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.
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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.