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 »

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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 »

Whiplash' with Miles Teller

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival is coming to a close and, Saturday night, the best films of the festival were named. Whiplash, the Miles Teller drumming film, was the night’s big winner, taking both the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award as well as the Grand Jury Prize. Sony Classics picked it up earlier in the week.

Peter, Russ and myself are all back from in Park City, UT and over the next few days, we’ll tell you our favorite films of the best. But, below, look at the full list of official award winners.  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 »

Rudderless

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival starts today, and with the opening of theater doors, hundreds of brand new movies will be revealed to the world. Some we’ve already heard of and are excited for — The Raid 2 and Life Itself come to mind — but the majority of them are wholly unknown. They’re films most audiences don’t yet know anything about, with massive stars, from famous directors, or featuring exciting premises..

Below I’ve pulled the titles of 25 2014 Sundance Films you may not have heard of yet, but sound absolutely amazing for one reason for another. 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 »

Just as we’re enjoying the last of 2012′s cinematic offerings, the latest edition of the Black List has hit the web. The annual survey highlights the hottest unproduced screenplays of the year, as based on the votes of hundreds of executives.

The term “unproduced” is used rather vaguely here. Some of these scripts (like Ivan Reitman‘s Draft Day and Wally Pfister‘s Transcendence) already have a director or star attached, while others are still floating around in search of the right studio or producer. The subjects and honorees range greatly as well. Nazi hunters, Hillary Clinton, the NFL, and time-traveling teens are among the subjects of this year’s winners, and the screenwriters run the gamut from industry newcomers to seasoned pros.

Hit the jump to read the full list.

Read More »

cheadle_war_machine

Entertainment Tonight has been posting a series of little set visit video clips from Iron Man 2. There was the first one showing Robert Downey, Jr. and some on-set action, a second following the enthusiasm around Mickey Rourke (embedded below) and now Don Cheadle gets the spotlight as ET focuses on the War Machine, his armored alter-ego that we first saw in footage displayed at Comic Con this year. Read More »

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