Thursday, January 26, 2017



From IMDB:

Mia, an aspiring actress, serves lattes to movie stars in between auditions and Sebastian, 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.

La La Land (2016) on IMDb

Reviews 518 user | 431 critic

Written and directed by Academy Award (R) nominee Damien Chazelle, LA LA LAND tells the story of Mia [Emma Stone], an aspiring actress, and Sebastian [Ryan Gosling], a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.

Rating: PG-13 (for some language)
Directed By: Damien Chazelle
Written By: Damien Chazelle
In Theatres: Dec 9, 2016 Limited
Box Office: $89,758,080.00
Runtime: 128 minutes
Studio: Liongate Films

Average Rating: 8.7/10
Reviews Counted: 305
Fresh: 283
Rotten: 22
Critics Consensus: La La Land breathes new life into a bygone genre with thrillingly assured direction, powerful performances, and an irresistible excess of heart.
AUDIENCE SCORE 87% liked it
Average Rating: 4.3/5
User Ratings: 43,401

Didn't I see this same scene in The Nice Guys? Nope, I guess not. ©Summit Entertainment

From the man who brought you the intense story of a young man trying to become a jazz drummer...

So, La La Land. This movie was just announced to have received no less than 14 Oscar nominations but it has already gotten 182 nominations for other awards and won a total of 134 of them. That's pretty impressive when you consider that for most of the world we just found out and saw this movie starting from a little over a month ago. Written and directed by Damien Chazelle who also wrote and directed the 2014 surprise hit that was Whiplash. The surprising thing is that La La Land was supposed to be made first before Whiplash but as the Chazelle was relatively unknown then and the script proved a little too difficult to bring to life, Whiplash was made instead.

How often do you do a swishy dance when you get dragged to a party? ©Summit Entertainment

Whiplash was a simple story but was so intense and brilliantly told and the music heightened that intensity. La La Land is at the other end of the spectrum. It's a Rom-Com coated in a quirky musical that pays homage to all of the musicals from the 40's and 50's, those movies with Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers and the ones by made by Busby Berkeley. But they aren't as elaborate or as grand, except of course for that last one. But they are just as entertaining to watch. And underneath all that colourful choreography is a solid soundtrack that is heavily influenced by jazz.

How often do first meetings go so well that you end up doing a dance together? I know it happens a lot in Bollywood films too. ©Summit Entertainment

The story is pretty simple, a struggling actress meets and equally struggling jazz musician who dreams of buying an old jazz club and turning it into his own dream jazz club. They meet much like in any other Rom-Com, bumping into each other in unlikely places until that one moment where they finally get to talk and though they may at first rub each other the wrong way something does click and soon they fall in love. As with any other Rom-Com, there is, of course, that moment of conflict where they question their relationship and decide to go their separate ways in the case of La La Land the wedge between them is their respective dreams. But unlike most Rom-Coms, they don't end up together but they do have a sort of reunion near the end of the film. Their story is told not only through dialogue but through song and dance too.

Oh, look it's J.K. Simmons being mean to another jazz musician. ©Summit Entertainment

So, on to the likes.

  • The story. Nothing special about it but very well told and towards the end, not exactly the ending you were expecting but good nonetheless. Loved the little "what if" musical segment.
  • The music. Loved it.
  • The visuals. Loved it too. Beautifully shot and there were moments where Chazelle would use certain visual/camera compositions and lighting that was used back in those old movies.
  • The choreography. What's not to like? If you didn't like it, why did you go watch it, to begin with? You did see the trailers before going, right?
  • The cast. Brilliant performance by both Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone didn't know they could dance let alone sing.

The not so likes.
  • As good as the music is I sort of felt that the singing could have been a lot better.

The grandest and most colourful dance scene happens not when these two find happiness together... ©Summit Entertainment

All in all, La La Land is a beautiful tribute to those great dance musicals from the early days of Hollywood and not only is the music and dancing entertaining but it has a lovely little story brought to life by two very talented actors whom you can tell are really enjoying themselves. If they weren't we as the audience probably wouldn't have enjoyed watching it as much. Case in point, Toni Colette in xXx.

As with quite a few good love stories this one too has a scene in a cinema. ©Summit Entertainment

If you're looking for something different, something fresh, a story told very well but in a different way than pretty much every movie in the past year then go watch this. Or just go watch it to see why everyone's talking about it and why it's been nominated for so many awards and won quite a few. La La Land deserves a solid 4 out of 5.

Check out the trailer.


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