“LA LA LAND” A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

I LOVE jazz, love stores and Hollywood musical movies so why is my reaction to “La La Land”, which right now seems to be the one to beat for the Best Movie Oscar and Golden Globe, so blah? Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have chemistry as the lovers from the boy meets girl, boy loves girl, boy loses girl in the acting department but are sorely lacking in the singing and dancing department though Gosling acquits himself in piano playing.

Everything you read, including comments by the director and screenwriter Damien Chazelle, has remarks about it being a salute to old Hollywood movies and to Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Judy Garland but,with no disrespect, unless this was a take-off of all mentioned, and even if Charisse’s voice was dubbed, “La La Land” fails miserably. 

I have seen some talk about it saluting Jacques Demy and Michel Legrand’smovies “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and “The young Girls of Rochefort” which it does in some departments such as the production design by David Wasco and the costume designs by Mary Zophres

Regarding the choreography by Mandy Moore the opening is really a winner but in other scenes she is let down by Stone and Gosling who just don’t have it when it comes to doing the steps she has for them. There is one scene where they are dancing in the stars, at the Griffith Observatory planetarium after watching the James Dean movie “Rebel Without a Cause”, that is more special effects than dancing.

The music by Justin Hurwitz with lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul sort of get lost except for the jazz music which comes across strong, melodic. The love theme lyrics are still somewhat a mystery to me though it is sung and played a few times.

The climax lasting about twenty minutes, a recap of what has taken place for the first 100 minutes, jell everything together but, for me, it was too late.I think I would have been much happier and appreciated the movie, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone just seeing that section.

J.K. Simmons, who was in Chazells’s “Whiplash” and won an Oscar for his role does a brief cameo here while John Legend does an extended one, neither adding or taking away from the movie.

The bottom line is that “La La Land”, for me, was not worth the time though I am sure I am in a very small minority. It might have helped if I hadn’t seen the Broadway version of “An American In Paris” in Miami this past Tuesday where the leads were amazing dancers and strong singers.

P.S. When will the fad of young actors wearing that 5 o’clock shadow stubble on their faces end? ARGH!!



Posted December 30, 2016 by greatmartin in MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES, Uncategorized

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