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La La Land Review (2016) | An Exhilarating Dramatic Musical for Dreamers

If there’s a definition of astounding in your head, then La La Land simply surpasses it. It’s literally spellbinding! And we aren’t only going by the story here. The music, the setup, the acting, the metaphor, the screenplay, the editing, the choreography, everything has been given ample thought and scrutiny before the actual execution. And you can expect only a genius like Damien Chazelle to ace everything to perfection.

Theme of La La Land Movie

La La Land carries that quintessential dream every dreamer has. It is about not giving up even when the whole universe seems to be plotting against you. The flick is about following your dreams till the end, about you being willing to take risks and make colossal sacrifices to reach there. It being a musical is often sprinkled with gorgeous songs that are well executed and complemented by Justin Hurwitz‘s stunning compositions. Even whilst you listen to the Jazz play, you can’t help but time travel two years ago when Whiplash had showed up. Amazing exhilarating music!

image of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as Sebastian and Mia in La la land movie

Fascinating Drama (Spoilers Ahead)

La La Land will rip you apart, tear you down to a million pieces. It is so profound that it touches just the right chords. And it does so by its genteel build-up. There is that thrill of a growing relationship, the perfection that seems to have been made in the stars. It goes on like that, reflecting life, and when you are least prepared, it drops the real bomb on you. Climax becomes havocking all of a sudden. It leaves you grieving, forcing you to feel its pious pain. It ends up talking to your cheeks with those teary beads.

This is the dream! It’s conflict and it’s compromise. It’s very, very exciting!

It is when you listen to Ryan Gosling play his song “City of Stars” on the piano for the first time, that you understand the level of uprooting music La La Land packs in. It is sad, profound, soothing, and in a way really satisfying to listen.

You can check out the music here:

His character Sebastian‘s way of re-imagining a life with Mia played stunningly by Emma Stone is what gives the movie a gloomy punch. It is the most nerve-racking moment of the movie. You feel the sudden gush of emotions burst all dams when you realize Sebastian wished everything undone, unwritten and then rewritten in his memories with Mia in it. I ended up in tears. It’s really that profound.

You can pre-order La La Land movie from here:

The Chemistry

Whilst there are movies that skip the chemistry to feast its plot, we get served a perfect one here. Both Sebastian and Mia create such a beautiful world that you forever stay on their high. There are metaphors galore that Chazelle uses via his songs. Like the time when they start flying in the air, even though they were actually sitting. They dance their way into the stars and cross galaxies together. It leaves things for viewer’s imagination, and it hits just the spot.

Ryan Gosling simply steals the show. There is something about him that captivates you almost instantly. You feel his pang, if he is sad. You feel his vibes when he is happy. Even when there is nothing to show but sarcasm, you feel him there too. He brings that uncontrived flair to his work that is just remarkable! When you watch him go psyched about Jazz, he makes you reflect on things that you have been passionate about all this time too.

You could just write your own rules. You know write something, that’s as interesting as you are.

Emma Stone is an equally great performer. Twice does she go into that full-blown acting mode, whilst giving those powerful auditions. The aura that she retains and the energy that binds her makes you want to give her a standing ovation every time she slithers into that mode. With that you just know the casting for La La Land was done perfectly.

The Final Verdict

La La Land deserves all the accolades! It is a movie that makes you want to retrace your dreams, inspires you to go after them. It’s romance acknowledges that perfect key that awaits your lock. It shatters you to pieces when it tries to showcase unfulfilled possibilities. Musical lover or not, it is a movie that needs to be immediately seen. Grab some tissues before watching this beauty of a movie.

 

The Nice Guys Review (2016)

Crime is supposed to be an engaging platter. Unfortunately The Nice Guys doesn’t score high in the riveting department. It goes really light at times where the call of the hour is to depict tangibility, au contraire, goes full savage where we could have lived without. There is an element of surprise at most places where you feel the flick’s true flair working magic for it. But then there are times when it simply falls flat.

DIRECTION OF THE NICE GUYS

There is a certain unpredictability about Shane Black’s direction which makes his style of film-making undoubtedly unique. Grinding humour into serious situations is something that he uses immensely. However, it wasn’t the real genre that forms the basis of the tale. It’s the 1970 LA crime scene that does. It takes two booming industries in the backdrop to narrate its telling tale – porn and automotive, and tries to bank on a bigger government conspiracy to cloud its offense.

To top it all, we have Ryan Gosling to do us the honours. His Holland March is a rare character with qualities of fun, subtlety and disgust all written in a single leaflet. He showcases a rare finesse that makes his character the most admired one. Contrasting his character is a grimmer Jackson Healy portrayed by Russell Crowe who is kind of okay in his shoes. Both make an unusual pair who aren’t really nice and yet so, as they try to figure out the mystery of the missing girl. But do they have the chemistry that we wanted? The answer is no!

WEIRD EMPTINESS AND DISCONNECT

The plot is well written as it unfurls slowly into precarious trenches of foul play. The Nice Guys is pretty dark suggestive of Shane’s magnificent style again. But the movie tried to sell itself on humour in the trailers which was actually kind of belying. All the laughs that the trailers packed in were the only ones the movie had. You constantly feel there is something missing and you could taste the hollow as connections don’t really connect you.

Melodramatic substance is fairly missing, something Shane isn’t really a fan of, I surmise. So, you can’t take anything seriously, or expect to feel for any losses. Frames get gashed at unpredictable junctures which question the editing of the movie profusely. Yes, the editing isn’t that great.

However, there are two things that are constantly working for The Nice Guys – The plot and Ryan Gosling! Remember at the end The Nice Guys isn’t a fun movie. It is serious stuff just metamorphosed into fun by some Shane spices.

The Big Short Review (2015)

Can we ever forget the big bad ugly “Great Recession”? Just when you were trying real hard to forget, bam! comes The Big Short, forcing you to relive the pain again. But wait! Don’t be fooled just yet. It isn’t like any other mainstream movie, or a drama to focus on the severity the great fall brought along, or the lives it uprooted, or the devastating aftermath it brought along with the punishing tide, rather a prequel to how some geniuses had envisaged the collapse way before, and decided to swim across.

Adam McKay packs in an excellent exposition to depict the players of The Big Short, with Ryan Gosling as Jared Venett, the guy with exceptional presentation skills (yes watch out for that bit!), Christian Bale as Michael Burry, the autistic polymath who was the first one to figure it all out, Steve Carell as Mark Baum, the lunatic front-runner to milk out the mortgage shortcomings, Brad Pitt as Ben Rickert, the laconic beast-banker who mentored Charlie Geller and Jamie Shipley played by John Magaro and Finn Wittrock to bet against the dwindling housing market. McKay’s direction is one of a kind, as he slams frames mid-way to not focus on apparent conversations. He steers in its comic factor by asking characters to look at the camera mid-way for emphasis. Occasionally playing recorded video frames to make it all look more appealing. You can almost perceive the effort he has put in to break down the gorgeous Michael Lewis book.

“You know what I hate about fucking banking? It reduces people to numbers.”

Screenplay of the movie is extraordinary. There are so many words selected from profound areas that fill in the voids of sentience. Dramatic bits in the movie are just so right, that you always feel connected with the adrenaline vibe. There are so many banking terms incorporated in the flick expounded in laymen terms by renowned personalities like Margot Robbie, Anthony Bourdain, Selena Gomez and Richard Thaler that make things easy to gobble.

The moment the flick reaches its climax, you know what’s coming, but you still end up with a feeling of satisfaction for those who managed to milk the Great depressing cow with a smug face that barely read “We told you so!”

The fact that it isn’t confined to just one perspective drives home its enthralling factor. The story of the people, who saw the monster coming from a distance, makes you want to plunge in the bandwagon too, but alas the procession is long gone and recession pervades. It gives you a sense of contentment to see the hefty checks protagonists managed to weave out of a disaster. It is inspirational in a way and makes you want to get instant rich too. Well, you can do that! Just be a genius and watch out for such loopholes in the system.