Dallas Movie Screening

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

A Star is Born

This one has been done before, but there is always a new filmmaker who wants to bring their own interpretation to the screen.

A colleague of mine pointed out this has been done more than the four times, since 1932’s “What Price Hollywood” shares a similar sounding storyline.

This time out it is actor “The Hangover’s” Bradley Cooper who wants to bring his distinct vision to the screen. As a filmmaker, he does a competent job of filming two mismatched souls (Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper) whose lives intertwine via songs and the written word.

Lady Gaga gives an emotional and believable turn as Ally, a woman who does not even like her own nose. She made her big screen debut in Robert Rodriguez’s 2013’s “Machete Kills’ as a character simply known as La CamaleĆ³n. It was not anything special, just a way of introducing her to the world of Hollywood.

In “A Star is Born,” her character flourishes and gains notoriety and popularity, as well as a billboard in Hollywood, something that even shows off her nose.

Meanwhile her better half, Cooper’s Jack, does his best to stay afloat and keep his head above water. His popularity has wavered in recent months, but her following has done nothing but increase in popularity.

This one also gets major points since it made me cry. Not anything major, but it strikes the right emotional chord with my being. It was not just the presentation, but the way Cooper told the story.

Cooper, along with Oscar-winning writer Eric Roth 1994’s “Forrest Gump” pen a tale that just mesmerizes from the word go. Their chemistry works since the duo share a natural attraction and connection.

Cooper knows when to flow in the nuances and emotion in telling this dramatic story that might have taken the hokum train if he wasn’t sure of where he wanted to steer the story.

Going back to all of the incarnations and telling of this story, Cooper’s “A Star is Born” marks the fourth time this tale has been told. Besides the aforementioned “What Price Hollywood,” this story was also told in 1937’s “A Star is Born” with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. The 1954 George Cukor version starred Judy Garland and James Mason. The 1976 version was an Oscar winner for best song. That version starred Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.

I know this one has reached the over praised meter, but I just thought this one was a solid and well told tale. Sam Elliott shares some great screen time as Cooper’s brother, Bobby. The duo lost both of their parents earlier in their lives, so their kinship is important to the storyline.

Also cool was seeing the usually obnoxious Andrew “Dice” Clay as Lorenzo, father to Ally. Both Elliott and Clay fill out the parameters for their roles in adding to the dynamics of the story.

Also subtle in his small part is comedian Dave Chappelle. He was great in Nora Ephron’s “You’ve Got Mail” and the juvenile “Screwed” with Norm McDonald. Chappelle befriends Jack when he finds him passed out on his front lawn in Los Angeles.

I am decent when it comes to my predictions, so I expect Lady Gaga’s name to be in the forefront of this year’s Oscar race. She really is that amazing, and gives a performance that is Oscar worthy.

Grade: B
(Review by Ricky Miller)

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