A Star is Born reviews

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Sabin » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:34 am

It was meant more as a joke. That would make my post a tiresome thing to read. Or at least more so than it already is.
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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby OscarGuy » Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:01 am

search and replace each space with " fucking "
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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Sabin » Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:27 am

I was going to do a joke review of "A Star is Fucking Born" where I splice the word "fucking" in between every other word but it would be too much effort.

I don't think there's ever been an actor in my life that's made as much of a 180 in my book as Bradley Cooper. After Wedding Crashers, I never wanted to see this guy again. He's one of my favorite actors alive. I think he deserved to win for all three of his Oscar-nominated performances. His vocal range is extraordinary. It's hard to imagine that the guy who does Rocket Raccoon is the same person who was in American Sniper. I have to imagine he's going to win for A Star is Born, because the film is so centered around his substance abuse. The film is at its strongest in the first half, an extended "Meet Cute" where his charms are on display and he's hiding his demons under a manic-social mask. For me, Jackson Maine isn't his most interesting character but this isn't just some drunk performance. He gets the manic-social quality of some addicts, how somebody wasted and just barely holding it together can keep it all under their hat and come off quite charming. The film may not have anything substantive to say about fame other than "agents are shitty" and it's notion of fame is early this decade (which I'm nostalgia for anyway, so) but Cooper makes the most of this vanity project, while also doubling as a strong studio film full of innovative filmmaking. This is the most interesting work Mathew Libatique has done in years and the sound design really creates a piercing stadium sound.

I enjoyed A Star is Born but it's certainly a front-heavy film. The first half feels spontaneous, like it's inventing itself as it goes along, culminating with the stadium performance of "The Shallow" and Jackson collapsing in bed. The second half of this film is quite dull with moments that feel plucked from acting class. The film always wants us to love Jackson and is cleared to paint him in too unflattering of a light. Other films paint this character as somebody for the star to mourn but move on from. This film sees this character differently. He's a kind man and his fans can see that in him. But his mentorship of Ally is too laden with empty platitudes and we never really get a sense of how far his star is fallen, or even what span of time this film takes place over. A year? Two? It should be said that my reservations with the second half of the film were not shared by my audience who wept through the final flashback.

As for Lady Gaga, she's a good performer but I don't see her having a huge acting career. Bradley Cooper and the film as a whole has her back and supports her. She has some excellent moments and there's nobody I can think of that I would've preferred to see in this role. I'll go one step farther. It's hard to imagine the film working at all with anybody else. That being said, I wish I wasn't so fixated on what kind of performance she would've given before her botox.
Last edited by Sabin on Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:11 pm, edited 5 times in total.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Oct 17, 2018 2:37 pm

I'd probably say that this rendition of A Star is Born is about the best version I could have expected in 2018 of material that I can't say I was desperately eager to ever see again. I think it's an enjoyable enough watch, the actors are quite appealing, the writing and direction have a grounded quality that provide for a lot of nice small moments, there are numerous beautiful shots (I think that cinematography nomination is more of a sure thing than some of you), and it's full of memorable music (had the song category not introduced the 2-per-film rule, this movie would easily dominate the category).

But it seems to me that some of the most outsize critical enthusiasm amounts to grading on a curve. Because I can't quite overlook the film's most obvious limitation, which is simply that at a story level, this isn't fresh material (not only because of all of the official versions of A Star is Born, but also because of the many stories about showbiz relationships afflicted by addiction and the rise and fall of fame that don't bear the official Star is Born imprimatur). This is the main reason why I liked the first half of the film the best -- what amounts to essentially one very long first date provides most of the freshest moments in the movie, and I was fully held by the actors and the filmmaking during this chunk. The second half, though, is where a lot of the more typical Star is Born beats pop up -- the award show embarrassment, the final goodbye where only he knows it's goodbye forever, the emotional final performance -- and while I liked a lot of the movie's twists on familiar elements (the suicide was shot and staged in a brutally effective manner, the intercutting of the earlier scene during the last song gave it added emotional resonance), I tend to reserve the highest levels of my enthusiasm for material that isn't so much of a retread. Although I liked the movie overall more than Uri, I don't disagree that at its core, it has a redundant quality to it that I can't just ignore.

This may be the first version of A Star is Born that feels centered even more around the male's side of the story than the female's, and possibly the first where I thought the man gave the stronger performance. Remember the days when people viewed Cooper as "that guy from The Hangover," and weren't sure if he was a serious actor or not? Obviously those days have been long forgotten, but I'd say Cooper impresses in new ways here, leaning into the fact that his character is basically a created persona (with an affected voice), and showing the tension between that on-stage persona and the effort it requires to maintain so much of it off-stage as well. He's also fully present physically throughout the film -- when you watch the way he listens throughout scenes, it's clear Cooper has thought about how Jackson's ear condition would affect his basic communication in life. As for Lady Gaga, I can't claim to make any great proclamation about her range as a dramatic actress -- it's possible that in another role, I might see the clear limitations that her detractors do here. But my take is that in this movie she's got a part that fits her natural strengths tremendously well -- there's no denying she's a commanding musical performer -- and I'd say she's fully up to the emotional demands of her half of the storyline as well. She's not a Judy Garland tour de force, but I was far more taken with her than Streisand in her vehicle. And Sam Elliott makes a pretty wonderful impression in his small role -- the look on his face as he pulls out of Cooper's driveway is one of the most emotionally affecting moments of the film.

"Shallow" is winning Original Song, right? This was my favorite moment in the movie, and I think it's the peak of Lady Gaga's performance -- I love the way she conveys a performer who's trying her best to be confident in this moment, but who isn't at all used to such a spotlight. The climax of the song -- with Ally fully coming into her own and realizing that she and Jackson connect on a primal artistic level -- gave me chills. My other favorite songs were "Maybe It's Time" and "Always Remember Us This Way." (I actually don't rate "I'll Never Love Again" as highly, and in fact thought the impact of the end of the film would have been improved with a less blandly generic ballad in this spot.)

So all in all, a movie that I thought did a lot of things well, even as I didn't think it soared beyond the limitations of its endeavor.

P.S. for Flipp -- I've known Willam for a long time, and I agree it was great fun to see him in this role.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:47 am

Big Magilla wrote: Lady Gaga, though, is sublime throughout. Her acting is strong


:D

Love your irony :)

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:29 am

I suppose Bradley Cooper could have made the same film with a different title, but then screams of "plagiarism" would be heard all over the world.

The story of one star rising while another falls has been told many times in films as diverse as Holiday Inn, Smash-Up and Beaches. Even Coming Home stole the ending of A Star Is Born.

It's not a tired old story. It's one that will be told and re-told many times over after we are all long gone, though how many more versions will bear the same title remains to be seen.

It is a story that adapts itself to changing times. Cooper's version doesn't reach the lofty heights of the Gaynor-March and Garland-Mason versions, but it's lightyears ahead of the Streisand-Kristofferson version. The screenplay is well written, but Cooper's line readings and whiskey-soaked singing voice take some getting used to. Lady Gaga, though, is sublime throughout. Her acting is strong and no contemporary singer can put a song across in a way that is as pleasing to fans of any and all musical genres as she can. I think it's safe to say that her Oscar nomination is in the bag, though a win may be a bit of a stretch. Cooper is likely to be nominated for both Best Actor and Best Director, but seems unlikely to win either at this juncture. As for the film's Best Picture chances, I don't really see that either. I think it will end up a strong also-ran in all categories except maybe Best Song, which if it were my call would go to "I'll Never Love Again", not "The Shallow".
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby dws1982 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:33 pm

I'm going to fall on the positive side of this one, although I also don't know that the A Star is Born narrative is necessarily the ideal vehicle for what most seems to occupy Cooper, which is the difficulty and pain of loving someone who doesn't (and can't) love themselves, who doesn't have any respect for themselves. In that respect, and as someone who has struggled (albeit differently than Cooper's character) both with addiction and self-loathing, I found the film very moving. And I found it an entertaining riff on the A Star is Born story too. Based on what I've seen so far, I do hope this is the role that Cooper finally wins for (although, full disclosure, I probably would've voted for him in 2013 and 2014, so I'm more favorably disposed to him than most).

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Reza » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:29 am

ITALIANO wrote:
Reza wrote:
I still haven't seen it but I'm amazed at the response by the critics. Almost unanimous praise.


And at least critics SHOULD know about the previous versions...


Just finished watching the film. What a terrible bore and waste of time

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Oct 14, 2018 8:28 am

Reza wrote:
I still haven't seen it but I'm amazed at the response by the critics. Almost unanimous praise.


And at least critics SHOULD know about the previous versions...

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Reza » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:21 am

Uri wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:Also, I don't know why this movie was made. Why remake such an old, tired story without even vaguely offering a new perspective on it, a new approach? I'll never know I guess.


At the end of the day, this is indeed exactly the point. A rather redundant piece.


Since when has Hollywood averted itself from redundant stories? Never. It's about making money at the end of the day. And Lady Gaga (or Beyoncé.....or whichever famous singer fit the bill) is being used to get the crowds into the cinema. Do you really think today's movie going audience has even seen (let alone know about) the previous versions with Gaynor or Garland? Even the Streisand version is 42 years old. So the film is very original in the minds of today's audience which the studio knows and hence hopes to make a handsome buck out of the project.

I still haven't seen it but I'm amazed at the response by the critics. Almost unanimous praise.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Uri » Sun Oct 14, 2018 4:07 am

ITALIANO wrote:Also, I don't know why this movie was made. Why remake such an old, tired story without even vaguely offering a new perspective on it, a new approach? I'll never know I guess.


At the end of the day, this is indeed exactly the point. A rather redundant piece.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:23 am

Uri wrote:
ITALIANO wrote:it's about her being a bad actress).


Well, in my repressed and reserved mind "While manifesting a pleasant presence and likeability, if not necessarily an exceptional acting ability" is as harsh a statement as yours, but MY mother taught me to be polite and always say something nice before you push the knife.

(Ok, I'm sure your mother tried too - I had the pleasure of meeting her and she is truly lovely. Your adorable honesty is your own creation).


Well, I am polite to people too, but sorry, with movies it'd be a waste of energy for me. And I am much less patient - with movies - than I used to be :)

Also, I don't know why this movie was made. Why remake such an old, tired story without even vaguely offering a new perspective on it, a new approach? I'll never know I guess.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Uri » Sun Oct 14, 2018 1:55 am

ITALIANO wrote:it's about her being a bad actress).


Well, in my repressed and reserved mind "While manifesting a pleasant presence and likeability, if not necessarily an exceptional acting ability" is as harsh a statement as yours, but MY mother taught me to be polite and always say something nice before you push the knife.

(Ok, I'm sure your mother tried too - I had the pleasure of meeting her and she is truly lovely. Your adorable honesty is your own creation).

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:27 pm

I was so hungry for subtext - any kind of subtext - in A Star Is Born that I realized that I was listening to the scenes between Bradley Cooper and Sam Elliott with the same kind of gratitude I would reserve to Harold Pinter. Needless to say, these scenes are really quite superficial, but they seem unusually profound when compated to the - many, too many - scenes which Cooper shares with his co-star Lady Gaga.
I must be careful writing aboit this movie on this board. A Star is Born after all is - always was - a very American dark fairy tale, one dealing with two American obsessions - their hunger for success, money and prizes, and their immense, invincible fear of losing them. I am immune to all this and couldn't care less, so I must admit that even the other versions hadn't impressed me much. But the orher versions - yes, even the Barbra Streisand one - had at least, if not great acting (though Garland and Mason were of course great), EFFECTIVE acting. The main roles were showy, the kind of meaty roles actors sink their teeth into.
But Lady Gaga usn't an actor. She's just a good singer (and the scenes where she sings are the best in the movie). But honestly her performance reminded me of Pia Zadora (no, Uri, it's not just about not being a movie star or not looking like a movie star - it's about her being a bad actress). Bradley Cooper at least IS an actor, but a crucial element in this story is the audience believing that the leading man instantly falls in love with the talent, the charisma and the soul of the leading lady - and when Cooper looks adoringly at Lady Gaga you can only think it must be too much alcohol.When the central relationship miserably fails, the movie fails with it, and gets embarassing (and boring).
But again - American critics LOVE this movie, and the Americans on this board will follow suit (this will be Oscar Guy's favorite novie of the year - wanna bet?). It will get lots of Oscar nominations, will certainly win at least one - and probably four Golden Globes. So, just between you and me : it's a bad movie. But nobody else except me will tell you so. Keep the secret and be grateful to Italiano :)

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Uri » Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:47 pm

The main reason the first two versions of ASiB were successful was that they were cinematic Ars Poetica – films dealing with what films are about. They were self-reflecting halls of mirrors. As the title suggested, they were dissertations on the nature of cinematic stardom, its outburst and its demise. Onscreen these ends were represented by two people, but while both films benefited greatly by two superb displays of thespianism by March and Mason, it was the casting of Janet Gaynor and Judy Garland that suggested a much more complex reading. These films were all about their character, and the stars they were born as were a Janet Gaynor and a Judy Garland respectively, yet for both actresses, these films practically marked the end of their film careers, since in 1937 the era of the Gaynor type was over and in 1954 the era of the studio musicals Garland was the queen of was over. So, they were at the same time both Vicki Lester and Norman Maine, suggesting that the ending of one’s stardom is encapsulated in its beginning, and this is what made those versions poignant – the first one in a mild, pleasant way, like its star, the second one, of course, much more so because its star WAS a real life Norman Maine by the time it was made (and yes, she was a far more iconic figure).

For me, the problem with the two later versions is that they lack these crucial elements. First, they are not about movie making and film stars, so they miss this all deluding aspect which made the first two so bewildering (a Tommy like rock opera would have worked much better). And then there is the fact that Esther Hoffman is not turning into a Barbara Streisand and Ally Campano(?) is not turning into a Lady Gaga. And unlike Streisand in 1976, Gaga doesn't have a bona fide film persona yet, so without her offscreen one, she doesn't offer onscreen a proof of a superstardom potential. While manifesting a pleasant presence and likeability, if not necessarily an exceptional acting ability, her Ally comes off as a kind of contestant on a tv musical talent contest. (Maybe this could make a fresher and contemporary take on this old franchise - make Maine a washed out star degraded to become a judge on such a show, falling for one of the contestants). And while Chris Christopherson was the real deal, Copper is not. So, we are left with what is basically a not very sophisticated premise which is striped of what made it so intriguing in the first place – remember, it all began with a Hollywood film called What Price Hollywood. Gone are the complexities, left are the clichés.


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