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

Top 10 Movie Men Crushes

Zoe over at http://zuts.wordpress.com/  (excuse me for putting the link this way, I was having issues this morning trying to get this to work) has been kind enough to post my top 10 crush list. It’s running rampant on the blogs and it was such a fun list to make, I can’t wait to see your guys’ lists.

Top 10 Movie Men Crushes

Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting

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I have had a crush on Matt Damon since I was a teenager; I used to have pictures of him on my wall. LOL. This movie inspired my crush, not only is he so cute, I love the way he doesn’t take his intelligence seriously and his little attitude and chip on his shoulder is what makes him so hot in this flick. How do you like them apples?

Jake Gyllenhal in Brokeback Mountain

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In this film he plays Jack Twist, the sheep herder, bronco rider, who falls in love with Ennis Del Mar played by Heath Ledger. He plays a vulnerable and sweet gay man in love with another super hot guy. Their relationship is tender and soulful and I just fell in love with the way he looked at Ledger with his big, brown puppy dog eyes.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic

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Ok what teenage girl did not love Leo in this movie? He plays Jack Dawson who falls in love with the rich and privileged Rose DeWitt Bukater. Sigh, the way that these two star crossed lovers fall for each other is so sweet and cute. I really wanted him to take me to the top of the ship and scream, “I am the king of the world” with him.

John Travolta in Urban Cowboy

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The way that his character of Bud falls for and protects Sissy is so heartfelt. The love they have for one another is electric and the way he will do anything for her made me fall in love with him. Plus it makes every girl think if she can just do a two-step, she can meet a really hot cowboy. Not to mention, the 1970’s Travolta is so hot.

Brad Pitt in Interview with a Vampire

Ok, anything and everything that Brad Pitt has been in is noteworthy. He always looks flawless, that is just a given, an unnatural fact of life. In this flick he plays the sexy, immortal vampire Louis. Although he is a vampire he has a heart of gold and doesn’t really want to kill innocent people. Close second is Pitt in Legends of the Fall. I mean look at his hair, it’s gorgeous, and I just want to brush his luscious locks. I would definitely become a fang banger for him!

Ryan Gosling in The Notebook

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If you are a female or gay male and reading this and disagree with me, then you just are not right in the head. One of the greatest love stories in any movie, he plays Noah, the poor guy who falls for the rich girl in town, Allie. He would do anything and did everything for her. A guy who will build me a house and wait for me, okay, that’s it, the clothes are coming off.

Bradley Cooper in The Hangover

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He doesn’t play a traditional romantic character at all in this movie, but what I love about him is his cocky attitude. He plays Phil, one of the Hangover boys who got super drunk and lost his friend. He acts like a jerk and is all about going out and having a good time. Not only is his hair so hot in this movie, his attitude is what makes him crush-worthy here.

Channing Tatum in Magic Mike

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Ok, I don’t care that this is the cheesiest of ones to put in here, but how could I have a list and not mention him? Although, he plays the incomparable male stripper Mike, he is sweet and nice. Throughout the movie he realizes he is over booty calls and one night hookups and he wants to fall in love. Plus there is the scene where he dances to Genuwine’s “Ride it my Pony” song, if that doesn’t convince you I don’t know what will.

Jared Leto in My So Called Life

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I am cheating with this one and using a television character, but the guy he plays is such the epitome of every girl’s crush that I had to include it. He plays Jordan Catalano, Angela Chase’s love interest in high school. I think every single girl out there has had a crush on a Jordan at some point in their life. The guy who barely acknowledges you in public, won’t hold your hand, or tell his friends about you, but behind closed doors is so sweet. One minute he makes you believe you are the one for him and another completely ignores you. Despite all his wrong doings and misgivings, you can’t help but like him because he is the guy that gives you butterflies in your stomach. To this day when I see Jared Leto on the screen, I think sigh, Jordan Catalano, the love of my life, the one who got away.

Colin Firth in Bridget Jones Diary

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I absolutely love this movie; it reminds me of my single days, when I had the perpetual ability to always pick the wrong man. In it he plays Mark Darcy, the guy us women usually don’t fall for, he’s nice, dresses like a nerd and lives a pretty normal life. He’s not edgy, cocky or the life of the party, but he is the guy that we secretly want to love. As he tells Bridget, “I like you very much. Just as you are.”

}}Melissa

Movie Review: About Time (2013)

About Time (2013)
Directed by Richard Curtis
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Who doesn’t love a romance movie with Rachel McAdams? She is basically our generations Meg Ryan. Fortunately she doesn’t lose her memory in this film, nor does she get swept off her feet by Ryan Gosling (sigh). Overall, I would say that it is a pretty okay movie.

You are probably wondering why I say an “okay” movie. I think the movie was too long and throughout the movie you start to lose interest. I was sitting in my seat debating to go get popcorn or stay? In my opinion, once you start worrying about popcorn, then the movie just isn’t holding your attention.

The movie was also predictable and I felt I knew what was going to happen next. I knew that if I went to get popcorn, I wouldn’t have missed anything important.

About Time is a love story about a man named Tim, played the handsome Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson, who at the age of 21 is finally told about his family’s legacy or power which is he can travel in time.

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He just has to find a dark closed spot, close his eyes and clench his fists and BAM, he can travel in time. I just kept thinking “Damn I want that power” or “Wow I could do so many things or redo so many things different in my life.” But for Tim he just wants to find a girlfriend which is something he has wanted his whole life.

With this power he realizes that this can become a possibility, it should be easy to impress a girl right? With his time traveling ability he can redo first impressions, dates or kisses etc. He ends up meeting Mary, played by the lovable, Rachel McAddams, and realizes this is the girl of his dreams.

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The fact that this movie had Domhnall Gleeson made me want to stick through the movie. He does an awesome job in capturing a dorky 21 year old looking for love, who despite being able to travel through time doesn’t make him any less dorkier.

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I also love that this movie was set in the UK, just like Notting Hill and Love Actually, makes sense because they all have the same director. When it comes down to paying money to see this movie in a theater, I honestly wouldn’t recommend anyone paying $12 dollars and should just wait till it comes out on DVD.

Overall it was an “okay” movie, it left some questions to be answered and I believe many people like me had high expectations for this flick and it did not live up to them.

}}Bella