Sunday, 22 January 2017

La La Land


I was in two minds about seeing LaLa Land.
On the one hand come the multiple plaudits from the critics
On the other.......anecdotal so so reviews from ordinary cinema goers.
So I went with an open mind.

As it turned out, La La Land is a sweet movie; a modern day musical which starts as it means to go on with commuters stuck in sunbright LA traffic singing and dancing around their cars in a multicoloured explosion of bon vivre! 
The story is suitably cheesy.
Aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) meets up with Jazz bore Sebastian ( Ryan Gosling) a pianist down on his luck.
Over a year we witness their courtship in Los Angeles, the " city of dreams" as both try their best to attain their dreams in Hollywood and it's a courtship punctuated with a whole plethora of musical set pieces with the leads singing and dancing on the Hollywoods Hills, on the Warner Brothers' back set and and in one magical sequence weightless inside the city's planetarium!
Gosling is delightful as the puppy eyed Sebastian, playing the piano as easily as he sings and dances.
Stone is impressive too and almost steals the film with a plucky charm and warmth. They are incredibly sweet in their many scenes together.
La La Land doesn't quite reinvent the Hollywood musical, but it does kick start the genre somewhat.
Having said this I could done without the Jazz ( I am not a lover of it) and some of the final quarter of the movie sags just a tiny bit, but I dare you to watch the powerhouse sequence of Mia's final audition    
( sung by Stone as the camera revolves around her) without crying...it's a lovely bit of cinema.
8/10

44 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Oops, that above deleted comment was by me. I just commented that from reading your post I will go see the film; it sounds worthwhile.

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  3. Trelawnyd was once Newmarket, I think. Perhaps it should be renamed La La Land.

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    1. Perhaps you are right YP , I DO SO try to see the good in things

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  4. You know i'm not a huge fan of musicals... especially modern day musicals ... now i can think of some oldies that were worth my time... Just the name of this movie did not inspire me to want to see it... I appreciate your positive review John but i don't think i'll be seeing this one. On the other hand we saw Pete's Dragon and loved it! Hugs! deb

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  5. I kept meaning to see what it is about and you have saved me the trouble. Not my sort of movie.

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  6. I liked the Jazz touch, I was worried it would end up with cheesy pop songs.

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  7. I'm looking forward to seeing it!

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  8. That sounds a better review than the one-sided reviews (from both sides) that I'd read previously. Thanks.

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  9. Also not a lover of jazz (because I've never been able to get into it, despite a lifetime of trying over and over again), and because your blog has many times more followers than mine has, I'm delighted to endorse your approval of 'La La' here, so that others may see and decide to go. I'll be more than surprised - astonished even - if, after investing in the experience, they feel short-changed.

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  10. oh wow! I find it impossible to believe that anyone wouldnt like jazz and here are two people in one blog post!

    Thanks for the review, John. Pretty much everything i have heard about the film has been good

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    1. Btw Kylie, I once asked a mad-keen jazz enthusiast, an American (in Amsterdam), exactly what I should listen for that would help me to appreciate jazz in the way that he does. He suggested I ought to try listening to the bass-line more. I tried it - it's made no difference.
      (I'm not giving up trying!)

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    2. That was good advice! I like some of the earlier forms of jazz more than the modern ones.

      I suppose there are forms of music other people love and I hate, horses for courses

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    3. Raybeard, I'm one of those mad-keen jazz enthusiasts... it's interesting to me that you keep trying to appreciate it. A good base line is important but what really divides the good jazz musicians from the chaff is if they can improvise through the chord changes. Mmmmm.... gives me goosebumps.

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    4. Make that three. Everyone likes different things of course, but jazz is something I just don't get. Each to their own.

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    5. What's so annoying to me, Kylie and AKC, is that I love virtually all the other categories of music - classical (incl opera), pop (at least 1940s-2000), musicals, folk, country & western etc etc - (though NOT particularly heavy metal!) So, a very wide spectrum, possibly wider than most - but jazz continues to withold its secret from me. (Must say I can appreciate 'trad jazz', though that will be regarded as 'inferior' or not 'true jazz' at all!)
      One more thing, about 30 years ago I went to an Oscar Peterson concert in Oxford, in the hope of getting some 'enlightenment'. Although the large audience was evidently moved (in many cases, literally!)it all left me cold. Sad - for me, at least.

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    6. I'd better close this thread, having rambled on long enough on someone else's blog about a subject which J.G. himself only mentioned tangentially. Maybe I'll take it up on my own.

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    7. Carry on raymondo! No problem

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    8. Thanks, J.G., but it's YOUR blog and I don't want to clutter it up with my own 'issues'.

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    9. Well Ray, I'll take John at his word....
      I entirely agree with you... I like trad jazz and some modern jazz that has a "followable" melody... ie: is musical.... the musical tarts of both sexes who tootle away on their chosen weapon and then seem to have a battle in notes with the other people on the stage.... what a load of old rollox! And people pay good money to go and hear that!!

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    10. Oh dear. Well with J.G.'s kind indulgence I'll carry on with just one more posting here, LaPre.
      At that Oscar Peterson concert, after a few items which bored me to tears he started playing a 'standard' as a piano solo, but in a 'conventional' way. I think it was something like 'Misty' or 'Smoke Gets in your Eyes'. But whatever it was I sat up, thinking "Now this is GOOD". Then, after one run-through, he suddenly veered off with tinklings and diversions, though the melody was just about still discernible. As I was losing interest, cries of "Ooh yeah" started erupting from various locations in the audience along with other muttered expressions of approval. Heads started nodding and shaking from side to side while I sat there immobile and stony-faced.
      The 'mystery' of what is there that so many are enjoying continues to be just that.

      Okay, now this really is the end of this thread. Thanks for all who contributed - as well as to J.G. himself, of course.

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  11. I usually enjoy Ryan Gosling but I'm afraid musicals (apart from The Blues Brothers and The Commitments) are a complete turn off for me so perhaps I'll look elsewhere. Looking forward to Trainspotting 2.

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  12. I cannot tell you when I last went to the cinema, it is so long ago. I have read a few reviews of La La Land and I can't say they tempt me.

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  13. We were just debating seeing this today. Thanks for the review!

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  14. I always enjoy seeing something with a dollop of feelgood factor once in a while. I'm not a big fan of this particular genre, but lots of others have enjoyed it.
    Arilx

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  15. I enjoyed it too and thought that Emma and Ryan did a great job. After spending the last week thinking about it I think its major flaw is that a lot of Hollywood films it is trying to be too many things. It is trying to be a drama, a musical and a romance and somehow seems to not excel at any if them.

    Julie

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  16. Thanks for this, John. Will see it now.

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  18. I am planning on seeing this film. I have heard that it is a feel-good movie and we all could use some of that.

    A film that I saw recently, Fences, has to be the most outstanding movie of the year. The acting is phenomenal.

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  19. Great review John . . .
    I loved la la land . . . sweet and refreshing . . .

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  20. Like you I am a bit dubious of this film but judging by your review I think I will give it a go.
    Briony
    x

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  21. I love movie musicals, and am anxious to see this one, most likely when it comes out on DVD, how I see most films these days

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  22. Not crazy about musicals...that is what the radio is for...i'm passing on this one

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  23. Not crazy about musicals...that is what the radio is for...i'm passing on this one

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  24. We were disappointed in La La Land - the voices were thin and the plot lacked subtlety we thought. We went to Whiskey Galore yesterday afternoon (it's supposed to be High Summer here, but it's gales and driving rain) and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was also a much better length at 1hr 40. The accents were delightful. The next on our list is Lion. The trailer was enticing.

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  25. " lion" looks a good emotional romp! Ishall like it me thinks

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    1. I'll be seeing it, though without positive anticipation as just about everyone is saying that it brought them close to tears - or actually even did exactly that. Don't care for weepies one bit, but as there's been so much jabber-jabber.....

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  26. Usually, I have no love for musicals but I loved La La Land and have now seen it twice. I would go again if somebody invited me. Emma Stones' expressive face is worth seeing in this movie. It was indeed a sweet but not saccharine movie.

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  27. Usually, I have no love for musicals but I loved La La Land and have now seen it twice. I would go again if somebody invited me. Emma Stones' expressive face is worth seeing in this movie. It was indeed a sweet but not saccharine movie.

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  28. Thank you for the review of La La Land. Perfect timing as I am going to see it in about an hour. I love musicals so I am sure I will enjoy it. Speaking of enjoying things, I love reading your blog.

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  29. I love musicals, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. I'm not so hot on jazz but am willing to forego this minor detail for a couple of hours of escapism from this mad,mad world. Emma Stone is brilliant in 'The Help' too. I'm also veering towards 'Gold' with Matthew MacConaghey(sp?).At the moment I'm living my life vicariously in Stars Hollow, through the Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I love it too. Have a good week me old mucka.

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  30. Hello again John ... ah, the problems of popularity ... heh.

    Lala Land? Amerrrika personified. Though have to admit that it's somewhat refeshing to see that a 'movie' from the land of hyperbole has come up with something that has music, dancing - and, apparently, no 'all purpose' aggressive 'F'words, and the 'hero's' do not need multiple radid fire weopns to "win" ... heh.

    (haven't seen it, if it's saccharine .. no need to))

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  31. I haven't seen this film yet. So glad to hear it's worth the 10 bucks to go see it. That said, my son dated Emma Stone in high school and dumped her. We like to give him shit about it at every holiday gathering.

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    1. How wonderful! Her wide eyed look didnt melt his heart then?

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