Jader Says LA LA LAND Should Be Considered The Best Film Of The Year!

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FILM REVIEW: LA LA LAND

BY JADER PARAMO

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Chicago, The Sound of Music, Across the Universe, Rent, Grease; to say that musicals have not left an impact in cinema is to say that a musical score is not important to the course of a film. As understandable as that is, I do not like musicals. I can appreciate some, but still have never been one to be truly wowed by them. However, La La Land, dare I say it, will be synonymous with the impact 2016 needed. Do not let the name or falsities of what a musical is fool you, this is more than a razzle dazzle film that uses music to tell a story. Pulling at your heart strings and ringing in your ear drums, La La Land has combined the perfection of old Hollywood with the emotional barrier of a modern day back drop. The acting, superb, the music, expertly composed, the writing, the directing, it all brings forth what should be considered the best movie of the year.

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To start off, the chemistry of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling holds strong coming from their first encounter on Crazy Stupid Love. His bravado and intensity in being closed off matches her whimsical yet realistically quirky personality. The tale of dreamers and how dreams have been tarnished begins with a colorful traffic jam in the beginning of the film. Cut to a rough exchange between the two, we see Mia (Stone) go off to her drone like barista job awaiting a failed acting audition. Promptly, Sebastian (Gosling) sits outside of his long lost forgotten jazz club, now a Samba & Tapas spot. He goes back to his tiny unpacked apartment with an overbearing but adorably supportive older sister and her “get your act together” speech. This sets the tone for what will come to blows between the two and how they will make it in Hollywood. To further the story will only provide spoilers but I leave you with this, saying they are star-crossed lovers with that heavy rom-com low expectation is a drastic understatement. The whirl winds of musical numbers the two are involved in are softened by touching moments of solidarity between them and the music. Above all of that, the ending will leave you like Creed and the end of Rocky II, knocked out.

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Coming off the incredible Whiplash, writer director Damien Chazelle brings in a different set of skills to this film. Though his name is also synonymous with much more horror driven movies such as 10 Cloverfield Lane & The Last Exorcisms Part II, he was able to craft musical numbers that did more than replace lines with song. He bridged together a look that brought Justin Hurwitz music, also a former Whiplash collaboration, and the choreography of Mandy Moore, not to be confused with the singer but has contributions to Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, with an old Hollywood flare and new conceptual dynamics. With a crew whose best works are all award winning films, it is no wonder the direction of Chazelle pairs the necessities of the film so perfectly. This pairing of individuals played well to the cinematography of Linus Sandgren, also of American Hustle fame. The movements of vignette to vignette as well as the contrasting colors in every scene pop with every note. Honestly, never have I seen such a nice depiction of LA that is better known for not being such a good looking place.

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It is too difficult to find a negative in this film other than how it reminds us of the realities of what we can sacrifice when we follow our dreams. Are they accomplished? Yes. Do we have everything we wanted? Hell no, but that’s Hollywood. La La Land gives us this and so much more when it comes to the human condition, but ultimately what really good film making should look like. As I mentioned, do not let the fact that it’s a musical steer you away if you are not into to them, because it definitely won me over.

 

FINAL WORD:  StarStarStarStarStar