La La Land Is the Pick of the Week

Every few years, it seems, Hollywood will make a new musical. It will catch on like gangbusters and a slew of think pieces will come out raving about how audiences are finally, once again, ready to enjoy musicals like they did in the old days. Then just as quickly it all dies down and we go back to watching another reboot, another sequel, another damn Transformers movie.

La La Land is the latest musical in this feeble attempt to revive the genre. It stars Emma Stone as an aspiring actress and Ryan Gosling as a struggling jazz pianist. They fall in love, sing some songs, and do a lot of dancing. It received a lot of praise and was nominated for a record-tying 14 Academy Awards (it won six of them and briefly grabbed the Best Picture statue in a mix-up that will go down in Oscars history).

I’m generally in the bag for a musical and I love a good movie about the behind-the-scenes goings-on about Hollywood so La La Land is right up my alley. Emma Stone is perpetually delightful as well so I’m all for making it my Pick of the Week.

Also out this week that looks interesting.

Underworld: Blood Wars: I’ve never watched any of these films but have always meant to. They don’t actually look very good, but the teenager in me thinks an epic struggle between werewolves and vampires sounds awesome.

Goto, Isle of Love/Short Films Collection/Blanche: It’s a good time to be a fan Polish director Valerian Borowczyk. With the release of Story of Sin a couple of weeks back and these new releases, you can now own nearly his entire filmography in nice Blu-ray editions.

Caltiki, the Immortal Monster: Arrow Video has generally focused on genre movies from the ’70s and ’80s, so it’s nice to see them venturing all the way back to 1959 for this creature feature. Caltiki is notable for having been co-directed by Mario Bava. Its about a a team of archeologists who descend on the ruins of an ancient Mayan city to investigate the mysterious disappearance of its inhabitants, and instead run into an ancient monster.

Tampopo (Criterion Collection): When I was home from college one summer break, my brother kept raving about this strange little Japanese movie he caught on IFC. It’s about a guy who makes noodles, he kept telling me, but it’s hilarious. I wasn’t sold, or at least I never caught it when it ran again, but that description of a movie about noodles stuck with me. Eventually, I learned it was Tampopo and I’ve been told over and over about how good it is. Maybe now that Criterion is releasing it on Blu-ray, I’ll order take-out and give it a spin. We’d be delighted if you read Davy’s review of the film.

Rumble Fish (Criterion Collection): Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of the novel by S.E. Hinton. He wrote the screenplay on his days off from shooting The Outsiders. Both are set in my area of Oklahoma. I’ve seen The Outsiders but never caught Rumble Fish. I guess it’s time I remedied that.

Mat Brewster

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