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A Star Is Born


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91% on RT

 

$42M Opening Weekend

 

While Venom was the big hit of the weekend, I think A Star Is Born will be the more lasting movie, both in terms of impact and box office. I think the trailer does a pretty good job of selling what you can expect from the film, but I found it rather uneven in a few different ways. My wife really loved it though, and will probably be happy when it wins an Oscar and maybe gets nominated for a few more. Anyone else catch it or planning to?

 

 

My Review

Spoiler

 

A Star Is Born introduces us to to Jackson Maine first as an addict, and then as a country rock superstar. After Bradley Cooper washes down a generous helping of prescription medication with a hastily consumed cocktail, he stumbles on stage to perform before an enormous crowd; the camera drunkenly floating around Cooper as he sings. It's a sequence that reminds us Cooper is a capable actor and a surprisingly good singer, but not as accomplished a director. If the seemingly sloppy camera of that first song tried to communicate an appropriate sense of delirium, it rarely found a similarly suitable rhythm in the rest of the film. Quick movements in wide angle close ups define the look of the film, and it's only on the rare occasion that it felt appropriate. Keeping the camera so close was no doubt meant to frame the film as intimate, but it obscures the loneliness that permeates it. The few moments that the camera retreats backwards are the more memorable frames, but they're far too seldom.

Thankfully, little fancy camera work or even proper framing is required to sell Lady Gaga as a brilliant performer. She's given the chance to sing across a few genres, and each time she is electric. She punctuates the film with reminders that she is one of our most capable contemporary entertainers, but she's much less consistent when it came to acting. Her's is a character that, despite the incredible journey she takes over the two hours of film, seems almost entirely unphased by it all. Even as the plot and performances around her hinged on her transformation, little of that was obvious on screen. It may be an indictment of the script or direction more than her acting ability, but either way it felt like a piece was missing.

Indeed, the script feels that way all over the place. This fourth telling of this story is close to something great, but unfinished drama lingers around every decision. Relationships and conflicts portend to themes that are never truly explored, much less answered. As satisfying and entertaining as the music is throughout the film, the drama never lived up to it.

 

 

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I saw this last night with the girlfriend and we both really liked it. It's not necessarily a new story (as @TwinIon mentioned, it's the 4th version of this particular film, in fact :p ) but the chemistry between Gaga and Cooper is pretty undeniable. The music was also very enjoyable, and as someone who wasn't all that familiar with Lady Gaga it was fun to see another side of her besides the outrageous outfits. :p Especially considering that it's her first acting job, I was impressed. 

 

Edit - In the theater where we watched the movie here in Germany, there was also a trailer which was about the New York public library. Pretty interesting too. :daydream:

 

Edit 2 - Found the video, if anyone is interested:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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