Review of A Star is BornRead Now
Rating: R, Time: 2hr 6min, Director: Bradley Cooper, Cast on IMDb
So was Bradley convincing as a singer?
I think they did a very good job of making Bradley into a competent singer and believable country rock star being able to jam on guitar as well as play on the piano. For the piano, it could have just been a cover and him fiddling, but for the guitar it reads fairly well. They did use a lot of close ups to kind of blur the imagery, so it could have been faked maybe, but would have been a shame if Bradley actually got good enough to be a believable musician.
Did Lady Gaga come off as a believable actress?
Even though she is playing a character similar to her own experience as a singer, rags to riches story, she does play a very readable actress coming up in the world. It is a bit tricky to set the stage as a beginning singer and then rise up slowly, but surely, changing as she evolves into a singer presence and develops her own material separate from her boyfriend/husband Jack Main. She was 1000% better than Madonna trying to act. I still can't get over how many gigs Madonna got even though she has a flatline voice and almost no acting skills. Gaga didn't have this issue, so came off as her own character separate from her own singer persona that wears meat dresses for attention.
What did you make of the brother relationship to Jack?
I liked the premise of the brother who was a singer that gets surpassed by his own brother to become the stage manager. It has a real tragic ring to it. Strangely enough, he is the one that is sober, while Jack dives into his own self misery. I think they could really have developed more in this character to create a bit more drama between Jack and Booby's relationship. It was good, but maybe should have had a bit more to it.
How did the character of Rez play out?
Besides the fact that Jack is battling his own drug habits and troubling decline in hearing that is starting to impact his music, Jack has to deal with Rez, a producer that starts to develop Ally's career, recording music and a stage presence, basically starting to steal Ally away from Jack's wing. She does need a real producer vs. just Jack's kind of informal guidance, so there is a lot of tension that builds over time and leads to Jack taking a bad decision.
What did you make of all the close ups in the film?
In the film, there was a decision to shoot all the stage shots in close up camera lens to focus primarily on the singers. I think this makes sense to show the isolation a singer feels vs the way a crowd would live the exact same experience coming to see an idol. I think that choice makes sense. Likely they use it a bit to cover for the music that Bradley likely is not playing most of the time, but we can ride with that I think. It creates a cosy relationship with the singers in the movie.
What did you make of the father?
I really like this minor character of Ally's father Wolfie. He was a failed singer similar to the parallel of Bobby being the failed singer to Jack. This leads a lot of weight to why the two singers become star-crossed and fall in love. I really like the part.
Was there anything you would change?
Well, there is a bit part for Dave Chappelle, playing the neighbor of jack that helps him through some rough nights after partying too hard. I see the need for the character maybe, but why Dave Chappelle? I just felt like it was a waste of Dave's humor to play him as a normal Joe. This part just fell flat for me, and I am a HUGE Dave Chappelle fan. I think this was just a mis cast of this character maybe.
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