Recently viewed films

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Jack of All Parades
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sat May 21, 2016 6:07 am

You are an English protestant with your family thousands of miles from your native home on the fringe of 'western' civilization in New England in the early 1630's and now your extreme Christianity has caused you and your family to be cast out further from civilization by the small community you now inhabit-out to the fringe of a dark, foreboding woods that sprawls out across the horizon malevolently. That is the opening premise of Robert Egger's "The Witch" which I saw a few nights ago. Inspired by Egger's interest in witchcraft and folktales it is an evocative study of paranoia, fear and religious ignorance and intolerance. It is also a vivid reminder of the tricks the mind can play. The cast is superb and the movie is filled with the beautiful, near poetic, voices of the characters as they speak their 17th century dialogue which is note perfect. Never gratuitously gory, the movie builds it's tensions seamlessly and skillfully. The scares are earned and jolting and all the more frightening because one does not know for certain if this happened or if it is only imagined. That is real 'horror'. This is a serious examination of the notion of 'original sin'.

https://youtu.be/iQXmlf3Sefg
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby ice nine » Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:56 pm

Caught the 2015 film The Man Who Knew Infinity with Dev Pattel and Jeremy Irons. The film is about two mathematicians, Srinivasa Ramanujan and G.H. Hardy. A beautiful film much like A Beutiful Mind. What I took away from this film was, that like art and music, mathematics can be perceived coming from God. I have since read that the theories Ramanujan came upon were used by Einstein and Hawking.
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby ice nine » Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:26 pm

The Lobster is a strange film, but I liked it. Some people leaving the theatre said it was the worst film they had ever seen. The best way I could describe this film is imangine that Wes Anderson, Charlie Kaufmann, and Sam Beckett made a film together. Dark, dark humor. No emotion in the acting, but that was sorta the point of the movie.
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think that you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt
- M. Twain

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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Fri Jun 17, 2016 5:18 pm

Ice Nine- those are two films on my list to see. Thank you for affirming why I should see them.

There have not been many films of late that I have watched and then wanted to say something about them either positive or negative. That changed two nights ago when I watched 45 Years by Andrew Haigh and staring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as an elderly couple preparing to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary. This film plays with time and perspective so skillfully. Screen time is short and story time is compressed to seven days but in reality the folds of time keep opening and and doubling back on these two characters as a ghost from the past re-emerges to haunt them in the form of news of the discovery of a former woman in the husband's long ago past who disappeared into the crevasse of a glacier while hiking in the Swiss Alps only to be frozen and thought long lost in the early 60s. Her body has been found thanks to global warming and now she threatens the seeming serenity of this long married couple. The two actors give a powerful visual realization to the irrational power of memory. What does one really know? More importantly, can a long term married couple be really such strangers to one another? These two pros give vivid performances as they work out these questions, particularly Ms. Rampling. Her Oscar nod earlier this year was earned. One of the more intelligent and thought provoking films I have seen in some time.

https://youtu.be/Tg5cpiX18TA
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sat Jun 25, 2016 6:33 am

I have been meaning to mention this one since I saw it a week ago-"Hello, My Name is Doris" -written and directed by Michael Showalter and starring a pitch-perfect Sally Field. Her character, Doris, is shown a random act of kindness at work and in that moment of truly being seen by someone, her, until then vanishing persona hid among the clutter of her old Staten Island home that she shared with her now deceased mother, she is finally seen as a person and she likes and enjoys that feeling. Doris is not easy to love; her tics and physical contortions are off putting along with her preceding decline into hoarding and eccentricity. But as the movie gently points out in its winning comedic manner she is a person worth getting to know. In that way it is a "Working Girl" for the aging- its message of female empowerment focused on the way aging works on people-a seeming slippage into solitude, irrelevance and being shunted aside and viewed as a joke or inconvenience. The nicest thing about this movie is that it does not offer any 'pat' answers for aging other than perhaps staying in the moment.

https://youtu.be/L6vBnnryIug
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:18 pm

The other evening 10 Cloverfield Lane directed by Dan Trachtenberg with Ms. Lisa and Kristin. This is one of those movies that talking too much about it destroys too much of its freshness and shocks. Staring John Goodman, a dour survivalist, as Howard, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, as Michele, a seemingly 'kidnapped' young woman, and John Gallagher, Jr as Eliot, an acquaintance of Howard's. The three are in an underground bunker designed by Howard and hunkered down for the long haul due to a possible chemical terror attack or nuclear conflagration above ground and outside. You have seen this type of thing before but this movie makes it all new with its effective pacing and its surreal jolts and twists and the understated and effective performances by the three actors. I do not want to spoil its charms- watch it for yourself. I will only say I want that plucky Michelle on my side.


https://youtu.be/8LnlvCqvZsA
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Fri Jul 01, 2016 8:13 am

"Son of Saul" last evening with Lisa. Directed by a first timer, Laszlo Nemes, and staring in a riveting performance Geza Rohrig as Saul, a Sonderkommando at the Auschwitz11-Birkenau death camp in 1944 who is caught in hell having to be a mollifying presence daily for the endless stream of arrivals as they are herded to the gas chambers, a calming presence as they aid the police in moving the people along from transport to the chambers. And that is where this film is focused. Unlike other holocaust films I have watched, this one does not shy away from what these camps were designed to do- exterminate humans. The movie is centered on the chambers and the screen is consistently filled with shouts, cries, screams, dogs barking, gun shots, indiscriminate violence and the seeming subterranean fires of the underworld. Mr. Nemes, with his tight close ups and frenetic camera pace, seemingly catches this nightmare first hand. I have never previously experienced this subject put on film with this magnitude of seeming realism. There appears to be no fiction in his story-even though I know it is a dramatization. Mr. Rohrig captures a stunned humanity as he 'works' his way through the film trying to preserve a proper remembrance for a young boy he has found in a chamber whom he takes to be his son. The final image of this film I hope is one of peace found-even as the horrors continue to proceed.

https://youtu.be/5azMcu4VQ7s
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:12 am

Went to the movie theater last evening for a change and viewed Free State of Jones , written and directed by Gary Ross, and staring the capable Matthew McConaughey with Ms. Lisa. It is the dramatization of a little known part of Civil War history-that the Confederate States were not united in their cause-that pockets of resistance existed such as the southeastern counties of Mississippi- hence Jones County. The movie is that story and in particular of a man who lived down there, Newton Knight. He deserted the Confederate army in 1863 disgusted by a war that he saw as 'a rich man's war but a poor man's fight'. He led a very successful rebellion, forming a coalition of his neighbor's, poor white farmers like himself, and escaped slaves against the ruling class and their 'tax-man's king' provision which Knight and his followers saw as outright suppression and over reach. This movie is about class, economic repression, the horror and insanity of war, the perceived rights of man, slavery, the failures of reconstruction in the South, and the repression and abuse of women. It is also an effective dramatization of how race has, and still does, pervade and divide the social, economic and political being of this country.

The film is clumsy too many times in its telling-preachy in a way that a big Hollywood production can too often be and it drags in spots and then races too fast in others as it tries to touch all the parts of history it is trying to expose and explore but, at the same time, it is strongly aided by the exacting and iron hard performance turned in by McConaughey as Knight. He has an inherent ability to portray moral authority with a genuineness and quiet rage, commanding your attention-just look at his past performances in Mud, The Lincoln Lawyer and Dallas Buyer's Club. His character is not a saint. Instead he is a man who was willing to stare long and hard at race and its evils and in doing so to try do something abut that evil. Freedom and morality is hard for too many people. Not Newton Knight.

https://youtu.be/3EMkxEKKSQI
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Fri Jul 08, 2016 4:56 pm

One and a half hours of inspired silliness a few nights ago watching Joel and Ethan Coen's latest-Hail, Caesar- with Ms. Lisa. It is a shaggy dog grouping of vignettes that make one nostalgic for the hey day of old Hollywood productions as the Coen's spin gorgeous gossamer concoctions plundered from stock studio plots and spin those stories on their heads in a melange of communists, up and coming stars, faces that cannot act and the people who try to make them look good. It is the early 50's and the studio, supervised by Josh Brolin, is fighting against the in-roads that a new form of entertainment is making into its business-TV. The cast, which is filled with top Hollywood A listers, chews up their moments on the screen-I particularly enjoyed Channing Tatum and someone new to me Alden Ehrenreich as Hobie Doyle the studio's new up and coming singing cowboy. The cinematography by Roger Deakins is breathtaking-his use of long takes is fascinating. This movie is a love note by the brothers to movies and the dreams they inspire.

https://youtu.be/s3JM6DQOiKI
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:21 pm

Richard Linklater's "Everybody Wants Some" the other evening with Ms. Lisa. The beginning of early adult life seen as a seemingly endless party. This is "Dazed and Confused" a few year's on, and like that wonderful movie, this one hinges around the events compressed into a small time frame in late August of 1980 and a group of young men who have arrived at the University of Texas in Austin. This ensemble of young actors is a joy to watch as they negotiate their way among themselves and their classmates. It is alcohol, drugs and girls and lots of them all. Two in the group stood out for me- Glen Powell as Finn and Tyler Hoechlin as Mc Reynolds. It is yet another demonstration of how Linklater can play with time and how it passes and the vagaries of camaraderie. When Jake, the freshman pitcher, stumbles into his first class the professor has written on the board "Frontiers are Where You Find Them". This movie joyfully plays with that notion as these young people are setting out into adulthood and the time ahead of them- the image of Jake's blissful smile as his head rests on his arms at the beginning of class is arresting as the movie ends.

https://youtu.be/y6raUs0CiCQ
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sat Jul 30, 2016 4:16 pm

"Midnight Special" the latest movie, written and directed by Jeff Nichols, one of my favorite young directors the other evening. No one does dread better than him. Frame by frame his movies are well paced with tension and unease consistently building as the movie progresses- this one being no exception. His favorite actor, Michael Shannon, as Ray the father of a unique young boy, Alton, played by a near angelic Jaedon Lieberher , shows that anxiety, and it is a deep one, on his face as he tries to help his son face a pending event that no one has a clear understanding about on the screen. It is a road movie, a family drama, a science fiction thriller, a father/son story, all in one and it intriguingly celebrates the human need to believe in something. Nichols did not disappoint me , yet again.

https://youtu.be/VjnSK4k5AXs
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:55 pm

"Miles Ahead" written, directed, and starring Don Cheadle as the iconic trumpet player Miles Davis the other night with Ms. Lisa. It is 1979 and Davis has been away from the jazz world for almost five years hidden away in his NYC townhouse in a drugged state consuming large quantities of coke and cigarettes. He seemingly has forgotten his artistic creed which boils down to this-'one needs to constantly move forward or you will die'. Davis is seemingly near death-broken down physically, spiritually and emotionally-disengaged from his music and creating. What Cheadle has given us is not a common hagiography but an imaginative, stylish and engaging fictional dramatization of what it is to be an artist in crisis. He catches the highs and lows of this musician as he starts to find his way again. Time shifts, the glorious music from all periods of his career and narrative flights of fancy propel this film. Like Miles Davis's love for modality, the story telling buzzes with improvisation. There is a transcendent quality to this movie mixed with genuine humor. Cheadle has done this artist proud.

https://youtu.be/ssfTNCTVT5U
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:33 am

Every once in a blue moon a small gem of a movie comes one's way. Such was the case the other evening when I watched "Elvis and Nixon" with Ms. Lisa. It is a gentle, farcical story about the seemingly improbable meeting between two people one would never imagine could have happened. But it did and this little movie delightfully fantasizes about how it might have gone down. Both Michael Shannon, as Elvis, and Kevin Spacey, as Nixon, give a vibrant life on screen to these two trapped men. Shannon particularly commands your attention, not because he is as handsome as 'the King', but because he captures Elvis's loneliness and peculiar qualities so well. Spacey is just loony as Nixon. In thirty minutes back on 12/21/1970 they have an inspired time together. Elvis trashes the Beatles and insinuates that Lennon might be a communist[wonderful play on his name], expresses his desire to give back to the country that supported him and made him so wealthy and offers to be a Federal Agent at Large so that he can protect the Flag and clean up the world of rock n roll from the scourge of drugs and sex that has overtaken the culture. In truth, Elvis just thought the badge would allow him to travel freely about the world with his drugs and guns and let us not forget what regularly went down in the 'Jungle' room back at Graceland. The comedy is inspired, the story hilarious, the acting subtly nuanced. Catch this movie if given the opportunity.

https://youtu.be/o9x3Z6b0Z1g
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:31 pm

I should have listened to my daughter, Justine, the other night. I watched "The Lobster" and she declined noting it sounded like an 'artsy' film with little to hold one's interest. Now I wish I had that two hours of my life back. The first movie in English by the Greek auteur director, Yorgos Lanthimos, it is a dystopian fable about a modern society, not too unlike ours, where being single is considered a crime. It stars Colin Farrell, John C Reilly, Ben Winshaw and Rachel Weisz and they all try gamely in their roles as the movie heavy handedly tries to lampoon the notion of romantic love. There is a possible movie in its basic premise-a dissection of 21st century dating conventions- but it is not this movie. I should have listened to Justine.

https://youtu.be/JmaCMswlaKo
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby ice nine » Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:21 am

I enjoyed the film.
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:38 pm

"The Man Who Knew Infinity" last evening with Ms. Lisa- starring Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons as the self-taught math genius/prodigy Srinivasa Ramunujan and the Cambridge Don G. H. Hardy and their unlikely friendship and collaborations at the beginning of the twentieth century. Written and directed by Matthew Brown, the movie is a mediocre bio-pic but it comes to life when Trinity College is put on the screen and the insular world of the Dons is exposed with its east/west conflicts, prejudice and bigotry rampant. The small-mindedness of people, even intelligent people is abhorrent. What Ramunujan and Hardy put forth in the Indian's beautiful theorems is still impacting us today with his innovations in partition theory and the study of black holes. He deservedly was made at the end of his life the first Indian to hold a fellowship at Trinity College/Cambridge. Honor and respect for which he paid a huge price.

https://youtu.be/oXGm9Vlfx4w
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby bambooneedle » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:35 am

'Nightcrawler', starring Jake Gyllenhaal, from 2014. It's about a guy who begins to work as a so-called 'nightcrawler' - guys who manage to capture exclusive news stories, usually controversial or crime related stuff that pushes people's fear buttons for the local news people to capture the attention of their audiences. His character is a sort of odd pedantic nerdy driven guy who acquires a basic video camera and starts getting in on the action in accident scenes and the like where he sees more experienced nightcrawlers' attempts to maximally milk the drama for a leading story. It's about his journey as he progresses to learning to attain the exclusivity of being first at the scene of some interesting story, and learning how to bargain with the news media networks that will put a price on what he has captured on film. Throughout, Gyllenhaal's coldly clinical analytical character peculiarly (but kind of funnily) provides for the audience his pedantic logic with the occasional pithy saying he seems to believe in... it's like a guy who has read a few too many 'how to be successful' self-help books, yet we see it work for him as he manages to strive to new highs as he gets better stories and manages to seduce/emotionally blackmail Rene Russo's character who is a news network boss... it's interesting as it lays out moral dilemmas and the price of principles and compromise. Anyway, all this happens while he is witness to and captures on film a major crime story. It concerns all the things Russo's character told him matter most - the right neighbourhood (ie. not a black one for example, because no-one really cares. And other important aesthetic factors). All along the film makes one think through the main character's choices. Not least notably by his hiring of an offsider to help him in his work and by what he tells him and expects of him. all through quite an effective and quite action-packed style of cinematography (like, the film seems to have been given a certain colour palette - its colours complementing its moods. Dark greens and reds seem to dominate) including well-shot car chase action and visual detail in general and never slack drama. Certainly well worth watching again in case of missed detail the first time because there's a distinct richness coming at you. Great film.

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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Fri Sep 02, 2016 9:45 am

Maggie's Plan, written and directed by Rebecca Miller, and staring the incomparable Greta Gerwig and a fellow cast of quite capable scene stealing actors. It is a modern day screwball comedy that gives a refreshing update to the notion of motherhood and going at parenthood solo. It re-visits Woody Allen's love for Manhattan and the outer boroughs, and it thoroughly updates his 'ditzy' female lead aesthetic. Annie Hall has come to the 21st century. Gerwig's character's controlling nature is put to the test by Hawke's flaky and winsome academic and both are topped by Julianne Moore's over the top Danish theoretical anthropologist and tenured Columbia professor, Georgette. It is a movie that makes one appreciate wanting to be together with someone because you want to and not because you have to. The action on the screen moves in an agreeable rhythm, stopping from time to time to savor a particular joke or mood. It is the funniest, warmest non-Woody film I have seen in some time.

https://youtu.be/XbJ49IUyCcA
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:04 am

"Money Monster" directed by Jodie Foster and starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts last evening with Ms. Lisa. It takes the undercurrents floating through our country these days- the themes that our financial system is rigged, that the news media is jaded and biased, that the 'little man' is nothing and tries to spin a thriller and a satire in the same film. Neither story lines quite work here but it is nevertheless watchable thanks to the chemestry of the two main stars and the professional work Ms. Foster encourages from the rest of the cast. Take a Jim Crameish type of cable program with a host, Lee Gates, who cynically plays on the dreams of his audience and have him be kidnapped[the second film this year where Clooney has been kidnapped] and then have the catharsis play out on the live screen. The one thing that this movie gets right is the limited attention span of most of us-that final shot of a resuming Foosball game in a bar speaks volumes.

https://youtu.be/va-0o_xBVnU
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby ice nine » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:28 pm

A 2014 film that I wished I would have caught on the big screen is Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises. The film is about Jiro who dreams of designing airplanes. Because the film takes place in Japan's war time, his creations are used for destructive purposes. The animation is breathtaking, but the film is too long. I was so impressed with the film, I sought out Miyazaki's 2002 creation Spirited Away. Spirited Away is almost a fairy tail. Animation is also breathtaking in the film.

I was just going thru the whole film thread and the very first post is by PlaythingorPet and she mentions Spirited Away.
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:01 am

Weiner by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg the other evening. 'Tis the season and this documentary about a deeply flawed man is near perfect for this time of the year. It is a cautionary tale that all voters should be made to watch. Anthony Weiner, 7 time congress person from Queens and Brooklyn, one time rising star of the Democratic Party went down in flames by his own hand in 2011. Born with an unfortunate name given his personal proclivities his sexting scandal was all over the papers-none more mercilessly than the NY Post with their salacious headlines[though quite funny]. This film is about his attempt to reclaim his public and private life by running for the Mayor of NYC in 2013. His candidacy is vibrant, alive in comparison to the others running for the office. He is a natural campaigner and people are drawn to him. Unfortunately, he has an addiction-one he cannot admit and it comes forward yet again. Watching him on the screen obfuscate, harming those closest to him, and still trying to run is painful. The 'exposure'[pun intended] of his personal flaws and demons is riveting viewing. You want to turn your head away and mutter 'what is wrong with you' but you too often cannot. His self-delusion and hubris is monumental. Political nobility eludes him because of his commonness. The latest news about him over the last few days is just sad.

https://youtu.be/nJ4FIGnJknk
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby ice nine » Sat Oct 29, 2016 10:01 pm

Saw the very good movie Denial. Spectacular acting by Tim Spall, Tom Wikerson, Rachael Weisz, and Sherlock's Andrew Scott. I can't say that the movie is GREAT, but it does call for a recommendation to see. Interesting to learn about the British legal system.
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think that you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt
- M. Twain

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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby ice nine » Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:59 pm

A Man Called Ove is a nice piece of film. It is a subtitled Swedish film. It is the old story about an curmudgeon and the new Pakistani neighbors that have just moved in. The old man repeatedly tries to kill himself to be with his wife that recently died. Of course, the family has an uplifting effect on the man and he becomes a better man.
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think that you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt
- M. Twain

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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:27 pm

Manchester by the Sea, written and directed by Kenneth Lonegren, last evening with Ms. Lisa. Clearly my favorite movie of the year, still have to see La La Land on Christmas Day. It is bitterly human with laughs, anger, regret, pain and life to spare. Lonegren is a master at dialogue and he has cast his movie to display that dialogue optimally, particularly the superb Casey Affleck who has locked down the Academy Award for Best Actor for this year. It is Lord Jim brought into a new century. I cannot recommend this movie enough.

https://youtu.be/gsVoD0pTge0
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Re: Recently viewed films

Postby Jack of All Parades » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:21 am

"La La Land", written and directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, Christmas Day with Ms Lisa and the family and two of the three significant others.

I cannot put my finger on what initially grabs one into this special movie-the riotous vibrant colors, the camera trickery, the jazz, the subtle story, the audacious usage of references[visual, spoken, musical], the screen chemistry of the two leads, the joyous human movement-I think it is the entire package. I know it is not one long take but Mr. Chazelle is able to suspend disbelief from the opening sequence on a traffic congested thruway outside of LA and hold that disbelief throughout the entire movie with his mastery of his craft. He has taken a genre that I am not a huge fan for and made me a fan-updating the movie musical into the 21st Century with a wit, style and impressive technique that is breathtaking. I am convinced there is visually nothing this man cannot do with a camera and a good story.

The tropes of boy meets girl, making it in the big town, fear of failure, the ups and down of love and life and the fantasy projections of the movies are totally turned up side down within a fresh confection of cinema trickery. I will not bore one with a re-narration of individual scenes. I will simply challenge anyone to watch the scene in the Griffith's Observatory and then tell me they were not enchanted.

My daughter groused after the viewing that the actors were 'weak' vocalists-that this degraded the experience for her. I strongly disagree. Their refreshingly light untrained vocals fit their characters exactly. I like that this movie was seemingly anchored in the real- the here and now. It is a welcome tonic for a bad year and a palliative escape for these hard times-just like those classic musicals of the 30's allowed Depression struggling individuals to escape within a movie house for a few hours.

"La La Land" is my second favorite film of the year-following "Manchester by the Sea" and just above "The Witch". Emma Stone has locked down this year's Academy Award for Best Actress I think. Mr. Chazelle will be a force in Hollywood in the coming decades. Jazz is alive in his most capable hands as a life force on the big screen.

Get yourself to a movie house for this one. In these dark times this film will bolster your spirit and hopefully send you out into the street with a 'spring' in your step.

https://youtu.be/0pdqf4P9MB8
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'


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