Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper Soar in the Rich, Rapturous A Star Is Born

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper Soar in the Rich, Rapturous A Star Is Born

A Star is Born review from Vanity Fair:

When it hits its highest, most resonant notes, Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star Is Born—starring the director alongside pop icon Lady Gaga—achieves a triumphant, romantic ache that is often just what we want to experience at the movies. The film, which screened here at the Toronto International Film Festival after a buzzy opening in Venice, is solidly traditional without feeling staid or overly familiar. That’s tricky for any big, earnest romantic drama, and even trickier when the story has been told three previous times on-screen, most recently in a 1976 film starring Barbra Streisand. Yet Cooper and his radiant co-star more than pull it off, crafting a three-hanky melodrama that’s somehow fresh, modern, and vital.

Gaga has a Golden Globe award for acting, so she’s not exactly a newcomer. A Star Is Born nevertheless plays as a striking debut, a consummate show-woman finally revealing the full gradient and natural ease of her talents. (Well, who knows; maybe she can juggle, too.) Of course, when her character, Ally—a waitress who moonlights as a cabaret singer at a gay club—lets loose with Gaga’s famous contralto bellow, we’re seeing the pop star we’ve long known and loved. But Gaga is also a real actress, turning in a fluid and intuitive performance that seamlessly matches those of her more seasoned co-stars. (Sam Elliott is also in the film, to nice effect. So too, oddly, is Andrew Dice Clay.)

As Ally and Cooper’s grizzled, hard-drinking alt-country music star, Jackson Maine, tumble into love and career together, Gaga finds nuanced ways to communicate Ally’s timidity and her strength, how the awed hesitancy of leaning into a dream maybe finally coming true is matched, or rather surpassed, by a deep-seated conviction in her talent. Gaga, like Cher before her, proves that acting is just another conduit through which to channel her innate (and also hard won, I’m sure) genius for entertaining. Maybe the singing is a little sturdier than the acting at this point, but in A Star Is Born, she shows such exhilarating, mostly-there-already promise.

And boy does she have a scene partner in Cooper, who gives maybe the performance of his career. (All while directing the damn thing, too!) Jackson is a pickled mess, a self-destructive shambles who creaks with sadness over a bitter past. But he’s also haloed in decency; Jackson isn’t mean or vindictive. He’s maybe cruel in a scene or two, but we understand where it’s coming from. And Cooper is careful to show Jackson’s genuine contrition, his yearning not to inflict his own pain on those around him and the hurt of it all when he fails. With its swallowed growl and staggering gait, Cooper’s performance is a big one, but it doesn’t overwhelm. The totality of what Cooper is doing exists in proportion to everything around him, and he and Gaga flow with perfect, earthy chemistry. I’m surprised they didn’t fall madly in love while making the movie.

It’s just such a warm and generous thing. Cooper and his cinematographer, Matthew Libatique, shoot in lush, saturated tones, the bleary swirl of concert scenes giving way to intimate, closely filmed exchanges offstage. What great faces these two have! One fresh and alert and curious, the other crinkling with weary kindness. Cooper’s script—co-written by Eric Roth and Will Fetters—has a compassionate roundness, showing an affection for nearly every character, from fast-talkin’ New Yawk dads to supportive drag queens. (Willam Belli and D.J. “Shangela” Pierce are in this movie, folks.) The romance at the center—corkscrewing up and down as Ally’s career explodes and Jackson sinks further into his despair—maintains its visceral truth throughout. It’s a connection convincingly forged in the making of other things, strengthened by a shared need to express the emotional currents of being alive in as pure and persuasive a way as possible.

Which I suppose brings me to the real red meat of this movie: the music. Gaga and Lukas Nelson have composed a sampling of songs that exist comfortably in the environment of the movie, but could also (and likely will) stand on their own. Cooper has a pleasant twang when he sings, projecting a melancholy, afternoon-y vibe that brings to mind Crazy Heart. (Which Jeff Bridges won an Oscar for. Hm.) Gaga does a fun rendition of “La Vie en Rose” at a gay bar, a nod to this movie’s already legion gay fans (most of whom haven’t even seen it yet).

All that is great. But when Gaga and Cooper are duetting, howling out the movie’s signature song “The Shallow,” Ally having been dragged on stage at first reluctantly, the movie explodes with vivid life. Cooper’s camera captures the enveloping rush as hearts open and lives change. These performance scenes are true magic, reveling in the shiver-inducing wonder of a religious revival and a coronation. They’re some of the most spirited stretches of film you’re likely to see this fall.

As inevitably happens in stories like these (and quite specifically, this story), a downward turn must be taken, hardship confronted and moved on from. In all that mounting gloom, A Star Is Born may be a bit haunted by the uplifting glory of what came before. But Cooper knows not to wallow too much, delivering the wallop most of us know is coming without a lot of dreary moping. It’s the wisdom of this finely made movie (what an auspicious debut for Cooper the director—and thank goodness Clint Eastwood didn’t make this, as once planned) that it knows its own graceful weight, that it calibrates itself with such balance.

I’m tempted to say that, yeah, sure, there is a little cheesiness to be found in the movie. Because that’s how we’re supposed to love movies like this, with caveats and qualifications that show we’re aware that it’s all a little silly. But you know what? I thought barely anything in A Star Is Born had an actual ring of hokiness or schmaltz. What I think is so often mistaken for that stuff is big, sincere, high-drama feeling, which the film has in abundance. I love the rhythm and rumble of this old story told well, so richly scored with song. So many different stars are born—or at least reimagined—in A Star Is Born that you leave with the lingering glow of a constellation still dazzling in your eyes. If that’s a corny thing to say, so be it. I’m far too swept away by this lovely and satisfying movie to care.

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Bradley Cooper cast dog he named after late father for crucial A Star Is Born role

Bradley Cooper cast dog he named after late father for crucial A Star Is Born role

When A Star Is Born writer, director, and star Bradley Cooper was looking for a dog to feature in the film, he looked no further than his own pup Charlie.

In the drama, Cooper’s character Jackson Maine and Ally (Lady Gaga) adopt a dog together and the actor felt his personal connection to the pooch would read on-screen.

“There was no nepotism — I wanted this relationship with the dog,” Cooper told PEOPLE last week during the film’s Los Angeles premiere. “[Jackson and Ally] don’t have a child together but they have a dog together, and I wanted it to be part of their story. I love dogs.”

Charlie is named after Cooper’s late father, who died after a battle with lung cancer in 2011. “That meant a lot for him to be in the film,” he shared.

Charlie not only appears in key scenes as the relationship between musicians Jackson and Ally grows — he’s also a key element of A Star Is Born’s emotional climax.

The 43-year-old notes his pet has begun to show signs of diva behavior following his big break, sharing that Charlie now “has an agent.”

“I don’t talk to him much anymore,” Cooper jokes. “He doesn’t return my calls. He always walks away from me unless I have food.”

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Lady Gaga discuss how she won over Bradley Cooper for her role in A Star is Born


The Star Is Born Scene That Scared Bradley Cooper

The Star Is Born Scene That Scared Bradley Cooper

The actor, director, and writer sat down with Vanity Fair’s Krista Smith in Toronto to go very, very deep on his extremely personal new film.

Bradley Cooper swears he couldn’t have done it any other way. Friends had told the actor that, if he wanted to try out directing, he should start with a TV episode or a commercial, just to learn. “I said, that scares the hell out of me,” he told Vanity Fair’s executive West Coast editor, Krista Smith, in a conversation at the Toronto International Film Festival. “I wouldn’t know where to put the camera. . . . You can’t control what moves you, and I wanted to tell a love story.”

The love story that Cooper chose is one that’s been a staple in Hollywood for nearly a century. Cooper’s A Star Is Born, which opens in theaters Friday after a rapturous festival run, is the fourth version of the film, starring Cooper opposite Lady Gaga as a successful musician with a disastrous drinking problem who meets an up-and-coming singer—who might be able to help him turn it all around.

Each version of A Star Is Born is unique, and Cooper brought many personal touches to the script, which he co-wrote with Eric Roth and Will Fetters. One of the most significant is the relationship between his character and his half brother, played by Sam Elliott, who has managed his much-younger brother’s career but never stopped resenting him. The siblings bottle up their emotions for most of the film, until Cooper’s character, Jackson, opens up in a pivotal scene—so pivotal, Cooper said, that he was nervous to film it.

“I remember even in the table read, I couldn’t even say the line. I would start crying,” he told Smith. “I was scared for that scene.”

Even before Elliott signed on for the film, Cooper based his character, Jackson Maine, on the actor—and worked with his dialect coach from American Sniper, Tim Monich, for four hours a day to model his voice on Elliott’s. “He’s from Sacramento, his mom was born in Texas,“ Cooper said, explaining why he chose Elliott’s voice as the ideal “hybrid accent” model for Jackson Maine. “Sam has this accent you can’t quite place.”

When it came time for Cooper to meet Elliott and ask him to be in the film, he said, “It was a crazy thing. I didn’t know if he was going to yell at me, be like ‘Who the hell do you think you are.’ I played an interview verbatim that he gave at Sundance a year or two year ago, but it was me doing it.” Lucky for Cooper, and the movie, Elliott was in. “Thank God he said yes, because I would have had to rewrite the whole thing. Six months of work on my voice would have gone down the drain.”

Elliott’s character may be the main idol for Cooper’s character, but Cooper himself has plenty of them—several of whom were around for the production of A Star Is Born. Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, stars of the 1976 version of the story, visited the set—“We were all completely blown away that they did that”—and Kristofferson happened to be performing at the Glastonbury Music Festival in England in 2017, when Cooper planned to shoot a few crowd scenes for the movie. “I had four minutes before,” he said. “The best part was I got to say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Kris Kristofferson.’ And I walked off the stage as he walked on. I’ll never forget it.”

On the first day of the film’s production, Cooper’s American Sniper director, Clint Eastwood, also stopped by for a decidedly Eastwood-style visit. “He came and had lunch,” Cooper said. “He just drives up by himself in his 1988 Audi. That guy is the most unassuming.”

And finally, one more father figure: the fluffy dog that Cooper and Gaga’s characters get midway through the film, who has such undeniable chemistry with both actors? That’s Cooper’s real dog, Charlie. Named after his father.

Watch the full, 35-minute interview above for much, much more from Cooper, including the low moments when he considered leaving the entire entertainment industry behind, the six characters he’s always felt he had to play (and how many of them he’s now embodied), and the moment he saw Lady Gaga perform and knew he wanted her in A Star Is Born.

Vanity Fair

First Official Trailer for “The Mule”

The first trailer for “The Mule” has been released. The movie is directed and starred by Clint Eastwood and is set for release on December 14th. The movie also stars Bradley Cooper, Michael Peña, Dianne Wiest, Andy Garcia, Taissa Farmiga, and Laurence Fishburne.

Watch the Trailer Below:

Synopsis:

Eastwood stars as Earl Stone, a man in his 80s who is broke, alone, and facing foreclosure of his business when he is offered a job that simply requires him to drive. Easy enough, but, unbeknownst to Earl, he’s just signed on as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel. He does well—so well, in fact, that his cargo increases exponentially, and Earl is assigned a handler. But he isn’t the only one keeping tabs on Earl; the mysterious new drug mule has also hit the radar of hard-charging DEA agent Colin Bates. And even as his money problems become a thing of the past, Earl’s past mistakes start to weigh heavily on him, and it’s uncertain if he’ll have time to right those wrongs before law enforcement, or the cartel’s enforcers, catch up to him.

Toronto International Film Festival – Photos from “A Star is Born” Premiere & Press Conference

Toronto International Film Festival – Photos from “A Star is Born” Premiere & Press Conference

Last week, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga were at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival promoting “A Star Is Born”. Here are photos from the event, huge thanks to Brie Larson Archives.

I’ve also updated the gallery with missing events from 2016 til 2018.







A Star Is Born – Posters, Stills and Behind Scenes

A Star Is Born – Posters, Stills and Behind Scenes

Good evening, everyone! I’ve updated the gallery with Posters, Stills and Behind the Scenes photos from A Star Is Born.





Oscar Voters Are Sure to Go Gaga for Bradley Cooper’s ‘A Star Is Born’

Oscar Voters Are Sure to Go Gaga for Bradley Cooper’s ‘A Star Is Born’

It might seem like an impossible feat, but with his version of “A Star Is Born,” Bradley Cooper both puts a fresh spin on a decades-old movie staple and transcends its very place in cinema history by fixing the story, turning a classic role, finally, into a tragic figure you actually care about.

For that and many more reasons (like a field that isn’t as competitive as usual), the lead actor Oscar race might be over and done with. Cooper is that good as the kind-hearted but haunted Jackson Maine, and the screenplay — from Cooper, Will Fetters, and Oscar winner Eric Roth — finely tunes his story, serving the character far better than any previous version of the tale has for Fredric March and James Mason’s Norman Maine, or Kris Kristofferson’s John Norman Howard.

That you can get two paragraphs into spelling out the virtues of this film before even mentioning Lady Gaga is a testament to its density. She is, of course, sensational in her first starring role — an absolute natural. And when her version of the discovered talent, here called Ally, first steps onto a stage early in the film to perform one of her own songs for the first time — already a highlight from its positioning in the trailer alone — I’ve rarely seen so arresting a moment in cinema.

Cooper’s crew, across the board, nailed this project. Cinematographer Matthew Libatique’s work, particularly in capturing the intimacy of performance numbers, is such a remove from the kind of high-gloss work you might expect from a studio production such as this. Jay Cassidy’s editing moves the story more swiftly even than William A. Wellman’s 111-minute original while giving it a singular identity in how certain sections are constructed. High marks, too, go to the sound mix and editing of the aural elements, courtesy of Oscar-winning talents like Michael Minkler and Alan Robert Murray (Cooper tapping pal Clint Eastwood’s regular).

Including best picture and director, where are we now? Nine nominations? Let’s push a little more…

The costume design deserves a mention for Ally’s metamorphosis in the film to a full-blown pop sensation. Sam Elliott’s supporting performance as Jackson’s much older brother (it’s explained), meanwhile, was a big source of the emotion for me, particularly in one moment that so tenderly captured the stifled affection between the two men. Those are on the table as well. And we haven’t even talked about the songs.

Expect the enforced maximum of two nominations, assuming Warner Bros. decides to promote as many; often studios will opt to consolidate their campaign power behind just one track for films like this that have an array of possibilities.

“Shallow” is the one that represents everything this category ought to be about. You witness its birth as whispered lyrics that come to Ally in a parking lot one night, as well as its explosion onto the world stage accompanied by an arrangement by Jackson and Ally’s big trailer moment. But “I’ll Never Love Again” is the closing performance track before the credits that will send you out of the theater wiping your eyes. A few others include Cooper as a songwriter, so it’s possible he could receive upwards of five nominations for this film if one of those make it in instead.

So. Yes. “A Star Is Born” (2018) is an across-the-board Oscar contender. More than that, and assuming this is even still possible in the modern era, it has the muscle to achieve what only three films in movie history ever have: Win all five major Academy Awards (picture, director, actor, actress, and screenplay). It’s that kind of accomplishment, and even more, it makes you realize what this well-worn, Oscar-winning material was capable of all along.

That’s a special magic trick.

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