Aside from Boyhood, no other 2014 film came close to having the emotional impact on me that writer/director Damien Chazelle‘s Whiplash had. After months of waiting for it to play in a nearby theater, I finally had the opportunity to watch the pic earlier this week and I was astounded by it. Believe what you’ve heard about J.K. Simmons‘ performance. He’s fantastic and absolutely Oscar worthy. That said, Miles Teller is every bit his equal as a first year student who is driven to become the best drummer in the world in spite of the all-consuming sacrifice his goal requires.
It may sound unlikely for a film focused on the world of jazz performance to be described as an emotional/psychological powerhouse, but that’s exactly what Whiplash is. The passion, the obsession with greatness, the tireless rehearsal, the mutual hatred/respect that exists between the leads, all of it builds on the viewer over the course of the film in perfect time and with expert precision. The result is a 107 minute piece that rises to a crescendo as cathartic for the viewer as it is for the characters on screen.
But enough of my music metaphors…let’s get to this week’s Top 5:
1. Collider 3.0 Launches!
If you’re reading this then you’ve probably already noticed that things look a little different around the site. On Thursday we unveiled the biggest update that I’ve seen since I started writing here almost five years ago. As with any update, there are bugs to fix and kinks to work out. Nevertheless, I’m thrilled with the new look, proud to be a part of it, and hope that you the reader sees this as a step forward for the site. For more on the new look, features, etc., check out Matt’s nickel tour of the place.
2. MORTDECAI Interviews and Review
I’ve yet to see Mortdecai but I can’t say I’m terribly surprised at its lackluster domestic opening night given that it’s an R-rated adult comedy that isn’t in the vein of a Todd Phillips movie. It may be a fine film, but it’s a tough sell right now. Regardless of its box office draw, if you’re interested in Mortdecai then I encourage you to check out Patrick’s review and Steve’s video interview with Johnny Depp & Paul Bettany. Keep a look out for future video interviews from the film as well.
3. Simon Pegg Co-Writing STAR TREK 3
If we can’t have Edgar Wright directing Star Trek 3 then I suppose this is the next best thing. We learned this past week that Wright’s friend and frequent collaborator Simon Pegg will not only return as Scotty in the third film but that he will also co-write the script alongside Doug Jung. You’ll remember some of Pegg’s previous co-writes include Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End each of which is pretty damn good. After a rough (Bob Orci filled) start, things are looking better and better for Star Trek 3.
4. THE X-FILES Returning to Fox?
I hate to admit that I’ve watched a very limited amount of The X-Files in my life. In fact, I’m downright ashamed. Rest assured that it’s on my pop culture bucket list and that beautiful collector’s box set collecting every episode will one day be mine. In the interim, the best I have to offer is that Fox seems to be entertaining the idea of bringing the beloved series back to television (perhaps as a limited series) and I imagine this news is pleasing to fans who would like to wash the taste of The X-Files: I Want to Believe from their palette.
5. THE BOY NEXT DOOR Interviews and Review
Whereas Mortdecai found a rough landing on opening night, director Rob Cohen’s The Boy Next Door has already earned back its approximately $4 million production budget and then some. Based on Perri’s film review, I’ll attribute this success primarily to the fact that the general populace would rather see two great looking people engage in a forbidden affair than a mustached Johnny Depp act goofy about stolen art. Here’s one example of a time where I couldn’t agree with the general populace more. For more on The Boy Next Door, check out Sheila’s text interviews with Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman & John Corbett, and Rob Cohen.