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Tony's Take

A STAR IS BORN review

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A Portrait of an Artist Tortured

It has only been 42 years since the story has last struck the big screen, but the fourth time by-far comes with its biggest bang yet!  In “A Star is Born”, an aging star named Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) is navigating through fame, rocking-out during his sellout performances while juggling his relationship with booze at the same time.  As we witness Jackson’s struggles (which, at times, seem over-the-top), the viewer finds themselves imagining if their favorite musicians suffer the same.  After a show, Jackson finds himself in-need of a drink and he finds himself at a local drag bar.  Here, he sees a gorgeous young woman, dressed in full Edith Piaf garb, nailing her performance of “La Vie en Rose” right down to the last detail.  Captivated and enthralled, he goes backstage to meet her.  Ally (Lady Gaga) is initially confused, but she obliges Jackson and request for a date as they spend a night out on the town.  Filled with fun and mayhem, the two show an incredible connection they shows they have a bright future.  Their fire is largely-due to the incredible chemistry shared between Cooper and Lady Gaga.  Their respective performances are both outstanding, and lead to a remarkable, genuine relationship and authentic chemistry that is so crucial to the film’s success and credibility.

As their love slowly burns, so does their stardom.  Jackson’s manager and older brother, Bobby (Sam Elliott), hasn’t seen him this happy in years and it’s evident in his new-found behavior and way.  And after a bold decision one night at a show, Jackson invites Ally onto the stage to sing her original song and the result is greater than anything either of them could have ever hoped for.  She joins him on tour as she slowly starts to gain attention and fame.  But as her fame skyrockets to the top, he feels that the hole she originally-filled is slowly-emptying and he begins to turn-back to the problematic elements of days past.  Jackson finds himself back to where he was before Ally came along, and there is so much more at stake than his career this time around.

Aside from the performances of our two leads, “A Star is Born” is carried by stunning supporting ones as well; Sam Elliott is heartbreaking and Dave Chappelle has one of his best roles ever as Jackson’s friend and former musician Noodles.  In addition to the acting, Bradley Cooper also expertly succeeds as this is his directorial debut.  The film also offers a beautiful, melodic soundtrack featuring over 15 original new songs from both Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper that will keep you singing long after you leave the theater!  “A Star is Born” is a gorgeous, heartbreaking portrait of the importance and dangers of love, fame, and the pursuit of stardom that will take you through a range emotions during its 135 minute run time.  “A Star is Born” was made for our generation; a poetic warning of how precious life is and how we should take full advantage of it while we have the chance, because we only get one.  The film is a true masterclass in film making; one for the ages.  I firmly believe “A Star is Born” is destined for multiple award nominations later this year (Lady Gaga is by-far the front runner for Best Actress), but I cannot urge you strongly enough: go see “A Star is Born” this weekend!! 

 4.5/5

A STAR IS BORN is rated R for language throughout, some sexuality/nudity and substance abuse, in theaters OCTOBER 5TH!

FLICKANALYSIS

Night School- Karl Sides (The Flick Fanatics)

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NIGHT SCHOOL

Starring:

Kevin Hart- Teddy Walker

Tiffany Haddish- Carrie

Romany Malco- Jaylen

Rob Riggle-Mack

Taran Kilam- Stewart

Tiffany Haddish sends Kevin Hart to class in the new comedy “Night School”.

Teddy Walker (Hart) is a kid with multiple learning disabilities that walks out on his high school placement test and drops out of school. This pleases Stewart the class president and Teddy’s rival. Teddy is a self-proclaimed graduate of the school of life and uses his fast-talking personality to succeed in the sale if BBQ grills.

Teddy is also dating Lisa (Megalyn Echikunwoke) a beautiful, successful interior designer. Teddy spends all his money on his Porsche and Lisa trying to show her he is also a success. Marvin (Ben Schwartz), Teddy’s best friend since high school and his financial advisor, tells Teddy to quit picking up the checks and paying for everything or he will go broke. During a work dinner with Lisa’s co-workers, Teddy does it again and tries to look important by picking up the check. Lisa’s boss lets him and then he is stuck with a $800.00 bill. Marvin distracts the table while Teddy reaches down to snag a few pubic hairs and places them on his dessert. Teddy then starts a screaming match with the waiter (Al Madrigal) only to have the Chef comp the check.

Teddy takes Lisa back to his work for a candle lit romantic evening where he proposes to his beautiful girlfriend, and she said yes! Following her answer Teddy pops the cork on some bubbly that knocks a propane line loose filling the store with gas. As Lisa exits the propane ignites and Teddy is blown out the building landing on his car windshield! Teddy’s boss takes the insurance money and runs off to Florida leaving Teddy unemployed and not able to make his Porsche payments.

Marvin tells him he can get Teddy a job if he gets his GED, So Teddy heads back to his old high school to meet with the principal to try to talk him into giving him a GED. BAD IDEA, the school principal is Teddy’s old rival Stewart! Teddy must go to Night School!

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FLICKANALYSIS

The House with a Clock in its Walls- Karl Sides (The Flick Fanatics)

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The House with A Clock in Its Walls

Starring:

Jack Black- Jonathan Barnavelt

Cate Blanchett- Florence Zimmerman

Owen Vaccaro- Lewis Barnavelt

Kyle McLachlan- Issac Izard

Jack Black is back as a crazy wizard raising his nephew in a magical house in the new kids’ comedy “The House with a Clock in its Walls”.

Lewis Barnavelt is an orphan after his parents were killed in a car accident forcing him to go live with his sole surviving relative Uncle Jonathan Barnavelt. Jonathan is the black swan of the family and explains to Lewis there is only one rule, “Don’t open the cabinet in the library”. Johnathan house is loaded with clocks and resembles a haunted house. Lewis wakes in the middle of the night to find his uncle searching the house for something “secret”.

Lewis makes a friend at school, Tarby Corrigan (Sunny Suljic) who tells him the guy that lives there is an axe murderer and the place is haunted.  That night as Lewis followed his uncle though the house he saw him taking an axe to the wall of the house! Lewis freaks out and grabs his stuff and runs for the door! Before he can escape, Lewis is stopped by the HOUSE!

Jonathan Barnavelt is a wizard and his house is magical! Uncle Johnathan explains it all to his nephew and agrees to train him as a magician. Jonathan introduces Lewis to his best friend Florence, a cookie pushing witch that lives next door. Jonathan and Florence explain to Lewis that there is a clock hidden in the walls of the house by Issac Izard, the original owner, also a wizard and Jonathan’s former partner.

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FLICKANALYSIS

Lizzie- Karl Sides (The Flick Fanatics)

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Lizzie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starring:

Chloe Sevigny- Lizzie Borden

Kristen Stewart- Bridget Sullivan

Kim Dickens- Emma Borden

Jamey Sheridan- Andrew Borden

 

Chloe Sevigny takes on the roll of the infamous Ax murderer Lizzie Borden in “Lizzie”.

Director Craig William Macneill has brought a different spin on the unsolved murders of the Borden family to the big screen in the new film “Lizzie”. Chloe Sevigny stars as Lizzie opposite Kristen Stewart as Bridgett the Irish maid.

In Lizzie, The Borden sisters Lizzie and Emma live with there overbearing father Andrew and their step mother Abby (Fiona Shaw) and are joined by the new maid, Bridgett Sullivan. Lizzie is constantly defiant of her father and refuses to call Abby mother. Lizzie strikes up a friendship with the new maid and it eventually turns into a romantic affair.

Mr. Borden also took a liking to Bridgette and advised her to leave the door to her room open to avoid the extreme heat that collects upstairs. The real reason for the advice was to make it easier for him to enter her room and sexually assault the girl.

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