All posts by Sophie Wang

Whiplash: A Riff-Off Unlike Any Other

As its name might suggest, Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash is not a film for the lighthearted. It is very much a one-force-drives-all film that explores one question: to what depths are we willing to go to succeed? Like the jazz music for which the characters suffer, the tone is feverish, frenzied, and maniacal. In this film, characters are embellished caricatures. The director brings them to the brink of insanity, takes them out, and then just loops back around to bring them back in. If the film were put on a heart rate monitor, the screen would show fast jagged lines, a heart rate of over 100 beats per minute, and a risk of cardiac arrest. Yet somehow, for a film traveling through hyperspace, its pacing is remarkably measured and its message decidedly thought-provoking. It just might be one of the most unapologetic and self-assured films of the year. Continue reading Whiplash: A Riff-Off Unlike Any Other

Chef: A Dish Served from the Heart but Without Much Art

It is very tempting to begin this review with a food pun: to speak about how tastefully done or how flavorful the film is. But while certain elements of the film were certainly tasteful, the film as a whole was just bland. And despite its name, Chef is less about the experience of being a chef and more about two very broad groundbreaking themes: “Be the person who you want to be” and “Family is always important.”

Continue reading Chef: A Dish Served from the Heart but Without Much Art