A lively supercut of Classic musicals
It's been decades since a studio produced the kind of colorful musical
fantasy that "La La Land" so affectionately salutes, but
writer-director Damien Chazelle is the guy who done the job perfectly.
It is high-concept pastiche, filled with beautiful people, beautiful
movement, and beautiful colors. At its best, "La La Land" probes the
irony of its existence, celebrating the greatness of a bygone era in
the context of changing times. As a drama, this is less nourishing than
the heritage it pays tribute to. But for Chazelle, the story is just a
slight rib around which he builds a modern rhapsody. So in spite of its
flaws, La La Land has moments of pleasure and satisfaction that are
worth the price of admission. It's not that it's a bad movie; it's just
not an outstanding entertainment, the way great movies (especially
musicals) should be. I go with 3.5/5 for the musical drama by Damien
Chazelle and I do think that it is the frontrunner for the Oscars.
best film of the year !
They Dont Make Movies Like This Any More
Imagine a sunny day in Los Angeles, or for that matter any city in the world that has freeway entry and exit ramps, and a serpentine and never-ending queue of automobiles driven by trapped souls waiting for the opportune moment to break free from the traffic jam thats holding them back. And then imagine an impromptu musical jig that starts with one soul and spreads with an infectious glee across the span of the ramp devouring the weary but besotted travellers in its wake, spreading momentary joy and jubilation, and making them forget their suffocating but cherished dreams for an instant. La La Land, written and directed by the immensely talented Damien Chazelle (who directed the critically acclaimed electrifying musical drama "Whiplash" couple of years ago), starts with a stellar recreation of this seemingly simple thought. At the outset, it is nothing but a contemporary musical saga with a throwback to the old world charm and heady concoction of Hollywood and Jazz. But as the layers peel off one by one, just like the four seasons that the basic plot goes through, magic unfurls slowly but steadily.
Mia (Emma Stone) is a barista working in a small cafe on the Warner Brothers Lot, with aspirations to become an actress, and struggles to find that one big opportunity while going through multiple auditions with meagre success. As Mia walks home through the streets one night, she is mesmerized by the sound of jazz music, being played on the piano in a restaurant by Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a struggling musician, with an intense love for traditional unadulterated jazz. La La Land takes us through their chance encounters and budding relationship, while also chronicling the pursuit of their respective dreams, as the cycle of seasons - winter, spring, summer and fall - parallel the ups and downs of their musical and emotional acquaintance.
Ryan Gosling is immaculate as Sebastian, bringing his boyish charm to good effect and his singing prowess is an icing on the cake. His outburst in the dinner scene with Mia vividly portrays the emotions of a man who has compromised his dreams in order to gain universal acceptance. Emma Stone as Mia embodies the steadfastness of a carefree dreamer, and is the voice of conscience that simultaneously irks as well as soothes Sebastian. She portrays embitterment and disappointment with the same intensity that she uses to portray jubilation and infatuation. Real life musician John Legend as Sebastian's friend Keith provides some practical wisdom, which acts as a worthy counterpoint to the utopian view that Sebastian firmly believes in.
La La Land fervently and defiantly attempts to revitalize the dying musical genre, through the allegory of jazz, which is also considered to be a dying musical art form, but it could as well have been about Urdu Ghazals or Indian Classical Music. Chazelle deals with the moral conundrum of commercializing pure art to ensure its longevity, and in the process, destroying its sanctity. He also speaks subtly about the power of dreams, that propel mundane lives to glimmer eventually with success on the sands of time, while having to sacrifice beloved relationships and acquaintances. Chazelle's frequent collaborator Justin Hurwitz composes a musical score for the ages with soulful gems like "City of Stars", "A Lovely Night" and "The Fools Who Dream" and foot-tapping numbers like "Another Day of Sun" and "Someone in the Crowd". Affectionately cinematographed with a palette of vibrant hues, and accompanied by perfect production design, La La Land ends on a hopeful note that dreams are worth living for, even if a hefty price needs to be tendered to achieve them.