Will visit her in hospital and tell her that Eric wants her thrown out. Determined, she chases after the train leaving with the initiates and helps win a capture-the-flag game. Her standing increases but she is still below the line but it is undeniable that she is getting better. Four also gives her a few tips and becomes kinder than what he initially seemed.

Tris makes the bar and is allowed to progress into the second stage of training but she and Al, her friend, are in the bottom spots so they are obviously competing against each other. The next phase of training is simulations where initiates experience their worst fears. Tris’ divergence makes her realise simulations aren’t real and she is able to exit her dreams in record time. Four is testing Tris and notices her secret. He warns her to conceal her secret and to exit her fear landscape the way Dauntless would – by finding a way to protect themselves and thus waking up.

Tris is terrified that she will die because of her divergence and goes to see her brother at the Erudite compound. He tells her that Erudite is planning to overthrow the Abnegation for leadership of their society. She is angry with him because she sees it as betrayal against their parents. On her way out she meets Jeanine Matthews again and Jeanine wants reassurance that Tris is truly Dauntless and that Tris will follow orders like a Dauntless soldier, even if it means hurting someone you love. Tris manages to lie herself out of it and can leave the Erudite compound safely.

Back at the Dauntless compound Tris is attacked and taken to the chasm where her assailants want to throw her off. Due to her training she puts up a massive fight but is still overpowered. She pulls a mask off one of the people and it is her alleged friend Al. Four arrives and saves Tris from death. She spends the night in Four’s room where he sleeps on the floor.

The next day Al begs Tris for forgiveness but she refuses and orders him to stay away from her. Later that day they pull Al’s body from the chasm where he committed suicide. Tris is devastated but Four tells her that fear makes people like Al weak and do crazy things and that his death wasn’t her fault. He tells her that he will help her survive her final test by taking her into his fear landscape and teaching her how to act Dauntless instead of Divergent.

In Four’s fear landscape she realises crucial points to Four’s characters. He is named Four because he has only ever had four fears: the fear of heights, confinement, his father and killing innocents. Four is revealed to be Marcus Eaton’s son, Tobias, the son that allegedly (and truthfully) left Abnegation to flee his abusive father. After they wake up they admit their feelings and kiss and Tris tells Four that she wants to take it slow. Four shows her the Erudite at their compound busy with some secret meetings with the Dauntless leaders.

The day of her final test Tris passes with flying colours and she is initiated without anyone suspecting her secret. Eric injects her with a tracking serum and she is uncomfortable with it. The serum turns out to be mind control serum, manipulating the Dauntless to attack the Abnegation. Divergent people are unaffected and Tris blends in because not doing so means certain death. On the way to Abnegation, Tris finds Four and when he touches her hand she realises that he too is Divergent.

At Abnegation, Tris and Four is walking with the controlled Dauntless when Eric spots them. A twitch in Four’s eye is all it takes to reveal their secret and they are taken captive. Jeanine orders Four to come with her but Tris to be executed. Tris’s mother shows up and takes her to safety but is killed along the way.

What happened to Four? Will Tris ever see him again? Will the Dauntless wipe out Abnegation? Can Jeanine Matthews be stopped? What does open war mean to their fragile society?

Rating: 6.5/10

Divergent could have been way more than what they came up with. It wasn’t that bad, but I think you would be very confused if you didn’t read the book. I loved the casting on the film and the special effects and the chemistry between Tris and Four and how dangerous Eric looked, and compared to the other book to movie adaption I’ve seen this year, Vampire Academy, it is a raging success. If you forgot what I thought about that, go read it here.

The movie didn’t feel rushed at all, and I’m sure they were dedicated to producing a loyal adaption. It followed script well and didn’t go overboard. I didn’t wish for it to end quickly or wondered why the fighting scenes were taking so long.

Why didn’t I grade it higher then, you ask? I felt it lacked emotion. I didn’t feel drawn to the characters as much I did in the books and there were critically few times that I was attached. The scene where Tris holds her dead mother was brilliantly done. I think there Shailene Woodley showed her star power and it gives a glimmer of hope that the sequels can be much better.

I really liked the Ferris Wheel scene and how fearless Tris came through. I loved Four’s bafflement with her terrifying lack of fear. The knife throwing scene? It was okay. Not so much came through the way I wanted it to but it didn’t deviate from the book.

Al’s weakness and Peter’s reproachable personality should have been given more screen time. Do the readers of Divergent remember Al crying him to sleep at night? I do, and I think it shows exactly how he didn’t fit into the Dauntless crowd.

I am not getting into the big Is Hunger Games better or is Divergent better debate because for me they are both exceptional ideas. The storylines are only similar in the fact that it is in the same genre. Veronica Roth is my hero for not taking some of Suzanne Collins’s ideas and tweaking it just enough to not become a law suit. I will make my point that I like the Divergent series, as books, more, but that the Hunger Games movies far outstrip the Divergent adaption.

What I liked

The casting of Tris, Four and Eric. They were AMAZING

Tris Prior/Shailene Woodley

I think this will be the year of Shailene Woodley. She is an amazing actress. She was so good as Tris. I think she was perfectly cast and deserves praise.

Eric/Jay Courtenay.

How absolutely cool was he? I admit that he was a bit under pierced and under tattooed but he came across as slightly flamboyant but still such a douche bag. He did a good job in keeping it secret if he is evil or just a plain assface. Also, I found him ridiculously sexy for some demented reason. Who else thinks he looks a bit like Macklemore?

Four/Theo James.

I have some issues how they didn’t fully developed the character. Four is a messed up guy who was beaten by his extremist father, escaped to the most notorious faction and gained respect there, and they just didn’t show that as well as they should have. Theo James was rocking it. He is ridiculously sexy but not a pretty boy and I found his attitude spot on. I loved the bluntness between him and Tris and how she didn’t mind putting him in his place when he deserved it.

The choosing ceremony I really liked. I liked the imagery of how perfectly divided the factions sit and how they are separated but functioning in society.

Kate Winslet as Jeanine Mathews. Well cast but I disagree with the amount of show time she got because she isn’t so present in the first book.

How the Dauntless were portrayed. They looked so fun loving and fearless and free.

The movie didn’t feel stretched (major points) no plots were changed and the fight scenes didn’t drag on until eternity.

Four’s tattoos looked amazing.

Ashley Judd as Tris’ mom worked well. She fitted into the plain beauty of the Abnegation.

The chemistry between Tris and Four is off the charts. Something that puts Divergent just a bit ahead of Hunger Games that Tris and Four is the only two people in the relationship and that there is never any triangle of any sort.

What I didn’t like

The plenty of screen time Jeanine Matthews got but there was no time to include crucial plot lines like how bad Peter really was, Al’s cowardness and all Four’s little tantrums and everything. I get that they wanted to include the star power Kate Winslet has but I think it is more important that viewers know what is going to happen later on in the sequels.

Molly (Amy Newbold) is always an enemy, not a respected rival.

Peter never got his ass handed back to him.

Soundtrack didn’t work with the movie material.

I felt a lack of emotion coming through. I expected to be enthralled by the movie but sometimes thought about other stuff in between. It wasn’t that gripping and I thought.

Compared to Captain America: Winter Soldier (Yes I know the vast difference between the two stories) if I had to choose I would go watch CA again. That movie really made me feel something and apart from Tris and Four kissing (hot stuff) and Tris sobbing against her mother’s dead body I didn’t really connect with the characters.

Have you seen Divergent? What did you think?