A Star is Born 4K/Blu Ray Review (Warner Bros)
A Star Is Born is a 2018 musical drama film co-written, produced, performed, & directed by actor Bradley Cooper (The Mule, American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook, & The Place Beyond the Pines). It’s the 4th remake of the original 1937 film. This project was in development for several years which at one point included Clint Eastwood as the director & Beyoncé as the star. The script was inspired by the life of musician Kurt Cobain. Lead actor Bradley Cooper made this directorial debut with this. It premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival in 2018. Lukas Nelson (son of Willie Nelson) helped with wiring & producing the music for the feature. He taught Bradley Cooper how to play guitar & perform. The soundtrack for A Star is Born topped the Billboard 200 Albums chart at # 1 for 2018. Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real appear in the film as the apart of the band. It’s currently won 63 & it’s been nominated for 211 awards including 8 Oscars. It had a budget of $40 million & it grossed $423.1 million worldwide at the box office!!!!
Jackson “Jack” Maine (played by: Bradley Cooper from Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1/2, The Hangover Trilogy, & The A-Team) has been a successful country music singer for a long time now so he is known all over the world for his work but things haven’t been the same for a few years. He hasn’t been happy with his life so it numbs his pain with alcohol & drugs. Jack is struggling to function without them. His brother Bobby (played by: Sam Elliott from Road House, Tombstone, The Big Lebowski, Hulk, & Ghost Rider) who is also his manager sets up a show in California. After he’s done with it, he has nowhere to go & he doesn’t want to the night to end. He begs his driver Phil (played by: Greg Grunberg from Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Star Trek Beyond, Heroes, & Mission: Impossible III) to find him a place to check it out & after no luck he picks the first place he sees open. He is already blasted out of his mind & the place ends up being a drag bar. He doesn’t seem to care & one performer really catches his attention. Ally (played by: Lady Gaga from American Horror Story, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, & Machete Kills) works a normal job to support herself as a waitress but she performs when she has the chance to pursue her dreams. Her friends at the drag bar let her perform with them & that’s where she is found by the established musician. They spend the night together & make an instant connection. Jack invites Ally to his upcoming show but she turns him down because she can’t take off of work.
Her father Lorenzo (played by: Andrew Dice Clay from The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Brain Smasher… A Love Story, No Contest, & Dice) tries to talk her into going to it & finally get her opportunity. Jack sends his driver & keeps trying to change Ally’s mind. After a bad night at work, she quits her job & decides to accept his offer. Unexpectedly, Jack performs one of her songs on stage & asks her to join him live. She is hesitant but she decides to sing with him. The crowd loves it & the video goes viral online. Ally is starting to get noticed & Jack asks her to go on tour with him. They end up falling in love & begin a passionate relationship which eventually ends up in marriage. Ally ends up getting her own chance at a solo career & her music starts to take off with producer Rez (played by: Rafi Gavron from Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, The Cold Light of Day, Snitch, & Inkheart). He changes her music completely & Jack is bothered by it. Jack’s hearing issues are getting worse & it starts to mess with his music. Jack finds out his brother Bobby sold his family’s home that he bought him years ago & they end up having a feud over it. Jack’s career starts to fade while his new wife Ally is more popular than ever. This causes problems between the couple. After being sober for awhile, he slips back into his old bad habits & ends up at his best friend George ‘Noodles’ Stone’s (played by: Dave Chappelle from Half Baked, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Con Air, & Chappelle’s Show) house. Jack gets replaced for an award show & bumped to just being the guitar player rather than the lead singer. Jack embarrasses Ally after she wins an award on national TV. She tries to help him by adding him to her European tour but Rez refuses to do it. Things just keep worse for the duo, can they survive all these problems or Did fame ruin it all for them????
A Star Is Born was a huge surprise to me! I honestly did not expect to like it this much. After seeing various trailers, I thought it looked average but it could be worth watching at least maybe one time but I was completely wrong about that. It was well written, directed, acted, & the soundtrack for it was top notch. This is coming from someone who generally does not like that genre when it comes to country music. I will say that this film is very sad & depressing at times, it gives you feels. You emotionally get invested into the main characters here which isn’t easy to do most of the time. Bradley Cooper really impressed me in this, this is his best performance in his entire career! He had Sam Elliott’s tone down perfect & it honestly sold them as brothers. His chemistry with Sam Elliott & Lady Gaga was amazing. It kinda blew my mind on how good he was at singing, playing guitar, & performing in the feature. He came off as a natural, not an actor that just learned all of this. Sam Elliott gave a powerhouse performance, one of his best & he made every actor around him so much better. Lady Gaga was way better than expected, I knew she would slay the music but she held her own with the others when it came to acting. It was fun & exciting to see comedians Andrew Dice Clay & Dave Chappelle step out of their normal territory to give dramatic performances here. I would love to see more roles like this for them. The rest of the supporting cast was loaded with talent which included Rafi Gavron, Ron Rifkin, Barry Shabaka Henley, Michael Harney, Greg Grunberg, & Eddie Griffin which elevated the overall production. This one just pulls you in & gets you deep inside their world. This ended up being one of my favorites from 2018, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Warner Bros! This 2160p (2.40:1) transfer with Dolby Vision + HDR10 looks fantastic in 4K. It’s a major improvement over the standard blu ray release. The colors look so much better & all the details stand out more here. It has a huge variety of audio options which include English: Dolby Atmos, English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1, English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1, Russian: Dolby Digital 5.1, & English: Dolby Digital 2.0 on the release. It’s loaded with so many English & foreign tracks. This isn’t a big surprise considering it’s a film about music but this 4K is the best sounding release that I’ve reviewed so far this year. It’s mind blowing how amazing it sounds in my home system. It also has English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Cantonese, Croatian, Greek, Hungarian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Romanian, Russian, Thai, & Turkish subtitles. This is a top notch technical presentation, it delivers on both picture & sound!!!!
Let’s discuss the special features from Warner Bros, it has no extras on the actual UHD disc so they are all located on the blu ray. “The Road to Stardom: Making A Star Is Born” is a little over 30 minutes. It has interviews with Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Rafi Gavron, Lukas Nelson, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle, & others from the film. They chat about their characters & preparing for this. They talking about reversing roles from actor to musician. They go into detail about creating the soundtrack for the feature. They bring up the cast & what they brought to the project. Bradley Cooper says he worked on developing this for years & he was inspired by all the great filmmakers he worked with in the past. Lady Gaga talks about most of this really happening to her when she first started doing music. They chat about their overall experience & collaboration on the movie. “Jam Sessions and Rarities” is a little over 8 minutes & it includes Baby What You Want Me to Do, Midnight Special, & Is That Alright. It shows them having fun & putting together the music for this. It’s raw & real, I really enjoyed this behind the scenes look into this feature. 4 different “Music Videos” for the film which includes Shallow, Always Remember Us This Way, Look What I Found, & I’ll Never Love Again. Bradley Cooper also directed the Shallow video. I was really surprised on how much I liked this soundtrack because this isn’t my usual type of music. “Musical Moments” features all the key musical scenes from the feature which includes Black Eyes, La Vie en Rose, Maybe It’s Time, Shallow (Dialogue), Alibi, Shallow, Maybe It’s Time, Always Remember Us This Way, Why Did You Do That?, Oh Pretty Woman, & I’ll Never Love Again. All together runs almost 29 minutes & it’s a nice set up if you just want to watch the music parts instead of the full movie at the time. It definitely covers all the music & soundtrack for the production with these extras. It’s available in several different formats & everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!