Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land' has the Feel and Beats of 'Whiplash'


La La Land feels exactly like the type of movie director/writer Damien Chazelle would helm. On the surface this musical about a jazz pianist (played Ryan Gosling) falling in love with an aspiring actress (played by Emma Stone) set in Los Angeles looks to be entirely different than his debut movie, Whiplash. Even though the dark movie about a talented drummer (played by Miles Teller) who allows his obsessions with greatness tear apart his life as he does everything to impress his abusive and harsh instructor (played by J.K. Simmons) was not a musical or a love story, you can see some commonality with that movie and this trailer. Every shot, plot progression, bit of dialogue, and editing felt like music and had the beats and poetry of a professional drummer. It was a non-tradition musical that didn't have people break out into song but had the flow, beats and groove of one extended song. La La Land is a love story and has bright scenes and moments of pure fantasy, but there looks to be a darkness and the theme of obsession is peaking out the seams. I expect a bounce and a sense of wonder, but it also will deliver an emotional punch. No matter what is the direction or themes, Chazelle is a filmmaker that has already earned the cred to make all his work worthy of anticipation, and Stone and Gosling are amazing talents that have also proven in the past to have a sizzling chemistry.

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