La La Land

Featured In Issue 216, April/May 2017

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
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Some language.
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Damien Chazelle
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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(French Language):
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La La Land is the story of Mia (Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern-day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Writer/Director Damien Chazelle and Composer Justin Hurwitz; 10 featurettes: Another Day Of Sun: They Closed Down A Freeway (HD 10:36), La La Land’s Great Party (HD 05:08), Ryan Gosling: Piano Student (HD 05:03), Before Whiplash: Damien Chazelle’s Passion Project (HD 10:12), La La Land’s Love Letter To Los Angeles (HD 06:56), The Music Of La La Land (HD 13:32), John Legend’s Acting Debut (HD 04:40), The Look Of Love: Designing La La Land (HD 08:48), Ryan And Emma: Third Time’s The Charm (HD 05:51) and Epilogue: The Romance Of The Dream (HD 07:54); Damien & Justin Sing: The Demos (HD 05:08); Song Selection (HD 48:52); upfront previews; and an UltraViolet digital copy. Winner of six Academy Awards® including Best Director and seven Golden Globe® Awards. Also available as a 4K Ultra HD version.

The 2.39:1 1080p AVC picture is gorgeous! It was photographed on Kodak Vision3 film stock in anamorphic Panavision® CinemaScope® with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The slightest film grain is evident when consciously looking for it, but it is never objectionable. The imagery exhibits a warm and rich color palette with nicely saturated hues throughout. Colors often pop with strong primaries. Fleshtones are consistently natural. The cinematography and production design is wonderful and visually engaging. Contrast is well balanced with deep, rich blacks and revealing shadow delineation. This is a wonderful visual experience that is rich in warm colors and excellent contrast. This is a cinematic-quality reference, reminiscent of Hollywood’s Golden Age when film was king, in contrast to today’s prominent digital productions. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack is the music, and what a great presentation in terms of dynamics and fidelity. The soundstage is wide and deep with a great frontal presence that extends to all of the surround channels. The orchestrations at times are strongly dynamic, and the jazz playing is terrific. Atmospherics are totally realistic and create a nice sense of realism within each setting. Sebastian’s car has a wonderful rumble to it, as if another character in the film. Quiet scenes are really executed well with nuanced ambiances, even during Mia’s auditions. Sound effects are natural but never overpowering. The .1 LFE nicely supports a well-integrated bass foundation in the music. The soundfield is often fully engaged in music, with all channels energized, including nuanced height. Dialogue is perfectly intelligible with good spatial integration. The singing is terrific, as well as the dancing. This is a terrific, at times holosonic®, soundtrack that is effectively emotional and enthralling. (Gary Reber)