A Star Is Born
Starring Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Andrew “Dice” Clay, Sam Elliott, Dave Chappelle
Produced by: Bill Gerbers, Jon Peters, Bradley Cooper, Todd Phillips, Lynette Howell Taylor
Written by: Eric Cooper, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters
Directed by: Bradley Cooper
Released by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release: 4K/Blu-Ray/DVD – February 19, 2019 / Digitally – Available Now

I went into this movie just wanting to see it based on the poster/cover. Bradley Cooper looked pretty cool and Lady Gaga didn’t have crap all over her face. So that was a plus. I never saw the original A Star Is Born so I have no clue how this film compares to the original. What I can say is that, beyond some direction issues, the film is pretty solid.

So I’m guessing I’m going to write a bit of a rambling review of my thoughts overall since the plot in itself is a bit simplistic. Jack (Cooper) is a famous country western singer who seems to be near the end of his rope. He’s losing his hearing due to tinnitus and has pretty minor drug problems with a pretty heavy drinking problem. One night after a concert he goes into a gay bar that is having a drag show. Ally (Lady Gaga) isn’t a drag queen but one hell of a singer. One song blows everyone away, especially Jack.

Soon Ally is going to Jack’s shows and the two become a couple. Ally is pretty musically gifted and able to sing her ass off and write songs. A duet at one of Jack’s shows thrusts Ally into the spotlight and soon she is making her own music. The struggle of trying to make her music under the direction of a music label while juggling her relationship with a man who is self destructive is a balance that becomes hard for Ally, especially as she becomes more famous.

That’s the movie.

You want to root for Bradley since he seems to be one of the stars. While his character can be super sweet, he’s also a self destructive asshole. You really can’t root for him. Every time it seem he’s going to get himself together, he just falls apart again.

Lady Gaga. I’ll be honest. Never liked her. Never liked her music. I can appreciate the huge stage shows that she puts on a la Elton John, but I just can’t get into the music. HOWEVER – she is a godsend in this film especially in the first act. She comes off as sexy, smart, fun, pretty, and it really shows off her musical talent in a way I’ve never seen before. What’s most important out of all the characteristics I mentioned? For me it is her singing. She really blew me away. I wish that Lady Gaga was more like this character in her every day singing career. I’d probably be a massive fan.

Her character changes in the film once she is signed to a label and that’s when I really began to lose interest. The characteristics that I really loved about Ally are all pretty much stripped away in the second act. I really started not to care about her character. So what did I have? I had a third act where I really didn’t give a crap about the two main characters. It kind of made me sad especially since I LOVED the first act.

The supporting cast was pretty outstanding. Ally’s father has a pretty size role and it took me a few minutes before I shouted out loud, “HOLY SHIT! IT’S DICE!” It’s great to see Andrew Clay kicking butt again in a film. Seeing how he looked in this movie really made me want to see him the star on some mafioso gangster show a la The Sopranos. He’s pretty damn convincing.

Sam Elliott had a smaller role as Cooper’s half-brother and manager but the role really didn’t have much depth. Elliott did a good job. I’m just waiting for his Bigfoot/Hitler movie. Dave Chappelle shows up in a small role as an old friend of Cooper’s and, even in a even smaller role, Eddie Griffin plays Chappelle’s cousin. There were also very brief cameos from Alec Baldwin (playing Alec Baldwin) along with Greg Grunberg and Ron Rifkin – two of Cooper’s costars on the J.J. Abrams show Alias. Beyond Clay, most of these roles were pretty inconsequential.

The movie really rests on the shoulders of Cooper and Lady Gaga. Cooper was good, Lady Gaga was amazing. The direction could be puzzling at times in terms of camera angles, shots, and I thought some minutes could have been trimmed here and there. Beyond this I thought A Star Is Born was a pretty decent film. I went in with zero expectations and started out pretty damn surprised at how much I enjoyed the beginning of the film, even if it faltered in the end.

The 4K I reviewed was gorgeous as most 4K discs are. The disc contains some music videos and a Making Of featurette which were decent enough but pretty boring. I’d actually consider the special features here pretty barebones. It’s too bad – I’m not a fan of commentaries but a commentary by Bradley Cooper, who also directed the film, might have been an interest to many who loved this film.

RATING: B
SPECIAL FEATURES RATING: C-

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