Emma Stone Weekend – La La Land (2016) Movie Review – Revisited

Director: Damien Chazelle

Writer: Damien Chazelle (Screenplay)

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Callie Hernandez, Sonoya Mizuno, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons

Plot: While navigating their careers in Los Angeles, a pianist and an actress fall in love while attempting to reconcile their aspirations for the future.


Tagline – Here’s to the fools who dream.

Runtime: 2 Hours 8 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Delightful

Story: La La Land starts as we meet jazz singer Sebastian (Gosling) who has always had his own vision of what he wants his music to be which sees him struggle to keep jobs in Hollywood, let alone pay his bills. Mia (Stone) is an aspiring actress that is going through auditions, while working as a coffee shop on the studio lot.

After a couple of chance meetings, the two start a whirlwind romance that sees both their dreams start to come true in Hollywood, only at what price, can success in love and dreams work together?

Thoughts on La La Land

Characters – Sebastian loves jazz music, he has always had his own style when it comes to the music he is expected to play, he doesn’t understand how people don’t like jazz either, he has jumped between jobs because of his style and once he gets involved in a relationship with Mia, he must decide whether to have a secure gig or continue chasing his dreams of opening his own jazz bar. Mia is the aspiring actress that goes to countless auditions without getting much success, working on the studio lot, until she starts to take her own chance with her one person show. These two characters show the fairly tale dream chases that always believe they could make it and with each other in their lives they achieve more than they imagined.

PerformancesRyan Gosling and Emma Stone are truly fantastic in the lead roles of this film, they show us just how easily somebody’s passion can take a toll on their lives.

StoryThe story here follows an aspiring musician and an aspiring actress who meet, fall in love right as their careers start to skyrocket in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. The story does show how dreamers can be led down paths which would see them push people away in their lives, we are left to see how this does feel like a giant fantasy between the two, after one maybe encounter to show how love and careers just take off, which I have always believed is in their heads, rather than in reality. This does have a fairy tale feel to it, which is nice to see and will be you entertained through the film.

Comedy/Musical/RomanceThe comedy in the film comes from the natural conversations the pair go through, with the romance showing how we see love being difficult to understand at times. The musical side of the film is the way everybody is willing to sing and dance around town.

SettingsThe film is set in Hollywood, which reflects the idea of the dreams that the characters have.


Scene of the Movie – The 5 years.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – We don’t get enough out of the supporting characters.

Final Thoughts This is a beautiful fairy tale of life in Hollywood, it puts everything out there in a dream like reality of a life we all wish we could live, one that lets us follow our dreams.

Overall: Beautiful Fairy Tale of Hollywood.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – Z – The Producers (1967)

This is under Z because of the star of the movie Zero Mostel

Director: Mel Brooks

Writer: Mel Brooks (Screenplay)

Starring: Gene Wilder, Zero Mostel, Estelle Winwood, Dick Shawn, Kenneth Mars, Lee Meredith

Plot: Producers Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom make money by producing a sure-fire flop.


Tagline – Once upon a time there was a Broadway producer…who met a “creative” but timid accountant. Together they concocted the most outrageous $1,000,000 scheme in the annals of Show Biz.

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Awkwardly Dated

Story: The Producers starts with Broadway producer Max Bialystock (Mostel) who was once one of the biggest producers around, now he is facing hard times and potential financial ruin, until his accountant Leo Bloom (Wilder) poses the idea of producing a flop play, while creating the funds that would see him pocketing the rest.

Max and Leo become producer partners, pick out the play to produce, one that is bound to fail and set up to make the play Springtime With Hitler, the two must go out to make sure the play flops so they can make out with the fortune they dreamed off.

Thoughts on The Producers

Characters – Max Bialystock was once one of the biggest producers on Broadway, he is facing financial ruin now, using his charm to trick older ladies into giving him money and uses his accountant to help make a fortune, he will always find a way to make things worse, as he is looking to produce the worst possible play. Leo Bloom is an honest accountant that believes you could make a fortune, by making a terrible play on Broadway, this does make him a producer even if he lacks the flair Max has to put the money behind the scheme. While most of the film circles around the pair, we do meet the German writer, the elaborate director and the new star of the play.

PerformancesZero Mostel does bring us a character that is truly in the mindset of the producer that we could see doing whatever he wants to get the money he wants, while Gene Wilder can turn a switch from clam to loud in an instant.

StoryThe story here follows to Broadway producers that go in search for the worst possible play in an attempt to make millions from the benefactors, which looks like a flawless plan. This is a story that does show how producers could do something illegal to make sure they get rich, which does see them push the limits of criminal actions. This is a story that does play into stereotypes that would be questioned a lot now, though part of that is meant to placed on the story being told.

Comedy/Music The comedy in the film does feel like it has dated in a way that would have worked at the time, but now the jokes would come off too offensive.

SettingsThe film does use the settings that you would see producers around, it shows how they would operate and how they would need to get onto the big stage.


Scene of the Movie – The intermission.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The jokes don’t work anymore.

Final Thoughts This is a smart idea for a film, it is one that has seen the jokes date badly, though the concept is one that could only work in the era the film is set.

Overall: Classic but dated comedy.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominations – V – The Doors (1991)

The Doors is under V because of Val Kilmer.

Director: Oliver Stone

Writer: Randall Jahnson, Oliver Stone (Screenplay)

Starring: Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan, Kyle MacLachlan, Frank Whaley, Kevin Dillon, Michael Wincott, Michael Madsen

 

Plot: The story of the famous and influential 1960s rock band The Doors and its lead singer and composer, Jim Morrison, from his days as a UCLA film student in Los Angeles, to his untimely death in Paris, France at age 27 in 1971.


Tagline – “There are things known and things unknown and in between are The Doors.” — Jim Morrison

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Proof of Wasted Potential

 

Story: The Doors starts when UCLA film student Jim Morrison (Kilmer) walks out of clash to follow the music and lyrics coming from his head, from his drug induced sessions, joined by Ray Manzarek (MacLachlan), Robby Krieger (Whaley) and John Densmore (Dillon) take their alternative music to the stage, making huge waves in the late 1960s.

After The Doors become an international sensation Jim starts to dive further down the hole of drugs and sex addiction which makes him even more reckless and an even bigger icon of the industry.

 

Thoughts on The Doors

 

Characters – Jim Morrison is the leader singer of the Doors, he spends most of his time high on drugs which helps him create the lyrics that made the band famous, he sleeps with every woman that shows his interest even when he tries to tell his girlfriend he is loyal, this might well be based on a man that could create amazing lyrics, his personal life makes him out to be a horrible person, that nobody should ever look to for inspiration. Pamela is the muse that first started to fall in love with Jim before he became a big star, she tries to stay on his side, even if she is tired of his cheating, she constantly falls for his lies which only makes her feel small in the world. we do meet the rest of the band, we see how some wanted to help improve the band, while others just wanted to live the same life as Jim.

PerformancesVal Kilmer is the star of the show, he commits to this wild character, showing u just how extreme he was, how much a problem he could have been to himself. Meg Ryan was great to see because it is a role you wouldn’t usually expect to see the clean-cut star take on. The rest of the cast are good enough without getting their chance to shine like you would expect them too.

StoryThe story follows the life of Jim Morrison from the time he was a student to his death after become a controversial music icon with his hippie mindset which only encouraged people to act against the normal causing a change in the mentality of the younger generation. This film doesn’t make Jim Morrison to be a nice person, it shows that he had the potential to be one of the biggest names in music, but his personal action only dragged him down to a new level showing just how drugs can take over life ruining the biggest parts of his life. This film mostly shows the downfall of his career over the best part of the man’s life which could have been somebody who could have changed music forever, instead of a short while.

Biopic/MusicThis is a biopic that mostly just shows the destructive side of Jim Morrison, not getting enough attention on the good he might have given the world.

SettingsThe film does use the 1960s settings to show us just how the musician grew up the ranks of the industry showing how the party continued to get bigger with the additional fame.


Scene of the Movie –
First song creation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Shows how much potential was wasted on drugs.

Final ThoughtsThis is a biopic that could have put a bigger light on one of the best musical minds of a generation only for it to show just how much time was spent just getting high.

 

Overall: Career wasted, the downfall.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – R – Ray (2004)

Director: Taylor Hackford

Writer: Taylor Hackford, James L White (Screenplay) James L White (Story)

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Regina King, Clifton Powell, Harry Lennix, Bokeem Woodbine

 

Plot: The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s


Tagline – The extraordinary life story of Ray Charles.

Runtime: 2 Hours 32 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Biopic

 

Story: Ray starts as Ray Robinson (Foxx) leaves his hometown to make it in the music industry, it doesn’t take long for him to make an impact in the industry, he does get walked over by managers who take advantage of the fact that he is blind, Ray also learns bad habits which includes his drug abuse.

When Ray finally gets his solo chance, he becomes Ray Charles, marries Della Bea (Washington) and his rise to stardom is in full flow. Ray continued to bring new sound in his music, though his addiction and women including backup singer Margie Hendricks (King) start making his life very difficult.

 

Thoughts on Ray

 

Characters – Ray Charles is the blind jazz musician, we see how he became blind at a young age, learned to use his ears to pick up music which made him know how to mimic the stars of the era. Ray starts out as part of a band and soon wants to become a solo star, which he does, only with his rise in fame, comes his addiction to heroin and the women, which leads to him nearly throwing away his marriage on the way to the legendary status we know him as today. Della Bea is the woman Ray fell in love with, she becomes his wife, though stays away from his musical career, she helps him when he needs it most and never leaves his side. Margie Hendricks is one of the backup singers that Ray has an affair with, she becomes his on tour girlfriend and what happens to her helps Ray learn about the chance he needs to make with his own life. Jeff Brown is one of the most loyal man that handles Ray’s money through his career.

PerformancesJamie Foxx is fantastic in the leading role he does give the performance of his career here. Kerry Washington and Regina King bring us wonderful supporting role that show two very different women in Ray’s life. If we look further into the cast we have great performances from everybody in the film.

StoryThe story here shows the rise of Ray Charles, one of the most famous musicians of the 1950s and 60s, we see how his talent made him the star, his ability to mimic the stars showed the world what he was capable of despite being blind, we get to see his own vices which nearly saw his career come crashing down before him. If you want to see how to make a biopic story that will show both the good and bad of a life this is one of the most important because Ray did make mistakes which could have derailed his career. We do also get a glimpse into how he helped with the end of the segregation laws in America which made him get banned in one state. The way the story is told gives us the information we need to learn about each moment of his career too.

Biopic/MusicThe biopic for musicians is always one of the most talked about things in the movie community, some only show the good, this was brave enough to show both sides of this man Ray Charles career. The music involved in a string of the hits the fans will enjoy watching being performed.

SettingsThe film recreates the settings for some of the most iconic performances of Ray’s career, to make us feel like audience member, while away from the stage we see how his life felt like it was separate with his wife at home and his on the road events.


Scene of the Movie –
The song performances.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not learning the truth about what happened between two friends.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the best musical biopics you will see, the performances are brilliant, the ability to capture the moments through the career help move the story along feeling like we are learning the behind stories of Ray.

 

Overall: Biopic masterpiece.

Rating

 

 

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – L – La Vie en Rose (2007)

Director: Olivier Dahan

Writer: Isabelle Sobelman, Olivier Dahan (Screenplay)

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Sylvie Testud, Emmanuelle, Gerard Depardieu, Jean-Pierre Martins

 

Plot: Biopic of the iconic French singer Édith Piaf. Raised by her grandmother in a brothel, she was discovered while singing on a street corner at the age of 19. Despite her success, Piaf’s life was filled with tragedy.


Tagline – The passionate life of Edith Piaf

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cotillard is Outstanding

 

Story: La Vie en Rose starts when young Edith is left in her grandmother’s care in her brothel where prostitute Titine (Seigner) becomes her best friend, she suffers here after becoming sick and newly losing her sight. Taken to the circus by her father, it isn’t long before the two find themselves alone with Edith showing signs of her singing ability.

At the age of 20 Edith (Cotillard) is singing on the street corners with her friend Momone (Testud) before she gets noticed by Louise Leplee (Depardieu) who offers her a chance to sing in his clubs, this is just the beginning of her career as a performer. Edith’s life never went a smoothly as many others because behind the scenes we had plenty of problems.

 

Thoughts on La Vie en Rose

 

Characters – Edith Piaf is the famous French singer, she didn’t start on the top, we learn the struggles she faced, with her upbringing in a brothel and circus, before turning to the streets as a singer. Given the chance to perform on stage she never looked back when it came to performing, but she did enjoy partying which catches up with her as people try to control her rise to the top. Through the film we meet people that are important in Edith’s life, though one thing becomes clear, she doesn’t seem to stay around many people for too long.

PerformancesMarion Cotillard won an Oscar for this performance, you can see why, she is fantastic cover multiply different years of the singer making each age seem realistic for the audience to understand the struggles she is facing next. Everyone else in the film is great, though most struggle to reach the complete level Cotillard achieves in this film.

StoryThe story follows the life and career of performer Edith Piaf one of the most famous French singers of all time, we see how her life started with the battles to get out of the brothel and off the streets, to be where she belonged, on the stage, however many tragic events came her way. The story is told with plenty of time jumps between different ages which at times can be frustrating because this style of movie is often better to watch in the linear process, even if it is somebody looking back on life. Away from that little nit-pick, we see how amazing the story of Edith was with her final performance being the most iconic of all her songs.

Biopic/RomanceWe get to see most of the important moments in Edith’s life with this story, the performances and the tragic moments.

SettingsEach setting used in the film shows us just how the film was able to recreate the location that would have been used for the real moments in the life of the singer, with the performances feeling like they would be where they would really have taken place.


Scene of the Movie –
The final performance.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The time jumps are off putting at times.

Final ThoughtsThis is a brilliant biopic that shows just how talents Cotillard is and teaches us about a brilliant singer that will never be forgotten.

 

Overall: Brilliant Biopic.

Rating