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La La Land

128 Minutes/ Rated PG-13
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone


  • Monday, February 27 - Thursday, March 2: (5:15), 8:00



Written and directed by Academy Award (R) nominee Damien Chazelle, LA LA LAND tells the story of Mia [Emma Stone], an aspiring actress, and Sebastian [Ryan 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.

Four stars: 'La La Land' is worth the trip

“La La Land” takes a fresh approach to the classic Hollywood musical, to heartfelt and exhilarating effect. Working from his own screenplay, director Damien Chazelle (“Whiplash”) understands that musicals exist in a state of heightened reality, in which bursting into song is just another mode of expression. And in Stone and Gosling, he has actors who can dive into that emotional flow and carry us along with them.

Gosling is terrific as the coolly introspective yet disarmingly charming Sebastian. And Stone is deservedly generating Oscar buzz for her portrayal of an artist who can’t quite believe she’ll ever be anything other than a barista.

At a time when musicals seldom grace the big screen, “La La Land” is practically a miracle.

- - - Calvin Wilson / St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Four stars out of four •

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118 Minutes/ Rated PG-13
Directed by: Garth Davis
Cast: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman


  • Monday, February 27 - Wednesday, March 1: (4:15), 7:00

In 1986, Saroo was a five-year-old child in India of a poor but happy rural family. On a trip with his brother, Saroo soon finds himself alone and trapped in a moving decommissioned passenger train that takes him to Calcutta, 1500 miles away from home. Now totally lost in an alien urban environment and too young to identify either himself or his home to the authorities, Saroo struggles to survive as a street child until he is sent to an orphanage. Soon, Saroo is selected to be adapted to the Brierley family in Tasmania, where he grows up in a loving prosperous home. However, for all his material good fortune, Saroo finds himself plagued by his memories of his lost family in his adulthood and tries to search for them even as his guilt drives him to hide this quest from his adoptive parents and his girlfriend. Only when he has an epiphany does he realize not only the answers he needs, but also the steadfast love he has always had with all his loved ones in both worlds.

'Lion' explores the meaning of family

Based on a true story, “Lion” poignantly addresses the meaning of family and the arbitrariness of fate. Working from a screenplay by Luke Davies, director Garth Davis gets to the heart of the drama without slipping into sentimentality. Particularly impressive is his skill at switching between time frames to reflect the impact of the past on Saroo’s present.

Patel, who starred in “Slumdog Millionaire,” is perfect as a man struggling to reconcile his good fortune with the painful loss that made it possible. Kidman brings a quiet grace to Saroo’s adoptive mother. And Mara (“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”) taps into depths of feeling as his frustrated but faithful lover.

- - - Calvin Wilson / St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Three stars out of four •

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