A Star Is Born (M18)
Starring Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Andrew Dice Clay
Directed by Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper is no stranger to the role of a rock musician. Ten years ago, he played one in the Rainn Wilson rock-com, The Rocker, as a member of a hair metal band. That part was a lark. But in A Star is Born, he’s a serious award contender.
In this remake of the 1937 Oscar-feted musical — which was updated in 1954 version starring Judy Garland and James Mason, and again in 1976 with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson — Cooper stars as (and directs, his first) Jackson Maine, a past-his-prime rocker battling pill and booze addiction and declining health.
One night, of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, Maine walks into one (actually, a drag club) where he meets Lady Gaga’s Ally, waitress by day, struggling artist by night. Once they make eye contact, they can’t take their eyes off each other. And either can you.
How much you'll enjoy A Star is Born depends how believable Cooper is as a rocker. In a more conventional movie, a montage of faux MTV News/E!/TMZ reports would be used to introduce Maine, but Cooper skips that clichéd device and simply opens the movie with him performing in a packed arena. Cooper doesn’t have to try too hard to be a rock star; he’s a natural charmer who looks and plays like one. (Guess his six-month musical boot camp must've paid off.)
And because this is a love story, Cooper’s rapport with Lady Gaga (a dramatic revelation) makes or breaks the movie. And they have plenty of chemistry to spare; theirs is industrial-strength, the kind that triggers ASMR. Once they hook up, you just want to sit back and watch them make beautiful — and heartbreaking — music in more ways than one. (****)
Photo: Warner Bros