Friday, October 5, 2018

A Star is Born (2018)

Bradley Cooper's tuneful remake of the much-remade A Star is Born feels most true when the film's stars (Cooper as hard-drinking / hard-drugging country rocker Jack and Lady Gaga as drag show chanteuse and ballad-belter Ally) are off-stage, exploring the contours of each other's face. These elegantly crafted scenes, which Cooper both starred in and directed, display a refined emotional sensibility, behind and in front of the camera, that is highly evocative. Though the music performances are strong (how could they not be?), one of the film's greater contributions to the ASIB legacy, IMO, is its presentation of America's cultural diversity -- in this age of oppression and exclusion. Some might argue that the picture's rainbow is a bit too deliberate, too calculated; Ally's background too wispy; Jack's relationship with his manager / brother (Sam Elliott) more a dramatic device than a true narrative element; and Jack's meltdown too precipitous and, in one scene, too gauche. But, to me, Cooper has created a beautiful film of love found and lost that will break many a heart.

Queen & Slim

In the soon to be iconic photograph from Melina Matsoukas's distressing Queen & Slim, stars Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith...