Black Label Media, Gilbert Films, Impostor Pictures,

Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons, Finn Wittrock, Meagen Fay, Callie Hernandez, Sonoya Mizuno, Jessica Rothe, Tom Everett, Josh Pence

Mia (Emma Stone) is a wannabe Hollywood actress, but stuck working as a barista in the studio commissary. She is frustrated, but full of ambition. Meanwhile, she keeps running into jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and tempers flare until sparks begin to fly. But each is filled with ambition and drive, and their paths are certainly separate from each other, so they have to face many difficult choices along their way for a relationship that seems to be doomed from the beginning. This is certainly a musical, but it’s filled with nostalgia for Hollywood yesterday, and old fashioned falling in love.

This film will ever be remembered as the film that Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced as the Best Picture winner at the Oscars in 2017 when it actually lost. This was a classic screw-up of massive proportions. But was this film the Best Picture, really? La La Land is a paradox of ups and downs, goods and bads. On the good side, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling were absolutely great in their roles. They nailed the style and motif of the film perfectly. They both pulled off some really amazing skills that blew everyone away. For example, the plan was to use a pianist to play the piano with Ryan only pretending to do it. But he took lessons constantly that allowed him to play the music himself and perform the songs effortlessly. Even John Legend was impressed. Emma has a huge audition scene which she also performed herself, flipping between acting and singing without any the usual prerecorded track. The cast was very impressed. The cinematography is very well done. The look and feel of Hollywood is colorful and beautiful and show many of the sites and locations that mean so much to those of us who live here in LA. The story is very nostalgic, but that’s what we are really looking for. It pays homage to the Hollywood of yore and does it very well. It’s a simple boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl story, told with music. Now for the bads. The music is highly forgettable. When was the last time you heard a huge hit song from the new musical LA LA Land on the radio? It’s really simplistic and seems to mostly just fill in time. That part could have been done very much better. The story is rather simplistic. The drama seems really contrived and not really very believable. But the negatives don’t really destroy the experience, and it was very popular with the Foreign Press! For those who have had the acting or musician bug, it’s right up your alley, but not everyone is going to love this. I did not think it was best picture by any means, but it is good enough for a high recommendation. It is a great opportunity, like watching and old movie on AMC, to kick off your shoes, lie back, and enjoy a couple hours of pure unadulterated nostalgia. Finally a word about the ending. This may catch some folks by surprise, but there is an epilogue to the film that is a performance art sort of piece showing the “what ifs” of what life could have been. This film is about wishes and dreams, more than about love and romance, and it’s an interesting way to send us off think about that. The final ending is stunning. Wait for it.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Anthem Productions, Paul Schiff Productions,

Finn Wittrock, Aaron Eckhart, Robin Tunney, Sarah Bolger

Based on the book “Courage Beyond the Game: The Freddie Steinmark Story” by Jim Dent this biographic film of Freddie Steinmark follows the history of his life as one of the best high school football players who was recruited by Texas and played in the Game of the Century against Arkansas in 1970. The film is pretty accurate in portraying Freddie’s life story. Being only 5′ 9″ and well under 200 pounds everyone told him he was too little to play defense. But he had been trained by his father very well and was really full of grit and able to play way beyond the level he should have been able to play. An inspiration to the team, Freddie motivated the team to win the SW championship and to be rated Number 1 in his final year. Freddie hid an injury from everyone and played through the pain in the final game until finally he had to go see the doctor and was given a very serious diagnosis. This is a heartwarming, tearjerker of a story showing the enormous fight in this kid.

This film got lost in the shuffle around all the other releases when it came out in the theater in late 2015. Many people have overlooked this film, but it is a very good retelling of the true story, and unlike most docudramas, this one seems to be very accurate on most all points. The research was thorough and it seems they really got it right. Starring Aaron Eckhart as Coach Royal and Finn Wittrock as Freddie, the performances are very good. The characters really look like the real people as well and the actual scene is presented at the end of the film, and it’s real, not recreated. This is a touching story, similar to a lot of the true sports tales, but since it is a true story of an amazing life and how he touched so many people, I was truly impressed with it and though many critics didn’t like the way it was portrayed, I felt it was done properly, with loads of respect, and though a sad story, told in a remarkably upbeat and uplifting way. This is a great football film with lots of sports action that is recreated very close to the actual history, and I highly recommend this film as a good film for all ages.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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Plan B Entertainment, Regency Enterprises,

Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Melissa Leo, Marisa Tomei, Tracy Letts, Hamish Linklater, John Magaro, Byron Mann, Rafe Spall, Jeremy Strong, Finn Wittrock

Several separate and distinct stories are being told simultaneously based upon the real events and real characters who had the audacity to bet against the mortgage industry when they were the only ones smart enough to foresee the housing crash of 2007. Nobody bets against the mortgage industry because it was as solid as America itself, and everyone pays their mortgage, right? This story tries to break it down and show us what happened, and how a few made a bundle off of betting against the world economy. Hysterically funny at one moment and a tragedy at the next, this is based on the real story and the actual characters who saw it coming.

First off, the cast is fantastic. So many big names are here and they bring all their skills with them to these roles. Sometimes is is absolutely hysterical, but the seriousness of what they are playing with is one of the greatest scams in human history. These guys just foresaw what was going down and jumped in with both feet to try to profit over it. Using many different techniques (such as totally annihilating the forth wall and having “cameo” celebrities explain the concepts using every day examples) they try to fill us in on what was actually happening. This is the thing I liked most about this film, as it does try to let us in on what the hell happened to the banks, and how the government managed to give billions of dollars (which the banks happily passed out to their executives as giant bonuses) to try and save the economy. This is a cleverly put together film, and if you are at all interested in what the Big Short was about, then this is fine way to learn about it. This is not a mind blowing blockbuster, but it is a solid little film that is quite interesting, and well worth the time to watch it.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog

 

 

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