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Running Time:
2 hours, 8 minutes

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for some language

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
With assured direction, powerful performances, and an irresistible cast, this film breathes new life into an old fashioned musical.

Additional Info:
Ryan Gosling ... Sebastian
Emma Stone ... Mia
Amiée Conn ... Famous Actress
Callie Hernandez ... Tracy
Jessica Rothe ... Alexis
Sonoya Mizuno ... Caitlin
Rosemarie DeWitt ... Laura
J.K. Simmons ... Bill
Claudine Claudio ... Waitress
Jason Fuchs ... Carlo
D.A. Wallach ... '80's Singer
Thom Shelton ... Coffee Spiller
Cinda Adams ... Casting Director
Trevor Lissauer ... Valet

La La Land
La La Land opens with a spectacular musical number, done in a single take, and choreographed with brilliance and sung with abandon by a diversified group of Los Angeles drivers and passengers in one of those daily, tortuous traffic jams.  When one driver in a convertible, Sebastian Wilder (Ryan Gosling) honks and passes the car driven by Mia Dolan (Emma Stone), Mia gives him the finger, which is not the best way to start a romantic relationship, but in this case, somehow, it works.

Next, Mia enters a crowded restaurant to find Sebastian playing the piano, conforming to the manager’s demand that he play Christmas songs but suddenly he switches to the kind of music he knows and loves - jazz.  This gets him fired by the boss (J.K. Simmons), so, teed off, he knocks Mia on the shoulder as he passes Mia (which qualifies as a meet-cute).  For Mia, it's love at first sight; never mind that she doesn’t like him.

But, Mia and  Sebastian finally get together, they talk, they dance, they click. Sebastian likes jazz, but only the kind that he considers pure.  He tries to influence Mia into sharing his love for the music.  In the planetarium they dance, literally rising through the air like a modern Fred and Ginger, gazing at the stars above, sharing their fantasies.  He wants to stop playing what the band leaders want him to play and to he decides to open his own club.  She wants to be an actress, and takes off from her job as barista on the Warner lot whenever her smartphone informs her about an audition.

Using splashy colors, director Damien Chazelle ("Whiplash") alternates dazzlers like the opening scene, with fast-moving jazz compositions, Gosling on the keyboard, playing slow, moody, lyrical songs, although, there are no memorable songs for you to cherish. The dancing cannot match that of the old MGM musicals you remember, and the singing is not on the level of those films either. But, that's not what makes this film a joy to behold.  Though some critics may rave and gush, ultimately this is a middling musical measured against the gold standard films of the forties and fifties but is well worth a look, for its romantic mood, excellent jazz, and the feel-good feeling it will leave you with.

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