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Movie Review: A Star is Born presents an old story with a fresh look

The Lantern was able to attend an early screening of “A Star is Born” at the Dolby Cinema at AMC Theatres in a partnership with Dolby Labs, an experience that highly enhanced the cinematic quality of the film.

“A Star is Born” is Bradley Cooper’s feature debut as a director. It stars himself as country-rock superstar Jackson Maine and Lady Gaga as food-service-worker-turned-pop-superstar Ally. 

The film also features Sam Elliott as Jackson’s brother Bobby, Dave Chappelle as Jackson’s old friend Noodles, Andrew Dice Clay as Ally’s father Lorenzo, and Anthony Ramos as Ally’s friend Ramon. Aside from the ensemble cast, there are a lot of things to love about this movie.

I’ll start with the soundtrack: it’s outstanding. Come for Lady Gaga, stay for Lady Gaga.

Bradley Cooper surprisingly holds his own in his singing parts, and he doesn’t disappoint, but Lady Gaga is the star here. In addition to delivering a stunning performance with her vocals, she leaves it all out on the screen with her acting ability too.

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in their newest film, “A Star is Born.” Courtesy of TNS

For that matter, the whole cast, from the top down, gives great performances — Cooper especially adds another fantastic performance to his resume. The sound editing, the sound mixing and the film editing also stand out as very impressive achievements, and, when put to work with Cooper’s directing, they give the movie an extremely immersive feel.

And that works well for “A Star is Born” for a few reasons, but the most important of these is that it is by no means a new story. In addition to being the third time the original 1937 film has been remade, the plot is a very familiar one.

An established man falls in love with a woman who is spectacular in her own right and through his position, he enables her to establish herself, all the while struggling with her increased stardom at the expense of his own. It’s a classic Hollywood melodrama, and that’s why the immersive soundtrack and cinematography work so well to propel this movie.

There are moments in the narrative that feel a little questionable, but the largely up close and personal way the cinematography and sound works helps to gloss right over these points. If ever the movie misses, it sort of floats on anyway on the power of melodrama, and I think that’s much to Cooper’s credit to find a way for such an old and familiar story still work on the screen in 2018.

With all that being said, if you watched the trailer and wanted to see “A Star Is Born,” you’ll love it. If you watched the trailer and didn’t care for it, you’ll still probably love hearing Lady Gaga sing her heart out.

3.75/5

 

4 comments

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