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Patriots Day (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Review)

March 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Peter Berg’s “Patriots Day” is well-made, well-researched, well-acted and felt that the film was a wonderful tribute to the heroes of the Boston Marathon Bombing and not being exploitative.  Highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 CBS Films Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Patriots Day

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 133 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p Ultra High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio), English DTS:X Audio, DTS Headphone:X Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio Optimized for Late- Night Listening SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, Spanish, French

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: R (Violence, Realistically Graphic Injury Images, Language Throughout and Some Drug Use)

RELEASE DATE: March 28, 2017


Directed by Peter Berg

Screenplay by Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Joshua Zetumer

Story by Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson

Producer: Dorothy Aufiero, Dylan Clark, Stephen Levinson, Hutch PArker, Michael Radutzky, Scott Stuber, Mark Wahlberg

Associate Producer: Lauren Downey, Daphne Lambrinou, Joseph J. Micucci, Bo Shen, stephen Stapinski, Shixing Zhou

Executive Producer: Louis G. Friedman, Eric Johnson, Nicholas David Nesbitt, John Logan Pierson, Paul Tamasy, Dan Wilson

Music by Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Cinematography by Tobias A. Schliessler

Edited by Gabriel Fleming, Colby Parker Jr.

Casting by Sheila Jaffe, Angela Peri

Production Design by Tom Duffield

Art Direction by Steve Cooper

Set Decoration by Ronald R. Reiss

Costume Design by Virginia Johnson


Starring:

Mark Wahlberg as Tommy Saunders

John Goodman as Commissioner Ed Davis

Kevin Bacon as Special Agent Richard DesLauriers

J.K. Simmons as Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese

Christopher O’Shea as Patrick Downes

Rachel Brosnahan as Jessica Kensky

Michelle Monaghan as Carol Saunders

Jimmy O. Yang as Dun Meng

Melissa Benoist as Katherine Russell

Alex Wolff as Dzohkhar Tsarnaev

Themo Melikidze as Tamerlan Tsarnaev

Martine Assaf as Connie Pugliese

James Colby as Superintendent Billy Evans

Michael Beach as Governor Deval Patrick

Rhett Kidd as Harrold


Mark Wahlberg shines in this all-star action-thriller that chronicles the courage and power of the people of Boston during the real-life manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers.


From filmmaker Peter Berg (“Hancock”, “Friday Night Lights”, “The Kingdom”) comes the American drama-thriller film “Patriots Day” about the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing and the terrorist manhunt that took place.

Featuring a screenplay co-written by Berg, Matt Cook (“The Duel”, “Triple 9”) and Joshua Zetumer (“RoboCop”), the film would receive positive film reviews from critics.

The film stars Mark Wahlberg (“Boogie Nights”, “The Fighter”, “Prisoners”), John Goodman (“The Artist”, “Roseane”, “The Big Lebowski”, “10 Cloverfield Lane”), Kevin Bacon (“Apollo 13”, “Footloose”, “X-Men: First Class”), J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”, “Spider-Man” films, “The Closer”), Michelle Monaghan (“Gone Baby Gone”, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, “Due Date”), Themo Melikidze (“Beautiful Something”, “Transit 17”), Alex Wolff (“The Naked Brothers Band”, “Come Through the Rye”, “The Sitter”), Jimmy O. Yang (“Silicon Valley”, “The Internship”), Melissa Benoist (“Supergirl”, “Whiplash”, “Glee”), Jake Picking (“Dirty Grandpa”, “Goat”), Christopher O’Shea (“Baby Daddy”, “Madam Secretary”), Rachel Brosnahan (“Beautiful Creatures”, “Manhattan”, “The Finest Hours”) and many more.


VIDEO:

“Patriots Day” is presented in 2160p High Definition (2:40:1). The film is presented in 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray.

Picture quality is fantastic as closeups show amazing clarity and day scenes are vibrant.  Many of the scenes are shot at night, but light is well done and for the most part, the film looks great in 4K Ultra HD!

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: To watch 4K Ultra HD, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player + a high-speed HDMI 2.0A Cable.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Patriots Day” is presented in English DTX-X Audio, DTS Headphones: X Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio.

While the film features crystal clear audio (dialogue) and music, surround channels are well-utilized for action sequences during explosions, gun exchanges and crowd ambiance.  Great use of the surround channels and LFE!

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Patriots Day” comes with the following special features:

  • Boston Strong – (21:34) Featuring interviews with Dr. Jeffrey Kalish, Dun Meng and Sgt. Jeff Pugliese.
  • The Boston Bond: Recounting the Tale – (21:43) The cast and crew talk about filming in Boston and working with the community.
  • The Real Patriots: The Local Heroes’ Stories – (19:41) Filmmaker Peter Berg discusses the various heroes that he met and the real people that inspired the characters for the film.
  • The Cast Remembers – (5:52) The cast discuss how they found about the Boston Marathon bombings.
  • Actors Meet Real-Life Counterparts: A 2-Part Series – (10:08) Featuring John Goodman and Ed Davis and Jimmy O. Yang and Dun Meng.
  • Researching the Day – (11:22) Director Peter Berg and crew discuss the research of recreating the 2013 Boston Marathon and the bombing.

EXTRAS:

“Patriots Day” will come with a slipcover, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray and UltraViolet Digital HD code.


I remember the Boston Marathon bombings quite clearly.

Watching things unfurl on CNN, immediately I was glued to the TV set, angered that our country was once again being targeted by terrorist attacks and to find out that were many people, including children who were dead or injured.  Then to find out about the two accused of the bombings, finding out a university police officer was killed, followed by a kidnapping of a Chinese man who revealed the brothers are planning to bomb New York and just following the news for the hunt of the Tsarnaev brothers.

It was a story that captivated America where in 9/11, the terrorists killed themselves.  While in this case, these two terrorists were out in public and we wanted them caught and to answer for their crimes.

With Peter Berg’s “Patriots Day”, we get to see how things went for those harrowing days, the people involved in the manhunt for the two terrorists, those who were injured and those who lost their lives.

Peter Berg and fellow writers Matt Cook and Joshua Zetumer no doubt made sure to pay their respects to those involved in the capture of one of the terrorists but to also pay respects to law enforcement and those who’s life was changed forever, but keeping the theme of “Boston Strong” central to the film and showing how the support for law enforcement and the victims will remain in the hearts of people who remember that fateful day and have managed to continue, to move on and show true determination but also providing inspiration for those watching the film.

Mark Wahlberg’s character of Tommy Saunders is a fictional character but his role captures the heart of Boston PD who were doing all they can to catch the terrorists.  Police officers who were on duty, with hardly any sleep, determined to keep Boston safe and to catch those who are responsible.

John Goodman also did a great job of portraying Commissioner Ed Davis and Kevin Bacon as Special Agent Richard DesLauriers of the FBI who worked tirelessly to control information in regards of who was responsible for the bombings but also coordinating their men for the manhunt.

J.K. Simmons as Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese of the Watertown PD who was there to take on one of the terrorists during a shootout.  Jimmy O. Yang as Dun Meng, the man who was carjacked and held by gunpoint by the two terrorists for a long period of time until he made a major risk by bolting from his vehicle when one of the terrorists were preoccupied and managed to run and call police.

Peter Berg tries to show the loving side of both characters, Sgt. Pugliese with his wife and Dun Meng with a woman he met.

But “Patriots Day” also effectively pays tribute to those who lost their lives or those who were caught in the blast.

“Patriots Day” pays respect to MIT Officer Sean Collier (portrayed by Jake Picking) who was ambushed by the two terrorists and was killed.  While he never had a chance to fight back, they tried to steal his weapon unsuccessfully.  The film also tries to show the loving and friendly side of Collier, from going on a date with a student to him hanging out with his friends, singing a song and playing video games.

We also get to see victims such as couple, Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, father Steve Woolfenden taking his young boy on a stroller to watch the Boston Marathon, both were near the first bomb that exploded.  Berg shows the love between Patrick and Jessica and the father and son relationship with the Woolfenden’s.

Possibly a tough role were to play the terrorists and actors Alex Wolff and Themo Melikidze no doubt had to pull off these individuals and show the audience of their mindset but also their cowardly, evil actions.  The same with Melissa Benoist who plays the bomber’s wife and showing viewers on what happened when she was interrogated by law enforcement.

The film’s efficacy also helps with the real archived video of the terrorists and video caught from banks and at stores they were at.  It helped remind audience that what people were watching, was the real deal.

I felt that filmmaker Peter Berg and his fellow writers did amazing job in crafting this drama-thriller by sticking to facts, despite the film focusing on a fictional character.

The 4K Ultra HD is wonderfully detailed during closeups and also features an impressive lossless soundtrack especially during the bombings, the gun battle exchanges, the explosions sounds quite amazing through the surround channels and the use of LFE.  And the numerous special features included are also fascinating to watch and thankfully they are of good duration and not too short.

Overall, Peter Berg’s “Patriots Day” is well-made, well-researched, well-acted and felt that the film was a wonderful tribute to the heroes of the Boston Marathon Bombing and not being exploitative.  Highly recommended!

Supergirl: The Complete First Season (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 11, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

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“Supergirl: The Complete First Season” is a delightfully, entertaining superhero action drama series that definitely does a great job of paying homage to the comic book series, but also showcasing episodes that are entertaining, well-written and features a good balance between humor, action and drama. Whether or not you enjoyed the comic books, this is a superhero series definitely worth watching!  “Supergirl: The Complete First Season” is recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Supergirl: The Complete First Season

TV SEASON AIR DATE: 2015-2016

DURATION: Episodes 1-20 (877 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:78:1, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Warner Bros.

RATED: Not Rated

Release Date: August 9, 2016


Directed by Glen Winter, Dermott Downs, Larry Teng, thor Freudenthal, Karen Gaviola, Kevin Tancharoen, Kesse Warn, Lexi Alexander, Jamie Babbit, Chris Fisher, Nick Gomez, Adam Kane, Steve Shill, John F. Showalter

Written by Ali Adler, Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel, Caitlin Parrish, Derek Simon, Yahlin Chang, Michael Grassi, Rachel Shukert, Ted Sullivan, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, James DeWille, Anna Musky-Goldwyn, Jessica Queller, Robert L. Rovner

Produced by Michael Grassi, Ted Sullivan

Co-Producer: Sheridan Thayer, Jennifer Lence, Carl Ogawa, Joanie L. Woehler

Executive Producer: Ali Adler, Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, Sarah Schechter

Consulting Producer: Robert L. Rovner, Roberto Aguirre-Sarcasa

Music by Blake Neely

Cinematography by Jeffrey C. Mygatt, Michael Barrett, David Stockton

Edited by Andi Armaganian, Barbara Gerard, Harry Jierjian

Casting by David Rapaport, Lyndsey Baldasare

Production Design by Seth Reed, Cabot McMullen, Tyler Bishop Harron

Art Direction by John B. Josselyn, Giao-Chau Ly, Jim Wallis, David Meyer

Set Decoration by Andrea Mae Fenton

Costume Design by Kiersten Ronning


Starring:

Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers

Mehcad Brooks as James Olsen

Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers

Jeremy Jordan as Winn Schott

David Harewood as Hank Henshaw

Calista Flockhart as Cat Grant

Peter Facinelli as Maxwell Lord

Jenna Dewan Tatum as Lucy Lane

Briana Venskus as Agent Vasquez

Laura Benanti as Alura Zor-El

Chris Vance as Non

Italia Ricci as Siobhan Smythe

Helen Slater as Eliza Danvers

Glenn Morshower as General Sam Lane

Dean Cain as Jeremiah Danvers


Born on the doomed planet Krypton, Kara Zor-El escaped at the same time as her cousin, Superman, but didn’t arrive on Earth until years later after being lost. Raised by her adopted family, the Danvers, Kara grew up in the shadow of her foster sister, Alex, and learned to hide the phenomenal powers she shares with her famous cousin. Years later, at age 24, living in National City and working as an assistant for Catco Worldwide Media mogul Cat Grant, Kara has spent so many years trying to fit in that she forgot to ever stand out. All that changes when she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and become the hero she was always destined to be. With the help of Daily Planet photographer James Olsen, her bioengineer sister Alex, and the research of the super-secret, off-the-grid Department of Extra-Normal Operations (DEO), who are tasked with keeping the Earth safe from aliens, Kara takes to the skies to protect her world.


From Ali Adler, Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg (the creators of the “Arrow” and “The Flash” TV series) comes the action-adventure drama TV series “Supergirl”.

The series stars Melissa Benoist (“Whiplash”, “The Longest Ride”, “Glee”), Mehcad Brooks (“The Valley of Elah”, “Glory Road”, “Necessary Roughness”), Chyler Leigh (“Grey’s Anatomy”, “Not Another Teen Movie”, “Brake”), Jeremy Jordan (“The Last Five Years”, “Joyful Noise”, “Smash”), David Harewood (“Blood Diamond”, “Homeland”, “The Brothers Grimsby”), Calista Flockhart (“Ally McBeal”, “Brothers & Sisters”, “The Birdcage”), Peter Facinelli (“Twilight” films, “The Scorpion King”), Jenna Dewan Tatum (“Step Up”, “Tamara”, “10 Years”), Briana Venskus (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, “Nashville”, “Grace and Frankie”) and Laura Benanti (“Nashville”, “The Good Wife”, “Nurse Jackie”).

With the first season airing on CBS (and the second season moving to the CW and set to premiere in October 2016), “Supergirl” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in August 2016.

“Supergirl” revolves around Kara Zor-El, the young daughter of Zor-El (portrayed by Robert Grant) and Alura (portrayed by Laura Benanti).

When she was 12-years-old, she was placed in an escape vehicle before the Planet Krypton exploded.  Her mother gave her instructions to protect her infant cousin, Kal-El (who would be known as Clark Kent/Superman) and similar to her cousin, she would have special powers once she arrives in Earth, due to the sun.

But as Kal-El made it to Earth, Kara’s spacecraft was caught in the shockwave of Krypton’s explosion and was stuck in the Phantom Zone where time has stopped and 24-years has passed but yet Kara has not aged.

Kal-El, who was Superman found Kara’s spacecraft and saved her.  And he places her in the company of her new adoptive parents, the Danvers family and her sister Alex Danvers.  And was taught to hide her powers and not use them.

The series takes place a decade later and Kara Danvers (portrayed by Melissa Benoist) is employed as an assistant at the CatCo Worldwide Media.

She works for the arrogant and snobbish boss, Cat Grant (portrayed by Calista Flockhart) who is jealous by her former mentor, Perry White of the Daily Planet thanks to their coverage of Superman and trying to find ways to boost attention to her company.

Kara is closed to her IT friend Winn Scott (portrayed by Jeremy Jordan) and former Daily Planet photographer, James Olsen (portrayed by Mehcad Brooks).

One day, Kara’s stepsister Alex Danvers (portrayed by Chyler Leigh) was riding in a plane that was sabotage to explode.

Fearing for her sister’s life, Kara uses her superpowers and eventually, saving her and many people from death.  But as others took photos of her, Cat Grant immediately has her paper reporting on the mysterious woman, dubbing her “Supergirl”.

But Kara learns that her sister Alex is a doctor and scientist that works for Hank Henshaw (portrayed by David Harewood) at the DEO. The DEO’s role is to study extraterrestrial activity and are very familiar with Kara’s powers but also are aware that when Kara’s ship was caught of the shock wave explosion, it pulled a Krypton prison known as Fort Rozz along with her to Earth.

And now, Krypton’s top criminals are running around Earth and are gathering together, many who want she and also Superman dead.

As Kara now wants to use her powers for good but also to learn more about herself and her true powers, with the help of her friends and the DEO, she has taken the identity of Supergirl and has become the latest sensation in National City.


VIDEO:

“Supergirl” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio). The picture quality for this series is very good. With its high production value and many outdoor scenes, overall picture quality shows very good detail, especially with closeups.

I didn’t notice any major banding issues or artifacts.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Supergirl” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The series is crystal clear when it comes to dialogue and action sequences.  From the various battles that Supergirl takes part in, to the sounds of her flying through air, there is good use of the surround channels.  Overall, lossless audio is very good for this action/drama TV series.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“Supergirl: The Complete First Season” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring deleted scenes from the episode “Red Faced”.

DISC 2:

  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring deleted scenes from the episodes: “Hostile Takeover”, “Blood Bonds”, “Strange Visitor from Another Planet” and “For the Girl Who Has Everything”.

DISC 3:

  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring deleted scenes for “Solitude”, “Falling”, “Manhunter” and “Worlds Finest”.
  • Supergirl: 2015 Comic-Con Panel – (14:50) A featurette from San Diego Comic Con for the “Supergirl” panel (excerpt).
  • The Man From Mars – (9:36) A featurette about J’onn J’onzz (Martian Manhunter) and his alias, Hank Henshaw.
  • A World Left Behind: Krypton – (10:41) A short documentary about the history of Krypton and its role and depiction in “Supergirl”.
  • Gag Reel – (4:05) Outtakes from the first season of “Supergirl”.

EXTRAS:

“Supergirl: The Complete First Season” comes with a slipcover and an UltraViolet code.


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As a person who grew up purchasing and reading a lot of DC Comics titles, I have always been a big fan of the Superman-related titles.  May it be “Superman”, “Superman: The Man of Steel”, “Action Comics”, “Justice League of America”, “Superboy”, “World’s Finest” and also “Supergirl”.

“Supergirl” was always an interesting title because she has been depicted in so many different ways through the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and the present-time.

As Kara Danvers was a girl growing up and discovering her powers and showing a different lifestyle compared to her cousin, her storyline has been given more substance in recent stories to make her more relevant in the DC Universe and with today’s TV series giving new life to DC characters such as “The Flash”, Green Arrow in the series “Arrow” and now with “Supergirl”.

While the series manages to capture the “Supergirl” style of the comic books of Kara’s self-discovery, trying to fit in today’s society and businessworld, the series also goes further in exploring Supergirl’s relationships, with her stepsister Alex, her co-worker James Olsen and Winn Scott and more.

For DC Comics fans, they will no doubt love the series for its fascinating storylines but also the inclusion of J’onn J’onz (Martian Manhunter), Red Tornado and also a series collaboration with “The Flash” (and yes, the multiverse is discussed).  Also, for those who loved Helen Slater in the older “Supergirl” films, they will love the fact that she plays the role of Kara’s stepmother Eliza.  And also, the fact that her stepfather Jeremiah is portrayed by Dean Cain, who played Clark Kent/Superman in the TV series “Lois & Clark”.

Let’s first talk about what I loved about the series.  I loved how the series established it’s connection with Kal-El/Superman and creating this new story of how Kara’s spacecraft brought down the Kryptonian prison to Earth.  So, it really lends to storylines in regards to Supergirl taking on other Kryptonians and alien superbeings.

I loved the fact that not every episode relates to Kryptonian villains and there are other interactions with DC superheroes and characters.  But most importantly, humanizing Kara Danvers by featuring her relationship with her sister Alex.  And the two working together but also having their own differences at times.

I also enjoyed the use of comedy in this drama series.  Similar to “The Flash”, I really dig the balance of humor and drama.

What I didn’t like?  It’s not more of not liking, it’s more of how similar the DEO is to Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D., I’m not sure if I want to see the DEO on every episode but it is what is and Kara is doing work for the organization to trust her as Supergirl and it gives her access and opportunities.  But the problem I find with this, is how James Olsen and her friend Winn Scott are involved with Supergirl’s life, including her actions with the DEO.

This is something that Superman/Clark Kent would ever allow a civilian that he is close and have a friendly relationship with and letting them be so close.  Superman/Clark Kent never gave James Olsen much access to his superhero life because he was always in fear of putting his friends and family in jeopardy.

But for “Supergirl”, with her two friends now going with her to the DEO location, this leaves her friends open to being targeted and I can see these them as liabilities.  So, this is something that I can only hope to see writers explore as part of Kara’s learning experience of being a hero.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good as close-ups show very good detail.  Picture quality is primarily outdoors and is vibrant, while I saw no signs of banding or artifacts.  Lossless audio is very good with crystal clear dialogue and good use of the surround channels for action sequences.

As for special features, you get several deleted scenes and also a few featurettes.  Unfortunately, no audio commentary are included.

Overall, “Supergirl: The Complete First Season” is a delightfully, entertaining superhero action drama series that definitely does a great job of paying homage to the comic book series, but also showcasing episodes that are entertaining, well-written and features a good balance between humor, action and drama.  Whether or not you enjoyed the comic books, this is a superhero series definitely worth watching!

“Supergirl: The Complete First Season” is recommended!

 

Whiplash (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

February 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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“Whiplash” will be remembered for its wonderful performance by J.K. Simmons and the intensity of the drum playing scenes by Miles Teller, but no doubt, jumpstart the career for writer/director Damien Chazelle for creating this spectacular, captivating film.  “Whiplash” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2014 Whiplash, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Whiplash

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2014

DURATION: 107 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 2:409:1, Anamorphic Widescreen, English, English – Audio Description Track, French, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Picture Classics

RATED: R (Strong Language Including Some Sexual References)

RELEASE DATE: February 24, 2014


Directed by Damien Chazelle

Written by Damien Chazelle

Produced by Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak

Co-Produced by Nicholas Britell, Garrick Dion, Sarah Potts, Stephanie Wilcox

Executive Producer: Jeanette Brill, Jason Reitman, Couper Samuelson, Gary Michael Walters

Associate Producer: Phillip Dawe

Music by Justin Hurwitz

Cinematography by Sharone Meir

Edited by Tom Cross

Casting by Terri Taylor

Production Design by Melanie Jones

Art Direction by Hunter Brown

Set Decoration by Karuna Karmarkar

Costume Design by Lisa Norcia


Starring:

Miles Teller as Andrew

J.K. Simmons as Fletcher

Paul Reiser as Jim Neimann

Melissa Benoist as Nicole

Austin Stowell as Ryan

Nate Lang as Carl Tanner

Chris Mulkey as Uncle Frank


Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is an ambitious young jazz drummer, single-minded in his pursuit to rise to the top of his elite east coast music conservatory. Plagued by the failed writing career of his father, Andrew hungers day and night to become one of the greats. Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), an instructor equally known for his teaching talents as for his terrifying methods, leads the top jazz ensemble in the school. Fletcher discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into his band, forever changing the young man’s life. Andrew’s passion to achieve perfection quickly spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher continues to push him to the brink of both his ability—and his sanity.


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From director Damien Chazelle (“Grand Piano”, The Last Exorcism Part II”) comes “Whiplash”, a film which he wrote and had a 3 million dollar budget, the film would receive critical acclaim and would receive top audience and grand jury awards in the U.S. dramatic competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

“Whiplash” has been nominated for five awards at the 87th Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay.  And now one of the best films of 2014 will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

“Whiplash” stars Miles Teller (“The Spectacular Now”, “Divergent”, “21 & Over”), J.K. Simmons (“Spider-Man” films, “The Closer”, “Juno”), Paul Reiser (“Mad About You”, “My Two Dads”, “Aliens”) and Melissa Benoist (“Glee”, “Tennessee”).

Andrew Neiman (portrayed by Miles Teller) is a first-year jazz student at the prestigious Shaffer Conservatory in New York. He aspires to be one of the greats like Buddy Rich.  He has a relationship with Nicole (portrayed by Melissa Benoist) and has a supportive father, Jim (portrayed by Paul Reiser) in his music endeavor.

When conductor Terence Fletcher (portrayed by J.K. Simmons) visits the school, he accepts Andrew into his studio band as an alternate drummer.

But it is evident immediately that Terence is emotionally abusive towards his students, which is way to bring out their best in them but also instill fear that if they mess up or don’t meet his standards, they will be removed from the band.

When Andrew gets a chance to play the drums and rehearse Hank Levy’s piece “Whiplash”, Flecher is upset and hurls a chair at him for not keeping up his tempo and to prove a point, he mocks and insults him and slaps him repeatedly in front of the class, humiliating him.

The emotional abuse that Andrew starts to endure and his drive of wanting to be the best drummer, leads him to make difficult choices in his life.  But how far will Andrew go in order to achieve greatness?


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VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Whiplash” is presented in 2:40:1 aspect ratio (Anamorphic Widescreen) in English, French, Spanish and English – Audio Description track in 5.1 Dolby Digital.

It’s important to note that if you want the best quality of “Whiplash”, you will want to check out the film on Blu-ray as it will offer the best picture and audio quality.

As for the DVD, picture quality is very good as one can expect on DVD and there is a hint of the film grain during your viewing of the film. The film is well-lit and there are so many closeups in this film that, I can imagine the clarity on Blu-ray, but on DVD, there is still good detail.  The film is well-lit and looks good on DVD.

As for audio, the soundtrack features crystal clear dialogue and music.  Once again, if you are an audiophile, you definitely will want to watch this film on Blu-ray but on DVD, soundtrack is crystal clear and well-utilized from the center, fronts and surround channels.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Whiplash” features the following special features:

  • Commentary with J.K. Simmons and Damien Chazelle – A fascinating audio commentary with actor J.K. Simmons and director Damien Chazelle.
  • An Evening at the Toronto International Film Festival – (7:51) A short featurette with actors Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons with director Damien Chazelle.
  • Theatrical Trailer – Theatrical trailer for “Whiplash”.

EXTRAS:

“Whiplash” comes with an Ultraviolet code and watch the film on various devices.

 


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Once in a while you come upon a film that is made with a low budget that knocks your pants off.

Damien Chazelle’s “Whiplash” is one of those films!

While not an action film, the drumming for the film is heavy hitting, captivating and you are literally glued to the film.

Created by Damien Chazelle who was a drummer and wanted to share a few of his experiences but to create a story about music competitiveness and one’s drive to achieve greatness, “Whiplash” will no doubt be remembered.

A story about a drummer who wants to be the greatest and an abusive music teacher who wants to find a musical genius, both actors, Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons do an amazing job with their performances and making you believe these characters.

While Miles Teller knew how to play the drums, the intense training he learned for the character role was amazing as you see this young man play the drums with such intensity with sweat and including blood flying around everywhere.

J.K. Simmons is arrogant, pompous and your uber-a-hole of a music teacher but he drives people either to depression or to get them to achieve greatness through his emotionally abusive style of teaching.  Simmons plays the character with such efficacy.

But it’s the writing of Damien Chazelle and the cinematography by Sharone Meir that are gripping.  Chazelle’s writing building up the character of Andrew and how far this young man would go to achieve greatness and Sharone Meir capturing the various emotions, close-up.  But also capturing the wonderful drumming as everything culminates into this powerful scene towards the end of the film.

I enjoyed it so much that I have watched the film several times because I found it so captivating and the ending scene is just incredible.  I absolutely enjoyed the film and it was no doubt one of the best films of 2014 and is deserving of its wins and nominations.

As for the DVD release of “Whiplash”, while I strongly would cajole anyone to purchasing the Blu-ray release for its better picture quality and its lossless soundtrack, but also that the Blu-ray also contains more special features including the original “Whiplash” short film, for those who just want the DVD, should be pleased with it.  The film looks and sounds good on DVD, it’s just not in HD (which is my preference).

Overall, “Whiplash” will be remembered for its wonderful performance by J.K. Simmons and the intensity of the drum playing scenes by Miles Teller, but no doubt, jumpstart the career for writer/director Damien Chazelle for creating this spectacular, captivating film.

“Whiplash” is highly recommended!

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