“A Star is Born” is directed by Bradley Cooper (Guardians of the Galaxy, Joy), who also stars in the film as well, alongside Lady Gaga (Machete Kills, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) as two singers who have both of their individual problems in life. Bradley Cooper plays a country vocalist who has a drinking problem and Lady Gaga plays someone who writes her own songs but lacks the courage to sing those songs. Both meet each other, fall in love, and go on a journey together as they sing.
This was a movie I was looking forward to this year. Bradley Cooper is not a bad actor, and judging by the idea of this movie alone, it seemed like a good idea on paper to get a singer (Lady Gaga) to act in a role that primarily involves singing. Also, one thing that really interested me was the fact that Bradley Cooper, someone who is usually known for acting, actually decided to write and direct this film. Granted, this just shows his range in the film industry, especially when you begin to consider how great this film truly is. But you know what? I gotta get something out of the way, it has problems, so just to scratch those off the board, I’m gonna tackle those first.
One problem that I imagine is going to get some controversy is the songs in this movie. This may be just me, but the main song in the movie, “Maybe It’s Time,” just didn’t work for me. I don’t know, the fact that the same lyrics are used more than a single time in a row just felt slightly off-putting. Granted, it might almost make me look like a hypocrite because there’s a song that has nothing to do with this movie, known by the name “Roadhouse Blues,” which has a similar tactic. Then again, I find this movie’s song to be a bit more serious, and I found the tactic in “Roadhouse Blues” perhaps a bit funnier. Speaking of songs, I don’t feel like there’s going to be many songs from this movie that I’m either going to remember or want to listen to again. And that’s kind of sad because this movie revolves around music and singing. I imagine the studio wanted to sell an album based off this movie. Chances are they just lost a customer! It’s not like I walked out of “La La Land,” where I not only remembered songs from the movie, but I had some of urge inside of me that made me want to listen to certain songs again.
I’ll say once again, this film is directed by Bradley Cooper. This is actually his directorial debut and I gotta say, this is a pretty good debut. Not as good as it could have been. I will say there could have been some improvements. But as far as lighting goes, I really like the bar scene. The lighting of the bar really stood out to me. I don’t know why, but it just felt like something you’d probably encounter in a big city. Cinematography wise, some of the shots sometimes immersed you into concerts, maybe even toward’s Bradley Cooper’s typical everyday life. As decent as the directing may have been, especially for a debut, it doesn’t hold a candle to the fantastic acting. Bradley Cooper’s performance as Jack was believable and had some emotion beneath it. You can see this broken singer who is still chugging along with his life. Also, for those who don’t know, the singing in the movie is Bradley Cooper’s actual voice. It kind of reminded me of Tim McGraw if he happened to combine with Rick Deckard from “Blade Runner.”
The best performance in the movie however, hands down, is Lady Gaga. While this movie is mainly about Bradley Cooper’s character’s life, I gotta say, character and acting-wise, Lady Gaga dominates as the character of Ally. Casting-wise, I gotta say, it may almost feel cheap on paper getting a singer to do an acting gig. Why not give it to an actor? But when you consider the fact that Lady Gaga is playing a singer, you know why she was chosen for her specific role. And it’s not like Lady Gaga is new to the world of acting. Just look at her IMDb! Seriously though, great casting! Although my one problem with the character, despite Lady Gaga’s killer performance, is the nose story. I seriously have to ask, is this based on true events? I can understand people being insecure about their looks. But not only am I not aware of people being insecure of how their nose appears, but when it comes to Lady Gaga, she didn’t make that story believable. I sort of said this before, and I’ll say it again This is like getting Mila Kunis, who was then recently nominated at the Teen Choice Awards in the Female Hottie category, earned the #2 spot on AskMen’s Top 99 Women list, and earned Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive in 2012 to play a stay at home mom who wears “typical mom clothes.” Maybe this statement is technically a little invalid because I’m a guy, and it seems to be a gender-oriented stereotype that guys don’t usually care about their own looks as much as women do, but I usually don’t see people complain about their nose, or say someone’s nose looks ugly. That idea is almost cheesy at this point. But in reality, despite the weird writing, Lady Gaga hit it home with her performance and made the movie.
Another highlight performance comes from Sam Elliot (Road House, Mission: Impossible), who plays the brother of the main character. This character goes by the name of Bobby and he seems to know that something is up with his brother. He’s trying to get the message across to his brother that he shouldn’t be drinking as much as he is. Clearly the brother is not listening. His performance is maybe a little more quiet than some of the others in the movie, but in the end that’s what makes it great.
Also, for those who are curious to know, there is a dog that plays a role in the movie and believe it or not, that dog actually happens to be Bradley Cooper’s own pet. When I first heard about this, I thought that little factoid was rather interesting. I went to see this movie with my mother and sister, they thought the dog was cute, but I’ll be honest with you, and if Bradley Cooper is reading this, I love your work, I apologize, it looks like a canine Fozzie Bear, and not in a good way. This does not affect the score, and my opinion of the dog has nothing really to do with how I feel about the movie, but I just thought I’d let you know about the little factoid if you were curious.
In the end, “A Star Is Born” is awesome, and if you are planning on seeing this, don’t wait for streaming, don’t wait for the DVD, don’t wait for On Demand, go see it in the theater. I actually went to see this movie in Dolby Cinema at AMC, there were literally parts where I felt like I was in a concert. I have my gripes with the movie, but this movie certainly had enough to admire to the point where I consider it one of the better flicks I’ve seen this year. As far as Bradley Cooper as a director goes, I’d like to see more of his work, and given how he also has a screenplay credit for this movie, I’d like to see more from him in that field as well. I’m going to give “A Star is Born” an 8/10. Thanks for reading this review! Tomorrow I’m going out to see the new movie directed by Damien Chazelle, “First Man,” which is based on the events of the Apollo 11 mission. Be on the lookout for that. Sticking on that topic, I’m not sure, but depending on my work load this week and how I feel, I’m going to do an extra post related to “First Man” aside from the review. I’m not gonna give any details as to what it is, but please stay tuned. Speaking of things of to be on the lookout for, I am also going to have my analysis of my time at New York Comic Con, so stay tuned for that. Be sure to follow Scene Before with your WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “A Star is Born?” What did you think about it? Or, just out of curiosity, not that it’s going to happen, but do you see Bradley Cooper potentially being able to direct “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?” Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!