August 31, 2016
Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Damien Chazelle’s ‘La La Land’ Wow Venice
La La Land News

VENICE — Stars Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone  and director Damien Chapelle wowed the Venice Festival Wednesday morning with “La La Land” – and it took just 10 minutes.

And the Venice reception, if the first press screening and early reviews are anything to go by, will do nothing to stem the groundswell of opinion, backed by a terrific buzz on the movie before it even world premiered at Venice, that
“La La Land” is most certainly a serious Oscar contender in many departments.

Journalists – most Italian, but with a significant minority of international scribes – burst into spontaneous applause at “La La Land’s” first press screening after the musical’s first scene – a spectacular sustained single-shot song and dance number staged in an early morning tail-back on the L.A. highway.

Warm applause broke out at the end of the movie – which is pretty rare at Venice, where movies by venerable auteurs can be boo-ed.

As journalists and fest heads spilled out into the morning sun, on a beautiful day on the Lido, there was wide-ranging almost unanimous praise for Venice’s opening night film.

“La La Land” makes your heart beater faster and gives you a smile, which very few festival movies do these days,” said Karlovy Vary artistic director Karel Och.

He added: “And ‘La La Land’ is about Hollywood, the film industry and America,” predicting a strongly upbeat reaction for the movie in the U.S.

“It was pure poetry. They are incredible actors and singers,” said Tiziana Mantovani, an Italian journalist.

Variety

August 31, 2016
Magical musical to kick off star-studded Venice fest
La La Land News

YAHOO! Venice (AFP) – A bewitching musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone will open the Venice film festival Wednesday, kicking off a US-heavy line-up of flicks vying for the coveted Golden Lion.

Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land”, described as a tribute to the Golden Age of American musicals, reunites the stars, who appeared together in the 2011 romcom “Crazy, Stupid, Love” — but with oodles of singing this time.

This world premier of the tale about a struggling jazz pianist and his actress girlfriend is the first of 20 films in competition at the 73rd edition of the world’s oldest film festival, which runs from August 31 to September 10.

The festival’s artistic director Alberto Barbera described the flick by the director of Academy Award-nominated “Whiplash” (2014) as a movie “that does not merely reinvent the musical genre, it gives it a brand new start”.

This year’s line-up on the glamorous Italian island is notable not only for its A-list headliners, from Denzel Washington to Michael Fassbender, but also for the profusion of genre movies, he said.

Dystopian love stories, period dramas, adventure epics, revised Westerns and sci-fi thrillers are all showing at the Lido extravaganza, where Hollywood’s creme de la creme rock up in water taxis to dazzle on the red carpet.

– Virtual reality religion –

And Venice will be the first festival to host a special virtual reality viewing salon. A 40-minute preview of “Jesus VR” will see viewers “experience” the birth of Christ in the first virtual reality feature-length film ever made.

The beach-side festival has restored its reputation as an awards-season platform by producing the last two Best Picture Oscars, “Spotlight” and “Birdman”, in a challenge to the mammoth Toronto film festival.

All eyes will be on the jury, lead by British film director Sam Mendes, for hints as to the next Oscar favourite.

Security is high at the venue, with road blocks and bag checks after the summer’s jihadist attacks in Europe.

While champagne corks were popped and canapes scoffed at luxury Venice hotels on the eve of the festival, the gala dinner on the opening night was cancelled as a mark of respect following a deadly earthquake in Italy.

Films battling for the Lion include Iranian-American Ana Lily Amirpour’s “The Bad Patch”, set in a Texas wasteland and starring Keanu Reeves and Jim Carrey, as well as Derek Cianfrance’s romantic period drama “The Light Between Oceans”, featuring real-life couple Fassbender and Alicia Vikander.

– Cigarette-smoking pope –

The pair, who famously met and fell in love on the set of the World War I period drama, play a lighthouse keeper and his wife who have problems conceiving but take in a baby girl washed up ashore in a boat.

Among the most anticipated premieres is legendary director Terrence Malick’s 3D documentary about the birth and death of the universe. “Voyage of Time”, a project 40 years in the making, is narrated by Cate Blanchett.

Mel Gibson will be making his directorial comeback after a 10-year break with “Hacksaw Ridge” about a World War II army medic who was the only conscientious objector ever to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Former creative director at Gucci, Tom Ford, who wowed critics and the public alike with his directorial debut “A Single Man” in 2009, is back with “Nocturnal Animals”, starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

And there is already a buzz about the out-of-competition offering “The Young Pope”, a 10-part series by HBO telling the life of fictional Pius XIII, with a cigarette-smoking Jude Law as the first American pontiff in history.

August 31, 2016
‘La La Land’: Venice Review
Exclusive La La Land

Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to ‘Whiplash’ is an LA-set musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a couple of Hollywood strivers who fall in love.

If you’re going to fall hard for Damien Chazelle’s daring and beautiful La La Land, it will probably be at first sight. There’s never been anything quite like the opening sequence: Traffic is at a standstill on the high, curving ramp that connects the 105 freeway to the 110 leading to downtown Los Angeles. Most of the cars are occupied only by single drivers, who are all listening to different music. But after a moment, instead of just sitting there simmering, somebody gets out and starts singing and dancing. Soon someone else does the same. Then another, and yet another, until a bad mood has been replaced by a joyous one as the road becomes the scene for a giant musical production number set to an exuberant big-band beat.

Aside from wondering how the filmmakers managed the logistics of pulling off such an audacious location shoot, lovers of classic musicals will be swept away by this utterly unexpected and original third feature from Damien Chazelle (opening this year’s Venice Film Festival). From a commercial point of view, the looming question for this Summit/Lionsgate release, set for December openings, is whether younger audiences will buy into the traditional conceits that Chazelle has revitalized, as well as into the jazz and lyrical song-and-dance numbers that fill the soundtrack.

Only foreign film connoisseurs of a certain age will realize that the writer-director’s true inspiration here stems not as much from vintage Hollywood musicals (although allusions to them abound) as from the late French director Jacques Demy’s two landmark 1960s musicals with Michel Legrand, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort — especially the latter, which was far more dance and jazz-oriented. Although serious romantic longing and love’s poignant transience underpin the narratives for both Demy and Chazelle, both films share a breezy lightness of tone that keeps their narratives skipping along.

And while Chazelle’s breakthrough success two years ago with Whiplash also possessed a central, if eccentric, musical component, La La Land bears a much closer kinship with his mini-budgeted 2010 Harvard undergraduate feature Guy and Madeleine on a Park Bench, which was a sung-and-danced-through musical.

As did so many American musicals made before the mid-1960s, this one pivots on a simple boy-meets-girl/they fall in love/complications ensue scenario. For this to work at all, you need to have attractive and sympathetic leading actors, and once you see Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone go into their moves here, it’s as pleasurable to accept them in such roles as it once might have been to embrace, say, Gene Kelly and Shirley MacLaine.

Their “meet cute” takes place on the freeway. Actress Mia (Stone) works in a cute cafe on the Warners lot (they should open it for real) and has been on a grinding run of fruitless auditions; she’s “someone just waiting to be found,” as she puts it in a plaintive song. A skilled pianist, Sebastian (Gosling) is fed up with providing tinkling background music at bars and restaurants (J.K. Simmons fires him from one gig); he’s a jazz freak, loves Miles and swing bands, hangs at The Lighthouse down at the beach and is convinced that he’s “a phoenix rising from he ashes.” In other words, these two are like thousands of others in Hollywood, treading water but hoping to make it in spite of the odds.

Played out across the four seasons (albeit in different years), their romance begins bumpily. Seb, as he comes to be called, is downright rude to Mia at a springtime pool party, even though she could not look more splendid, quite like a brilliant sunflower, in a perfect yellow dress. Later, when he can no longer kid himself about his feelings for her, an enchanting musical sequence has them strolling and singing in the Hollywood Hills from one streetlamp to another back-dropped by a glorious vista.

In just one of countless aesthetic decisions that have gone into making the film the sophisticated confection that it is, many of the musical numbers have been shot at magic hour, which both softens and intensifies the colors, as well as the beauty and romanticism of the mostly real-world Los Angeles settings. The city has rarely looked this gorgeous in films, a credit to the director’s romantic imagination as well as to the technical expertise of Swedish cinematographer Linus Sandgren (American Hustle), who has superbly composed the film’s constant movement in the ultra-widescreen 2.52 x 1 aspect ratio.

Once they are a couple, things become, in a word, complicated. Realizing the long odds against Mia’s breaking through as an actress, Seb urges her to write something of her own to perform, which she buckles down to do. Paradoxically, he goes commercial, joining a successful band fronted by Keith (John Legend) that is constantly on tour, dictating long separations. A lengthy postscript, set five years later, features a fantasy dance sequence (a frequent motif of old musicals). But while aiming for poignance, the film loses some of its edge in this final stretch and arguably overstays its welcome by perhaps ten minutes; bringing the film in at under two hours would have been advisable.

All the same, for Chazelle to be able to pull this off the way he has is something close to remarkable. The director’s feel for a classic but, for all intents and purposes, discarded genre format is instinctive and intense; he really knows how to stage and frame dance and lyrical movement, to transition smoothly from conventional to musical scenes, to turn naturalistic settings into alluring fantasy backdrops for set pieces, and to breathe new life into what many would consider cobwebbed cliches.

The director shares his leading man’s preference for bygone styles, and it remains to be seen whether or not the charm and persuasiveness of the film’s look and performances are enough to disarm skeptical young audiences who have rarely, if ever, been exposed to the conventions Chazelle employs so enthusiastically and skillfully.

Happily, the two leads are clearly entirely in synch with his objectives. Sebastian has a certain gruff impatience and short temper born of creative frustration, but the concern and love he feels for Mia doesn’t take long to well up. Gosling may not be a trained dancer or musician, but his moves are appealingly his own and months of piano practice have given him convincing style on the keyboards.

Stone is simply a joy as the eternally aspiring actress it’s hard to believe is being passed over. Emotionally alive and able to shift gears on a dime, Stone is all the more convincing in this context as she has the kind of looks that would have been appealing in any era, particularly the 1930s and 1950s.

Many of the old Hollywood neighborhoods and establishments so selectively used here are meant to summon up meaningful movie memories: a date to see a revival screening of Rebel Without a Cause at the (defunct) Rialto Theater in Pasadena immediately segues into a visit to the planetarium at the Griffith Observatory, and one extended sequence makes the Warner Bros. backlot look busier than it probably ever has been since the 1930s.

All of Chazelle’s key collaborators were clearly in total synch with the project’s aims. Composer Justin Hurwitz, who worked on both the director’s previous films, has delivered an LP’s worth of buoyant, charming tunes, mostly in a jazzy vein, with Benj Pasek and Justin Paul supplying the lyrics. Production designer David Wasco and costume designer Mary Zophres adroitly supplied touches of the old and new in an elegant way, while choreographer Mandy Moore similarly danced a stylistic tightrope that greatly helped the director achieve his aim of delivering a welcome gift of vintage goods in a dazzling new package.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

August 30, 2016
Emma Stone will be attending 73rd Venice Film Festival
La La Land News

Emma Stone will be attending 2016 Venice Film Festival to to promote her new movie ‘La La Land’ during 73rd Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy.

With swoon-worthy trailers saturated in lovely imagery and memorable music, Damien (“Whiplash”)Chazelle’s “La La Land” looks like a cinematic dream come true. Reuniting “Crazy Stupid Love” (and the more forgettable “Gangster Squad”) costars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the film features Gosling playing a jazz pianist and Stone playing the actress he falls in love with. Much singing and dancing follows. Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera had some lofty praise for the film, which will be the opener for the 73rd festival stating that “La La Land” “does not merely reinvent the musical genre, it gives it a brand new start.” Barbera also added that the film is Chazelle’s “definitive, albeit precocious, consecration among the great directors of Hollywood’s new firmament.” Heady praise indeed, and lest you think it’s so much lather, remember that Venice has debuted awards behemoths “Gravity” and “Birdman” in that very slot in recent years.

August 26, 2016
Why the Venice Film Fest Matters More to Oscar
Articles La La Land News

tumblr_ocdpsfNpha1qzb91ho1_1280After premiering three major Academy Award winners in a row, the world’s oldest film fest is once again Hollywood’s awards-season launchpad.

The past few years, while Toronto bickered with Telluride over which festival could screen which premiere when and where, Venice — after some decidedly lackluster editions — took the high road and worked on improving. The result? It’s back on top after a scorecard that saw successful Oscar wins for Venice premieres three years in a row: Gravity, Birdman and, last year, Spotlight. Hollywood has taken notice. The festival is filled with studio titles this year, which means the red carpet will be filled with A-list talent. The four premieres that already are garnering awards buzz:

 

With Venice proving to be a good luck charm at the Oscars, one young contender seems to be taking the hint. Damien Chazelle is following up his 2014 best picture nominee Whiplash with festival opener La La Land. The musical stars Ryan Gosling as a jazz pianist who falls in love with an aspiring actress (Emma Stone). The Venice committee, after watching the film, immediately offered Lionsgate the opening slot. “I was so honored to get the invitation to open Venice,” says Chazelle. “It’s the kind of place that seems to belong in a dream. That’s the feeling I wanted to capture with this movie: the way things look and sound in a dream, the magic and the romance of it all.”

Chazelle adds that it was a natural choice to follow up his critically acclaimed Whiplash with the challenging genre of the musical. “The thing I love about musicals is that everything is possible. You can combine all the arts — music, dance, painting, theater —  to collectively produce an emotion that can’t be conveyed by words,” he says. “I wanted to try and make a film that told an honest, intimate story but also allowed for that kind of big-screen moviemaking.”

Festival director Alberto Barbera believes that the film, a tribute to old Hollywood musicals, is a natural candidate for the Oscars. “It has all the elements,” he says. “It’s a wonderful story, a classic film. It’s extremely well done with two outstanding lead performances. You have to go back to the ’60s and ’70s to see something that is similar to those performances. It has beautiful music, beautiful dance performances. Everything in the film is definitely outstanding.”

While Lionsgate is planning a big launch at the festival, unfortunately Gosling will not be present, as he couldn’t escape filming duties for Blade Runner 2. Stone will be back in Venice after her 2014 success withBirdman led her to an Oscar nomination.

Read full article on Hollywood Reporter.

August 25, 2016
“La La Land” – Official Poster + New stills
La La Land

La La Land released its official movie poster. You can see it below. Enjoy!

tumblr_ocdpsfNpha1qzb91ho1_1280

Also in the gallery I have added new stills from the movie. Click here to see them.

August 25, 2016
Emma Stone’s “La La Land” heading to TIFF 2016
Exclusive News

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has announced its film lineup for its 41st edition and this year’s prorgamme is overflowing with A-list talent. The list of star-studded films includes Ryan Goslingand Emma Stone’s romantic drama La La Land. The 10-day festival kicks off on Sept. 8.

La La Land: Starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, and Rosemarie DeWitt

August 23, 2016
La La Land – Official Teaser Trailer – ‘Audition’
La La Land Screencaptures

A new teaser trailer for Damien Chazelle’s La La Land is out, and this time, it features Emma Stone in an audition, singing about relationships and big dreams in Los Angeles.

The modern tribute to the golden age of musicals from Lionsgate stars Ryan Gosling as a jazz pianist who falls for an aspiring actress (Stone), but as success mounts, they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fabric of their love affair.

Chazelle directs this follow-up to his 2014 multi-Oscar-winning debut Whiplash from his own script, also featuring John Legend and Whiplash Oscar winner J.K. Simmons.

La La Land will makes its world premiere Aug. 31 at the Venice Film Festival, before hitting theaters Dec. 2. Watch the new trailer below.