Viewed – 13 November 2015  Blu-ray

Another movie that got a great deal of buzz around the time of the awards season, and nabbed a best supporting actor Oscar for J K Simmons.  This tells the story of a ‘prodige’ drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) who wants to be recognised for his skills and be a part of a respected jazz orchestra.  However in order to do that he must prove himself to renowned tutor and conductor Terence Fletcher (Simmons).  Only problem is, Fletcher is one tough cookie and uses controversial methods to get results.


Simmons’ portrayal of this cruel and testing tutor is part Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, part Lee R Ermy drill instructor in Full Metal Jacket.  This actor I first discovered in hard hitting HBO drama ‘Oz’ as the leader of an Arian Brotherhood Nazi gang – and he was unflinchingly cruel but also charming – something he lends to this powerful character.  Teller, looking like a young John Cusack deserves recognition too and is clearly a skilled drummer who brings his character plenty of emotion and at times crazy-determination to be taken seriously.  Director Damien Chazelle fills the movie with tension and well observed character moments that make both leads more than one dimensional stereotypes – despite his tough demeanour, Fletcher does end up coming across as a man who wants to achieve greatness with his students, and Neiman although at times ridiculously dedicated in the face of some pretty nasty treatment (let’s go to the rehearsal, despite having been in a car crash!) – you do understand him.

I’d have liked a bit more going on with the supporting characters … a love story felt under-explored and fellow band members rivalry or comradery is mostly ignored.  Yet this was an absorbing movie that although I felt was familiar, and didn’t really surprise me as it drew to it’s conclusion … had strong performances and solid enough direction to make for a firm recommendation.

Verdict:  4 /5

Robin Williams dies

Today I was saddened to wake up to the news that the incredibly gifted and talented actor / comedienne Robin Williams had been found dead at his home in California.  He was 63.  Suicide was recently confirmed by Police, following years battling with depressions and alcoholism.  I feel this is such tragic news for one of those names that wasn’t just liked … he was loved.

Some of my favourite roles were of course the comedy classic Mrs Doubtfire as well as more serious turns in Dead Poets Society and Insomnia.  He was also part of my childhood, recalling watching the cult TV show Mork & Mindy when I was a kid.  I still haven’t really come to terms with the news and it has affected me quite a bit.  He can’t be dead … he was the voice the the Genie in Aladdin!!  It doesn’t feel right.

Rest in piece Captain my captain.  You will be sorely missed.

Robin Williams

1951 – 2014