MOVIE REVIEW: La La Land

Movie, movie review

RATING: ★★★★☆

 

Cast: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, John Legend, J.K. Simmons

Director: Damien Chazelle

Length and Rating: 2 hrs 8 min | PG-13

 

When people hear that a movie-musical is coming to the big screens most of them run towards the door, but La La Land is a reason why people should watch. Set in modern day Los Angeles, a location where things have changed over time but also oddly stayed the same; the film follows the story of two artists that are just waiting for their big break. Mia (Emma Stone) is a struggling actress balancing going to multiple auditions a day while also working as the barista on the Warner Brothers lot, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) a jazz pianist who dreams of one day opening his own jazz bar.

When the two characters meet and a relationship begins to form they seem like the perfect couple, but when it involves two artists where success comes to them at different times, it makes it much more complicated. You see Mia go to audition after audition, where the casting directors do not seem to give her the time of day, and Sebastian is so set on how he sees the world of jazz music that he refuses to adapt to the times he lives in. You feel for both of them, you want both of them to succeed, and do it together.

More continuing it should be stated again, THIS IS A MUSICAL. Not a movie that has musical numbers in it a la Pitch Perfect, but a legit musical, where the songs in the movie move the story forward. That alone will deter people from seeing this film, but those who make the brilliant decision to do so will not be disappointed. The film is beautiful, from the sets, and costumes, and music, it does the perfect job of being set in today’s time but also pays tribute to old Hollywood musicals from the 40’s and 50’s.

Back on the screen together for a third time (Crazy, Stupid, Love, Gangster Squad), Gosling and Stone make it a hat trick with this film. Their experience at playing each other’s love interest is valuable here because you have no doubt in believing they could be together. Both of their singing in this film is great, but if told to choose Emma Stone would lead by a hair due to her gut-wrenching solo at the end of the film which gave off very similar feelings to Anne Hathaway’s “I Dreamed a Dream” performance. The music itself seems to be just as important of a role in this film as the characters, but would you expect anything different from the director that also did Whiplash? The songs throughout the film tie the whole story together and are so catchy that you will definitely be humming them says after you watch the movie.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: “Here’s to the ones who dream, as foolish as it may seem.”

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MOVIE REVIEW: Spotlight

Awards, Movie, movie review, Oscars, Review

RATING: ★★★★★

Cast: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Brian d’Arcy James, Live Schreiber, Stanley Tucci

Director: Tom McCarthy

Length and Rating: 128 min R

Spotlight tells the real life story of the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team during its investigation into the child abuse being committed by member of the Catholic Church in the Boston area. The stories that were published by the team rewarded them in 2003 the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

The film begins with the head of the Spotlight team, Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson (Michael Keaton), being told by the new editor-in-chief of the Globe (Live Schreiber) to further investigate the series of alleged child abuse incidents being committed in local Boston parishes. This launches one of the best moments in investigative journalism.

This film demonstrates what happens when journalism gets something right. Where in Truth, a film that shows what can happen when a story is rushed and not thoroughly checked, Spotlight succeeded. Portraying the years of investigating that these journalists put into the story, and their commitment to discovering the truth.

This film is truly an ensemble piece, each actor playing a character that dedicated a lot of themselves to getting the story done right. This was their city, their parishes, and their religion that they were looking into. Showing that each discovery of how deep into the Catholic Church this went and the member that participated in covering up affects each character. Among a sea of great performances special mention should be made about Brian D’Arcy James and Stanley Tucci.

FAVOURITE QUOTE:

“If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes a village to abuse it.”

Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci)