La La Land



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An observatory, a boulevard, a bridge, a downtown trolley, all make up
filming locations of the new film "La La Land". These locations are
iconic, yet remain unnamed throughout the film. The sum of these
locations create the city of Los Angeles. Any meaningful production is
a sum of its cast members and in the case of "La La Land" there is no
difference. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) come together
to create a wonderful production, but a lesser known yet ever present
cast member is the city itself. Throughout the epic musical sequences,
the city in its whole is either visible or represented by its historic
street lights. Some might argue that the city is a backdrop to the
songs and dancing of Sebastian and Mia but the city itself takes center
stage with the vibrancy of a leading man. It lends its beauty to be
danced upon by Sebastian and Mia without relinquishing its hold as
being the center of attention. Mia being a minor actress in Hollywood goes to casting calls where
those auditioning look the same. This image of Hollywood conformity
lends itself to the character of Sebastian who has to change his
performance identity much in the same way Mia has done in order to fit
in and make a living in the beast that is Hollywood. With this being
said the performances of Mia and Sebastian are one of a kind, lending
itself to a sort of fantasy adaptation of falling in love. The imagery
of the film stops at nothing to convey the idea of love and the concept
of a soulmate, while the business aspects of Hollywood coupled with the
necessity of survival keeps the two characters at odds. The film
represents a city, a city that often times is at odds with itself; a
city that identifies talent based on familiarity rather than the unique
and often overlooked aspects that create it. Ultimately "La La Land" is
a story about conforming and not conforming and the gains that can be
had in between. LA is marketed as the land of dreams, yet is often
overlooked and stacked on a pile of dreams that will never come to
fruition. The film explores the idea of "what if", and tackles the idea of a
working Hollywood versus a Hollywood where the idea of art is
paramount. "La La Land" focuses on the idea of money versus art, and
shows that nobel aspects of creativity are often ignored to focus on
the monetary aspects of the industry while leaving behind the very art
that drove them in the first place. The movie is very much paced in the
realm of Hollywood where the cadence of the film is action packed with
all the fervor of a young person entering Hollywood for the first time,
yet as Mia and Sebastian learn the inter-workings of Hollywood the film
slows down to reflect the realities that are faced when having to
juggle income and art. "La La Land" reignites a fire that has been lost from a Hollywood that
is so focused on relaunches and reboots. It's refreshing to see a
totally unique film, especially one that grasps the nature of Hollywood
and Los Angeles in such an unconventional way. The singing, the dancing
and cinematography move in perfect concert to give the appearance of
something larger than life. The long musical sequences often border on
the surreal, taking the shape of a wonderful dream with dance numbers
in the clouds and in the stars. Yet at times the pacing of the film
seems to trail off to a point of being boring, this is quickly
remedied, but remains an aspect that should be looked at in editing. Watching "La La Land" is like being awake during a wondrous dream,
there is something unique and magical about the chemistry between Mia
and Sebastian as well as the visuals of Los Angeles that surround them.
As he sits at his piano, Sebastian sweetly and softly sings Mia a love
song, a powerful couple of lines that represent love, art and life.
"City of Stars, are you shining just for me, City of Stars there so
much that I can see, Who knows is this the start of something wonderful
and new, Or one more dream that I cannot make true." With "La La Land"
a dream has come true, and made its way onto the big screen.


Damien Chazelle


Ryan Gosling as Sebastian
Emma Stone as Mia
Amiée Conn as Famous Actress
Terry Walters as Linda (Coffee Shop Manager)
Thom Shelton as Coffee Spiller
Cinda Adams as Casting Director (First Audition)
Callie Hernandez as Tracy
Jessica Rothe as Alexis
Sonoya Mizuno as Caitlin
Rosemarie DeWitt as Laura
J.K. Simmons as Bill
Claudine Claudio as Karen (Waitress)
Jason Fuchs as Carlo
D.A. Wallach as '80s Singer
Trevor Lissauer as Valet
Olivia Hamilton as Bree (Gluten Free Girl)
Anna Chazelle as Sarah (Pilot Casting Assistant)
Marius De Vries as Clyde (Pilot Director) (as Marius de Vries)
Finn Wittrock as Greg
Josh Pence as Josh
Nicole Coulon as Josh's Fiancée
Damon Gupton as Harry
John Legend as Keith
Christopher Michael Stevens as Malcolm
Keith Harris as Cole
Kaveh Rastegar as Tom
Shaylah J. Stevens as Echo Backup Singer
Natalie Imani as Echo Backup Singer
Briana Lee as Echo Backup Singer
David Douglas as Radio DJ