Director: Bradley Cooper
Cast: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott
Release Date: February 19, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
In this new take on the iconic love story, four-time Oscar nominee Cooper (“American Sniper,” “American Hustle,” “Silver Linings Playbook”) makes his directorial debut, and also stars alongside multiple award-winning, Oscar-nominated music superstar Gaga in her first leading role in a major motion picture. Cooper portrays seasoned musician Jackson Maine, who discovers and falls in love with struggling artist Ally. She has given up on her dream to become a successful singer until she meets Jack, who immediately sees her natural talent.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
The latest adaption of the timeless love story ‘A Star Is Born’ introduces us to popular musician Jackson Maine (Cooper) at the peak of his career. After a chance encounter due to his alcoholism and the random bar he stops at merely to get more liquor, he is introduced to the talented Ally (Gaga) and her touching musical performance. As the two subsequently spend an unusual evening together and love slowly begins to blossom between them, Jackson soon introduces the world to her talent and in no time at all she takes off, well on her way to full on stardom. But as Ally’s career begins truly climbing, Jackson’s seems to be derailing as his addictions and other personal issues start to get the better of him.
Directed by Bradley Cooper (and marking his directorial debut) from a screenplay he additionally co-wrote along with Eric Roth (Munich) and Will Fetters (The Lucky One) which was itself based upon the screenplays of the various prior incarnations of the film respectively. Cooper does a phenomenal job at the helm of ‘A Star Is Born’ passionately guiding along this powerful and moving romantic tale on top of everything else. The film also features a perfectly selected cast comprised of talented individuals including Lady Gaga (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Sam Elliott (The Hero), Andrew Dice Clay (TV’s Hap and Leonard), Dave Chappelle (Half Baked), Rafi Gavron (The Cold Light of Day) and more, nearly all providing impressive performances in each of their respective roles; with Cooper, Gaga and Elliot also proving beyond a doubt that their Oscar nominations for the film were definitely well deserved.
‘A Star Is Born’ is a modern masterpiece and easily one of the finest films of last year. It’ll quickly grab ahold of you from the onset and take you along with these two musicians on an emotional ride that always leaves you overwhelmed in some manner or another and features a beautiful telling of this romantic tale filled with magnificent musical moments that never disappoint. It appears that this latest adaption of the tale is at least the fourth feature film version of ‘A Star Is Born’ if I’m not mistaken which in itself proves the timeless nature of the story; merely shifting the era and occasionally some character trademarks (and jobs, etc.) and while I haven’t had the pleasure of any of the previous versions, this new film is certainly one powerful, enthralling and just plain magnificent love story that delivers in every possible way, never faltering or losing its step for a moment. It’s careful guided along its powerful course by director Bradley Cooper who also portrays one of the film’s leads and his performance, along with that of co-lead Lady Gaga are both remarkable. I would strongly encourage anyone that’s already even mildly interested in this one but hasn’t yet had the pleasure to try and go out of your way to give ‘A Star Is Born’ a chance whenever possible, it’s likely to only impress and have no trouble keeping you glued to the screen for its entirety.
Overall, ‘A Star Is Born’ is a truly marvelous and moving piece of filmmaking whose high praise hasn’t been exaggerated. It’s a beautifully made and emotional love story with heart, pain and a foot firmly planted in reality; all tremendously complimented by a powerful cast and the careful directorial guidance of Cooper. ‘A Star Is Born’ is highly recommended, especially for anyone that’s already been interested in the film or looking forward to it; odds are that it will only exceed expectations all around and is definitely not one to be missed. It also shouldn’t have any trouble proving itself well worth two hours of your time one evening and the price of a rental at the absolute least, and many fans of films like this might just find themselves also wanting to purchase a copy after watching.
The Blu-ray release of ‘A Star Is Born’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and provides a sharp, detailed and clean presentation from start to finish, with no notable faults to be uncovered along the way. It holds up remarkably well even during the darkly lit, fast moving and heavily populated moments, never causing anything occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a great high definition video presentation from Warner Bros. that should easily satisfy both the fans and first time viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack delivers a clean, crisp and quite aggressive audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to immerse viewers in the onscreen activity, sending cheering fans, music, bits of dialogue and plenty more overtaking the various speakers and never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a magnificent Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that sounds fantastic around every turn and compliments the film beautifully.
The Blu-ray release of ‘A Star Is Born’ includes some fun extras that fans of the movie should appreciate. Included on the release is the Behind the Scenes Featurette ‘The Road to Stardom: Making A Star Is Born’ (running approximately 30 minutes in length) which explores bringing the film to life and features interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. We’re also treated to some ‘Jam Sessions and Rarities’; they include: ‘Baby What You Want Me to Do (Jam Session)’ (running approximately 2 minutes), ‘Midnight Special (Jam Session)’ (approximately 3 minutes) and ‘”Is That Alright” by Lady Gaga’ (2 minutes). Also included are ‘4 Music Videos’: ‘”Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’ (approximately 4 minutes), ‘”Always Remember Us This Way” by Lady Gaga’ (4 minutes), ‘”Look What I’ve Found” by Lady Gaga’ (3 minutes) and ‘”I’ll Never Love Again” by Lady Gaga’ (5 minutes). The release also features ‘Musical Moments’ which allows you to select from and jump right to any of the musical sequences within the film.