Tag Archive: ryan gosling



Against all odds, Damien Chazelle has made a contemporary musical.

‘La La Land’ is a wonderful piece of pop escapism.  Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are ‘the Girl’ and ‘the Boy’ in this meet cute about a wannabe actress and a stubborn jazz musician and their desires to make it big in the City of Angels. Starting with a top notch opening sequence, the mood is set for a film Hollywood stopped making (in earnest) decades ago.

Ryan Gosling is solid as usual.  I’m having a little Casey Affleck deja vu here in that I liked Ryan more in other movies (‘Drive’ and ‘Blue Valentine’ immediately come to mind) but he certainly holds up his end of the movie.

The real treat here is Emma Stone.  ‘Birdman’ was fine, but this is her real graduation from ‘girl next door’ roles to potentially her generation’s Diane Keaton.  At parts goofy, at parts romantic, with enough singing and sympathy to play a fleshed out character.  It’s a joy to watch someone get to play so many different ‘notes’ within one movie.

The cinematography is beautiful with enough glimpses of classic L.A. locations (Griffith and Santa Monica) I might have to go back and see it in IMAX.  I was pleasantly surprised at how cynical the movie is.  Don’t worry, it’s a musical, it’s not a downer, but there are prices to be paid to get to your dreams.

Definitely the crowd pleasing award contender this year.  Recommend.

The Ides of March

George Clooney’s latest, ‘The Ides of March’, is about a young idealistic campaign manager who finds his ideals challenged and must make the choice of whether to stick to his guns or ‘play the game’.  It’s a good film and I’ve gone on record of being someone who drinks the Clooney Kool-Aid. But having said all that, this is my third favorite film of his as a director (behind Good Night and Good Luck and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind). The real irony of that statement is I still consider this one of the better films I’ve seen this calendar year.  Maybe it’s because at this point the studio system only gives us five adult dramas a year, but The Ides of March was film geek crack if that’s the case.

I was in a hotel room last week when I caught Clooney having a sitdown interview with Charlie Rose.  He claims at this point in his Hollywood career, he’s just a character actor.  That’s a tragic statement that probably has a lot of truth in it from a business point of view; regardless for the film he’s made here it makes complete sense.  The cast is headlined by Ryan Gosling, who’s surrounded by Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, and Clooney himself. That…is not chopped liver for character actors.  At all.  So why didn’t I like this movie more?

Hard to say.  I don’t have a strong like or dislike for Gosling; right down to the name I always think of him as a more serious version of Ryan Reynolds (which is not meant as a jab at either one of them).  But maybe not having a strong connection to him hurt him in this role.  He pulled off the character arc just fine; but if my instinct is telling me that a young Matt Damon or Affleck (or others) would have killed that role, maybe that’s not for the best.  Or maybe I’m just being nitpicky cause I really loved Clooney’s other directorial efforts to this point.

More posts later in the week.