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Movie Reviews: A Star is Born (2018)

KestrelStudiosOct 6, 2018, 7:51:50 AM

A Star is Born is a 2018 musical romantic drama that serves as actor Bradley Coopers directorial debut. It stars Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chapelle and Sam Elliot. It is the fourth remake of the classic 1937 film of the same name.

The movie tells the story of Ally, a talented singer/songwriter who fears trying for the limelight due to her overlarge nose. All of that changes one night when she meets Jackson Maine, a lonely country singer who becomes mesmerized with Ally after hearing her sing. Soon, they get caught up in a whirlwind romance that launches Ally's career and reinvigorates the life of the lonely cowboy.

While singing an Edith Piaf song in french, Ally lays on the bar top right in front of Jackson. Having come onto the bar to give a flower to a friend, she only glances at Jackson once.

Each actor shares equal screen time, either together or on their own. Jackson's story focuses on his attempts to deal with the pain that made him the man he is today. However, he also drinks to forget it. To make matters worse, Jackson is also at risk of losing his music career; not for a lack of talent, but due to a ringing in his ear.

Ally, however, is a star just waiting to come into the light. She not only possesses an amazing voice but a grasp for expression few artists ever achieve in a lifetime. Jackson thinks that the spark that will separate Ally from the rest. He turns out to be right.

Ally done punched someone. Now she gets peas on her hand. Fashionable and sexy.

Jackson gets Ally to come to a show. Then he surprises her by starting to sing one of the songs she'd barely shared with him. He'd prefer that she sing it. After some hesitation she does.

People are stunned. So is she. Good job, Ally!

The Lowdown (Positives and Negatives)

Jesus fucking Christ this was a good film. Totally unexpected. Light humor. Great storytelling. And the chemistry was so strong between Ally and Jackson I thought I was going to blow my head off.

Look at this fucking chemistry. Charismatic cowboy. Bashful songstress. The character development is strong as well. Just see how she comes into her own later in the film.

I don't even know where to begin with this film. For sure, it's a romance. And a genre film at that. But the beats are done so smoothly, and the story is directed so well, you can't really tell when they're happening. The nitpicks I do have about the film are so tiny I wonder if they're even worth mentioning. But I'd feel dishonest not to point them out.

The progressoin from Ally the waitress to Ally the singer happens in about 30 to 45 minutes in a way that, structurally, is way too convenient. However, the film is directed so well all the seams are hidden. It reminds me of a Hitchcock quote (paraphrasing): "Keep the story moving and they'll never see between the stitching." This is definitely an example of that.

Working on the songs together. How romantic.

Another thing the film handles well is the inclusion of minority groups. Namely, the LBGT community. In bad films this shit is shoved right in your face as if you're being put into a re-education camp. In the film, however, it's just part of the world Ally comes from. It's also played for laughs at the right moments, showing the film is not there to take things too seriously.

An example of a gay friend.

The film also handles the flaws and development of the characters well. Jackson is a terrible, fall-down drunk. There is a reason why he's like this. But he's also trying to put a salve over it by expending so much of himself toward Ally's success. In turn, Ally takes these things for granted. When he tries to confront her about this she turns out to be oblivious. Ally has her flaws as well.

I don't want to give the whole film away, but it's hard to watch how badly Ally overlooks the desperate displays of love the lonely cowboy shows her.

After Ally struggles to sing into a studio microphone, Jackson has them bring in a piano. He sits next to her, working the mixer. This does it for Ally. A great example of Jackson expressing his love for Ally.

People were crying so hard in this film. Some girl was bawling behind me. The cute girl who sat next to me was sitting up erect the whole movie with her hand over her heart. I've never seen such adoration for a film. By the time I walked out a grown-ass man was saying to another grown-ass man: 'Not a dry eye in the house.'

By the time I left the theater all the ladies were going to the food court to get those rough, brown napkins you don't even want to use on your nose to wipe their eyes.

Fuck, man. When you get to this scene in the movie you will bawl your eyes out, too.

Interesting Tidbits

There was some talk about Lady Gaga's fans 'the little monsters' going out of their way to bot-swarm Venom reviews with negative press. All to improve the odds of Lady Gaga's film being successful. What the fuck?

But I don't think that was necessary. A Star is Born is definitely Oscar bait. I've also seen Venom, and though I enjoyed it, it comes up short to the expectations of the audience and fans, unfortunately. I Guess Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper win this round.

Competition between Venom and A Star is Born is probably unwarranted.

Yes, Venom looks like a much cooler movie. But only one will get you laid if you bring a lady.

And if I didn't mention it earlier, this is also Bradley Cooper's first film. I hope you got more in you than just this, Bradley. This is going ot be a hard movie to top in the future.

Final Verdict

Rotten Tomatoes holds the movie up at 91% for critics and 86% for audiences. It's one of the few RT reviews I agree with. Metacritic seems closer to audience feedback with 88/100 at the time of this writing.

I got to say this is probably the best film I've seen since Blade Runner: 2049. Thankfully, audiences are appreciating the film this time. With such a well-balanced film with a great story line and acting I got to say I strongly recommend this thing. I give it a 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. Check this film out when you can. Bring the old lady as well.

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