Colossal Review

I sat down for this movie having seen one trailer. From that trailer I had the impression it would be a comedy monster movie and something a little different. Therefore sitting down to watch Colossal I had no expectations and a very vague idea of what the movie was going to be which is quite refreshing for me.

Boasting Anne Hathaway in the lead role and Jason Sudeikis and Dan Stevens playing support the small cast has plenty of talent and it’s often in smaller films like this that performers can really show off their talents. Colossal is no exception, with Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis giving really stellar performances. Both commit to their roles and disappear into the characters and I did find them both to be interesting and engaging characters.

Hathaway is the real heart of the film and without her performance the film would almost completely fall apart. Sudeikis gives the best pure acting performance I have seen him do, and I hope to see him more in serious roles as this was a great indication he can really bring it when needed. His character walks a line between caring, intimidating, funny, and creepy which is handled very well.

Dan Stevens’ character is a little one-dimensional and predictable but he is fine in the role, and the same goes for the other two supporting actors who feature in the film as Sudeikis’ characters friends. We really focus on where the two lead characters have ended up in their lives and some of the best parts of the film are when we are delving into these characters. If this was a straight up Dramedy it would work very well as I found myself wanting more from them.

The other side of this film is the giant monster parts of the film, which I have to say i did enjoy. The design is reminiscent of a giant version of Groot, but the unique twist with our main character being in control of the monster really was refreshing and i enjoyed seeing that play out. The reasons this connection exists are rather glossed over, and the explanation we do get didn’t really satisfy me but then it was a giant monster so it is easy to forgive the lack of a feasible explanation.

All the elements I have mentioned so far point to this being a good if not great film. However I felt there was a real disconnect between either side of this particular coin. I really enjoyed the monster side, and I really enjoyed the dramedy side, but the links between them just didn’t hit for me. There are periods in the film where the monster attacks are completely forgotten for a few beats and our characters continue down other roads until circling back to the giant monster idea.

Verdict

I can’t say Colossal does anything bad, in fact it does a lot very well. Anne Hathaway is exceptional and really holds the film together when it could derail, and her performance along with Sudeikis’ is almost worth the ticket price alone. I think this film will hit different ways for everyone, and perhaps the merging of Giant Monster movie and Dark Comedy Drama will blend more comfortably for you. Unfortunately for me the disjointed feeling came in as soon as we see the Monster and it never really shifted, therefore tainting the full movie for me. Colossal has the feeling of something special, but it gets lost in the shake up of two films.

6/10 – Just falls the right side of ok for me, but it could have been much more. 

La La Land Review

Director Damien Chazelle follows up my favourite film of 2014 Whiplash with La La Land. Considering how much I loved the directors previous effort, and the addition of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone I was very excited to see this movie. La La Land is a love letter to old Hollywood musicals, and it is simply fantastic. 

Inspired by the likes of Grease and Singing In The Rain, this movie brings the magic of those movies into the modern day. It has been a long long time since i can remember having this much fun with an original musical and a huge part of that is director Damien Chazelle. The transitions into and out of musical numbers is seamlessly done, and I never found any of the songs jarring like they often can be in musicals. The lighting, something you rarely notice in films, is used brilliantly at times like a stage play and it really does enhance the music.

Now he has made 2 of the best films in recent times he will likely be courted for some bigger budget projects, but i personally hope he continues to produce these remarkable original movies. He does a magnificent job here, and I would be shocked if Chazelle isn’t nominated for Best director, and would not be surprised at all if he takes the prize (although i am yet to see every contender yet).

Astaire and Rogers, meet Gosling and Stone

I often wonder what it would’ve been like to witness Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers at the time they was around. Luckily in the modern day we have Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. The two have mesmerising chemistry, and the way they play off each other completely hooks you in their romance.

Emma Stone shows again she is an unbelievably talented actress, and I had no idea she could sing and dance so well. She plays a young actress struggling in the tough world of Hollywood, and completely sells the role in one of the most rounded performances of the year. She’s funny and bright when needed, and then spins on a dime and makes you care when things don’t go exactly how they was supposed to.

As for the lead man, Ryan Gosling is brilliant. This man is too good looking and talented. He’s funny, he can act, sing, play all kinds of musical instruments and he can dance. So much talent in all these areas means we have to assume he is absolutely terrible in bed, as no man can have everything. Jokes aside, he matches Emma Stone stride for stride in this film and both of them deserve some awards recognition on top of what they already have.

Verdict

Damien Chazelle had a tough act to follow in Whiplash, but somehow he has not only matched it with La La Land, he has surpassed it. This is one of the best films in recent times and unless you have an unhealthy hate of musicals and films, this is a delightful film for everyone.

10/10 – La La Land is one of my favourite films.