Cinema

The Year in Film

Whiplash

An experience defined by spine-shivering menace, rapid heartbeat, and sheer entertainment, Whiplash is a state-of-the-art film directed beautifully by Damien Chazelle. It also includes a stellar performance by Miles Teller. However, J K Simmons is the major key to stardom for this film. His character, a music teacher named Terrence Fletcher, really instills dread and tests the heart of Andrew, played by Miles Teller. Though Miles Teller offers an elaborate performance, Simmons consistently manages to perfect his character, and at times, even steals scenes from Teller. JK Simmons is sure to march towards Oscar gold following such a brutal and mood killing performance. The chemistry that Chazelle fosters between Teller and Simmons allows for a piece of cinematic adrenalin. It is also interesting to note that Miles Teller had to learn to play the drums for the film. It is evident that his efforts were not just great, but truly awe inspiring. One can feel the tension between Fletcher and Andrew once Fletcher signals Andrew to play. Furthermore, this film displays an appreciation towards the Jazz genre, apparent throughout Teller’s musical performance. The screenplay is also a true wonder, and Chazelle’s mastery of the script does not allow for one cringe-worthy moment during the film. Going in, I really did not expect much from the film. However, I was truly delighted after I watching it. The film succeeds in storytelling and its tempo builds more rapidly as the film progresses, reaching its apex, which is not present in a light-manner. Whiplash is, without a doubt, the long awaited film that restores the theme of struggle in mastering a craft and the developments of characters who face such struggles. Overall, Whiplash is an enticing film. The blood soaked ride will manage to not only entertain the audiences, but will also leave them with hearts pounding, absolutely electrified.

Birdman

Exactly why is it that so many top critics and audience members name Alejandro G. Inarritu’s Birdman the best film of 2014? It is because Birdman is unlike any other film of the year. Its plot and dialogue are excellent, but its sheer originality is what truly captures the audience. The heart of the film lies in its innovation as well as its success in portraying characters. Through Inharritus’ use of one continuous shot in the film, with no cuts or diversion from one scene to another, his directing techniques make evident that he is one of the most pioneering filmmakers of the modern age. The fact that actors such as Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, and Zach Galifianakis could pull of such riveting performances serves to show that this is not another Hollywood money-making film, but rather a work of art that actually deserves box office success and the critical acclaim it has already received. The screenplay is glorious, and because of its elegant structure, the task of indulging into Thomas’ world and possibly even connecting with the situation he is in is an easier one for the viewers. The film is, by no means, a one man show on the part of Keaton, but rather a feast of highly skilled actors playing somewhat disturbed and troubled characters. What must be further discussed is the method by which Inarritu directs. It is the continuous long take that is extremely infrequent in films. His mastery of such a method makes Birdman a film to look forward to as well as a film that should be witnessed with a mind open to critical thought. What allows the film to prosper is its progression of the storyline. The film’s dialogue consists of discussions regarding Thomas’ play, career, and personal life, which allows the film to explore a the conflict of returning from the depths, as well as the pursuit of gratification while attempting to maintain a family.

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The campus newspaper of King's Academy, in Madaba, Jordan. Established 2007.