Saturday, February 11, 2017

La, La, Land (2016) (Movie Review – First Impressions)

     When it comes to musicals, I’m usually very reserved. I’ve definitely scene theatrical musicals that I love with a passion, but it’s only a select hand-full, and it’s a genera that’s only ever come off as “good” to me. The 2016 movie musical “La, La, Land” is without a doubt one of those precious musicals that I loved, and will gladly see again. Everything about it is top notch, great performance, energetic musical numbers, stunning imagery, and some honest moral subtext at the center. The marketing for this film made me think it would be your typical romantic fantasy told through music ... “like we’ve never seen that before”. To my pleasant surprise, “La, La, Land” takes all these old clichés, conventions, formulas and tilts them on their side in a way that felt original and inspiring.

         Our story revolves around an aspiring young actress played Emma Stone, who meets an aspiring Jazz artist played by Ryan Gosling. The two form a relationship, and steadily help each other reach their respected dreams and goals in life. Rather than focusing of the typical “will they, or wont they be together conflict” that is usually the focus of most romantic musicals, “La, La, Land” grabs you by the shoulders and urges you to follow your dreams and your passions. The movie really spoke to me on a personal level, and I found myself relating to the characters more than once. I know what it’s like to be turned down from various auditions or job opportunities, but I also give me all to push forward. As for the relationship between our two hero’s, well ... to be honest, I thought it was a little rushed at first, but I grew to like them. They have genuine chemistry, and both actors give solid performances in their respected roles. I don't want to spoil to much in this review, but I must lightly comment on the ending. It was welcome surprise that the film didn't ended on this beautifully bitter sweet note that went against my natural expectations. We also get this incredible montage revolving around "what might have been", and it was one of the most special moment's I've ever experienced in a film of this sort.     

    On a technical level, this movie is a work of art! I mean, holly cow ... the visuals, the colors, the set designs, the fast edits, the long takes, it’s just one big feast for the eyes. “La, La, Land” is without a doubt one of the most visually appealing films I’ve seen in a while, and it does so without overshadowing the films substance. I will admit that the songs themselves weren’t that memorable, I couldn’t remember any of the lyrics, and I wasn’t humming any of the melody’s to myself after words. That’s not to say they were bad, they helped progress the story, and obviously the musical numbers were memorable as either moments or visual appeal, but the songs were just kind of average to me. The main “City of Stars” theme was perfectly fine, but I know I’ve heard better. I really loved Emma Stones “Audition Song”, which absolutely got me in the “feels” ... but I still can’t remember any of the lyrics.    Even though this wasn’t the most memorable soundtrack, “La, La, Land” is still a first rate musical accomplishment. It looks amazing, it’s well acted, the direction is very artistic, and it has some relevant themes that stuck with me. If you’ve been waiting for a genuinely good musical to grace the silver screen, this is one to definitely check out.

                                                         I give “La, La, Land” 4 stars out of 5.  

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