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Kong: Skull Island | Review


The following review was written by someone who has the original 1933 King Kong in his “Top 5 Favorite Movies of All Time” list. I tried to be as objective as possible but my bias shines bright. If you’re going to remake/reboot a movie be prepared for the additional criticism brought on by comparison to the original. You’re kind of saying you could do it better and it’s my job to tell you you’re wrong (most of the time).

A team of scientists and soldiers take an expedition to an uncharted island. While dropping seismic charges (bombs) on the island they are attacked by Kong. With half of the team dead, a mission of discovery becomes one of survival or revenge. Col. Preston Parker, Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes on a Plane), develops a Ahab-ian obsession with the destruction of the prehistoric primate while former SAS James Conrad, Tom Hiddleston (Thor), tries to safely navigate the treacherous terrain to take the survivors to an extraction point. Brie Larson (Scott Pilgrim vs The World), John Goodman(10 Cloverfield Lane), and John C. Reilly (Step Bothers) round out a talented cast in this action thriller from the producers of Godzilla (2014)

The Good News:

Samuel L. Jackson says “hang on to your butts.” Not sure if this was on purpose as a reference to his character in Jurassic Park but I liked it anyway. The action was exciting, there were a number moments where Bree Larson and Kong seem to connect (Kong’s affection for and protection of a beautiful woman at the risk of his own safety is one of the most essential parts of the beast’s character since his inception), CGI was pretty good and John C. Reilly made me chuckle a couple of times but that was about it.

The Bad News:

I know I said I was trying to be objective but I lied. I just can’t. I love King Kong. It’s one of the movies that made me fall in love with movies. Kong: Skull Island is no King Kong. First off, they tried to do way too much. There are far too many characters to give any enough screen time to get to like or have adequate backstory to even care about. As far as the story is concerned, it’s like they put King King, Moby Dick, Platoon, and the newest Godzilla in a blender and filmed the resulting smoothie.  If I don’t care about the characters and the story is a mess, I have no reason to be on the edge of my seat, which is why I go to see these types of films.

Now, let me complain about the island’s inhabitants. King Kong is way too big, unless they’re setting up a confrontation with Godzilla (Spoiler Alert: They are). Also, is there a reason he walks upright? Just have him walk like the gorilla he is. Next, why aren’t prehistoric beasts and gigantic versions of normal animals enough? Tyrannosaurus Rex not cool anymore? Giant spider not scary without it having legs that appear identical to bamboo for camouflage and a frog like tongue to catch prey?  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales | Review

Sometimes we like a movie so much we watch terrible sequel after terrible sequel hoping for a spark of the original to shine through and reignite that feeling. I personally have many. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl is one of them. Sure its two sequels (Yes, I said “two.” I know it’s technically three but just because studios break up a single story into multiple movies doesn’t mean I recognize them as separate sequels.) were kind of fun to watch but they lacked the magic of the first. Needless to say, I keep coming back. Does Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales contain that elusive spark? Only one way to find out.

The Story:

Once again, a cursed sailor seeks revenge on Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp (Cry Baby….that’s right Cry Baby). After hearing Salazar’s, Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), story I hardly see how it’s Jack’s fault, but I digress. This time, the magical artifact everyone seems to need is Poseidon’s Trident. What follows is typical boy meets girl romance, Disney’s ability to kill dozens with almost no blood on screen, and of course a healthy dose of Jack’s cartoonishly good luck. Throw in a cameo or two (sorry Paul McCarthy but Keith Richards makes a better pirate) and a couple of heart touching moments and you have all the ingredients of a Pirates move.

The Good:

It’s fun. That may be over simplified but for this type of movie there might not be a better compliment. Nobody is going to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales because they expect to see Moonlight. It doesn’t have to be “great,” it only has to be fun. It also has much more of the feel of the original than the other sequels had. Fast paced and exciting, Dead Men Tell No Tales keeps your attention from start to finish. Full of “chuckle” humor, more than laugh out loud funny, and the fun type of fear where you know your safe and end up laughing after the scare passes, the newest addition to the Pirates Franchise is, once again, like watching a ride at Disney.

The Bad:

Jack’s antics are a bit over done. Sequels always try to up the ante but sometimes enough is enough. Even in a movie with cursed pirates and magic artifacts, an entire building being dragged though the streets of town is a bit far-fetched for my liking. Moments included for nostalgia seem much more like fan service than having any actual importance to the overall story. Finally, I’m getting tired of post-credit scenes teasing future films. Sure I’m already kind of excited for a 6th film but, unless it’s already in production (it isn’t), Disney has me wanting something that might never happen.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
The Bottom Line
Pretty much a perfect Memorial Day Weekend movie......if you've already seen Guardians and Alien.
You certainly won't get bored.
A bit over done. Sometimes less is more.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 | Extended Super Bowl Spot

Wonder Woman Review

Marvel, Marvel, Marvel. DC has to be feeling like Jan Brady as of late. The MCU is a money making juggernaut and with the added success of films like Logan and Deadpool, Marvel Comics is currently ruling the box office. DC, on the other hand, has hit a bit of a rough patch. Critics and fans alike have been less than thrilled with the direction DC has taken in its attempt to create its own cinematic universe. With the release of Justice League around the corner, DC is running out of time before needing a massive reboot. Wonder Woman is DC’s last chance to build excitement for its big ensemble film. Well DC, let’s see what you’ve got.

The Story:

Wonder Woman a.k.a. Diana, Gal Gadot (I couldn’t find a film I actually wanted to link her to), saves pilot/spy Steve Trevor, Chris Pine (Star Trek), and learns of the “war to end all wars” going on in the world outside the protected and hidden island of Themyscira. Believing Ares is responsible, and that it’s the duty of the Amazonians to stop him, she embarks on a quest to kill the God of War and prevent the killing of thousands more. Can Diana break Ares’ influence on mankind or will she learn it’s the darkness in our nature that drives us to such atrocities?

The Good:

It finally feels like DC got one right. I’m not going to say I didn’t enjoy Suicide Squad, because I did, but I certainly wouldn’t call it good, and I’ll never get the time back that I wasted watching Batman v Superman. Wonder Woman, however, was both enjoyable and pretty good. Gal Gadot has given the best performance of anybody involved in DC’s new universe, not that she really had any competition. Director Patty Jenkins does a wonderful job balancing out DC’s dark and gritty feel with Diana’s almost naïve level of optimism and sense of right and wrong. If you’re the type of fan that will be disappointed that there’s no “S&M kinkiness” or that her armor is red, gold, and blue instead of red, white and blue, as David Edelstein of Vulture seems to think some of you might be, then stay home. There’s more than enough skin shown to cause drooling over Gadot’s beauty, and not everything has to be drenched in “America,” and honesty, a golden color make way more sense than white for armor inspired by the ancient Greeks.

The Bad:

As much as I enjoyed the action sequences (seriously, watching Wonder Woman kick tons of ass is extremely satisfying), they could have eased up a bit on the computer enhanced fighting skills Diana shows off. When deflecting machine-gun fire and mortar attacks with a shield is more believable than a leg sweep, you know you have a problem. When it comes to the story, if you saw Captain America then you saw Wonder Woman. Yes, I realize there are tons of differences, but the quest of a morally righteous superhero accompanied a group of soldiers to stop the Germans from developing/using a super-weapon to win the war is the core of both movies. That being said, I for one, would prefer to watch Wonder Woman. Finally, Diana’s full power being released by her love for Steve kind of fucks up the whole empowered-woman-vibe the rest of the film does a great job of building…..but maybe that’s just me.

Wonder Woman
The Bottom Line
Easily DC's best film in their cinematic universe.
Gal Gadot is great as Wonder Woman
Chris Pine and David Thewlis aren't too shabby either
Some of the computer effects are a bit distracting.

Golden Globe Awards (2017) Predictions

Alright folks, it is that time of year again, where we fans of film and television find ourselves waiting anxiously to see if our favorites are acknowledged by the people who (apparently) matter most in the industry. Rather than just sit back and watch the awards, Evan and myself (Charlie) have decided to make some predictions about who is going home with some gold this year. And, in addition to our predictions, we have also included our personal picks of who we would like to see win. Once the winners are announced, he and I will put together a reaction article where, I am sure, we’ll have some complaining to do. Until then, here is our list of predicted 2017 Golden Globe Award winners and personal favorites:

Best Motion Picture – Drama 

Evan’s Pick – Hacksaw Ridge
Charlie’s Pick – Hacksaw Ridge
Prediction –  Manchester by the Sea

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Evan’s Pick – Andrew Garfield
Charlie’s Pick – Andrew Garfield
Prediction –  Casey Affleck

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Evan’s Pick – Amy Adams
Charlie’s Pick – Natalie Portman
Prediction –  Natalie Portman

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy 

Evan’s Pick – Deadpool
Charlie’s Pick – Deadpool
Prediction –  La La Land

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Evan’s Pick – Hailee Steinfeld
Charlie’s Pick – Emma Stone
Prediction – Emma Stone

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Evan’s Pick – Ryan Reynolds
Charlie’s Pick – Ryan Reynolds
Prediction – Ryan Gosling

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

Evan’s Pick –  Mahershala Ali
Charlie’s Pick – Jeff Bridges
Prediction – Mahershala Ali

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

Evan’s Pick – Octavia Spencer
Charlie’s Pick – Viola Davis
Prediction –  Viola Davis

Best Director – Motion Picture

Evan’s Pick – Mel Gibson
Charlie’s Pick – Mel Gibson
Prediction –  Damien Chazelle

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

Evan’s Pick – Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water)
Charlie’s Pick – Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)
Prediction – Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)

Best Motion Picture – Animated

Evan’s Pick – Kubo and the Two Strings
Charlie’s Pick – Moana
Prediction – Moana

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

So, we’re just going to be honest and tell you that we haven’t seen any of the films in this category that are currently up for a Golden Globe Award, but according to some pretty important people on the internet, Toni Erdmann has a solid shot at winning…so that’s our ‘prediction.’

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Evan’s Pick – Arrival
Charlie’s Pick – Arrival
Prediction – La La Land

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

Evan’s Pick – “How Far I’ll Go” Moana
Charlie’s Pick – “City of Stars” La La Land
Prediction – “City of Stars” La La Land

Best Television Series – Drama

Evan’s Pick – Game of Thrones
Charlie’s Pick – Stranger Things
Prediction – This is Us

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Evan’s Pick – Atlanta
Charlie’s Pick – Atlanta
Prediction – Atlanta

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Evan’s Pick – The Night Manager
Charlie’s Pick – The Night of
Prediction – The Night of

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Drama

Evan’s Pick – Bob Odenkirk
Charlie’s Pick – Liev Schreiber
Prediction – Rami Malek

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series – Drama

Evan’s Pick – Evan Rachel Wood
Charlie’s Pick – Winona Ryder
Prediction – Evan Rachel Wood

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Evan’s Pick – Jeffery Tambor
Charlie’s Pick – Nick Nolte
Prediction – Donald Glover

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Evan’s Pick – Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Charlie’s Pick – Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Prediction – Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television

Evan’s Pick – Tom Hiddleston
Charlie’s Pick – Loki
Prediction – Riz Ahmed

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television

Evan’s Pick – Riley Keough
Charlie’s Pick – Sara Paulson
Prediction – Sara Paulson

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Evan’s Pick – John Lithgow
Charlie’s Pick – John Lithgow
Prediction – John Lithgow

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Evan’s Pick – Lena Headey
Charlie’s Pick – Thandie Newton
Prediction –  Chrissy Metz

That’s all folks! The 74th Golden Globe Awards air Sunday, January 8th, at 8pm.

The Space Between Us | Review

While on a mission to prove the achievability of a colony on Mars, it is discovered that one of the astronauts is pregnant. Shortly after arrival, she dies giving birth to a son. NASA and the tech company responsible for the mission decide to hide the existence of the boy – the first human being not born on Earth – in order to protect the funding and good faith of both the mission and the company. At the age of 16, Gardner Elliot, Asa Butterfield (Ender’s Game), gets an opportunity to travel to Earth. He quickly escapes from NASA and seeks out the help of a girl named Tulsa, the only earthling he’s ever had contact with, in order to track down his father. Unfortunately, growing up on Mars has not prepared his body for life on Earth and his health starts to rapidly deteriorate. Are all the little wonders of the world, and finding his place in it, worth the risk of dying, or will the only “family” he’s ever known find him in time to same his life?

Given the synopsis of the story and that cast that was chosen, I was expecting something truly special. Something special was not what was delivered, however. I’m not exactly sure where to place the blame since all aspects of this film fall short of their potential.

With gorgeous locations and some very dramatic shot choices, The Space Between Us should have been wonderful to watch, but the acting detracts from that. Important scenes that should carry an immense weight come across as melodramatic. Camera angles and cinematic technique should add to the power of a moment. Without sufficient drama produced by the story and acting, scenes that should be emotional come across as comically out of place.

Gardner’s attempts to interact with people – having zero previous experience – come across as robotic as apposed to awkward, and a supporting cast of long-time film veterans led by the magnificent Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Trilogy) seemed to have “phoned in” their performances.  Whether it was lack of faith in the script, the cast not trying hard enough, or poor direction, the acting doesn’t hold up as genuine, and the film suffers for it.

As for the story itself, it was a great concept with a load of potential. The execution, however, felt rushed and a bit sloppy. From opening credits to Gardner’s trip to Earth, it feels like a “lightning round” of ‘here’s what happened to get us to the actual story.’ Start of mission to Mars, cut, two months later an astronaut is pregnant, cut, astronaut dies giving birth, cut, a 16 year old Gardner already feels trapped in his life on Mars and breaks into his mothers belongings discovering a photo of a man he believes to be his father, cut, Gardner is going to be making a trip to Earth.

What gets completely ignored in this barrage? All of the relationships Gardner has developed, including, the two most important, those with Kendra Wyndham, Carla Gugino (Watchmen), the astronaut that raised him, and Tulsa, Britt Robertson (Tomorrowland), the only person on Earth he’s ever had contact with and the second most important character in the film. We also never get to see the struggles he goes though growing up on Mars or the inner conflict Nathaniel Shepherd, Gary Oldman, experiences in sentencing a child to a life of such struggles. After that, the possibility for poignant moments, as Gardner experiences all the little things that make Earth so wonderful, are side notes and not given the attention they deserve. The search for his father would have been a better method of propelling Gardner through this journey of discovery as apposed to the most important aspect of the story. “What’s your favorite thing about Earth?” should have been the theme for the entire movie not just a reason for random experiences and a tag line.

Underworld Blood Wars

Underworld: Blood Wars is a disappointing addition to a decaying franchise.

Despite I myself being unable to grapple with the concept that this could possibly be a viewers first Underworld film (for the sole fact that you wouldn’t be watching it unless you were charmed by a leather-clad Kate Beckinsale back in 2003), the film’s team figured it would be a good idea to bring new viewers up to speed by recapping the highlights of previous Underworld films. For fans, you know, the only people choosing to watch Underworld: Blood Wars in the first place, this highlight reel is a complete waste of time. And frankly, the inclusion of said highlight reel only goes to point out the fact that Underworld has gotten far too ‘complex’ to be enjoyed by newcomers. Sure, there’s gratuitous amounts of violence and ‘epic’ Vampire v. Lycan battles, but at this point, we’ve been watching all of that for like thirteen years now, and unfortunately, it’s gotten old. And look, I enjoy watching Kate Beckinsale kick Lycan ass as much as the next guy, but we’ve been seeing the same vampires kick the same Lycan asses (and vice-versa) for a while now…

Kate Beckinsale (Love & Friendship) reprises her role as Selene, Vampire Death Dealer, and performs equally as well as she has in the past. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to say in terms of what she brought to the table this time around, she is the same as she ever was.

Yet again, Selene is caught in the middle of the centuries old Vampire/Lycan war and finds herself, again, being hunted by both factions. Why are they hunting her? Her ‘purebred hybrid’ daughter’s blood is the key to winning the war, and yes, before you ask, she is a purebred hybrid…whatever that means. The only problem here is, Selene has no idea where her daughter is, and apparently, neither of the clans know this and inadvertently waste a great deal of time hunting Selene. Bummer. Theo James (Divergent) plays Selene’s Vampire ally, David, and discovers that his blood is worth almost as much as Selene’s daughter’s blood is. Unfortunately, there isn’t nearly enough of that dark-vampire-chemistry between them to make their shared on-screen time worth watching. The same goes for Charles Dance (The Imitation Game), who plays David’s father, Thomas. Simply put, Dance’s talent is wasted here. Lara Pulver (Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow) does a solid job portraying the backstabbing Semira, but her performance gets lost in a rather messy plot.

The messy plot that I am referring to really isn’t even worth trying to summarize. The plot of Underworld: Blood Wars feels as though it is the combination of several Underworld films that could have been made, but weren’t. Again, it was messy and felt incomplete. There were some interesting aspects of the story, but none of them were given enough time to develop. Here, we have ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag. Underworld: Blood Wars is just another film that was thrown together ‘for’ fans of the franchise…which really means, for money.

Prior to actually watching the film, I was glad to know that a female, Anna Foerster, would be directing a film like this, in a genre(s) that is very male dominated. Unfortunately, the Action/Horror flick that she directed, isn’t worth watching…

Score: 4 out of 10

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a movie. Why? Because nothing has come out that I was excited to see, and the best part of The Brazen Bull is that I get to do whatever I want. We were founded on the principle of “fans first” and our work, or lack thereof, shows that. What sent me back to the theater? Well, obviously you know because you’re reading the article. So, what did the fan in me think about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2?

The story:

Peter Quill, Chris Pratt (Jurassic World), and the gang continue their adventures protecting the galaxy, for a price. Rocket, Bradley Cooper (Elephant Man….it was a Broadway show, I know probably none of you had the chance to see it but I wanted to pick something I thought he was stellar in), decides to steal from the people that hired them and immediately calls down their wrath. When it seems like our heroes have reached the end of their story, Ego, Peter’s father, Kurt Russell (Big Trouble in Little China), shows up and saves the day. Can the Guardians fend off the advances of the vengeful Sovereign while simultaneously unraveling the mystery surrounding Ego and his seeming paradise-like planet?

The Good:

Where to begin? Let’s start with Awesome Mix Vol. 2. Much like the first installment Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has an amazing soundtrack. I’m not sure who’s in charge of the music for this film but job well done. The girl sitting next to me was probably annoyed that I sang every word but “Come a Little Bit Closer” by Jay and the Americans is an oddly perfect song to accompany a mass murder, or maybe I’m just a psychopath.

The story was equally as great. Wrapped in a package of humor and action, the message of family being more than just blood shines bright as the overall theme. The insight into why people do what they do, even when it seem to be in direct opposition to what they truly want, gives depth to a set of characters so diverse anybody can find one to identify with. Sprinkle in friendship, a little romance, and a jaw-dropping moment or two, and it has everything you could ever want in a film.

BABY GROOT!!! I was less than optimistic about Groot’s, Vin Diesel (Pitch Black), roll in the film. After seeing it, I only have three words to describe Baby Groot, “Steals the Show.” Every time he’s on screen, he commands attention and rewards you for giving it. For only having one line, “I am Groot,” he’s arguably the best character in the film.

The Bad:

Marvel’s new logo reveal in the opening credits sucks. I know that has nothing to do with the film itself but it was really the only thing I had a major issue with. I much preferred the old, title specific, comic book pages shuffling to the new Avengers roll-call bullshit they have now. Other than that, there are a couple of scenes that seem like they’re trying too hard to be funny or emotional. When most of the movie feels effortless, they occasions can be a little distracting.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review
The Bottom Line
I'm not even sure why you're still reading this. Go see it. Go now.
Enjoyable from start to finish
I still prefer the first one.....but that's certainly not a negative.

Beauty and the Beast | Review

For the second week in a row, it has been my job to review a remake/reboot of a movie that I have loved for decades. This time it’s one of the greatest animated features of all time, Beauty and the Beast.

For those of you who don’t know, Beauty and the Beast is a tale as old as time classic story about a girl, who doesn’t fit in, falling in love with a man that was turned into a monster, essentially for being a jerk. I’m as jaded and cynical as they come, but while it has become trendy to pick things apart and say that Belle has Stockholm Syndrome, I couldn’t care less about any of that. If that’s your gimmick, I’m looking at you Daniel O’Brian of Cracked (don’t take that the wrong way, I’m a huge fan of OPCD and After Hours), or you’re trying to show people a new and completely different way to see something, that’s one thing, but the rest of you just need to stop. Shit, where was I? That’s right, this is the latest film that Disney is adapting from animated classic to live-action blockbuster. These are the kinds of movies that both excite and terrify me because I want to enjoy them but am afraid they’ll ruin something I love, and after my disappointment in The Jungle Book remake, I was terrified for Beauty and the Beast more so than I was excited. So how does it stack up?

The Good News:

I wasn’t completely let down. I know that doesn’t sound very positive but I was expecting to leave the theater pissed off about another film I love being ruined by an unnecessary remake. Most of the cast did a stellar job. Emma Watson (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) is wonderful, Kevin Klein (A Fish Called Wanda) provides depth to a character that previously had none, and while I’d have preferred someone the size of Dwayne Johnson to play Gaston, Luke Evans (Dracula Untold) pulls off the unparalleled narcissism flawlessly. Adding almost an hour of runtime, the new material, unneeded as I felt it was, fit well into the overall story. And, while I’m still waiting for the day that CGI and real people/animals/objects are indistinguishable, this is pretty damn close.

The Bad News:

It’s not the original. I realize that’s obvious but it was pretty much my only problem with the film. As wonderful and talented as they are, Emma Thompson is no Angela Lansbury, and Ewan McGregor can’t hold a candle to Jerry Orbach’s Lumiere (yes, I really made that pun). The slight changes made to the music only bothered me because I know the originals by heart and it ruined my attempt to mouth along with them in the theater. Other than that, I was hoping for more out of Josh Gad (Frozen), we didn’t need the enchantress’s return, and besides for why the villagers have no idea there’s a castle with a monster in it half a day’s ride away, none of the time frame issues are resolved (but at least the enchantress doesn’t curse a 10-year-old, although the fate of the people turned into objects seems much crueler).

Beauty and the Beast | Review
Bottom Line:
Sure to hook those not familiar with the original without ruining it for those who are. Definitely worth seeing.
Wonderful Cast
High Nostalgia Factor
Just Not As Good As The Original
Few Too Many Unnecessary Changes

La La Land (2016) Movie Review

Dazzling, and at times, utterly breathtaking, ‘La La Land’ methodically tugs at the heart-stings, applying just enough pressure, at the just the right moments, with unrivaled passion and spirit when necessary. Truly magnificent, La La Land is a modern, must-see musical. Brimming with life, and vibrance, La La Land inspires equally as much as it exhilarates. This, ladies and gentleman, is not a film that you watch, it’s one that you experience – it’s one that you feel and never forget.

The plot is delightfully simple: Sebastian, a jazz pianist, falls in love with Mia, an aspiring actress.

Throughout the film, Mia and Sebastian, the ever-dreaming, star-crossed lovers, battle with Fate for control of their serendipitously intertwined destinies. Watching their emotional story unfold on the big screen is a wonderful experience. Ah, young love…

Ryan Gosling (The Notebook) does a great job capturing the essence of what makes Sebastian not only great, but also so easy to relate to. Passionate and truly talented, Sebastian is a man who’s willing to give everything up for the woman that he loves.

Emma Stone’s (Zombieland) performance, portraying the beautifully complex Mia, is spot-on, she is witty throughout and inspires as many smiles as she does tears. The on-screen chemistry between Stone and Gosling is intense and sincere. Sure, the writing was great, but seeing Stone and Gosling together, pouring their hearts out, was spectacular.

Director and writer Damien Chazelle, the brilliant mind behind ‘Whiplash’ (2014), has created a visual and emotional spectacle with ‘La La Land.’ Cinematographer Linus Sandgren’s (American Hustle) warm and luscious style was evident throughout the film and paired perfectly with Justin Hurwitz’ sure-to-be-award-winning soundtrack. Sangren and Hurwitz and Chazelle artfully attack the entire emotional spectrum, and in doing so, end up crafting a truly unique cinematic experience.

Several times throughout the film I found myself slack-jawed and wide-eyed as I watched in utter amazement. And while I wasn’t brought to tears, and neither was my wonderful fiancee for that matter, I can assure you that there were some in the crowd who couldn’t help but sob through the credits.

The team behind this film deserves some serious credit and recognition for the apparent effort put forth. There is no doubt in my mind that La La Land is going to fair well this awards season. Go see it. If you don’t, you’re really missing out on something great.

 Score: 9 out of 10

General-DC Comics

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