Saturday, 14 January 2017
REVIEW: LA LA LAND
Crazy, Stupid Waltz.
128 Minutes. Starring: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, John Legend & J.K. Simmons. Director: Damien Chazelle.
'One. Two. Three'. 'One. Two. Three'. It's time to practice your steps whilst singing in the January rain as everyone is going gaga for 'La La Land' like the lady that sang "rah, rah, ah-ah-ah". But there's no 'Bad Romance' in this modern musical, not even a symbol to the head from whipsmart 'Whiplash' director Damien Chazelle (although J.K. Simmons is back in cameo to can you if he deems you inadequate for this song sheet). This to the notebook however reunites the 'Crazy, Stupid Love' of leading lights Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone who were last seen donning fedoras and tomato dresses for the tommy-gun blunderbuss of the Los Angeles crimes' 'Gangster Squad'. Now this really is their big third act as they swap bullets and blood for times signatures and tap, playing Fred and Ginger for a mainstream millennial crowd that still can't get over 'Dirty Dancing'. Now shall we dance? As because like when it was "weeded out" to end an absolutely awful 2016, or when it was painted pink back in the free love days, with this years best picture for sure Gosling and Stone throw the 'Land' back up to the Hollywood sign. Taking this true motion picture back to the golden era of Astaire, much like the Academy sweeping 'The Artist' did in black and white, tapping in silent pictures. And this Hollywoodland homage looks to step in the name of love all the way to Oscar. Heavy on the plural as this movie waltzes in perfect time with the true love of original film reels and a romance as perfect as a Parisian mid-night hour. Beaming like Californian sun at dawn you'll be twirling and skipping away from the auditorium after this one, humming 'La, La, La, La' for movie infamy.
It's all tens from Tim. Magnificent. Mesmerizing. Exceptional. Envigorating. All the newsreel review exclamations in bright lights above this movie masterpieces classic poster that we truly concur with really can't begin to do this silver screen dream justice from dictionary to thesaurus. But we can all only try for a film as Los Angeles to the times as purple and gold or a cadillac convertible drive on Mullholland. This 'La' is a love song to L.A. with deep, have and to hold devotion. With it's grand gridlocked Los Angeles highway dance set-pieces, to it's outstanding Griffith Observatory numbers where you can really see old Hollywood from, this is the grandest spectacle. And Chazelle's showmanship captures it all with his decades gone gorgeous cinematography, all the way down to some hallmark screen transitions that even George Lucas would be proud of. And as for the rug cutting...boy does it tie this jazz piece together, moving poetically behind the notes and front and center facing the eloquent screenplay in sync. And speaking of all things eclectic. 'All Of Me', Oscar winning singer John Legend shows us all his glory and all he's got as he furthers his last stage name by showing us how versatile he is in playing ordinary people too. Piano perfect, here the nice guy shows us the arrogant side of mainstream music that ignorantly thinks pushing the envelope has nothing to do with writing a love letter to the past. Good job his real music is nothing like that. Drumroll please for another Oscar winner too as 2015 'Best Actor' J. K. Simmons reunites with his 'Whiplash' director once again to crack the horrible bosses shtick one more time. Play it again Simmons. Play it again!
All the way to our two dancing stars fox trotting under lamplight. Now if you thought Ryan Gosling peaked when he declared his love for Rachel McAdams under the rain just wait until he sings in it. A leading man hasn't tapped this lively since Channing Tatum's sailor jerry rose the bar and stole the show for 'Hail Caesar'. So hey girl you may know this star of great 'Drive' for 'The Notebook' and 'Blue Valentine', but how about 'Half Nelson' and 'The Place Beyond The Pines' too? But this as a matter of fact may be the leading mans greatest run along the Walk of Fame yet. Starting with his 'Big Short' Michael Lewis financial gamble this time last year that saw him at the table longer than the likes of Christian Bale and Brad Pitt, this guys now going for DiCaprio's chips. Then his 'Nice Guys' original Hollywood to Mullholland throwback that saw him partner Russell Crowe as a (bad) boy gone funny. And now he's about to stand alongside the legend of Harrison Ford for 'Blade Runner 2049' for quite the 365 plus days in 2017. But nothing comes as cheek-to-cheek as this. As once, twice, three times a chemistry cosying up to Stone again, Gosling spreads his wings like a swan and shows incredible range to his classic charisma and wry smile concealed charm. And Emma Stone's no ugly duckling either. As a matter of fact this beauty is the belle of the ball. As the star of 'The Help' (not to forget 'Superbad', 'Zombieland' and the now webbed up 'Amazing Spider-Man' series with Andrew Garfield) is what you must hand it to here. Her 'Cabaret' experience just north of Broadway and 'Chicago' shows she knows the song and dance and she moved to the academy's constant drumbeat, one-shot jazz with avian superhero Michael Keaton's 'Birdman'. But now as this starlet throwback really sings like one of Hollywoodlands bygone best there's no virture now for todays expected ignorance. This young woman leads this perfect picture as a waitress in waiting for her 'Pretty Woman' karmic moment. And this amazing actor won't just wear the best dress at this February's Academy, she'll be giving the Oscar to next years greatest leading man too. You see if the weight of this power and exclamated performance of puncuation isn't worth gold, then who knows what it is. Because as the clapperboard goes down we hear no louder action than what Stone cuts here. Now give them a hand and lets hear it for these two as they bow to a standing ovation with roses thrown. Two who can do way more than just hold a note for this divine duet of spellblinding stardust. This darling is what makes 'La La Land', Los Angeles and Hollywood what is used to and should still be. So long as from the next step forward they make them like this. Tell all other Jacks they can hit the road to come back no more, no more. Because after this last year we need one anew. And oh what a wonderful feeling. We're happy again. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'The Artist', 'Crazy, Stupid Love', 'Shall We Dance'.