Dreams Do Come True: Batgirl Casting

Mark March 30, 2017 down as one of the greatest days of my life. A Batgirl film was finally announced, with Joss Whedon at the helm to write and direct it. You might think it is an exaggeration, but my husband begs to differ. I fancy it is because I even talk about it in my sleep. In my head, I already have the ideal movie script and cast. While I may ponder my full ideal cast and story at a later time, I first wanted to play with who could take on the Batgirl cowl. Of course, I have a clear favorite, but there are others I wouldn’t be disappointed in taking the lead. There are also a very few that I want nowhere near the role (looking at you, Anna Kendrick and Jena Malone). I digress. On to the main point, who is our Barbara Gordon?

First off, I have a very clear image of Barbara Gordon. Red hair, librarian/girl next door cute, smart with a taste of sarcastic wittiness. This is my Barbara Gordon. She cares about others and she doesn’t take your shit. Plain and simple. She’s my cup of tea.

4. Karen Gillan 

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When it comes down to the look, Karen Gillan pretty much nails it. Her bright red hair and ability to rock the girl next door style leaves me pretty much charmed. Also, there are no concerns about her acting abilities. From Doctor Who to Guardians of the Galaxy and even Selfie, she’s always brought a fresh dewiness to the roll. My biggest concern with Gillan is her active role in the Marvel universe. Sure, she is unrecognizable as Nebula, but she is even slated to be in Avengers: Infinity War. I have no doubts that Marvel will not want to share.

3. Olivia Cooke

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The youngest of the bunch, Olivia Cooke has the opportunity to bring a naivety to the role that no other actress on the list could match. If they were going with a Batgirl origin story, I think Cooke could be their girl. Personally, I prefer a slightly aged up version, but I would be interested in seeing how Cooke could put her own flair on the Batgirl mantra. I’m the most unfamiliar with her work, only seeing her in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. While she seems to be typically casted in “scream girl” roles, I’m excited to see what she brings to the table in Ready Player One. Is she the Barbara Gordon the world didn’t know they needed?

2. Jane Levy

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If there is one person who could nail Barbara Gordon’s sassy wit right off the bat, it is Jane Levy. Have doubts? Watch her in Suburgatory. You will fall in love, and wonder why this darling tv show was cancelled. It was ahead of its time, but we can write those wrongs by giving Levy her time to shine. Similar to Cooke, Levy has been a little bit of a Scream Queen, but she has shined in every role. Any role that allows Levy to showcase her witty charm, you can sign me up for. Also, if we are going with the Batgirl of Burnside story, Levy knows how to navigate going from a big city to a town.

1. Emma Stone

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I know, you get it. I love Emma Stone. But do you know why I love Emma Stone? It started with House Bunny, rumbled in Zombieland and solidified in Easy A. This was the girl who I wanted to be Barbara Gordon. She embodies the role with her comedic timing, clever tongue and down to earth personality. This is always what I’ve known of Batgirl, and Stone is who I wanted to personify it on the big screen. Ironically, Stone played my second favorite female comic character of all time, Gwen Stacy. They both have a similar sharpness that makes them stick out. At the end of the day, both of these characters always loved their respective significant others for who they were, not the costumes they wore to save the day. Even more so, both of these ladies kicked ass in their chosen fields. Look at both of them shine today, as our current Batgirl and Spider-Gwen. Back to the main point, Stone is the cheeky detective we need and the sassy heroine we want when it comes to Barbara Gordon.

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All About That Oscars, Take 3

New year, new Oscars. That’s how the saying goes, right? Anyways, it’s my favorite time of the year, once again. Legitimately, I’ve been on edge all week waiting for Sunday. Yes, I understand it is just another awards ceremony, but we can dive into my bad habits another time. Truthfully, this has been an outstanding year in film and I’m very excited to see what the Oscars brings to the table.

Best Supporting Actor

My Pick: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

If I had to pick one performance that truly outshone the rest this year, it would be Mahershala Ali’s turn as a lovable drug dealer in Moonlight. What’s even more remarkable is the imprint he leaves, despite only starring in the film for maybe 20 minutes. How was his performance so effective? Every little detail. The way he carries himself, the inner turmoil you see on his face when dealing with the main character, his heart and, honestly, the list could go on and on. One thing I constantly highlight is how his presence is still felt after he is gone. He played such a significant role in the main character’s life, and this type of feeling is unmatched by any of the other supporting actors.

Best Supporting Actress

My Pick: Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Who Will Win: Viola Davis, Fences

On any given Sunday, you would hear me singing all of the praises for Viola Davis and that isn’t going to change today. Viola Davis is a master class actress who is in a league of the best and brightest, but the problem here in the category she is in. Davis rightfully deserves to be the in the Best Actress race. Unfortunately, the supporting actress category was viewed as less crowded and a guaranteed shoo-in for a win. This leaves true supporting roles, such as Naomie Harris and Michelle Williams, out in the cold. Don’t get me wrong, Viola deserves this award. I just wish she would have chosen to run in her true category.

Back to Harris, who was a marvel in Moonlight. She dominated what a supporting role is supposed to be. Although she was a hard character to support, you wanted her to be the type of parental figure needed. You witness her cruelty driven by an addiction and the heartbreak she experiences a little too late due to the deteriorated relationship with her son. It’s a role worth examining and praising, and Harris pulled it off in three days. Just remember that years down the road.

Best Actor

My Pick: Andrew Garfield, Silence

Who Will Win: Denzel Washington, Fences

No, your eyes do not deceive you, I did say Silence. And no, I do not mean Hacksaw Ridge. I know what movie Andrew Garfield is nominated for, but we all know what role was Oscar worthy. I think very, very highly of Garfield and his acting abilities, and I think they are something that gets overshadowed because he played Spider-man. Side note, I will happily argue with you as to why he is the best Spider-man to date. Back to the main point, Silence was a hard film that was very much carried on Garfield’s back. I do not think it would have had the same soul without his presence, and I don’t think Scorsese’s passion project would have its heart without him. I would continue to layer on the compliments, but we need to get back to the actor’s race at hands.

With those nominated, Denzel Washington brings another award winning performance in Fences, even if it isn’t his best to date. It still feels raw and vulnerable, which is one of the reasons people love watching Denzel onscreen. Similar to Harris, this isn’t a character you root for, but it is a role that feels real and worthy of telling. While there is a lot of stylistic choices that I would change to Fences, Denzel and Viola’s chemistry and, at times, volatile relationship is one that I wouldn’t. It sticks out like a sore thumb and keeps you watching as you journey through this life with them.

Best Actress

My Pick: Emma Stone, La La Land

Who Will Win: Emma Stone, La La Land

Genuine, heartbreaking and loving. These are the three words I would use to describe Emma Stone’s performance in La La Land. Want another one? Effortless. While this is a musical, this film isn’t built upon her singing or dancing abilities. No, that’s just part of the charm. La La Land is based on ordinary people who dream of tackling something greater in life. If you don’t understand Stone’s talent, watch her face throughout the movie. She carries all of her best dialogue through her posture, her eyes and the subtle way she moves her mouth. She conveys emotions with ease but holds firmly in a role surrounded in reality. Fall and onwards is carried on her shoulders. Through her audition to the tear duct inducing ending, Emma Stone is the one who whisks you away and makes you feel the heartache and memories of love.

Best Director

My Pick: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Who Will Win: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Whiplash was not a one-hit wonder, and we should all be wondering what else Damien Chazelle has up his sleeve. While there is a lot of deservingly wonderful directors here, Chazelle created something that couldn’t be done: a modern day, original musical. The weight of those words might feel light, but we haven’t seen a musical with this much heart and soul for ages. The film serves not only as a love letter to LA but to those who try to embark on their dreams each day. Between the technicolored wonderland and intimate relationship built between Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, Chazelle never misses a beat. He has created something that will last for ages to come.

Best Picture

My Pick: La La Land

Who Will Win: La La Land

You’ve made it to the big prize, and if you read my other picks then this one comes as no surprise. La La Land stole my heart, and I partly think it is because it is the first film that has shocked me and affected me in such a long time. As I’ve mentioned before, I was lucky enough to see this at the opening of the Denver Film Festival. My god, I was blown away. Every movie should be seen in an opera-worthy auditorium. Here’s the thing, with each repeat viewing I’ve fallen more in love. In its flaws, I see a story that has been waiting to be told. At its best, it is a feeling that I want to be wrapped in forever. I don’t think I’ll ever be over the ending, and I don’t want to be. Ultimately, La La Land is something that will haunt me and move me, and I can’t wait to experience it again.

Reading Rainbow: Popkaiture’s 2017 Reading List

2017 has already started off as a mixed bag, but there is no better way than remedying it with some good old fashioned reading. If you have nothing better to do in your free time or just really love to read, join me on a unique reading journey. Between revisiting old favorites and journeying onto new stories, I hope you will join me for one helluva reading voyage. At the end of each month, I’ll dive into a dissection of each book and what I’ve gained through each piece of glorious literature. Let’s get started, we don’t have much of January left to finish our first book!

January’s Book: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler’s Wife is my favorite book, and I learn something new with every reading of it. Unfortunately, the rest of Audrey Niffenegger‘s writing has not been able to recapture the magic of this book, but that isn’t going to stop me from loving it. If you are willing to dive into a relationship and the various moments of times they spend together, then get ready for one amazing magic carpet ride. I’m very excited to revisit this book, as it is the perfect way to kick of 2017!

February’s Book: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

I’ve solved mysteries with Miss Marple and followed behind collecting details with Hercules Poirot, but this is the first crime I’ll be solving with Tommy and Tuppence. Mysteries are my game, and this is the first of three on the list. If you’ve never read Agatha Christie before, she is the mother of modern mysteries. I wish there was another author who could recapture her magic for today’s audiences, but I’ll settle for constantly finding new stories of hers to read. The Secret Adversary specifically follows a couple who is attracted to the allure of private investigating, but their first assignment threatens to test their bond. There’s nothing better to celebrate the month of love than a couple who embarks on these mysteries together, and continue to grow with one another over each new case.

March’s Book: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Every new year deserves a little bit of comedy, and Mindy Kaling is the perfect author to help you giggle. Why Not Me? is the follow-up to her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), and I’m excited to see the different aspects of her life with this new(ish) short story collection. Maybe we will find out the answer to the lifelong question: why not me? Or maybe we will just get a full heartfelt laughs at relatables stories. Any way it goes, Kaling will be the perfect entry way into St. Patrick’s Day 2017!

April’s Book: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Marking off one of the classics, April is dedicated to Kurt Vonnegut‘s Slaughterhouse-Five. My husband and I just inherited a whole collection of Vonnegut’s books, and I’m looking at this being the first of many books of his that I will be reading. I missed out on reading this gem in high school, so I’m making up for lost time.

May’s Book: Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Just like January was dedicated to my favorite book, May is dedicated to my husband’s favorite. A science-fiction story centered around a badass teenage girl? Sign me up! Since Isaac Asimov is my husband’s favorite author, I’m familiar with a few of his works and have been dying to read Second Foundation. 2017 is going to be dedicated to tackling things I’ve been wanting to do, and my reading list is no different! Let’s adventure into one of the greatest sci-fi stories of all time together.

June’s Book: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

To mark the start of summer, we will be backpacking with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Okay, maybe not backpacking, but Ann Brashares captures the joy and turmoil of a teenage summer. I’ve been wanting to revisit this series for awhile, especially with all the talks of a third Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie. If I get you addicted and inspire you to read the rest of the story, well that’s all part of job! 😉

July’s Book: Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn

Heroine Complex was, hands down, my favorite book of 2016, and it’s sequel is getting released July 4, 2017! If you aren’t familiar with Sarah Kuhn‘s work, get acquainted with her. She has such a genuity and quirkiness to her writing, and I indulge in it wholeheartedly. Heroine Complex follows Evie Tanaka, while Heroine Worship will be following Aveda Jupiter, who is her best friend and original superhero. I’m a little skeptical of diving into Aveda’s mind, mostly because I loved Evie’s story, but I’ll follow Kuhn to the end of the line. I hope you will, too!

August’s Book: Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

If you are familiar with Barbara Kingsolver, then you know that she weaves together her words with lyrical storytelling. I read her novel, The Poisonwood Bible, in high school, and I’ve been dying to revisit her writing. Prodigal Summer feels like the perfect next step, and I’ve only heard people rave about it. I’m not sure what to expect for it, but I’ve heard that it centers on three different stories and it’s very organic in more ways than one. If you don’t know how to interpret that, neither do I. Let’s do this together!

September’s Book: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I was introduced to Rebecca in my senior AP English class. Described as a modern-ish Jane Eyre but with a lot more intrigue, and I’ve been dying to read it. I’ve owned this book since reading that article, and I’ve never touched it. Well, that’s all about to change this year! I feel like this is a good way to welcome back school or welcome in fall, whatever change you are experiencing in September. I’m ready to experience Daphne du Maurier. It’s been a long time coming.

October’s Book: The Trespasser by Tana French

The 6th book in the Dublin Murder Squad series, Tana French is the closest we have to a modern day Agatha Christie. I’ve been a fan of this series after one of my English teachers recommended it to me. French has such a unique way of constructing a mystery, and each book follows a character from a previous book. This means you don’t need to read the first five, but I recommend it if you enjoy mysteries and if you want a little bit of background on everything. I’m excited to see where The Trespasser is going to take us.

November’s Book: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

The last mystery on this list, so we have to do it right. Back to Christie, but this times at the hands of Hercules Poirot. Murder on the Orient Express is a classic, and one of the few big titles I haven’t tackled from the Poirot stories. Why has it taken me so long? I was waiting for something great to come along, like the Murder on the Orient Express film that will be released on November 22nd. I’m gearing us up for the movie, so you’re welcome. Also, just be prepared because we know it will not be as good, but we take the victories no matter how small!

December’s Book: The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Two years ago, I read this book called The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Little did I know, this was a series referred to as the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and the next book was a “prequel” called The Angel’s Game. Luckily for you, this book can be read independently of one another, but Zafon’s writing is very alluring and eerie. Some categorize this as a mystery, and while it has mystery elements, it feels like your technical gothic fiction. What is gothic fiction? I’m glad you asked. It’s like the best of horror, mystery and romance in a dark setting. If that sounds tantalizing, then Carlos Ruiz Zafon is the author for you.

Things to Make You Smile: Best of 2016

What’s better than beginning a new year by looking back at what was good from the last? 2016 wasn’t one of the best years on the books, but it had it’s moments that reassured everyone maybe it would be okay after all. I mean, if you can’t escape with a good movie or book, then what even is the point? If you are still looking for a little bit of sunshine, I hope this list provides you with everything you need. Here are the ten things that made 2016 all worth it (well, kind of).

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La La Land

Damien Chazelle created a Hollywood musical masterpiece, and he knows it. Unlike traditional musicals, La La Land only boasts 6 songs with actual singing, but it’s soundtrack isn’t something to brush off. The songs littered through out the movie will make you fall in love and leave you humming for days. Maybe that’s just me, I have bought the soundtrack digitally and received the vinyl for Christmas (I can’t stop singing it, and I know I’m driving my loved ones crazy).

Much like the tagline, this movie is for the fools who dream. If the opening scene doesn’t draw you in and the last 15 minutes doesn’t get your tear ducts working, then I think we need to talk. Bring back the chemistry from Crazy, Stupid, Love. and Gangster Squad, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone sparkle like they never have before. Gosling hit a stellar year with film, and has already partnered up with Chazelle for a Neil Armstrong-biopic, but it is Stone who steals your heart and doesn’t stop running. Stone brings sincerity to every role she touches, but La La Land is the next level and her career best. I’ll be forever grateful for this 2-hour romantic stroll about the ones who dream. Until it is on DVD, I guess I’ll just be humming along to the soundtrack every day (sorry loved ones).

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Sarah Kuhn’s “Heroine Complex”

Lately, I’ve had a hard time connecting to books. Graphic novels are a different story, but traditional books have eluded me this year. That was, until I stumbled across Heroine Complex at our local Barnes and Noble. If the cover didn’t suck me in, the story did. A fine mix between your soapy fantasy love story and the baddest female super heroines previously missing from DC and Marvel movies,  you’ll fall in love with Evie and her fellow companions and see why representation is so important in storytelling (and, of course, every day life).

With the sequel, Heroine Worship, set to be released in July 2017, I can’t wait to fall back into the comfortable, sassy mind of Evie Tanaka and see if her life is still ridded with evil cupcakes. Cheers to Sarah Kuhn for making such an easily lovable character, and for reminding me that good books are always waiting around the corner.

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Arrival

Speaking of women who kick ass, have you seen Arrival? One of the sharpest sci-fi movies to date, I instantly fell in love and connected to Amy Adams‘ character, Louise Banks. The story felt familiar (in the best way), and the structure of the film will make you long for more science fiction stories. The movie is based on a short story by Ted Chiang called, “Story of Your Life.” If you connected to this film like I did, I highly recommend checking out the short story and connecting to some of Chiang’s other material.

I don’t want to spoil the plot of Arrival, but if you follow along closely you will catch little bits of detail that unravel for a very hard hitting final act. Don’t sleep on this film. If it is still in theaters around you, I urge you to go out and see it now.

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Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

One of the few new shows I actually loved this year, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency captured my heart with episode one. The titular character, Dirk Gently, is such a gem, but he doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all the supporting characters. Ultimately, this feels like the love letter Douglas Adams deserves, whose novel the show is based upon.

To anyone worried about getting too attached to a show, Dirk Gently’s has already been renewed for a season 2! That means another season full of ridiculous adventures, a new mystery to explore and an opportunity to show this show to the people you care about most in your life. With all of its quirks, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency was the show I needed in 2016.

Added bonus: If you love the show as much as I do, be sure to follow their Twitter account for a little extra pep in your step every morning.

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The Nice Guys

Shane Black created a very raunchy buddy-cop comedy, and I’m here for every second of it. I remember seeing previews for The Nice Guys in February and wanting to see it, but alas my husband and I waited until it was out on DVD. Out of all the movies we saw in 2016, I wish we would have saw this one in theaters. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe had some of the best on-screen chemistry I have ever scene, and, much like Dirk Gently, the Twitter account did a great job of promoting that fact (enjoy).

The movie itself found a way to pair up two unlikely candidates to solve a mystery that is so ridiculous, that you will want to follow it until the in. Sprinkled with inappropriate jokes, Gosling truly owns every scene, but his character’s daughter, Angourie Rice stole the show in her own way. Crowe reminds you that he can be charming, but more than anything the movie left me wanting a Yoo-hoo! If that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will.

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Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr’s Batgirl Issue 50 (and before)

Why Issue 50? Well, that is the last issue that the Batgirl trio, Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr, worked on together. Batgirl of Burnside, as I like to call the journey (but it also the name of the first volume), was one of the greatest re-envisions of Batgirl and I relished in every issue. If you ever glanced at any of Tarr’s work, then you know exactly the kind of beauty you are getting yourself in for. As for Stewart and Fletcher, they help bring the images to life and create a story worth living in.

Don’t be too sad that they aren’t creating any more issues for Batgirl (even if I’m still silently sobbing in my pillow), they developed a new comic series through Image Comics called Motor Crush and it is worth diving into. Just as vivid and lively as Batgirl, this is a dynamic trio that I would keep my eye on in years to come.

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Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

When I recently read Danielle Gutierrez’s article about Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, it was everything I’d been feeling and more. With little promotion before it’s release, Popstar was one of the best comedies I’ve indulged in. The Lonely Island has always had a direct line to my funny bone, but this felt like a refinement over their past material and built a monster that I’ve watched multiple times since purchasing on DVD. Unfortunately, like Gutierrez mentioned, I was one of the few who saw it in theaters, much less to tell all of our closest friends about it who didn’t even know it existed.

If you are looking for a good laugh or some good weekend entertainment, rent it. Get stuck on the comical soundtrack, buy it and play it on repeat. After a gloomy 2016, who doesn’t need something like”Incredible Thoughts” to brighten up their day? If this is any sign of what is to come from The Lonely Island, sign me up for more. Like usual, I’ll be there waiting for it the day it releases.

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Kate McKinnon

If you’ve made it through 2016 without anyone bringing up Kate McKinnon, I’m utterly shocked. One of the brightest stars of 2016, McKinnon not only dominated SNL, but also made a name for herself in Ghostbusters amongst other comedies released this year. Even with lackluster releases of Office Christmas Party and Masterminds, McKinnon found a way to make herself stand out against a crowd of comedic superstars. If she didn’t steal your heart as Hillary Clinton on SNL, then I truly have no hope for you going forward.

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Mahershala Ali

The best parts of Moonlight and Luke Cage, I’ve been a huge fan of Mahershala Ali since his role as Remy in House of Cards. Every time Ali graces the silver screen, he brings something new to the show. Whether charming or threatening, I’m almost always captivated with what he is selling. The most disappointing part is that Ali is almost always in a supporting role. Somehow, he never lets that stop him from dominating every scene, usually stealing the light from the main performer (looking at you Mike Colter). Let’s leave it at this, there is a reason he is sweeping the awards for best supporting actor this season.

La La Land Breakdown: Part 2, Audition

If you’re like me,  you’re still a little tipsy from La La Land‘s “City of Stars” trailer. This is perfectly okay, and I’m glad to have you along the ride with me. La La Land has been such a breath of fresh air into the world of musicals, at least trailer wise. So far, they’ve been able to tackle two trailers with catchy, sing-along tunes. They’ve been able to capture the magic of musicals, which we haven’t seen since Hairspray in the 80s (I’d even argue the remake from 2007). I love, love, love, love musicals. They are infectious and a true delight to watch, when they are done right. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first one to step up and suggest Moulin Rouge! or Chicago, maybe even Les Miserables, but this just feels a little bit more magical. Maybe because it is completely new; original music, a fresh story. Whatever it is, I’m pining for December.

Anyways, I’ve stalled you long enough. You’ve come for the main show, and I’m offering you some second-rate commentary on why it’s already so good. Snap to, the second trailer for La La Land was titled “Audition,” and believe it or not, it’s better than the first trailer. Like, a lot better, and that’s hard for me to say (I deeply loved the first trailer). While I wait for them to upload the song to Google Play (or the Music Store), let’s breakdown trailer number two.

Teaser Trailer #2: Audition

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Back to my Iris Shot, Damien Chazelle is already hitting all the right notes. To contrast from the first song, the beat is slower and the shot is inside the busy action of the city. We are pulled away from the full on blue, and are entered into a sunset of orange and blue. The city is blossoming and it’s no longer Ryan Gosling‘s Sebastian’s turn to tell the story. Emma Stone‘s Mia is pulling out all the stops on her own.

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Here’s to the ones who dream… Mia seems to contemplate herself before revealing a smile. This is the start of her journey, and she seems like she is currently happy with the life she is making for herself.

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Foolish as they may seem… A reintroduction of Sebastian. Once again, it feels firmly set that Gosling’s character knows who he is and what he wants from life. Following along with the lyrics, it seems relevant that both of them are dreamers who seem like they are reaching for foolish dreams.

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Once again, this highlights the daydream living Mia seems to embody. She’s hopeful for what lies ahead.

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Here’s to the hearts that ache… Does Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club have room for two more? But truly, a lot of these images feel like direct callbacks to the original trailer. Returned is Mia’s coffee stained blouse and diminished sense of hope, and Sebastian’s deranged coif. But, there are also two hopeful images in these shots that are directly from the original trailer, as well. One of a perfectly groomed Sebastian getting down on the piano, and one of the returned look of Mia watching from a far. Together the blend into a mix of defeated hopefulness, which might sound like an oxymoron, but bare with me.

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Here’s to the mess we make. Could that be a beautiful mess? Because these images seem to capture a life worth living. One thing to note, in the last trailer we see Mia running down the middle of the street (we will see that again later on), but we actually she her face in this scene and it is smiles. This could suggest a reflection on the film, the two-sided love story between Mia and Sebastian. From the bottom two images, it feels like this isn’t the life Mia had envisioned for herself, but Sebastian is providing her with a radiant love that’s worth it.

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While Gosling’s trailer showed him humming along on the bridge, Stone’s song is taking place at an audition. Fitting place to tell the story that is surrounding her, and maybe how she is able to take a transition from struggling actress to budding starlet.

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A highlight reel of the life Mia is building with Sebastian. But is this what she wants? Or does Mia want to be an actress? From the audition, this feels like there is a building turmoil inside of her. This is the life she wasn’t expecting, and acting is the life she has always dreamed of. Shot out to the little bit of French New Wave feel with the gradient videos of one of their shared moments.

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Another direct callback to the original trailer. As I mentioned in Part One, this still feels like the peak of their relationship. Based on the slideshow that happens before this, I see this as the point where they become ships in the night.

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I can’t help it, the connection to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers is unreal. I feel it though. I feel is so strongly. Also, I have no doubt these two scenes will feature incredible musical and dancing numbers. Will we see Stone dance backwards in high heels? Damn straight. I’m counting on it. We are looping back to the beginning of the song, with dreamers in mind. Here’s to the ones who dream…

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The two dreamers. While Stone is captured in the middle of a thought (as seen in the first trailer), Gosling seems to be signing a contract with John Legend‘s character Keith. Again, only formal introduction of a secondary character. To touch back to the first breakdown, I believe we caught a glimpse of Finn Wittrock‘s Greg. I’m now starting to wonder if Sebastian signing a contract with Keith is what pushes Mia away, and into the arms of Greg? Theories exploding everywhere. Whatever comes from this contract, I don’t think it is what Sebastian will want and maybe it will make him feel like it’s the reason he lost everything.

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With the city full in bloom, Los Angeles is the bird of the feather that ties them together. Foolish as they may seem…

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Taking a pause before uncovering more of the story, here is your introduction of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. While this is a fresh shot of Stone, the one of Gosling is from the theater date in the first trailer. Recall the Rebel Without a Cause. All I have here is that Stone’s white blouse is asking for coffee to be split on it. I’m more making this connection because she seems hopeful and full of life, but in a coffee shop. Does her day become unraveled leading her to let down her hair and call defeat?

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I’m still calling it, big Classical Hollywood happy ending. This just feels so perfect and in tune with the music and style and the films it is referencing. The path back to each other after everything has settled. Sebastian has gone back to the musical life he wants, and Mia knows that Sebastian is the one she wants to be with. Here’s to the hearts that ache…

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After the big move, this scene reminds us of the somber nature their relationship takes. It has me hot and cold, and I’m here for all of it. Maybe the mess they made from the beginning of the trailer isn’t so beautiful after all. Or maybe this is when they learn that they need to discover what they want and find a way back to the one another.

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Another direct callback to the first trailer, Mia is running away and Sebastian standing distraught outside the theater. I wonder, if the clip of Sebastian is following from where he is performing and looks to the crowd with Mia beaming back at him. That fits more in tune with the looks and styling, which feels like that scene will be the demise of the relationship. Here’s to the mess we make.

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Ultimately, the trailer ends on another positive note. The two star crossed lovers starring into the depths of each others souls, contemplating what life has in store. Guys, I’m a hopeless romantic, I can’t help but call it as I see it.

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While this ending isn’t as passionate as the kiss to end Gosling’s trailer, it is just as emotional. It’s also fools errand to compare apples and oranges. There’s something about Stone’s side of the trailer, something that feels more rewarding. Maybe it is because we feel more of the connection between Mia and Sebastian, and the journey of their love. It isn’t in the beginning stages, it is fleshed out and real. It is beautiful and breathtaking. Where as Gosling’s trailer featured more of the aspect of falling in love, capturing a feeling and not wanting to lose it. This trailer explores the beautiful mess of a relationship, and how it’s worth every moment. The high and low points charmingly intertwined. This is the ode to a true relationship, for the idealistic dreaming souls.

This is Mia’s take on La La Land.

La La Land Breakdown: Part 1, City of Stars

Two trailers have been released for La La Land, and I’m more in love than ever. The songs are stuck in my head daily, and I find myself humming them or singing at random times. Of course I know all the words, and it’s completely, totally normal and not obsessive. I don’t need your judgement. Anyways, after watching each trailer for the umpteenth time, I started noticing connections and the storytelling going on between two trailers. I’ve been wanting to do a trailer breakdown since the first teaser, “City of Stars,” was released, and “Audition” provided me with a reason to dive deeper.

Before we get started, I’ve seen a few theories floating around that the next trailer could be a duet, taking my musical-loving little heart straight to the grave. I don’t know how I’m supposed to wait until December, but alas. Onward with the tender melodies, let’s dive into hidden layers of these beautiful trailers.

Teaser Trailer #1: City of Stars

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Oh Damien Chazelle, how did you know Iris Shots make me weak in the knees? If there is anything that sets the tone of Classical Hollywood, it is an Iris Shot. But more than anything, these specific shots seem to serve as an introduction to La La Land’s characters. With the far glance of the city and the romantic blue haze that illuminates the setting, Ryan Gosling‘s Sebastian might as well be marked as a Pisces because he is a dreamer. The full sound of piano brushing your ear drums during this scene matches the feeling established in this shot: while LA is crazy beast that can devour you in one bite, it is also a place where dreams begin and the greatest of love stories are born.

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With the sound of sweet humming flirting around, we are officially introduced to our two main characters: Emma Stone‘s Mia and Gosling’s Sebastian. We soon see that it is Gosling’s melody that is gliding us along, dawning on us that this specific trailer is his story.

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“City of Stars,” the words eagerly flow into the rhythm of the trailer. While this shot is established early on, I have a feeling that this particular scene is towards the end of the movie (more on that later). But the feeling of longing between Stone’s eyes and Gosling’s piano strokes, we know we are in for a story of two lovers.

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What follows next are two dreamy shots of Stone: one where she is making her way through a “chaotic” party, and the other where she is staring longingly out of a cafe window. But just as dreamy as they are, I think it also establishes a strong tone with her character; she’s the one trying to figure out her path.

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Gosling’s character on the other hand seems pretty settled into what his life revolves around: music. It seems fair to say that while Sebastian doesn’t feel like he has struck it big, he is rather comfortable in his way of life. He isn’t trying to reach for more, he’s attained the level of satisfaction that he was aspiring for.

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But Mia is the struggling character that is trying to find her way. Really driving this point home, folks.

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It feels like Sebastian is trying to help Mia establish her way. While this next bit of info is gathered more from pictures, it looks like this matches the setting with them on a date at a movie. If I know my movies like I think I do, that is James Dean and they are seeing Rebel Without a Cause, which totally comes into play later on. Plot wise, this is still early on in the movie and in the relationship. Sebastian helping Mia realize what she wants? Or that she is better than how her circumstances are at the moment?

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The next shots establish a taste of the Hollywood lifestyle, and it feels like maybe Mia is starting to catch her break or maybe just showing Sebastian why acting is important to her. I’m leaning to the former. I bet this is when we start seeing the cracks forming in their bond.

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Continuing her no good, very bad day spirit, Mia is on the next level of fed up. And the huge coffee stain emblazoned on her shirt might be why. Matched in between these two scenes, this feels very out of place. Maybe to fully establish that Mia isn’t where she wants to be in life.

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Because in this shot, it’s back to another reality with Sebastian.

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Because love is real, and the chemistry between Stone and Gosling is palpable. I haven’t even seen the movie and I can feel the Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant vibes through my monitor. Maybe I’m crazy, but this movie is an ode to Classical Hollywood and an open love letter to Los Angeles. And these scenes, in their simplistic form, scream the film bonds that have eluded us for such a long time.

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This feels like the peak of their relationship. Mia is starting to blossom as an actress, her makeup and clothing has already started to change. Sebastian looks like he is in the prime of his career. They’re happy. Who knew…

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Is this the start of something wonderful and new? All these glitzy shots of their beautiful relationship. From the riches of blues, to the brightness of the day and we end on an subtle red hue that is creeping into their love story. While this musical might be based on some of the golden eras of film, it seems like this will match place with real life struggles and triumphs, meaning it won’t venture too far into the dreamland of musicals past.

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Leaving this scene to echo of a couple that is no longer in the company of one another. Why? Gosling is a hot mess, his hair no longer groomed as it was before. Stone is starting to look the full transition of an actress who has arrived at her big break. Coming to reminiscence over her long lost lover, Mia sees the mess that was caused by her departure.

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Glistened up by their lighthearted melody, the series of shots end with Mia running away down the middle of the street. I also want to highlight that it is snowing in this scene, or maybe it’s leftover glitter from the one before. Or one last dream…

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That I cannot make true. Although these are a lot of highly stylized shots of Stone and Gosling, I’m fairly confident this pool shot is Finn Wittrock‘s Greg. This feels like it might be the same party we see Mia entering towards the beginning of the trailer.

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Sidetrack from the last few shots suggesting sorrow, we enter into the Observatory. The same one from Rebel Without a Cause. My heart beats with excitement for these little nods to the classical era.

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Then it explodes when it feels like it is reaching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers territory. Side note: I’m a huge Astaire and Rogers fan, and I feel like La La Land has played on their dynamic more than any other of the Classical Hollywood duos.

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Insert Gosling to tell us his story is coming to an end (for now).

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Which leads us to mirage of dazzling shots, including the introduction of John Legend‘s Keith. Please note, that Legend’s character is the only supporting character to have a established introduction. Of these shot, my favorite is the top one, which seems to be a continuation of their first date. They look like they are running through a Monet styled painting. My hope is that the bottom picture lead us in to the closing of the trailer.

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Before we get to that, Gosling and Stone get their last look at each other. This seems to be from the scene where I felt like they were no longer together. My hopes that this is the climax of the movie, and not the actual ending.

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Because if there is one thing that is imperative to a Classical Hollywood movie, it is an over-the-top happy ending. But perhaps this isn’t a Classical Hollywood movie, it is just a nod to a genre that is no more.

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So let’s tie my jumbled mess of thoughts together. Gosling’s Sebastian sings of falling in love with Stone’s Mia. He feels like she is a gift from the galaxy, but fears that she will slip away because nothing in life is guaranteed. Based on the images throughout the trailer, we can probably conclude that they depart from one another for awhile causing Sebastian to slip into self destruction. While the City of Stars can cause broken hearts, it is also known as the City of Dreams, leaving me to believe that they find their way back to each other. Point of the story? No matter how much you may be struggling in life, it is better to struggle together than struggle alone. There’s a hidden magic when you are in the company of the one you love. And with that:

This is Sebastian’s take on La La Land.

Next up, La La Land’s “Audition” Teaser Trailer.

We Deserve Better, DC Comics

Let’s imagine a world where Christian Bale was still Batman and Zack Snyder stuck within the realm of the Dark Knight universe. I would be happier, you would be happier, hell even Christian Bale would be happier. and we wouldn’t have to endure the two and half hour shitfest that was Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. DC Comics always has been dark when it came to its films, but there was an underlying feeling of hope on the horizon. Unfortunately with Batman v Superman, there is no hope.

Let’s Talk About Characters, Baby

From the opening scene of Batman v Superman, it was clear that this was Batman’s movie, not Superman‘s. That’s great and all, but even from the glimpse into Bruce Wayne’s parents’ death, it was clear that this wasn’t a Batman that would be recognizable to fans. It bothered me how Thomas Wayne attempted to punch the attacker before he made a move because it changed the whole dynamic of Batman’s quest for the underlying good. And boy, did it change it a lot. Don’t get me wrong, how could you cast Jeffrey Dean Morgan in a movie and not have him be a macho man, but that isn’t who Thomas Wayne was. Due to this turn of events, Batman became a superhero everyone feared, not just the guys lurking in the shadows. He used extreme brute force and even seemed to take joy in his excessive cruelness. He stance on justice was that “real men fight for it,” not aliens who come down and play god. While I’m aware that Batman is a vigilante, this was like a step too far into Snyder’s dreamland. I mean, when the people he saves identify him as a “devil,” then we have to know someone went wrong somewhere. Nothing against Ben Affleck, he did fine and it was the best fighting from Batman we have seen to date. I just don’t want him anywhere near the Batman character, plain and simple. (Please Ben, go take your script and get someone else, preferably Bale.)

As for Superman, can this guy be anymore of a wet blanket? He wants the same thing as Batman, and he will be just as pouty to prove it. When he isn’t too busy saving Lois Lane, who was painted as a glorified damsel in distress, he is wondering why people don’t like him. As Martha Kent pointed out in the Comic-Con trailer, “be anything they need you to be or be none of it.” Superman is the ultimate vision of good, but he is also idealistic and it that idea is killed a little bit when he just seems so down and negative about everything. We never see a side of Clark Kent where he isn’t brooding in a corner, complaining about the bat. And maybe that’s the problem, there wasn’t enough of a difference in moodiness between Batman and Superman, and their triumph to friendship felt forced and too quick. Understandably, I guess you have to speed up things when Doomsday starts attacking. But there has to be a way to personify who Superman is as a character. Look at Smallville, they successfully captured the essence of Superman growing up and becoming a hero. Why can’t a major motion picture do the same?

The Golden Age of Television

DC Comics is dominating the television game. With Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, they are literally setting the stage for comic book stories to be told. The disappointing thing is, Zack Snyder doesn’t want to use the television version of these superheroes because it doesn’t match his “tone.” These series already have a decent size following, and if they incorporated them into their movie multiverse, people would be even more drawn to catching up on what they missed out. Marvel did it with their show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and that show isn’t even as highly reguarded of as any of the holy trinity. People are more interested in characters that they know and trust, and Grant Gustin is that when in character because he fully embodies Flash.

Truly, I feel like DC Comics and Warner Brothers is missing out on a huge opportunity by not incorporating these shows. They are established and well written, and even with the different “tone,” Snyder’s Flash sounds a lot like the television show. Greg Berlanti has brought some much life to DC Comics with these three television series, and I feel like he could do even more if he could incorporate them into the movie multiverse. Part of the reason we are in the second or third Golden Age of Television is because of series like these, and it is a disappointment that they won’t be transferred over to the big screen.

Zack Snyder’s Obsession with Frank Miller

Much of Snyder’s career has been over Frank Miller‘s work, such as 300 and Watchmen. Batman v Superman seems to carry a lot of influences from ThDark Knight Returns, especially Batman’s costume and the ultimate showdown between the two heroes. Unfortunately, that is where the comparisons stop. Kevin Smith said it perfectly when describing Snyder with Batman v Superman, “he read one comic once, and it was Dark Knight Returns, and his favorite part was the last part where Batman and Superman fight.” The thing is, every time Snyder adapts a film for Miller’s source material, it always has a feel like this. He takes what he likes, but he forgets the heart.

Miller is a brilliant writer and there is a reason everyone wants to adapt his stories, but imagine if Snyder had dug deeper for a story in both Batman and Superman’s lore. What if Snyder took from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo‘s current Batman masterpiece to build his Batman? Or John Byrne‘s Superman: Man of Steel to shape the dynamic between Batman and Superman? Ultimately, Snyder had so much material to build off of, but he stuck to his safety belt and relied on watered down renditions of Miller’s stories.

Who Run the World? Girls

If there was one saving grace to Batman v Superman, it is Gal Gadot‘s take on Wonder Woman. Her entrance as the amazonian princess is electrifying. Any minute Gadot was on the screen, I was captivated, which is really unfortunate because she barely had any screen time. You’re biggest take away from this film should be your pure, unadulterated excitement for the Wonder Woman film coming to us in June 2017. While Batman has to dodge Doomsday attacks and Superman is off saving Lois Lane, Wonder Woman is facing him head on. She is the female superhero we have all been waiting for (and who we deserve), and I hope she marks the beginning of more female superheroes being transitioned to film.

Now on to Lois Lane. I want to begin this simply: Amy Adams deserved more from this film, and so did we. Lois Lane is a badass character, and Adams shined when she got to show off that side of Lois. Regrettably, those scenes were usually met with her somehow getting captured and Superman having to come and save her. This happened three times, THREE TIMES. Lois is way smarter than this, she even figured out that Lex Luthor was behind these crimes before anyone else (which, come on Batman is a super detective, and I’m supposed to believe he fell for Luther’s tricks, give me a break). Before she could even have a chance to save the day, they would have her do something out of character and that didn’t make sense, which ended up creating huge amounts of trouble. Still, Lois Lane was central to plot of this film. Even if they didn’t get the time or story they deserved, Adams owned her role and Gadot owned this movie reminding us that girls truly do run the world.