Blogging Up The Works

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Film 17 - 1 of 12 - La La Land.

Dum dum dum, dum dum dum, d'dl um, da dum dum dum, da da dum dum dum. (Come along, we are all old enough to know that tune!).

So here we are, ready for the first of my film reviews. But where to start? Then it came to a film!

One of the films that has made much of the talk of the last 12 months or more is La La Land. Heralded as a return to the glorious days of The Musical, a genre which sees me both as audience and player, though on stage rather than on film, I was ready to be wowed!

The first thing to hit was the colour. The sky too blue, the grass too green, either the colour saturation or the contrast has been notched up in the cinematography department. I suspect the idea was for you to be hit by a blaze of colour. You are, but not for me in a nice way. And this is the first indication of how the film is going to be.

It is basically the story of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and I won't give the end away.

The film appears to lack any real continuity. You can see the thought process of how it came to screen, 1) Let's make a musical, that hasn't been done for a bit. 2) Here's 5 bits of storyline I want to use and we'll make something up to link them even if it isn't very good. 3) Ooh my friend has some songs, we can use those somewhere. And so it continues.

So overpowering is this sense of mechanics that I never became attached to the characters. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone put the work in but didn't seem to have that much chemistry. The only time I felt their characters connect and sizzle on screen was near the very end. If you watch it you will guess to what bit I am referring but would be a spoiler to mention it here.

The story ambles along from point to point and the other characters make their entrances and exits without being memorable. The music is ok. The big number as far as popularity goes is City of Stars. You've probably heard it I doubt you can hum it let alone sing it. Some of the jazz in it is good, obviously the incidental bits played by such luminaries as Thelonius Monk, but the new numbers as performed by what the credits call The La La Land Jazz Ensemble. I can't credit the pianist who plays Ryan Gosling's pieces and I am assuming it is not him, though for me, if it is, I prefer him as a musician than actor.

Everything you need for the film is there on paper but not on celluloid, or whatever medium they use these days. And it is no match for those musicals it so desperately wishes to emulate. Having said that, I do think it has a bright future, just not in this form. Eventually someone will write "the book" which will allow it to be performed on stage and I think there it might find it's forte as a stalwart of the am-dram musical scene for years to come.

It will come as no surprise that, despite it's 6 Oscars and gor knows how many other awards and nominations, I'm afraid for me it is a 2* rating. Not so much La La Land as La La Lacking.


  • Wow Dave, that's like a proper review an' all!

    I've not seen it and it doesn't appeal to me - not a fan of the genre, really.

    And, based on your review, I'll probably not bother.

    By Blogger Masher, At 6:50 PM  

  • That's an awesome review! Like Young Masher I haven't seen it either. I think your thoughts on this make me feel comfortable with not seeing it in the near future too.

    By Blogger Brennig, At 10:30 AM  

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