La La Land

Some kind of transcendent magic happens in Damien Chazelle's starry-eyed musical, with one foot (in tap shoes) firmly planted in the past, and the other (in taps, too, of course) planted in a me-first, modern-day world. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are the struggling Los Angelenos who fall in love despite a mutual wariness, walking and talking, singing and dancing, amid a swirl of classic Hollywood references.

PG-13

Loving True story of an interracial couple who were jailed for getting married in 1950s Virginia. Their case led to the Supreme Court decision invalidating race-related marriage laws. PG-13

Manchester by the Sea Kenneth Lonergan proves once again he's one of America's finest dramatists with this working-class drama about loss, grief, and family obligations. Casey Affleck is sensational in an Oscar-worthy performance as a self-hating melancholic who has lived a miserable life as a janitor since he lost both his children in an accident. When his older brother dies, he must return to his tiny hometown and assume responsibility for his teenage nephew. R

Moonlight A true American masterpiece, the sophomore feature from Barry Jenkins is a heady mix of brutal social realism and poetry as it tells the coming-of-age story of a young black gay man from a Miami ghetto. Divided into three parts, it tells the story of Chiron as a 10-year-old, a high school student, and a 20-something professional as he wrestles with external forces he can't control, including poverty and drug crime and internal desires he cannot ignore. R