A post on Slickdeals.net gave quick notice about a free ticket offer for LaLaLand, the much buzzed about movie. AtomTickets gave away the full amount of a ticket, including any surcharges. I think it was up to 1000 tickets, and I was able to get in as was my friend.

Not sure why they had to give away free tickets to a movie that’s touted to win the Best Picture Oscar…

The theater at AMC Burbank was not full but there was a good sized crowd. Of course, Rogue One, A Star Wars story opened this weekend as well. The complex itself was very crowded.

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As for the movie, the bottom line: Not Enough Ryan Gosling.

While a nickname for Emma Stone may be “Am a Drone,” that might not be entirely accurate. She does have personality quirks. Her singing is not as gruesome as one would think, but when paired with Gosling, one wishes for someone like Renee Zellwegger. Her character, Mia, goes on various auditions where she observes that everyone’s a hotter version of her. That might be one of those “too accurate” lines in the movie. Oh, how I wished for Nicole Kidman to be that hotter version.

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It’s not that she’s bad. Just that Gosling is so much better. When he sings, it’s one of those “Oh My God, I’m in Love” moments. We knew he could sing–he was a member of one of the Mickey Mouse Club iterations. But he only learned to play piano months before shooting, according to John Legend. Stone has awkward posture compared to Gosling’s centered, laid-back movements.

Not much to say about Mandy Moore’s frenetic choreography. Since her move to Dancing with the Stars, her SYTYCD genius has degraded. Here, she’s trying to modernize Bob Fosse, but it just seems like her dancers are having epileptic seizures.

Diversity

One of the problems is that as diverse as Los Angeles is, it’s not reflected in the star casting of the movie. Yes, there are people of color in the movie, but much are relegated to the background. There’s a beautiful Desi woman who opens the movie–why couldn’t we follow her story? Was Damien Chazelle afraid that it would become Mississippi Marsala if she was the lead instead of Drone?

Even John Legend, one of the producers of the film, doesn’t do much.

If white people being the center of the spotlight/world is someone’s idea of Los Angeles, they really are in lalaland.

 

–Ken Choy

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