Sunday, 8 January 2017
Review: La La Land
La La Land
Cert: 12A / 128 mins / Dir. Damien Chazelle / Trailer
As I write these words, two things of note have happened to me in the last forty-eight hours. On Saturday morning, I went to my dentist to have an infected tooth removed. On Sunday evening, I went to my cinema to watch a preview-screening of La La Land.
As I write these words, it's Sunday night and I'm trying to work out the low-point of the weekend…
…if you enjoyed being invited to your niece's stage-school reimagining of Singin' In The Rain, only to remember twenty minutes in that you don't have a niece, you don't know anyone on the stage and other people's children are precocious shits anyway, but you're pretty much trapped now so the only options are a) grimace through the taped-on enthusiasm looking for any trace of subtlety and meaning, or b) stand up and yell "when does this END?" towards the stage. If, like me, you over-value politeness you'll probably go for A, knowing at least that you'll give the production a fucking rinsing as soon as you're in front of a keyboard.
Well, advance screenings (of which this was one) always have a slightly earlier start-time, due to no adverts being shown and fewer trailers before the film. It's usual, therefore, for there to be several 'late arrivals' as the feature presentation is in its first ten minutes, and tonight was no exception. And how I envied those souls as time went on, if only because they'd had to sit through less of La La Land than I had….
Well if - if - writer/director Damien Chazelle was aiming for 'directionless, overly-long, overly-kitsch and self-indulgent fan-film of Hollywood's Golden Age, clearly hoping to do for the big-number musical what The Artist did for silent cinema but seemingly forgetting that the things which made those musicals great were craft, charm, characters you actually gave a shit about and above all else the music', then yeah it probably does.
Point also deducted for having John Legend in the film (whom one can only assume has been cast because of his in-movie singing rather than his acting) to lecture our lead character about being 'stuck in the past', a speech inserted artlessly into a screenplay whose only concession to the modern day is that the characters have iPhones.
If you want a film about a bittersweet, nearly-made-it love story in Hollywood between two flawed but engaging characters, watch Café Society. If you want a film about the relevance of Jazz in the twenty first century, watch Miles Ahead.
Oddly, both Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are on pretty good form, here. But being a good performer in a thing that's awful doesn't make that thing any better (cf the cast of Exodus: Gods & Kings).
Of course not.
Everyone seems to love La La Land so far, and I'm aware that my opinion's in a minority.
Albeit a minority of people who are right.
Level 2: This film stars that Ryan Gosling, who's also in the upcoming Blade Runner sequel alongside Harrison 'Solo' Ford.
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
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