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Scott Carty raves about 'La La Land' and 'Jackie'

Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) in "La La Land." Courtesy Lionsgate. Photo: Dale Robinette.

It’s the most wonderful movie weekend of the year, as several films hit screens to delight fans of everything from light sabers to LA dreams.

The box-office winner will be "Rouge One: A Star Wars Story." A varied group of fighters sets out on a mission to get the plans and secrets of the Death Star. Now it’s not a sequel. In fact, it’s a movie all its own – a standalone -- happening before the very first Star Wars. True fans will know what I’m talking about. And based on rave reviews, fans are going to be happy. It stars Felicity Jones as Jyn. PG-13 -- about 2 hours and 10 minutes long.

"La La Land" is hands-down my favorite offering this weekend. In fact, I’m calling it my favorite movie of the decade! Director Damien Chazelle has created a masterpiece musical – with acting, singing and dancing by Ryan Gosling, a jazz pianist, and Emma Stone, an aspiring actress, both dreaming big in L.A. and struggling with success and love. "La La Land" is incredible. It’s entertaining and heartwarming —f rom the opening scene to a thought-provoking finish. It’s a must-see. And, YES, Ryan Gosling learned to play piano for his role. When you watch the movie, you’ll see that Damien Chazelle was very intentional in showing Gosling’s fingers on the keys. Add to that, pianist John Legend learned to play guitar for his role as Keith in the movie. "La La Land" is PG-13 and just over 2 hours that absolutely fly by. And it’s a must that you see it on the big screen. OK, I’ll stop gushing now.

"Jackie" already has awards on-board, with star Natalie Portman earning best actress at the Critics’ Choice Awards. Portman does an amazing job portraying Jacqueline Kennedy on the day President Kennedy was assassinated and in the days that followed — revealing Jackie’s perspective, her grief, her struggles with faith and her determination to care for her children. Her vocal delivery is spot-on and her physical mannerisms will leave you doing a double take. Peter Sarsgaard plays Bobby Kennedy in the movie. "Jackie" is a beautiful film. It’s rated R and is 1 hour 40 minutes long.

"Collateral Beauty" is star-packed with Will Smith as an advertising executive who loses his young daughter and struggles through grief, questioning love, death and time. In an attempt to reach Smith’s character, the partners in the advertising agency (Kate Winslet, Michael Pena, Edward Norton) devise a plan that involves hiring actors (Keira Knightley, Jacob Latimore, Helen Mirren). "Collateral Beauty" is a tear-jerker, so take lots of tissues. However, a silly premise actually turns promising, allowing you to also feel inspired and hopeful. It’s PG-13.

To see more of my Behind The Scenes interviews, click here

And be sure to follow me @ScottCarty on Twitter.

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