Whiplash

The fairly simple premise of this movie is that a young man wants to become the best drummer in the world, and he is paired up with a music teacher who wants to produce the best drummer in the world.  The match is not quite as made in heaven as you might expect, and the movie does a good job of drawing out the mental flaws in both characters.

I enjoyed the way the characters were written and fleshed out, but they often made some truly bizarre decisions that leave you scratching your head because of the lack of logic.  These are not exactly logical characters, so it still works, but there is an underlying suspicion that they are behaving illogically because the writers want to subvert tropes and make it surprising.  Their behaviour toes the line of being unrealistically random, but they manage to keep it within the realms of believability.  A few spots could have used more polish to make it easier to swallow, though.

And I’m not really sure what’s going on with the ending.  Was it intentionally ambiguous or just poorly indicated?  It feels like they weren’t sure how to end it, so they just ended it, which is only a good way to end if it no one tries to think about it, which is perhaps not the best strategy for a thought-provoking movie.

I don’t follow the Oscars so I had no idea this movie was so popular, but it makes sense that it was nominated for a bunch of awards since it’s the same movie as Black Swan, but without the lesbian sex.

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Take Shelter

I’m not sure how I feel about the movie Take Shelter.  It was entertaining, but I kept watching mostly because I was curious about the way it would go (and I mean, if you boil it down, isn’t that what ALL movies are?).

The premise is that a young man starts having terrifying dreams about a horrible storm and becomes paranoid, building a shelter to protect his family.  Along the way we discover that his family has a history of paranoid schizophrenia, and it’s constantly throwing questions in your face: Is it real?  Are his actions justified?  Is he potentially endangering his family for no reason because of mental illness?  Should they listen to him or should they force him to get help?

Unfortunately I just summed up all the best parts of the movie in a paragraph, and it drags on for two hours.  I liked it, because I like psychology and I wanted to see what they would go with in the end, but it was way longer than it needed to be.  It had tension and it kept your attention, but it didn’t need to be that long when it essentially didn’t really do anything new for about a whole hour in the middle.

Spoilers begin here. Seriously, don’t read this unless you’ve seen it or don’t give a shit.

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