Movie Review – “La La Land”

Not always an enthusiastic fan of watching musicals on the big-screen, my apprehension only heightened during the opening dance number of this sure-fire hit. It wasn’t until Emma Stone’s wishful actress persona–the distracted barista Mia Dolan–raised her middle finger to Ryan Gosling’s impatient, cocksure alter ego musician Sebastian in L.A. rush hour traffic that “La La Land” really began its powerhouse production sequence.  Thereafter, the year’s most romantic and formidable twosome square off using singing jujitsu and snickering one-liners to launch an enthralling love story within the City of Stars.

As two dreamers caught in the painful budding entertainment world of setbacks and rejections, Gosling and Stone each become the other’s biggest cheerleader and encouraging voice of reason. Gosling’s jazz loving pianist role affords us the delightful opportunity to see the 36-year old actor actually play the piano on film, highlighted through sensational cinematography not seen to this level of excellence since 2014’s Academy Award-winning “Birdman”.

A twenty-eight-year-old native of Scottsdale, AZ, Emma Stone’s incredible acting genius is only getting better with time. Her remarkable job as a recovering drug addict in “Birdman” garnered Stone an Oscar-nom for Best Supporting Actress.  As a testament to how good she’s become as an artist, we’re transfixed on Stone’s passionate auditions in pursuit of an acting gig in “La La Land”.  Equal parts endearing, funny and quirky, Stone seals up her Oscar gold in this compelling and career performance.

Working together on their third movie, Gosling and Stone share an on-screen chemistry that only comes around once every ten years!  The pair’s contemporary song and dance routines rival the film industry’s original musical mold of 1930’s stars Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  We’ve seen Tom Hanks’ slow-burn romance with Meg Ryan defeat sleeplessness in Seattle. And we’ve watched Leonardo DiCaprio chase Kate Winslet around deck chairs aboard the sinking “Titanic”.  And now we’ve got Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in “La La Land”, once again showing us how love starts and where it may go.

Between the fabulous acting, eye-popping cinematography, jarring edits, and ear-pleasing music score, “La La Land” is the easy front-runner to win this year’s best picture award–amongst a laundry list of other nominations I am sure.  This romantic musical drama immediately rises to Classic status.  It’s a charming love story and marvelous film production that can, and will, withstand the test of time a la Astaire & Rogers.  A musical has “never shined so brightly” for “The Fools Who Dream”.  A+!!!

Grade: A+

“La La Land” is rated PG-13 for some language.  Its running time is 2 hours and 8 minutes.



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