Thursday, November 15, 2018

A Star Is Born: A Rich, Rewarding, Remake

REEL REVIEWS

Remakes have gotten a bad rap in the film medium. Most attempts to take an old movie and try to replicate it—sometimes even surpass it—have usually ended in complete failure critically and financially. Yet sometimes, a remake comes along that proves it is possible to do the original justice when paired with the right crew and a strong cast—and “A Star Is Born” is a perfect example of a remake done right!

Jack Maine (Bradley Cooper) is living the high life as a popular rock star and a beloved musician. One night, after playing for a big show, he stops at a bar just as Ally (Lady Gaga) is performing. Jack immediately becomes infatuated with Ally and the two soon get to know one another. Seeing Ally’s potential, Jack brings her into the spotlight, which eventually leads to her musical career taking off. But when Ally’s fame begins to overshadow Jack’s, he finds himself struggling to hold onto his career and the love of his life. Meanwhile, Ally finds herself trying to balance her two new lives—her life as a singer, and her life with Jack as he spirals into a never-ending binge of drugs and alcohol. The film also stars Sam Elliott.

I’ve said this before in previous reviews, I’m not a fan of romance movies. So imagine my surprise when “A Star Is Born” not only held my attention, but had me on the edge of my seat as I hoped that Jack and Ally would make it out okay in the end. It’s the perfect blend of Drama, Romance, and Music, coupled together by some of the best and most Oscar Worthy performances of 2018!

Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time the story has been remade. Back in 1937, “A Star Is Born” first debuted in black and white with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March in the lead roles. Around twenty years later, the movie was remade in 1954 with Judy Garland and James Mason taking the starring roles. Interesting fact, this was also the first interpretation of “A Star Is Born” to be made in Technicolor. Then, after another twenty years, the version most audiences are familiar with debuted in 1976—starring Kris Kristofferson and the beloved Barbra Streisand. Now, after forty-two years, the third remake has arrived in theaters. It’s been quite a journey for this story, and to be honest, I think this might be the last time it’ll be remade. Unless we reach a point where musicians are able to perform concerts in zero-gravity, I don’t think anything is going to be able to top the 2018 remake of “A Star Is Born.”

Both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga were perfect in their respective roles. Cooper shows that even as an actor, he can be a superb musician, while Miss Gaga shows that even as a musician, she can be a phenomenal actress. The two worked fluently off each other, and their romance never comes off as lovey-dovey or sappy. It feels like a genuine love story between two talented artists. Plus, it never feels like one actor is upstaging the other in the movie. Both are given equal treatment and screen time.

It’s almost mindboggling how well Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga perform together. Keep in mind, one of the hardest parts about making a film like this is you need someone who is capable of acting, singing, AND acting while singing—which both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga pull off. When they’re happy, you can feel and hear it in the music. Speaking of the music, in case you’re not interested in the story itself, the movie’s worth seeing just for the soundtrack alone.

“A Star Is Born” is rated R for substance abuse, some sexuality/nudity, and language throughout. If you’re looking for a good romance film done right, or even if you’re a fan of one of the previous films, then this is one remake you can’t afford to pass up. Which is why the final score for “A Star Is Born” is an outstanding 8.5 out of 10!

Marco Island resident and avid moviegoer, Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a bachelor’s degree in science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. In his four years at Lynn, Matthew managed to achieve Magna Cum Laude status, earn three publications in the Lynn University magazine, make a short documentary featured in the university’s Film Festival, and created a radio PSA that was later broadcasted overseas.

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