La La Land (2016) – reviewed by George

                      LUSH!      EMOTIONAL!      STUNNING!     ROMANTIC!

This “All Singing, All Dancing” musical is so totally unexpected at today’s Multiplex that it seems like a wonderful throwback to Ginger and Fred, and Judy and Gene, but don’t be fooled – this is a new animal indeed.
Just as the plot features talk about traditional jazz versus the modern variety, the movie you’re watching is demonstrating the same sort of dichotomy about itself. Partly staged as homage, partly new and exciting, this is movie-making at its best and most inventive.
The film begins with dozens of cars stuck in an L.A. traffic jam on a bridge. One bored, impatient driver bangs out of his car, then another and another. And we have a huge production number with people singing and dancing around and ON the cars. Brilliant and breath-taking. Our stars, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, are in the jam too, but we don’t see them until the traffic is clearing, and their interaction is definitely negative.
She is a struggling actress and he is a struggling jazz pianist, and they will meet, and sing, and dance, and fall in love. They will be photographed all over Los Angeles, giving the city a freshness it so seldom has on film. And then the film will end, and the ending is amazing; I had to beg a tissue from my lady.
Personally I feel it is impossible to oversell this picture. I loved it. Writer/Director Damien Chazelle is a hero. He is also responsible for “Whiplash” which won J.K. Simmons an Oscar, and you will see Simmons in this picture. Also John Legend, who plays the musician who challenges Gosling on his inability to leave traditional jazz behind and embrace today’s, as well as Tom Everett Scott and Meagen Fay.
See this and marvel!
And if you’ve seen the stills of Gosling and Stone dancing, please forget them. They are fluid dancers and the stills make them look awkward – not so! And do watch for dancers costumed as people from the past. As one example, some male chorus dancers are wearing the white sweatshirt, pants, and bill cap Gene Kelly wore in “An American in Paris”.

1-9-17: Last night at the Golden Globes, in the categories under “Movie, Comedy or Musical”, “La La Land” won Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Picture. In the categories under “Movie” (all movies) it won Best Director, Best Writer, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song (“City of Stars”). The Score and Song awards went to Justin Hurwitz, who was a huge, huge part of why this movie succeeds so well. It had seven nominations; it won all seven. On The Today  Show this morning they said that was the biggest number of Golden Globe wins for one movie ever.
Just saying.

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