Movie review for ‘La La Land’ and ‘Patriots Day’ (2016)


My blog especially in this month will be filled with more posts on movie reviews. Why? This is the month when all the remaining Oscar-bait films will be released all together before the awards ceremony next month and I love to review on those films. This is also the month for me to catch up back on some 2016 films that I have missed last year. ‘La La Land’ and ‘Patriots Day’ were released recently in the cinemas here in Malaysia but they are considered 2016 films because they have been released last year in other regions or has opened up in some film festivals. And these two movies are so far my top 2 best films of 2016.

I seldom enjoy a musical movie. This genre isn’t an appeal to me much. However, ‘La La Land’ is a total exception as I enjoyed this film very much. It is a romantic musical comedy-drama film with the plot that follows a musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. A lot of people including myself are curious on why such film’s title? Then, after a bit of research, I discovered that ‘La La Land’ refers both to the city of Los Angeles and to the idiom for being out of touch with reality which is very related to the message of the movie. I decided to watch this film eventhough its not my appealing genre because it received overwhelming critical acclaim and that it had just won big in Golden Globe Awards recently.

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I watched it, and I can say it is truly an outstanding contemporary musical film. The opening sequence that shows a continuous shot of unexpected massive musical performance on a congested highway in LA is brilliant and immediately sets the right tone for the audiences on what to expect from the remaining of the movie. The story looks ordinary, but once you mix it with musical numbers, excellent performances by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling and a wonderful ‘alternate-reality’ (what if) ending, then the film becomes extraordinary. The film also excelled in all other technical categories like cinematography, production design, costume design, music (songs and background score), etc. The score may sometimes feel repetitive but the melody is so beautiful and it magically gets you immersed into the story. The ending is sad and moving, and it somehow relates very well to the present reality of Hollywood. Sacrificing all others (including your true love) for career. People who watch this movie without thinking a bit further will see this movie as just a typical musical piece. Once you start digesting the inner message, then you will realize that this movie is awesome. But I can assure you that this movie is not complicated. And also great directing with Damien Chazelle. Looks he is locked to be winning the Oscars next month for his directing work here. This movie is look to get a lot of nominations in Oscars too and it certainly deserves it. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘La La Land’ a total of 8.3. And yup…this is my highest-rated film of 2016 so far.

My next movie to review is ‘Patriots Day’. This is an action movie that will appeal to all, including those who doesn’t like to think too much while watching a movie. Well, this movie actually delivered beyond that. The movie is an account of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis’s actions in the events leading up to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists behind it. It is based on the true tragic event of Boston Marathon Bombing in April 2013 that killed 3 civilians and injured 264 others. Its subsequent manhunt activity to capture the two brothers behind the bombing resulted in the death of 2 police officers too. I eventually searched online for more details regarding this tragedy after watching the movie.

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I don’t know exactly how much fictional drama is added to the story to makes it more intense and dramatic but I can see that the film did stays true and accurate to the real events of the bombing and its aftermath including the selection of cast that matches closely to the real persons. It’s also nice to see real footages throughout the movie to give out a more real experience to viewers that this ‘shit’ do really happened. It is sad to watch this film that is actually based on something real and I must say that terrorism should end not only in US but also in all parts of the world. I’m deeply moved by a dialogue spoken by the real surviving victims of the tragedy in the end of the movie that says ‘people are not the victims of violence, but ambassador of peace’ after learning of many terrorist attacks in the past. That is what the movie is trying to deliver besides than the typical explosive and action-packed scenes. The story is engaging, the manhunt and shooting scenes are intense, and the scene showing that the whole Boston city is strong after the attack is touching. Mark Wahlberg did another good job in his main role here as a police officer. This movie reminded me of ‘Deepwater Horizon’, another based-on-real-tragedy movie released last year too that also starred Mark Wahlberg and also with Peter Berg directing (he directed this ‘Patriots Day’ too). ‘Deepwater Horizon’ is a good movie but not as good as this ‘Patriots Day’ that stood out with a more engaging and suspenseful plot. It is a solidly crafted tribute to the people who died or affected from the tragedy. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Patriots Day’ a total of 8.0.

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(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

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