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TESTAMENT OF YOUTH

During World War I, a young English woman named Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander) postpones her studies at Oxford University to serve as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse in London and abroad. Based on a true story of this one woman’s struggles through the horror of the 1st world war and how her extraordinary British spirit could not be broken even when she loses everything she knows and loves.

A thoroughly touching, heartfelt and heart breaking period drama which just comes over just a little too stiff, talk about bring the British stiff upper lip to the big screen. It’s beautifully shot and Alicia Vikander brings that natural beauty to the film, but she just reminds me a little too much of Keira Knightley in this film…. That isn’t a good thing.

See If You Liked: Atonement, Birdsong

WHIPLASH

Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller) is an ambitious young jazz drummer, single-minded in his pursuit to rise to the top of his elite east coast music conservatory. Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), an instructor equally known for his teaching talents as for his terrifying methods, leads the top jazz ensemble in the school. Fletcher discovers Andrew and transfers the Fletcher into his band, forever changing the young man’s life. Andrew’s passion to achieve perfection quickly spirals into obsession, as his ruthless teacher continues to push him to the brink of both his ability-and his sanity.

With a bit of slow start, once this gets going Whiplash becomes quite an intense and highly unrealistic drama full of energy and passion. Performances by both leading actors are pretty scary yet so powerful and brutal which connects with the audience. With an ending which is highly emotionally charged, it will leave you feeling pretty drained.

See If You Liked: Day One, Walk The Line.

AMERICAN SNIPER

U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) takes his sole mission, to protect his comrades, to heart and becomes one of the most lethal snipers in American history. His pinpoint accuracy not only saves countless lives but also makes him a prime target of insurgents. Despite grave danger and his struggle to be a good husband and father to his family back in the States, Kyle serves four tours of duty in Iraq. However, when he finally returns home, he finds that he cannot leave the war behind.

In typical Hollywood style, this film covers up exactly how messy this one man’s life really was after the Iraq war but saying that, this is still a gritty, harrowing and slightly westernesque action come drama (would you expect anything else from Director Clint Eastwood?). This is certainly Cooper’s best performance ever, not only does he exude intensity, but vulnerability and passion too. This role should certainly be the major breaking of such a talented actor. This is one compelling movie.

See If You Liked: The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty.

PICK OF THE WEEK: AMERICAN SNIPER.

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