Thursday, October 11, 2018

MOVIE REVIEW: A Star Is Born (2018)

A Star Is Born
Warner Bros. Pictures
R | 2 hr 15 min

Of all the trailers I screened
last summer, this is the film
that piqued my interest most.
One senior's discount ticket
for "A Star Is Born," please!

It's the movie everyone seems to be buzzing about right now. And you can believe the hype. Simply put, acclaimed Oscar-nominated actor, Bradley Cooper, has succeeded in delivering a solid slam dunk with his directorial debut.

Starring Cooper as fast-living rock star, Jackson Maine, and pop superstar, Lady Gaga, as aspiring singer / songwriter, Ally, A Star Is Born 4.0 is the latest incarnation of the 1937 silver screen classic.

Written by Cooper, the 2018 edition of this iconic saga drips with irresistible appeal. A tortured soul wrestling with his personal demons, Maine discovers Ally while she's performing a late-night set at a popular drag club. Their undeniable, immediate connection rings true — riveting and real. And as their fiery relationship ensues, moviegoers experience the heart-breaking tension between the two, while also being awash in the heart-stopping music created by the unlikely couple.

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper delivering one of several
chilling, authentic live performances in A Star Is Born.
Truth be told, Lady Gaga lost me way back at the meat dress. However, her acting chops and musical performances in the film are both superb — proving her to be an even mightier talent than I could ever have imagined — a world-class artist in a league of her own. As for Cooper, his portrayal of Maine can be described best as gripping and authentic.

The chemistry between Cooper and Gaga is nothing short of magical. The onscreen passion between their characters feels honest and pure — the romantic tension often is almost too painful to watch. In fact, at times, you might lose sight that you're watching a movie, and actually have become a "fly on the wall," witnessing real life conflict — You're just fucking ugly.

Cooper and Gaga sizzle in A Star Is Born.
Despite the storyline suggesting they have different mothers, the 30-year age gap between Cooper and celebrated actor, Sam Elliott, makes buying their characters' brotherhood a bit of a tough sell. But he's Sam Elliot, so whatever he's selling, I'm buying. Additional props also are due to Andrew Dice Clay, as Ally's father, Lorenzo, Rafi Gavron as Ally's abrasive music producer / manager, Rez, and  Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real who appear throughout the film as Maine's band.

It's a tale we've heard a few times before. However, the 2018 edition zings with freshness. The story is crisp and compelling. The cast is incredible. And the film's soundtrack album is a musical treasure. In sum, A Star Is Born ranks as one of the most exciting, engaging and entertaining films I've seen in a VERY long time.

-Christopher Long
(October 2018)

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C'MON! -

(Coming April 7, 2019)

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