Terminator Genisys JK Simmons

One of the best reasons to see the upcoming Terminator sequel/reboot Terminator: Genisys may be J.K. Simmons. The actor will blow your mind in Whiplash, and he’s likely to be a great addition to the Terminator series as well. (Because, really, when is Simmons ever not welcome? He’s entertaining even in the relatively woeful The Ladykillers.) Now Simmons is speaking up about Terminator: Genisys. He reveals something that probably won’t be too surprising for anyone who has been following along with the sci-fi series: this reboot is a love story. Read More »

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Whiplash international trailer

As the domineering music conservatory teacher at the center of Whiplash, J.K. Simmons spews vile, mean, even brutal dialogue. Most of it is aimed at the the young drummer and would-be jazz great played by Miles Teller. Is the teacher just using a bit of old-school motivation, or is he really out of his mind? The guy’s propensity to throw things suggests the latter, but the student isn’t exactly balanced either. Each drives the other a little further over the edge.

This Whiplash international trailer isn’t rated “red” by the MPAA, because it comes out of France rather than the US. But it does feature some of the cursing Simmons spits at Teller. This is just the barest hint of how ugly he gets, though. Seriously, if you’re a fan of Simmons, especially when he shows his mean side, this movie is an absolute must-see. Read More »

whiplash trailer

J.K. Simmons torments Miles Teller in Whiplash, pushing the kid beyond his breaking point in the name of excellence. Teller plays a young drummer who aspires to greatness; Simmons plays the elite music academy instructor whose teaching methods are anything but gentle. Miss a beat, and he’ll spin a cymbal at your head like Captain America throwing his shield. This great first Whiplash trailer starts to show audiences the situation Teller’s character gets into when he attempts to rise to a level of performance that will satisfy the teacher. Read More »

whiplash clip

Traditionally, when a movie wins either the Grand Jury and Audience Dramatic Awards at Sundance, it’s meant for big things. Then there are some really special films that win both. Precious and Fruitvale Station are two recent examples. This year’s Sundance opener Whiplash is another.

Directed by Damien Chazelle, Whiplash tells the dramatic story of Andrew (Miles Teller), a highly ambitious young drummer who finds himself under the wing of the most demanding, intimidating and influential music teacher in the country. That’s Terence Fletcher, played by J.K. Simmons. Those dueling passions sets up a battle of the wills as Andrew tries to prove himself for Fletcher, hoping he doesn’t have to face the frightening truth that he’s just not good enough.

You can read Russ’s Sundance review here, but in lieu of a trailer for the October 10 release, the first Whiplash clip has now made it online. In it, you’ll get a sense of the film’s incredible tension and powerful performances. Read More »

‘Terminator: Genesis’ Adds J.K. Simmons

Terminator Genesis JK Simmons

Last month, Jai Courtney booked the role of Kyle Reese in Terminator: Genesis to complete the central trio of returning characters. (Or quartet, if you count Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s Terminator.) Now it’s moving on to some other, less prominent but still crucial, roles — starting with an boozed-up detective to be played by J.K. Simmons.

Learn more about his character, and get some details on how he’ll fit into this complicated time-jumping narrative, after the jump.  Read More »

whiplash-teller-simmons

The heart of Whiplash is a duel between Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, and the weapon of choice isn’t a gun or a knife, but a drum kit. The players’ duel is a concept that cuts across musical genres. It can blaze bright in jazz, when players both complement and one-up one another in an effort to push a performance to its limits. The tendency leads to performances like the “drum battles” between Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa.

Andrew, played by Teller, has definitely heard those battles; he idolizes Buddy Rich and wants to be the next great jazz drummer. In his first year at an elite music academy he finds the ne-plus-ultra of instructors: Fletcher (Simmons), a jazz pianist and draconian band conductor. What begins as a simple teacher/student scenario escalates into a full-on battle of wills as Fletcher deploys manipulative tricks to beat Teller into shape as a machine able to perform on cue. The teacher will hurl a chair as quickly as an insult; is he wildly unstable, or a genius?

Whiplash is structured like a jazz tune, with the duel as the central melody out from which spring scenes that attempt to flesh out both characters and inform their tactics. When that melody rises above everything else, the film is unique and viciously energetic; the side notes, however, are wan, and the whole is messy and less driven than either lead character. Read More »

Miles Teller

Let’s just get this out there: in describing the film Whiplash, which has set Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now) to star, Deadline calls the approach “Full Metal Jacket at Juilliard.” If that doesn’t make you wonder what the film is all about, nothing will. The film is an expansion of a short from Sundance, with Damien Chazelle, who wrote the short, directing the feature.

Teller will play a student drummer under the rule of “a brutal jazz orchestra teacher” played by J.K. Simmons. While dealing with his teacher’s methods, Teller’s character “begins to lose his humanity in his quest to become the core skins pounder of the top jazz orchestra in the country.” Again: Full Metal Jacket at Julliard. Consider me intrigued, especially with Simmons as the domineering teacher.

If you’re still not too familiar with Teller, check out a couple clips from his current film The Spectacular Now below. Read More »

jOBS-ashton-kutcher

Briefly: Ashton Kutcher made his big bow as Steve Jobs at Sundance, in the film once called jOBS and now wisely re-formatted as Jobs. The film was picked up by Open Road and quickly set for an April 19 limited opening. But audiences are going to have to wait longer to see Kutcher do his best take on the Apple co-founder.

That April date was chosen, presumably, because it is the anniversary of the founding of Apple, though not a particularly sexy one. (The 37th.) The distributor has decided that taking more time to market the film is a good idea. Whether any cuts or other changes will be made remains to be seen. A new date hasn’t been set at this point for the film directed by Joshua Michael Stern and written by Matthew Whitely.

Jobs also stars Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons and Matthew Modine. Germain reviewed the film at Sundance, saying it “feels slight because it tries to do too much.” [THR]

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