La La Land Reviews

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:10 am

Based on my hypothesis, The Lion King meets my criteria of the last successful completely original screen musical in terms of both music and story. The Princess and the Frog was "inspired by" The Frog Princess, Tangled was based on Rapunzel and Frozen was based on The Snow Queen. Films about the real-life Pocahontas go back to 1910.

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby OscarGuy » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:25 am

Lion King was not the last success.

Pocahontas made $141 million in 1995 (adjusted to $281 M for inflation). Nominated and won for both Original Song and Comedy/Muical Score.
Hunchback of Notre Dame made $100 million in 1996 (adjusted to $196 M for inflation). Nominated for Comedy/Musical Score.
Mulan made $120 million in 1998 (adjusted to $222 M for inflation). Nominated for Comedy/Musical Score.
Tarzan made $171 million in 1999 (adjusted to $291 M for inflation). Nominated and won Original Song.

You can debate their critical acclaim (Pocahontas is the only one with a rotten rating at RT), sure, but their box office totals were successful.

Then, the rebirth saw:
The Princess and the Frog made $104 million in 2009 (adjusted to $117 M for inflation). Nominated for Animated Feature, Original Song x2
Tangled made $200 million in 2010 (adjusted to $218 M for inflation). Nominated for Original Song
Frozen made $400 million in 2013 (adjusted to $424 M for inflation). Nominated and won Animated Feature, Original Song.

Whatever your opinions of any of these films, the most recent box office/critical success musical was 2013: Frozen.
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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:37 am

anonymous1980 wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:
La La Land is an original musical, not a film version of a highly regarded Broadway hit like Chicago or the retelling of a classic tale with an eclectic, if mostly familiar mix of songs like Moulin Rouge!. What was the last successful completely original screen musical in terms of both music and story? The original Footloose?


I suppose you mean LIVE-ACTION because without that caveat the last one is The Lion King. Of course Disney is successful in turning original musicals based on familiar stories for years now with Tangled and Frozen.

OK, The Lion King.

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby anonymous1980 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:34 pm

Mister Tee wrote: Is it even technically possible they could revive the song score category? -- I'm thinking, with this and Moana, there might be real justification for it.


It's called Original Musical. According to the rules, a film has to have at least 5 original songs written by the same person or team to qualify AND at least five eligible films for the Academy to activate this category and give out an award for it. In addition to La La Land and Moana, there's also Sing Street and Pop Star: Never Stop, Never Stopping. So they need one more to activate it. Perhaps a couple of Bollywood films make an L.A. run and they have original songs so there will be enough to activate this category.

Trivia: The last person to win this award is none other than Prince for Purple Rain.

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Aug 31, 2016 9:13 pm

The folks at AwardsWatch have already labelled this "the clear front-runner" -- a pretty pointless designation when it's the only major Fall movie yet reviewed. Mark Harris warns: the movie you label front-runner in September is the one you lament "peaked too early" in December.

But I see no reason why this couldn't be a major contender, if audiences go for it. Though I'm one of the non-enthusiasts of Whiplash, there's no denying many were mesmerized by its director. And this seems to have the hugging-Hollywood quality that's done well for films in the recent past. You can imagine this getting near double-digits in nominations, seeing it could get song/sound/art direction/cinematography, in addition to the top-line citations. Is it even technically possible they could revive the song score category? -- I'm thinking, with this and Moana, there might be real justification for it.

It also looks like a big career boost for Emma Stone -- who could move into that circle of lovely young things who win best actress -- and Ryan Gosling. It's hard to believe it's been ten years since Gosling got the one nomination we were all fairly certain would be first of many. He's spent the intervening years just missing nods (for Lars and the Real Girl and Blue Valentine), then doing movies no one saw, but now, with The Big Short and this, he could be back up on top.

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby anonymous1980 » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:59 pm

Big Magilla wrote:
La La Land is an original musical, not a film version of a highly regarded Broadway hit like Chicago or the retelling of a classic tale with an eclectic, if mostly familiar mix of songs like Moulin Rouge!. What was the last successful completely original screen musical in terms of both music and story? The original Footloose?


I suppose you mean LIVE-ACTION because without that caveat the last one is The Lion King. Of course Disney is successful in turning original musicals based on familiar stories for years now with Tangled and Frozen.

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:43 pm

I was referring to the films themselves, not the reviews of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Singin' in the Rain.

La La Land is an original musical, not a film version of a highly regarded Broadway hit like Chicago or the retelling of a classic tale with an eclectic, if mostly familiar mix of songs like Moulin Rouge!. What was the last successful completely original screen musical in terms of both music and story? The original Footloose?

I'm not saying it won't be a success or that it won't be nominated for a slew of Oscars, but without a Harvey Weinstein to proclaim it the best thing since sliced bread and get everyone in Hollywood to agree, I don't see it as the second coming of The Artist and certainly not of Chicago.

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Sabin » Wed Aug 31, 2016 6:43 pm

Big Magilla wrote
I don't know. The reviews are great, but having seen the trailer and reading between the lines of the reviews this looks more like Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg than Singin' in the Rain which might turn off as many voters as it turns on.

We shall see what we shall see.

Well, I've never read any reviews for Singin' in the Rain or The Umbrellas of Cherbourg so I'll have to take your word for that.

I don't think either comparisons work. Today's film market doesn't feature a steady output of classical Hollywood musicals. Instead, we have comic book movies. Musicals are almost exclusively awards hopefuls, so I think we have four paradigms: Chicago, Moulin Rouge, Dancer in the Dark, and failures. Based on these reviews, it is unlikely to be a failure by the standards of Nine. Dancer in the Dark is an art film, closer in spirit to The Umbreallas of Cherbourg, but commercially inaccessible and not really in the Oscar conversation. There might be some similarities but La La Land does not sound inaccessible.

La La Land sounds like it exists somewhere between Moulin Rouge! and Chicago, which is why I'm pretty sold on this thing as a heavy. Moulin Rouge! has a pop sensibility. It has an romantic, emotional pull, but it's also a big weird movie out there on a limb doing its own thing. Chicago is classical. It's a smarter piece of storytelling but in effect it's more emotionally shallow. It's primary pull is razzle dazzle and nostalgia for an era where Hollywood used to churn these things out on a regular basis. La La Land sounds like it has both a romantic, emotional pull but it's also wrapped up in Hollywood nostalgia* and that's why I'm pretty sold on this thing as a heavy. That's a strong combination.

But also I'm pretty sold on it because there's a lot of hot talent in it with Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, but mostly Damian Chazelle. There is a tone of worship surrounding him in Hollywood. His screenplay for Whiplash is considered a new model. He is somebody that they very much want to honor. I keep getting the sense that this is something that regardless of how good it is, industry types are going to want to like it.


* Which is to say it's not a film that condemns Hollywood from the outside, but rather it's about Hollywood types refinding their purpose like in films like The Artist, Argo, and Birdman. That's a hot theme. This is a toxic year for Hollywood, so I can see them taking to this message.
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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:36 pm

It sounds like a great entertainment, with the chief criticism being that it's more a triumph of style over substance.

But I can't recall any year where "it's really enjoyable and makes you feel great" has ever been a disadvantage in the awards race. Lightweight things that feel like nothing else out there (The Artist, as Sabin pointed out, but also Chicago would certainly qualify as well), have often done just as well as more obviously serious efforts.

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:01 pm

I don't know. The reviews are great, but having seen the trailer and reading between the lines of the reviews this looks more like Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg than Singin' in the Rain which might turn off as many voters as it turns on.

We shall see what we shall see.

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Re: La La Land Reviews

Postby Sabin » Wed Aug 31, 2016 11:50 am

The biggest knocks against it seem to be that by the end it feels a little slight and loses focus here and there. I don't see that as being huge problems as plenty of recent winners (like The Artist and Birdman) faced that charge. This one looks like a contender. Especially in as politically and cinematically toxic a year as 2016, this could be a movie that makes Hollywood reflect on itself in a way that it enjoys doing.
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