Saturday, 24 January 2015

Whiplash (2014) - ★★★★★

Whiplash has been nominated for 5 "Academy Awards" this year, including for "Best Picture." It is nominated alongside 7 other films, each very memorable in their own right. For a film with quite a small-scale story, Whiplash has rightfully emerged as one of the biggest films of 2015. 


It doesn't have the panoramic cinematography of "American Sniper," but it has an intensity that matches it. It doesn't contain the moving true story that "The Imitation Game" or "The Theory of Everything" does, yet it's every bit as interesting to watch. I think the ace up Whiplash's sleeve is the ICONIC performance of J.K. Simmons. While the other "Best Picture" nominees each contain their own wonderful performances by an array of great actors, J.K. Simmons managed to create something unforgettable with his role. This is a truly intense movie that is both entertaining and cringe-inducing. It won't win "Best Picture", but I would be cheering the loudest if it did. 
You can just feel the electricity in the room crackle between Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. 

Whiplash follows Andrew (Miles Teller), a young drummer who is enrolled at the best music conservatory in America. He is mentored by Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), a great musician and teacher whose teaching methods are so cruel they're borderline torturous. 


The reception this film received from critics has been insanely good. It scored an 88/100 on Metacritic, and 8.7/10 on IMDB (averaged score from 52,115 users). That doesn't surprise me. There's never a dull moment. Something worth mentioning is that this film isn't too complicated for the average movie-goer, and it isn't juvenile in the slightest for those looking for thought-provoking drama and entertainment. 

While I personally find this film flawless, I don't believe it's a "grand" enough film to beat out the big Hollywood productions this year. I'll explain why I believe it is a worthy film to win. 



Miles Teller gives arguably the most underrated performance of 2015 in Whiplash. The drive and ambition within his character, his fear of failure, the battle between feeling contempt and admiration for his mentor... all of these complex emotions were portrayed flawlessly by Teller. I consider him to be one of the best young actors around. I can think of one "Best Actor" nominee this year that isn't as worthy of a nomination.

J.K. Simmons for me has given the best performance of 2015 that I've seen so far. There are great performances that make me find hundreds of words to describe them. Then, every now and then, I will find a performance that is so good that I am just speechless to even justify why. Simmons has to be seen to be believed. What he did with his manic character Fletcher will be seared into my memory for as long as I can remember movies. 



The electric atmosphere remains constant throughout the film, making it feel almost as if the whole film is a climax. Practically everything was a high-point to me. The world within that music conservatory made me gain so much respect for young musicians trying to become something big.

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, I'll answer the big questions. Yes, Whiplash is a worthy film to win "Best Picture," but it just won't win against the more popular films. J.K. Simmons should also win Best Supporting Actor, if the show isn't rigged. He is hands down the greatest of the nominees. However, I don't think Whiplash stands a chance at winning Oscars for "Adapted Screenplay," "Editing," and "Sound Mixing." 

Whiplash is a great film that any lover of cinema should enjoy. 


Sunday, 23 November 2014

A Million Good Reasons To Return To Writing Reviews!

I've recently found out that I have reached over 1,000,000 views on my humble blog. Thanks to the readers, old and new, who have made this possible and helped me get my opinions on cinema out there.

Because of this milestone, I've decided to come back to the old blog and start writing reviews again. I miss mingling with you all, and keeping this site as a personal diary of films I adore and films I will avoid at all cost.

Thanks again everyone. I'm so happy to be back again :)

The Maltese Falcon (1941) - ★★★★★

Director: John Huston
Writers: John Huston (Screenplay), Dashiell Hammett (Novels)
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, Gladys George, Barton MacLane, Ward Bond, Elisha Cook Jr.

Believe it or not, this is the first time I've ever seen the masterpiece that is The Maltese Falcon. I've seen a lot of classic films that are hyped up to be something better than they really are. This happens to be a film with a high reputation that is fully justified, and if anything, underrated. I'd give it a perfect 10/10. It has complex characters and simple characters, moments of sharp wit and dry humour, truly incredible cinematography, and a story that keeps you guessing and begging for more. I found myself utterly wrapped in the mystery of the missing maltese falcon statue. Truly, it was the whirlwind performances by Bogart, Astor, Lorre, and Greenstreet which made the movie as legendary as it is.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Annabelle (2014) - Read my review here!

Long time, no see! If you're interested in horror movies, or are planning to see Annabelle, then you should read my article first.

http://moviefinatic.com/articles/movie-review-annabelle-2014

Thursday, 31 July 2014

BIG NEWS

To my faithful readers and those just passing by,

I have big news. I am now writing for a new website called: ' SUBLIMEZOO.COM '

I deal exclusively with movie reviews, particularly with the new releases. It's a really cool site that dishes out all kinds of entertainment news to do with the world of cinema. If you want a taste of what kind of reviews I'll be doing, you can read my very first one here:

http://sublimezoo.com/2014/07/30/movie-review-22-jump-street-proves-that-sequels-can-do-it-better/

It's a review of the film '22 Jump Street.'

I will keep my blog, "The Movie Man," alive because... the sentimental value is too great. I truly loved the time I spent writing for you guys. The comments I've received and the friends I've made here has been such a joy.

I hope you can all support me, and read my reviews on Sublime Zoo. I haven't changed a thing about the way I write. I'm still The Movie Man, just on a different platform now.

Seriously, thank you all for making blogging one of the greatest experiences of my life. This is just a new chapter in my journey, and I hope you can all continue it with me.

Thanks again,

Ben 'The Movie Man."

Sunday, 22 June 2014

El Orfanato "The Orphanage" (2007) - ★★★★

Director: J.A. Bayona
Writer: Sergio G. Sanchez (screenplay)
Stars: Belen Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Princep

I rented The Orphanage, expecting to be scared out of my wits. I did not expect it to be one of the most touching horror films I've ever seen. It holds a very dear place in my heart now, for it is one of only two horror films that has ever made me shed a tear (the other being Hideo Nakata's stunning Japanese horror, Dark Water) (2002). It's the kind of movie that spends most of its time creating such a stunning, perfect atmosphere. With this atmosphere, there is no need for cheap scares and thrills. The suspense was constant for me. While The Orphanage was suspenseful, it made me scream out loud only once (and trust me, I scream many times during most horror films). So it isn't all that horrifying, but the story, the acting, the music, the cinematography... every other aspect in this film truly captivated me. I really enjoyed The Orphanage. It's one of the best "horror" films I've seen in many years.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

10 Film Facts You Didn't Know About Me

1. The Land Before Time is a childhood favourite of mine. I work in a child-care, and I watched it with a new generation of children. They were all enthralled! Meanwhile, I had to turn away because I got overly emotional and had to fight back tears. 


The Land Before Time (1988)

2. I truly enjoy watching "Twilight." It took me out of the depressing world of high school, and to this day I still think it's a good film. I guess it is my guiltiest pleasure of all.


3. James Franco is a good actor, but for some reason, I don't like him as a person. He annoys me so much! 
James Franco everybody...

4. The only film I've ever walked out on was "Paul Blart: Mall Cop." I found it so unfunny that it aggravated me. It was my 14th birthday too. There's only so much "fat guy gets hurt" humour I can take, until it becomes as irritating as the sound of nails scraping a chalkboard.



5. I think Studio Ghibli is a vastly superior animation company to Disney, because of their quality of stories, scores, and even animation. Few Disney films stand up with the best of Ghibli.

A collection of some of the works from Studio Ghibli.
6. Two directors are notorious for their disturbing actions in the past. Woody Allen, and Roman Polanski. I tend to hold the viewpoint that "talent is talent," and these men have talent. I don't agree with their actions... but I love their films. 



7. The first gay film I ever saw was an Aussie film called "The Sum of Us," starring Russell Crowe. I was 6 years old, and it was my first time seeing two men kiss. I can't even describe just how obsessed I was with that film. It was an important part of my life.

Russell Crowe and Jack Thompson in "The Sum of Us." Love these Aussie legends <3
8. Glenn Close is in my opinion the most underrated actress of all time. As much as I adore actresses like Bette Davis and Meryl Streep, I feel Close deserves just as much praise. 



9. The score to the film "Monster" (2003), by Brian Transeau  is one of the most moving pieces of music I've ever heard. No other score captures the feelings of heart-ache and depression quite like this underrated masterpiece. 

Theron's performance, and Transeau's score, moved me to tears. Such a powerful, underrated film.
Listen to the score in the video below:


10. The film "United 93" devastated me to the point where my hands were shaking, and I couldn't even talk because I was so overcome with emotion.

I wasn't aware of what would happen at the end of United 93. I've never been so affected by a film in my life.


There you go guys. These are just some random facts about myself. I will try to do this at least once a month, so you can get to know me more as I review films. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Divergent (2014) - ★★★½

Director: Neil Burger
Writers: Evan Daugherty, Vanessa Taylor (Screenplay), Veronica Roth (Novel)
Stars: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet

I've seen so many YA (young-adult) films in the past 6 years, that they're all starting to blend in together and fade out of my memory. I disliked almost every modern YA movie I've seen during this period of time, because they're more silly than entertaining, they're poorly acted, poorly written, poorly produced, and quite frankly, poor excuses for films. While there are a few exceptions, like The Hunger Games (2012), this whole genre, whether they be book or film, stinks to high heaven with a lack of originality.

Divergent is a silly film.  Yet, I find its characters are interesting, the cast is brilliant, the soundtrack is unique, the set-production/cinematography is good, and most importantly, it's consistently entertaining. These critiques alone make Divergent stand as one of the best YA films made in recent years.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) - ★★★★½

Director: Wes Anderson
Writers: Stefan Zwig (inspired by the works), Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness (Story)
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Murray, Mathieu Amalric, Edward Norton... and many more.

The Grand Budapest Hotel gave me one of the grandest experiences I've ever had at the cinema. It's stunning to look at, pleasing to listen to, and filled with characters that tickled my funny bone from start to finish. It reminded me a lot of Grand Hotel (1932), a classic that starred many of Hollywood's greatest actors of that time. Except it contained Anderson's flare for tongue-in-cheek humour, and over-the-top set production and style. I truly loved this film, and I loved seeing many of my favourite actors take turns in bringing their own personal flare to the screen. It's films like this that ignite my passion for cinema. You can tell that it's a labour of love, and a film that may just stand the test of time.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Noah (2014) - ★★★

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writers: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel
Stars: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Anthony Hopkins, Douglas Booth

I look back on Noah with fondness. It's hard to explain why, but I feel nothing but warmth towards this film after having seen it. Noah is far from a perfect film. It had an absolutely stellar first half, and an absolutely shit second half. They almost balance each other out, but I'd say the greatness we witnessed in the first half saved the film from being a bad movie. I don't know what people are talking about when they call this an 'epic.' Let me clarify... I don't think this is an epic film. The special effects and story itself is grand, that's for sure. However, the small cast and medium length running time just puts it into the category of 'big budget production.' Never the less, it was an entertaining film for the most part. There are things in it that are forgettable, and there are things that are absolutely unforgettable.