My Most Memorable Cinematic Experience Since Star Wars - when I was six (by Marcus_Markou)
The last time, I felt like this, in a cinema, I was six years old and I was watching Star Wars. I never imagined, I would ever find that feeling again in a cinema. That sense of being transported to another world. The opening sequence took my breath away and I never got it back. Not even at the end - which left my head spinning. It is a beautiful film with soul, wit, charm, style and love. It is simply outrageous! Bold and fantastic and fantastical. I am a straight man but my love for Ryan Gosling could change all that. He's a melancholy genius and Emma Stone is our muse. This film defies <more>
genre. It is a masterpiece. I urge you to see it. I was lucky enough to see it at the BFI London Film Festvial. It has been five days since I saw La La Land and I am still thinking about it and singing the haunting refrain that plays with your soul. I mean it gets in there - that music - the music of the firmament. Flying still, dreaming still... thank you Damien.
Love letter to Hollywood .. and a Heck of a Film (by A_Different_Drummer)
Writer/Director Damien Chazelle, who already had a nice career going for him, explodes into the Bigtime with this delightful, mesmerizing, and completely unexpected ode to Tinseltown.The opening sequence satirized on the Golden Globes really does not do the rest of the film justice. It is as if the cast from the FAME remake grew up, had children of their own, and then those children hijacked the Santa Monica freeway to do a 10 minute flash-mob dance sequence.From that point on, the film is hypnotic.We segue to a love story as pure as anything since the great dramas of the 1940s. If the film <more>
had been in B&W, you would almost have expected to see Bette Davis in a 3-hankie tear jerker.Except for the musical interludes, of course, which are pitch perfect and totally wonderful.Gosling is surprising as a leading man expected to do song and dance, but he delivers the goods. Stone, who was supposed to be "the next big thing" after Easy A 2010 , steals the film and possibly the hearts of the audience as well. The awards should flow like water, and she will deserve every one.As I said, deep in the DNA this is an ode to Hollywood. The film industry has always had issues with endings -- back in the day they would film several different endings per picture -- and then decide at the last minute which to use. Here Chazelle pays homage to that by giving us an alternate ending, along with the "real" ending, along with a closing sequence designed to remind everyone that nothing in Hollywood is actually real, but everything still can be really fun.Destined to be a classic. Recommended.
An unashamedly romantic musical, infused with intense charisma and devastating emotion (by neverever121)
I was interested in seeing this film because not only am I a sucker for a good musical, but I'll admit to being a big fan of Ryan Gosling and I was intrigued to see what the director of Whiplash would do with a musical picture to make it fresh and unique. So when I had the chance to see a late-planned viewing at the London Film Festival, I jumped at the chance FYI, Ryan Gosling came to the screening as a surprise post- film Q&A attendee despite not appearing at the Headline Gala the night before so I was chuffed! The premise of the story is that Stone is a young actress who has moved <more>
to LA to wait tables while auditioning to try and 'make it', while Gosling is a jazz purist "Anyone who doesn't like jazz just doesn't have the right...context", he insists who plays the piano in bars to make a living and dreams of opening his own Jazz bar. Or to put it succinctly - "Two young artists meet and fall in love while chasing their dreams". The musical flows thematically from first love to heartbreak and every other emotion between, with great music throughout.The most impressive thing about the film, for me, is just how daringly it dances between the old-fashioned "Singing' In The Rain" style of musical, and a bolder, modern style. The song numbers are great the opening number received a round of applause in my viewing and are an undoubted homage to classic musicals - a thoughtful mixture of old school dance numbers you'd expect from a musical in the 50s, and emotionally-wrenching ballads that hit you where it hurts; there is one particular sequence toward the end of the film which is a real gut-punch. Stylistically the film skirts this same line; the film again looks and acts like a classic musical but frequently we see low-key reminders that this is modern day; actresses using their iPhones, a video being seen on Youtube, etc to remind us that this is set in the present day. If we didn't have these reminders, the visuals would almost have you thinking that this is the 1950s. The cinematography is beautiful and overall the film is visually stunning. There is also no doubt that it is wonderfully directed, with the same masterful control of pace and tension that we come to expect from Damien Chazelle thanks to Whiplash.Gosling in particular is absolutely terrific, with a typically sardonic wit throughout. At the start of the film when his sister says she's worried about him as life seems to have him on the ropes, he responds "I wanna be on the ropes. I'm just letting life think it has me and then before you know it - BAM. It's a classic rope-a-dope". His delivery of these sorts of lines can't be matched, and it's easy to see why the producers said in the post-film Q&A that he was the person they wanted for the role in their wildest dreams. It's a role made for him with tons more of the above kind of lines. But more than that, Gosling captures a real emotional intensity at the film's emotional breaking points, more specifically in the sequence towards the end of the film that I mentioned earlier. He manages to convey such convincing emotion without so much as a word.I'd feel bad if I didn't also praise Emma Stone, who has probably never been better. She has wonderful emotional range, from the ecstatic highs of love to the tearful, painful lows. In terms of the Gosling/Stone films, this is by far the best. Their undoubted chemistry is given the full spotlight in this film with freedom to explore said chemistry without restriction. The film is ultimately everything it had the potential to be - an unashamedly romantic musical, infused not only with great song and dance numbers but with intense emotion and charisma from Gosling/Stone, wonderful visuals and a unique pacing and tension from Chazelle. Oh, and it's hilarious throughout too. A genuine achievement - must be one of the best films I've seen in a long while. I'm annoyed I'll have to wait so long to see it again, frankly.Will surely win multiple Oscars and other awards.
What a great movie! Who would have thought anyone could bring the original screen musical back from the dead? Yet here it is, hale and hearty.The music is melodic but never simplistic; the lyrics are intelligent and intelligible; the script is funny, touching without ever resorting to sentimentality; the two leads are not only skillful but full of a kind of charm that I honestly thought had disappeared entirely from American movies: but here we have Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone just oozing it.The only pebbles in this ocean of inventiveness are some routine dance routines and over-reliance on <more>
the device of lights dimming on set to isolate an actor in white light, but that's me being r-e-a-l-l-y picky. It may well be that this is the best musical written directly for the screen since SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS.All credit to writer-director Damien Chazelle and his team - and it really feels like a team-movie - for giving us this gem. Sure it's a feelgood piece, but it creates a world which is complex, it acknowledges alternative outcomes for its characters, it connects with people's passions, and in the case of Ms Stone's big solo, "Audition", it has a bona fide classic.
Damien Chazelle is a young director who loves and knows movies, from Federico Fellini to Jacques Demy. Hallellujah! Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone go back to inspire us forward. What's more surprising than anything else is the feel of amateurishness in the dancing in the singing. So refreshing not to have a sleek but empty experience. Damian Chazelle' Whiplash was a brilliant preview of forthcoming attractions. I would love to see a thriller directed by Chazelle, something like Shadow Of A Doubt or even a glossy damsel in distress story like Midnight Lace. That's what happens when we <more>
discover a new and startling talent. You want to see him do everything. I have a feeling this young artist will.
La La Land is a cinematic marvel. It's nostalgia, meticulousness and joy captured my heart and earned itself the title of one of the best musicals of all time.Almost every aspect of La La Land is close to perfect making this not only one of the best movies in recent history but also one of the best looking films and a very memorable cinematic experience. The cinematography is lively with phenomenal long takes, different location and gorgeous colours thanks to the production design. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone make a wonderful musical duo with serious chemistry as if the roles were made <more>
for them. The music feels alive at any moment and the sound track is definitely consistent. After Whiplash, the stakes were high for Damien Chazelle and La La Land undoubtedly lands him a spot on Hollywood's best directors. Pulling of two films of the same genre and making both of them seem unique and originally is no easy thing to do and writing a film can be agonising so Damien Chazelle deserves all the praise he's getting.La La Land is a genre defying masterpiece which I would recommend to anyone a fan of musicals or not. It's colourful joyfulness is a sight to see.Final Score: 9+/10
From Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe winning director Damien Chazelle Whiplash , I heard a little about this film a couple of months before its release, the title relates to both the location city and the idiom for being out of touch with reality, I knew it was likely to be part of awards season. Basically in Los Angeles, California, on-studio barista and aspiring actress Mia Oscar, BAFTA and Golden Globe winning Emma Stone and jazz pianist Sebastian Golden Globe winning, and Oscar and BAFTA nominated Ryan Gosling are caught in traffic on a crowded highway, they have a moment of road rage. <more>
Despite her best efforts, Mia has a poor audition, that night she is taken out by her roommates to a lavish Hollywood Hills party, after which she finds her car has been towed away and is forced to take the long walk back. Sebastian is playing piano for a gig in a restaurant, he slips into passionate jazz improvisation, despite being warned by the owner Bill J.K. Simmons , Mia walks past and overhears, she enters to listen and sees Sebastian get fired, he storms out and coldly brushes off Mia trying to compliment him. Months later, Mia and Sebastian cross paths when he is playing with a band at a party, he is a part of a 1980s pop cover band, after the gig they walk together to find their cars, and expressing the waste of a good evening with each other, but there is clearly chemistry between them. Mia takes Sebastian on a walk around the movie lot, explaining her passion for acting, and Sebastian takes Mia to a jazz club, describing his love for the music that may be dying out, and explaining his passion to open a club, they warm to each other. Mia has a commitment with her current boyfriend, she forgot this when accepting an invite from Sebastian to a screening of Rebel Without a Cause, but she leaves to join Sebastian, as the film begins, the two conclude their evening with a romantic dance at the Griffith Observatory. Mia has more failed auditions, following Sebastian's suggestion she decides to write a personal single-actress play, while Sebastian begins to perform regularly at the jazz club, the two also move in together. Sebastian's high school classmate Keith John Legend invites him to be the keyboardist in his jazz band, this is an offer for steady income, Sebastian is daunted by the pop- oriented style of the band, but overhearing a conversation by Mia to her mother about his career, he signs with them, and Mia knows his heart is not fully into the music being made. The band are on their first tour, Mia confronts Sebastian about his future and goals, he responds saying that she wanted him to have a steady career, then accuses her that she loved him when he was unsuccessful, Mia leaves insulted. Sebastian fails to show up for the opening night of Mia's solo play, due to a photo shoot he forgot about, only a few people attend, Mia is dejected overhearing dismissive comments from audience members, so she leaves Los Angeles and moves back to Boulder City, Nevada. One day, Sebastian receives a call from a casting agent who was watching Mia's play, Mia has been invited to a film audition, Sebastian drives to Boulder City and persuades Mia to return, she is simply asked to tell a story for the audition, she tells an emotional story about her aunt who inspired her to pursue acting. Sebastian is confident that the audition went well for Mia, he asserts that she must devote herself wholeheartedly to the opportunity she has been given, they profess they will always love each other, but they face an uncertain future. Five years later, Mia is a famous actress and married to David Tom Everett Scott and they have a daughter, one night they stumble into a jazz club, Mia notices the name "Seb's", she realises Sebastian has finally opened his own club, he is playing piano and spots her in the audience, looking unsettled and regretful. This prompts an extended dream sequence, the two imagine what might have been had their relationship worked out perfectly, while their love theme plays, when the dream ends Mia leaves with her husband, before walking out Sebastian and Mia look at each other with a knowing look and smile, they are happy they have achieved their dreams. Also starring Rosemarie DeWitt as Laura, Finn Wittrock as Greg, Callie Hernandez as Tracy, Sonoya Mizuno as Caitlin, Jessica Rothe as Alexis and Josh Pence as Josh. Stone is strong, charismatic and vulnerable as the jobbing actress, Gosling is a likable talented musician, they make a good couple, this works well as a look into going-on in Tinseltown, it has the feel of a classic film of the genre, in the modern day, and it has wonderful songs and dance sequences, a most enjoyable romantic musical comedy drama. It won the Oscars for Best Cinematography, Best Original Score for Justin Hurwitz, Best Original Song for "City of Stars" it also won the Golden Globe and Best Production Design, and it was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year it was mistakenly announced as the winner, dubbed "envelopegate", Moonlight was the actual winner , Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing and Best Original Song for "Audition The Fools Who Dream ", it won the BAFTA for Best Film, Best Cinematography and Original Music, and it was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design and Best Sound, and it won the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score. Very good!
"La La Land" is a wonderful and refreshing, but imperfect film. (by dave-mcclain)
In real life, most people don't randomly break out in song and dance, but the escapism of the big screen has been bringing Movie Fans musical feature films since the very first days of the sound motion picture. Only the second film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture was a musical 1929's "The Broadway Melody" . Oversaturation in the marketplace and changing audience tastes led to the production of fewer musicals, but they never went away. Some of the best-loved musicals in film history e.g. "Meet Me in St. Louis" and "Singin' in the Rain" <more>
came out in the 10-year span 1944-1953. But the ensuing decades each produced very popular musicals: "West Side Story", "The Sound of Music" and "Oliver!" all Best Picture Oscar winners from the 1960s , "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", "Grease" and "All That Jazz" 1970s , "Victor/Victoria", "Little Shop of Horrors" and "The Little Mermaid" 1980s , "Beauty and the Beast", "The Lion King" and "Evita" 1990s and, in the early 2000s, "Moulin Rouge!", "Frozen", "Dreamgirls" and "Chicago", which became the first musical in 34 years to win Best Picture.2016's "La La Land" PG-13, 2:08 is the purest original non-adapted live action musical in many years, and has both the pedigree and the quality to duplicate the accomplishment of 2002's "Chicago". "La La Land" was written and directed by Damien Chazelle, who was the writer-director of 2014's "Whiplash", which earned him Oscar nods for his script and his film. This one is filled with original songs which are composed and orchestrated by Chazelle's previous collaborator, Justin Hurwitz, with lyrics by the award-winning musical theater team known as Pasek and Paul. Musician John Legend has a major role in the film and its stars, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, are both past Oscar nominees who earlier appeared together in two other movies – 2011's "Crazy, Stupid, Love" and 2013's "Gangster Squad". And, yes, they both sing and dance while telling this particular musical's story of romance, dreams and hope. It takes place in the present but feels like a throwback - like the most entertaining musicals of yesteryear.The film's title has a dual meaning: 1 referring to people who live their lives in a seemingly unrealistic dream world and 2 the city of Los Angeles itself, where most of the action takes place. In fact, the film opens with a song-and-dance number with commuters stuck on a typically grid-locked L.A. highway. At the very end of that scene, aspiring actress Mia Dolan Stone has a random, brief and unpleasant encounter with struggling jazz keyboardist, Sebastian Wilder Gosling , who acts like a real pianist. The two run into each other again in Sebastian's jazz club, immediately after he's fired by the club owner J.K. Simmons for insisting on playing his own music. Sebastian is no more polite this time. The two finally "meet cute" and before long, Mia has left her roommates behind and moved in with Sebastian.Neither life nor love go smoothly for this pair of stubborn dreamers, but they sure do try hard at both. Mia continues working as a barista on the Warner Bros. studio lot and going to frustrating audition after frustrating audition. Eventually, she decides that her best way forward is to write, finance and produce a one-woman show which, fittingly, focuses on her experiences of leaving her hometown in Nevada and moving to La La Land to pursue her dreams. After dropping the humorously humiliating job where Mia sees him at their third encounter, Sebastian continues to hold fast to his dream of opening his own jazz club, but doesn't really do much about it. He reluctantly takes a job on keys in a music group run by an old acquaintance Legend , but doesn't enjoy it because they don't play his style of pure jazz. Sebastian's unhappiness turns to resentment and ends up being directed toward Mia, just as her show is about to open. The eventual resolution of their love story and their individual pursuit of their dreams feels right for a movie which celebrates dreamers, but shows what happens when life doesn't go as we've planned."La La Land" is a wonderful movie, but not, as some reviewers would lead you to believe, flawless. After three contentious encounters, the two main characters just suddenly fall in love, a development that isn't very well earned by the script or the acting. Otherwise, the performances are excellent especially Stone's and the script is funny, poignant and grounded except for that whole thing about characters suddenly breaking into song. But when they do, those songs are both fun and touching. The dancing, however, seems to lack some of the energy and joy that you find in the older Hollywood musicals that inspired this film. Having said all that, I have to put these relatively minor criticisms into perspective: This is a very entertaining and affecting movie. You'll likely be emotionally invested in these characters, smile a lot – and leave the theater wanting the soundtrack. For someone who wants more variety and positivity in today's films, this one is a gift. "A-"
Feels both traditional and contemporary (by tomgillespie2002)
There was a time I remember, sometime during the mid-to-late '90s, when the idea of watching a musical was laughable. It was a silly trend that was once popular with the movie-going audience back when cinema was relatively primitive, which saw a kitschy revival in the '70s and '80s with the likes of Grease 1978 and Xanadu 1980 , but died a death when the rapid evolution of CGI made anything possible on screen. Then came Moulin Rouge! and its use of modernised classic tunes in 2001, and movie-goers have been in love with the genre again ever since. Its popularity shows no sign <more>
of stopping either, and writer/director Damien Chazelle, who made a big impression in 2014 with the excellent Whiplash, has sculpted one of the best musicals of recent times with the Oscar-nominated La La Land, a film that manages to feel both traditional and contemporary.The film combines two elements clearly dear to Chazelle: The lavish musicals of the 1950s and to a lesser degree the '40s , and pure jazz. The two wandering souls at the story's centre dream of leaving their mark in their respected fields, but both are in love with the past in industries always looking forward. Actress Mia Emma Stone spends time between humiliating and soul-crushing auditions serving coffee near a studio lot, where she occasionally crosses paths with a glamorous star as the rest of the room whisper excitedly. Musician Sebastian Ryan Gosling cannot resist ignoring the festive playlist at his restaurant haunt in favour of some improvisation on the piano - much to the annoyance of his boss Bill J.K. Simmons - while he dreams of opening his own traditional jazz bar. Sebastian is quick- tempered, neurotic, and plain rude, but Mia pursues him anyway. They fall in love, and express their feelings through impromptu song-and- dance routines.Chazelle knows the genre inside out, and seems to favour the lavish MGM musicals and the glamorous physicality of the era's stars such as Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Opening with a near one-shot song-and-dance routine, beautifully photographed by Linus Sandgren, it goes on to deliver many dazzling and classical numbers, which are often glorious to behold and backed by a soundtrack of memorable tunes that manage to stay in your head for days afterwards. They are performed admirably by the central pair, who have real chemistry. One of the few saving graces of the Amazing Spider-Man films was the chemistry between Stone and Andrew Garfield, and here she sizzles with Gosling. It's the movie's main strength. Rather than merely go through the motions and familiar tropes, you really want them to be together. You can truly feel their happiness every time they see each other.La La Land stutters when exploring deeper, more complex themes. The second act sees the two achieve some degree of success, with Mia developing a one-woman show and Sebastian joining up with a fellow musician played by John Legend in a band making waves in the world of jazz. Will Mia ultimately degrade herself in order to make it in a brutal industry that may not deserve her, and how can Sebastian, a hardcore old-schooler, be happy in a flashy group looking to move the genre forward? It seems like a poor excuse to simply tear the couple apart to experience their inevitable rough patch, and doesn't really fully explore the characters' emotional quandaries. But this slight lag doesn't last for very long, and the final moments are simply perfect. One of the great things about Whiplash was that final, heart- pounding moment of physical and spiritual triumph, and La La Land wraps up the story with grace and genuine tugs on the heartstrings. proving itself to be much more than a mere homage.