Feb 22, 2015

Whiplash, 2014

Whiplash, 2014
Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Miles Teller, J.K.Simmons, Melissa Benoist

Stage: Home Cinema Complex :), later again on Ipad, and again on Ipad.

My personal rating: 9,5 (a masterpiece - you need to watch this!)
Nominated for 5 oscars 2014!

Whiplash in short: A promising young drummer enrolls at a cut-throat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student's potential.

Preps: I read an article about this movie and wanted to watch it. Normally I would watch all the Oscar nominees, try to evaluate them before they are judged and praised and try to guess who will be the winner in the most prominent categories. Plus, I am keen on movies that include some kind of classical approach to music, preferably classical music. This one involves jazz, not my favorite piece of pie, however I suspected it would have great music pieces within.

Reality: It hits you like a knife in your stomach. Not only the music. It is brilliant, as I suspected. With hit in the stomach, I mean the story. It involves so many young people, trying to achieve something extraordinary in life, something that would leave their watermark on the planet. Like so many people already did. Einstein, Mozart, Ingemar Stenmark, Marie Curie, Alexander Bell.. there are many people everyone knows and it's this man's dream to achieve something remarkable. To be the best drummer in the world. Better than anyone ever up to this point.

He does have this aim and vision of his life. Submerges everything he knows to this goal. Dismisses the girlfriend, tries to win some attention in his family, but doesn't, practices day and night and works his ass off to be accepted in the orchestra the way he thinks they should accept him. Is subtle and doesn't raise attention, because all he does is either listens to music or plays the beat.

The lessons learned are hard yet he maintains his head above the water. His relationship with his teacher turns into something larger than WW2, as the nazi approach of Fletcher pushes him beyond his limits.  And sometimes brings out the best out of him. And turns this movie into a hyper impulsive beat, with the last concert played into a movie vibrato.
Beautiful. From the first to the last second. I truly enjoyed these interpretations of jazz music and the urge to succeed at any cost. Fletcher's excuse is that he needs to put his students into misery and press them anyway he can, because only that will bring them to the point where they will excel. The price of this kind of success is immense. Not only possible suicides, depressions, etc, that students would normally have with this kind of treatment. Plus, one in ten thousand really does it. Or one in hundred thousand or even million. It is even more beyond belief how many people it takes to fail for one person to succeed.

Tonight is the Oscar night. I hope Simmons wins for the supporting role. He really deserves it.
Strong recommendation - watch it and think about it :) It could straighten your priorities in life.

Jan 25, 2015

The Imitation Game, 2014

The Imitation Game, 2014
Director: Morten Tyldum
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthey Goode

Stage: Cineplexxx Kranj

My personal rating: 8,0

The Imitation Game in short: During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians.

Preps: It is a popular time for biographies on scientists and I have been expecting this one for some time. I have studied some computer and internet history and it is in that time, with this man, that the first grandfather of today's computers was made. Therefore I was expecting to see some really cool insights. Plus, 6 Oscar nominations and Bletchley park reconstruction from the darkest days of WWII >> definitely a must see. 

Reality: The biography is normally portrayed from the beginning to the end or focused on the most important part of one's life. There are several cases where it has been done a bit differently and The Imitation Game is definitely one of them. Tyldum jumps from one part in Thuring's life to another (the youth; the cryptographic part during the WWII; the "after" - meaning the life right after WWII).

We are taken deep into the happening of decriptanalyst team in Bletchley park at that time. Unfortunately the movie lacks portraying what this institution stood for and who was working there, as it was filled with gifted individuals, engineers and people who all influenced science as we know it today (see more here). The director assumes we all know what this is, so in my opinion he could have spent some movie footage on that part, instead of definite focus on Thuring's sexual orientation and post WWII life. I also felt some technical details regarding Enigma and the way it worked would be something I expected seeing here, as well as the solution to the problem. Apart from that it was extremely interesting to see the giant Christopher (or later known as Ultra), as I would gladly like to travel there and if possible, see the reconstruction of this amazing machine. The movie inspires and makes you either travel there and see these sites or participate in something as amazing as this and make a difference in life.

Bletchley Park - the Mansion; founded in 1938

Next to Bletchley park and the happening there we got a sneak peek into Turing's childhood in a school for young boys, as well as post-Enigma life, after the WWII. It isn't a surprise that the top secret government team was dismissed and were obliged never to see each other again, and I would love to see the way the characters evolved after this project. Instead of this, the director decided to bring up the gay perspective and social problems one would definitely have in that time, should he have the "wrong" sexual orientation.
I believe it is something that could easily be spared and elaborated in the next movie and instead of this, it could be orientated towards the Enigma itself and resolving the greatest puzzle in the world. So the spectator could walk out with mind set on puzzles, cryptography and less on the fact that Turing was gay.

I believe that in many cases the director turns his eye towards some other social perspectives or issues that he personally feels need to be resolved or even thought of when making a movie. Putting it into the right scenography, photography, costumography and yes, ideals of the society in a certain period. Or issues in this case. It is just a shame that this takes the focus out of the most important thing here, resolving Enigma and the way they did it.

I am not neglecting the crucial part that social nonacceptance of sexual orientation at that time period played in Turing's life. It was a death sentence for Turing to receive hormonal therapy to cure his orientation and afterwards probably led to his suicide. Even more, his work and scientific achievements weren't praised until very recently. (more on Turing here)

We could all adapt some entities of the "fine" mathemathical way, which Turing used to express his everyday thoughts and feelings. Even though it means you can lose some so called friends, because you don't treat them so incredibly nice any more and you are not afraid to tell it directly. And.. if you want an answer, do pose a question and don't assume :D