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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Poltergiest (2015)

“They’re Here!” After being laid off from his job and looking for a new start, Eric Bowen (Sam Rockwell) and his wife, Amy (Rosemarie DeWitt) finally find a good home that is in their price range for them and their three children. Everything seems great in the beginning, although the children really do not like the new house. Eric and Amy find out that the house was built over land that used to be a cemetery. This really freaks them out when they find out that news. This is just creepy in the beginning, but becomes horrifying once the spirits start to attack the Bowen family. Their youngest daughter, Maddi (Kennedi Clemments) is actually kidnapped by the evil spirits and taken to a different world where only evil spirits are. This leads the family to reach out to a Paranormal Researcher, Dr. Brooke Powell (Jane Adams). Dr. Powell finds out that this is way too dangerous and out of her league to deal with and they have to bring in someone who is nationally known for his work with hauntings. They reach out to Carrigan Burke (Jared Harris), a Paranormal Investigator who has his own show and knows how he can help this family and get rid of this Poltergeist.

First off, the new remake of Poltergeist hardly compares to the greatness of the original, so let’s just get that out-of-the-way immediately. Even though that is how I feel in regards to the original, this remake is definitely not a bad movie in the least bit. The original Poltergeist is without a doubt an instant horror classic. When people try to remake classic horror movies it does not always work out, but in this case, director, Gil Kenan, gave us a new look on the original cult classic. Poltergeist is definitely a solid remake that really surprised me by how good it actually was. This movie provides you with plenty of entertainment and many jumpy scenes that will knock you out of your seat.

The casting job in Poltergeist was pretty spot on. I thought Kennedi Clemments was perfect for the role of Maddi because she looked just like Carol Anne from the original, except for the fact that Maddi has black hair and Carol Anne had blonde. I loved seeing Jared Harris in this. He was goofy in this, just like he is in every other role he is in. I’m used to seeing him report the news about Longfellow Deeds or working with Don Draper and the rest of the crew at Sterling Cooper. I also really liked how Sam Rockwell was thrown in there as the father, but the whole time I did wish Craig T. Nelson was in this. I can say that overall, the acting in this is pretty solid and everyone delivered good performances.

I really can say that I was more than impressed by the remake of Poltergeist. It is very hard to compete with original movies and this remake of Poltergeist showed us that sometimes remakes can compete with the originals. Something that was really great about this movie is that is was downright scary and all the jumps were there. This movie did not waste any time trying to build up some scares. It starts right off with the scares and you know there is something scary with the house as soon as the movie starts. Poltergeist is just a surprising and effective horror movie that gives me a lot of hope for future horror remakes. If this one can pull it off, why can’t the others? This was just a very fun, scary and completely entertaining movie that is one of the best remakes of a horror movie I have ever seen.

Overall, Poltergeist is a solid remake that not only scares you, but entertains you throughout. If you are a fan of the original, or just of horror movies in general, definitely go see this movie.

Grade= B+ (Very Good!)