La La Land is worth making a song and dance about

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In this much anticipated romantic musical by Damian Chazelle, the director of the amazing movie Whiplash, Emma Stone sings and dances like a pro, while Ryan Gosling’s less professional style adds to the charm of La La Land.

This is the kind of movie they just don’t make anymore; handsome boy meets not so pretty girl, they burst into song and emotions surge towards a happy, or not, ending. La La Land starts with an exuberant sequence, filmed in one take, of a traffic jam on a baked Los Angeles freeway.

Donald Clarke in The Irish Times wrote – The frayed tempers cause Mia (Emma Stone), an actor working as a barista at a studio lot, to engage in mild road rage with Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a jazz pianist. We’ve seen the posters. So we know this meet angry will soon lead to a cuter meet and a period of close snuggling. Sebastian yearns to set up a club that will play “real jazz”. Mia writes a one-woman show as a way of forwarding her career.

Somewhere in its mildly sluggish middle, the film puts forward a dilemma about contemporary jazz music. Sebastian signs on for a tour with a fusion band called The Messengers (their slick sound could hardly sound less like Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers if they played only kazoos) headed by charming, suave Keith (John Legend). Keith suggests that jazz will wither if it fails to bend to the times. Sebastian remains a purist. The film allows both arguments some oxygen. The Messengers aren’t what Sebastian wants, but they still make an attractive noise… read more

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