Whiplash Movie Review

Still of Miles Teller in Whiplash (2014)

What breaks? Well if Fletcher is to be believed, ‘nothing’. Nothing can break an artist from becoming more. There are no lines, there are no limits. ‘Good Job’ is false advertising, there’s plenty more where that came from. Potential is screwed if contentment takes house, so screw contentment. Play hard, take pain, sacrifice anything that doesn’t add. That’s what makes. Who bought that? Well, Neimann did.

I do like this movie. The end is ecstatic. It is gripping in a way that makes me a believer of Fletcher’s teaching methodology, like he is responsible, like Niemann’s talent would have gone in wane if wasn’t for Fletcher’s insistence on pushing the envelope. It’s almost like ‘end justifies means’. Although, this part I don’t agree with.

It is hard to digest that such inconsiderate behavior would be toleratemv5bmtu4otq3mduymv5bml5banbnxkftztgwota2mju0mje-_v1_uy1200_cr8906301200_al_d in one of the premier institutes of the country. It is also maddening of Fletcher to push every one of his students beyond their threshold in search of the next Charlie Parker. His intentions are understandable but its the method he employs that bothers me. Definitely should not be teacher. But if Neimann is the student, the relationship kinda sticks. For the specifics of this dynamic, Fletcher is the necessary evil. Might as well believe it given the whole movie is skewed towards it.

In the first scene itself, Fletcher is established as a top dog, and Niemann knows. If it weren’t for his incessant quest for validation, the master would have had little effect. Their relationship works because they yearn for the same, excellence. Andrew Niemann wants to be remembered, be the greatest musician and Fletcher embodies an understanding of what that entails. He is so fixated on his goal that Fletcher’s tantrums, be it hurling insults, personal and racist, do not deter him away. His devotion was almost believable until he gave up on drumming after expulsion. It kind of reinforces the master’s role in his quest. The elation at the end is only matched by Niemann’s smile after Fletcher’s endorsement, a nod, the only proof he ever desired to affirm that he has made it.

J. K. Simmons does a terrific job. His dialogues are a treat, no matter how vile, they are spot on. The alpha male portrayal of his is strengthened by one sided repartee. Miles Teller is at his best here. His earlier roles have been on lighter note but he did not seem out of place here, totally owned it. This is a terrific piece of work by Damien Chazelle. It is not about Jazz. I am too inept to understand anyways. It is about what it takes to reach the pinnacle of this nasty business as they say. Its brutal and its not for everybody. The end I cannot forget, you’d have to see for yourself to feel the energy. I kinda like caravan better. Totally my tempo. Good Job.

Like Crazy Movie Review

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The movie probably intends to make a believer out of you. That soul-mates do exist and once you find yours, no amount of likability you ever encounter will amount to true love again. It tries real hard to stick to that part, for even Jennifer Lawrence could not sway Jacob away. Well, jokes apart, I did like the movie, especially the actors and acting bit. They seem authentic even though the plot meddles a lot with it. It feels ordinary and like a dream at the same time. The longing silence and unassuming plot are a refreshing change. That’s why it excels.

I am still stuck on the title though. 15 minutes into the movie, we find it inscribed under a chair. Her writing and his receptiveness, does compel us to believe that there is a spiritual connection, far from mere crush. The title fits but after she leaves and is unable to come back, it is not crazy at all. The decisions, whether to continue with their respective careers, finding a partner in the interim, for Jacob to not move to London and their inevitable fight, were all well within reason, somehow pushing towards realism, not crazy. It is not hard to imagine that they would have parted ways if it weren’t for timely rectification of her visa issues.

I find the movie more artsy than reality. It takes liberty in a way, shies away from third party interactions but Anna’s parents did manage to cut into it. It feels plain and raw, the interpretations are our own, they do not stem from the movie, the characters have no say. It’s like two teenagers in their love bubble who face consequences yet are shielded from public opinions. They show considerable maturity in taking decisions yet lack resolve to not comply to visa norms. The other problem is lack of seriousness. Yes, we get that they are passionate but you get married, have a fight and roll back to Simon and Sam. Now, that is crazy. Serious relationship conversations are not much explored but the end does justice to this scarcity. The union for sure is not joyous but it is aching for happiness. The unresolved does make it so but our hope lies in fragments of past that echo happiness and in knowing that they have found each other.

With all its faults, it does make for a good movie, a romantic one at that. I am partial towards Felicity Jones, so that helps. By all means, immerse yourselves in this indie love drama, it is innocent and infectious, it be rude not to.

Concussion Movie Review

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It would be fair to say that Concussion is more about Dr. Bennet Omalu and his discovery than it is about football, its players and their concussion. Any glimpse of football was probably players bashing their heads. Any glimpse of a player was probably his suffering. The mere objective was, “they have to know” and the man to make it happen was Dr. Omalu.

The movie has been consistent on its objective front. It is an outside perspective but an American one. Add science to that perspective and comes forth a Nigerian pathologist who wants America to know that their favorite game is killing their players. The favorite part did help NFL sway people in believing he was non-American and thus an outsider. He probably realised that having a TV set is the same kind of American who’d deny accepting the problem just for the fancy of the game, and he did depart from that idea of America. The idea was to let them know, but he lost that battle. The truth did come out and since he had sowed the seed, he was the voice.

The quote from the movie does summarize it perfectly,

By dying, they speak for the living.
And I speak for them.
That is all I do.

The movie was pleasant. The performance of Will Smith was admirable. The accent perhaps takes the cake. The script did make him the ultimate geek, be it his numerous degrees or his devotion to theoretical explanations. However it lacks drama, rather it was mellow, seemed like a way of life. The threatening NFL was short on the corporate villain. Prema was just a comforting voice and their love marriage seemed arranged by church.

If you were expecting something more than “just knowing”, you’d be dissapointed. It fails to break free into full blown war between NFL and Omalu, even though it was hinted at by Dr. Bailes. His wife, Prema’s miscarriage after being stalked has little back story and that in addition to FBI invading his boss, was too fast paced for him having left town. There were too many jokes in there to seriously reach that conclusion. Plus, Dr. Omalu’s voice probably did not even go above 70 decibel in the entire movie, or may be it did when he was tearing through that wall.

The saving grace has been its true nature allegedly. It is consistent in its approach. The TRUTH was realised and he came out an AMERICAN. “Let’s solve the problem” was overshadowed by “tell the truth”. It was never about football, but more to do with Dr. Omalu. If you can stomach that you football fanatics, you have a chance at liking this movie but I am not promising anything.

War Horse Review

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War Horse is not just a story, but more precisely a journey that approaches World War I with an outlook more so endearing. It’s a pity that Michael Morpugo’s novel written back in 1982 never came to limelight until now, however much was known to those theater enthusiasts who might have glanced upon the adopted theatrical version of the book, run by National Theater in London since 2007, featuring puppets, as it went on to arrest universal acclaim. Apart from the book, designated as a Steven Spielberg‘s film, the movie flares with well fabricated warfare. It certainly is among the best movies of 2011 and all those who have already listed the best of 2011, need append. Continue reading

500 Days of Summer

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Ever gotten bored doing the same thing over and over, listening to the same concepts of life always, pile of rhetorics buttered with voices where the only difference among them are the damn voices. Well, whatever your answer, you are bound to adore the Indie flick, “500 Days of Summer.”

Let’s hope the preceding lines didn’t throw you off the track.
What I was going for, was to put it out there, the word ‘newness.’ Insanely common it does sound to the majority of us, since we have always wanted a newer beginning, or a newer end, a change of technology and precisely a change of perspective. The idea of ‘newness’ is so alluring that mind genuinely drifts off to a bunch of imaginative glimpses, possibly a creation of our mental research. Although, you might accept that even though you are quick to think and explore this newer perspective that has presented itself, you fail to imbibe it in reality. You cumbered by your own defense mechanism, generate scenarios where the change that you seek would not work, and to discourage yourself is all you Continue reading

INSIDE JOB , an Incredible JOB

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Inside Job, one of the most educational documentaries I have had a change to see, captures the plight of recession in a way that can be processed by a common man. The bubble that led to recession, also led to this movie and definitely, this movie does justice in enlightening the economic crisis in a way that many around the world do not even know. It does not take enough financial background to understand what the movie tries to infer, for the commendable job of Director Charles Ferguson explains each ingredient in the bubble’s recipe, that swept the global economy and  led to the greatest recession witnessed since the Great Depression.

I have tried to highlight some important facts that I took from the movie, in my words for people who still are unaware of the discourse. I would recommend each and everyone to watch the film, since recession affected every single life on the planet and everyone deserves to know the truth. Remember, that incomplete information does not lead to a clear understanding and often postulates incorrect results. Its important to know the true story. So, lets find ourselves an in-depth analysis for clear perception.

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What change has Recession brought?

  • Global recession caused the world over $20 trillion, rendered 30 million people unemployed,
  • Doubled national debt of US

What caused the Recession

  • Massive private gains at public loss attributed to the monopoly of investment banks in the financial sector. The strategies were for higher profits and revenue generation in short interval, not accounting bankruptcy as the final verdict.
  • The bonus system, which payed highly, to the employees working for the investment banks and security insurance agencies as soon as the contracts were signed based on short term profits.
  • The derivatives market which entitled anyone to bet on future contracts, options derived from other form of assets.
  • The competition among Investment banks which further led to riskier loan schemes, especially on houses for everyone, not bothered about the financial standing of the borrower.
  • Faulty rating attributed to the CDO (Collateralized debt obligation) which were to be payed to the investors at last. Even the CDO which investment bank bet would fail were sold to costumers based on high ratings by rating agencies.

Earlier Trends

  • Bankers were prohibited to speculate depositor savings
  • They were tightly regulated, as businesses were partnerships and  these partners who put up the money watched it closely
  • The lenders were mostly local

Earlier instances in history

  • 1982, deregulation of saving and loan companies allowed them to pursue risky investments with the depositors money, caused tax payers their money and many people their life savings.
  • The next crisis came at the end of the nineties, investment banks fulled the massive bubble in internet stocks which was followed by a crash in 2001 that cost 5 trillion dollar in investment losses. Internet companies were promoted which were likely to fail and stock analysts were paid based on how much business they bring in.

Understanding Concepts and Happenings

Securitization food chain

  • Participants in the chain – home buyers, lenders, investment banks and investors. Later, rating agencies and security insurance companies become very crucial.
  • Collateralize debt obligations (CDOs) are derived from fixed income assets. The customer loans were placed in sub-prime loans which were riskier and further, formed major component of the CDO. These CDO were mere payments to the investors. The investment bank earn commission at the time of its issue and since, they added these mortgage payments into the complex CDO, the problem of riskier sub-prime loans seemed diluted.
  • Home buyers borrowed money from local lenders, but as is the trend that mortgage payments are to be payed to local lenders, saw a shift. The payments were forwarded to the investment banks, and then on to the investors as CDO. Thus, the chain is more like a bridge where the two ends are borrowers and investors, but there is no interaction between the two. Thus, the connecting dots are lenders and investment banks, who are practically non existent in the system. They are simply forwarding the money and making profits based on interest rates and maximizing the same for greater forwarded CDO. Thus, To increase the number of CDO, the number of loan borrowers need to be maximized, thus lenders proposed easier loan schemes.
  • Credit Rating Agencies assign ratings to the debt obligations such as CDO which are used by broker-dealers, investors, investment banks and governments. These agencies have been speculated to receive compensation for giving higher ratings to CDO by the Investment banks to lure in customers and investors.
  • Further, Investment banks payed rating agencies which gave most of the CDO good rating, resulting in increase of the number of investors and clients, and hence greater earning on commission on part of Investment banks.
  • Derivative Market – a financial innovation, an unstable 50$ trillion unregulated market. When a person invests in derivative, the underlying asset is usually a commodity, bond, stock, or currency. He bet that the value derived from the underlying asset which can be future contracts or options, will increase or decrease by a certain amount within a certain fixed period of time.
  • The role of security insurance companies was to take quarterly premium from investors to secure their stand if their CDO ever failed. These insurance companies went a step ahead and accepted premiums from third parties such as Investment Banks as well. This became possible because of unregulated derivative market, so if the payments went bad, the company had to pay the third party as well. The investment banks used the derivative market to bet on CDO especially designed to fail, and earn money on it. They did not disclose the information of faulty CDO to their customers or investors.

What Government did wrong

  • The public law that prevented banks with consumer deposits to involve in riskier investments was later changed by “Gramm Leach Bliley Act ” which cleared the way for future mergers such as the formation of Citigroup and other conglomerates.
  • On April 28, 2004, the SEC met to consider leverage limits on the investment banks.
  • Never considered regulating highly risky derivative market.
  • Investment Banks were allowed to manipulate market economics by not levying bar on them as they involved in corruption, unprecedented betting etc.

Who was responsible

  • The entire system of securitization of food chain, that saw the giants of financial services exploiting borrowers money, practically gambling with it to increase their short time earnings and revenue, comprising the long term standing of the company. Also, luring the public into loan schemes, unprotected by Government, not in public interest, and finally dumping them with the burden of unemployment.
  • To buy a home is an American Dream, and does it not bother one when the dream becomes so much real, that everyone can own it. The current financial turmoil that eventually led to the severe global recession, undoubtedly urges people to remain more vigilant, to think harder before putting money into the hands of such companies.

Some Quotes in the movie I found essentially Great

  • When you start thinking that you can create something out of nothing it is very difficult to resist.
  • Recently neuroscientists have done experiments where they have taken individuals and put them into an MRI machine and they have to play a game where the price is money and they noticed that when the subjects earn money, the part of the brain that gets stimulated is the same part that cocaine stimulates.
  • Why should a financial engineer be paid 4 – 100 times more than a real engineer? A real engineer builds bridges, a financial engineer build dreams and you know when those dreams turn out to be nightmares, other people pay for it.

Rockstar Review

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Rockstar is tale of a wanna-be Jim Morrison, who took refuge in walks of pain, draped within his own cubicle, blustered in a long film with little substance. The movie begins at a shopping spree of fans, awaiting Jordan to rampage the stage with rattling music, whilst he for some reason remains occupied with cops, and we thereby register a flashback. Well, not really, more of a fresh start after some soothing music, and the preceding few minutes might just have been a glimpse into the very core of characterization.

The story essentially revolves around Janardhan Jakhar, a naive, unrecognized artist J.J. becoming Jordan, his domineering, implusive self. The transition as shown is no walk in a park, but is rather complicated for a typical heart-inflicted Bollywood movie. Nargis Fakhri playing Heer alongside Ranbir as Jordan, is chronically the pain that J.J. was supposed to bear to find true vigor for art, in perfect agreement with histories of greats, as far as they go. In quick succession, from being friends, to her departure to Prague, and the lonely, family barred J.J. moving through some unsettling time, finding art and reclaiming at last a chance to visit Heer in Prague, are the glimpses that shall pass by within minutes, but in a narrative tone are most structured in the whole story. In-between lie beautiful valleys, snow covered mountains of Kashmir, beautiful music laden Dargha in Delhi that lessens the passing time. However, story after is rather slow, attending heavily to mood-swings and intimate delicacies. The movement for most parts is passive hereafter, with typical Bollywood monologue that caters to their relationship. Disease, touch of magic, mending pain are added benefits by Imtiaz Ali to exceed possible time frame and yet so easily find an unconvincing, lost end.

To not praise A.R. Rahman would be a mistake, for he did very well for the music. The acting department was held high for most parts, however Nargis assisted by a dubbing artist is not all convincing and only in the end does one seem to find some normalcy. On the contrary, Ranbir found himself an exceptional act and character which he justified promptly. The past story which laid more significance seemed rushed, further rushed was romance, while the latter accounted for a misguided end. The most striking distinction in the movie, was of the character, who heart-broken, does not assort to drugs to find solace but is driven by pain, a rather psychological explanation for the extreme rage. Although not explicitly implied, the intrusion of media and sky-rocketing bad conversance of an artist to earn him a bad reputation can be taken upon as a subtle message.

The movie is above average, all credit to its music and fierce acting by Ranbir Kapoor. There are multiple loopholes and as far as the end goes, I for once did think about possibility of a sequel for it ended quite abruptly, but still it was entertainment.
So by all means, go get rocked by the Rockstar in a hard way!