A Star is Born reviews

Uri
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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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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby flipp525 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 2:20 pm

A Star Is Born is a huge crowd-pleaser and has just enough deviations from the other three versions of the story to make it special all on its own. I would say that the first 20-25 minutes are the film's best. The introductions of both Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) character in a highly-charged musical opener that sets the stage for a musician's milieu and Ally's (Lady Gaga) entrance as a young upstart dreaming of a chance to be in lights singing her own music are handled beautifully. The film retains key scenes and plot developments from the original films that are well transposed to a modern day. Transforming Mr. Maine in this version from a jealous husband to more of a muse/mentor at times really worked for me. The "Judy gets slapped at the Oscars" scene of this film is a pretty cringe-worthy moment for everyone involved, but to me something about the staging of it didn't quite work. And, the fate of Jackson Maine, is - as it always is - unbearably sad, especially so in this version when compounded by Maine's backstory. Cooper's direction is very assured. He finds some really beautiful moments to linger on throughout. It's a fabulous debut for him.

The supporting cast is really solid. Dave Chappelle makes an enjoyable appearance in the sequence that seems most "tacked-on" to the original narrative. Shangela and Willem (both from RuPaul's Drag Race) are appealing additions to Ally's drag bar scenes. Ron Rifkin, Cooper's old Alias co-star, shows up unexpectedly in the rehab scenes. And Sam Elliott is just wonderful turning in some of the film's most emotionally charged scenes. I would view him as a very strong candidate for a supporting actor nomination. Lady Gaga overcomes a truly bad first scene (in an empty bathroom where she screams, "Ugh, MEN!") and turns in a beautiful performance, one that constantly feels almost recessive - Ally seems to be undercut her own "fame" in a way that just-on-the-scene 2009-ish real-time Gaga absolutely did not which makes her performance build on her real-life persona and backstory while offering something entirely different from it. I think she delivers some really strong moments and will be wholly deserving of an Oscar citation for this. It's a very unaffected, naturalistic performance.

But Cooper is the clear stand-out. He is just sensational. He doesn't have a false moment in the entire film, managing to convey a very lived-in quality with his character that makes him feel wholly authentic while being as tragically flawed as Jackson Maine is. He is just such a sweet person much of the time, you're kind of just beaming at him even when he's unable to control his addictions. His character's backstory seems to be reverberate throughout the entire film (I don't recall the "Norman Maine" having such a fleshed out backstory) and, in fact, some of his strongest scenes center around the ghosts of his past with Elliott. I think Cooper has a strong chance of winning Best Actor for this.

I think A Star Is Born is going to do very well come nomination time. The most obvious nomination you can come up with is original song for "Shallow" (perhaps the film's most memorable scene). But also, of course, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor (Elliott), Picture, Director, a Original Song (“Is That Alright?”), Original Song (“I’ll Never Love Again”), Cinematography (maybe), Sound Editing, perhaps more. I'm looking forward to seeing it again.
Last edited by flipp525 on Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Sabin » Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:10 pm

I have a friend who is a film critic at Toronto. At this point, he has seen First Man, A Star is Born, Widows, and a few others I'm not recalling at this moment. While he didn't love A Star is Born (he gave it a "B"), he said he could very easily see it winning Best Picture.

That said, he also thought that The Shape of Water had no chance after seeing it at Toronto last year. To be fair, I still don't know how that happened.
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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Sep 01, 2018 3:40 am

ITALIANO wrote:


Not that it matters much, but the Italian reviews are slightly less enthusiastic. They all seem to agree, though, that the two leads (yes, even Lady Gaga) are very good - but then again, these are the internet critics, and now I tend to be skeptical of the opinions of anyone younger than 40 :)
But - seriously - this really should be better than at least the Streisand version.


I'm very weary of this, despite the stellar reviews. I saw the trailer at the cinema about a week or so ago and it looks like nothing more than a remake of the terrible 1976 version, and yes it can only be better than that one.

Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian gives the film 5 stars, yet the review reads like a 3.5 star film at best:

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/a ... ley-cooper

I really didn't want to see this film but it looks bound for nominations, at the very least a song or two. To make matters worse the Bradley Cooper character suffers from tinnitus (amongst other things). I had a dose of that about 8 years ago and it drove me bat shit crazy - at least I've been forewarned, thanks Peter!
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Sabin » Fri Aug 31, 2018 5:54 pm

Mister Tee wrote
Strong reviews in general, with the Gleib in over-the-moon mode.

This film looks tailor made for him.
"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 ITALIANO » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:51 pm



Not that it matters much, but the Italian reviews are slightly less enthusiastic. They all seem to agree, though, that the two leads (yes, even Lady Gaga) are very good - but then again, these are the internet critics, and now I tend to be skeptical of the opinions of anyone younger than 40 :)
But - seriously - this really should be better than at least the Streisand version.


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A Star is Born reviews

Postby flipp525 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:25 pm

The newest remake of A Star is Born starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (and also directed by the latter) has been pushed to October 2018 from an original May release date in order to make a run for awards consideration.

Sean Penn and Barbra Streisand have both openly gushed about the film. Could this become a contender? Cooper at a bare minimum should be taken seriously as he has racked up quite a few nominations in the past decade. Lady Gaga I’m not sure of but, as evidenced most recently by Mary J. Blige’s nomination, the Academy still finds it fun to nominate singers.
Last edited by flipp525 on Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"The mantle of spinsterhood was definitely in her shoulders. She was twenty five and looked it."



-Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell


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