Tag Archives: Ryan Gosling

tv + film by Philbert Dy

‘Blade Runner 2049’ Walks Slowly Through a Fascinating Future Landscape

The belated sequel to the 1982 classic takes its time, luxuriating in incredible visuals

NBHD movie 5 ticketsBlade Runner 2049, as the title suggests, takes place thirty years after the events of the 1982 film. Opening text explains where we are: artificial humans known as Replicants rebelled against the social order but were crushed, later to be replaced by a more docile, controllable version created by the Wallace Corporation. Special police officers known as Blade Runners hunt down the remaining rogue Replicants. The story begins with Blade Runner K (Ryan Gosling) on a mission where he stumbles onto a much greater mystery that has him tracking down the participants in an impossible event that took place decades prior.BR-CC-7250This sequel expands on the original in rather interesting ways. Like the first, it is essentially a detective story dressed up in sci-fi elements, following a future gumshoe in a dystopian Los Angeles as he unravels a mystery that brings up questions about what is real and what it means to be human. And like the original, this film mostly lets the plot be a facilitator for exploring the world that it has built. The difference is that the world is much bigger this time, and this film is even more willing to linger in its curious little corners, luxuriating in the pure visual splendor of this dystopian future world.BR-11K walks slowly in almost every scene he’s in. It is a function of the character being cautious as he walks into dangerous situations, but it also sets the pace for the film. It walks slowly and methodically, giving time to take in the surroundings. It offers space for fairly lengthy conversations that overtly address the themes of the story. The dialogue can feel clunky at points, with characters spouting odd turns of expository phrase in pursuit of expressing these heady ideas. But they still serve to add intriguing layers to the central philosophical dilemma inherent to the setting.

And so, the plot is designed mainly to bring K to one strange, interesting place after another, revealing new horrors and wonders alike. A woman in isolation designs dreams for robots. Children forced to work in an orphanage in the middle of a massive scrapyard. The remnants of a once-alive city, now covered in a deadly orange haze. The film boasts a level of design that more than lives up to the reputations of the original, which turned out to be one of the most influential films of all time. It mitigates the effects of its lengthy runtime through its sheer ability to show the audience things they haven’t quite seen before. Director of Photography Roger Deakins is doing the best work of his lengthy, storied career. And that’s really saying a lot.BR-MarietteThe film exhibits skill and directorial aplomb in its less flashy moments as well. The direction is often elegant, the film’s procedural elements coming to life thanks to the calm, assured staging. Take note of a very simple scene early on where K revisits the scene of a crime, and notices something new. It is a small scene made up of as few shots as possible, perfectly timed to convey a feeling that goes beyond the plain facts of the scene. Ryan Gosling turns out to be a key part of what makes this film work, though. The actor, who has always shown a capacity for being a little alien, is used to great effect in this film. The very questions that the film seeks to answer play out on Gosling’s face.BR-26On a visual level alone, Blade Runner 2049 would be worth recommending. The film just puts together so many powerful and memorable images in its lengthy runtime, and it offers the space to take it all in properly. That the film actually works on a narrative level almost seems secondary. The script can be clunky at times, but it manages to find clever ways to tie into the past while still being its own thing, adding intriguing layers to what’s come before, digging deeper into a vision of the future where the very nature of humanity is put into question.

BLADE RUNNER 2049 IS NOW SHOWING IN CINEMAS NATIONWIDE
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Philbert Dy
Philbert Ortiz Dy has been reviewing movies professionally since 2007, and has thus dedicated his life to being yelled at by fans of literally everyone. He is currently the Online Editor of Rogue.ph. Yell at him on Twitter at @philbertdy.
tv + film by Philbert Dy

‘La La Land’ is a Fizzy Bit of Hollywood Magic

Old Hollywood escapism and nostalgia make this musical a remarkable treat.

NBHD movie 4-2 ticketsLa La Land opens on a typical Los Angeles traffic jam. Typical, that is, until someone starts singing. In one long, unbroken virtuosic take, the movie establishes its tone, matching the escapist fantasy of the movie musical with the mundane reality of a freeway snarl. It then introduces its characters: Mia (Emma Stone), the aspiring actress, and Seb (Ryan Gosling), would-be Jazz club owner. The two meet, fall in love, and then encounter tension as their journeys towards making it in LA take them on separate journeys.

This is a film that essentially documents a love-hate relationship with Los Angeles. It acknowledges that it is a place where dreams come true, but not for everyone. In between their dreamy musical sequences, the characters are confronted with a series of cold, unfeeling people that really couldn’t give a damn about their dreams. It is a place where even if you achieve your dream, it may have come at a severe price. The film plays with the tension between the perceived glamour of Hollywood and its far more simple reality. Things don’t usually work out the way they do in the movies. There is a perfect Hollywood version of our lives, but they can only exist in our imagination.

LLL d 07 _1232.NEFThe result is a fizzy bit of Hollywood magic. It is weightless, but lovely. Its two hours fly by effortlessly, transporting the viewer to another time, another place; practically another dimension. It is set in the present, but its aesthetics are taken from the past. It is noticeably brighter, eschewing the muted palettes of modern Hollywood for the Technicolor joy of decades past. There is a lot of old Hollywood in there, but the film also seems to take it cue from French director Jacques Demy’s musicals. It grounds the escapism in the very human struggles of its characters. They are broke. They make compromises. They suffer all manner of disappointment that they cannot really just sing and dance away.

LLL d 16 _3063.NEFThe movie’s sense of nostalgia is enchanting, but it may also be its biggest weakness. As much the film emotionally grounds a lot of its musical excess, it still often feels more like an exercise in form than anything else. There are points where it feels like the movie is meant to be admired, more than felt. One can break down the pastiche and spot the homages and marvel in one virtuosic musical sequence after the next. But in all that, the story and the characters don’t always feel vital. The triumphs and tragedies aren’t felt as strongly as they could be.

LLL d 13 _2649.NEFBut again: lovely. The jazz-inflected music makes for interesting melodies. The lyrics feels shaky at points, with simplistic rhymes at times getting in the way of conveying deeper ideas, but it all works well enough. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone contribute much to the loveliness of everything. The two are radiant on screen, and the camera really knows it. They are clearly not the best singers, but it is the imperfections in their technique that give this film its humanity. The odd off note here and there gives the musical its texture, and contributes to the idea of their fantasies being untenable.

LLL d 35_5707.NEFLa La Land doesn’t quite achieve the heights of performance or emotion that its influences did, but that may be by design. This is a movie that resists its own excesses, even while partaking in them. The effect is remarkable and admirable, if not quite entirely moving. In spite of its grounding of its elements, the film is still at best a seductive piece of Hollywood escapism. It still resists giving itself over to the inherent tragedies of its story, preferring in the end to let the movie magic win. There is value in that, even if that doesn’t seem to entirely fit with the theme.

LA LA LAND OPENS IN LOCAL CINEMAS ON JANUARY 11 FROM PIONEER FILMS.
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Philbert Dy
Philbert Ortiz Dy has been reviewing movies professionally since 2007, and has thus dedicated his life to being yelled at by fans of literally everyone. He is currently the Online Editor of Rogue.ph. Yell at him on Twitter at @philbertdy.