LA LA LAND

City of stars… Will it be 14 Oscars…?

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Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as Sebastian Wilder and Mia Dolan

Most certainly not, as you might suspect. But somewhere up there, quite possibly so. In fact, I’m going to call it right now: 7 (update: I got it right, damn you Bonnie and Clyde). Be it as it may, Damien Chazelle’s unprecedented hit is almost hypnotizing: colorful, well-crafted, highly original cinematography, stunning soundtrack, seriously watchable performances and a very interesting ending.

Set in the very dreamy Los Angeles, ‘La La Land’ follows two young artists: Mia Dolan (Emma Stone) and Sebastian Wilder (Ryan Gosling). Mia is a struggling actress who makes ends meet as a waitress, whereas Sebastian is a pianist who has recently disbanded from John Legend’s Keith (why in the world). They meet on a night when both are frustrated and when running into each other at a party shortly after, the pair becomes inseparable. They push each other to pursue their dream careers and everything that hadn’t worked out before because of self-doubt or reluctance starts falling into place. However, the fairy tale stumbles when Sebastian is offered to join the band again. Persuaded by Mia despite knowing he might fall prey to commercial interests, the young man accepts so as to have a stable job. But such is their success that a tour follows, he misses Mia’s big play and not only does she deem it the last straw personally, but also professionally because she does a poor job. They split and she quits to go to her “home home” in Nevada, but he follows her and makes sure she goes back to the last and definitive audition.

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John Legend’s first major acting role as band leader Keith

Chazelle’s feature somehow reminds me of ‘Shrek.’ It takes everything we know about a genre and belies all its stereotypes through honesty and optimism. That may be the secret to ‘La La Land’ being unanimously thought disarming; the movie is esthetically perfect, but the story and the characters are not. ’30 Rock’-style, the characters show us their vulnerabilities first thing, positioning themselves at the audience’s level so that we can root for them. Stone is a shoe-in, and Gosling can rest assured the world has ultimately come to learn what a multi-layered performer he is. As for the soundtrack, I wouldn’t be surprised if the musical categories take the night by storm, and the cinematography is pretty much top-notch. But even more importantly, as a whole this is an enjoyable movie about love, dreams and good music. One with few flaws that sounds like a great plan, especially now that we need that more than ever. (Irritating though as the sentence is starting to ring).

In essence, I believe that few directors offer the variety of pleasures that Damien Chazelle has proven to with ‘La La Land,’ which will likely be remembered as one of the most entertaining and charming musicals for many generations to come. Let’s see how the Academy operates tomorrow…

Release date: December 9th, 2016

Country: United States

Grade: A

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As ‘Titanic’ and ‘All About Eve,’ ‘La La Land’ has been nominated in all 14 eligible categories

Running time: 2h 8 minutes.

Country: United States.

Release date: December 9, 2016.

Box office: $427.2M

Grade: A

All images are taken from Google.

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