Sunday, October 7, 2018

A Star is Born

Movie Name: A Star is Born
Year of Release: 2018
Director: Bradley Cooper
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Andrew Dice Clay, Sam Elliott, Rafi Gavron, Dave Chappelle, Anthony Ramos, Ron Rifkin, Barry Shabaka Henley, Michael D. Roberts, Michael Harney, Greg Grunberg, Willam Belli, Eddie Griffin, Josh Wells, Dennis Tong
Genre: Drama, Romance
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
View Trailer

Synopsis & Review:
Bradley Cooper is an interesting actor, who has chosen to make his directorial debut, with a remake of "A Star is Born", itself a property that has been taken to the screen on 3 previous occasions. The film follows the story of Jackson Maine, a successful singer/songwriter, who is on a downward spiral, with too much alcohol and drugs consuming his life and performances. Following one of his concerts, he stops on his way to the airport, on a small nightclub/bar, where he witnesses Ally performing. Ally has the hopes of becoming herself a successful artist, but has faltered in doing so, due to lack of confidence, and also because of the superficiality and ruthlessness of the music business. Jackson and her start a relationship, with Ally coming to her own terms and performing with Jackson, until she gets noticed by an agent in a visible spot. She's also aware of the ghosts haunting Jackson, and how much of his alcoholism rule his life and choices, and she makes her concerns abundantly clear. As her star wattage and public perception increase, Jackson fades, until a dramatic event forces him to reconsider everything.
"A Star is Born" is an auspicious start for Bradley Cooper's career as a director - there's something truly riveting and natural in the way he captures the energy of the live performances, that end up being the main draw of the film. It's an interesting film where both central characters have an interesting arc to go through before finding their path. Unlike previous versions of the film, this one truly is a duet, in the sense that the focus is indeed on both their paths, with Jackson actually coming across as a much more interesting character (and again, this character and performance seems almost like a copycat of the character Jeff Bridges created for Scott Cooper's "Crazy Heart"). Lady Gaga's Ally, as much as the film tries to convey the challenges and hardship she's endured, it mostly seems she's been leading a life which involves a job and helping her father, and who all of a sudden finally gets discovered. Her performance lacks nuance, but she and Cooper have chemistry, and her live performances are impeccably staged and captured. The film is overly long, there are sections that could have been left out, but when it succeeds, it manages to feel alive and not artificial. Bradley Cooper is truly great in this film (even if a bit slightly self indulgent), and the film is beautifully shot by Matthew Libatique. An auspicious start for an interesting and talented actor/director.