La La Land (2016)

La La Land (2016)
Written and Directed by Damien Chazelle

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Musicals came into popularity after World War II and provided audiences with a much needed relief from the issues that were going on in the world. They were idyllic, romantic, and in a sense magical; the Ginger Rogers’ and Fred Astaire’s of that era exuded charisma and charm, and viewers couldn’t help, but fall in love with the joyous stories that unfolded on the screen. Writer and director Damien Chazelle, once again brings his musicality as he did in Whiplash to his new film La La Land, and creates a film that is as reminiscent of the past as it is unique to the present. La La Land feels like an ode to classical movies without being cliché or a copy of anything else. Instead it was a magical and rare film that lent itself to unfolding a love story that was beautiful and exciting to watch.

The film is about the lives of two struggling and aspiring performers, Mia (Emma Stone) works as a barista on the Warner Brothers lot and is trying to land any job in the acting biz and Sebastian or Seb (Ryan Gosling) a jazz pianist who wants to live his dream of being a working musician. The two of them are passionate about their dreams and relentless in trying to make them come true, but the realities of trying to make it in Hollywood are tough.

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When Mia goes on casting calls, the agents look at their phones and could care less about her feelings and when Sebastian tries to find music gigs, many of them land him in cover bands with ridiculous costumes.

In a city full of people, Mia and Sebastian happen to keep running into each other and it feels as if they were meant to meet. The two get each other and understand the passion each holds for their art. Sebastian hopes to one day open a jazz club like the ones of the past where Charlie Parker played, and Mia wants to perform in the movies like the ones she adored as a child. Both of them have a yearning to hold onto their dreams and together they help each other deal with the ups and downs that come with the harshness of the music and film industries.

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As the two fall in love, their romance is intertwined with musical numbers. Mia wears a yellow dress with oxfords and glides on screen, reminiscent of a little bit of the naivete that Judy Garland possessed with that of the adorableness of Audrey Hepburn. Sebastian leads Mia in the dancing and singing, dressed in a retro suit and wing-tip shoes, and oozes charisma and charm like Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire. Not to say that Gosling killed it like those dancers used to, but he did well and stood out as a true leading man like those of a yesteryear.

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Gosling and Stone did wonderful in their performances and you could not help, but want to watch them. Stone truly carries the film and deserves an Oscar nod. The true winner of the film is Chazelle, his screenplay and direction were unique and it felt like a movie I have never seen before. He was able to capture the whimsy of those classical films and create a movie that is all his own. Where Whiplash hits you in the face with fear and anger at every cymbal smash, La La Land makes you feel like you are walking on a cloud and living in a bit of a dream.

The music in the film was paired wonderfully with the scenes, the songs never felt boring or too sing-songy like those we are used to seeing in musicals. It doesn’t hurt that John Legend provided his vocals and acting abilities to the film as well. The music was a good blend of jazz and classical and the soundtrack is worth a listen.

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I kept on thinking throughout the movie that it reminded me of Casablanca, a film that makes you feel every emotion in the book. I adored this movie and highly recommend it. You do not have to be a fan of musicals or classic films to appreciate it. The film is timeless tribute to a bygone film era and can be enjoyed by all.

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))Melissa

Oscars Recap 2015: The Top 16 Most Interesting Moments

The 2015 Oscars can be described as having been okay at best. I think the Golden Globes were a little bit better this year. Neil Patrick Harris did a great job though, he was funny and witty, and I love the way he talks. He has that Barney Stinson way of dragging out words or pausing to make it funny. In a room filled with entertainers, there was hardly any entertainment, I just don’t get it. Last year, Ellen did a great job and really made those jokes hers and interacted with the audience which was fun to watch. I think the show needed a little more of that spice or some dancing numbers.

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This year it was all about the speeches and there were some surprises in many categories especially Best Picture. I think everyone was shocked, Birdman was a great movie, but I think most people thought Boyhood would win. Take a swig like Mr. Cumberbatch and let’s talk about what happened and discuss the most interesting moments of the evening.

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1. NPH in his underwear re-enacting the infamous Birdman scene.

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2. The dresses this year. My favorite had to be Rosamund Pike’s beautiful red dress with matching red shoes. Now that is hard to pull off, but she looked perfect.

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3. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s speeches for both Best Director and Best Picture. For best director he mentioned that he was wearing Keaton’s tighty-whities for good luck and best picture he made remarks about immigration and allowing everyone the same rights. Rarely do see we any Mexican artists get credit from this kind of a community and what a powerful platform to make a statement about immigration.

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4. While we are on the topic WTF Sean Penn. I am sure he was joking, but his stupid comment when he announced Alejandro’s win, by saying “Who gave this son of a bitch a green card,” was stupid and ill-timed.

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5. J.K Simmons won for Best Supporting Actor and I loved what he said about appreciating your loved ones. He said if you have them around, call them!

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6. John Legend and Common’s performance of the song Glory from Selma. The performance was moving and had many actors in tears.

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7. Jared Leto’s hair ugh… I can’t get over it. His hair is beautiful and he is a man who knows how to rock an umbrella.

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8. The Grand Budapest Hotel beat out a lot of other films in four technical categories. This is rare for Wes Anderson to get so much recognition and boy was he happy.

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9. Patricia Arquette’s speech for Best Supporting Actress. She made a statement about wage equality and women’s rights. You go girl! 

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10. The Oscar made out of Legos. And Emma Stone holding it in the audience, she is too cute!

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11. Eddie Redmayne’s acceptance speech for Best Actor. OMG how cute! He looked genuinely surprised and shocked and said that he would be the custodian of the award and that it was for everyone battling ALS.

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12. Common snubbed Oprah when he won for Best Song. Seriously that was funny.

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13. The Idina Menzel rehash of last year’s major mess up by John Travolta. Is it just me or does he look kind of creepy?

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14. But really what was up with Lady Gaga’s gloves?? Loving the memes going around.

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15. Juliane Moore’s acceptance speech was also great for Best Actress. She added some fun to it, but also raised awareness for Alzheimer’s disease and made it a heartfelt speech.

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16. One of my fave moments of the night was Graham Moore’s speech for Best Adapted Screenplay. It was personal and unique and he serves as voice for everyone out there who considers themselves different. Stay weird my peeps.

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Tell me what you guys thought of the Oscars? What were your favorite or least favorite moments of the show?

}}Melissa

 

 

Top 12 Best (and One Worst) Moments of the SNL 40th Reunion

I know I am kind of late on this, I have had the flu for like 10 days it’s been horrible. I think I went stir crazy at my house this past weekend. But I did get to finish the last Game of Thrones book so I am super stoked to see the show this seaon. Anyways back to the topic, I just wanted to do a quick recap of the best moments of the Saturday Night Live 40th reunion. It was 3 hours long, which honestly I can’t remember any shows that have been that long on TV. Some of it was totally funny and other parts just felt really long and useless.

I have been a fan of SNL, I would have to say my whole life and really became a dedicated watcher as a teenager. In the days before DVR’s, I remember being 14 and staying up what I thought was late to watch SNL. The audience was packed for the reunion with A-list celebrities like Michael Douglas, Steven Spielberg, Ed Norton, Bradley Cooper, Larry David, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney and the list goes on and on and many who performed or announced musical acts in between on the show. I love seeing celebrities laughing and enjoying themselves like normal people, am I the only person who feels like this?

Here are my top 12 best (and one worst) moments of the SNL 40th reunion in no particular order. And basically you can get the gist of the whole show in less than 3 hours.

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1. Melissa McCarthy as Dan Foley, Chris Farley’s character of the “guy down by the river.”

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2. The infamous Jeopardy game. This time Christopher Waltz, Justin Bieber, Sean Connery, Matthew McCounaghey and Burt Reynolds were the guests. My fave was definitely Jim Carrey love him still.

3. Kanye West performed upside down and then Sia appeared with a giant wig. Am I the only who loves both of them?

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4. Emma Stone paying homage to Gilda Radner, the more I see Emma the more I love her.

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5. The Californians skit had Taylor Swift, Kerry Washington and Betty White and Bradley Cooper finished it off perfectly.

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6. Ed Norton as Stefan lol.

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7. Audience Q&A with Jerry Seinfeld.

8. Fred Armisen and Kristin Wiig doing their funky performance as Garth and Kat, their songs that have no rhythm or meaning and are pretty hilarious.

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9. Seeing the SNL Audition tapes, I love seeing those and seriously how young did Jimmy Fallon look?!

10. Will Ferrell and Anna Gastyer doing their musical act The Culps, I think that was one of my fave skits. 

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11. Last ,but not least WAYNE’s WORLD! Party on my friends. tumblr_njuwl4GbQZ1sc3fyvo10_400

12. The worst had to be Eddie Murphy back on stage at SNL for only like two seconds. It was weird and he should have done a funny skit or something for old times sake.

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Did you guys watch and if so what did you think? What is your fave SNL skit or comedian?

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{{Melissa