pretentious jazz musician with dreams of owning his own club. When their worlds collide it is an explosion of romance, music and dance, and promises a nostalgic trip to a forgotten genre.
The film opens with a stunning musical sequence set upon a freeway overpass. The camera glides from one car to another, up and over the roofs and alongside the windows as the passengers break free of the gridlock in an elaborate song & dance number that, from all appearances, is shot in one endless take. Its a phenomenal demonstration of cinematography and an example of competent filmmaking. Damien Chazelle also wrote the film and his vision was clearly strong. The romance he has created is anchored right at the epicentre of Hollywood's studio system, with the story doubling as a tongue-in-cheek critisism of an industry that chews people up and spits them out. "La La Land" in deed.
Stone and Gosling share a wonderful chemistry, which has been developed across their previous two films together (Gangster Squad and Crazy Stupid Love), and their connection on screen is undeniable. And as if they weren't already accomplished actors, they've managed to execute the song & dance factor beautifully. They carry a level of distinction with them that recalls the legends of old Hollywood such as Gene Kelly and Judy Garland. Stone offers an particularly engaging performance that truly sets the film apart and gives it a strong emotional actor. Her ability emote such emotion so effortlessly elevates her above many of her contemporaries, and SHOULD put her in good stead for award accolades.
Where the film frays is in its modern city setting. The presence of smart-phones and other tech devises sully what is an otherwise splendid narrative. Of course I concede that there is amusement to be had by interrupting a bold musical sequence with the ring of a cell-phone, but those are laughs I would much rather suspend in favour of a totally cohesive atmosphere.
But alas... small qualms. LA LA LAND is lovely. It's a rare commodity amongst an all but dead form of storytelling. It's musical emphasis won't be for everyone, but I sure as hell am better for having seen it and I cannot wait to see it again.
Shortly after the film's home-entertainment release director George Miller announced that he was re-releasing the film in black & white – his preferred expression of film – and fans frothed at the mouth at the idea. And so it has arrived... the “Black & Chrome” edition, where all colour has been doused and a greater emphasis has been placed on the shadows and light. But does it work? No.
The theatrical cut of FURY ROAD is so vibrant and intense that the colour design makes up a huge part of the film's aesthetic. The story is enhanced by the fantastical assortment of multicolours, all of which bind the larger-than-life action together seamlessly. By extracting the colour Miller has subsequently driven a wedge between the story and the viewer. Having already seen the film as a kaleidoscopic fantasy, its impossible – at least for me – to divorce the theatrical version from ones mind.
Sure, there are moments throughout the film that look amazing in black and white; such as large sweeping wide shots and many of the static character-driven scenes, but where the majority of the film is comprised of high-octane ferocity the lack of colour does little more than irritate, like an itch buried so deep beneath the skin that you can't scratch it. My instinct was to revert to the theatrical cut.
I can appreciate what Miller was trying to do, and his own introduction on the newly released blu-ray offers insight and understanding to his reasons. He has a clear affinity for black and white cinema, and he wanted the film to feel classic and texturally nostalgic. He has treated the new version with a lot of passion, and tweaked the shades to reflect a chrome texture... but lets be honest... a similar effect could have been achieved with a simple adjustment of the viewer's television's settings, rather than forking out MORE money for yet ANOTHER bloody release.
So now I own the black & chrome version of FURY ROAD, but I highly doubt I will watch it again. Mad Max has come too far to regress this way.
and it wouldn’t be Christmas without them, however the unconventional ones are few and far between. Sure, we could list off a whole bunch of alternative titles, but for every five Polar Express-like titles there’s only one Bad Santa or The Night Before.
This year’s honorary inductee is Office Christmas Party...
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