I saw Whiplash late one night at the end of a three-movie-day before the Oscars in February, so I was tired and my eyelids were fighting me when seeing movie number three. As soon as Whiplash began, sleepiness was the furthest thing from my mind. I was captivated, disturbed, angry, shocked, and afraid. The movie itself is good…not great.  But it features two stellar performances by Miles Teller as the student and especially by J.K. Simmons (who went on to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, in addition to every other award under the sun) as the brutal and almost maniacal teacher.

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After 19 people are brutally murdered in a little small-town hamlet in Sweden , a judge who finds out she’s distantly related to one of the victims begins her own investigation. Brigitta, the judge, soon finds out that all of the victims might have had an ancestral connection that was the factor in their murder. The story, which goes from present day Sweden and China to American in the 1800s, is as nail-biting as they come. Mankell, known worldwide mostly for his Wallander mystery series, does a superb job of trying his hand at a standalone thriller.


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