WHIPLASH Trailer: J.K. Simmons Induces Terror as the Jazz Instructor from Hell

by     Posted 39 days ago

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Fresh off a prestigious TIFF selection, Sony Pictures Classics has released the first Whiplash trailer for writer/director Damien Chazelle’s Sundance award-winning drama.  The film stars Miles Teller as a student jazz drummer who aspires to greatness under a ruthless instructor, played with palpable intensity by J.K. Simmons.  I caught the film at Sundance, and this trailer does a great job of conveying the pic’s tone.  It’s essentially a story about the cost of striving for artistic perfection, but it almost plays out as a small-scale horror film with Simmons wholly embodying the role of a relentless teacher.  Teller does excellent work here as well, and he’s already making plans to reteam with Chazelle on another feature.

Hit the jump to watch the Whiplash trailer, click here to read Matt’s review, and click here to watch Steve’s interview with Teller from Sundance.  Whiplash also stars Paul Reiser and opens in theaters on October 10th.

Emma Watson and Miles Teller May Go Musical for LA LA LAND; Lupita Nyong’o to Lead AMERICANAH; Ike Barinholtz Joins THE NEST

by     Posted 88 days ago

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A couple of interesting casting announcements have surfaced.  First up, director Damien Chazelle—whose dark music-centric drama Whiplash drew raves at Sundance earlier this year—is putting together his next project.  Whiplash, a film about the relationship between aspiring jazz drummer (Miles Teller) and his ruthless instructor (J.K. Simmons), marked Chazelle’s feature debut, and it appears that he wants to stay in the music realm for his follow-up.  The Wrap reports that Miles Teller is in early talks to reteam with Chazelle on the musical La La Land, with Emma Watson in talks to tackle the female lead.  The story follows a lonely, aspiring actress and a cocky, charismatic jazz pianist who fall in love in Los Angeles.  However, they are soon faced with the stiff challenge of navigating a relationship in the cutthroat climate of L.A.

Hit the jump for more on La La Land and news regarding a new Lupita Nyong’o project and a Neighbors standout landing the lead in the new Tina Fey/Amy Poehler film.

J.K. Simmons Throws a Chair at Miles Teller in First WHIPLASH Clip

by     Posted 104 days ago

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Ahead of the film’s screening at the Cannes Film Festival, Sony Pictures Classics has released the first Whiplash clip from writer/director Damien Chazelle’s acclaimed drama.  The pic stars Miles Teller as a student jazz drummer who aspires to greatness under a ruthless instructor, played to perfection by J.K. Simmons.  I caught the film at Sundance earlier this year—where it took home both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize for the U.S. Dramatic competition—and found it to be an entertaining and terrifying character study.  I’d go so far as to call it a horror film, as it puts an inventive spin on the “hard-ass instructor/striving-for-perfection student” genre.  This debut clip does an excellent job of conveying the tone of the pic as well as teasing the relationship dynamic between Teller and Simmons.

Hit the jump to watch the Whiplash clip, click here to read Matt’s review, and click here to watch Steve’s interview with Teller from Sundance.  Whiplash opens in theaters on October 10th.

Director Damien Chazelle, Paul Reiser and Austin Stowell Talk WHIPLASH at Sundance 2014

by     Posted 213 days ago

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One of my favorite films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was writer/director Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash.  The film stars Miles Teller as an aspiring jazz drummer who aspires to greatness under a ruthless instructor, played brilliantly by J.K. Simmons.  While the film focuses on musicians, it’s really about anyone trying to become great at something and the cost of achieving said goal.  Trust me, it’s a great movie, and one you’ll be able to see by the end of the year because Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film for domestic distribution.  Whiplash also won both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize for the U.S. Dramatic competition at Sundance.  For more on the film, read Matt’s review.

While at Sundance, I landed a short video interview with director Damien Chazelle, Paul Reiser (who plays Teller’s dad) and Austin Stowell (another drum student).  They talked about the positive reaction to the film, whether the project changed during development, the making of the film, getting it ready for Sundance, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Sundance 2014: WHIPLASH Review

by     Posted 227 days ago

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We know “greatness” demands sacrifice.  It’s blood, sweat, and tears, and if you’re not willing to dish out all three constantly and consistently, then hey, you’re not worthy of your dream.  Physical greatness, the greatness of athletes, for examples, is easily quantifiable.  But when that physicality is blended with musical expression, it becomes something more vague, complex, and fascinating.  Writer-director Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash provides an intense and disturbing exploration of the primal drive to dominate and achieve greatness but at a horrific cost.  Anchored by extraordinary performances from lead actors Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, Chazelle’s film never loses its brooding, unnerving energy even as it stumbles trying to find a fitting crescendo.

John Cusack Plays GRAND PIANO, Jude Law Stars in DOM HEMINGWAY and Liam James Added to THE WAY, WAY BACK

by     Posted 2 years, 107 days ago

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A couple of heavy hitters in casting news today.  Here are the headlines at a glance:

Hit the jump for more on each project.

THE LAST EXORCISM Sequel Moving Forward; Damien Chazelle Writing the Script

by     Posted 3 years, 10 days ago

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Following on the heels of the original’s financial success, a sequel to 2010′s The Last Exorcism is now in the works. Heat Vision reports that Damien Chazelle will pen the script for the follow-up which is scheduled to begin production this fall. Chazelle, a Harvard grad whose debut feature Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench premiered at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, also penned the 2010 Black List script The Claim which was picked up last October. Most recently, the busy scribe sold his thriller screenplay Grand Piano to producer Adrian Guerra (Buried) who has Eugenio Mira attached to direct.

As for The Last Exorcism, details are sparse regarding Studio Canal’s sequel.  Director Daniel Stamm’s original was made on a budget of around $1.5 million and took in approximately $62.5 million at the worldwide box office. The pic took a found-footage approach and centered on a preacher who allows a film crew to document his final foray into exorcism land. Those interested can find our review of that film by clicking here.

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