La La Land
Short Cuts: Damien Chazelle's La La Land, like his earlier triumph Whiplash, is an exuberant film that explores the territory between love and passion, with the world of music as the backdrop. In La La Land, a jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) and an underemployed actress (Emma Stone) are finding little more than frustration and disappointment in Los Angeles, where being good or good enough doesn't pay the rent. What does pay the bills (playing Christmas tunes in a restaurant and serving up lattes on a movie studio lot) is soul-deadening, but the two find both inspiration and misdirection in each other. Chazelle raises (often literally) the quality of this boy-meets-girl tale with splendid (and frequently quite hummable) tunes and dance numbers that aren't as dazzling as Astaire and Rogers but are enchanting, nonetheless. La La Land is a beautiful and affirming picture. Highly Recommended.