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Featured: Anticipating La La Land

Featured: Anticipating La La Land

When Damien Chazelle hit the scene in 2014 with Whiplash, he took the world by storm. The film was nominated for five Oscars, winning the Best Supporting gold statue for J.K. Simmons in one of the most iconic roles of recent memory. The film also won Oscars for Film Editing and Sound Mixing as well. That is to say, for a directorial debut (at least for a major feature film), it’s hard to beat what Chazelle did with Whiplash. And now, here we are with La La Land, a film that many critics are claiming is the best film of 2016. Just two years after the huge success of Whiplash, it seems that Chazelle has outdone himself. If that is true, we could be looking at one of the best directors we’ll see in the next 20-30 years.

On the surface, La La Land looks to be a vastly different film than Whiplash, which would showcase the kind of range Chazelle has as a director. Both films will feature jazz in some way, but Whiplash at its core, was almost a horror film in the way it depicted its intense drama. La La Land seems to juxtapose that in terms of tone and will be more of a traditional Hollywood musical. And if you ask me, that sounds pretty exciting. I’m a fan of musicals in general, and you attach Chazelle’s name to it, and I’m there. Additionally, I’ve heard good things about his “school project” film Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, which was also a musical. So, he’s no stranger to this material. In fact, the more you read about Chazelle, the more you start to understand that this type of filmmaking is a passion of his, and now he’s been given more resources. If you’ve seen the trailers for La La Land, it seems that he has fully taken advantage of that. The film looks absolutely gorgeous on all fronts. As a result, some critics are claiming La La Land to be an instant classic that will stand the test of time.

La La Land is also enticing because it stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Not only are these two incredible actors, but this is the third time they’ll be romancing each other on screen, and there is a clear chemistry there. There is no doubt that La La Land‘s dramatic undercurrent will be felt due to the prowess of Stone and Gosling acting abilities. The question is mostly around how they work in the setting of a musical. The song and dance elements look transcendent in the trailer, so I’m not dubious, but I can’t recall them ever doing a musical before. I’m just curious to see how they settle in to the rhythm of a musical, something I’m sure they will both handle well. The awards buzz around their performances seem to hint that they nail it, which is even more exciting.

La La Land, according to our friend Matt Neglia, is a lock to win Best Picture at next year’s Oscars. I know that may build certain expectations, but it’s hard to hear that and not anticipate the hype. This film was in my Top 10 most anticipated at the beginning of the year for a reason. I’m sure it’s a good film. But how good? That is the question we’ll debate this weekend on Episode 201.

What about you? Are you excited for La La Land?

Here are other films coming to the box office this Holiday season:


Assassin’s Creed
Why Him?
Lion (limited)
I, Daniel Blake (limited)
20th Century Women (limited)

InSession Film founder and owner. I love film. Love art. Love how it intersects with our real lives. My favorite movies include Citizen Kane, The 400 Blows, Modern Times, The Godfather and The Tree of Life. Follow me on Twitter @RealJDDuran. Follow us @InSessionFilm.

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