MOVIE PREVIEWS
A STAR IS BORN
Rated: R
Release Date: 10/05/2018
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures

Cast:
Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle, Sam Elliott, Luenell, Eddie Griffin and Barry Shabaka Henley.

Crew:
Director: Bradley Cooper. Producers: Bradley Cooper, Robert J. Dorhrmann, Bill Berger, Lynette Howell Taylor, Jon Peters and Todd Phillips. Executive Producers: Basilk Iwanyk, Sue Kroll, Niija Juy Kendall, Ravi D. Mehta, Heather Parry, Michael Rapino and Courtenay Valenti. Screenwriters: Bradley Cooper, Eric Roth, Will Fetters, William A. Wellman and Robert Carson. Cinematographer: Matthew Libatique.
Plot:
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

The accolades continue to pour in for “A Star is Born” the new movie remake starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. And for good reason. This movie is astounding.

And if there’s one thing that Hollywood loves, it’s a redemptive love story. In fact, this version of “A Star is Born” is the fourth iteration and arguably the best of the bunch.

The original “A Star is Born” movie was released in 1937 and starred Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. In 1954, it was adapted into a musical with Judy Garland and James Mason.

Then in 1976, Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson took to the screen with their version which won Oscars for “Best Cinematography” and “Best Music, Original Song (“Evergreen, Love Theme from a Star is Born”).

If fate is kind, Lady Gaga and Cooper should reap plenty of Awards Season love too. And yes, I do mean Oscars because they really are something special here.

We all know Lady Gaga can sing, but who knew she could act like this? “A Star is Born” is really Gaga’s first leading role in a major motion picture and she just nails it.

And we certainly know Cooper can act having earned Oscar nominations for “American Sniper,” “American Hustle” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”

However, his singing in “A Star is Born” is amazing too. At times Cooper reminded me of Canadian singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. Equally impressive, is that Cooper directed, produced and co-wrote “A Star is Born.”

In the film, Cooper stars as Jackson Maine. He’s an aging, but beloved country/pop/rock singer. After his sold-out concerts, Jackson usually finds solace in bottles of whiskey.

Jackson has had a hard knock life. Much of it is because of his older brother bobby (a terrific Sam Elliott, TV’s “The Ranch”). Bobby resents Jackson for many reasons, but he’s always around to take care of him and clean up his many messes.

Even Jackson’s old friend Noodles (the great Dave Chappelle, “Chi-Raq”), a retired musician, has straightened up his life and wishes his old buddy would do the same.

For a minute, it looks as if Jackson will especially when he meets Ally (Lady Gaga) singing at a nightclub. He’s blown away by her in every way and falls completely in love. He helps jumpstart Ally’s career. It takes off and soon it begins to overshadow his thanks largely to Ally’s music producer and manager Rez (Rafi Gavron, TV’s “Counterpart”).

It doesn’t take long before Ally and Jackson’s problems spiral out of control.

Cooper and Lady Gaga are so convincing and likeable in “A Star is Born,” that you can’t help but root for them and hope they’ll overcome their personal insecurities and demons. Yet, you know it just isn’t going to happen.

There really isn’t one false note in this movie. Even the supporting cast of Andrew Dice Clay--who turns in an exceptional performance as Lady Gaga’s father--,Sam Elliott as Cooper's brother and Dave Chappelle as Cooper's friend, are equally compelling figures.

The music of “A Star is Born” is just outstanding, particularly Cooper and Lady Gaga’s song, “Shallow” and Gaga’s blistering cut, “I’ll Never Love Again.”

Most of the songs in “A Star is Born” were written by Lady Gaga and Cooper. DJ White Shadow, Mark Ronson of “Uptown Funk” Bruno Mars fame, Dianne Warren and even Lukas Nelson (Willie Nelson’s son) collaborated as well.

What really makes “A Star is Born” shine and what elevates it from the 1976 “A Star is Born” film with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, is the chemistry Cooper and Lady Gaga exude from start to finish. It’s palpable and “A Star is Born” is flat out stunning.

Without a doubt the Oscar race has a new “Star” among the pack.

Don't forget to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.

Check Out This Trailer For "A STAR IS BORN"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.

OLD SCHOOL VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH

Brian's Song Title: Brian's Song
Year Released: 1971
Running Time: 90
Production Company: Screen Gems (Sony)
Director: Buzz Kulik
Director of Photography: Joseph F. Biroc
Screenwriter: Gale Sayers, Al Silverman and William Blinn
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: This Review Reprinted In Honor Of Movie Critic Bill Gibron--May 14, 1961--May 11, 2018. Pictured Top Left.

Now with summer behind us, the arrival of fall means weekends attending and watching plenty of football games. Whether they’re college, pro or high school, I’m all over them.

And when it comes to football movies, few move me as much as the 1971 drama...
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