Billed as a movie lover’s dream for a reason: the eye hasn’t seen this much color on screen since Vincente Minnelli passed. The songs and musical numbers are lively, the cast attractive, all attempts to transform city streets into expressionistically lit studio backlots successful, and the ending decidedly downbeat. And there’s this five-and-a-half-minute long take that starts in search of a parked car and ends with a slow and deliberate pan over to the Hollywood Hills at twilight time that found me struggling to pick my jaw up from off the floor. Ditto a lovely romantic walking tour of the Warner Bros. lot. But, and it’s a big but, any number of the movie musicals that director Damien Chazelle references (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Band Wagon, It’s Always Fair Weather, etc.) have more depth of characterization than either Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s comparative stick figures are assigned. But enough grouching. This is one crowd-pleaser worth getting behind. (2016) — Scott Marks
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