Film Review: “La La Land” (2016)

“La La Land” is a romanic and enthralling modern classic that deserves to be seen by anyone who has ever had a dream

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Review of Damien Chazelle’s love letter to classic Hollywood musicals

By Carter Bagley

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Damien Chazelle has proved himself to be a talent to be reckoned with now that he’s successfully followed up his 2014 masterpiece “Whiplash” with his newest feature “La La Land”. Every year there’s a few films that just come out of nowhere and completely immerse you and in 2014 that film was definitely “Whiplash”. I went in n0t expecting anything and I came out reinvigorated and excited and this was mostly due to Chazelle’s brilliant writing and impressively fresh directing style. He has a way of working with 1.jpgactors and bringing out their best and worst qualities while entirely humanizing them making them relatable. Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons were electric together and both gave standout performances and it’s no different for Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in “La La Land”. Both Gosling and Stone deserve Oscar nominations for their parts here and the latter deserves the statue hands down, Gosling is just as amazing it’s just the Best Actor race this year is completely stacked and he has to go toe to toe with all the other amazing performances. The film follows Mia (Stone) and Sebastian (Gosling) on two intertwining stories of passion and romance that’s filmed and written in such a flawless way that it completely captures the attention of anyone who watches the film. Chazelle brilliantly captures the standouts of old Hollywood musicals while adding in his own quirks and styles in a way that blew my mind. The film is truly a spectacle from beginning to end and the only words I can truly use to describe it are charming and special. The characters are both young and passionate dreamers in a modern day Los Angeles who are driven to accomplish their goals they have both set for themselves. Mia wants to be a huge Hollywood actress while Sebastian wants to be a jazz musician and venue owner. The plot sounds pretty generic and played out but the way it’s made and the characters we’re given make it much more unique and compelling. It sucks you in and makes you really care about both of these characters and their lives along with the beautiful romance we see play out before us. From beginning to end I was completely enthralled and smiling in a way that a film hasn’t made me do in a long time. The music and choreography are incredible and even if you don’t like musicals this film may completely change your opinion on the genre. Every scene is just cinematic perfection and captivating to just look at on a technical level. After the success of “Whiplash” Damien Chazelle was given the permission to make anything he desired to and in a Hollywood where musicals aren’t welcome anymore he completely threw out the rulebook and crafted a modern classic that will be looked at for years to come. It’s really that good and I say anyone should go see this film, if you have experienced passion and love then go see it because I guarantee it will resonate with you in a unique way that you won’t expect. These types of film usually just aren’t made anymore and because a few of them are every year we should give them our complete support because “La La Land” is hands down a masterpiece and really gives me hope for the future of Hollywood. Gosling and Stone are incredible, the soundtrack is beautiful and painful and Chazelle’s directing is on par with the greatest of all time. It truly 100% is. I can’t wait to see what this guy does next, I can’t wait to see this film many more times and I can’t wait to see the status it receives in the next decade or so. Everyone should definitely go watch it in theaters because it captivated me and has to be one of the best cinematic experiences I’ve had in the past few years, I feel like I witnessed a classic in the making.

Rating: 10/10

Film Review: “The Accountant” (2016)

“The Accountant” is an effective and original action-drama that could very well be Hollywood’s next franchise

Review of Ben Affleck’s new action drama “The Accountant”

By Carter Bagley

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Ben Affleck is an actor that has had a very up and down career. He began excellently starring as the great character of O’Bannion in Richard Linklater’s classic “Dazed and Confused” and starred in many Kevin Smith movies like “Mallrats” and “Chasing Amy” before breaking out with co-writing and co-starring in “Good Will Hunting” which jumpstarted his career along with his best friend Matt Damon. After that he had a lackluster career though starring in many awful rom-coms and big budget cheese-fests unnameddisasters like “Pearl Harbor” and “Armageddon”. Since then he’s come along way though and has become a successful actor, director, and screenwriter making such films like “The Town” and the 2013 Best Picture Winner “Argo”. This time he’s starring as “Christian Wolff” which is one of the many alias he goes by to protect himself who works as a freelance accountant for many huge crime organizations. It’s a very fascinating premise already but it’s made even more fascinating when you make the lead character an autistic man who has an incredible memory and high-functioning numerical skills. His father was a decorated military veteran who thought that his son should learn to live with his autism in the real world than make the world change for him. He trained his two sons in multiple different fighting styles and this made Christian an extremely sought after man as he was the best at multiple skills. When he takes on a legitimate accounting job for a company called Living Robotics to analyze the company’s money handling after a girl named Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) finds a flaw in it, he finds himself and Dana in a load of trouble. Ben Affleck’s performance is one of the best I’ve ever seen from him and he’s actually amazing at portraying Hollywood’s first autistic action hero. He has the subtle and not so subtle ticks down to a science and keeps his performance in check without going over the top like many actors do. J.K. Simmons plays Ray King who’s a financial crime director and gives a great performance like he always does and so does his employee Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) who helps him try to find “The Accountant”. Anna Kendrick and Affleck’s chemistry is very good without being unrealistic and cheesy and she feels like a real person we all know. Another standout actor is Jon Bernthal who plays an assassin hired to kill Wolff and Cummings by Living Robotics after they find a legitimately large flaw in the company’s money handling. John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor also show up in relatively big roles with small screen time but it’s still nice seeing both of them on screen. This film is getting very mixed reviews which I honestly don’t understand at all as I thought this film was one of the most entertaining, emotional, and effective action-dramas I’ve seen in a long time. Gavin O’Connor has made another great film and I look forward to what he does next since I also loved his 2011 film “Warrior”. I think this could very well be the start of Hollywood’s next original franchise which is refreshing to see such an effective original movie being made these days. “The Accountant” adds up to be an original and well directed drama complete with amazing action sequences and emotional ties that make it a film that impacts you in every way and one I will remember a couple years from now.

Rating: 8.5/10