Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner is Altman without Altman. The opening scene mimics The Player, albeit it less impressively than the eight-minute long take Altman achieves in his 1992 film. The camera pans back and forth across a chaotic scene of media and politics in overlap. Characters talk over each other, their relative distances from the camera dictating how much we can discern of the conversations.
Crime novel adaptations to the screen seem to not be faring too well. Last year’s The Girl on the Train is the most recent example, but now we have The Snowman to take up the mantle. Let’s just hope that Murder on the Orient Express does some justice to its source material and to the medium of cinema.
The opening number of La La Land, the new musical from Whiplash director Damien Chazelle, is the appropriate first impression of Los Angeles: a gridlocked freeway of cars sitting idle. Only, instead of the frustration and cynicism that would arise from this situation, people burst into hopeful song and dance among the stalled cars. In a rush of agile choreography, a rainbow color scheme, and immense depth staging, a flurry of people dance on hoods and sing of the wonder of Hollywood sunshine.
At the culmination of this tune, we are introduced to Mia (Emma Stone), another hopeful going over audition sides in her car as she waits, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), who honks aggressively at her when she refuses to move once the congestion breaks up.
With the first few scenes, La La Land presents itself as a
Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck), once an army brat raised under the strict militaristic rule of his father, is a crackpot accountant whose Asperger’s syndrome and radical upbringing create an eccentric skill set.
Armed with a poorly-motivated narrative deadline—do the job in time or go to jail—Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) is an analyst in the Treasury Department tasked with finding a “black money” operator who has worked with numerous terrorist cells, a man who is none other than Christian Wolff.
Damien Chazelle’s jazz drama (who would’ve thought those two words would ever be put together?) stars Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. It centers on jazz drummer Andrew (Teller). Andrew studies at Shaffer Conservatory and aspires to be one of the greatest drummers of all time. One day, Andrew is confronted in a practice room by intimidating Conductor Terrence Fletcher Continue reading Whiplash (2014) Movie Review→
2014 was a great year for movies. There were plenty of notable performances across all of this year’s acting categories. I will try to break down who I think will win, who I think deserves to win, and what surprises may occur.