Tag Archives: los angeles

Movie Review: La La Land (2016) “Old School Movie Magic”


2016 was a fantastic year for film and there’s so many movies that deserve recognition, but they’re out of luck because La La Land is steamrolling its way through awards season.  It broke the record for number of Golden Globe wins, it won the BAFTA, its going to be nominated for double-digit Oscars, and if you go on IMDB and start scrolling through the honorifics, it literally takes five minutes.  I’ve resisted going because…..I really don’t like musicals and I have lived in and haaaaate Los Angeles, and it doesn’t matter because Damien Chazelle has followed up his amazingly good debut film Whiplash with a minor movie miracle.  It’s worthy of the Best Picture Oscar it already has a lock on, and coming in this year, that says quite a lot. Continue reading Movie Review: La La Land (2016) “Old School Movie Magic”

Movie Review: San Andreas (2015) *Old School Disaster….Film*

San Andreas, Dwayne Johnson
I’m not proud of this, but I have a deep, deep commitment to seeing every film in the theater in which Los Angeles is destroyed, eaten, flattened, devastated, invaded by aliens or burned.  As a former Southern California resident (not native), I find it tremendously cathartic to watch areas where I spent collective days of my life stuck in traffic or damned to “I MISSED MY EXIT” hell.  All of this explains why I was at the first Friday morning showing of Dwayne Johnson’s new disaster film: San Andreas. Continue reading Movie Review: San Andreas (2015) *Old School Disaster….Film*

Movie Review: Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012)

"No one has given a more self-righteous monologue while wearing a trash bag."
“No one has given a more self-righteous monologue while wearing a trash bag.”

I wanted to love this movie.  I love Rashida Jones and Andy Sandberg.  I love the concept.  I hate Los Angeles, but that’s ok, I was going to push past that and just focus on the good parts of living in and around there.  I love Sony Classics and I think they make some of the best movies I see every year.

I did not like this movie.

I mind-wrestled with it, I grappled with it, but around the 1 hour mark I realized we were done.  This plane’s not coming in for a landing.

This is too vague (so is the movie): here’s the concept.  Celeste & Jesse (Jones and Sandberg) have been best friends their entire lives, they fell in love and got married, but while Celeste has moved on to a career and success, Jesse is surfing and watching reruns of the Beijing Olympics.  So they decide to get a divorce and Jesse moves into the studio, but otherwise their lives remain otherwise unchanged.  They’re having the most amicable divorce ever.  Until they both start dating again and then things (wait for it) become extremely unamicable rapidly.  That’s the plot.  That’s ALL of the plot without details, and that’s really the problem. 

The movie has no cohesion as an indie drama of incredibly profundity, which is what I think they were attempting.  It has two incredibly talented comedic actors who have excellent chemistry and can also really act.  Jones and Sandberg are great with what they’re given.  But the only time the movie clicks and you feel like you get these people and why they are so addicted to each other is the few scenes they have together and the rest is just interminable self-examination.  This could have been deeply touching and moving if they’d let the movie be more about what the title suggested instead of wheeling off into mopey song overlays and doing some kind of weird board of tourism favor for Los Angeles by making every scene scream LOOK AT LA!  Of course, if you happen to like LA…you may love this movie.

It’s not awful.  It’s not unwatchable.  It’s just kind of depressing and forgettable and not at all what you think you were getting from the trailer.  Celeste and Jesse needed more Celeste and Jesse.