Re: Last movie you watched
. . . huh.
The moon landing sequence by itself is gorgeous, though that was a given going in. The rest . . . I'm not really a fan of Ryan Gosling outside of The Nice Guys, and he was just straight sleepwalking through this. I can't particularly blame him—the screenplay drastically underwrites every single character, and he gets the worst of it. His Neil Armstrong is basically an empty shell, a protagonist whose self I couldn't tell you a single thing about. Claire Foy does her best with a similarly empty role and gets better results, but she can't overcome the fact that there's no emotional throughline here. Though the screenplay certainly seems to think there is—tries to make us think toward the end that the whole movie has been about Armstrong's grief for his dead daughter and the whole thing is so blatantly manipulative I had to roll my eyes.
Also meh on the filmmaking itself. This movie seems to take all the wrong lessons from Dunkirk, a film that I love—it's so focused on trying to communicate the visceral experience of space travel that it overplays its hand to an insane degree. Whole sequences are basically just collections of shaky closeups, to the point that it's impossible to tell what's going on. And the sound mix is absolutely obnoxious—maybe I'm just getting too old for this, but the monotonous shriek of everything was just an irritant rather than immersive in any way. Chazelle is so focused on trying to pound an EXPERIENCE into you that he ends up managing to evoke nothing at all.
The film stock was pretty, anyway—very nice grain.
I dunno, I'm being too hard on it—I can't say it's a bad film, just a thoroughly mediocre one with some cool moments. Half of it is trying and failing to be a Christopher Nolan film, and the other half is trying and failing to be the off-kilter arthouse biopic that Jackie was but with an absolutely by-the-numbers script, and it just doesn't gel.
For better or worse, Whiplash is still Chazelle's best movie. It's kind of adolescent but doesn't pretend to be anything more than it is, an exercise in ratcheting up tension with broad character beats that are redeemed by the performers. La La Land is gorgeous visually but absolutely lifeless, and First Man is that same melody in a different key. (Had to slip a musical thing in there somewhere.)
Last edited by Abbie (2018-10-13 05:23:37)