Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

La La Land, Tom & Isabelle at LFF ,,,

Another year, another bulky LFF (London Film Festival) brochure arrives for the October feast of new films, as another award season gets underway.
The Venice Film Festival is also in full swing, and initial reports on some of the films whet one's appetite. I particularly want to see LA LA LAND, David Chazelle's follow-up to WHIPLASH which is an out-and-out musical, a hymn to Hollywood and stardom and those who strive there. Ryan Gosling at his most appealing plays a jazz musician hoping to open his own club. Emma Stone is an aspiring actress but working as a barista. They get together and inspire each other to achieve their dreams, they sing and dance. The stunning opening sequence apparantly of mass happiness breaking out on a jammed freeway is eye-popping. Bring it on. Maybe a new hymn to Hollywood and music a la Scorsese's NEW YORK NEW YORK?  

Tom Ford, after the problematic version of Isherwood's A SINGLE MAN in 2009 (see Tom Ford label), also has a well received new film, that should generate a lot of interest: NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, showing the disintegration of crime victim Jake Gyllenhaal in rural Texas. Amy Adams and Michael Sheen also star. The Ford got the grand jury prize at Venice and LA LA LAND's Emma Stone best actress.

There are also two new Isabelle Huppert films, ELLE by maestro Paul Verhoeven, a rape revenge drama, and SOUVENIR. Ms Huppert keeps busy, there is also a new one just opened in London, THINGS TO COME, which my pal Martin liked a lot. 
We will have to go through the LFF listings in more detail for more items to look forward to. 


  1. It's Damien, not David, Chazelle. Keep up!

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  3. As a SAG award nominator, I was deluged with DVD screeners this year and am slowly making my way through them. Have to say that so far, Nocturnal Animals is the best thing I've seen (in many a year, in fact), and La La Land is hands down the worst (again, in many a year). (And I'm projecting them 7' wide, so the fault isn't that I didn't see it "on the big screen.")

    La La Land's much vaunted opening sequence (set to an absolutely awful song -- which is par for the entire "score") has all the visual and choreographic freshness of an 80's Doctor Pepper commercial. (Didn't kids already dance on cars in a traffic jam in Fame?)

    The choreography for the two leads kept reminding me of the walking-in-rhythm stuff Ernie Flatt was forced to come up with when that week's guest on The Carol Burnett Show couldn't dance. The two (underwritten) leads are without charisma individually, and without chemistry together. And while having a leading lady who can't sing or dance is what makes Torch Song so much fun, no such fun is to be had here; the leads can't sing or dance, and are completely devoid of charm (though the movie keeps insisting that we should find them adorable). The biggest flaw is that we're given no reason to give a damn about what happens to these two incredibly unappealing characters.

    I bailed after the first half, which lasted approximately 6 months. The most over praised, overhyped movie in years...