Author Topic: La La Land  (Read 6870 times)

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Lottery

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La La Land
« on: July 25, 2016, 11:09:31 PM »
+1


A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.

Written and directed by  Damien Chazelle.
Starring  Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, J.K. Simmons.

Looks wonderfully stylised. That shot at 0:45 is blowing my mind for some reason.

Just Withnail

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Re: La La Land
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2016, 04:01:10 AM »
+1
Looks a little like a Punch-Drunk Love musical.
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Pedro

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Re: La La Land
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2016, 04:47:19 PM »
+1


The chord progression and melody from 0:38 - 0:50 is just perfect. 

modage

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Re: La La Land
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2016, 01:26:20 PM »
+9
Recently there was a pretty great article about the Death of Film (culture) on The Ringer and in it there were a few good quotes that stuck with me. One from Mark Harris about TV v. Film and how good/great movies are still being made, they just seem to matter less in the culture and are becoming more of a niche, and another one from Bret Easton Ellis (who says some attention-baiting things from time to time but this one I happened to agree with) is that it's great for filmmakers like PTA who have Annapurna to back them but there aren't really any PTA's being raised. And I got a little pushback on that one, so I clarified "Not sure I've seen a 27 year old filmmaker make a studio film that blew my socks off like Boogie Nights did since '97."

But last night I saw La La Land and have to amend that statement. I liked Whiplash (solid B/B-) and would've been interested to see what he did next but never would have expected him to make the leap that he did here, which is truly a Hard Eight to Boogie Nights level jump in ambition/scale/talent the likes of which I really haven't seen since the 90s. Movies may be on their way out like jazz but La La Land makes the case for film. The best ones still do what TV never can. La La Land is so good & such a delicate tightrope of nostalgia/new that I'm shocked that none of the 90s auteurs got there first! PTA & David O. Russell must be kicking themselves for never making a full-blown musical. Punch-Drunk Love got close but veered Demme instead of Demy.

Also: lots of early PTA influence in this, Boogie Nights to Punch-Drunk Love especially. And I'm sure he was absorbing the same influences PTA was when he was namedropping Astaire/Rogers and Singin' In The Rain before PDL, but he goes all the way with it. And I was concerned it might be too self-conscious but Chazelle sells it. Other than Riley Stearns' Faults (which had some major PTA vibez), this is the first film I've seen that feels like it's aping young PTA and trying to one-up him the way that PTA did to Altman and Scorsese. (Chazelle has mentioned screening Boogie Nights among other classic musicals as inspiration for the film.) If teenagers still watch movies anymore, La La Land should be a total gateway drug to classic cinema like Boogie Nights was for me.

In early 2012, I saw Emma Stone in a Live Read of The Apartment in the Shirley Maclaine part and she blew me away. I'd liked her in films, and she had been funny, but I'd never seen her do anything like this before, and remember thinking (and writing) that the first director to take advantage of this and give her a party worthy of her talents was going to hit the jackpot. I thought it might be Jason Reitman (since he cast her in the Reading and obviously saw what we saw) or Cameron Crowe who would've seemed the best fit to channel Wilder's bittersweet dramedic tone, but he whiffed. But 4 1/2 years later, with La La Land she finally gets a chance and she is incredible. Third time's the charm for a Gosling/Stone film actually worthy of their onscreen chemistry. With both this & The Nice Guys, Gosling has really gotten good at physical comedy, almost a silent comedian at times. Both of their singing voices are average which only helps the film's ragged edges.

The soundtrack is a grower. I've probably heard it 25 times since last night and now I want to see the film again immediately. I know everyone is talking about Oscar stuff but I kinda hope it doesn't win Best Picture because it's too good for that. In a year with La La Land, how some critics could vote for that 3-hour unfunny piece of shit over this, I will never understand. Lots more to say, don't want to tread into spoilers. But the Xixax of 2003 would've loved and dissected the shit out of this one.

This is the best film of 2016.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

samsong

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Re: La La Land
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2016, 06:38:36 PM »
0
it's alright.

modage

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Re: La La Land
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2016, 07:30:21 PM »
+1
 :doh:
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

polkablues

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Re: La La Land
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2016, 09:23:52 PM »
0
Bet you wish you had known that before you wrote that whole long thing.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

samsong

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Re: La La Land
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2016, 01:41:16 AM »
+5
it's a charming, competent, nostalgic nod to movie musicals with some genuinely enthralling musical numbers.  justin hurwitz's music is by far the best part of the movie, a worthy homage to michel legrand.  gosling almost steals the entire show, and the two of them are adorable together.

there's a lot of dramatic posturing though that suggests to me that damien chazelle's appreciation and understanding of demy is purely superficial.  the spectacle and exuberance is all there but the pathos and romantic ambivalence are, at best, forced.  there's one scene in particular that is so abrupt and filled with unearned emotional beats, a kind of jerky gear shift sending the film towards a referential ending.  the second half is riddled with narrative missteps.

it's good, and a lot of fun.  it's also frivolous.

this is not the best film of 2016.

matt35mm

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Re: La La Land
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2016, 01:09:41 PM »
+3
I really loved it. Perhaps it's due to Chazelle's youth, but there was a commitment to the purity of feeling that made this much more than a technical exercise, although the technical aspects happen to be quite good, so that's all the better. It reminds me of how David Gordon Green's first couple of movies also succeed because of this total commitment to the large feelings of youth, and as he got "wiser" and learned the ropes a bit more, that magical quality was lost, even when all the same tricks are pulled.

I've recently been in an odd state as a movie-goer where I'm primarily experiencing a film intellectually, because I'm recognizing the whys and hows of the decision-making, and it's been hard to shut that part of my brain up. So I've been admiring more films than I've been loving lately.

So the lovely surprise of this movie was that it was able to shove me back in my seat, tell me to shut the hell up and just watch this and feel the feelings. A lot of that probably depends on happening to catch it at just the right time of day and being in the right mood and all that stuff, but I was just ready for this and am very happy about its existence.

ębrad

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Re: La La Land
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2016, 09:13:49 AM »
0
Damien Chazelle is our new PTA. And thank god because we desperately need another one. By the end of the opening sequence (and holy shit, what a bravura piece of filmmaking that was), I was sold. 

I agree with Mod and Matt-man completely, although I would go even further and say this does Punch Drunk Love better than Punch Drunk Love, and is a more successful film. People were literally skipping out of the theaters when the credits rolled.

there's one scene in particular that is so abrupt and filled with unearned emotional beats, a kind of jerky gear shift sending the film towards a referential ending.  the second half is riddled with narrative missteps.

Which scene do you speak of?


Tictacbk

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Re: La La Land
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2016, 02:46:18 PM »
+1
This was a delight, and has been growing on me for the last few days to the point where I definitely want to see it again. I also happened to see it a historic old LA theater, so that was nice.

I'm thrilled that people seem to think Damien Chazelle is the next PTA, but I don't see it yet. Which is to say, Boogie Nights this is not. Of course thats an unfair comparison, but I don't think this is PDL either. It's an extremely well made, fun and exciting musical, and I had a smile on my face the whole time, but I didn't get that "Holy shit this is incredible, I need to google this director's name and then spend the next 15 years of my life on an internet forum that sprouted from his fansite" feeling when I watched it. Maybe I'm just getting old?

I felt like it was missing a soul. All of the parts where there, and it was delightful, but it didn't hit me in the gut. Like I said, I'm gonna see it again, and I'm hoping the pathos I'm looking for is already there and I missed it. But maybe not? Also, for a film called "La La Land" I didn't feel like Los Angeles was well represented (especially if you're comparing it to PTA movies). Maybe this was by design, but it felt like it was made by an outsider. Chazelle could be a total LA guy, I don't know. But it felt like it was made by someone who has never been here. Like if Lars Von Trier wanted to make an LA movie and could also experience joy.

polkablues

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Re: La La Land
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2016, 02:53:01 PM »
0
The most unrealistic part of the movie to me, even more so than people spontaneously breaking into song, was the characters' continuous insistence that Los Angeles is an aesthetically pleasing city, rather than the brownish, fluorescent-lit strip mall I know it to be.

Otherwise, this sums it up perfectly for me, too:
It's an extremely well made, fun and exciting musical, and I had a smile on my face the whole time, but I didn't get that "Holy shit this is incredible, I need to google this director's name and then spend the next 15 years of my life on an internet forum that sprouted from his fansite" feeling when I watched it. Maybe I'm just getting old?

Especially that last part. This is a movie that, if I had seen it when I was 19, I probably would have been convinced I had just seen one of the best movies of all time. My disappointment was less with the movie and more with myself for not being able to capture that feeling anymore.
Now you're in the *spoiler* place.

samsong

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Re: La La Land
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2016, 12:45:47 AM »
0
Which scene do you speak of?

SPOILERS
the resentment-a-thon dinner scene was complete horseshit.  it's a forced, device-heavy, writers workshop ploy to start the wheels turning towards the the umbrellas of cherbourg ending.  there's literally no argument to the contrary that i would even begin to entertain as remotely valid.  »\_(ツ)_/»
END SPOILERS

john legend is the harbinger of "yea, i'm done taking this seriously", and it's when it gets the most serious about its "ideas."  #meh

the only thing i've read about this movie that gives credence to the notion that it's anything more than an amusing musical is jonathan rosenbaum's reivew.  i like it just fine but i'm not losing my shit over it, nor do i see cause for that, but to each his own.

but this:
although I would go even further and say this does Punch Drunk Love better than Punch Drunk Love, and is a more successful film.



also, toni erdmann shits all over this movie.

ębrad

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Re: La La Land
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2016, 04:36:55 PM »
0
SPOILERS
there's literally no argument to the contrary that i would even begin to entertain as remotely valid.  »\_(ツ)_/»
END SPOILERS

Hah, how Trump-ian of you.

but this:
although I would go even further and say this does Punch Drunk Love better than Punch Drunk Love, and is a more successful film.


Your reaction to La La Land is kind of how I feel about PDL now. When it first came out and I was 17, I was as obsessed over it as anyone else, but I wonder if that had more to do with youth and an irrational obsession with PTA. I watched it a few months ago and I loved its exuberance, style, and weirdness, but I'm not sure it has all that much to say in the end. I say this not to ignite a PDL/La La Land pissing match (which on this site, I'm sure to lose), I just don't think PDL has significantly more pathos or substance.



 

RegularKarate

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Re: La La Land
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2016, 11:02:57 AM »
+2
I loved this movie, but let's settle down on the PTA comparisons. It almost makes me like this movie less.
almost

It's flashy, beautiful dancing and singing and expressing emotion and I love it, but I'm pretty sure after a few more viewings, the emptiness will peak out a little more harshly.

See this on a big screen.*


(*but then watch PDL again, because FUCK that's such a better movie)

 

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