The almost-winner of the best picture Oscar at this year’s Academy Awards hits stores this week.
“La La Land”: 3 out of 4 stars. The first three quarters of the film constitute a light romantic musical movie that’s slightly off the mark.
This modern take on the Hollywood musicals of the mid-20th century, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, never embraces the foibles and fantasies that made those productions near perfect escapist material. Those films took the boy-meets-girl story and set it in a whimsical setting where anything could trigger a musical number.
The closest director Damien Chazelle (“Whiplash”) comes to capturing the spirit of the musical movie genre is in his use of color. There are splashes of bold color in every scene, and Stone is dressed in outfits of primary colors with few patterns.
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But the biggest issue is that “La La Land” starts slowly with both the romance and the musical numbers.
“Peanuts by Schultz! Go Team Go!”: 3 stars. This new collection features sports-themed cartoons taken from the new “Peanuts” cable series. When it comes to Charlie Brown, organized sports always result in lots of humor.
The collection includes 19 shorts that are based on the print comic strip created by Charles Schulz. The episodes feature the same sweet and funny writing that has made the strips popular for years.
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“Underworld: Blood Wars”: Selene fights to end the eternal war.
“Catfight”: Sandra Oh and Anne Heche star in the dark political comedy.
“The Marine 5: Battleground”: EMT must protect a man from a biker gang.
“A Matter of Time”: Acclaimed musician must deal with mother’s battle with ALS.
“The Affair: Season Three”: Picks up three years after Noah’s confession at the murder trial.
“Detour”: Drunken conversation leads to deadly events.
“The Girl With All the Gifts”: Search for cure for fungal spore is sought in dystopian world.
“Animal Kingdom: The Complete First Season”: Teen moves in with his freewheeling relatives.
“The Vampire Bat”: Macabre tale directed by Frank R. Strayer now on Blu-ray.
“Agatha Christie’s The Witness for the Prosecution”: Evidence points to the young lover of a murdered heiress.
“Theater of Mr. & Mrs. Kala”: French 1967 comedy from Walerian Borowczyk.
“Those Left Behind”: Family tries to come to terms with a suicide.
“Wolf Guy”: Sonny Chiba is a martial arts manimal.
“Maiko: Dancing Child”: Famed dancer must deal with talented newcomers.
“We Are X”: Look at the biggest rock band the world’s never heard of — yet.
“The Daughter”: Man uncovers long-buried family secret.
“Ophelia”: Claude Chabrol directed this adaptation of the William Shakespeare tale.
“Bokeh”: Couple discover they are the last people on earth.
“The World’s Most Beautiful Swindlers”: Tale of sensational swindles taking place around the globe.
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL HD
“Fifty Shades Darker”: Unique relationship between a man and woman continues.