Danny Collins (2015)

Who knew that Al Pacino could sing? Danny Collins (Al Pacino) has been one of the most respected singers of all time. He is much older now, but he is doing everything he can to feel as if he is young. He’s still doing drugs, partying and he is even married to someone is almost forty years younger than him. He is just pretty much enjoying his life and all the accomplishments he has made, even though he hasn’t made any new one’s. This all changes when his manager, Frank (Christopher Plummer) presents Danny with a letter that John Lennon had written him in 1971. This really gives Danny a wake up call and he feels that even with his age, he is ready to do more with his life. He starts by canceling his tour and going back and trying to make amends with his son and his family for being an absent father and grandfather. If they are going to accept Danny, he really needs to clean up his act.

This has been a movie that I have been looking forward to checking out for quite sometime now. I will tell you that it is definitely worth it! Even though everything about this movie is predictable from the start and you know where everything is going, it is still a pleasing and more than satisfying movie that everyone can enjoy. This is just a nice and fun film that is does not try to be more than it is. It tells a nice and inspiring story that anyone who is a fan of music can definitely appreciate and enjoy. This film was not all that long and I don’t think it bored me at all. There is just a lot of sweetness that bringing this movie through and you really can’t find al; that much to complain about.

The acting is very good in this and that is the reason why I think the turnout of this film was so great. Everyone knows how good of an actor Al Pacino is and can be, but we just haven’t seen all that much greatness from him in the past decade. As for Danny Collins, he vies the audience one of the better performances of his career. Everything about him made him a very lovable character and you kept wanting to see more from him. I even thought Annette Bening was really good in this. I recently discovered how good of an actress she was with 2010s, The Kids Are Alright. Even the small role that Christopher Plummer had is very enjoyable. And how can we forget about Josh Peck. C’monn, this guy is from a major Nickelodeon show and I am still wondering why the hell he is in this movie.

Danny Collins is just one of those very predictable, but exciting and inspirational movies that are enjoyable for everyone who watch it. I really enjoyed all the characters and thought they were interesting. In a movie, I love to see a lot of character development and I feel that with Danny Collins, we see plenty of it. This movie can even be pretty heartfelt and emotional at times and that is ok. Whatever was done with this movie was definitely pulled off. Even the soundtrack of this movie is good and you can’t help, but sing the songs when the movie is over. What Danny is trying to do is search for redemption and he does just that in this movie. This is definitely one I recommend you check out, especially if you are a fan of good music.

Overall, Danny Collins may not be the world’s greatest film by any means, but it is one that is very enjoyable and entertaining all the way through. We see tons of great acting and writing. Two thumbs up from me!

Grade= B+ (Very Good!)

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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!)