A Star is Born reviews

ITALIANO
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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:16 am

Sabin wrote:
Italiano wrote
"A film of gestures not storytelling"... Where? Which gestures?! Please tell me that I am on candid camera :D

If you want to troll me, at least have the courtesy to tag me so you can do it to my face, so to speak. I don’t even really like the thing and you’re using my quote as an example of America’s love affair with the film? So weird.
.


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

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).

The truth is that, as it often happens in America, after the first emotional reaction, especially when it's very positive, there's a sort of general critical withdrawal - in this case an undestandable one. I don't know how the Oscars will react to all this, but honestly even "just" the Best Actor prize would be a bit too much, unless the competition is really weak. But it's good that not everyone considers this movie a masterpiece.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:28 am

As I've said before, taken on its own it's not a bad film, but it pales next to the Wellman and Cukor versions. I don't see it as a Best Picture winner, though the pundits at Gold Derby still have it as the one to beat. One would think that those "experts" would be familiar with the previous versions.

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.
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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Uri » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:47 am

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.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:02 am

The Original BJ wrote:One other thing I thought I'd mention anecdotally, now that the film has been out for a month, and I've spoken with a lot more folks in my real life about it -- I'm pretty shocked at how many people I've come across who aren't remotely familiar with A Star is Born as a property. This is not to suggest that I assumed contemporary audiences were deeply well-versed in the details of the Janet Gaynor/Fredric March installment, but I had figured the basic plot contours had seeped into the culture to a pretty widely-known degree by this point. 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). And I'm not referring to Joe Schmoe multiplex moviegoer either -- these are people of decent cultural literacy, including many film/tv folk.

This has made it virtually impossible for me to discuss my own reaction to the film outside this board. Even though we all have had a wide range of opinions on the film, the fact that we're all watching this rendition with the same knowledge of what has come before makes it at least feel like we're discussing the same movie. I just don't know how to have a dialogue with someone about what worked for me and didn't about the movie when the place they're coming from is "I had no idea he was going to die."


Nothing but nothing surprises my anymore.

BJ, you should track down a film called Apartment Zero (1988) directed and co-written by Martin Donovan starring Colin Firth & Hart Bochner. Basically it is a macabre dark thriller of sorts and Colin Firth's character runs a reportory cinema and gets to utter one of the funniest, craziest lines ever delivered in cinema and sort of relates to people not knowing someone famous.

However, in defence of people not aware of ASIB, I'd never heard of Adele until she did the theme song for the Bond film Skyfall and recall being met with utter shock by a number of people on the board. But honestly, modern singing artists meaning zip to mean - I'm not interested in the music industry and the last ASIB was over 40 years ago and so many people have little interest in the past.

When I was working I used to love throwing the names of older films stars (some still living and in 'successful' programs made by streaming services, others deceased) to younger staff to see if they'd ever heard of them. It was just so funny saying 'Jessica Lange' and getting 'Na, never heard of her', Marlene Dietrich - say response and so on. Just proves my theory that whilst a small number of films will still be remembered long after we are all gone, it will only be by a very small number, and that EVERYONE from the acting/directing side of the industry will be forgotten. All of them completely gone from the collective memory of future generations. People from the music industry, and then only a select few, will be remembered because it is so easy to listen to music whilst doing other things whilst sitting down watching a film or TV show takes time and full concentration.

So James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro will disappear so to speak, whilst The Beatles, ABBA, Beethoven, Mozart will live on.
“Those Koreans. They’re so suspicious, you know, ever since Hiroshima.” Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) from American Horror Story: Season One

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:07 am

One other thing I thought I'd mention anecdotally, now that the film has been out for a month, and I've spoken with a lot more folks in my real life about it -- I'm pretty shocked at how many people I've come across who aren't remotely familiar with A Star is Born as a property. This is not to suggest that I assumed contemporary audiences were deeply well-versed in the details of the Janet Gaynor/Fredric March installment, but I had figured the basic plot contours had seeped into the culture to a pretty widely-known degree by this point. 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). And I'm not referring to Joe Schmoe multiplex moviegoer either -- these are people of decent cultural literacy, including many film/tv folk.

This has made it virtually impossible for me to discuss my own reaction to the film outside this board. Even though we all have had a wide range of opinions on the film, the fact that we're all watching this rendition with the same knowledge of what has come before makes it at least feel like we're discussing the same movie. I just don't know how to have a dialogue with someone about what worked for me and didn't about the movie when the place they're coming from is "I had no idea he was going to die."

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:59 pm

I saw this a few weeks back, but didn't want to interrupt the psychodrama here by opining. Especially since Sabin had already said most of what I had to offer. But, for posterity:

From the time I first heard about the movie, my response was Why?, and that was pretty much my reaction upon leaving the theatre. Which is not to say I didn't like things about it, because I did. Like most, I enjoyed the early courtship section. It had its fairytale elements (he heard her sing some verses of Shallow a capella, and by the next night he's got a full arrangement ready for her to step in and wow with?), but it also had a nice, cozy feel to it -- the interaction between the two primary actors was pleasing, and carried us past the fact the well-worn plot wasn't especially interesting. And the newer elements (esp. involving Sam Elliott) added compelling relationships beyond the central pairing.

I was a bit surprised to see the Streisand version referenced in the opening credits, but after a while I began to see why. This was, in fact, very much based on the Streisand version (right down to "they liked how I sang but thought my nose was too big"), only it's done much better this time, with a far stronger actor in the male lead and better dialogue a lot of the way.

Unfortunately, the second half of the film -- the all-too-familiar descent into degradation -- didn't compel me the way the first part did, partly because of the predictable rhythm, but also because the film failed to explore potentially interesting aspects. Was I supposed to hate Ally for the way she glitzed up her act (because I sure did)? Was I supposed to think on some level she knew Jack was holding her back and half-wished him gone? These were issues never raised in the earlier versions, but seemed hovering on the surface here -- why not go all in on them? This lack of exploration made the latter portions of the film a grind for me -- we were headed in any all-too-obvious direction with little of interest distracting us. I found myself actively waiting for Jack to do his deed and let us go home.

The film, by the way, seemed to tantalize us with multiple ways Jack might bring about his fate. Ally's comment about not wanting to ride the bike with him while he was drunk put that forward as possible method (the bike was even prominently featured in the garage shot where he came to his decision). There was always the classic Norman Maine stroll into the surf possibility. But, finally, the aborted childhood attempt was resurrected as method.

I must say, the alterations to Jack in this version are striking. Norman Maine was always the stronger character of the two -- Garland, by sheer dynamism, grabbed much of the '54 version, but in the other two versions, the self-destructive fading star was far more compelling than the saintly newcomer. But here, the balance gets tipped pretty dramatically -- first, Jack is given the 12-step-era absolution, being assured he has a disease; he's provided with a backstory of a horrible, unloving father AND a present-day career/life crisis (a singer/songwriter losing his hearing is the equivalent of the painter in The Light That Failed losing his eyesight); and Ally's evil manager is there to make it clear that putting himself out of the picture will not hurt Ally but be a blessing. The effect of all this is to make Jack both the menacing fulcrum of the story AND the character who most suffers. Cooper does a good job carrying all this off, but the fact that this is so clearly his project puts it pretty close to vanity vehicle territory.

As for awards discussion: I think Cooper could win for this (given that competition at the moment is light), but it would be largely "we want to give this guy a prize for consistent recent work" rather than specific achievement -- i.e., in the vein of DiCaprio/Oldman, rather than Affleck. I found Lady Gaga very likable throughout, and up to the acting demands (not, that is to say, another Jennifer Hudson, who sank in her non-singing moments), but I can't say I'd ever want to see her do anything else or expect her to have a serious acting career. I doubt she can win at the Oscars (well, for song, but not actress), but I expect she'll grab the nomination.

The film's extraordinary success I guess proves the durability of the concept. It's funny, how the version most revered by critics (Garland/Mason) is the only one that didn't really connect with audiences (Streisand's version was slaughtered by critics, but made a big hunk of money).

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Sabin » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:50 pm

Italiano wrote
"A film of gestures not storytelling"... Where? Which gestures?! Please tell me that I am on candid camera :D

If you want to troll me, at least have the courtesy to tag me so you can do it to my face, so to speak. I don’t even really like the thing and you’re using my quote as an example of America’s love affair with the film? So weird.

The reason I stumbled onto this thread today is to report that I have only one friend in the industry who likes A Star is Born. And he’s... well, kind of an idiot, in countless regards. Everybody else thinks it’s too long, too indulgent, too muddled in its messaging. One thing that is undeniable: A Star is Born is having its moment VERY early in the Oscar race. Not usually a good thing.
"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 taki15 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:33 pm

ITALIANO wrote:But I am collecting your insults, and that will lead to something, believe me. As I said, stay tuned :D


I can't wait for Italiano to sue me for being so mean to him.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:28 pm

Tacky, tacky... Anyone here can see that you only react to MY posts... But no, it's not flattering - Mozart was hated by Salieri, and THAT could have been flattering. I am hated by... Tacky15. That says alot.
But I am collecting your insults, and that will lead to something, believe me. As I said, stay tuned :D

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby taki15 » Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:55 am

I know it's hard, but don't flatter yourself.
My hate is reserved for people who actually matter, not for self-important internet blowhards.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:42 pm

Good to know that my personal hater is still alive... But my God, what a sad life it must be :)
Still his nasty accusations will have consequences soon... Stay tuned.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby taki15 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:32 pm

Isn't it nice to come after a long time and see that some things never change.
Like for example Italiano's almost comical elitism and inane anti-Americanism.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby ITALIANO » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:05 am

Uri wrote:
I still have no idea how this actor, who was perfect at playing the second from left friend of the lead, suddenly became Orson Welles. The mysteries of the universe are endless, it seems.


But if you notice it's only Americans (plus, I am sure, anonymous) who take him - and his job as actor/director on A Star Is Born - seriously. "A film of gestures not storytelling"... Where? Which gestures?! Please tell me that I am on candid camera :D

Now, yesterday I've seen a movie which is really about "gestures, not storytelling", Uri. The Paaguayan submission for Best Foreign Film this year called "The Heiresses". I really liked it - I can't say that I loved it, though it is a masterpiede compared to this piece of junk. But you would love it.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Uri » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:34 am

We used to have this thread about films with Oscar winning actors in them, remember? The other day I stumbled upon this silly movie, Failure to Launch. Who would have thought, back in 2006, that one day three of its actors would be Oscar winners, and they would be, beside Kathy Bates, Matthew McConaughey (really?) and Bradley Cooper (no way). And yet, in a few mouths this scenario is more than likely going to happen.

I still have no idea how this actor, who was perfect at playing the second from left friend of the lead, suddenly became Orson Welles. The mysteries of the universe are endless, it seems.

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Re: A Star is Born reviews

Postby Sabin » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:17 pm

dws1982 wrote
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.

Last post from on this film because Daniel has it so right.

It's not. The "A Star is Born" narrative really only allows for Bradley Cooper to succeed (and occasionally quite beautifully) in parts. The first half of the film almost entirely, and here and there in the second half of the movie. It's a film of gestures not storytelling that is clearly landing with some people, but not with me as more time goes on.
"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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