Bridge Of Spies (2015)

Spielberg strikes again! During the time of The Cold War, a New York lawyer, James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks) is caught up with the CIA and is involved with a serious mission that involves him to negotiate with the Soviet Union. His mission: Work out a trade for the United States that involves captures United States pilot for a captured Russian spy that the United States have. Donovan goes to Berlin so he can try to work this out and make this a clean, done deal. The Soviet spy is Rudolph Abel (Mark Rylance). Donovan defended Abel in court and even though he knows he is a good guy, he still understands that this trade needs to be done for his country. Is Donovan, a New York lawyer who is clearly not trained for this kind of thing able to pull this off and get our captured pilot back without harm?

It is quite obvious that Spielberg is at the point of his career where he just wants to direct movies that he has a serious interest in, good or bad. We have clearly seen that with Bridge Of Spies and also Lincoln. The two definitely remind you of each other and it is pretty obvious that he is interested in older American history. The thing that I loved about this movie is that it really keeps you interested with the story. There is nothing boring or dull about this at all and you are always invested in this. This is also a very tense film that can sometimes have you on the edge of your seat, especially when deals are being worked out.

The acting in Bridge Of Spies is pretty fantastic. Tom Hanks once again proves why he is one of the best in the business. A lot of credit for this movie has to go to the writers. I think this was very well written and I knew going into this that it would be because of the Coen brothers. I did not really know all that much that Matt Charman has written, but knowing the Coen brothers were behind this, meant that it would be great. And that’s the thing about this movie. Yes, it is a really good film that tells an interesting and intriguing story, but it will not be one that the world looks at and says is another Spielberg masterpiece.

The greatest thing about Bridge Of Spies is that it is pretty much two movies combined into one.  I do however, believe that this movie is going to be one of the better ones that we will see this year. Does that mean it is going to win a bunch of Oscars? Certainly not, but this is a movie that I think will have quite a few nominations. Even though this movie is not absolutely terrific, it still gives us an entertaining and often engaging film that constantly keeps you interested. I love how Spielberg is finally at the point where he can do whatever he wants with film and he is choosing to do movies that he has a genuine interest in. It’s really working out well for him and if you are a fan of him, then this is one you don’t want to miss.

Overall, Bridge Of Spies, though not a perfect film, is still one that is terrifically acted film, entertaining and often interesting story. This will not be one of Spielberg’s most memorable films, but it is well-worth checking out.

Grade: B+



Whiplash (2014)

Man do I wish played the drums. Looking for a flick that has great acting and the storyline is pretty awesome? Whiplash is the movie for you. Newly admitted to Shaffer Conservatory, student Andrew Neiman, (Miles Teller) wanted to do one thing with his life. That was to become the best drummer there ever was. Andrew is asked to become a part of the main band from Shaffer that goes to all the different competitions. Andrew has one major problem during the film. That is his conductor, Terence Fletcher (JK Simmons) who is nothing but an ass hole. Fletcher breaks his students down and tell them things like, “they are worthless and suck at everything they do.” Andrew does not know how to handle this at first and becomes very affected by it. Whiplash shows us just how people like this can work together on music.

Damien Chazelle is the writer/ director for Whiplash. Chazelle did an excellent job with directing this film. Whiplash was one of my top ten films for the year of 2014. I loved how everything was set up and what came next for Andrew as a jazz drummer. Conductor, Terence Fletcher is a very fearsome man. He will say anything he can to you to lower your self-esteem as a person. He does this because he is looking for the best out of everyone he is teaching at Shaffer. With his very foul-mouthed abuse, he looks to sort out the weak players from the great ones. If you become affected by his criticism, then you do not want to play for him in his band. Don’t even think of playing out of tune. That is probably the number one thing you absolutely cannot do. Fletcher will even go as far as hauling a chair at your head until you play something exactly the way he wants to hear it.

JK Simmons has already received the Golden Globe Award for his performance in Whiplash. The Academy awards are just under a month away and I think it is no question as to whether or not he receives the Oscar. I have always been a fan of Simmons and I think he’s always done some great work, but playing Terence Fletcher was the role of his career. He was absolutely outstanding. Even though his character was written a little like something you would see out of a ridiculous TV show, JK Simmons was definitely the one to watch in this film. Miles Teller is another one to watch out for. He was awesome and even though not having been in much prior to Whiplash, this will definitely open up many new doors for him along his acting career.

Whiplash saved us the best scene for last when Andrew tries to teach Fletcher a little lesson of his own. After watching Whiplash, one may never look at Jazz music or drumming the same way again.

Overall, while Whiplash may not be the best movie ever made. It is definitely enjoyable with great acting and great drumming performances. I definitely recommend giving this one a look.

Grade= B+ (Very Good!)