Quick Reviews: 'Whiplash', 'Boyhood', 'Imitation Game'

Whiplash Boyhood Imitation Game Malaysia posters

A couple of the Best Picture nominees of the coming Oscars are showing at the cinemas in Malaysia right now, namely Birdman and The Theory of Everything, and this week, 3 more are being released here. I don’t have the time to give each one of them a full review so here’s another edition of quick reviews for multiple movies in a single post. My list of Top 10 Best Movies of 2014 should be up before Chinese New Year so stay tuned for that.



Malaysia release date: 12 March 2015
Local Distributor: TGV Pictures

Verdict: Arguably the most gripping movie of 2014 and amazingly, it is neither an action thriller nor a horror flick. Jazz is not a sport or war, but Whiplash manages to turn it into a highly intense and scary psychological battle between a determined and ambitious music student who plays drums, and an outrageously mean and abusive conductor. The film is so well written, acted and directed that it actually made me hope that the student would do well just so that he won’t get screwed by the extremely scary teacher-conductor. Outstanding performances by Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, the latter received an Oscar nominee for his role here.

Many musicians would hate it for its wrong portrayal of jazz and its lack of love and joy showed for music-playing, which is true, it’s not all about tempos and impressive instrumental solos like the film’s rather cheesy ending, but regardless of that, it’s a thoroughly entertaining film about the fight for impression, perfection and inspirational success. And the music in it is beautiful – that, no one would disagree.

Second opinion: My girlfriend loved the film and agreed that it’s very gripping indeed.

Malaysia censorship: Despite the amount vulgarities, the film was completely uncensored at the press screening held at TGV 1 Utama. It’s already Rated 18 and apparently with that, it shouldn’t be a surprise anymore.

What I would’ve named the film: “When Music is About Perfection and Not Joy”

Rating: 4.5 / 5

whiplash meme jo jones charlie parker


BOYHOOD (2014)

Malaysia release date: 5 February 2015

Verdict: Before watching this film, I thought it was an overrated drama that got its awards and Oscar nominations just because the film was shot in 12 years with the same actors from younger to older year by year (Ethan Hawke didn’t seem to grow that much older though). But I was very wrong. I think it deserves all the praises and accolades it has received thus far. It’s the best coming of age movie I’ve ever seen, and I highly doubt there’d be any other that’s going to beat this one, unless they copy the concept and did a female version of it or something.

Boyhood is filled with ups and down, heartwarming and heartbreaking moments, just like in real life. It’s never boring despite being a practically story-less film that’s almost 3 hours long. The film made me smile a number of times ’cause it’s very relatable, nostalgic and engaging to any middle class fellow who grew up around the same era – from Coldplay’s Yellow to Gotye’s Somebody I Used to Know, from Dragon Ball to Gameboy and then X-Box, talks about Star Wars and The Beatles, from alcohol and girls to life philosophies – it’s brilliant. We literally get to see a kid grow up but not in the Truman Show kind of way. Which other film has managed to do that so successfully, and make this enjoyable to watch? It’s definitely the movie I would tell youngsters in the future to watch if they wanted to know what it’s like from 2002 to 2014.

Second opinion: (none, watched it alone)

Malaysia censorship: Didn’t watch this one at a local cinema but since it’s already rated 18 here, I don’t think the vulgarities and underage kissing, smoking and drinking would be cut (that would be missing the point of the film entirely). However, you know how inconsistent our beloved local film censorship board can be.

What I would’ve named the film: “Growing Up as a White American Kid”

Rating: 5 / 5

boyhood meme movie



Malaysia release date: 5 February 2015

Verdict: A wonderful independent semi-biographical tribute to Alan Turing, the mathematician genius who’s not only one of the fathers of computer science and artificial intelligence, but also the one who actually shortened World War II by 2 to 4 years, and yet he was mistreated and unhonoured just because he was gay.

Great performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, whose ability to play such intelligent but eccentric roles should come naturally by now. The film may not be 100% accurate to the history or even the actual character of Turing, and it has some cliched and predictable moments, but it’s very compelling, funny, emotionally engaging, and it does what’s necessary to emphasise the importance of this man’s contribution, and the unfairness of the UK’s society and law against homosexuality. Socially and historically, this is perhaps one of the most important stories ever adapted into a movie.

Second opinion: My girlfriend liked the movie, saying it’s interesting and the performances are very engaging.

Malaysia censorship: There’s literally nothing to cut in this film despite the weight of the story. No vulgarity, no nudity, not even a kiss.

What I would’ve named the film: “Alan Turing”

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Alan Turring Benedict Cumberbatch imination game

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