7 items from 2017
MaryAnn’s quick take… A marvel. Funny and exuberant and bittersweet and cliché-busting and unexpected as hell. We are going to need more movies like this one. I’m “biast” (pro): loved Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, love Gosling and Stone
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Hopeful yet pragmatic. Fantastical yet down-to-earth. Revolutionary yet traditional. Old-fashioned in the best way and totally modern at the same time. Pure escapist cinematic joy that you don’t need to turn your brain off to get thoroughly lost in. La La Land is a movie to make you fall in love with movies all over again, just when, I suspect, we’re going to be leaning on movies a lot merely to maintain our sanity. This is an instant comfort movie, one that wraps you in its warm embrace and never lets you go. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Damien Chazelle’s paean to Los Angeles is funny, romantic and utterly charming, with captivating performances from its two stars
It was a film I couldn’t wait to watch again, and when I did, the epiphany I should have had the first time presented itself. Is Ryan Gosling the new Debbie Reynolds? In Singin’ in the Rain, Reynolds plays Kathy, the would-be stage star who gets a bit hoity-toity with Gene Kelly about favouring legitimate theatre over his silly old movies: then she is hugely embarrassed, on jumping out of a cake at a Hollywood party as part of the entertainment, to see Kelly in the audience grinning cheekily at her.
Fast forward 60-odd years to 2017 and Ryan Gosling is Seb, in the comparably gorgeous musical romance La La Land, a struggling jazz musician who has just boorishly refused to accept congratulations on his performance from smart, pretty Mia, »
- Peter Bradshaw
The Coen brothers' recent Hail Caesar! may have seemed pretty bold in featuring both a Roman sword-and-sandal epic and a water ballet musical in its story of old Hollywood chicanery, but in 1955 MGM went several steps further in producing Jupiter's Darling, which is simultaneously a Roman epic and a water ballet musical, starring the queen (and sole proponent) of the latter genre, Esther Williams.One of the perplexing things about the genius of the system, whereby a studio apparatus geared to make crowd-pleasing entertainment also produced, on a fairly regular basis, great cinematic art as a kind of incidental by-product (incidental except to the artists employed) is that often the mass audience, which was the ultimate arbiter of taste, would get things badly wrong. Thus Keaton's The General, his bravest and best film, was a commercial flop, and thus the climax of the Williams water-and-song cycle proved to be an »
Turner Classic Movies, in association with Warner Home Entertainment, will present the classic musical "Singin' in the Rain" in select U.S. theaters nationwide on January 15 and 18. The film, directed by Stanley Donen and starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor, will be shown with a special filmed introduction by TCM host Ben Mankiewicz. Click here for more info. »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Cinema Retro)
I stayed virtually silent last week, as we lost both Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds in the span of 36 hours. While everyone else was posting touching tributes, and covering the story from various angles, I just kind of had to sit and process what had just happened. I still kind of am. But today I'm tasked with sharing this trailer for Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds with you, and so I'm going to take this opportunity to put a few of my thoughts down.
Fisher and Reynolds speak directly to both parts of my life: My geekdom and my lifelong passion for performing. Fisher was Princess Leia, a monumental role in one of my most beloved series, and that character (like Luke, Han, and Vader) has been a part of my fanboy DNA for as long as I can remember. Reynolds was a star during the golden era of Hollywood musicals, »
- Mario-Francisco Robles
La La Land owes a lot to movie musicals of yesteryear, the kind with which the late Debbie Reynolds will forever be associated. So, at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Ryan Gosling took a moment to honor Reynolds’ legacy and how it impacted his new film. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Gosling was accepting the Vanguard Award for La La Land’s cast and director when he noted how influential Reynolds was. “I wish I could have said this in person, but I’d like to thank Debbie Reynolds for her wonderful career of work,” he said. “She was an inspiration to us every day. We watched Singin’ In The Rain every day for inspiration.” He called her an “unparalleled talent.”
- Esther Zuckerman
“La La Land,” in theory, is a movie that needs no explanation. The simplest thing you could call it is “an old-fashioned musical” — which means, of course, that it’s a big colorful splashy cornball swoon of a movie, one that traffics in the kind of billboard emotions (Love! Sadness! Joy!) and timeless Hollywood forms (Singing! Dancing! A Lavish Freeway Production Number Done In One Unbroken Take!) that can hit audiences like a sweet shot to the heart. That’s the beauty of it, right?
Yet “La La Land” isn’t just old-fashioned. It’s the new-fangled version of a sprawling Tinseltown classic. It’s Old Hollywood meets Jacques Demy meets “New York, New York” meets postmodern indie backlot passion. It’s a grand Los Angeles epic that features “mainstream” sentiments, but it’s also a subtle and idiosyncratic journey that’s almost entirely unpredictable. (Half an hour before it ends, »
- Owen Gleiberman
7 items from 2017
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