First Man (2018)

first-man-movie-poster-review-2018Director: Damien Chazelle

Genre: Biography, Drama, History

Runtime: 141 Minutes

Main Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Patrick Fugit, Christopher Abbott, Olivia Hamilton, Ciarán Hinds, Pablo Schreiber

Plot: The real-life story behind Neil Armstrong, and how he found himself leading the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the moon on 20th July 1969.

My Thoughts: Not gonna lie, I had to really push myself to go and see First Man. It had great reviews, it’s directed by the amazing Damien Chazelle, it stars Ryan Gosling, it’s in the running for the Oscars – it was ticking so many boxes for me. But it’s a long movie, and it’s a subject I honestly don’t have much interest in. As usual, I’m really glad I went in the end!

First Man probably takes 3rd place in Damien Chazelle’s movies for me, but it’s still a fantastic movie. I didn’t expect it to have so many ‘space-y’ moments, and the opening in particular quite literally took my breath away. Then you have the heartbreaking family moments that had me openly sobbing in the middle of the room – not embarrassing at all. So – it almost takes the dramatic elements of Whiplash (2014) and the heart-crushing elements of La La Land (2016).

Ryan Gosling was great throughout in a calm, and fairly quiet role, with a much bigger personality bubbling on the surface. I don’t know Neil Armstrong at all well enough to know how well Gosling matches up, but still. Claire Foy didn’t get as many moments as I thought she would, but the scene where she tells Neil to explain to his kids that there’s a chance he won’t survive the mission was powerful as hell.

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Best Bit: No surprises here, but the best moment was watching Neil first walk on the moon. Especially when you find out what he brought with him…I felt it coming and I was a wreck! A moment that I wish I’d been able to witness in IMAX to be honest.

Worst Bit: Not a ‘bit’ in particular, but it felt like the first hour or so raced by, and then the pacing fell to a snail pace, which really doesn’t help when the movie is 20 minutes too long to begin with!

Fun Trivia: In the breakfast scene just before Apollo 11 launched, the artist sketching Armstrong is Chris Calle, son of the NASA artist Paul Calle. Chris was playing his father who actually sketched the crew that morning.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 wooden-beaded bracelets…don’t make me explain why…*sobs*.

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Review: La La Land (2017)

la-la-land-review-2017-posterWhen the trailer first came out for La La Land, I felt torn. Yes, the movie was reuniting Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, the most amazing on-screen couple EVER. But it was a musical. I don’t like musicals. That’s what I told people, I don’t ‘do’ musicals. Well, apart from every Disney movie ever made, The Muppets movie, my undying guilty love for High School Musical, and the musical Broadway show I saw on honeymoon. Hm. Turns out I’m a musical fan after all.

Once I’d come to terms with this, I was hyping so much it literally hurt. With every review that cropped up in my feed, I felt a twinge of jealousy that one more person had seen it, whilst I was still waiting. Yet when my time came, I was terrified. When you’ve been looking forward to something for so long, and literally everyone has said how amazing it is (apart from someone on my Facebook feed who shall remain anonymous) you just get this feeling, what if I don’t enjoy it?

I shouldn’t have worried. I know that now. Mercifully, my worry vanished in the opening scene, when a highway full of stand still traffic burst into song about how how much of a beautiful and sunny day it is. People were dancing on top of their cars, a band was playing from the inside of a lorry, and everything was just so colourful. I was grinning from ear to ear, and then Ryan Gosling blared that car horn and I fell in love. To me, Ryan Gosling blaring a car horn is the equivalent to that boombox scene in Say Anything!

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Love is the theme here in La La Land. Love for your hometown, for your family and friends, for your dreams. Mia (Emma Stone) is an actress working at a coffee shop at the Warner Bros Studio, attending audition after audition to try and catch her big break. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a struggling musician playing piano at a jazz bar ran by a guy named Bill (J.K. Simmons) who has no appreciation for the music genre. Knowing that La La Land is directed by Damien Chazelle who also directed Whiplash, I wanted so badly for Bill to tell Seb that the music ‘wasn’t his tempo’, but complaining about it general kept me happy enough!

Watching Mia and Seb go from hating each other to loving each other was just so much fun to watch. The scene at the pool party was a favourite of mine, my husband and I were laughing so much I that I think we got a few funny looks for finding it a little too funny. Their musical number whilst walking to find Mia’s car was utter perfection, with the sarcastic comebacks going back and forth. It’s one of those songs you find yourself tapping your feet to without even noticing.

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Ugh, I could honestly gush about this movie for hours if I was given the chance. Just give it all the awards, please. The cinematography was stunning, the costumes were a delight (I would kill for Mia’s wardrobe, and my husband wants some of those shoes Seb wore!) and the ending was so bittersweet. I wasn’t even sure why I was crying in the end, I didn’t know whether I was happy or sad.

It was nights like that night that I was so grateful for Spotify, because I stuck the soundtrack on as soon as we got into the car. It was just a shame home was only 10 minutes away! A full 5/5 chicken on sticks from me.

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