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.
The 2.55:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR 10 pictured, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed on Kodak Vision3 film stock in anamorphic Panavision® CinemaScope® with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio and sourced from a 2K (not 4K) master Digital Intermediate format. As the 2K Digital Intermediate has been unconverted to 2160p, there is no real gain in native resolution. Last reviewed in Issue 216, April/May2017 as a Blu-ray Disc™ release, the 4K Ultra HD version exhibits gorgeous imagery. 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 HDR technology boosting the otherwise nicely saturated hues, which appear throughout. Colors often pop with wonderful intensity and strong primaries. Fleshtones are consistently natural. The cinematography and production design are wonderful and visually engaging. Contrast is well balanced with deep, rich blacks and revealing shadow delineation. Bright segments are brightly enhanced as first evidenced in the party scene at a pool, with intense white highlights. 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. Dialogue is perfectly intelligible with good spatial integration. The singing is terrific, as well as the dancing. The soundfield is often fully engaged in music, with all channels energized, including nuanced height.
Unfortunately, the Immersive Sound element is limited to a subtle, and at times a more robust, extension of the orchestral part of the music score, with great periods of silence in between. Other than the music, there is no other sound element in the height channels. This is a terrific, at times, holosonic® ear-level soundtrack that is effectively emotional and enthralling. (Gary Reber)