Don's Review Of "A Star Is Born"
When is enough truly enough? How many times must a classic film be remade? I am at the point where I am waiting for another remake of “The Wizard of Oz” (not counting any of the spinoff-types). This has to come up when talking about the FOURTH version of “A Star is Born,” and along with it comes the hope that there is not a ticking sound coming from the film canister.
Director/co-writer/star Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) teams up with Lady Gaga (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), Sam Elliott (Road House), Greg Grunberg (Heroes), Dave Chappelle (Half Baked), Anthony Ramos (White Girl), Andrew Dice Clay (The Adventures of Ford Fairlane), and Rafi Gavron (Snitch) to tell the story of Jackson Maine (Cooper), an established singer/songwriter who lives with a number of demons that lead him to a post-concert nightcap in a drag bar where he discovers Ally (Gaga) and invites her to his next show. During the show, Jackson brings Ally on stage to perform a song she wrote, and it goes viral. Ally then starts becoming part of Jackson’s shows as their relationship develops and Ally meets a producer/manager named Rez (Gavron), who starts pushing her own solo pop/dance career. As one career rises, another one starts to fall.
This film shows the Rock & Roll lifestyle well, balancing scenes at home and on the road well. We were able to screen “A Star is Born” in Dolby Cinema, where the live music scenes literally shook the chair I sat in, enhancing the experience. When it comes to the acting, Gaga and Cooper truly lead the way supported by veterans like Elliot who also do a great job. I thought Gaga did especially well in a dramatic role, but the chemistry between her and Cooper did lack somewhat. Cooper does good work as the rock star with demons who somewhat lives in an alternate world very well. I was impressed with his performance.
With all of that, this film is way too long at two hours and fifteen minutes. There could have easily have been fifteen to thirty minutes cut, especially given the predictability of its story in the midst of a strong message. The combination of all of these things left me a bit conflicted, but I will recommend seeing this film in Dolby Cinema at the showing cheapest way to do so.