This fourth version of the classic one-star-on-the-rise, one-star-on-the-skids Hollywood potboiler is clearly modeled after the 1976 Barbra Streisand/Kris Kristofferson remake. But while Streisand could never quite convince us she was ever a struggling young nobody, Lady Gaga nails the early scenes: Nervous, insecure, in awe of the superstar in her midst. As the film’s costar, Bradley Cooper plays a growling, laid-back country-rock singer, haunted by ghosts; As the film’s director (his first time behind the camera), Cooper plugs his vision into a 10,000-watt dynamo, especially in the frenetic concert sequences which, while as a practical matter mask the fact that he’s probably not really playing those wild riffs, add to the dizzying rush of showbiz that’s about to envelop the leading lady.
As much as he brings to the film, Cooper can’t avoid the fact that this story is a Hollywood chestnut that worships at the altar of fame and glamor. The more success the younthful Gaga achieves, with her orange hair and grinding dance routines and arena-size extravaganzas, the more we long for that first hour, when as a struggling young club singer she is filmed relishing the echo of her own voice in an alleyway, or serenading her famous new friend in a grocery store parking lot. On that score, neither character finds a truly happy ending.
From 100-plus years of monster movies, Bill Newcott picks the 13 brainiest of them all.
The legendary French performer gifted the world with an incomparable catalogue of song recordings...and a number of memorable screen moments, as well.
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