Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

From the opening shot of this movie, you know you are in for a great movie. Roger Deakins, the master cinematographer, is behind the technically brilliant and artistic visuals that we see in Blade Runner 2049. The opening shot of the movie not only pays homage to the original Blade Runner but sets us up visually for what is in store; can you believe what you see in your mind’s eye?

I really loved the story of the film and the characters were brilliant. I hadn’t seen any of director Denis Villeneuve’s work prior to this film, but am definitely excited to see what he does next. I cannot speak highly enough of Ryan Gosling in this film. He is a fantastic actor & his performance is under-stated & undoubtedly authentic. I was expecting Harrison Ford to carry the film, but it really was the other way around. He’s already been nominated for two Best Actor Oscars, hopefully he can make this one his third nomination.

I have heard talk that Harrison Ford could look at getting a nomination for his role in the film. Although I would love to see Ford nominated, I’m not sure this is the film that he would receive his second nomination in this role. Mainly perhaps due to screen time, he’s not actually in this film all that much, but when he is – he gives a performance that reminds us why he has been the top of his craft for all these years.

Blade Runner 2049 has disappointed at the box office for it’s opening week. Not much different to the original film after all. It’s refreshing to see a film that is marketed towards the mainstream that isn’t just a blockbuster. What I mean by this is that the storyline & characters of Blade Runner 2049 is almost like an indie film. It’s still got the special effects and the big budget, but at the heart of the picture is the desires of our characters. What drives them drives the film. The special effects are secondary. I would love to see Hollywood produce more thoughtful ‘blockbusters’ like this one. It’s a welcome change, but after all, Hollywood is all about the money. Blade Runner 2049 hasn’t performed to expectation right now, but I think it’s got the hall markings of a cult classic all over it.

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From Los Angeles with Love

I can’t even deal with how amazing La La Land (2016) is. It makes me want to yell from a rooftop how much I love movies. I watched it for about the third or fourth time this weekend. And I think it keeps getting better each time I watch it.

The nay-sayers to La La Land don’t know what they are talking about. It’s a film about films, made by film lovers for film buffs. Does a film get any better than this? I don’t think so. And here’s why.

The tribute it pays to the movies of the past. It’s a homage to the stars that were and the movies that they live on in. For example, showing Griffith Observatory in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and then re-creating the same shot 60+ years later. The whole film is a love letter to Hollywood, not the Hollywood of today, but of the Golden Era. They just don’t make movies like these anymore, except of course in La La Land.

The music. The score, the jazz music featured plus the concept of “ saving jazz”. I didn’t know much about jazz before. The only real experience I’ve had with jazz is going to Preservation Hall in New Orleans for authentic jazz, no microphone, no amps and also no mobile phones. Gimmicks have no place in ‘real jazz’ and we learn that as Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) does.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are both fantastic and even better when paired together. Which brings me to my favourite part of the film and what I think is the best ending to a film, in the history of film. Big call, but I’m happy to make it.

The final montage is perfect. There’s just not another word for it. It is understated whilst being elaborate. It is affectionate, whilst being heart-breaking. It is unexpected but believable.

This isn’t a story of boy meets girl and then happily ever after. Whilst it is a love story, it is a story about two people chasing their dreams. It is about meeting someone who has an impact on your life & shapes who you become, but then their part in your story is done.

The story & ending of La La Land is a film I think will never be forgotten. This is a modern-day classic whose story has just begun.