Monday, January 16, 2017

La La Land (2016)

IMDb plot summary: A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.
Directed by Damien Chazelle. Starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, and Rosemarie DeWitt.

Given how much I adore musicals, I knew I'd at least enjoy this movie, even if I didn't love it. And I did. As a movie, it's a pretty by-the-book story of fame and romance. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone do have some great chemistry but there's nothing new about the story itself. As a musical, however, there are moments when it really shines. The problem here is that it's a little spotty. The dance sequences are really gorgeous, and the overall cinematography and editing of the musical numbers do a great job of highlighting the performances. It definitely hearkens back to the MGM musicals of the 40s and 50s. The problem here is that the vocal performances are pretty weak. Stone and Gosling do their best, but they're continually tossed into songs that are out of their vocal ranges or are mixed strangely (that opening number in particular was irritatingly out of proportion between the music and the singers). These are strange and unfortunate flaws for a musical, and flaws that are so easily fixed, that they made me wish every musical number had just been a dance -- that might've helped them hold onto the magic. So... I liked it, wasn't blown away by it the way I wanted to be.

4 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
La La Land > Wedding Crashers
La La Land > Beyond the Sea
La La Land < A Man for All Seasons
La La Land < Repulsion
La La Land > The Secret Garden (1987)
La La Land > Rise of the Planet of the Apes
La La Land > Father of the Bride (1991)
La La Land > Mr. Brooks
La La Land < Key Largo
La La Land < The Great Race
La La Land > A Streetcar Named Desire

Final spot: #488 out of 2561.

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