Tag: Ryan Gosling


La La Land

December 12th, 2016 — 6:41am

screen-shot-2016-12-11-at-7-02-19-pm*****

La La Land – rm

This movie makes the statement that Los Angeles is where dreams are made and are broken and yet it is the city where anything can happen. This is a movie in the tradition of Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Cyd Charisse and reflects so many great musicals of the past that have come across the silver screen.

Emma Stone is Mia, a young woman who works in a coffee shop on a big movie lot and aspires to be an actress. So many times she seems to be just one audition callback away from starting on the road to her dreams. Ryan Gosling is Sebastian, a musician who masterfully plays piano and keyboard and could be a great modern musician but he really favors old-fashioned jazz. He would prefer the music that was played in small clubs in days gone bye where each session was a creative story onto itself.

This movie is filled with  great music. The characters break into dance and song quite spontaneously and, believe it or not, there is nothing that seems unnatural as they glide or tap across the screen singing and swaying with each other. Despite some stereotypical dialogue, you will get drawn into the storyline quite easily. We can just about guarantee that while at times you may not be sure if you are watching a dream unfold, the story will touch you and probably bring tears to your eyes.

Stone and Gosling have certainly mastered the song and dance. Great credit for this movie goes to director/writer Damien Chazelle (known for his direction of the movie “Whiplash”). The photography was magnificent and very skillfully directed by cinematographer, Linus Sandgren. Credit for the songs and original score goes to Justin Hurwitz with lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Don’t miss the opening sequence. It shows LA at its best and worst, and what seemed to be one of the longest, continuous, complicated takes in movie history (there probably was some editing here but it didn’t look like it to us). This movie deserves the Oscar hype that it is getting. Don’t miss it. (2016)

 

Comment » | 5 Stars, Musical

The Big Short

January 4th, 2016 — 4:03am

***

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 4.26.28 PMThe Big Short-rm

You probably know that this movie is not about pants or the measurement of peoples’ height. It is about one of the largest financial meltdowns in this country’s history and how much of it was because of some behind-the-scenes financial trickery carried on by Wall Street insiders. It is based on a book by Michael Lewis which we have not read, although M.B. did read and recommend another book by him, Flash Boys which is about a different type of financial manipulation carried by some Wall Street people

In The Big Short, Christian Bale plays Michael Burry, a real person who is a brilliant, somewhat peculiar guy, maybe Asperger type. He actually was a physician who ended up as a chief of a large financial fund. He studies numbers very carefully and concludes that the mortgage market which has always been thought to be reliable and dependable, is on the verge of collapse. The reason for this (now this is the tricky part) is because hundreds or maybe thousands of mortgages have been lumped together in mortgage bond funds that people buy and trade for the high interest rates that they generate. These funds include AAA mortgages, BB and C mortgages, the latter groups being known as subprime mortgages.

Nobody seemed to have noticed how fragile and vulnerable these mortgage funds are and that this house of cards was on the verge of collapse. That is except this one strange guy and a few other financial wheeler dealers who get wind of what’s going down. Once such team is led by a character played by Steve Carell, who continues to demonstrate his acting chops in serious roles. There are the usual excellent depictions of various key players by Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling.

There are some riveting dramatic moments as the movie goer can get caught up in the impending crash. You may not fully understand exactly what is happening but don’t feel badly since most people didn’t either as it was really happening. When the dust cleared, this cost our economy over a billion dollars (this movie only cost $28 million). We hope that people who run and regulate our economy learned some lessons from this story, but that probably is not the case. Many people, though, will find this movie quite enjoyable although it may make you uncomfortable about the future. (2015)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

The Ides of March

October 30th, 2011 — 8:30pm

****

Ides of March– rm-  It is not a coincidence that this movie opens in the US as there is a hotly contested primary race in one of the political parties prior to the 2012 Presidential Election.The stories that emerge from behind the scenes of these campaigns usually mesmerizes the public. The people running these campaigns have to be the brilliant tacticians who understand politics and the power of the press. They encounter nosey reporters exemplified in this story by NY Times reporter Ida Horowicz (Marisa Tomei). They play a complicated chess game as they present their candidates. Everything and everybody is expendable including the campaign leaders themselves. Steven Myers (Ryan Gosling) is  the idealistic very smart staffer working for Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney) under very wise campaign director Paul Zara (Phillip Seymour Hoffman). The campaign manager for the oppositional candidate is a very crafty (Paul Giamatti). The Governor while politically very principled has some Clintonesque weaknesses and we should mention there is a pretty young intern (Evan Rachel Wood). Mix these ingredients together and you get a suspenseful fast moving screenplay by Grant Heslov with contribution from Clooney who also directed the film. It was based on a play, Farragut North,  by Beau Willimon which having seen it in Los Angeles, we felt the suspense and surprises of the story were slightly muted. In real life, reading the newspapers and various biographies, we get snippets that makes us understand that in big time politics  there can be  deception, lying and compromising of principles. This movie gives us a depressing view how it might go down. This isn’t a pretty picture but it is a great story and an effective movie (2011)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

Crazy, Stupid, Love

July 28th, 2011 — 7:18pm

****

Crazy, Stupid, Love, sp  Dan Fogelman, who wrote Cars and other successful animated movies wrote this well thought out comedy about all too human relationships. He wrote it having  Steve Carell in mind  as Cal , the middle age guy around whom all the actions swirls as his marriage suddenly falls apart. Carell loves the project and decides to produce it with Warner Brothers coming on board to make it a big studio film. The team of Glen Ficarra and John Requa are brought in to direct it. They have been working together since their college days at Pratt in New York City. They have written Bad Santa and  Bad News Bears as well as  recently directing I Love You Phillip Morris with Jim Carrey. After meeting these three talented people at our screening we can see how their chemistry worked for this character driven comedy with a wonderful cast. Ryan Gosling played Jacob, the cool single but obviously complex guy who takes the recently jilted Cal under his wing.  Julianne Moore is Emily, Cal’s wife who is going through what she describes as a mid-life crisis. Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon round out this all star cast with each putting just the right touch on their characters. Special mention should be made about young Jonah Bobo who plays Robbie, the 13 year old son of Cal and Emily whose emotional experience helps all the characters and the audience understand the essence of the movie. The result is not only a funny comedy but a touching story which examines love that  can start as teenagers and sometimes be destined to last a life time with trials and tribulations. It also looks at teenage “love” that may only just feel like love. The story line is close to being brilliant as the characters evolving relationships are charming, touching, surprising and fun to watch as well as being easy to identify with. (2011)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Comedy, Romance

Blue Valentine

January 10th, 2011 — 12:50am

***

Blue Valentine rm–  An in depth study of two people in a marriage that breaks apart. Cindy (Michelle Williams)  a confident, somewhat ambitious  young woman who didn’t see much love between her parents but finds herself very attracted to and does seem to fall in love with Dean (Ryan Gosling), a very appealing young man who never made it through high school, who is content to work for a moving company and would be equally content to ultimately accept a job assisting to paint houses and hanging around with his kid. Director Derek Cianfrance through a series of alternating views of his two main characters in the present time and at an earlier time during their courting period shows how their relationship developed and is now falling apart. Their marriage follows on the heels of an accidental pregnancy that almost ends in an abortion but Cindy backs out at the last minute for what reason we are never sure. It appeared that if she had better abortion counseling the marriage might never have happened. Dean drifts into what seems to be alcoholism  but we are never shown whether this because his marriage isn’t working out or if the marriage isn’t working out because of the drinking. In fact, despite good literal and figurative close-ups of these two main characters, there are some loose ends in the plot. We certainly don’t get to know Dean and what makes him tick as well as we understand Cindy,  which is a short coming of the movie. All we see is a guy who has some stunted emotional growth despite his apparent sensitivity to his young 6 year old and an older man that he moves into a nursing home. The film under the direction of  Cianfrance provided a wonderful showplace for the talents of Williams and Gosling who may deserve Oscar considerations for  this movie but the script in our opinion didn’t provide enough internal consistency for this movie to deliver a knockout punch. Special kudos do belong to the make up and styling people for creating a realistic difference in the appearance of the characters during the 10 or 15 year time span in which they are shown. (2010)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

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