They Don’t Make Them Like That Anymore? “La La Land”

The mystery of musicals
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling
Directed by Damian Chazelle

The feel-good La La Land, director Damien Chazelle's prohibitive awards favorite, is a movie of mystery. Can Emma Stone sing? (She can.) Can Ryan Gosling sing and dance? (As a singer, he makes an OK dancer.) The real and lasting question rising from its smoggy, sunny success, however, is this one: Why don’t they make more musicals? Every week a pigeon flies in from “The Death of ... more >

The help

Change begins with a whisper
Emma Stone, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer
Directed by Tate Taylor

Tate Taylor’s adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's The Help filled me with a wonder similar to that I felt watching—and relishing—Mad Men. There, the three-martini lunch, the 1960 men and women boozing and smoking themselves to death had me aghast. Same here. This was Jackson, Mississipi, fifty years ago? It’s beyond racism, unless racism means considering people so far below you that no one would ... more >

Crazy, Stupid, Love

The perfect Summer rom-com
Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore and Emma Stone
Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa

I like marriage. I do. At least in theory. I am unmarried, myself. But my parents are married. My friends are married. It seems like a good deal. So why is it that more and more, I find myself rooting against marriages when I watch them on film? In real life, whether divorce re-invigorates miserable people is situational. As movies go, for better or worse, it usually frees them. I’m not ... more >

The help

Directed by Tate Taylor. With Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard (August 10). ... more >

Easy A

Emma Stone brightens new comedy up
Emma Stone, Penn Badgley and Will Gluck
Directed by Will Gluck

The "Easy A" might as well be for a class in astronomy. This is supposed to be the movie in which the redhead it girl Emma Stone (“Superbad,” “Zombieland”) is born as a star. If dying stars turn into black holes, sucking everything around them into eternal darkness, then movie stardom defies the laws of physics. Stone absorbs the surrounding creative matter, burns it into a ray of light and ... more >