If A Star Is Born, I’d like to see it happen

A Star Is Born is more sketches of a movie instead of a movie.  It was like watching actors in acting school: here’s the intro bar scene, here’s the big conflict scene etc.  Each of these scenes works on its own, but one scene to another is pieced together in a forced, inorganic manner.  There is no natural flow to the movie.

Worse, “A Star Is Born” to me is supposed to be about a latent talent finding her voice.  Lady Gaga is clearly a star from scene 1 — which makes the film fail its entire premise.  There is no “birth” to be found.  Indeed, the perfection of her singing is a major part of what is wrong with this picture.  She’s never anything short of a pro.

More bad stuff: she’s got no character flaws.  Even her husband has only one.  It’s not exactly tricky screenwriting to put in a character flaw or two.  Lady Gaga’s character is perfect in all ways — which besides being unrealistic, is a little boring.

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I do marginally recommend A Star Is Born on the strength of Lady Gaga’s absolutely sublime songs and singing, and very good acting.  Her character is completely endearing, and I see an Oscar nod in the offing.  Bradley Cooper’s performance is strong as well, unlike his story development.

So to conclude… A Star Is Born is a borderline disaster with Lady Gaga’s performance as its saving grace.  I would much rather watch 2 hours of Lady Gaga on stage.  I guess there’s a way to do that called going to a concert.  6/10

Comparison Notes: Whiplash, Crazy Heart, Blaze, Love and Mercy, Ray, Walk the Line, Little Voice, Il Postino

Film Brief: Free Solo

There’s no margin for error.  Imagine an Olympic-gold-medal-level athletic achievement that if you don’t get that gold medal, you’re going to die.

That’s pretty much what free soloing El Cap is like.  You have to do it perfectly.

At some point I will finally publish my Ratings Explained post.  Case in point is Free Solo: why is it less than a 9/10?  It’s completely gripping and a profound examination of life.  Answer: there are obvious comparisons to The Walk.  Free Solo is probably the best of the year so far, but I didn’t have that feeling of unbridled joy that The Walk gave me.  9/10 is a high bar — almost as high as El Capitan.

So, for now, Free Solo stands tall at the high end of 8/10.

Comparison Notes: Meru, Everest, The Walk