Variety goes gaga for Gaga and the entire Star Is Born gang, saying
It might seem like an impossible feat, but with his version of “A Star Is Born,” Bradley Cooper both puts a fresh spin on a decades-old movie staple and transcends its very place in cinema history by fixing the story, turning a classic role, finally, into a tragic figure you actually care about.
He’s talking about Cooper’s performance, of course, which is “far better than any previous version of the tale has for Fredric March and James Mason’s Norman Maine, or Kris Kristofferson’s John Norman Howard.” It’s SO GOOD, in fact, “the lead actor Oscar race might [already] be over and done with…”
Then there’s a certain Miss Stefani Germanotta, who is…
of course, sensational in her first starring role — an absolute natural. And when her version of the discovered talent, here called Ally, first steps onto a stage early in the film to perform one of her own songs for the first time — already a highlight from its positioning in the trailer alone — I’ve rarely seen so arresting a moment in cinema.
High praise indeed!
But the movie is more than just a couple of stand-out performances. Everybody involved deserves kudos:
Cinematographer Matthew Libatique’s work, particularly in capturing the intimacy of performance numbers, is such a remove from the kind of high-gloss work you might expect from a studio production such as this. Jay Cassidy’s editing moves the story more swiftly even than William A. Wellman’s 111-minute original while giving it a singular identity in how certain sections are constructed. High marks, too, go to the sound mix and editing of the aural elements, courtesy of Oscar-winning talents like Michael Minkler and Alan Robert Murray (Cooper tapping pal Clint Eastwood’s regular)
The reporter thinks that, so far, he’s counted ten sure-fire Oscar nominations here (including best picture, best costumes, best director, best songwriting, and a best supporting nod to Sam Elliot).
But wait! He’s not done gushing:
So. Yes. “A Star Is Born” (2018) is an across-the-board Oscar contender. More than that, and assuming this is even still possible in the modern era, it has the muscle to achieve what only three films in movie history ever have: Win all five major Academy Awards (picture, director, actor, actress, and screenplay). It’s that kind of accomplishment, and even more, it makes you realize what this well-worn, Oscar-winning material was capable of all along.
That’s a special magic trick.
And if all that doesn’t pique your interest, I don’t know what else we can do.
(Photo credit: Warner Bros)