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Whiplash

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

How does a movie like Whiplash even get made in 2014? It's tightly focused on two characters, with little room for subplots or "best friends." Both of the characters are fairly unsympathetic, and neither has any kind of redemption. Neither of the actors belong to what you'd call the "A" list. Miles Teller is probably the best actor under 30 today, although when Hollywood gets ahold of him, he is usually given supporting parts in junk like Divergent. J.K. Simmons is one of our great character actors, probably put to best use as gruff newspaperman J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films, but rarely given a shot like this. Yet no matter how it was done, with Whiplash, director Damien Chazelle, himself an untested outcast, has put together one of the fall's most bracing and most thoroughly satisfying movies. Teller stars as Andrew, a jazz drummer who attends one of the most prestigious music schools in New York. More...

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If you're thinking of seeing Fury, why not check out Samuel Fuller's somewhat similar masterpiece The Big Red One?

The Big Red One: The Reconstruction (2004)

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