La La Land

This musical starts with a very exuberant song and dance routine on a jammed freeway slip-road in Los Angeles, which (once you get over your initial shock!) sweeps you along with its colour and vibrancy and you realise it’s not only fun but really well choreographed as the camera swoops amongst the cars. It ends with our two protagonists being introduced – Mia (Emma Stone) an aspiring actress and Seb (Ryan Gosling) an aspiring jazz pianist. Mia is absorbed in her lines and slow to pull away and Seb impatient with her. Somehow you know they are going to meet again.

I know you’re meant to initially dislike Seb, but I was wondering why on earth Mia was intersted in him for a fair while because he’s played so haughtily, but perhaps also because Emma Stone is so convincing as Mia that you are already invested in her character. When they do get together they’re a very complimentary couple. They encourage each other to pursue their goals in life, but these goals come with compromise and there are a couple of scenes that show this in a devastating way: a romantic meal where resentments about reality hit home, for example, and a jazz club montage which will leave you pondering it for ages (I interpreted it as regretful from Seb’s point of view) and underlines that this is a film about Mia and her dreams.

They perhaps use the running-theme one too many times throughout the film, but for the most part it is great fun, colourful and a slap in the face for any grump out there!

4 on 5

Info
Director: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling
UK Release: 12th January 2017

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Zombieland

Zombieland Poster

A lighthearted slasher-comedy zombie flick starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg as unlikely companions in a post-apocalyptic US zombieland. The zombies in question are somewhere between standard ones and 28 Days Later ones. Jesse’s character has survived by adhering to a rigid set of rules and is on his way to Colombus, Ohio, to see if his parents are still alive. Woody’s character is more of a wandering zombie smasher, deperately searching for Twinkies (a type of cake I think).

The film has an accomplished visual style with some nice graphical touches as the rules are presented on screen occasionally and also has enough laughs, plot turns and comedy gore to keep you amused. It also has a fantastic cameo from Bill Murray.

The plot machinations to get the film to the big final set-piece scene are very clunky, but it doesn’t really spoil the enjoyment of the film which on the whole is an enjoyable 80 minute romp.

3 on 5

Info:
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Bill Murray
UK Release: 7 October 2009