A Star is Born reviews

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:07 am

Big Magilla wrote:Although nothing really surprises me anymore, I was shocked as I said to find people in their 60s going on 70s who have had a lifetime of opportunities to have at least seen the Cukor version, if not the Wellman, not to have seen it. The pre-restored version had frequent showings on TV in the days before home video and all the other options we have now so there's really no excuse other than ignorance for people in that age group to know the property only from the ghastly Streisand version and to recall that with great affection. I call it the Streisand, rather than the Pierson because it's Streisand's hands that are all over it, not Frank Pierson's.


So now three more 60-something women have piped up to say that the Streisand version was their favorite film, one even wanted to know if Cooper and Gaga sing the same songs in the new one!
“‎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 ITALIANO » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:40 pm

Precious Doll wrote:
I also think that despite all the streaming services, etc that with the demise of the 'local DVD rental store' and the decline of repertory cinemas that its harder to see older and newer films than it has ever been.



Yes, but there is (as you say) internet and there are also several tv channels entirely devoted to old movies. In theory, ome could watch movie after novie every day without leaving home. I am not sure it's lack of opportunities - I'm afraid it's just lack of curiosity.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:20 am

ITALIANO wrote:
Reza wrote:
It's ignorance to a large extent but more than that people today do not like exploring pre-1970s cinema. It's true of many young film buffs today.


And many young and not-so-young film critics, sadly. When I was a teenager I used to look at film critics as sort-of guides - intellectuals whose opinions were the result of an experience I didn't have back then, and that I wished I could get, with time. I respected them and treasured their views even when I didn't totally agree with them.
Today, I have that kind of film experience. But today's critics - well, most of them, anyway - don't have it and don't seem to care. And how can you judge the present if you don't know the past? This is true of politics, of course, but also of art, and of that art called cinema. This is why I am now instinctively skeptical when I read a film review. I know - there are exceptions, and I can't deny that I am pleasantly surprised when I read a review which feels competent, insightful. But most times what I feel is immaturity, and a depressing lack of background in cinema (not to mention background in other arts, too).
One could also say that today's movies don't deserve the kind of critical approach that, say, Fellini's or Bergman's movies got. But it's not true. Cinema may not be what it used to be, but it's not an excuse for criticism to become childish and ignorant.
This board, by the way, is composed of people who, while certainly varied, have in common not just love for movies (love can be irresponsible, immature), but also knowledge, and experience. And this makes it different, and rare.


Great post Italiano.

The standard of film criticism in mainstream media is dreadful. I loved that there used to be particular critics who I respected and followed and enjoyed reading their opinions on films even if they had a different view to my own. Recently I threw out my entire Cinema Papers collection. Cinema Papers was an Australian film magazine that started in the early 1970s and ceased in the very late 1990s (I think). Over the years the standard of writing declined and its interesting to read some of the articles from the earlier editions that were so much better written and informed than anything in the later editions. I also threw out all my old Sight and Sound magazines up until they combined S&S with the BFI Monthly Film Bulletin. Once again flicking through some of the articles and reviews was such a throwback to a bygone era that barely exists in the print media now in relation to the standard of writing and film knowledge. I had placed an ad on Free Cycle to give the magazines away but got no takers so into the 'yellow recycling bin' that our Government kindly provides us with for paper, glass & plastic waste, that it turns out used to get sent to China and now just gets dumped into landfill along with the contents of the 'red recycling bin' that our Government kindly provides us for general rubbish. By the way, we also get a 'green bin' for gardening content and vegetable/fruit waste (though we have a compose bin for that) - I do hope thats not going into landfill as well.

Anyway back onto topic, though in defence of younger people they have so much more of film history to catch up with than say anybody who fell in love with cinema from the 1960s to the 1980s. 100+ years of films history. Just picking up the first edition of 1001 Movies to See Before You Die, the omissions are staggering and its not like there are many movies in the first edition that don't deserve their place.

We have very few film directors worldwide churning out interesting film after film (with the odd mis-step) like there used be but there as you say lots of great films still being made, but a lot of them are getting little attention. The Academy does shine a light on a couple of them but is hardly representative of the best cinema has to offer.

Then there is what seems like an oversupply of films getting made but in fairness there are about a couple of billion more people on the planet than there was 40 years years ago.

There are some good on-line sites and discussion boards around but the standard of print media has declined. Don't know why I still buy Film Comment or Sight & Sound as I have been basically just flicking through most of the issues for the last 4 to 5 years. I've also virtually stopped noting in my diary films to keep an eye out for and relying on my memory to decide what to see.

I also think that despite all the streaming services, etc that with the demise of the 'local DVD rental store' and the decline of repertory cinemas that its harder to see older and newer films than it has ever been.
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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Greg » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:16 pm

By the way, the Gaynor/March/Wellman version is available for free on YouTube, even though it is listed as the Garland/Mason version.
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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:15 pm

Reza wrote:
It's ignorance to a large extent but more than that people today do not like exploring pre-1970s cinema. It's true of many young film buffs today.


And many young and not-so-young film critics, sadly. When I was a teenager I used to look at film critics as sort-of guides - intellectuals whose opinions were the result of an experience I didn't have back then, and that I wished I could get, with time. I respected them and treasured their views even when I didn't totally agree with them.
Today, I have that kind of film experience. But today's critics - well, most of them, anyway - don't have it and don't seem to care. And how can you judge the present if you don't know the past? This is true of politics, of course, but also of art, and of that art called cinema. This is why I am now instinctively skeptical when I read a film review. I know - there are exceptions, and I can't deny that I am pleasantly surprised when I read a review which feels competent, insightful. But most times what I feel is immaturity, and a depressing lack of background in cinema (not to mention background in other arts, too).
One could also say that today's movies don't deserve the kind of critical approach that, say, Fellini's or Bergman's movies got. But it's not true. Cinema may not be what it used to be, but it's not an excuse for criticism to become childish and ignorant.
This board, by the way, is composed of people who, while certainly varied, have in common not just love for movies (love can be irresponsible, immature), but also knowledge, and experience. And this makes it different, and rare.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:23 am

I agree 100%.

Although nothing really surprises me anymore, I was shocked as I said to find people in their 60s going on 70s who have had a lifetime of opportunities to have at least seen the Cukor version, if not the Wellman, not to have seen it. The pre-restored version had frequent showings on TV in the days before home video and all the other options we have now so there's really no excuse other than ignorance for people in that age group to know the property only from the ghastly Streisand version and to recall that with great affection. I call it the Streisand, rather than the Pierson because it's Streisand's hands that are all over it, not Frank Pierson's.
“‎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 Reza » Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:26 am

ITALIANO wrote:
Greg wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:On the other hand, I was shocked and saddened to discover that there are people in their 60s who only know the story from the Barbra Stresiand version, which they (excuse me while I gag), love.


Well, the Streisand version is still the only previous A Star Is Born that wasn't initially released before they were born.


I hate to say that this is all - again - very American, but... I mean, it's not like we don't know anything which happened before our time, right? History exists. Art history exists. And especially today, with not only television but internet too, in theory we have easy access (too easy, one might say) to a wide range of movies, past and present.

Being 70, or 60, or even 25, is no excuse for ignorance. Even in the US.


It's ignorance to a large extent but more than that people today do not like exploring pre-1970s cinema. It's true of many young film buffs today.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Thu Nov 01, 2018 5:35 am

Greg wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:On the other hand, I was shocked and saddened to discover that there are people in their 60s who only know the story from the Barbra Stresiand version, which they (excuse me while I gag), love.


Well, the Streisand version is still the only previous A Star Is Born that wasn't initially released before they were born.


I hate to say that this is all - again - very American, but... I mean, it's not like we don't know anything which happened before our time, right? History exists. Art history exists. And especially today, with not only television but internet too, in theory we have easy access (too easy, one might say) to a wide range of movies, past and present.

Being 70, or 60, or even 25, is no excuse for ignorance. Even in the US.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:48 pm

Greg wrote:
Big Magilla wrote:On the other hand, I was shocked and saddened to discover that there are people in their 60s who only know the story from the Barbra Stresiand version, which they (excuse me while I gag), love.


Well, the Streisand version is still the only previous A Star Is Born that wasn't initially released before they were born.

Technically, no, some of them are closer to 70 than 60 - the Cukor/Garland/Mason was released 64 years ago.
“‎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 Mister Tee » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:07 pm

The Original BJ wrote:
Uri wrote:
The Original BJ wrote:And yet I've encountered a sizable number of people who were completely caught off guard by pretty basic story elements (especially the plot's culmination in suicide).


While I totally agree with you and Precious - we are part of an ever decreasing Cinema-aware section of society - but there's something else here. The suicide part came as a shock not only because it's the previous versions these people are not aware of, but also the concept of a film not having a Happy Ending, or at least a reassuring one is hardly ever practiced anymore, it seems.


You are definitely right about this — I had one friend specifically tell me that he was SHOCKED by the suicide because he couldn’t believe that a movie that was so obviously targeted to mainstream audiences would conclude in such a way.


This goes back a while. I remember, back in 1994, a teacher in Harlem took her class to see Hoop Dreams, and the kids were said to be distraught when Arthur missed two foul shots in the championship game near the end of the movie. These kids had never seen anyone miss an important shot in a movie before.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:50 pm

Uri wrote:
The Original BJ wrote:And yet I've encountered a sizable number of people who were completely caught off guard by pretty basic story elements (especially the plot's culmination in suicide).


While I totally agree with you and Precious - we are part of an ever decreasing Cinema-aware section of society - but there's something else here. The suicide part came as a shock not only because it's the previous versions these people are not aware of, but also the concept of a film not having a Happy Ending, or at least a reassuring one is hardly ever practiced anymore, it seems.


You are definitely right about this — I had one friend specifically tell me that he was SHOCKED by the suicide because he couldn’t believe that a movie that was so obviously targeted to mainstream audiences would conclude in such a way.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Greg » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:40 pm

Big Magilla wrote:On the other hand, I was shocked and saddened to discover that there are people in their 60s who only know the story from the Barbra Stresiand version, which they (excuse me while I gag), love.


Well, the Streisand version is still the only previous A Star Is Born that wasn't initially released before they were born.
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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Sabin » Wed Oct 31, 2018 8:17 pm

Italiano wrote
Oh come on, I'd never laugh at you or at your word choice and you know it well.

I understand what you mean - but while I think that you are right about the poor storytelling, I have to admit that no "gesture" in the movie has stayed with me. So I was left with nothing at all. It's quite subjective, I realize it, but this is how I feel about it.

Laugh = find comical = worthy of derision. Which, by all means, go right ahead! That's why we're all here, right? Just treat me as an individual and tag me when you bandy my words about as an example of everything that's wrong with my country.

I'm glad that we agree about the storytelling. And if I'm being perfectly honest, as the days have turned into weeks fewer and fewer "gestures" have stayed with me as well and in retrospect the whole enterprise seems disingenuous.
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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:56 pm

Sabin wrote:
But let's be honest. Really, you're just laughing at my word choice, so cheers to time wasted.


Oh come on, I'd never laugh at you or at your word choice and you know it well.

I understand what you mean - but while I think that you are right about the poor storytelling, I have to admit that no "gesture" in the movie has stayed with me. So I was left with nothing at all. It's quite subective, I realize it, but this is how I feel about it.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Sabin » Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:11 pm

Italiano wrote
My God :D ... Well I am replying directly to you now, so you can't complain... :wink:

Oh, you mean you'll talk to me directly? Then thank you. All is forgiven.

Italiano wrote
I know that you didn't LOVE the movie like flipp, dws and others did. But let's face it, you liked it - you liked the first half especially, you liked the two actors (!), and again, though now you may not agree with yourself anymore, you called it "a film of gestures not storytelling" which in my opinion is a very strong compliment (I'd say that about Eric Rohmer's best films).

Okay, I'll bite. First of all, my statement is NOT a compliment. At best, it's damning with faint praise. At worst, it's a pejorative. I seriously doubt that you would only accuse the likes of Eric Rohmer of not making films of storytelling because that would imply that 1) at worst he doesn't really know how to tell a story, or 2) at best storytelling a la Rohmer is a series of moments strung together and that is their meaning? If you took my statement to mean the latter, then no, that is not what I meant.

Second, what's a gesture? "a movement of part of the body, especially a hand or the head, to express an idea or meaning." My statement comes from a place of honestly trying to understand what Bradley Cooper is doing with this film because even though it is a vanity project I found it more of a frustrating one than an empty one. Despite the presence of other writers, clearly Bradley Cooper is the author of this film. This film clearly started from a place of ideas -- or rather "showing." Some of them are rooted in modern demystification, like wanting to "show" alcoholism on-screen as a disease so it's framed as treatment, not rehab. Some of them are rooted in slightly facile "Purple State" platitudes, like wanting to "show" Jackson being totally comfortable in the drag club. But the most frustrating create erratic storytelling rhythm. Like wanting to "show" Jackson just wanting Ally to be her true authentic self because that's "so important in today's moment"* and yet the way that he does that is by having her sing his song and end in a flashback together. Taken individually, these are nice moments, and yes, gestures. But strung together, not only is it not a story but they undermine each other. But at best, like Ally covering her face on stage in the stadium, they stay with you individually. But that's not writing or storytelling.

But let's be honest. Really, you're just laughing at my word choice, so cheers to time wasted.
"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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