Wednesday, 18 January 2017

La La Land (3 Stars)

This is the in film at the moment. Everyone is talking about it, especially after it won seven awards at the Golden Globes. It's the #1 favourite to win the Best Film prize at this year's Academy Awards. I found the trailer very impressive. A return to the golden age of Hollywood musicals? Bring it on!

I could hardly wait to see the film in the cinema. I made sure that I went to an English language screening. (In Germany films are usually dubbed). I was surprised to find the cinema packed. There were at least 200 people with me, an extraordinary number for a film not in German.

The film began. The song and dance number on the freeway was overwhelmingly uplifting. I was immediately won over. The following first steps towards a romance between the two main characters tugged at my heart strings. Then came the song and dance number on the hill overlooking Los Angeles. Pure vintage Hollywood. Okay, neither Ryan Gosling nor Emma Stone are outstanding dancers, but they did their best, and their enthusiasm was laudable.

That was the film's high point. From then on it went downhill. The musical numbers, the main reason I wanted to see the film, became fewer as the film continued. Emma Stone's performance in the romantic scenes was riveting, but Ryan Gosling was dull in comparison. He's never been one of my favourite actors, and "La La Land" did nothing to change my opinion of him.

The film's concept is good. We want another Hollywood musical. We need another Hollywood musical. Lots of them. But let's do it better. Instead of choosing A-list actors as crowd pullers the next musical should feature Broadway stars who can actually dance. The film should be jam-packed with musical numbers with only short pieces of dialogue in between.

If you think I'm being harsh in my criticism, watch any musical starring Gene Kelly. "Singing in the Rain" is his most famous film, though I prefer "Cover Girl". There's no comparison, is there? "La La Land" is dull in comparison. They really don't make them like they used to.

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  1. Yeah should have been more songs.

    1. More songs and better singers. Emma Stone wasn't too bad, but Ryan Gosling was so-so. At least he's better than Pierce Brosnan.


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