Film Review Archive

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Foxcatcher; A hunt for the Gold.

Walking into the theater, I hadn’t known what to expect of this film other than that it was about two brothers and wrestling. From the trailers and brief glimpses of […]

Walking into the theater, I hadn’t known what to expect of this film other than that it was about two brothers and wrestling. From the trailers and brief glimpses of hype I perused before seeing the film, I had come to expect a movie about triumph, about two brothers pushing themselves harder and winning gold for their nation. The haunting tale of depression, failing families, and utter mental lapse was not what I expected to find.

Feeling jaded at the way his country has spurned him, at the shadow hanging over him Mark Schultz (played by Channing Tatum) falls easy prey to the wise words from John E Du Pont (portrayed by Steve Carell) . He’s quick to find a kindred soul in Du Pont over the fact that he echoes the same thoughts. Their nation is in trouble and they need to save it, a very brave statement from an Olympic wrestler and one of the wealthiest men in America.  The hunt is on but instead of hunting for the fox, Du Pont is setting the hounds for the gold medal in the 1988 Olympics.

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Whiplash: Greatness, At Any Cost

Whiplash starts the only way a movie about jazz drumming can; with a drum-only fanfare. It accelerates, it goes from a slow, foreboding rhythm to a disorienting heart-pounding drum solo. […]

Whiplash starts the only way a movie about jazz drumming can; with a drum-only fanfare. It accelerates, it goes from a slow, foreboding rhythm to a disorienting heart-pounding drum solo. From the moment Whiplash unleashes that fanfare to the very last frame, it doesn’t let up. Every single scene explodes, and if it doesn’t explode, it seems primed to explode in a way very reminiscent of Hitchcockian suspense. It’s as brutal as it gets, and like a hungry beast, it’s only out for one thing: your throat.

The movie follows the journey of one Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller), a 19 year old jazz drummer at a fictional musical academy that somehow manages to wow Terrence Fletcher (JK Simmons) into accepting Neyman into his jazz band, known to many as the first step towards a jazz career. Of course, then it follows that Fletcher and Neyman would build a close relationship where Fletcher molds Neyman into the next Buddy Rich.

But there’s a twist, of course; and it’s that Fletcher is an abusive mentor. Someone who takes his students and tries them by fire. Not the fire of practice, but the fire of fear. Through physical and emotional abuse, he hopes to inspire the next Charlie Parker (who, as the myth often goes, became “Bird” when his band leader threw a cymbal at his face. So he decided to go home and practice until he became a true legend) the question the movie then offers is the idea of whether Fletcher is even close to reasonable or justifiable if he succeeds once.

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