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La La Land (2016)

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    • B
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My disdain for musicals fell to my adoration of Whiplash and Ryan Gosling and got me to see this. It starts... people start getting out of their cars and dancing and singing... fuck, this isn't for me. At least I tried. Well, hey, it actually is pretty impressive how much work must have gone into choreographing all of this, but, alas...

 

Then, another number. The interplay between Mia and her roommates is kind of charming. Wow, this quiet section with everything slowed down is actually rather breathtaking!

 

Then, two hours later, I'm dancing out of the theater to the end credits and ordering the soundtrack for ride home. What a delightful movie. I think the moment where I really got past the strangeness of characters breaking into song was the first instance of Mia and Sebastian's Theme when Seb plays it in the restaurant. From that moment on, the music (which is really wonderful, by the way) was totally engrossing and felt absolutely in place in a way I didn't register initially. I'd credit that to the context--a beautifully shot scene of Sebastian playing the piano or a visually popping montage or a scene with Seb and Mia dancing alone worked in a way that a bunch strangers dancing and singing directly to the camera didn't at first.

 

Also, Damien Chazelle. Whiplash, and now this? This guy's got no fucking ceiling. Maybe the most exciting rising director I can think of (Gareth Edwards, Dan Gilroy, and Sam Esmail are all sound competition, though).

 

A

 

And if the lack of camera cuts during his scenes didn't give it away, yes, that was Ryan Gosling playing the piano. And no, he's not an experienced pianist, but rather he got that good in just the three month rehearsal period. As if more proof was needed that he's the perfect human.

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2 hours ago, Kevin Bacon said:

My disdain for musicals fell to my adoration of Whiplash and Ryan Gosling and got me to see this. It starts... people start getting out of their cars and dancing and singing... fuck, this isn't for me. At least I tried. Well, hey, it actually is pretty impressive how much work must have gone into choreographing all of this, but, alas...

 

Then, another number. The interplay between Mia and her roommates is kind of charming. Wow, this quiet section with everything slowed down is actually rather breathtaking!

 

Yes, I disliked the first two musical numbers as well. Thankfully the rest of the movie is much better. Enjoyed the musical parts when it was just Stone and Gosling with no huge ensemble of performers. Part of the problem for me in the first two musical numbers is that I couldn't really understand the words. Theater I was in seemed to have the music and sound effects cranked louder than the dialogue portion of the soundtrack. Works much better later on when the music is more quiet and it's just a couple people singing a duet. 

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Just now, redfirebird2008 said:

 

Yes, I disliked the first two musical numbers as well. Thankfully the rest of the movie is much better. Enjoyed the musical parts when it was just Stone and Gosling with no huge ensemble of performers. Part of the problem for me in the first two musical numbers is that I couldn't really understand the words. Theater I was in seemed to have the music and sound effects cranked louder than the dialogue portion of the soundtrack. Works much better later on when the music is more quiet and it's just a couple people singing a duet. 

I don't think there was anything wrong soundwise at my theater, and I still have no idea what the hell they were saying at the beginning.

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23 minutes ago, cannastop said:

I don't think there was anything wrong soundwise at my theater, and I still have no idea what the hell they were saying at the beginning.

 

I saw it in Regal's large format RPX. Figure with those auditoriums the goal is primarily to be loud for the big action movies. Could be a mixing issue on this film though. But even if I understood the words at the beginning, I still was thrown out of the movie immediately by the song and dance routine to start the movie. Thank goodness the vast majority of the film wasn't like that. 

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La La Land is a wonder. After a brilliant mainstream debut in Whiplash, Damien Chazelle has matured impressively. He directs with a precision of a orchestra conductor. His films feel like the jazz that they represent, spontaneous, energetic and pleasant. The way he stages the musical numbers never fail to make you smile, and he brilliantly constructs the film to drop out the singing again and again, just making you feel the beautiful music.

 

Stone and Gosling are both marvelous as Mia and Sebastian. Tapping into their charisma and marrying them with their sublimely realistic characters, they sell us on this story and make us root for them both, despite how impossible that may be at points. The rest of the cast does their part as well as an ensemble can do in a musical, and Chazelle wisely gives these side actors time to shine at a few instances during it, while not drawing attention away from our two leads.

 

The music is consistently delightful. The score by Justin Hurwitz and songs by Pasek and Paul mirror each other in a way film musicals rarely do, being fully aware there is a time and place for both of them. The dancing continuously impresses, and at multiple sequences will audience members want to break out in applause.

 

Perhaps La La Land's greatest achievement is how it transcends being a throwback. Yes, it feels like an old musical, but yet it also feels thoroughly modern, while not at the cost of its sincerity. Everything in it feels real, and that's painful at points. Yet, it's all so lovely because of this authenticity, not in spite of it. La La Land is one of the most joyous times you'll ever spend inside a movie theater. It's also a crowning achievement for Chazelle, Stone, Gosling, Hurwitz, Pasek, Paul and everyone else involved in the making of it. A modern masterpiece. A+

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The first musical number where they all get out of their cars, almost had me leaving the theater.  But like Kevin Bacon, I too was in love with the movie after the second musical piece.

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I loved the opening number and Someone in the Crowd.  Visually they're quite exciting and fun

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I can confirm that viewing the movie a second time after having listened to the soundtrack and learning the lyrics is much kinder to the early musical numbers, especially "Another Day of Sun". When the lyrics aren't easy to understand, there's really no context for any of it. 

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Technically, it's pretty great. Nice choreography, nice cinematography, obviously directed with a lot of verve. But (especially in the first half) I ran into a huge, huge speed bump.

 

I hated the main characters.

 

Hated them.

 

Hated every moment of their insufferable "special little snowflake" first world problems. I wanted to punch Ryan Gosling every time he was on screen. Emma Stone was vapid and felt like a stereotype of every single wanna-be ingenue/starlet ever put on screen.

 

There was zero conflict.

 

Things picked up somewhat in the second half, but man oh man. I thought I'd probably really like it. "City of Stars" is a lovely song, though.

 

C+ (mostly from the technical aspects)

 

P.S. @baumer, the final minute or two was good.

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  • ...wtf 1

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4 minutes ago, tribefan695 said:

You should've gone all the way and parodied Ebert's North review

 

Oh yes!

 

I was unconsciously channeling him. Hahaha, good callback. :) 

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26 minutes ago, Telemachos said:

Technically, it's pretty great. Nice choreography, nice cinematography, obviously directed with a lot of verve. But (especially in the first half) I ran into a huge, huge speed bump.

 

I hated the main characters.

 

Hated them.

 

Hated every moment of their insufferable "special little snowflake" first world problems. I wanted to punch Ryan Gosling every time he was on screen. Emma Stone was vapid and felt like a stereotype of every single wanna-be ingenue/starlet ever put on screen.

 

There was zero conflict.

 

Things picked up somewhat in the second half, but man oh man. I thought I'd probably really like it. "City of Stars" is a lovely song, though.

 

C+ (mostly from the technical aspects)

 

P.S. @baumer, the final minute or two was good.

See, this is why I liked the ending. They didn't get what they wanted.

 

Throughout La La Land, I was wishing something interesting would happen. I thought back to Moonlight, and how at least that movie showed a life that's on the precipice.

 

You want me to feel sorry for Ryan Gosling making $60k a year playing in a band? Go fuck yourself, movie. But thanks for not letting him have the girl.

Edited by cannastop
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24 minutes ago, Telemachos said:

Technically, it's pretty great. Nice choreography, nice cinematography, obviously directed with a lot of verve. But (especially in the first half) I ran into a huge, huge speed bump.

 

I hated the main characters.

 

Hated them.

 

Hated every moment of their insufferable "special little snowflake" first world problems. I wanted to punch Ryan Gosling every time he was on screen. Emma Stone was vapid and felt like a stereotype of every single wanna-be ingenue/starlet ever put on screen.

 

There was zero conflict.

 

Things picked up somewhat in the second half, but man oh man. I thought I'd probably really like it. "City of Stars" is a lovely song, though.

 

C+ (mostly from the technical aspects)

 

P.S. @baumer, the final minute or two was good.

Cool story, bro.

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Just now, filmlover said:

Cool story, bro.

 

You're amazingly dismissive about others' opinions sometimes. 

 

I get it, you loved it. Doesn't mean everyone has to.

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Just now, Telemachos said:

 

You're amazingly dismissive about others' opinions sometimes. 

 

I get it, you loved it. Doesn't mean everyone has to.

You know I'm just joshing you.

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33 minutes ago, Telemachos said:

Technically, it's pretty great. Nice choreography, nice cinematography, obviously directed with a lot of verve. But (especially in the first half) I ran into a huge, huge speed bump.

 

I hated the main characters.

 

Hated them.

 

Hated every moment of their insufferable "special little snowflake" first world problems. I wanted to punch Ryan Gosling every time he was on screen. Emma Stone was vapid and felt like a stereotype of every single wanna-be ingenue/starlet ever put on screen.

 

There was zero conflict.

 

Things picked up somewhat in the second half, but man oh man. I thought I'd probably really like it. "City of Stars" is a lovely song, though.

 

C+ (mostly from the technical aspects)

 

P.S. @baumer, the final minute or two was good.

 

:ohmygod:

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37 minutes ago, Telemachos said:

Technically, it's pretty great. Nice choreography, nice cinematography, obviously directed with a lot of verve. But (especially in the first half) I ran into a huge, huge speed bump.

 

I hated the main characters.

 

Hated them.

 

Hated every moment of their insufferable "special little snowflake" first world problems. I wanted to punch Ryan Gosling every time he was on screen. Emma Stone was vapid and felt like a stereotype of every single wanna-be ingenue/starlet ever put on screen.

 

There was zero conflict.

 

Things picked up somewhat in the second half, but man oh man. I thought I'd probably really like it. "City of Stars" is a lovely song, though.

 

C+ (mostly from the technical aspects)

 

P.S. @baumer, the final minute or two was good.

 

Tele says GET OFF MY LAWN. These Millennial movies are not for you.

 

:apocalypse:

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3 hours ago, filmlover said:

La La Land needed more skybeams, duh.

 

Well...some might classify the sunset as a "skybeam."

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