La La Land Reviews

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:31 pm

Does anyone know what Dana Andrews' singing was really like? He was a trained singer, who went to Hollywood to make it as a singer but became an actor instead. He never got to sing in any of his movies. He was dubbed by Ben Gage (Esther Williams' second husband) in State Fair.

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Sonic Youth » Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:29 pm

Big Magilla wrote:
Sonic Youth wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:
If I had a singing voice like Gosling or Stone I'd confine it to the shower.


Well, now I'm intrigued. Who is your singing voice like, Magilla?

Dana Andrews.


If we ever meet, Magilla, I hope that when you sing you sound exactly like Dana Andrews. That way, I'll know it's really you.
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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Sabin » Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:23 pm

Why so late in watching this?
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:35 am

Sonic Youth wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:
If I had a singing voice like Gosling or Stone I'd confine it to the shower.


Well, now I'm intrigued. Who is your singing voice like, Magilla?

Dana Andrews.

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Sabin » Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:17 am

I love the film and the song "Another Day of Sun." I don't like the execution. Attempting to do that number in a one shot was just showing off. Technically, it made for some ugly, shadowed faces. Also it robbed the scene of some wit that could've been achieved by melting one Los Angeles location into another.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby OscarGuy » Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:11 am

I will freely admit that one of the elements of the film that bugged me most was the lack of musical depth. This is a musical that paid homage to the grand Hollywood musicals like An American in Paris. These were vibrant films that featured talented singers belting it out to bountiful orchestral scores. This felt lightweight, occasionally tinny, and hardly exuberant or exciting. I found the opening freeway number to be interesting, but hardly a suitable and exciting introduction to a musical production.
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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Sonic Youth » Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:25 am

Big Magilla wrote:
If I had a singing voice like Gosling or Stone I'd confine it to the shower.


Well, now I'm intrigued. Who is your singing voice like, Magilla?
"What the hell?"

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:12 am

Reza wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:the director allowed the singers to get by with singing as though they were average Joes and Janes singing along with the radio instead of participants in a full-blown musical


I suppose it's called authenticity because every character in the film was an average Joe or Jane. The average Joe or Jane can hardly be expected to sound like Placido Domingo or Julie Andrews. It made it real.

If you buy the Kool-Aid.

People bursting into song on freeways, while they're dressing for a party and so on are "real'?

If I had a singing voice like Gosling or Stone I'd confine it to the shower.

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Reza » Fri Apr 28, 2017 7:46 am

Big Magilla wrote:the director allowed the singers to get by with singing as though they were average Joes and Janes singing along with the radio instead of participants in a full-blown musical


I suppose it's called authenticity because every character in the film was an average Joe or Jane. The average Joe or Jane can hardly be expected to sound like Placido Domingo or Julie Andrews. It made it real.

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:33 am

I don't get it.

Here's a lushly filmed musical that evokes memories of Astaire and Rogers meeting cute in practically all their films, the early 50s explosion of color in An American in Paris, Singin' in the Rain and The Band Wagon, Jacques Demy's intoxicating Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Young Girls of Rochefort, starring two of today's most gifted actors in a film directed by an interesting new talent with a decent score that is let down by the weak singing voices of not only its two stars, but practically the entire cast.

I know it's not fashionable to dub non-singing actors these days, but a movie that evokes previous eras when even professional singers were dubbed by stronger singers to put over a song, would have been the perfect film in which to do it. That not only didn't they do that, but that the director allowed the singers to get by with singing as though they were average Joes and Janes singing along with the radio instead of participants in a full-blown musical made me think that Gene Kelly and Vincente Minnelli must be spinning in their graves.

Production design and grudgingly, Score, were about the only Oscars it deserved. Best Song should have gone to the non-nominated "Drive It Like You Stole It" from Sing Street. Cinematography should have gone to Silence. Best Actress should have gone to Portman or Huppert. Best Director should have gone to Lonergan or Jenkins.

If the film's success inspires Hollywood to make more musicals, great, but only if they put as much energy into the singing of the songs as they do the rest of the film.

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Sonic Youth » Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:51 pm

Since LLL is going to win big tomorrow night, I better get this in beforehand.

One could make the argument that Moonlight is the better film, but it feels like an excellent first film, one that promises greater things from its filmmaker. La La Land feels like an apotheosis. A mark of a successful film is one that beautifully evokes its time and place, and while everyone is talking about the film's "place", I was more impressed in how well it evoked its "time", which is this precise moment (or at least a few months ago). In other words, when 50 years from now the history of "Obama-era" movies is written, La La Land will be remembered as one of the defining films*. In fact, it may be the last of them. I doubt we're going to be seeing many more La La Land's for the next few years. And it does a beautiful job capturing the idealism (and all the conflicted emotions that come with it) of two very nice, flawed, good-at-heart youthful individuals, even if the film itself can sometimes be naive in its own idealism. It's as fresh and sweet a celebration of youth as a timeless pop song.

Manhola Dargis wrote in the New York Times: "When I went to see 'La La Land' again, I was in a terrible state, and this time I just fell into it, gratefully. I surrendered. Afterward, I realized that this must have been what it was like to watch Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers during the Great Depression." Exactly. And this is why it doesn't make sense for any other film to win Best Picture. In between the Cubs' World Series victory and the anti-Trump march the day after that asshole's inauguration, nothing else gave me such a high, and it doesn't take much of a stretch to imagine that much of the Academy feels the same way. It's the right time for a film like this to win.

And so, a lot of musical "purists" see the 14 Academy Award nominations and sneer at it. Well, I've got news for them. I won't say La La Land is one of the greatest musicals ever made, but look at the list of musicals that have won the Oscar for Best Picture. It's better than most of them. Is it better than most of the love stories that have won Best Picture? Okay, I won't go THAT far...

ETA: If anyone asks me what an "Obama-era" film - or "Obama-era" anything - is, I think of things made with a lot of exuberance and some naivety, like "The Martian" or the musical "Hamilton" or Pharrell's song "Happy". Whether this really IS what the defining trait of works from the "Obama-era" will be most remembered for is anyone's guess. I'm sure it won't be the only trait.
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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Sabin » Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:40 pm

Sonic Youth wrote
As for what I quoted earlier, I get the point, and I can see maybe a few people legitimately bothered by it. But I don't believe most people complaining about this really are, particularly not my lily-white, non-jazz listening friends who try so hard to be on the correct side of things. It's a faddish train of thought, an idea that someone came up with on their behalf which then got spread around until it received enough exposure and enabled others to be superficially outraged. I'm not dismissing the main point, which I think is at least an interesting observation. I just think most of the outrage is feigned.

Here's my biggest problem, and this goes with your post about "Wouldn't it be more interesting if John Legend was the romantic interest."

These people who are complaining about La La Land's "whiteness" aren't necessarily wrong, which is what makes defending the movie so frustrating. To me, the casting of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling isn't about a white privilege view of the world. It's a conscious throwback to the great pairings of movie stars from yesteryear, although I suppose anybody making that point could (and likely will, when I do so in public) be accused of white privilege. This is the third time Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone have been paired together. They have chemistry that arrives on the screen before we see them together. Woody Allen did the same thing this year with Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart with Café Society, one of the laziest films he's ever slapped together. And he still couldn't wreck the chemistry between these two. The diminished role of movie stars means we see this happening less and less to the point where people aren't even thinking about it as part of a grand tradition that Damien Chazelle was throwing back to.

Casting John Legend as the love interest would be interesting all right, in that people would walk away from the movie thinking "Huh, that was interesting." Ryan Gosling is playing a callow, neurotic dreamer. That doesn't begin to describe John Legend.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Sonic Youth » Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:00 pm

Sabin wrote:I can't convince people to see this movie, and at this point I don't think they should. They're going to go into it with the intention of tearing it down.


But of course. 14 nominations, as Mister Tee said earlier, practically sets it up to fail. My main issue is that they're all theater people and that's significant. They're judging one art form by the standards of another... one which they're highly immersed in but don't seem to recognize the merits of the other. When someone here speaks fondly about how the film pays tribute to an earlier style from an earlier era, or likewise when someone dismisses the film as being insubstantial beyond its own pastiche, I take it seriously because I know the film is being judged and confronted on its own terms... as a film. When criticism begins and ends with "Terrible movie because I didn't like the songs and they could have gotten better singers and the choreography was unimpressive", I think "Envious much?" Not that these aren't valid criticisms - they're very fair criticisms, in fact - but that's also where the critique begins and ends. Of course, these are the same people who rave over the televised "Peter Pan" and "Grease" productions and don't watch any movies more sophisticated or challenging than... well... "La La Land".

It's just disconcerting, because the people I know are very intelligent, capable people, very politically motivated, and well-versed when it comes to theater. You'd think when it comes to other things - movies, music, literature, etc. - they would also, not necessarily be experts or connoissuers, but at least bring the same level of sophistication while approaching them. I don't know half as much about movies as many people do on this forum, but I like to think I at least know and appreciate something about filmmaking as an art form and that I can at least recognize high standards. I think most people have that capability. But most seem to not want to be bothered. (There are, of course, exceptions among my friends, and they're very uncommon.) This is why I'm grateful for this board. I'm always learning about new things, as well as new ways to watch films.

As for what I quoted earlier, I get the point, and I can see maybe a few people legitimately bothered by it. But I don't believe most people complaining about this really are, particularly not my lily-white, non-jazz listening friends who try so hard to be on the correct side of things. It's a faddish train of thought, an idea that someone came up with on their behalf which then got spread around until it received enough exposure and enabled others to be superficially outraged. I'm not dismissing the main point, which I think is at least an interesting observation. I just think most of the outrage is feigned.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. More interesting thoughts (I hope) in a bit.
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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Sabin » Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:17 pm

Sonic Youth wrote
"But it just KILLS me to imagine how much better and more interesting a movie it would have been if John Legend had been the main character/main romantic interest, instead of Ryan Gosling with his terrible 'moody white savior of jazz, a largely black art form' narrative and embarrassingly inadequate singing voice. God forbid Hollywood have the bravery to disrupt its onanistic white nostalgia fest with an interracial romance and/or a POC as something other than window dressing."

I can't convince people to see this movie, and at this point I don't think they should. They're going to go into it with the intention of tearing it down.

I did a wiki search of past Oscar ceremonies. It's hard to imagine they used to take place in April. I don't think Hidden Figures has a chance of winning but if La La Land fit the mood of the winter, then Hidden Figures fits the mood of the spring. And if voting was still happening right now, I think it might do a lot better.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Sonic Youth » Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:15 am

"But it just KILLS me to imagine how much better and more interesting a movie it would have been if John Legend had been the main character/main romantic interest, instead of Ryan Gosling with his terrible 'moody white savior of jazz, a largely black art form' narrative and embarrassingly inadequate singing voice. God forbid Hollywood have the bravery to disrupt its onanistic white nostalgia fest with an interracial romance and/or a POC as something other than window dressing."

Because this is now all over my Facebook wall, and you can't have a La La Land thread without it.

There are now two camps ferociously going at it, the Love It and Hate It camp... and the latter camp is entirely, without exception, made up of musical theatre people. (I know a lot of community theater participants.) Which confirms my adage "Never look to a musical theatre person's opinion on musical cinema."

Anyway, lengthier opinion of my own coming later today.
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