After successfully saving jazz a couple of years ago, director Damien Chazelle teams up with leading actor Ryan Gosling once again for space drama First Man. Based on James R. Hansen’s biography of the same name, the plot follows the lives of NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong (Gosling) and his wife Janet (Claire Foy) during the 1960s Space Race. When Neil is selected to command the now legendary Apollo 11 lunar landing mission, he seizes the opportunity to make history.
Writer and director Damien Chazelle sweeps us up in classic Hollywood homage with his latest feature La La Land, a musical romance set in modern-day Los Angeles. The story follows aspiring actress Mia (Emma Stone) who is at the end of her tether after a run of bad auditions. At a particular low point, she spots Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a down-trodden jazz pianist who performs at a restaurant where nobody cares about him or the music he plays. They are contemporary starving artists pursuing old-fashioned dreams, and when fate strikes they bond over their shared passion and ambitions to get a break in the ‘city of stars’. Seb shrugs off his failure to succeed, saying ‘I’m letting life hit me until it gets tired’, but can the pair hit back at life or are they destined for never-ending rejection?
An intense, edge of your seat, drama about jazz music would appear about as plausible as a feel-good flick in a funeral parlour but that’s exactly what director Damien Chazelle achieves with ‘Whiplash’. Music school drummer Andrew Neimann (Miles Teller) is young and impressionable, determined to be the next big sensation of the jazz scene. Standing in his way is intimidating conductor/mentor Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) whose exceptionally high standards lend him extreme methods of coaching. Are his unorthodox teaching techniques necessary means to an end or is he bitterly blocking the threshold to stardom because he himself feels he has underachieved?