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Monday, October 29, 2018

A Star Is Born 2018 * * 1/2 Stars

A Star Is BornDirector: Bradley Cooper
Year: 2018
Rated R
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliot

A famous, alcoholic country singer befriends an aspiring pop singer. They fall in love, perform on stage together, and eventually marry. There's a rock concert ambience feel going on here as well as a tainted romance. Oh and did I mention there's also an unrecognizable Andrew Dice Clay doing supporting work? That's the gist of 2018's A Star Is Born, a sun-drenched uber-biopic that clocks in at a dragged out 135 minutes.

Starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga as crooner Jackson Maine and muse Ally Campana, "Star" is a remake of a remake of a remake. Cooper channels his inner Kris Kristofferson while Gaga proves she can decently act and react (she's an even better singer though, trust me). As far as musical dramas go, "Star" ain't bad but it feels too much like a downer (don't let the blithe trailer fool you). To be honest, I'd rather smile a little while watching Almost Famous again.

Image result for a star is born movie scenesAnyway, A Star Is Born is a kaleidoscope of pills, booze, rocking tunes, Solid Gold remnants, and show business fortitude. It's somber but not as heavy as I thought it would be because Cooper's Maine is a milder, pacifist drunk (unlike sleep-deprived Nicolas Cage via 1995's Leaving Las Vegas).

Oh I almost forgot, Bradley Cooper helms "Star" as well? His direction is claustrophobic yet largely canvassed at the same time. He loves his close-ups, his jittery camera movements, and his lighting technique which is very Last Waltz-esque. Coop also likes his widescreens too and his concert sequences are surprisingly deft for a rookie director.

What ultimately fails A Star Is Born, is its script by three writers (Cooper, Eric Roth, and Will Fetters). Outside of the live music, the searing guitar solos, and the cheering crowds, the film never quite takes off. It's like an earnest work of dramatic hooey, a slight of hand vanity project from Cooper, and a seen it before, rise and fall requiem. The actors spew improvised dialogue with conversations between a boozed-up rocker, his brother, his wife, and his wife's manager seeming repetitive as ever. Yup, it just goes on and on.

Image result for a star is born movie scenesBased on other critic reviews and audiences going "gaga" with the box office take, the Academy might make "Star" its darling and give it some award nominations. I'm going to retort and saddle A Star Is Born with a mixed rating of two and a half "stars".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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