Feb 6, 2019
Welcome back for a review of another Oscar contender this year, in a plethora of categories and one strangely absent one. Check out our other Oscar nominee reviews using #Oscars2019 or by going to onemoviepunch.com and searching on the Oscars 2019 blog tag. Given the nominees this year, anything seems possible. You can also check out our 400 other episodes. Man, still doesn’t feel real.
And, you know, sometimes, you just gotta say the things that need to be said. And with all the 400thepisode love the podcast has been receiving, I feel like I need to tell Garrett that I like his movie insight. I like his podcast. I like his audio recordings. And I like that he tolerates these stupid openings, especially for such bad jokes. Now, Garrett, make me the happiest foul-mouthed cyborg raccoon mercenary in the galaxy, and come out on stage to do the review for today’s movie. Come on now, you have to trust me...
My name is Garrett Wright and I co-host Two Views Movies podcast along with my friend Carson Graff. We are a spoiler-filled podcast by two guys who love watching movies almost as much as we love arguing about them. Our weekly podcast features reviews of new releases, retro reviews of older favorites, obscure top 5 lists, and our two views of all things movies. You can find our podcast on all major platforms and at TwoViewsMovies.com where you can also find spoiler-free written reviews of the movies we watch. I’m thrilled to be the guest for today’s episode. You can follow me on Twitter at @TwoViewsGarrett and the podcast on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at the username @TwoViewsMovies.
Today’s movie is “A Star is Born”, the musically-infused romantic drama directed by Bradley Cooper and written by Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters, Eric Roth, William A. Wellman, and Robert Carson. “A Star is Born” is a tale of seasoned musician Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) who discovers – and falls in love with – struggling artist Ally (Lady Gaga). She has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer – until Jack coaxes her into the spotlight. But even as Ally’s career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jack fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.
All spoilers have been thrown off the deep end, so keep on listening...
The hype is real. The song that’s been stuck in your head since you saw the trailer is really that catchy. The southern boy rocker charm Bradley Cooper puts on is really that charismatic. Lady Gaga’s acting is really just as strong as her singing. The story at the center of this film is really that emotional. “A Star is Born” is really that damn good.
The opening third of this film is virtually flawless in its execution. We’re essentially getting the same old Hollywood romance schmaltz mixed with the obligatory dual commentary on the desire for — and the cost of — fame. But we’re given enough insight into Cooper’s mega-star Jackson Maine and Gaga’s aspiring musician Ally that it feels surprisingly deep. So by the time we get the chill-inducing performance of “Shallow”, the film is feeling anything but.
The attention to detail is what sets this apart from the hundreds of other run-of-the-mill films that share similar plots and themes. Plot points such as Maine’s relationship with Sam Elliott’s character seem to rise organically as opposed to being superficially blurted out loud. Threads of the story that are started earlier in the movie are subtly tied together later in ways that may not be immediately noticed. Instead, they burrow into your head waiting for you to discover them as you dwell on the movie — or listen to the soundtrack.
If there is any criticism to be leveled against the film, it’s that the second act seems to bow under the weight of the flawless first act and the gut-punching third act. The pacing of the story stumbles a bit and the runtime extends until it regains its footing. This is partly unavoidable as the nature of the second act is that we are watching the characters go head-to-head with their challenges and each other. But these ups-and-downs are what make the emotions feel so genuine and the conclusion of the story stick with you when the theater lights come on.
“A Star is Born” is so polished that it’s hard to believe it is made by a first-time director and stars a newcomer to the big screen. The charisma exuded by both Cooper and Gaga is fused into a deep emotional core that Cooper expertly captures for the screen. It has a killer soundtrack that will leave audiences humming for weeks. And with award-winning performances from Cooper (in front of and behind the camera), Lady Gaga, and Sam Elliott, A Star is Born will use its polish to make plenty of statues and trophies shine this award season.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90% (Certified Fresh)
Metacritic: 88 (Must-See)
One Movie Punch: 9.1/10
“A Star is Born” (2018) is rated R and is currently available to purchase digitally. It will be released on DVD & Blu-Ray on February 19th.
Thanks for listening to my review here at One Movie Punch. If you like what you heard – or didn’t – reach out to me on Twitter at @TwoViewsGarrett and let me know. I’ll be back soon with more reviews on One Movie Punch, but you can always find me on the Two Views Movies podcast.
I will catch you next time.