'A Star is Born' hits all the right notes

There's a reason "A Star is Born" was made (and remade and remade), meaning a new version needn't reinvent t...

Posted: Oct 9, 2018 8:40 AM
Updated: Oct 9, 2018 8:40 AM

There's a reason "A Star is Born" was made (and remade and remade), meaning a new version needn't reinvent the wheel. Director-star-co-writer Bradley Cooper is shrewd enough not to try, crafting a pleasantly satisfying movie and splashy big-screen showcase for Lady Gaga, in a role that capitalizes on her musical talents as few others could.

Although Gaga made a TV foray into the bloody confines of the "American Horror Story" franchise, there's far more dimension -- not to mention singing -- in this update of the familiar showbiz cautionary tale, about a star who discovers and woos a fresh new talent, only to see her light ascending even as his fades.

Arts and entertainment

Bradley Cooper

Celebrities

Lady Gaga

Movies

Here, Cooper is Jackson Maine, a pill-popping, boozing rock star who -- in pursuit of his next drink -- stumbles into a bar where he meets Gaga's Ally, who's moonlighting as a singer. (Her French rendition of "La Vie En Rose" is an early musical highlight, but not the last one in a movie that will doubly cash in on its soundtrack.)

Jackson whisks Ally away with him, and immediately begins dragging her on stage, giving her the opportunity to perform in front of arena-sized crowds. "It's a good thing we met. For both of us," he tells her.

Yet while Ally is understandably dazzled by this sudden burst of stardom, Jackson's substance abuse brings with it several layers of baggage. His erratic behavior, moreover, risks alienating not only her but those closest to him, including his brother and protector, played by Sam Elliott, whose gruff voice Cooper seems to be consciously channeling.

It helps immeasurably that the film is so solidly cast around the central duo, including Elliott (in what will very likely be an Oscar-nominated hurrah), Andrew Dice Clay as Ally's star-struck dad and Dave Chappelle as Jackson's old pal. Having comics in prominent roles also helps out with the film's lighter side, providing welcome balance to the angst and drama.

Will early buzz for 'A Star Is Born' help the movie shine at Oscars?

As noted, there's nothing especially novel about this very old story, but Gaga's coming-out party -- and the effortless chemistry that she and Cooper exhibit -- makes this feel like a big, splashy star vehicle, which, in an age of special-effects-driven blockbusters, studios don't champion as frequently as they once did. And while the film's festival run created what might be some irrational (or at the very least premature) exuberance about its award prospects, all concerned would frankly be better served toning down the intergalactic hype and simply savoring the sheer enjoyment of it.

For Cooper, it's a polished directorial debut. For Gaga, it's as comfortable a bridge from pop stardom into the movie world as one could imagine. As duets go, that's the sort of combined star power that's difficult to beat -- and should be music to a whole lot of ears.

"A Star is Born" opens Oct. 5 in the U.S. It's rated R.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 157079

Reported Deaths: 2296
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah32006550
Washington21377217
Marion18625287
Clackamas13456191
Lane10373131
Jackson8569118
Umatilla770982
Deschutes602765
Yamhill380069
Linn361357
Malheur336358
Polk308845
Klamath281655
Douglas259255
Josephine240056
Benton236618
Jefferson197630
Coos159121
Union130519
Columbia127721
Wasco122226
Lincoln113920
Hood River107129
Morrow105014
Crook78118
Clatsop7796
Baker6769
Curry4387
Tillamook4302
Lake3836
Harney2786
Grant2301
Wallowa1445
Gilliam541
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00
Eugene
Mostly Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 51°
Corvallis
Mostly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 36°
Roseburg
Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 51°
North Bend
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 52°
KEZI Radar
KEZI Temperatures
KEZI Planner

LATEST FORECAST

Community Events