Either Damien Chazelle is a failed musician OR he's an old world, stodgy judge at brass band competitions who is probably also a failed musician. In reality, he's a film director and he's made one of the most frustrating films of 2014.
Whiplash is the by-product of music being stripped of it's creativity, innovation and soul. It's a film about a young man who strives for excellence in an environment that praises technical proficiency and exactness over humanity and the…
Stillman's tale of insecure American ex-pats living in Spain is probably his weakest and most formulaic affair. Comparative to his other films, the one thing that seems lacking is his joyous use of language and conversation as artistic expression. His psychoanalytic and cultural undertones are very much still there but they don't resonate anywhere near as strongly as, frankly, all of his other films. It has its moments, but overall it's a pretty throwaway film. Especially considering the strength of the rest of his work.
David O. Russell's previous two films have been modern operettas sung in Jersey slang. Moving his drama into domestic spaces of intimate yet explosive proportions Russell seems able to make mountains out of molehills, mostly due to the stellar performances he brings out and his command of capturing the chaos of his characters scenarios.
With American Hustle he branches out into a more exploratory and energetic camera style as he glides and manoeuvres in and out of rooms and up…