A Re-View of Whiplash

I first saw Whiplash, not too long before the Oscars where it shone as the beacon of Indie Cinema, defeating fellow low-budget film Boyhood at both, the box-office and the most famous award ceremony in the world, if not the most prestigious. What probably helped it, was a story that was easier to relate to, even if the worst a terrible teacher had done to you was ask you to stand out of class, or probably give you a bad grade. The struggle against an oppressive force is something basic human instinct responds to and related to and that is what most of us did with Whiplash. That is, of course, to take nothing away from the brilliant technical and artistic achievements of the film itself.

The one aspect of the film that comes to mind, quite rightfully, as soon as its name is uttered is not the composition referred to in the title and several times throughout the movie. Rather, J.K. Simmons. This one man powerhouse completely stole the show and destroyed and decimated the emotions of the protagonist and the audience alike. Using Damien Chazelle’s brilliant’s script’s perfect lines to burn down all of Andrew Neiman’s (played quite wonderfully by Miles Teller) emotional balance. His voice un-relenting and the sarcastic barbs hitting hard, right where they’re supposed to. Simmons’ egomaniacal, lunatic of a character is what drives this film and provides the burst of adrenaline in what would otherwise have been an almost lackluster movie.

The brilliant sound-track too stands out, it’s definitely not something for the hardcore Jazz Fans for some of whom this entire film might feel stupid. But for the un-initiated like myself, it’s a great soundtrack and definitely one you can revisit multiple times.

Damien Chazelle has surely and securely announced that he’s in this business for real and hopefully his upcoming film (La La Land, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone) will only help further his reputation as a brilliant writer and director and hopefully he’ll continue to be one of the shining stars of American Independent Cinema.

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The Force Has Awoken

100% No spoilers. Guaranteed. Tread Freely.

The question surrounding, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, for about a year prior to its release was, would J.J. Abrams be able to do what the creator of Star Wars, George Lucas himself failed to do a decade and a half ago? Would the movie itself be able to live up to the hype and the crazy marketing campaign surrounding it? And of course, could the new cast be as loved as our heroes from the galaxy far, far away? To my immense satisfaction, all of these questions were answered, and boy, were they answered in style!

About the movie itself, no spoilers, but its similarities, to Episode 4: A New Hope, are extremely uncanny. Right from the opening crawl, with John Williams now classic, beloved score. A piece of brilliant music that’s been around since 1977, but never termed as over-used, never called clichéd. A piece of music that is now in its third generation and is still as much “music” to your ears as the first time you were introduced to it.

The only major problem with the movie, was that it failed to take any risks. Probably it’d learnt enough not to do so from the Prequel Trilogy, but there is a desperate need for something new to be done, and to be executed with a panache, and of course without the wall to wall CGI, for the audience to love it.

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Anyways, enough of the negatives, now it’s time for the positives. There’s a lot of new characters, and considering I haven’t read/ seen any of the comics or TV Shows or well anything that could’ve come out related to Star Wars except of  the 6 (now 7) movies, I have absolutely NO CLUE as to who they are, or could be or which expanded Star Wars universe property or character they could be related to. But of course, I trust Lucas and Kasdan enough to know that I won’t need to follow any of the aforementioned expanded universe properties to find out, neither will any of the enjoyment that I experience be reduced. So the people who’re bringing those awesome characters to life, the actors also do a really great job, notably Daisy Ridley who, it seems, is going to be the best thing about the new trilogy and John Boyega whose character and acting is something I’m looking forward to, come 2017. Oscar Isaac has a small role, but that seems totally Oscar Isaac these days with him being a part of everything here and there, but he does a good job. And of course, if there’s any award for the Best Droid in the Universe, just hand it to BB-8 already.

The musical score, two words, John Williams. Need I say more? Okay I will, check the end of the article for links to his music and if you don’t already you will experience the power of his music (Along with the festive season, this being the Awards season, I must add, this year it’s going to go down the wire between John Williams here and Ennio Morricone for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s latest western, The H8ful Eight). The Production Design only adds to the allure of the movies, after the forgettable all-CGI of the Prequel Trilogy. The 2-time Oscar Winning Production Designer, Rick Carter, is definitely a strong contender to add to that tally this year.

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After this movie, it looks like Lawrence Kasdan’s been infused with a new breath of life, and it’s definitely a the right time with him set to pen the upcoming Star Wars movies and some of the spin offs as well. Although he hadn’t given anything great, since Raiders of the Lost Ark, in 1981, it seems he’s making a return to the quality of his heyday. About J.J. Abrams, all I can say is, with people threatening to christen you Jar Jar Abrams if you fail to deliver something awesome, you will deliver something awesome. That threat, is more threatening that almost anything you can imagine, upon the face of planet Earth and trust me, it worked. I think it’s safe now to say that just hand anything that’s dying to Abrams and he’ll bring it back to life. Though therein lies the problem, people now seem to believe he’s just some sort of phony with no individual sense of creativity. Anyways, that story is for another day.

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Yes indeed Chewie, we’re home…

Right now, go rush to your nearest theatre and experience the spectacle for yourself. Even if you have a bootlegged copy downloaded, don’t ruin it for yourself. You might thing, “So What? Disney’s making big bucks anyways! Star Wars is earning tens of millions every day, how will my money make a difference?”. But honestly, it’s not about that, it’s about going out there and seeing it on the biggest screen you can with people shouting and hooting and every awesome scene, every throwback moment to the 70s and the 80s (and trust me, there’s just about enough of them to make you go crazy over it too) and the sound immersing you. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Go see the greatest, the grandest the most mind blowing-ly awesome fan film ever made!

PS. Of course, as promised John Williams’ Best Music, well at least a part of it, feel free to explore more and more as you’re hooked on to it.

How To Train Your Dragon – Movie Review

9 stars out of 10
This movie, shall long be seen, as a benchmark for making animated movies, or any movie for that matter. A true masterpiece. A true inspiration. This movie, it takes the classic, “Follow Your Dreams” theme, to a completely different level.

Hiccup along with his minor hiccups turning into the hero of Berk, this journey is chronicled in a movie, truly worth of the title, “A Scandinavian Epic”. All these characters, they make you fall in love with them over and over again. It tickles your funny bone, and makes you cry buckets, it makes you heart pump faster than Usain Bolt and then has some soothing enjoyable moments too. It’s just like a mocktail, layered with different flavors, all in perfect proportion and in the perfect order.

What can i say, but “This is Berk, it’s 98 minutes of awesomeness, and a lifetime of memories. It is located solidly on the Peak of Greatness. In a word? EPIC. It’s been there for a couple o’ years, but every moment, fresh. It has laughs, cries, thrills and a great set of characters. Most movies have overtly ambitious plots and needless twists. But this one, it has CLASS!”