La La Land

Director - Damien Chazelle

Cast - Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling

Country of Origin - USA

Review Format: Blu-ray

Discs - 2

Distributor - Lionsgate

Reviewer - Scott MacDonald

Date - 04/19/2017

The Film (3.5/5)

    Mia (Emma Stone - The Amazing Spider-Man) is an aspiring actress who currently works in a coffee shop on the Warner Bros. lot. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling - The Nice Guys) is an unemployed jazz musician with aspirations to open his own jazz nightclub. The two meet and hate each other, then meet again, and hate each other a little less, until they meet a few more times and finally fall in love. The two support each other in their career endeavors. Mia pushes Sebastian to be more of a professional musician and join the jazz fusion band of his friend Keith (John Legend), so that he can live comfortably, and maybe will be able to put the money together for his club. Sebastian pushes Mia to write her one-woman show in the hopes that it will spark interest in her nonexistent acting career.

    La La Land was one of the biggest non-blockbuster hit movies of 2016, and won quite a few Academy Awards (it also notoriously almost won another). The film itself is an homage to musicals of the past from the work of Jacques Demy (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) and the MGM/Freed musicals of the 1940's and 50's.  Director Damien Chazella injects the film with a nice retro, but stagey look that makes the film quite fun to watch. He also manages to inject some nice surrealist flourishes such as the dance number within the Griffith Observatory.

     The performances from Stone and Gosling truly help to sell the film. They manage to take a pair of cliché characters and inject them with enough charisma to make them interesting to spend 2 hours of one's time with. Though the film's story has been seen many times before the biggest problems are the running time. The film goes on about 20 minutes too long with an ending that really just drags on. The biggest issue is the songs, which in all honesty, are just not that good. With the exception of the jazz fusion piece in the center of the film, everything else just exist in service of the plot. Overall La La Land is a fun entertaining film, but it’s mostly a candy coated surface level watch, which is not a bad way to kill 2 hours.


Audio/Video (5/5)

    La La Land comes to Blu-ray via Lionsgate in a splendid 2:55:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer. Everything here looks spectacular blacks are inky and deep, and colors are just lush and gorgeous. Detail is excellent as well.

    Audio is presented in a Dolby True HD 7.1 track in English. The track is quite decent with dialogue, score, and songs coming through crisp and clear. I did not detect any issues on the track.


Extras (4/5)

    There is a director and composer commentary for the film. We also get over an hour of BTS featurettes, trailers and teasers, and a piece where the film's music is demoed by the director and composer. There is also an option to directly play all the songs in the film.



    La La Land is basically the "millennial" Hollywood musical. It pays homage to the musicals of the past, but does not quite hold a candle to the them. It does, however, manage to be entertaining, and fun to look at. The Blu-ray looks and sounds astounding, and it has a nice slate of extras. RECOMMENDED.