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Anna Calvi recommended Whiplash (2014) in Movies (curated)

 
Whiplash (2014)
Whiplash (2014)
2014 | Drama

"This is about what a music student who really wants to be great has to sacrifice to pursue greatness. It reminded me a little of my own experience at university, and how there’s such a difference between studying music, which is quite sterile, and then actually going out and doing it. You have to unlearn everything and just try to be honest, using your instrument to speak in a way that people can understand. Andrew’s (Miles Teller) relationship with his music teacher in the film is very extreme, but I had music teachers at school who I felt really passionate about and who I wanted to get better for, so they would believe in me."

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Daniel Boyd (1065 KP) rated Bleed For This (2016) in Movies

Aug 11, 2017 (Updated Oct 25, 2017)  
Bleed For This (2016)
Bleed For This (2016)
2016 | Drama, Sport
8
7.1 (9 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Incredible true story (4 more)
Eckhart & Teller are brilliant in the lead performances
The supporting cast are great too
Tight script
Good direction
One Of The Most Remarkable Comebacks In History
If this movie wasn't based in true events, it would be ridiculed for being too far fetched. Don't get me wrong, I am sure that, (as is with the case with all movies based on a 'true' story,) some aspects of the film have been exaggerated for dramatic purposes, but even still, this is an incredible story about triumph over adversity.
The cast are all great, Miles Teller at this point is up there with Christian Bale and Jake Gyllenhaal as a young character actor at the top of his game in my eyes. He is fantastic as Pazienza and does a brilliant job conveying the pain and tragedy that Vinnie faced and the 'nothing will stop me,' attitude that Vinnie possessed. Aaron Eckhart goes from Hollywood heart-throb, to past his prime shlub in this role and he sells it convincingly, he truly is one of the most underrated character actors working today in my opinion.
The rest of the ensemble cast are great. The production is also of an immensely high quality, the sets, sound design and abrupt editing all make up an equally grim and glamorous world that feels realistic and lived in.
Overall this film is definitely worth a watch, whether you are a boxing fan or not, it is a hugely inspirational story that has been brought to life masterfully and is a story that should be witnessed by everybody.
  
Spiderhead (2022)
Spiderhead (2022)
2022 | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
6
6.0 (1 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Weak Script Sinks This Flick
The history of cinema is littered with tales of the Mad Scientist who gets too caught up in their own experiments to the detriment of all. Once the human cost of the experiment is revealed to this seemingly sane inventor, he (it usually is a he) turns with a wild-eyed look and justifies the human expense in the name of science.

Such is the case with the Netflix Original movie SPIDERHEAD with Chris Hemsworth as the mad scientist in this scenario and Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett as 2 of the prisoners who trade in their life sentences to be used as guinea pigs in his experiment.

It’s an interesting enough premise - one that is not new - so it is always the execution of this concept that makes (or breaks) this type of film.

Unfortunately for SPIDERHEAD, Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are unable to elevate the premise (based on a short story by George Saunders) into anything new, unique or interesting.

Director Joseph Kosinski (TOP GUN: MAVERICK) does a yeoman’s job trying to elevate this material to something better than it is. But…kind of like trying to get me to be a Prima Ballerina…Kosinski just cannot make something out of raw material that is fundamentally flawed. He uses a few interesting camera moves and draws out suspense in enough areas to catch the audience’s interests…but not much else.

He is helped by the casting of some top notch talent. Chris Hemsworth is engaging and charismatic (initially) as the Elon Musk/Steve Jobs-esque new age inventor who is trying out some new medical serums on prisoner/volunteers. The problem with Hemsworth - who I think is a pretty good actor - is that once you start seeing the cracks in his character’s façade (and those cracks appear early on), Hemsworth’s performance turns fairly one-dimensional and he becomes a caricature of the “crazed scientist”.

The surprises to me here are the performances of Miles Teller (TOP GUN: MAVERICK) and Jurnee Smollett (LOVECRAFT COUNTRY). These are 2 performers who I’ve always felt were good but not great, but they are intriguing to watch in this. They have strong chemistry with each other and they are 2 protagonists that are easy to root for against crazed antagonist Hemsworth.

In look and feel and tone, this film reminded my of the 2014 Alex Garland marvel EX MACHINA, but where that film easily was lifted by a tremendously strong script and ideas by Garland (check it out if you haven’t seen it - it is well worth your time), SPIDERHEAD, ultimately, sinks into the chasm of a weak script with no real strong ideas/themes behind it.

Letter Grade B+ (for the Direction of Kosinksi and the performances of Teller and Smollett)

6 stars (out of 10) and you can take that to the Bank(ofMarquis)
  
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J.K. Simmons recommended Whiplash (2014) in Movies (curated)

 
Whiplash (2014)
Whiplash (2014)
2014 | Drama

"A little Whiplash anecdote is, of course, like everybody else, I had no idea who Damien Chazelle was. Jason Reitman was the one who sent me the script, in an email, for Whiplash. He sent me both the short and the feature script and just said, “Read this,” and obviously it’s from Jason so I’m gonna read it. It was again, obviously, probably one of the most brilliant scripts I had ever read and one of the best fits in terms of the character that I really immediately understood and felt like I could wrap my brain around and pull off. They said, “The writer-director would love to meet you,” and we set up a lunch, and Damien and I sat down and immediately basically agreed on everything, except he didn’t know that I had a musical background, so he was talking about how we’d have body doubles and we’d have somebody coaching me on how to wave my arms around like a conductor. And I said, “Hey, we don’t need that because actually, that’s one of the arrows I have in my quiver.” That was one of those moments where it felt like kismet, that Damien was like, “Oh, my God.” He said, “When Jason and Helen suggested you for this part, I immediately thought that’s a great idea, but I had no idea that you actually had those kinds of abilities.” And also, he didn’t write the script for me, but he wrote it with Miles Teller in mind from the beginning, and didn’t know that Miles had been playing drums since he was 15 years old."

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Bleed For This (2016)
Bleed For This (2016)
2016 | Drama, Sport
9
7.1 (9 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Bleed for This is the true story of boxer Vinny Pazienza (Miles Teller). Vinny is the type of person that in and out of the ring goes all out to the point he can go no further. This mindset puts him on the verge of being out of boxing after losing three straight fights, which he drastically cuts weight to fight. As he searches for one last chance, he is paired with a new trainer, Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart), who is also seemingly given his last chance to revive his career. Rooney sets out to change the way Vinny trains and convinces him that fighting at a heavier weight will help his body, he previously was taking drastic measures to cut weight for fights. The pair are committed to success even with Vinny’s head strong father’s (Angelo Pazienza played by Ciarán Hinds) disapproving of the change, his mother (Louise Pazienza played by Katey Sagal) not wanting Vinny to get hurt, and his own Manager (Lou Duva played by Ted Levine) saying he should quit boxing all together. After some convincing and a lot of hard work Vinny gets his chance at one last fight. But he is moving up two weight classes and is put into a title fight against a seasoned opponent. Vinny shocks seemingly everyone by overcoming these obstacles and knocking out his favored opponent to become a World Champion.

After the biggest win of his career when everything appears to be going Vinny, his families and Rooney’s way, there is a terrible car accident and Vinny suffers a broken neck. The doctor tells him that he may never walk again, let alone box. With everyone telling him that his boxing career is over, Vinny is single-mindedly determined to do everything he can to get back into the ring. He opts to not have surgery in hopes that his neck can heal on its own and he can return to champion ship form. He has to convince Rooney to train him, find someone willing to fight him, and has to overcome his once over bearing father being unwilling be in his corner for the first time in his life. Even with a mountain of obstacles in his way, he begins his quest to get back into the ring and show everyone that he can do the impossible and regain his past form.

Writer and Director Ben Younger (Prime and Boiler Room) does an excellent job with this inspirational true story. The supporting cast provide solid performances, especial Eckhart and Hinds, but Miles Teller’s performance is what really makes this a fun film to watch. He really seemed to fit into this role really well. His performance was both compelling and fun. There were several times that the film showed actual old footage and footage just made to look old and you really couldn’t tell if it was Teller or the real Vinny Pazienza on the screen. I liked how the boxing sequences were not over dramatized, no mouth pieces flying across the ring, it looked like there was an effort to just keep them as true to the actual fights as possible. I also enjoyed the moments of comedy. For a story full of drama there was a good amount of well-timed comedy, mostly provided by Teller. Visually they did a good job of making the film feel like you were in late 80s and early 90s. There were a couple of slow scenes but overall the film flowed really well.

Overall this was a well done boxing genre movie. Good story, great acting performances and solid directing.