WEIRDLAND: "La La Land" Trailer, "Thank You For Your Service" documentary

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

"La La Land" Trailer, "Thank You For Your Service" documentary

La La Land is not only is a love letter to movies, to movie musicals, to romance, and to Los Angeles, but it is also an ode to people with a dream. It is a movie that has roots in Hollywood’s storied past and the golden era of such MGM musicals as Singin’ In The Rain and The Bandwagon, but also as a valentine to the French musicals of Jacques Demy and Michel LeGrand — specifically The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg and The Young Girls Of Rochefort

The last purely original musical written for the screen to take Best Picture was Vincente Minnelli’s Gigi in 1958. Minnelli’s films, along with Demy’s and others, were pure inspiration for Chazelle. 

“I remember when I saw The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg for the first time,” he said. “I had never seen a musical that was just as kind of high-flying as the sort of MGM style that it was borrowing from, but dealing with both the highs and lows. There’s something  just so beautiful  and poetic about it, and it’s still probably my favorite movie ever. So I feel like La La Land kind of started there.”

Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, an aspiring jazz pianist who meets Emma Stone’s character Mia, a waitress working on the Warner Bros lot who aspires to be an actress. Both are superb, showing great musical skills, with Gosling even learning how to play excellent jazz riffs on the piano. The film details the ups and downs of their relationship as each pursues their dreams in the not-always-kind town of Los Angeles. 

Whiplash (starring Miles Teller as Andrew Neiman) worked out nicely, winning big at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and eventually receiving six Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. It won three Oscars and launched Chazelle’s film career into the stratosphere. 

Chazelle added that his dad’s side of the family is all French, like Demy, and he kind of sees what L.A. is like to them. “It’s almost the embodiment of the romantic idea of America, you know, the freeways that go on to infinity, the big horizon, the big sky, the beach, Hollywood, you know the whole thing is so larger than life and so kind of iconic America in their mind. There’s a lot to play with there.” Source:

"An American in Paris" (1952) directed by Vincente Minnelli, starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron.

"La La Land" (2016) directed by Damien Chazelle, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

La La Land (One of the Most Anticipated New Films of the 2016-17 Oscar Season): With his sophomore effort “Whiplash,” Damien Chazelle proved to be a formidable talent. All eyes are on his follow-up, a musical love letter to Los Angeles set to open this year’s Venice Film Festival. It’s an ambitious genre to tackle these days, but if he handles it with half the aplomb of his 2014 Oscar winner, expect fireworks. Source:

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders will co-sponsor a special screening of "Thank You for Your Service," an award-winning documentary that explores the nation's superficial understanding of war trauma, including PTSD, and the flawed policies surrounding it. The movie will be shown on Wednesday, September 7th beginning 6:30 p.m. at the Hamilton Stage Theatre, 360 Hamilton Street, in Rahway.

The film is being presented as part of Chairman Bergen's UC HERO initiative for 2016, which assists Veterans. The movie has been called "gripping, wrenching, and persuasive" by the Village Voice and "a film every American should see" by the Star Ledger. The Military Times said it is "generating Oscar buzz." The documentary is currently being shown at film festivals around the country, and is scheduled for theatrical release in early October. It won "Best Documentary at the GI Film Festival in DC, and the "Impact Award" at the Illuminate Festival. Source:

Miles Teller as Adam Schumann in "Thank You For Your Service" (2017) directed by Jason Hall.

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