At Berkeley (2013) directed by Fredrick Wiseman clocks in at 244 minutes, more than four hours! I bailed at the two hour mark and feel as though I got the message. Wiseman didn't add any text or voice overs in the course of the film that recorded classes, administrative meetings, and several other interactions. Excellent public institutions like Berkeley are the pride of the nation and one of the things that makes it so great. Informative rather than entertaining.
On the other hand, the sometimes entertianing Fury (2014) directed and written by David Ayer, starring Brad Pitt, Shia Beouf and several others, doesn't really have a lot to add to the "war is hell" pantheon of war films. It is competently constructed with some good performances, but there's very little that is new or original in the execution. Some of the characters and set pieces were much too familiar or caricatures from previous films about war. I suppose the tank crew perspective was somewhat less prone to overexposure as other types of war experince.
I have to admit I was somewhat reluctant to watch Whiplash (2014) directed by Damien Chazelle, because of the familiarity of the overall concept; i.e. the overbearing mentor whose tough love lesson teaching techniques borderline on the sadistic. But the film did get several positive reviews from critics I respect, so I decided to give it a chance. And I'm glad I did, I think the film had some new angles on that storyline and I was not able to predict what would happen at several key points in the film. And the film's success really does depend on the performances of the two lead characters, J.K Simmons as the limit pushing jazz conductor and Miles Teller the obsessive jazz drummer obsessed with greatness and excellence. Both actors were successful in their portrayals of people to whom jazz is the only thing that matters. It should get more mainstream exposure with four Academy Awards including best supporting actor for J.K. Simmons.