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I would also be interested to hear about the movie. The reviews have been mostly ecstatic, but I've been burned before by musicals with stars who can't sing or dance.

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Originally I'd heard good remarks, but several choreographer friends have recently said it wasn't as strong as they'd heard.  I think this is a case of "I need to see it myself."

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I wanted desperately to like this movie and had been really looking forward to seeing it, but was bored by the tepid plot and choreography. I love both Gosling and Stone and felt they truly did their best given the material they had to work with. Both seem to have had a little bit of dance training (Gosling more than Stone) and their voices were pleasant enough for non-singers. I liked that about them and was really rooting for them. I had hoped the movie would be cute and refreshing, but both the choreography and plot were so boring that I actually fell asleep (!) - in the middle of it. First time this has ever happened to me in any kind of performance venue. I can usually find a way to remain engaged, but I found it too tedious. 

 

I saw the movie with my daughter, a former professional dancer, and her husband, a complete non-dancer. Both are very generous movie-viewers and rarely find something they don't like. This movie fell into that category for them though. They too thought the plot was dull and the choreography ho-hum. 

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Couldn't agree more, vegansmom. I found myself drifting off too. IMO, the first half hour or so could have been cut. I felt as if they were trying too hard to be charming and for me it fell flat. It did come alive each time Gosling was on screen. He has charisma to spare!

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Thanks for the reports. I hope anyone else who sees it will chime in.

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Glad to see the tepid reviews, actually, since otherwise it's gotten such great notices. The choreography was really so dull--more "let's pretend like we're dancing in an old musical" than the real thing. I guess that's intentional, but the charm wears thin over two hours. The movie is perfectly pleasant--I myself wasn't bored--but I don't really understand all the raves. The performers are very likable. People compare it aptly to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. If you loved that movie, you might love this one. 

 

The score, by a composer I've never heard of, was also pleasant and unmemorable.

I wouldn't mind hearing that the same forces try another one. Maybe they'll get bolder or more original with experience.

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Thank you, Anthony_NYC, good to hear from you in this forum again. I also wondered about the running time. 90 or so minutes seems about right for this story.

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Saw it, reminded me of a viennese pastry: light, delectible, with several layers, a fanciful delight.  But certainly not  boeff bourgonon.  

 

I recommend seeing it in the cinema as it is filmed in Panavision.  The acting is uniformly winning, though the singing ability is akin to Fred Astaire's thin vocal chords.  The comparison to Umbrellas of Cherbourg is apt.  

 

I would like to hear the songs done by proper pro singers before I judge the songs.  I understand talks are underway to create a stage version, so I may get my wish.  I anticipate bus tours to the landmarks in the movie are already underway.  Especially the Observatory.  

 

 The cinematographer deserves an Oscar.  Visually this was a love letter to LA. Not sure that part can be reconceived on the stage.  Go see this movie for that feature if no other. 

Edited by Jayne

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I was wondering about the Umbrellas connection -- thanks for the additional reviews.  I have a feeling that attention for this film is being affected by the death of Debbie Reynolds and the renewed attention to the golden age musicals.

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I walked over to my local Sundance this afternoon to see La La Land but when I got there I discovered they were showing Singin' in the Rain 30 minutes later. (TCM sponsored this in honor of the 65th anniversary of the film's release.) So I went to that instead! (There was a nice dedication to Debbie Reynolds at the beginning.)

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Singin' in the Rain is running in Seattle as well -- I'm hoping to get there on Wednesday.

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La La Land's writer-director Damien Chazelle just gave a nice introduction to the film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg on TCM - making it pretty clear where he was coming from with his own film.

Edited by pherank

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I too felt the movie to be highly over rated.  Gosling OK, but Stone just a non starter for me.  Little if any rapport with Gosling.  Choreography sort of ho hum and low key.  Even the opening sequence seemed so contrived with little oomph!  Mostly though, I found it to be a cynical take on relationships and the way "things are" today.  If this was supposed to be a "valentine" to the old movie musicals of years ago, it just didn't make it.  Most of the old musicals had "happy endings" or at least something up lifting about them.  Without doing a "spoiler alert", this film just ended in such an unhappy way that I felt cheated at the end.  Both characters had invested so much in each other and to have them end up the way they did made the entire film a total downer.  I'm not saying that everything needs to be "happy, happy".  It's just I felt let down and left dangling emotionally at the end.  It lacked the elegance of "Umbrellas of Cherbourg" in that respect.  Luckily, I caught "American in Paris" on Turner classics a few days after seeing "LaLa Land" and was grateful that the old magic of that film still held true.  The "oldies" are still the standard to meet.

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I liked "La La Land" a lot actually.  It's not an old-fashioned musical, and it's not meant to be.  The choreography could definitely be better, but I don't think the movie would (for me), if it were cast with professional quality singers and dancers as the leads.  And I'm someone who gets very annoyed when parts written for legit singers are played by performers who are not up to that quality.

 

Ryan Gosling did have some dance training as a child performer, and he's continued to take classes from time to time.  He actually came to my ballet class once (his close friend came very regularly), and did barre next to me.  He was very nice and introduced himself. :lol:

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Hi, sidwich, good to hear from you. Yes, I remember your mentioning that you'd seen Gosling in class.
 

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Luckily, I caught "American in Paris" on Turner classics a few days after seeing "LaLa Land" and was grateful that the old magic of that film still held true.  

 

 


True, mimsyb. "An American in Paris" was never a big favorite of mine but I caught the same broadcast and I see more things in it now.

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Went with great expectations but almost fell asleep one hour in. Bo-ring. Barely a plot. Weak dancing and singing. All of the songs were variations of the initial cute tune sung on the freeway. I wouldn't pay a red cent to see this on the stage unless major changes are made and professional dancers and singers employed.

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I really wanted to like this movie too. But......I could barely make it through the first half hour. A fun premise for the opening, the freeway and the traffic jam and dancers, but it went on way too long with very predictable dancing. Also, I guess I'm old-fashioned (sure of it, in fact :), but the editing was so fast and vertiginous that I couldn't really enjoy much of anything I saw. The plot in the first half hour was not well-established. I lost interest and left.

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To think that this almost won the BEST Picture Oscar!  Thank goodness that the envelope was wrong and MOONLIGHT won, deservingly. I would also have been satisfied with MANCHESTER BTS.  

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During the opening scene the phrase "No to virtuosity" popped into my head, and I briefly couldn't remember where it came from.  And then I got it--the No Manifesto, Yvonne Rainer--it's a post-modern movie musical.  More than anything else it triggered and longing for the musicals that inspired it. 

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2 hours ago, lmspear said:

During the opening scene the phrase "No to virtuosity" popped into my head, and I briefly couldn't remember where it came from.  And then I got it--the No Manifesto, Yvonne Rainer--it's a post-modern movie musical.  More than anything else it triggered and longing for the musicals that inspired it. 

 

Oh my goodness -- right on the point!  I hadn't even thought about Rainer's commentary in this context, but it's so appropriate for big chunks of contemporary work.

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It's a shrewd insight, but I'm guessing Rainer didn't have in mind 'yes to movie stars' ...

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Thank you both, Sandik and Drew. It was a pure aha moment that bubbled up from the depths of my long term memory.  I can't remember the last time I thought of Rainer.  I believe she would have said "no ?" to stars of any kind.

Edited by lmspear
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