Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott, Greg Grunberg, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle
2 hr 15 mins
To quote “Beauty and the Beast,” it’s a tale as old as time. Big star on the way down meets rising star on the way up. They fall in love. One embarrasses the other and their love is tested. The tale is so old that it’s already been told, very well, three times before. But the fourth time may be the best!
Jackson Maine (Cooper) is a popular singer who has lived his life on the road. Once enjoying his time on stage, now he gets by with alcohol and drugs, showing up, plugging in then hurrying off-stage to the seclusion of his limo. One night, while looking for a place to stop, he ends up at a drag club, where he gets the chance to listen to a young woman named Ally (Lady Gaga – I was just going to put “Gaga” but I’m not sure how the first name/last name thing works here. I guess I could have put “Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta” but that would probably confuse you even more. Ally does an old Edith Piaf song and soon Jackson is mesmerized by her voice. He invites her out with him, where they buy some beer and talk about music. When he drops her off at home she figures that’s the last time she will see him. It isn’t.
A familiar story with enough new twists and turns to keep it fresh, “A Star Is Born” is a triumph. Much of this praise must go to my rival Bradley Cooper. (I know my wife loves me, but if Bradley Cooper came knocking I would be just a memory). As a first time director, especially in a film starring himself, there is an opportunity to make everything BIG and LOUD and, worse of all, put yourself front and center. Cooper directs with a restraint that is almost unheard of with newbies. He frames the story almost as if he’s shooting a documentary, and that close, inside look draws you into the story. As an actor, Cooper is equally up to the task here. His voice low and gruff (there’s a great line in the film where Sam Elliott, who plays his brother and who was also a musician, accuses Jackson of “stealing my voice”), he gives quite possibly the best performance of his career, which is saying a lot for a man who has already been nominated for the acting Oscars already in his career.
As Ally, Lady Gaga is outstanding. We already know she can sing. I haven’t heard a lot of her songs but I still include the night she showed up at the Academy Awards and sang “The Sound of Music” as one of my favorite all-time Oscar moments. Not only is she in great voice, she has incredible acting chops. Both the 1937 and 1954 versions of the film earned Oscar nominations for its stars. The 1976 version swept the Musical Film Category and I’m predicting that both Lady Gaga and Cooper get nods for their work here. Great supporting work from Andrew Dice Clay, Sam Elliott and Dave Chappelle make the film even more enjoyable.
Blu-ray : Wonderful presentation audio-and-video wise, but there’s not a great lot of extras on here – some deleted scenes, music videos, and a couple of other bits, but nothing to write home.. or a song about.
Luz review : slow moving but with some very stylistic pleasures to be found
Check out Drew’s review of this supernatural horror!
A young woman walks into a police station in a very slow wide shot, the camera pointed straight on in a very clinical, detached way. She approaches the reception bench where a cop is busily shuffling paperwork, turns and moves down the room to a vending machine to stare at it. Barely minutes have passed and you’re immediately sure this isn’t a horror film either from Hollywood or influenced by Hollywood styles.
The woman, Luz (Luana Velis) is a taxi driver to whom something terrible has happened earlier in the night, but before we get even an inkling of her story we move to a couple, the sultry Nora (Julia Riedler), seducing a man in a bar named Dr Rossini (Jan Bluthart) by telling him a story about the rebellious girl (Luz) she went to school with.
What you might not realise without any foreknowledge of the plot is that Nora is possessed by an evil spirit, and that her seduction of Dr Rossini is a way to transfer it to him. When she does so, Nora’s body slumps, apparently dead, and Dr Rossini goes to the police station where Luz has surrendered herself.
It turns out the spirit is in love with Luz, and will do anything to be near her. Dr Rossini is called to the police station to help them with the catatonic woman, and the demon gets its chance.
With two detectives in attendance, Rossini puts Luz under hypnosis to find out what happened to her, but none of them have any idea they’re under the instruction of something from another realm, and the session turns into a nightmare when Luz’s memories seem to be playing out in front of them, and Dr Rossini’s colleagues get increasingly fearful for their lives.
A bit like the oft-discussed hotel room scene at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the denouement seems fairly disinterested in the traditional dictates of story or narrative, writer/director Tilman Singer more interested in a visual fever dream than a plot.
The above description might be all you need to know to gauge whether you’ll respond to “Luz” or not. It’s slow moving and makes no concessions for the viewer, so some will be turned off within minutes. But if you stick with it there are some very stylistic pleasures to be found. The marketing material that accompanied the film mentions David Cronenberg, Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci and whether they were Singer’s influences or not, it’s as fair a summing up as you could probably get.
Shot all in a couple of locations on scratchy 16mm film and running only a shade over an hour it has dreamlike cinematography, swinging from still and stark to smoky and back again. The action is moody and low key, and while it’s a demon possession horror movie with no laying on of crosses, spewing of pea soup or even a single jump scare, you’ll love it if you’re a fan of the kind of alt-horror that used to be popular in the pre-video nasty era.
Disc Reviews : Mohicans, Lock Up, Prince of Thieves
Drew takes a look at some of the latest releases on the shelf
Drew pours himself a glass of bubbly, pushes the pizza from its card box box and gives the DVD player something to chew on.
Disc Reviews : Arrow, Flash, Banana Splits, Sheldon
The Blu-ray player gets all superhero-y this week
A round-up of what’s been circling the laser on the player-box this week.
Arrow : The Complete Seventh Season
Like any series, there’s usually a point where Henry Winkler is forced to peel himself into a wet suit and jump over a foam white pointer – thankfully for The CW’s “Arrow” that time hasn’t come yet (and with the show about to wrap, it might not come).
Seven 7, believe it or not, actually plants a welcome firecracker under the show’s touché by shaking things up and adding some compel back into proceedings, with the now-outed Green Arrow behind bars, facing some of the rogues he put in there over the past seasons. Stephen Amell is as good as ever but it’s Emily Bett Richard’s Felicity Smoak who gets the dynamite arc this season.
Nice fan-pleasing assortment of bibs and bobs including Comic-Con panel, featurettes, gag reel, deleted scenes.
The Banana Splits Movie
A film that’s concept is arguably more awesome than the offering itself, “The Banana Splits” will largely appeal to those with a woody for nostalgia and those with a love of torture porn.
A weird combo, sure, but for the most part this forgettable but fun works. There’s also some good laughs to be had.
The Flash : The Complete Fifth Season
Still the most enjoyable, and ostensibly most delicately-handled of the current crop of superhero shows, “The Flash” continues to knock it out of the park with its ridiculous-though-ridiculously entertaining storytelling, gifted and extremely likeable cast, and in the case of season 5, a solid and surprisingly emotional arc concerning Barry and Iris’s daughter, Nora, who has traveled back in time.
If even just to see what the super-adaptable Tom Cavanagh is doing that week, “The Flash” remains mandatory viewing.
Typical of Warner Bros, they rock it in the extras department here too.
Young Sheldon : The Complete Second Season
Where “The Big Bang Theory” started to suffer in its later seasons, it’s surprisingly-dissimilar spin-off “Young Sheldon” succeeded.
More “The Wonder Years” than an extension of its multi-camera parent, the clever, relatable and very funny coming-of-age story trades pop culture gags for life lessons and two seasons in, it’s a barter that works.
There’s some absolute corker episodes on the set, in particular one where the very unique Sheldon hears that kids with stunted childhoods end up social outcasts, so decides he better start acting more like his peers.
It’s funny, because so much of it rings true.
Meet the cast of The Craft remake!
The lead coven has been cast!
Trailer : Knives Out as 007 tries to solve a murder!
Christopher Plummer is dead.. and it’s up to Daniel Craig to find his killer.
Trailer : Dark Waters teams Hulk and Catwoman
A new trailer for Todd Haynes’ “Dark Waters”, starring Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway and Tim Robbins, has been released ahead...
Remake alert : Princess Bride, House Party
Two of your childhood faves are making a return to the big screen..
Ad Astra Review : Will reaffirm your faith in cinema
Brad Pitt in a Lunar-Apocalypse Now that offers commentary, thought, stunning visuals.
Kiefer Sutherland to star in The Fugitive series remake
The series is being developed for Quibi
Galactica, Bell, Punky, Office reboots for NBC’s Peacock
NBC's new streaming service launches in April with new originals
Sequel series to Hogan’s Heroes in the works
50 years later, the classic TV sitcom is making a comeback!
Trailer : In the Tall Grass
Coming to Netflix in October
Lord of the Rings series set to film in New Zealand
The series is headed back to Middle-earth
At the Movies
Ride Like A Girl Review : Glorious, Incredible…
Teresa Palmer plays Michelle Payne, winner of the 2015 Melbourne Cup
Good Boys review : yes, it’s better than the trailer
Consistent laughs, believable laughs and a strong third act makes "Good Boys" more than just "good".
Strange But True review : Constantly Surprising
Based on the supernatural yarn from novelist John Searles
Get Moviehole News Updates!
Exclusive : The Flash’s Harrison Wells as an Aussie?
Cavanagh on the version of Wells we’ll see in season 6
Exclusive : Brandon Routh on the version of Superman he’ll play in Crossover
The actor will step back into the tights for “Crisis on Infinite Earths”
Exclusive : Paws for news on another Catwoman contender
Plus Vanessa Kirby also said to be in contention!
Trailer : Ford v Ferrari
Check out the full length trailer starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale!
Trailer : Watchmen
Check out the full trailer for the upcoming HBO TV series
Trailer : Countdown
If you could find out exactly when you're going to die...would you want to know?
- TV1 week ago
Updated! Disney relaunching The Muppets for 2019
- Giveaways1 week ago
Win Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark Tickets!
- Movie News3 days ago
Last Blood‘s Sylvester Stallone plans Cobra, Tango & Cash relaunches next?
- TV1 week ago
Surprise Jurassic World sequel airing on TV this month
- Movie News1 week ago
What It Chapter 3 might be about …
- Film Reviews3 days ago
Ride Like A Girl Review : Glorious, Incredible…
- Streaming1 week ago
AppleTV+ announces programming, prices, launch date!
- Giveaways3 days ago
Win John Wick Chapter 3 Blu-rays!