Movie Review: Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

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Summary: Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael’s children through a difficult time in their lives.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins. I love Emily Blunt and I think she did a great job as Mary Poppins. I always saw her as a character who is there to help you when you need it, not to do the work for you. She’s the kind of person who will allow you to try to make the mistake, make the effort before she steps in. It’s important life lessons. I love her snarky and “chilly” comebacks and how vain she is. She looks at her reflection whenever she can. I mean do you girl lol. She is very loving though which is clearly shown in how she handles the children. I also loved the moments where it’s clear she’s sad or emotional about what’s happening. There’s a scene where Michael is yelling at his children, her facial expression was a bit sad. I think Emily Blunt had a lot of fun in this role. I think she was a great choice to pick up where Julie Andrews’ left off. She was energetic when she needed to be, she was stern/firm and her facial expressions and her affected kind of posh tone of voice was great!
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack. Is there anything this guy can’t do!? Jack is a cockney lamplighter and he’s basically the Bert of this film. Jack is extremely likable, he’s a nice and sweet guy who helps whenever he can. I like his childlike energy whenever he’s with the kids but he’s still an adult because he has his role in the world, but he takes great pleasure in it. He has his community and he’s proud of it. I also like that he’s basically ride-or-die with Mary Poppins lol. Must have gotten those tips from Bert lol. LMM was fun to watch. I knew he’d be fine, but I was curious because I’ve only really known him from his work behind the camera more so than in front of it. But the camera loves him and it’s clear he loves the camera. I think Jack could have been annoying, but he manages not to do that.
  • Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks. He is working as a part-time teller at his father’s bank. He is a struggling artist who was recently widowed. He’s very sad at the start of the film, where he really doesn’t know what to do or how to handle life without his wife. His song “Conversation” really talks about that and it’s a sad song and I think Ben Whishaw does a good job in the role. I think he’s a great emotional actor anyway. He has a lot of great moments in the film. He has basically walked in his father’s footsteps but in a different way. Mr. Banks wanted his kids to grow up, but Michael’s kids have already done that and he’s just too in his head to realize they didn’t need to do that, or at least shouldn’t have too.
  • Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks. Jane isn’t as prominent in the film, but she is Michael’s big sister, so she would have to be included. She has followed in her mother’s footsteps and is a labor organizer. Her main issue is that she seems to have forgotten her own life due to her need to help others all the time. Jane is so willing to help her brother that she even forgoes going to work because he needed her more. That’s love right there! But she’s forgotten herself. I always find Emily Mortimer sweet to watch on-screen. She’s likable and she looks like a grown-up Jane (more than Whishaw looks like an adult Michael lol).
The Children. We get three kids this time. There were times where I felt that it might have been too much to have three but thinking about it, it wasn’t detrimental to the film and the three kids worked well together.
  • Pixie Davies as Annabel Banks. She is one of the twins along with John and she has grown up exponentially in the last year after their mother’s deaths that she is a little adult. It seems like she’s the older twin because she seems to call the shots and even takes the lead most of the time. She will also do anything for her brothers, shown by the many times she has gone after Georgie without hesitation. She also has the idea to sell their mother’s bowl to help pay for the house. Pixie Davies is cute and fine in her role. She is likable, which is hard sometimes when you have kids who are acting like grownups because of situations that require them to be. Usually they’re annoying, but she’s not.
  • Nathanael Saleh as John Banks. Very similar to Annabel’s character just in boy form lol. I do think he’s the younger twin, but he also is on the same wavelength as Annabel when it comes to acting like an adult. We see them taking care of their father as he seems to be forgetful of adulting due to his grief. They’ve taken it rather well for a pair of 10-year-olds. I’m assuming their 10-12. Nathanael Selah is adorable lol and likable.
  • Joel Dawson as Georgie Banks. He is the youngest Banks child and the one who is the most like a child. The others often look or run after him because of whatever he might get himself into. He’s super cute. Also, a likable kid.
Musical Numbers. The big thing that sells this movie besides Mary Poppins is the musical numbers. There are a lot of numbers in here that are sweet, grand and fun to watch. “The Place Where Lost Things Go”, is a great song, it’s basically a lullaby and it’s very sweet, it really helps the movie come to its conclusion towards the end. “Can You Imagine That?” was a fun song in the bathtub, “A Cover is Not the Book” was also fun, and I loved that they allowed Lin Manuel-Miranda to rap. Lastly, the “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” is the Lamplighters song led by Jack and it was fun to watch.
Sweet Message. I think there are a few messages going on here, but the two that stand out is “don’t forget what it’s like to be a child”, which is like the first film. Secondly, I would say “family” is also a major part of the film. Michael is so stricken with grief that his children must grow up quickly to make up for the loss of their mother, not to mention, he’s so preoccupied with being a grownup, that he forgets that the important moments are with his children. As for “family”, it goes hand in hand with the first message as Michael needs to get his head together for his kids. I think that’s always important. As for Jane, it’s more like a “live your life” as she seems to help Michael a lot, which is good, but she seems to forget herself in the process, which is why her little side plot, while conventional, was cute.
Fun and Enjoyment. This film does have a brighter color palate than the first film, which works for not only 2018 but for the 1930’s London they’ve created. I think there are a lot of sequences in this film that are spectacle and so much fun to watch. Like I mentioned before, three of the musical numbers really stood out to me (not counting the Lullaby song), “Can You Imagine That?” in the bathtub was cute; “A Cover Is Not the Book” while in the china bowl was what I’d consider the BIG number and I thought it delivered. Probably one of the best musical numbers of the film. Lastly, “Trip a Little Light Fantastic” is the like the “Step in Time” number from the first as it’s a Jack led number with his Lamplighters and it was fun as well.
Beautiful Costumes. Sandy Powell does the costume work here and it’s so beautiful. You have probably seen her other works like The Favourite. But her work is soooo good, particularly on Mary Poppins and Jane’s characters. The other characters also had nice costumes that fit in the time, the attention to details in the kid’s clothes and even their looks whenever they went on their adventures were great to look at it. However, I loved all of Mary Poppins’ looks.
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This blue coat is everything. I loved her hat as well. Every time they zoomed in on her shoes, I was like “Oh so pretty!” I also love the red coat she wears later. When they go into the china world, they’re wearing clothes that look made of china and it’s so lovely. I mean, the white dress Mary Poppins wears in the chalk drawing is iconic but I liked the pink dress.
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Great costumes!!! The attention to detail were great. The film is set in the 30’s so it’s clear that the costumes reflect that and while Mary’s look has updated, you know it’s supposed to still be the same character we know and love from Julie Andrew’s portrayal. The silhouette is essentially the same with some updates to her look, like the fringed cape. Either way, it’s lovely.
Cinematography/Visual Effects. It is a beautiful movie. It has a very clear and almost bright look to it compared to the darker/grittier look of the first one, especially while in London. All the musical numbers have these grand CGI experiences with these bright colors and it really helps it feel magical in those moments.
Cons:
Musical Numbers. Yes, I know it’s here as well as in the pros BUT there are so many songs and musical numbers in this film it feels bloated and you get fatigued quickly. It seemed like this film had way more songs than in the first, I checked and the first had I think at least two more performed numbers, but for some reason (and I am a musical person, this never happens), I started to get a little annoyed at how much they sang everything. I also think a lot of it had to do with the fact that they weren’t as ear-catching as they may have wanted them to be. I don’t really remember what any of them sounded like. None really stood out in terms of the songs afterwards. I think that’s the problem. They just don’t stand out.
Falls Flat. Another big issue I had was the ending. We have something we’re building up to with them losing their house, but it doesn’t seem to me that the movie remembers that throughout the film. It’s great that Mary Poppins has returned but did she really need to? I mean, sure, she helped the kids be kids again and gave help here and there but it’s not the quite the same punch as it is in the first with Mr. Banks trying to make Michael be a man too early. The tension isn’t there. I just didn’t feel a satisfying conclusion in this movie. It’s like things happen to make the movie move forward but it didn’t really have anything to do with the main plot of them losing their house. Ya know? Mary Poppins even says, “I’m here to look after the Banks children” and when the child says “Us??” She says, “oh yes you too.” But she was talking about Jane and Michael, but she never really does anything with them. I guess it was through the children and then whole thing with Jane and Jack.
Overall, I really enjoyed Mary Poppins Returns. I think it was a fun movie with a great cast with good chemistry with each other who loved their characters and who had a great deal of fun. Emily Blunt steals the show as Mary Poppins. LMM does a great job with Jack and the kids are all enjoyable as well. Ben Whishaw is also a standout as he holds a lot of the emotional weight in the film. The musical numbers are fun to watch with energetic music and the visuals for this film are outstanding. THE COSTUMES! *dies* It has a sweet message and I think it’s a great bit of entertainment. Now, I do think the songs, while the numbers were fun, the songs weren’t (with a few exceptions) standouts. It seemed like there were too many in such short spans of time that it began to feel annoying and the film bloated. I also don’t think it lives up to the magic it wanted to inspire. It falls flat for me and I’m not left feeling like the story was worth telling. But I think it’s worth the watch to see Mary Poppins live on again.
Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Mary Poppins Returns? Is this your introduction to Mary Poppins? If so, what’s the matter with you! Watch the first one! What are your thoughts. Comment below and let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading!

 

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Movie Review: A Star Is Born (2018)

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Summary: A musician helps a young singer find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. We meet a few people along the way in the film, but I’ll stick to the two main people, though I want to give Anthony Ramos a shout out because I always get excited when I see people from Hamilton in other things.
  • Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine. He is an established singer-songwriter, not sure how long he’s been in the business but it’s clear he’s been doing it a long time to the point where he’s jaded and of course an alcoholic. He stumbles into the first bar he sees one night (well his driver dropped him off) and he gets to see Ally perform a song in French and he is immediately taken. He becomes a mentor for her and later the love interest. Jackson has a lot of issues, daddy issues, self-issues and all the other issues but he does care about Ally and really does try to do right by her, especially at the beginning. I give him credit for that. I don’t think he’s unlikable, but I can see why someone might not like him, I just thought he was sad and kind of a tragic figure. Bradley Cooper did a really good job with him. He surprises me when he’s playing a serious role, I don’t know why lol, but anyway, he did well with keeping Jackson right at the corner of “I like him, he’s sad” or “Wow, this guy is a dick” which works for his character. Great expression in his eyes. *sighs* His eyes. Beautiful. I really thought he shone in the second half.
  • Lady Gaga as Ally. She is a waitress who sings in a Drag Queen nightclub. She is a singer-songwriter who is pretty much amazing at what she does. Ally performs a song in French “La Vie en Rose” I think and pretty much has Jackson by his heartstrings when she lays on the bar counter and looks at him (I never realized how big and green her eyes are… eyes are kind of a big thing in the movie as Bradley Cooper as the director, kept a lot of the shots close in on the actor’s faces so we get to see their eyes quite a bit in the film). She loves to sing and write songs but is a bit discouraged after she was told she had a beautiful voice but her nose was too big, so when Jackson believes people would want to hear her, needed to hear her, she’s against it at first but once she gets out there, it becomes something she craves plus she’s great at it. Ally is sweet, and she understands how to handle Jackson, but she does get a little lost in the industry later. I thought Lady Gaga was good, this is the first time I’ve seen her act and I thought she was the highlight of the film, the star and I liked that Bradley Cooper gave her top billing. All the emotional stuff she handled well, and I was impressed.
The Music. The highlight of the movie is the music, how it’s used and the connection that people have through the music. First, the singing is fantastic, Lady Gaga can SING. We knew this, but this movie really allows her to showcase her singing chops and whenever she did sing, especially in the beginning of the movie, I got chills. Honest. Bradley Cooper also surprisingly can sing as well. I guess his character sings country or something along those lines which I thought he did well and when they sang together, obviously she overpowered him, but he held his own. As for the songs themselves, the only one I really remember is the “Shallow” one because it’s catchy and I feel like it’ll be nominated for “Best Original Song” which is cool but I think they used those songs as ways to connect moments in the movie, or connect characters, it wasn’t just characters singing songs (until ya know, the generic pop songs later). Definitely the highlight.
The First Half. I prefer the first half. It’s much stronger and better paced than the second half. I really wondered for a while if it was because the first half was lighter than the second and I decided that’s not the reason, I just think the story flowed better in the first half, the characters were more interesting and the story had the chance to go in an original direction but didn’t so first half is definitely stronger. Plus, all of the stuff with his brother, they had a great moment (No idea what they said half the time lol, but it was an emotional moment).
Chemistry. Like I said previously, I think the first half is stronger than the second half. I thought that Gaga and Cooper had amazing chemistry. The first moment he saw her singing in that Drag Club and she looked over at him, it was like “whoa” and I was on board for what I was sure going to be an interesting relationship and indeedy it was. I really liked how they seemed to understand each other on a different level. They have a conversation outside of a mini-mart and he’s telling her a bit of his story and she just makes up a song verse for him. Throughout the movie, we see a lot of moments between them, I mean crazy stuff ensues, but she knows how to handle him and it’s very clear they love each other. While the second half dragged on for me, I thought the two of them really held it together as a couple going through something interesting.
Cons:
Predictable/Cliché. I called this movie from the beginning. I’ve never seen any of the other incarnations of the movie so I’m solely going off this and, the movie and story is very predictable and cliché. Jackson Maine is the established singer-songwriter who has a sad past, and who struggles with vices such as drugs and alcohol, he has a heart of gold but can’t seem to get out of his own way. Yep. He discovers a hopeful artist who wants to be a singer but thinks she can’t because of her appearance, he believes in her, she sings with him and then she becomes a star because a industry person is interested and she loses her sound blah blah blah, I called all of that and I was a bit upset when I was right. I may not have seen the other movies, but I have seen this movie so many times that I was hoping for a bit of originality and it seemed to start off that way in the first half but then it fell into the usual in the second half.
Second Half. Dragged on way too long. I started getting antsy. That hardly ever happens to me, long movies don’t bother me at all but the second was much weaker and I felt like I was watching a movie unfold that I’d already seen before. I got a bit irritated with that and I didn’t think the characters were as interesting as they were before, almost like the development we were getting in the beginning didn’t come full circle. I think the biggest thing is that Bradley Cooper does well in the second half, almost like the first half was dedicated to Gaga’s character and the second half for Cooper, which worked out I guess lol.
Overall, I liked A Star Is Born, I don’t think I liked it as much as other people do but I think it’s a really good movie. This is Lady Gaga’s movie as she does such a great job, especially with the singing and the emotional bits. Bradley Cooper also does really well, and I thought his direction was handled well and that he really tried to focus on the characters and their emotions (sometimes that’s annoying because you can’t really see what’s going on around the character, but it worked most times). The music is the highlight outside of Lady Gaga and I loved how they all fit the scenes they were in, or how it was used to describe a character at that moment. There was great chemistry and the first half of the movie was really good, I was totally invested. My biggest problem is the fact that the second half was weaker than the first half and it was totally predictable. It annoyed me, and I also thought it was too long because I started getting antsy as the film felt like it dragged on. Oh yeah, I totally needed subtitles in some pockets of the film. But, I liked it and I’m sure it’ll receive a lot of Oscar nominations.
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen A Star Is Born? What are your thoughts?
Which movie featuring a singer turned actress/actor is your favorite??
Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to like and follow this blog for more Movie Reviews!

Movie Review: Coco (2017)

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Summary: Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to work out the mystery.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. There are a lot of characters in this film, but I’m not going to go over all of them. Just the two main characters and some of the supporting because of their roles in the film. Just know that all of the characters are bright, colorful and likable!
  • Anthony Gonzalez as Miguel Rivera. He is a 12-year-old aspiring musician. He feels out-of-place in his family of shoemakers. He doesn’t want to be stuck in this mundane process that his family is stuck in. They have banned music and he doesn’t understand this, at least in a way that keeps him from loving music. Miguel wants to be a musician and he finds ways to protect his love. What I loved about Miguel is that he felt like a kid. He made his mistakes. He acts like a kid. When he decides to steal a guitar in order to play for the talent show, he faces the consequences of his actions… then he gets a second chance… and he steals the guitar again. That’s hilarious and so accurate. He is clever, he’s funny and determined. Miguel knows what he wants and he does what he can to go after it, and even as the story continues and things are discovered, he rolls with it. Anthony Gonzalez was great, he reminded me of Auli’i Cravalho as Moana in how she sat in her character, he did the same thing with Miguel. I really enjoyed his energy for this character. Plus, he has a great singing voice on him.
  • Gael García Bernal as Hector. He is a charming trickster in the Land of the Dead. When we first meet him, he’s trying to make it through customs (they have a whole system it’s great lol), by pretending to be a celebrity and it’s revealed that he tries to sneak over the bridge every year. So, when he meets Miguel, he enlists his help in order to actually make it over the bridge at some point. Hector is a charming character and a lot is revealed about him that turns him into a tragic character as well. He was probably my favorite character in the movie. At times he seems very selfish, or like he can’t be trusted and there’s more to him that makes him relatable and you can’t help but to feel bad for him. I’ve never seen Gael Garcia Bernal in anything, I saw one but I don’t remember him in it and it’s been so long, but I really liked his voice. He’s very charming and he helps Hector be likable and tragic at the same time. Also, he has a nice singing voice.
Supporting Characters.
  • Benjamin Bratt as Ernesto de la Cruz. The most famous musician in the history of Mexico. He is also Miguel’s idol, he’s the reason why he wants to be a musician. He even inspires Miguel to build a guitar that looks just like his. He has many fans around the world, but his untimely death (lol it’s hilarious) puts him in the Land of the Dead, but he’s even more beloved there due to his charm and charisma. I definitely can’t give anything away with him, but it all makes sense once you watch the film. I like Benjamin Bratt and his voice is great for this character. The larger than life personality, the charisma, and even the ego, just works. Bratt only sings Remember Me in the film, while Antonio Sol does the singing at other times in the film.
  • Alanna Ubach as Mama Imelda. She is Miguel’s great-great-grandmother. The ban on music started with her. There is a lovely opening scene in which Miguel tells the story of her life and how her heart was broken. Due to her husband choosing music over her and their child (Coco), she dedicates her life to creating roots for her family. A shoemaking business. Mama Imelda is a businesswoman and she protects her family. Even when Miguel ends up in the Land of the Dead, she does whatever it takes to help him. Alanna Ubach (she was Maria in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit and she’s in Legally Blonde) is great! I loved her voice for this character. She is just the right balance of maturity, fierce determination (Miguel obviously gets it from her) and love for her family. She has a great song during the climax of the film.
  • Other Characters. Most of the other characters are Miguel’s family. Most notably, Renee Victor as Abuelita Elena, she is Miguel’s grandmother and she takes after Mama Imelda in that she strongly enforces the ban on music. She’s funny and a bit extreme. Ana Ofelia Murguia as Mama Coco and she gives us a very emotional performance anytime Mama Coco actually speaks. She is Miguel’s great-grandmother. His parents, his family in the Land are all great and colorful characters!
The Look of the Film. Oh man! Pixar is amazing! The look of this film is so beautiful! The colors! Oh wow! The Land of the Dead is so beautiful. The flowers are so vibrant and beautiful, and useful in the story. The way the skeletons look in how there are little-engraved designs in the faces, they look like the masks or the painted skull faces which was a nice touch. The world that is created is inviting and beautiful. Even when Miguel sees it for the first time, my eyes were huge. It’s a feast for the eyes. I want to go and see it for myself, but ya know as a visitor, not a permanent resident. Plus, the attention to detail on the little city of Santa Cecilia is also beautiful, it feels like a real place and while I don’t know much about Dia de Muertos, but I like how the graveyard where families would leave offerings for their families looked like how I’ve seen them before.
The Story. I think this movie created a way for kids to process death. It’s a way in that it’s  spirited and touching. At the center, the movie is about family, connection, culture and of course following your heart in a way that doesn’t compromise who you are. It doesn’t feel overly complicated but it also isn’t just a simple story that it feels elementary or childish. It has its twist and turns and it’s emotional. The story can be felt by everyone.
The Music. So I’m listening to the soundtrack while I write this because I didn’t really remember it after leaving the theater minus a few sung songs because of the accompanying scene. Listening to it, the songs I liked in the scenes are still good songs. Germaine Franco, Adrian Molina, Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (The Lopez’s wrote the music in Frozen) wrote the songs and Michael Giacchino composed the score. I liked Hector’s lullaby and “Everyone Knows Juanita” because it’s cute and the scene is emotional. “Un Poco Loco” is probably my favorite in the film because Anthony Gonzalez and Gael Garcia Bernal have so much fun in that song and its super cute! “Proud Corazon” is also a great song for the ending of the film. As I mentioned before Mama Imelda’s song during the climax is also great, it’s in Spanish “La Llorona” and the scene is great.
Emotional. There may be light spoilers here. Just like any Pixar movie or Disney affiliated, they love to add the emotions. I’m also an emotional person these days, but I teared up a lot and I think I full on cried towards the end of the film. I have a big family so that definitely connected with me. One of the big things for the people in the Land of the Dead is that they can only remain there as long as their living family continues to put their pictures up on their ofrenda (alter). The living must also continue to share with their children about their ancestors so their stories can continue to live on. If that does not happen, then the spirit is considered a “forgotten”, and they have a “Final death” in that their spirit completely moves on because they have no connection anymore. That kind of stuff is emotional. Plus, Miguel’s reactions to seeing that happen to people he may have just met were also emotional. A scene after the climax is emotional, I cried. I teared up when Hector sang his lullaby. Then the scene towards the end when Miguel sings Remember Me made me cry. So…if you’re a crier, expect to cry. If you’re not a crier, that’s fine, just know the movie will still get you in the feels.
Cons:
Not Enough Music. I don’t think there is enough of it in a movie about becoming a musician. I don’t think it needed to be a musical or anything, but the music was pretty spare. It’s a nitpick but something I noticed.
Lags/Feels Slow. In some parts of the film, it feels like it just lags for a moment and I did pull my phone out during those few times, it’s not boring but it definitely feels like the pace slows down and that makes it feel longer than it should and it’s not that long, it’s barely two hours.
Overall, I really loved Coco! I think Pixar has done it again. This movie has heart, it has a strong story, strong leading characters, great supporting characters. Everyone is well-developed and feel like a real family. I definitely don’t want to spoil anything but the title is very important. The film is beautiful with how it looks. Everything is so vibrant and colorful! The songs are fun and accompany their scene well, even listening to the soundtrack, I can’t help but love them on their own. Anthony Gonzalez and Gael Garcia Bernal were great in their roles and had great chemistry with each other. It’s emotional as well and focuses on family, culture, and connection. It has a few flaws in that mostly it lags a bit making it feel slow in places and a minor nitpick with it not having enough music from the characters. Otherwise, I think Coco is a great family film, or see it by yourself and have a nice treat of a sweet movie!
Rating: 4.49 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Coco? Are you interested?
So tell me: What is your favorite Pixar movie??
Comment below and let me know your thoughts and your answer to my question!
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Movie Review: La La Land (2016)

Summary: A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. There are many characters we come into contact with in the film but it’s mostly Mia and Sebastian’s story so I’m only going to mention them, at least by name and give my thoughts on them.
  • Emma Stone as Mia. I love Emma Stone and I really loved her character. She works as a barista on a studio lot. She wants to be an actress but has a hard time getting roles and it does start to take an emotional toll on her. She meets Sebastian in a restaurant after hearing him play and is mesmerized. After that, the story continues and they have this great relationship and Mia is supportive of Sebastian. She doesn’t like the music he plays but after spending time with him and his passion, it grows on her and she’s so in tune with Sebastian than she can tell when he’s not doing something he wants to actually do. I loved that about her. That she tried to be supportive in all that he did while also wanting him to stick with his passionate plan.  I also loved that it showed how her failing in auditions affected her emotionally and self consciously. I think Emma Stone was a great casting choice, she is so likable in this role (as she always is really). She played this role with passion, stability and such emotion. When Mia feels down and out, I almost cried a couple of times because Emma is so tremendous. Plus, her scene at the end where she sings her song… oh yeah.
  • Ryan Gosling as Sebastian. He’s almost unlikable but they don’t cross that line with him, it could definitely happen but personally it doesn’t tip over. Sebastian comes off a bit cynical, he loves Jazz music and wants to bring it back, but he’s very much a traditionalist in that genre. Seeing his rude attitude towards people was pretty funny, but you also understand him in a way. He’s so passionate about Jazz that when Mia tells him she doesn’t like it, his reaction to it, it’s so great. His character has an interesting arc as well. I can’t spoil anything though sorry. Ryan Gosling was great in this role, he’s very charismatic that I think if he was played by someone else, it might have been easier to hate him. His pain, his love for Mia, his passion for Jazz, his wariness of certain choices that are presented to him… it’s all so interesting. Gosling also has this thing where he comes off kind of scary or intimidating. He does this thing with his eyes… *chills*
The Music. I need this soundtrack. The moments outside of words actually being sung, it’s so beautiful, dreamy, emotional and sometimes a bit sad. There are two version of “City of Stars”, the first time we hear it, both Ryan and Emma sing it and it’s really cute and the second time… wow. I don’t doubt that someone will be singing the lyrics but the score by Justin Hurwitz (who also did Whiplash) is so amazing! Just to say, I don’t know how much Ryan Gosling played the piano but that piano playing was amazing! Whoever did that! WOW!
Singing/Dancing. This is a musical, however, it’s not completely always singing and dancing. The opening scene is a musical scene, but then there are three or four songs that are actual sung in the film. There are times where a character may kind of sing a word in dialogue but it’s not constant. But when it’s there, they’re moments the characters share together, whether it’s getting ready for a party, or a tender moment at a piano. I knew Emma Stone had some type of voice due to her being in a musical somewhere, or something, but I was pleasantly surprised by her here. She has a song towards the end of the movie, and I don’t know if it was sung live but her acting while singing through that song… wow. I thought it was nice. Not strong but I didn’t think it had to be for her part. Ryan Gosling also has a nice voice, again, not strong but “folky” I guess. He really only sings “City of Stars” and it’s definitely nice.
The dancing is also cute and fun to watch. The first scene has some great dancing. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling do really well, I don’t know if they have any dancing backgrounds but what they do looked nice. We really only see them dance twice, and the first time is probably the real “musical like” dance scene, tap dancing etc. So cute. Good job.
The Cinematography. Oh my goodness, the way this film looks is so beautiful. Linus Sandgren (Joy, American Hustle) did the cinematography and it’s so beautiful. The way it looks is so crisp, the colors aren’t washed out, and it almost has this old feel to it that makes it seem like the movie is set in the 1970s or something but it’s a current film. It has this dreamy look to it.
The Relationship between Sebastian and Mia. THEY HAVE GREAT CHEMISTRY ARGH!!! It starts off interesting because, they first see each other in traffic but obviously you don’t really remember someone from an encounter on the highway unless you are an elephant. But as we see them grow and progress, it’s sweet and they’re so easy to root for and you want them to succeed together, with their dreams, it’s just so great. In terms of their interactions with each other, I thought it was very realistic in terms of how it progressed and their arguments with each other, their love for each other. I think it was nice to see.
The Costumes. Mary Zophres (Interstellar, Fargo) does the costumes and I loved all of Mia’s clothes. Everything she wore was beautiful. Stand outs have to be the black dress she wears at the end and the yellow dress shown on the usual banners for the film. The clothes at times, look old so you can’t necessarily pinpoint the time period but it works because you don’t really need to know the time period. Everything Mia wears is pretty colorful whereas Sebastian kind of sticks to a few colors and he usually wears suit like clothing.
The Opening Scene. Right off the bat, you know what kind of film this is going to be because of that opening scene. It makes you smile, my friend leaned over and said “I want to be in this movie” in which I agreed. It was cute, awesome and it helps set the tone for the film.
The Humor. The movie isn’t like hilarious the entire way through. It’s funny but it’s not funny like it’s trying to be funny, more like there are funny things people say. Emma Stone is naturally funny which helps her character as she more light hearted than Sebastian is, whereas Ryan Gosling is a bit more on the serious side and when his characters does funny things (such as honk the car horn for a long period of time, or jump every time someone “scares” him) and his reactions to things are funny, or the way he talks about things are funny. Together, they are a great couple lol.
Cons:
Loose Ends. There are a couple of things brought up that are never mentioned again or followed through with. At least not noticeably. Seb’s sister in the beginning mentions two people, 1) some girl she wants Sebastian to meet, who doesn’t like jazz which later hints that it could be Mia she was talking about, but we never really see anything that indicates that. There’s a scene where Mia and Seb are with the sister, there’s no dialogue but Mia and Laura don’t necessarily seem familiar with each other. OR Laura also mentions some guy who did Seb dirty, that indicates another character we meet and outside of a line here or there, it’s never really addressed. Maybe that’s just me but I kind of wish there was confirmation.
The ending. This isn’t a hit against the movie at all, it’s a personal thing. I was so UPSET! But it’s still beautiful and bittersweet.
Overall, I really loved this film. I wanted to see it from the jump but I am so glad I watched it. It’s a movie I think that after many watches, gets better over time as well as holding up. It has this feel to it that makes you think it could be set in earlier times but it also feels current. Mia and Sebastian are well written characters, with great chemistry (especially thanks to the actors). The musical score is glorious and the singing and dancing is incorporated so well that I don’t think it would be annoying, unless you just don’t like singing and dancing in films. Go see this one. It’s worth it.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I actually knocked the score down a bit after thinking of a con that bothered me throughout the film, but upon deliberation, I decided that this film is still ultimately perfect so boom (I mean ya know, way more good than bad lol)! Perfect score lol.
Have you seen La La Land? What did you think of it? Do you want to see it? Let me know your thoughts! Don’t forget to like and follow this blog for more like this.

My Love For Hamilton

So I’m sure by now everyone has heard of Hamilton, or at least know of it. Even if you have absolutely no idea what it is, you probably heard the name.
So for those of you that don’t know.
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The Background:
Hamilton: An American Musical (full title) is a Broadway musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. It was inspired by the biography Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. From what I read, Lin-Manuel said he needed something thick to read while on vacation, he picked up this biography and it gripped him. Alexander Hamilton spoke to him.
The show currently runs on Broadway and in Chicago and unless I sell both my kidneys and a lung, I will never see the show on Broadway (especially now since the Original Broadway Cast has/is moving on). The Original Cast is amazing, there are a few videos on YouTube of them performing at the White House, shows just how awesome sauce they are outside of a recorded album. They sound the same!! At least to my ears through computer speakers.
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The Cast Album is the entire show. The show is sung throughout, similar to Les Miserables so luckily, you can “watch” the entire show just by listening to the album. Trust me, it’s worth it. It’s amazing.
The Obsession Begins: I cannot even begin to explain that amazingness that is this album. When it began to rise, I heard of it, I heard that it was remarkable (everyone was talking about it) and that it told Alexander Hamilton’s story (who at the time, I knew was the dude on the $10, was the Treasury Secretary and was ultimately killed by Aaron Burr in a duel) using Hip Hop and Rap as it’s storytelling basis. Already, that sounded interesting but I didn’t listen to it yet. Eventually, I got the album, but still didn’t listen to it. It wasn’t until maybe a week or so later that I decided to listen to it on the way home after dropping my older sister off at her house, which was about a thirty minute drive.
“How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot…”
*bobs head to music and kind of starts snapping along*
“Pardon me, are you Aaron Burr sir?… Talk less, smile more… I’m John Laurens in the place to be… Lafayette the Lancelot of the revolutionary set… I’m Hercules Mulligan up in it, lovin’ it, yes I heard ya mother say ‘come again'” 
*Okay now*
“I am not throwing my shot… a bunch of revolutionary manumission abolitionist, give a position show me where the AMMUNITION IS!…Rise up, when you’re living on your knees, you rise up… I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory.”
*This is dope, deep and I think I’m in love.*
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“A toast to the groom…intelligent eyes in a hunger pang frame…it’s the feeling of freedom of seeing the light it’s Ben Franklin with a key and kite, you see it right?… I’m a girl in a world in which my only job is to marry rich…I know my sister like I know my own mind, you will never find anyone as trusting or as kind… may you always be satisfied!”
*O.O. and replays song. O.O replays song*
So I pretty much replayed Satisfied like three times on the way back home, then I believe I got all the way to…Ten Duel Commandments. So I started listening to it little by little because it’s long, I actually finished the last six or seven songs while on break at work and it’s so beautiful. I reacted to words being exchanged, to insults and such good and tight lyrics. I sobbed.
hamilton-large_trans2oueflmhzzhjcyuvn_gr-bvmxc2g6irfbtwdjolshwgThe emotional trilogy that is Blow Us All Away, Stay Alive Reprise, and Quiet Uptown kills me every time. But basically, you see? I also wrote those lyrics out, I did not look them up. Ever since that day I finished the entire thing, I listened to it constantly, I played the first three songs for my parents but we didn’t get a chance to really get into it.
The Fangirling: I took to Tumblr and of course the fans are there and while I am a fan, I don’t dabble in certain fan things such as: writing fan fiction (but I do read good ones), fan art, nor do I have an Instagram or Snap Chat to follow these amazing actors. I’m not knocking those that do, trust me, I appreciate ya’ll for then sharing it on Tumblr.
I made it my business to know the lyrics, I don’t necessarily listen to or like rap music (it depends on the music, the artist and the lyrics) but this right here, I can get behind this because it incorporates so many different types of music. I mean Thomas Jefferson’s introduction song What Did I Miss? is heavily jazzy as his character is supposed to be a full generation ahead of Hamilton and the others who are fully hip hop people.
I was at work after maybe a week of listening to it, of constantly playing Satisfied, I was mouthing the lyrics while at work (I work in a public library) and my boss walks by me, stops and says “Are you talking to yourself?” I laughed awkwardly “No, I have a Hamilton song stuck in my head.” “Oh have you seen it yet?” “What? No, I would have to sell my entire life to see it right now.” “Well…” yeah pretty much lol, then a Children’s librarian, who was nearby, came up and asked which song I had in my head and I told her and ever since then we’ve been Hamilton buddies.
hamilton-2-largeI love Hamilton so much that when I go to sleep, I am more or less thinking of a song, or maybe a culmination of songs and when I wake up, same thing. It’s a problem that I don’t find a problem haha.
The Hamilton’s America documentary was also amazing and I’m making a request of Lin and the powers that be. Please please please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Put out the recording of the original Broadway cast, I know you have it, you said it was recorded with proper sound, lights etc and I NEED IT, so give it to the Lord of the Rings treatment. The actual show, with the documentary attached, as well as any other raw footage that wasn’t included in the documentary (let’s be real, the documentary lacked a lot of Anthony Ramos, Jasmine Cephas-Jones, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Okieriete Onaodowan and Phillipa Soo) and I will relish all of it lol.
I have the Hamilton 2017 calendar, Hamilton: The Revolution book written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and… Ron Chernow’s book. So lol judge me if you like but if you have never heard this magnificence, do it, I dare you. You may not become obsessed, but you be impressed.
The little details that Miranda puts into this show is just amazing. 
  • People of Color. This show casts people of color!!! It does seem odd that people of color are playing the Founding Fathers of America who are most definitely Caucasian BUT it works due to the music and lyrics.
  • The Women Rapping. Angelica Schuyler is Hamilton’s sister in law and in her song Satisfied (which is my favorite song out of 46 favorites) she raps. She is the only woman in the show to rap. Miranda uses rap as a way to show off a character’s intelligence. Hamilton does these long amazing, syllabic raps and Angelica turns around and does the same in her song, showing that she is on his intellectual level. Basically.
    • Eliza Schuyler is Hamilton’s wife (she is a precious saint) and while she doesn’t rap, she does beat box in the Act II, which to me shows that while she may not be able to understand everything Alexander does on an intellectual level, she’s his backbone as usually people beatbox to support rap.
  • Actors Double Characters. Basically, some actors portray two characters in the show. In Alexander Hamilton, the very first song, you already get a hint at that. They sing those lines as both characters.
    • Daveed Diggs: Lafayette, who has the fastest raps (also French accent), and Thomas Jefferson who is a completely different character, with a different style.
    • Okieriete Onaodowan: Hercules Mulligan (think Busta Rhymes) and James Madison, who was a sickly dude and completely different.
    • Anthony Ramos: John Laurens (abolitionist) and Philip Hamilton (Alexander’s son), he plays Philip in three stages of his life.
    • Jasmine Cephas-Jones: Peggy Schuyler (the Michelle Williams of the group) and Maria Reynolds.
“We Fought With Him” – sung by Lafayette/Jefferson and Mulligan/Madison
“Me, I died for him”- sung by Laurens/Philip
“Me, I loved him” -sung by Eliza, Angelica, Peggy/Maria
Favorite favorite songs:
  • My Shot- Alexander Hamilton (Miranda), John Laurens (Ramos), Lafayette (Diggs), Mulligan (Onaodowan), Aaron Burr (Odom Jr.), Ensemble.
  • Satisfied- Angelica Schuyler (Goldsberry), Ensemble
  • Wait For It- Aaron Burr (Odom Jr), Ensemble 114733
  • Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)- Entire
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  • What Did I Miss?- Thomas Jefferson(Diggs), Ensemble
  • Take A Break- Alexander Hamilton (Odom Jr.), Philip Hamilton (Ramos), Eliza Hamilton (Soo), Angelica Schuyler (Goldsberry)
  • Say No To This- Aaron Burr (Odom Jr.), Alexander Hamilton (Miranda), Maria Reynolds (Cephas-Jones)
  • Washington On Your Side- Aaron Burr (Odom Jr.), Thomas Jefferson (Diggs), James Madison (Onaodowan)
  • One Last Time- George Washington (Christopher Jackson), Alexander Hamilton (Miranda), Ensemble
  • Burn- Eliza Hamilton nee Schuyler (Soo)
  • Blow Us All Away- Philip Hamilton (Ramos) and Ensemble… I do not play this song on repeat because this song…man.
I mean, I love the entire album but these are the songs that I’ll play on their own before going back to the beginning, or will repeat a few times. You’re probably thinking ‘omg, this girl is crazy’ and that’s fine. I can take that because when you embrace art such as this, it’s hard to let it go. Plus, I do this a lot with things I’m moved by, so Hamilton happens to be the latest thing but I highly doubt it’s a passing phase for me.
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L to R: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington, Aaron Burr, Peggy Schuyler, Angelica Schuyler, Eliza Schuyler, Philip Hamilton.(this picture amuses me lol)
What’s To Come: So basically, obviously, I haven’t seen the show but I pretty much follow all of the OBC on Twitter just to keep abreast of what they do as, I’m interested to see what other work they produce. Of course Lin-Manuel Miranda has helped write the music for Disney’s Moana, he’s working on the Mary Poppins’ sequel and I think helping cast the London version of Hamilton and he just looks like he’s finally gotten rest after years of working on this show. Leslie Odom Jr. has put out a Jazz album self titled and I love it, it’s lovely as well as a Christmas Album, also beautiful. Daveed Diggs is working with his group Clppng (Clipping), was on The Get Down, on Black-ish, taken up Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street (That’s gonna be hilarious), Anthony Ramos is leaving the show to move into Spike Lee’s Netflix show She’s Gotta Have It, which I’m super excited for… but just to name a bit of what they’re doing.
So it’s sad they’re gone/leaving but it’s exciting to see what’s to come. I’ve heard snippets from the actors who’ve replaced some of the original cast, and I think they’re amazing too. I haven’t heard anything technically from Hamilton Chicago but I heard some of them outside of the show and WOW. O.O Also, Jordan Fisher (Grease Live!) is replacing Anthony Ramos as Laurens/Philip and I’m excited to start seeing him officially take over.
One thing to know about me, is that when I find something that I like, or an actor/actress I like, I make it my business to see everything they’re in (or listen to if they’re mostly singers and/or on Broadway) because I like to be supportive, especially if they are people of color.
So… lol this is all I have to say, at least right now. I still listen to Hamilton on a daily, maybe not the entire album or anything but I still play a song, or I start going through the album in my head while I’m at work. If I’m going on a long drive then I’ll definitely put my headphones in and play the entire album and sing/rap at the top of my lungs.
I’m super excited for the Hamilton Mixtape. There are four previewed clips available on iTunes, which makes me super super excited. I can’t wait for more to come. Whatever else they all put out, I am there!
Below are just a few gifs from the show. I don’t own them of course but I wanted to share.
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Aaron Burr in Room Where It Happens.
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Original Broadway Cast in Alexander Hamilton.
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Mulligan, Lafayette, Laurens, Hamilton in Story of Tonight (reprise).
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Thomas Jefferson and Dancer in What Did I Miss?