La La Land Blu-ray Disc April 25th, 2017

Posted in Atmos, Blu-ray, Comedy, Commentary, Drama, Lionsgate, Music, Musical on April 29th, 2017 by Dave

La La Land Blu-ray

La La Land is a new key Blu-ray title released by Lionsgate Home Entertainment on April 25th, 2017.

Damien Chazelle both wrote the screenplay and directed this romantic musical comedy-drama.

The story follows a musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles.

The movie has grossed $440 million worldwide on a production budget of $30 million.

La La Land the Movie

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Aspiring actress Mia Dolan and jazz pianist Sebastian Wilder share a moment of road rage on a Los Angeles freeway.

Later that night, Mia’s walks home after her car is towed, and hears Sebastian’s passionate jazz improvisation in a local restaurant.

Sebastian is fired just as she enters the restaurant, and he storms out, brushing her off in the process.

Months later, Mia runs into Sebastian at a party where he plays in a 1980s pop cover band.

After the gig, the two walk to their cars, lamenting each other’s company despite the chemistry between them.

The next day Sebastian arrives at Mia’s work, where Mia describes her passion for acting.

Sebastian talks about his passion for jazz and the desire to open his own club.

As the two warm to each other and become romantically entwined, ultimately they find that their dreams may not take them in the same direction.

La La Land – My Thoughts

La La Land is certainly a departure from the current standard Hollywood movie.

With its CinemaScope presentation and musical elements, in many ways the film pays homage to the huge musical productions of the fifties and sixties.

The set design and colour palette all play into the style of films made some fifty years ago.

That said, the dialogue scenes and story-line hold up well in the ‘real world’, making for an interesting marriage of musical fantasy and engaging drama and comedy.

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To be honest I am not a big fan of musicals, but in many ways La La Land still has a solid core that makes it endearing to folks who might normally enjoy such fare.

The opening number was obviously technically clever, but to me was the weakest part of the film.

If you can get past the need to be an all singing all dancing musical from the get go, La La Land has a lot of promise as the story plays out.

Certainly for fans of the musical genre, La La Land is a no-brainer.

La La Land Cast, Crew and Performance

The cast includes Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, Finn Wittrock, Jason Fuchs, Trevor Lissauer and J.K. Simmons.

La La Land was directed by Damien Chazelle, whose claim to fame was the film Whiplash.

The critical response to the movie was very positive, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 93%, and an IMDb score of 8.4/10.

La La Land was also a big success in the cinema, taking in $150.7M at the US box office.

The movie went on to win six Academy Awards, including best Actress for Emma Stone, best director for Damien Chazelle, Best Cinematography and Best Original Song.

It is also famous for mistakenly being announced as Best Picture before the error was corrected.

La La Land on Blu-ray Disc

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The video on the disc is an AVC 1080p encode at 28 Mbps, and is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.55:1.

The movie has a solid almost technicolor palette, with bright primary colours used extensively throughout in the sets and wardrobe.

All in all the pictures look great, with a style that plays homage to the musicals of the fifties and sixties.

The extra wide wide-screen is also a fun reference to the movies of the fifties.

Find full resolution PNG screen captures taken directly from the disc at the details page for La La Land.

The main audio is Dolby Atmos object based audio, and it is great to see the Atmos included on the Blu-ray Disc and not just the 4K release.

The disc is a dual layer BD50, with 49.4 GB used and is coded for Region A.

La La Land Blu-ray – The Bonus Features

The Blu-ray release for La La Land comes with quite a vast array of supplemental features.

Audio Commentary with writer/director Damien Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz

Chazelle and Hurwitz talk about their experiences making the film, including the tough decisions made for the movie opening.

They discuss their influences and cover the way the scenes and music evolved as the movie was shot and edited.

The two have a light banter and often give each other a bit of a ribbing, making for a fairly enjoyable commentary.

Another Day of Sun: They Closed Down a Freeway Featurette – 10:36

This featurette delves into the challenges and achievements for the opening freeway musical scene.

The City of Los Angeles was very helpful and allowed the film makers to close the ramp for the shoot.

There was also a significant amount of planning required to pull of the complex scene.

La La Land’s Great Party Featurette – 5:08

The party scene was another stunning musical scene which was no doubt fun to shoot but also a huge challenge.

There is a massive cast of dances and performers, combined with innovative camera movies and cinematography.

Ryan Gosling: Piano Student Featurette – 5:03

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While the film makers did have a back-up plan in place, Gosling spent many hours learning to actually play the piano for the film.

We meet Ryan’s teacher, who taught him all the techniques he needed and helped him memorize the songs.

Before Whiplash: Damien Chazelle’s Passion Project Featurette – 10:12

Chazelle talks about his original inspirations for La La Land, which he conceived before his film Whiplash.

Damien and composer Justin Hurwitz talk about their backgrounds and how they wrote the screenplay and music for the film.

The director reveals that the Whiplash project was actually put together to prove that La La Land was possible.

La La Land’s Love Letter to Los Angeles Featurette – 6:56

The way in which Los Angeles figures as a character in the movie is covered in this segment.

With people moving to L.A. from all over to realize their dreams, the city has a special place in the hearts of dreamers.

Iconic locations like the Griffith Observatory played key roles in the film.

The Music of La La Land Featurette – 13:32

The key role of the music is the focus of this segment, with Justin Hurwitz writing every note of the score and songs for the film.

Hurwitz collaborated with Chazelle on Whiplash also, and the two have formed somewhat of a writing team.

The script and music for the film were developed over a period of five years.

John Legend’s Acting Debut Featurette – 4:40

Musician John Legend made his first foray into acting with La La Land.

Legend’s contribution went beyond his role, also offering his weight behind the jazz music and its modern version with The Messengers.

The Look of Love: Designing La La Land Featurette – 8:48

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This segment covers the Academy Award winning Production Design for La La Land.

Husband and wife duo David and Sandy Wasco were production designer and set dresser for the film, the key roles in the art department.

This is a great segment to gain insight into the set design for the film.

Ryan and Emma: Third Time’s the Charm Featurette – 5:51

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling meet on screen for the third time in La La Land.

The old fashioned star coupling has been brought into the 21st century, with the two appearing in Gangster Squad and Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Epilogue: The Romance of the Dream Featurette – 7:54

The climactic scene of the movie is a huge dream sequence that pays homage to the dream ballet of the fifties.

Certainly one of the more imaginative sequences in the film that combines a wide range of abstract styles and sets.

Damien & Justin Sing: The Demos – 5:08

The director and songwriter perform early demo versions of two of the songs.

Marketing Gallery

The marketing gallery features three trailers and a collection of posters for La La Land.

Song Selection

Direct access to three of the main songs from the movie.

This release includes a DVD Copy for legacy players and an UltraViolet Digital Copy code.

La La Land Blu-ray – Final Thoughts

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La La Land is a solid musical comedy drama that may even play well to those who are not huge fans of the genre.

Lionsgate Home Entertainment has put together a technically solid release, complete with Dolby Atmos audio and a slew of supplements.

The retail price is $39.99, though you can get it at Amazon for $19.96, saving 50%!

La La Land Blu-ray Extras:

  • Audio Commentary with writer/director Damien Chazelle and composer Justin Hurwitz
  • Another Day of Sun: They Closed Down a Freeway Featurette
  • La La Land’s Great Party Featurette
  • Ryan Gosling: Piano Student Featurette
  • Before Whiplash: Damien Chazelle’s Passion Project Featurette
  • La La Land’s Love Letter to Los Angeles Featurette
  • The Music of La La Land Featurette
  • John Legend’s Acting Debut Featurette
  • The Look of Love: Designing La La Land Featurette
  • Ryan and Emma: Third Time’s the Charm Featurette
  • Epilogue: The Romance of the Dream Featurette
  • Damien & Justin Sing: The Demos
  • Marketing Gallery
  • Song Selection

La La Land Blu-ray Synopsis:

Mia, an aspiring actress, serves lattes to movie stars in between auditions and Sebastian, a jazz musician, sc by playing cocktail party gigs in dingy bars, but as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.

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