The odds are high that La La Land will make my Top 10 this year, and a solid chance that the romance cracks my Top 3. Why? As a film journalist, I'm conditioned to gravitate toward movies ABOUT the film industry (of which, this qualifies). Additionally, Damien Chazelle's last movie, the bristling and breathtaking Whiplash, was my No. 1 movie for 2013. And finally, La La Land keeps winning me over with gorgeous trailers like the one that just dropped. Prepare to feel weak in the knees.
La La Land, directed by Damien Chazelle, will be a modern day musical comedy about a jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) who falls in love with an aspiring actress (played by Emma Stone). And it's the singing voice of the latter that embraces us in this new trailer. The music is sumptuous, though if you pay close attention to the visuals that match it, things don't seem like a bed of roses for his duo. Stone's character, Mia, seems like she's fighting an uphill battle in the trenches of the entertainment industry. Not much can be deduced about Sebastian (Gosling), save for the fact that he's charming, he looks like Ryan Gosling, and he's standing nearby, ready to sweep Mia off of her feet to the big-band sounds of a pleasing score.
La La Land looks to be a dreamy tribute to the Dream Capital of the World, Los Angeles -- but stories that fall into that category rarely end well. The summary on IMDB for La La Land says that as this pair begins to experience some forms of success, it will tear away at the romance they have established. We can almost begin to understand how this will play out.
But the look of La La Land is what's winning me over. It's deliberately shot with Old Hollywood in mind, from the opening circle fade to the sweeping dance choreography that permeates certain scenes. Every once in a while, a filmmaker DOES try to make a movie "like they used to make 'em," and when that happens (see The Artist, as an example), the Academy tends to fall in love. Could it happen for La La Land, as well?
Here's the earlier trailer for Damien Chazelle's upcoming feature:
The movie is expected to make its debut on the fall film festival circuit, playing Venice and Toronto before opening in theaters on December 16. From what you have seen of the film, are you interested?