Let’s be brutally honest. The only thing that sounds less appealing than a movie about ‘jazz drumming’ is a Fifty Shades remake starring Nigel Farage and Ann Widdecombe. But just know this – Whiplash is one of the most thrilling, extraordinary and riveting movies you’ll see this year. And yes, we know it’s only January.
Miles Teller stars as Andrew Neiman, a 19-year-old aspiring jazz drummer with one thing on his mind – total professional and drumming domination. It’s an ascent seemingly fast-tracked by his selection into the session band of infamous conductor Terence Fletcher – played by an unrecognisably-terrifying JK Simmons. What starts off as a dream gig swiftly spirals into a nightmarish tale of obsession and psychological warfare between the two.
Whiplash subverts expectations at every turn, thanks to a refreshingly lean script, two brilliant, brutal performances by Teller and Simmons, and an electrifying rhythm that makes drumming scenes come alive with the pulse-pounding intensity of an action film. Forget the overblown, predictable and CGI-bombastic blockbusters – if you want to remember how to fall in love with cinema, just give Whiplash a whirl.
Foxcatcher Cinema Channing Tatum. In wrestling spandex. We could just leave it there, but it’d be doing a huge disservice to Bennett Miller’s awards-teasing drama based on the harrowing but fascinating true story of Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Tatum), his rivalry with brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo) and the dark, tragic influence of Mark’s coach John du Pont (an unrecognisable Steve Carell). Kingsman: The Secret Service Cinema If you’re after a dose of unashamedly mad, irreverent, sexy and hyper-violent blockbuster fun, then you can’t go wrong with Matthew Vaughn’s spy caper. Does for spy movies what Kick-Ass did for superhero flicks.
Into The Woods Cinema It’s a rare beast that can make jazz-handing musicals appeal to the masses, but Disney’s toetapping fairytale works thanks to its mega-star cast (Streep, Pine, Depp, Blunt, Kendrick), whimsical art direction and supercatchy choons courtesy of maestro Stephen Sondheim.