Review: “La La Land” (2016), Directed by Damien Chazelle

"La La Land" (photo from IMDb)
“La La Land” (photo from IMDb)

I love musicals and when I read this film would try to recreate the look and feel of the old musicals, I knew I had to see it.

So if you want a film where people burst into song at unusual places, “La La Land” is for you.

A perfect name for a film celebrating (what was?) the movie capital Los Angeles.  A great song and dance production number opens the film.
Mia (Emma Stone) is an actress looking for a big break, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) loves jazz and old films and he is looking for his big break in jazz. They eventually hook up and cheer each other on. The decisions they make strain their relationship. But they ultimately each find great success in their craft, but at what cost?

So much in this film reminds me of great films of the past, including but not limited to, Fred Astaire with his various dance partners, “Singin’ the Rain”, “Rebel Without a Cause”, and “An American in Paris”.

It even brings back CinemaScope, in aspect ratio 2.55:1.  (Sidebar:  Movie studios started using wide screen formats in the 1950s to a great degree, to compete with that nasty invention television, and draw viewers back to the theaters.)

"It's Always Fair Weather" (photo from IMDb)
“It’s Always Fair Weather” (photo from IMDb)

Just a few days after seeing “La La Land” I was watching the musical “It’s Always Fair Weather” (1955) on Turner Classic Movies (TCM).  There was also a discussion segment.  “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle was comparing both films.  “It’s Always Fair Weather” was all done on back lots and sound stages. It was trying to look real (New York City).  I can always tell when a back lot is being used.  Chazelle mentioned the use of matte paintings, one of which was used to superimpose the New York City skyline in the distance.  “La La Land” was filmed on location all around the city but he wanted to give it a old look.

Have you seen this film?  Let us know what you think.  Please provide feedback or questions in the Comments.  If you have questions about film terminology used in this or other posts, please ask and I can elaborate in a future post.  I would really enjoy hearing from you. 

Take a look behind the scenes of “La La Land” (from YouTube).  I love BTS.

Additional Information

“La La Land” – IMDb

“It’s Always Fair Weather” – IMDb

From Wikipedia:  CinemaScope   aspect ratio    matte paintings

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