“La La Land” lives up to its tremendous hype of visual artistry, technical prowess, and romantic whimsy. There are fingerprints of influences all over the film. Musicals can be an acquired taste, so people may need some warming up this winter month to get in the right place to see and receive Damien Chazelle’s glorious new film.
With the glitzy Los Angeles setting of “La La Land,” many will point to the Old Hollywood musicals of Gene Kelly, especially “Singin’ in the Rain,” as a necessary practice rounds, but “La La Land” is an unequivocally modern-set film. A different range is possible. Furthermore, advising you to re-watch “Whiplash” for Chazelle’s kicks or revisit “Rebel Without a Cause” to touch base with the Griffith Observatory are too easy for practice. Dig deeper and try a few of these on for size as a “La La Land” primer.