La La Land (2016)

Mia (Emma Stone) is working at a coffee shop in Warner Bros. Studios and is feeling like she is a failed actress. She constantly goes to different auditions and never receives a call back. All she is hoping for is that one big break so she can land a major role. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz pianist who’s only dream is to one day own his own jazz club. However, jazz music seems to be becoming less and less popular, so he is kind of out of luck with this one. Sebastian spends his time playing household tunes at a local restraint where he works for tips. While playing at a restraint, he catches the eyes of Mia and the two suddenly fall for one another. While Sebastian and Mia both have huge hopes and dreams, the longer they stay together, the more they begin to fade in different directions.

Usually when I find out I am going to see a movie that is a musical I get somewhat worried because they are either hit or miss. Luckily La La Land works in every way and is pretty much a perfect movie. It is the kind of movie that is not only fun and entertaining, but as soon as the singing and dancing stops and the people start talking it is just as entertaining and exciting. La La Land is just a very happy movie, and it’s as simple as that. It is the type of movie that does not come around all that often and there is no doubt in my mind that this will be a serious contender for best picture, if it not already has the award wrapped up.

There’s a lot more to La La Land then it just being your happy musical movie. This film shows you all of the great things the world has to offer you and also the hard realities that people sometimes have to face. After watching this movie you have a lot of hope with your future life endeavors. It’s movies like this that leave a special place in your heart because it makes you feel like you can do anything you want with your life and things will work out. Director, Damien Chazelle definitely loves his jazz music and we understood that when he made Whiplash, but he takes it to a whole different level here. And what you see from Stone and Gosling is pure magic. The chemistry these two actors have together is something that I can’t wait to see again. The way their characters intervened with each other and developed with one another is something that I love when watching a movie.

As mentioned above, there is no way this movie does not get loads of Oscar nominations because it’s already killing it with Golden Globe nominations. I would not be surprised if this wins everything that it is nominated for. This is the first movie of 2016 that I have seen where I can say it was perfect. Not to mention the scoring of this film is unbelievable. The choreography, cinematography and directing are just as superb as the acting. If you are a fan of film then you will love this movie. If you are a fan of film and not musicals, you will still love this movie. Everything that Chazelle did with La La Land all fell perfectly in place and works wonders for the audience. After much time and thought about this movie, I will be incredibly shocked if it does not win Best Picture.

Overall, La La Land is the type of movie that is a must see. It delivers on everything you would want to see form a movie. With great directing, superb acting, excellent writing, and exciting songs, La La Land works in every single way and is the perfect movie of 2016. Chazelle is at the top of his form with this one.

Grade: A

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Whiplash (2014)

Man do I wish played the drums. Looking for a flick that has great acting and the storyline is pretty awesome? Whiplash is the movie for you. Newly admitted to Shaffer Conservatory, student Andrew Neiman, (Miles Teller) wanted to do one thing with his life. That was to become the best drummer there ever was. Andrew is asked to become a part of the main band from Shaffer that goes to all the different competitions. Andrew has one major problem during the film. That is his conductor, Terence Fletcher (JK Simmons) who is nothing but an ass hole. Fletcher breaks his students down and tell them things like, “they are worthless and suck at everything they do.” Andrew does not know how to handle this at first and becomes very affected by it. Whiplash shows us just how people like this can work together on music.

Damien Chazelle is the writer/ director for Whiplash. Chazelle did an excellent job with directing this film. Whiplash was one of my top ten films for the year of 2014. I loved how everything was set up and what came next for Andrew as a jazz drummer. Conductor, Terence Fletcher is a very fearsome man. He will say anything he can to you to lower your self-esteem as a person. He does this because he is looking for the best out of everyone he is teaching at Shaffer. With his very foul-mouthed abuse, he looks to sort out the weak players from the great ones. If you become affected by his criticism, then you do not want to play for him in his band. Don’t even think of playing out of tune. That is probably the number one thing you absolutely cannot do. Fletcher will even go as far as hauling a chair at your head until you play something exactly the way he wants to hear it.

JK Simmons has already received the Golden Globe Award for his performance in Whiplash. The Academy awards are just under a month away and I think it is no question as to whether or not he receives the Oscar. I have always been a fan of Simmons and I think he’s always done some great work, but playing Terence Fletcher was the role of his career. He was absolutely outstanding. Even though his character was written a little like something you would see out of a ridiculous TV show, JK Simmons was definitely the one to watch in this film. Miles Teller is another one to watch out for. He was awesome and even though not having been in much prior to Whiplash, this will definitely open up many new doors for him along his acting career.

Whiplash saved us the best scene for last when Andrew tries to teach Fletcher a little lesson of his own. After watching Whiplash, one may never look at Jazz music or drumming the same way again.

Overall, while Whiplash may not be the best movie ever made. It is definitely enjoyable with great acting and great drumming performances. I definitely recommend giving this one a look.

Grade= B+ (Very Good!)