La La Land
Although I’ll happily acknowledge its faults, I was still taken in by La La Land, like so many others. I was almost put off in the first scene by some dizzying and relentless camerawork which actually made me feel a bit queasy. Thankfully, things calmed down and, although the whirling long shots returned on occasion, I was able to sit back and enjoy the songs.
I’ve been listening to the soundtrack for days – I love all the songs and the beautiful instrumental themes, made all the more impressive by the fact Ryan Gosling learnt jazz piano for the film. He and Emma Stone are wonderful together, yet again, and though the story can be rather bittersweet it is a totally joyful ride. I’d happily watch this again very soon.
When people think of musicals, I don’t think they automatically think of Stephen Sondheim’s polyphonic and almost incessantly minor style; they’re more likely to reference the bigger, cheesier likes of Wicked and Hairspray. But he struck gold with his show Sweeney Todd, later portrayed in film by Johnny Depp, and what is arguably his second most well-known work has now also made it to the big screen.
Into The Woods ties together threads from most of our traditional fairytales, including Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel. The first half of the film – act one – follows these to their natural end and the expected happily ever after as they all weave a tangled web. But then, of course, there are darker things to come and the intriguing slogan of ‘be careful what you wish for’ comes into play.
In the year the McConaissance was confirmed and Annie turned hip-hop, cinemas kept the superhero movement going and The Interview was pulled, there were lots of great movies to choose from, as well as the usual cringefests. Here is my little review of the best and a little of the worst.
Firstly, the year’s superhero movies. Without doubt, the best of the lot was Guardians of the Galaxy. Chris Pratt came into his own with smooth dance moves and abs, and somehow he’s still only the film’s second most-loved star – after Groot of course, as played by Vin Diesel whose voice is only heard in different iterations of ‘I am Groot’. Who knew a tree could show so many emotions? Call it a Star Wars wannabe if you must, but that doesn’t reduce Guardians’ might.