Whiplash

Part of what makes Whiplash so interesting is the uneasiness it imparts. It’s inspiring to watch young jazz drummer Andrew (Miles Teller) push himself to new heights, but also disturbing to see the path he takes to get there.

Ultimately, we’re left to wonder if all the abuse he suffered at the hands of Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) was worth it. And while all viewers will have to determine that for themselves, writer-director Damien Chazelle, for one, has a pretty clear idea of what happened next. Hit the jump to read Chazelle’s comments on the Whiplash ending. (Spoilers follow, obviously.)  Read More »

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Here Are Edgar Wright’s Top 10 Films of 2014

Edgar wright top 10 2014

December is here, which means you’ll been seeing many articles looking back at 2014. And while you may be wondering what your favorite critics thought of some of the year’s best films, let’s be honest. You’d probably rather hear from people whose movies you love.

So let’s get that ball rolling. First up we’ve got Edgar Wright. Wright had a unique year. The director began 2014 full steam ahead getting ready to make a Marvel Studios movie, ended up leaving that project, directed a Pharrell video and has yet to officially announce his next feature, though there are multiple options for him to choose from.

In that time, one thing Wright did do was watch a lot of movies. He was a juror at Fantastic Fest. He could be regularly seen around Los Angeles seeing all the big releases, from Interstellar to Nightcrawler and others. Talking to him, you could tell he was hellbent on seeing everything. Now he’s got an accurate, well-rounded top ten list. Below, check out the Edgar Wright Top 10 2014 films. Read More »

25 Movies to Watch During Thanksgiving Weekend 2014

The Babadook (1)

One of the many reasons we’re thankful for Thanksgiving is that it cuts the work week short, giving us twice as much weekend time to spend at the movies. And there’s no shortage of titles right now to spend that time on. The only question is where to start.

To help you answer that, we’ve put together a helpful guide that (we hope) covers every base. Hit the jump for our list of 25 movies to watch this Thanksgiving. Read More »

/Filmcast Ep. 296 – Whiplash

whiplash trailer

David, Devindra, and Jeff review film festival darling Whiplash, out in limited release right now.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, like us on Facebook!
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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 »

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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 »