Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

La La Land

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A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.
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Cast

Emma Stone – Mia Dolan

Ryan Gosling – Sebastien Wilder

John Legend – Keith

Rosemarie DeWitt – Laura Wilder

Finn Wittrock – Greg Earnest

Callie Hernandez – Tracy

J.K. Simmons – Bill

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bLAh bLAh

Right then. This one! The all-singing, all-dancing Hollywood production that seems to have taken the world by force, entertaining millions with its quirky musical numbers and old-fashioned setting.
A lot of people have been raving about La La Land, even people I know personally. It seems to have captured the imagination of fans nicely.
And my verdict after watching it?..

How do I say this..

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It was average.

I’m serious. With all the hype about La La Land going on in the media, I expected a hell of a lot more from Gosling and Stone. So they strut around singing – who the fuck HASN’T strutted around singing in movies?! What makes this pair so damn special? I tried to figure it out as I sat being bombarded with bright colours and booming steely music.

The opening number is quite special; fizzing with funky costumes and a very catchy song it certainly warmed up the audience (albeit very few audience in the auditorium). And when this buzzing feel-good number came to an end, the movie began properly. But I noticed it slid fast from a musical into a drama, as though the producers wanted to win the audience over with a hearty musical at the beginning – but then tone it right down to let a drama unfold about two people (Stone, Gosling) who meet and experience the trials of a romantic relationship.
Oh there are more musical numbers throughout the movie, but La La Land ultimately becomes just a pure drama – with a few songs added. Walking on Sunshine (2014) created more of a buzz. I honestly couldn’t fathom what all the hype was about.
Yes, the movie itself was slightly retro but what was the main appeal? The appeal at the heart of its core? Til this day I still don’t get it.

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It. Is. A. Movie.
A movie.
Not the groundbreaking discovery of music within film, or the first cinematic production to feature an old-fashioned set surrounded by dancing cast members.
I am one of those film viewers who watches a feature without taking all the hype on board in order to digest it on my own terms. Nine times out of ten a hyped-up film turns out shit anyway, due to so many people saying how excellent it is. The more people rave, the more it becomes the opposite. That’s the way it happens. And La La Land was no exception, scoring nothing with me other than its funky set and one of the catchy songs.

Below are screenshots of text message conversations I had about La La Land with two separate friends:

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..I honestly thought it was just me who wasn’t raving about this movie, those text responses made me feel a bit better.

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Dinner Table Torture

La La Land isn’t all singing and dancing glory. One scene in the movie was the tipping point for me, where the action was so dull I almost forgot what I was watching. Sebastien (Gosling) and Mia (Stone) sit at a dinner table, talking about their daily jobs. A good point to touch on but it seemed to drag on for ages, lowering the overall buzz of the movie. Dynamics are important, but this was boring as hell.

Incredible isn’t it; stick a blond Hollywood male in a crisp shirt with rolled-up sleeves and a flame-haired female in a bright, flappy ankle-length dress and suddenly the movie containing them becomes an immediate oscar winner. So the set was rather vintage, pretty. But it wasn’t exactly the first time I’ve seen something like it in the movies.
WHAT THE HELL IS ALL THE HYPE ABOUT?

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What Went Right

La La Land is a very colourful production. It utilises some great costumes which can be seen from the very opening scene, through to the closing. I think the costume and set are its winning elements, creating an almost timeless setting. For example, the scene where Mia and Sebastien dance around a street lamp is almost void of time. It gives off a slightly 1950’s vibe but really lets the viewer decide where the couple are – and when they are.

Gosling and Stone give it some welly with their vocal performances, and it works well but I would like to have heard both – or one – really fucking go for it; pelting out a real high number and smashing it operatically. I wanted to be blown away, surprised and stunned. I wanted to exit the cinema with that feeling of, “I never thought he / she had it in him / her”.

Didn’t happen. The pair kept the vocals low and subtle, with Stone carrying such a hissing undertone to her singing that I couldn’t figure if she was dramatically husky or just plain shite.
But hey, you can’t have it all.
I certainly didn’t get it.

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Come on, people. Stop for a second and think.
All you viewers out there who fell in love, had a spring in your step, or considered La La Land to be one of the best things you’ve seen in around twenty years – just stop for a second.

Colourful costumes.
Old fashioned setting.
Songs.
Dancing.
Daydreaming woman working in a cafe dreaming of a new life.
Woman and man fall in love.
West Side Story.
Singin’ In The Rain.
Grease.
Les Misérables.
Seen it all before.

I think you get my point.
La La Land is 126 minutes of entertainment – but it’s not the worldwide cure for fucking diabetes. It’s a simple movie. And I honestly cannot fathom why so many people have jumped on the bandwagon, calling it amazing.
I’ve seen people on television gushing about it at awards ceremonies, heard people on the radio practically cumming over it.. and yet I left that cinema on Friday feeling absolutely no different to when I went in.
And on that note, I shall finish by telling you La La Land is worth a watch on a quiet Sunday evening when you fancy something a bit light and fluffy. And if you have managed to avoid all the hype then don’t expect a lot – and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Ugh.

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This entry was posted on February 25, 2017 by .
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