Yeah, I know I said I was going to review The Founder with Michael Keaton in it but…it wasn’t playing around here so, time to finally see some movies that I haven’t gotten around to starting with…
LA LA LAND
Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, serves lattes to movie stars in between auditions and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a jazz musician, scrapes by playing cocktail party gigs in dingy bars, but as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.
This is directed by Damien Chazelle, the man who three years ago gave us the excellent Whiplash, and this is a passion project for Chazelle and let’s be fair, passion projects for directors or actors can be a mixed bag, some could be excellent and then others can be Live By Night for Ben Affleck where it’s a disappointing mess and then other can just be a straight forward bad movie. Not to mention this has the potential to be Oscar bait too so I went into this with an open mind and not expecting to be blown away by this.
But after coming out of it, not only was I blown away by how good this movie was but I straight up love this movie. I would go as far as to say that this is slightly better than Whiplash and that’s tough for me to say but really, that’s how I feel about this movie, I am in love with this movie, I can understand what everybody has been talking about with this film.
For one thing, Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone are excellent together, this is the third time these two have paired up in the last couple of years, the first two being Crazy Stupid Love and Gangster Squad, and Gosling and Stone just spark this amazing chemistry together that shows on the screen, you feel for both of these two and they do have a lot of that great chemistry you would expect to see in a 40s, 50s style Hollywood musical.
Speaking of that, that’s probably the best aspect about this movie is that this movie is an excellent and amazing homage to those classic Hollywood musicals of the golden age of Hollywood and they set it up in modern times, Chazelle has basically taken the concept of those 40s, 50s Hollywood musicals and blended into a modern day story and meshed it together so well, it’s one of the most impressive blendings of two different formats I’ve seen in a long time.
The musical numbers are really solid, the songs are all very good, the dancing sequences are phenomenal all looking like they were shot with one take and also feeling like you’re watching a show on a Broadway stage. The A Lovely Night sequence alone is beautifully directed and choreographed that it might actually end up becoming one of my new favorite movie scenes ever, it’s that great.
The last great thing I can say about this movie goes back to what I say about how well the film blends the musical aspect and a modern day story. The majority of the film does a great job of having those musical elements in there while also having a real story with real life problems thrown in, they don’t just throw in a happy ending into every situation, they show you the struggles that Mia & Sebastian have, Mia having trouble making it as an actress and Sebastian trying to keep jazz in the forefront while also working on their relationship, the movie essentially doesn’t bullshit around and give these two the happiest endings possible, it paints a realistic hard lesson about the struggles of making it in Hollywood and does it well, right down to at the end of the movie, they set it up to where they show what life would be like if Mia & Sebastian had that happy ending in this great dream sequence, the film acknowledges that “yes, you wish you could have that perfect life but be happy with what you got and be grateful for how you got it.”
La La Land is about as solid as a movie as you can get, I found no flaws to it at all, it was well directed, well acted, well choreographed, well told, the music was excellent, the story was really good, the film does a great job of being a love letter to classic Hollywood musicals while also telling a realistic modern day story that the audience can relate to, one of last year’s best movies and a movie that should be seen if the world has got you down recently.
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