La La Land

La La Land ★★★★

Thinking more on this, "La La Land" seems as if Christopher Nolan tried to make a musical: Chazelle understands how to make a good movie-going experience, with a gut punch of a finale (like with his last film "Whiplash"), but the film itself proves more shallow. It's not as extravagant as a classic musical, aiming for a bit of realism. But the character-driven romance thing underneath isn't very much developed, either. So it's the mix of both that the movie tries to provide, which is good and well-done. Still, the movie banks on chemistry over character. It's more in love with the idea of love and dreams and movies and all that jazz (yeah, I'm proud of this one) than producing a genuine romance out of its leads to maybe assert that sort of thing by itself. (The title would suggest preference for lofty ideas over interesting characters, but on re-watch at least, the ideas ring somewhat hollow.) Thus the film explains itself too bluntly, but while in the style of Nolan it remains much less frequent a habit.

And, sticking with the Nolan comparison, the soundtrack proves overbearing enough to muffle some of the lyrics, sort of like how Zimmer drowns out Michael Caine's dialogue in "Interstellar". ("Another Day of Sun" and "Someone in the Crowd" were particularly hard to hear in my theater, and I think "Audition" started to tune out Emma Stone toward the end of it.) I like the soundtrack, but I'm surprised to say I found it repeated its melodies too often. I swear there was a rendition of "Mia and Sebastian's Theme" in almost every scene of the first half. It got a bit tiresome to me, even though some of these melodies prove too catchy for me to ignore; I still find myself whistling this one every now and then.

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