‘Whiplash’ finds brutality in jazz instruction

J.K. Simmons, Oscar winner for Whiplash, turns in a frightening and disturbing performance in the engaging new drama from writer-director Damien Chazelle. Playing Fletcher, a brutal, sadistic instructor of jazz music at More »

‘Birdman’ can be transcendent, biting commentary of Hollywood

Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), the Oscar winner for Best Picture, is an often effective film about Hollywood and Broadway and their effect on the many actors who call this More »

INTERVIEW: Going ‘On the Town’ with Michael Rosen, who’s living his dream

On the Town, the mega musical currently playing the Lyric Theatre on Broadway, features an iconic score from Leonard Bernstein, direction from John Rando and choreography from Joshua Bergasse. Based on an More »

INTERVIEW: Director Jessica Hausner brings 19th century Berlin to screen in ‘Amour Fou’

Filmmaker Jessica Hausner, director of Lourdes, Hotel and Lovely Rita, is set to premiere her latest film, Amour Fou, at New York City’s Film Forum. The German-language movie stars Birte Schnoeink, Christian More »

‘Nightcrawler’ is unsettling look at broadcast news, driven personalities

Nightcrawler, the revealing and semi-brilliant drama from writer-director Dan Gilroy, is a harsh look at local broadcast news where the phrase “If it bleeds, it leads” seems to be a slogan to More »

INTERVIEW: George Thorogood ‘Badder Than Ever’ in 2015

George Thorogood, the legendary blues-rock musician, is touring the United States with the Destroyers, and fans can expect his many classic tunes, including “Bad to the Bone,” “Move it on Over” and More »

INTERVIEW: Reinholz sheds light on American Indian boarding schools in new play

In Los Angeles, bordered by mountains and highways, is the beautiful gem of a museum known as the Autry. The national center attempts to understand and document the various cultures of the American More »

INTERVIEW: Jump in with designer behind Animal Planet’s ‘Insane Pools’

The pools that Lucas Congdon brings to life are something out of a tropical paradise. His Florida clients usually have robust budgets — numbering in the $200,000 range — and he matches More »

 

‘Whiplash’ finds brutality in jazz instruction

Whiplash stars, from left, Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons — Photo courtesy of Daniel McFadden / Sony Pictures Classics

Whiplash stars, from left, Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons — Photo courtesy of Daniel McFadden / Sony Pictures Classics

J.K. Simmons, Oscar winner for Whiplash, turns in a frightening and disturbing performance in the engaging new drama from writer-director Damien Chazelle. Playing Fletcher, a brutal, sadistic instructor of jazz music at an elite performing-arts school, Simmons has a unique way of spewing the vitriol and playing mind games with his students. At times, he comes off as nice and encouraging, someone who is simply trying to motivate the young men to be the next Charlie Parker, but most often, he’s a hate-filled teacher who slaps students, throws them out of the core group for one wrong missed note and manipulates their respect of his musical skill.

‘Birdman’ can be transcendent, biting commentary of Hollywood

Michael Keaton and Edward Norton star in Birdman, winner of Best Picture at the Academy Awards — Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Michael Keaton and Edward Norton star in Birdman, winner of Best Picture at the Academy Awards — Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), the Oscar winner for Best Picture, is an often effective film about Hollywood and Broadway and their effect on the many actors who call this strange entertainment world home.

Michael Keaton turns in a career-defining performance as Riggan Thomson, an actor best known for his role in a superhero series known as Birdman. Nowadays, although he’s stopped by autograph-seekers on the sidewalks of Manhattan, he’s a has-been, someone who’s broke and needing of respect in an industry that eats up and spits out young talent.