Friday, October 31, 2014


Indiefest:  Whiplash (2014) R A promising young drummer, Andrew (Miles Teller), is promoted to the top jazz band at a music conservatory.  He seems to have the world by the tale: a cute girlfriend (Melissa Benoist), a supportive father (Paul Reiser) and an immense talent. But Andrew’s dream gig turns into a nightmare due to the band’s nightmare of a leader (J.K. Simmons).  The two leads of this film, Teller and Simmons, give amazing, unbelievable performances that are both gut wrenching and sometimes terrifying. This film is almost a horror film about music as the band leader played by Simmons puts Andrew through some of the most sadistic mind controlling sessions that are both moving and believable. Teller is perfect in the role and shows us a range of emotion that is necessary for this movie to hits its emotional marks. Teller is vulnerable, and yet we sense that this is a young man who will be able to fight back when needed. Simmons gives us an Oscar worthy performance as the man who will do anything to ensure that his music is played exactly the way he envisioned it. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again   Whiplash Website
Indiefest: White Bird in a Blizzard (2014) R  When Kat (Shailene Woodley) is 17 years old, her mother (Eva Green) disappears. The husband (Christopher Meloni) is left shattered, wondering what he did to make her leave. Kat tries to figure out her place in the world without her mother to help her. Part mystery, part coming-of-age film, Kat must figure out, with the help of friends (Gabourey Sidibe and Mark Indelicato)and her psychiatrist (Angela Bassett), how she feels about her mother, someone with whom she didn't always get along. But Kat also slowly puts together that her mother's disappearance may be due to more than just an unhappy housewife wanting to leave. Woodley gives us her first real adult performance as a woman who, while still channeling a young person, is trying to become an adult, with all the responsibilities and feelings that go along with it. Eva Green, who plays the mother (mostly shown in flashbacks), gives us another multi-layered role as the housewife who may have a secret or two. Christopher Meloni is exceptionally cast as the milquetoast father, and I especially enjoyed Gabourey Sidibe as Kat's best friend. But, this is Woodley's movie, and she carries it off with ease.  My Rating: Full Price  White Bird in a Blizzard Website
Indiefest: Nightcrawler (2014) Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) stumbles across a career he never knew existed, freelance news cameraman. Once he learns the ropes, he chases the sirens to the crashes with the best of them. Selling footage of crime scenes and multi-car crashes is big money, and Lou will stop at nothing to get his shot. Gyllenhaal is incredible as the obsessed Lou, making him one of the creepiest characters ever on the screen. I loved Rene Russo as the news director who encourages Lou to push the boundaries. My Rating: I Would Pay to See it Again  Nightcrawler Info  
Indiefest:  Horns  (2014) R  Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) has been accused of killing his longtime girlfriend (Juno Temple). Even his family doesn’t know if he did it, and it gets worse - he starts sprouting horns from his temples. I enjoyed this movie far more that I thought I would. It's a little bizarre and goes overboard with the symbolism, but it's a fun ride as a murder mystery with a bit of fantasy thrown in. Radcliffe is growing as an actor, and this film let him expand his repertoire a bit. He is right for this part as a man who has a girlfriend who is a little out of his league. The best performance of the film is Juno Temple, playing the sweet girlfriend, who lets us slowly see that she has a lot more going on that what appears on the surface.  The film does a good job of mixing mystery with fantasy, which makes it an enjoyable film to see.   My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Horns Website
Forgotten Film:  Flatliners (1990) R A group of medical students decide to explore what it's like to "flat line," i.e. die.  This is a well thought out thriller that starred some of the hottest young talent in Hollywood, including Julia Roberts, Oliver Platt, Kimberly Scott, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin and Kiefer Sutherland. The film becomes intriguing when the students start trying to "one-up" each other, staying dead longer and longer, all to better explore the experiences of the "after-life."   My rating: Bargain Matinee  Flatliners Info  
In Case You Missed it (A new release on DVD / BluRay): Into the Storm (2014) PG-13  This is a fun ride that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The dialogue is bad, and the acting mediocre, but the specials effects are cool. I mean, who doesn’t want to see a tornado made of fire?  My Rating: Bargain Matinee  Into the Storm Website   

Weird Credits: From the credits of Horns: snake handler

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You:  Rosewater (2014)   Comedian Jon Stewart makes his directorial debut with this film about a Newsweek journalist (Gael Garcia Bernal) who is held in Iranian prisons for over 100 days accused of being a spy for the West. The film is gaining a lot of momentum on the Film Festival circuit.  Rosewater Facebook page
Until Next Time!

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