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Tag: Whiplash (1-10 of 18)

J.K. Simmons: The friendly face behind this year's scariest movie villain

“I remember when I first met J.K. Simmons, I just sort of told him, ‘Remember how [frightening] you were in Oz? I want to make that guy look like the teacher in Mr. Holland’s Opus.” —Whiplash director Damien Chazelle

Terence Fletcher, the intimidating music teacher in Whiplash, isn’t a sadistic member of the Aryan Brotherhood, like Oz‘s Vern Schillinger. But for Miles Teller’s high-school drum prodigy, Fletcher is practically evil incarnate, a bully whose primary methods of motivation are tossing chairs and playing cruel psychological mind games. He wants his school’s jazz ensemble to be the best in the country, and woe to the student who thinks his best is good enough. There simply is no good enough for Fletcher.

J.K. Simmons has the gift of ease, which makes Fletcher all the more terrifying. You could imagine another actor overdoing it—ranting like an actor playing a madman. A caricature. But Simmons makes Fletcher even more real because of the coolness behind the cruelty. He has these bulging biceps and a bald head, but it’s those eyes—sometimes calculating, sometimes impassive—that are the most frightening. One inscrutable look from him, and even the audience will slouch down in their seats and hope he doesn’t call on them. READ FULL STORY

J.K. Simmons toys with Miles Teller in 'Whiplash' clip

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When director Damien Chazelle was in high school in Princeton, N.J., he played drums in his school’s highly competitive jazz ensemble, which was led by an intense conductor who ruled with an iron fist.

“Drums had always been like a fun hobby for me, and for four years, when I was in that ensemble, it became just a source of constant dread and just terror and anxiety,” the 29-year-old director said last winter at the Sundance Film Festival, where his film Whiplash won top prizes. Practicing constantly, under mental if not physical duress, left scars that were still raw when Chazelle decided to write Whiplash. ”This was the most personal thing I’d ever written, and I put it in a drawer for awhile,” he said. ”I was almost embarrassed to show it because it seemed like exposing a part of myself that I didn’t really want exposed.”

The writer/director admits he still has nightmares—nightmares that audiences can understand after meeting J.K. Simmons’s music teacher in Whiplash. Mr. Holland he is not.

In this exclusive scene from the film, which opens in theaters Oct. 10 after recent screenings at the New York Film Festival, Miles Teller’s eager drum prodigy meets the school’s revered conductor, a man who can make or break his future. In a romantic-comedy, this scene might be termed the meet-cute. But in this tense drama, it immediately sets the unsettling tone for the clash of wills to follow.  READ FULL STORY

'Foxcatcher,' 'Mr. Turner,' and 'Whiplash' join New York Film Festival lineup

The New York Film Festival announced its Main Slate selection of films today, revealing the 27 movies that will join gala screenings of Gone Girl, Inherent Vice, and Birdman when the 52nd festival begins on Sept. 26. The list includes honored films from Cannes, including Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, David Cronenberg’s Map to the Stars, and Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, as well as Sundance’s big winner, Whiplash.

“In this year’s lineup, we have great big films alongside films made on the most intimate scale, personal epics and intricately constructed chamber pieces, films of great serenity and films that leave you dazed, first films and last films, all equally vivid, alive, and essential,” said Kent Jones, the festival director, in a statement. “Taken altogether, this year’s Main Slate reminds me, all over again, why I love the cinema so much, and it will do the same for you.” READ FULL STORY

Miles Teller can't find the right beat in 'Whiplash' trailer

“There are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘Good job.'”

That’s the fault line on which writer/director Damien Chazelle has built Whiplash. His Sundance sensation stars Miles Teller as a jazz-drum prodigy who earns the attention of his prestigious school’s notorious music maestro (J.K. Simmons). Is genius simply born, or does it need to be forged? How far is a teacher supposed—or allowed—to go to bring out the best in a student, and what are the risks and consequences for such methods?

In the new trailer for the film, Teller’s Andrew Neyman endures physical and psychological punishment as he fumbles to find the right beat and the right answers. READ FULL STORY

Sundance hit 'Whiplash' snares fall release date

Whiplash, the award-winning Sundance film that stars Miles Teller as an aspiring jazz drummer at the mercy of J.K. Simmons’ tyrannical music teacher, will open in theaters Oct. 10. The film, written and directed by Damien Chazelle and championed by producers Jason Blum and Jason Reitman, was based on Chazelle’s short of the same name and went on to win two top prizes at Sundance. Reitman described the movie as “Shine meets Full Metal Jacket,” and Simmons’ performance as a terrifying bully of a mentor is one that could garner award consideration. Sony Pictures Classics’ decision to release the film in October, as opposed to the summer, certainly helps his candidacy.

Click below to see a clip of Simmons in action: READ FULL STORY

'Whiplash' clip: J.K. Simmons throws a chair at Miles Teller -- VIDEO

Where is the line between genius and madness — and should greatness be nurtured gently, like a beautiful flower, or forged under relentless, crushing pressure, like a perfect diamond? Those are the questions at the heart of Whiplash, the Sundance award winner about a jazz-drummer prodigy (Miles Teller) whose dreams are in the hands of his school’s intense music teacher (J.K. Simmons).

Director Damien Chazelle based the story on his own high-school music trauma, and this scene perfectly captures the mental and physical abuse that Simmons’ character, Terrence Fletcher, wields at his students. The film’s title refers to a jazz composition composed by Hank Levy, but it may as well refer to the damage inflicted by Fletcher in this scene.  READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2014: 'Whiplash' takes home Grand Jury and Audience Awards

Whiplash, director Damien Chazelle’s story of a young jazz drummer, took home both the U.S. Grand Jury and Audience Dramatic awards at the Sundance Film Festival awards Saturday night. The film grew out of a short from Chazelle that won the Short Film Jury Award at Sundance in 2013.

Rich Hill, a story about a community in rural Missouri, won the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury award and Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory, about how music can help dementia patients, won the U.S. Audience Documentary award. Co-screenwriters Craig Johnson and Mark Heyman were honored with the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for The Skeleton Twins, starring Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. Cutter Hodierne won the U.S. Dramatic Award for Direction for Fishing Without Nets, his first feature film. The Prop 8 documentary The Case Against 8 brought home the U.S. Documentary Award for Direction for directors Ryan White and Ben Cotner. The Angelina Jolie-produced film about Ethiopia, Difret, won the Audience Award in the World Dramatic Competition.

Husband and wife hosts Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally brought the sexual innuendo and a ukulele to the ceremony in Park City, Utah, where this year’s crop of 186 independent films were celebrated. Presenters included Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Tracy Chapman, and film critic Leonard Maltin.

Check out the full list of winner’s below. You can also watch the replay of the awards ceremony, which streamed live on YouTube.
READ FULL STORY

Sundance 2014: With tons of movies sold, the lack of a mega deal was no big deal

I can testify that when you go to a film festival, and someone inquires about how the movies were that year, the answer you end up giving — “Really terrific!” “Lousy!” “They were okay!” — is often dictated by exactly one movie. If you saw something that totally knocked you out, the sort of film that you think is going to get major play in the real world, and you’re already dusting off a place on your 10 Best list for it, then that one movie can determine your entire perception of the festival. That’s what happened to me last year at Sundance when I saw Fruitvale (they hadn’t added the Station yet). The fact that you’ve witnessed a certified home run makes the festival feel to you, in hindsight, like…well, a baseball game in which your team hit a home run. It’s more than a good movie; it’s why you came — to see an unheralded filmmaker knock one out of the park. A single movie that rocks your world can define, year in and year out, the Sundance experience — the reason that a festival like this one exists. Some of the films I’ve seen at Sundance that have had that effect include Crumb (1995), Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), I Shot Andy Warhol (1996), Buffalo 66 (1998), The Blair Witch Project (1999), Chuck & Buck (2000), Wet Hot American Summer (2001), American Splendor (2003), Capturing the Friedmans (2003), Thirteen (2003), Hustle & Flow (2005), Precious (2009), and Fruitvale (2013). READ FULL STORY

Miles Teller offered role of Dan Aykroyd in John Belushi biopic

Miles Teller—the in-demand star of The Spectacular Now, the upcoming Divergent franchise, and this month’s Sundance opener Whiplash—has been offered the role of Dan Aykroyd in the upcoming biopic of John Belushi, EW has confirmed. Emile Hirsch is set to star as the late comedian, with Steve Conrad writing and directing, and Aykroyd on board as executive producer. Teller’s rep says that the actor is going to hold off on making a final decision until he finishes promotional duties for That Awkward Moment, a rom-com with Zac Efron and Michael B. Jordan that opens in U.S. theaters on Jan. 31.

The Hollywood Reporter first revealed that Hirsch broke the casting news on Saturday night at a Sundance party for the Creative Coalition. “A shout-out to Miles Teller!” he reportedly told the room, where Teller was in attendance. “We’re going to be working together soon. He’s playing Dan Aykroyd in the Belushi movie.”

Meanwhile, Sony Pictures Classic snapped up distribution rights to Whiplash for just under $3 million on Friday.

'Whiplash' stars Miles Teller and Paul Reiser talk about their buzzy Sundance movie

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Fresh off their festival-opening premiere, 28-year-old director Damien Chazelle, and actors Miles Teller, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist, and Auston Stowell dropped by EW’s Sundance Lounge to chat about their buzzy new film Whiplash.

Teller and Chazelle described the prep work the 26-year-old actor (who also has a role in the upcoming Divergent movie) had to put in on the drums to play his character Andrew Neiman, a brilliant, driven young jazz drummer under the tutelage of an abusive maestro played by J.K. Simmons. (EW’s Owen Gleiberman describes the film as “a jazz version of the very good inside-classical-music drama Mr. Holland’s Opus crossed with a drill-sergeant-from-hell classic like An Officer and a Gentleman, with Simmons in the Lou Gossett Jr. role.”) READ FULL STORY

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