A Remake Is Born: Music and A New Face Are Very Appealing

A Star Is Born Poster

            Robbie K with the latest review on another holiday remake, this one hoping to bring the emotional punch that drama lovers well… love. Tonight two acting/singing icons are ready to lead the way, with plenty of reviews already praising the two in making this movie come to life.  Is it worth the hype, or have we been tricked by another Hollywood stunt?  Robbie K here to help guide your viewing pleasures, so let’s get started on my review of:

 

Movie: A Star Is Born (2018)

 

Director:

Bradley Cooper

Writers:

Eric Roth (screenplay by), Bradley Cooper (screenplay by)

Stars:

Lady GagaBradley CooperSam Elliott

 

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Acting:  Hands down, the two leading characters have amazing chemistry together.  Gaga’s mature optimism but realistic grounding craft a strong character ready to brave the storm of drama to come.  She brings the joy and energy to the film to help you get through the dark components of this film.  Bradley Cooper on the other reprises his role of the sultry, depressed like, hero, who is easy on the eyes of the females in my audience and brings a sort of romanticism charm as well.  Together, the duo tango in an amazing, dynamic dance of emotion that so many will grip on to. 

 

Decent Pace:  Another prime example of a drama being heartfelt, but also not crawling like so many of these movies do.  The first hour was over in an instant, and the second act, while not as fast, managed to keep a good run as they maneuvered through all the quirks. It led to my interest being kept for the movie and able to handle the predictable plot.

 

The Story:  The tale from the original is mostly there in a modernized form, reskinning the tale to have much more sex appeal than the original. Although not quite the same setting, the story still comes out strong, crammed to bursting with plenty of life aspects and lessons to hopefully resonate with the audience’s journey.  It’s got a realistic pulse to it, which should charm many of the intended group, and keeps you enraptured as you live their lives through the screen.

 

The Music: By far, the biggest and best component of this film for me was the music.  Like all my fellow reviewers, the magic of this motion picture score is the heart and soul of the characters’ feelings.  These poetic displays of artistry fill much of the screen time, some in the concert fashion, others as the fuel for a montage, it brings the full-on bite and drives home the emotion of this film.  As an additional bonus, you’ll get a mixture of styles though it is limited to country or pop, but still a little variety is better than none right?

 

DISLIKES:

 

Same Country Song: While not too overplayed, Cooper’s contributions to the music fest were not the most dynamic, choosing to play the same song four times and adding little with each replay.  True, I’m not a big fan of country, but in regards to soundtracks, I might try to pull a mamma mia and sample the music to boost soundtrack sales.

 

A Few Slow Parts: Scraping the bottom of the barrel for dislikes, there are a few slow parts that made me tired just watching. These moments were often prelude to another montage to buy some time, certainly a good trick to get you prepped, but maybe not the best in terms of pacing.

 

The Few Unnecessary Shots:  While much of the movie is spot on and necessary for the story, there are those moments that are merely for show to get things hot.  A Star Is Born had a few scenes that were meant to add to the story, but were grazed by as sort of a footnote to not be forgotten.  Sure it works with the new paint job this modernized version brought, and it had a few people hot under the collar, but for this guy, it just added fluff I didn’t need for the story.

 

Predictable:  There are a few surprises to be thrown in, but for the most part this movie isn’t too surprising or twist filled like I like to see. Not much I can say here, but don’t expect too much deviation from the tale.

 

The Okayish Character Development:  I’m not saying that this is weak by any means, but I’m saying compared to the original, I feel the story/character component is not quite as strong as the classic.  The new face of this story is all about the sex appeal and the music and while they did this fantastically, I feel that there was more potential to dive into these characters.  Key tensions are there, and you have enough of the background story to get the gist, but I still think the art of storytelling holds the strongest in the ways of old.

 

 

The VERDICT:

 

            Did a Star is Born live up to the hype that reviewers and commercials built up?  The answer is yes for the most part.  The acting and music are perfect representations of this dynamic love story, capable of wooing you TGIT drama lovers and modern-day romanticists. Still, I think I like the original from what I remember and feel that the cool new look will appeal to the modern-day audiences more than anything else.  Still, I had a good time with this movie and was very pleased at how much I liked the movie given my doubts from the trailers.  So I would say this is the film for this weekend to check out, and have fun with the soundtrack if you so decide to do it.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/Music/Romance: 8.5

Movie Overall:  8.0

 

War Meets Wolf Of Wall Street: Hill and Teller Take On Politics

War Dogs

            Robbie K here, starting the weekend off with what else…a movie review. Tonight we jump into the political drama movie that is about our beloved country and those who try to cheat the system to make excessive amounts of cash. So lets bump past the formalities and dive right into my thoughts on War Dogs starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller!

 

LIKES:

  • Good chemistry between actors
  • Interesting story
  • Comedy is witty

 

When I saw the trailers for this movie, I shuddered to think of the mess this movie could potentially be. After all, both of the actors (while talented) had not been in any roles that I absolutely loved. Therefore I was nervous to see these cast together and the potential stupidity/annoyance that could have been. To my surprise, these two were great together, having a dynamic relationship that sold the characters to me. Hill’s brash, aggressive nature led the charge of the movie, but was able to be toned down by Teller’s calm, intelligent, and more mature role. Each one was able to balance the other’s extremes and certainly felt like two coworkers/friends cheating the system. Once more I say that alone these guys were good, but together they were excellent.

While the relationship is certainly the driving force of the movie, the story helps keep the pace and suspense going. The story is exactly as sold in the trailers of two young men giving up their mundane jobs to begin selling weapons across the country. Unlike other gun running movies, this film abandons the frontlines for the bank, and feels much like another rendition of the Wolf of Wall Street. Todd Phillips and his team integrated the lives of our characters well into the story while still adding an edge of threat to keep you wondering what would interfere. The many moving pieces keep one engaged in the movie, and while there were components I felt under developed, had enough detail in each to bring things together.

Finally the comedy, I was expecting the comedy to be nothing more than a bunch of one-liners and facial expressions to make the next wave of memes. Truth is…there are plenty of these moments, but surprisingly there is some rather witty dialogue that had me laughing. In particular the banter between the two held plenty of clever insults and jabs at American stereotypes. Hill’s character in particular had more lines I found funny, mainly by his delivery, but Teller’s responses to those lines also assisted with that factor. All-in-all, the comedy has all of the insult and stupidity you expect, but is delivered so well.

 

DISLIKES:

  • Wanted more Ana De Armas moments
  • The F word and comedic antics getting old
  • Underdeveloped parts and the ending

 

My first dislike is the limitation of Ana De Armas’ character. I won’t lie, she is a beautiful woman and was very nice to have on screen (hey I am human after all). But I also really liked her character and how she drove the morals of the story despite all the corruption in this film. That goodness could have really refreshed the movie at some of the slower parts and they could have injected some more suspense in the film by having her in the film. Perhaps she isn’t the most key character in this war/crime drama, but hey it couldn’t have hurt…I think.

To sound like a broken record, the F word does not equal great dialogue or great writing. Yet Hollywood still can’t get that idea through their skulls. War Dogs has moments where it is just one bomb dropped after another, which may not bother you much. Still this reviewer would love the strategic use of the word to maximize its comedy potential, instead of replaying the ploy much like a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. The same can be said for the comedic ploys in this film, some of which are again beaten to death without much remorse. Jonah Hill’s laugh (which sounded like a mixture between the joker and a donkey) in particular grew stale to me and was more annoying by the tenth time it escaped its lips. Fortunately, there aren’t too many of these stale antics plaguing the riding.

My final limitation was the underdeveloped components of the film. I’ve already stated the Ana De Armas parts, but there were other components I felt were in need of some fine tuning. The Bradley Cooper character I expected to have a bigger role for the price tag he carries and the way they snuck under the government’s nose was a bit farfetched as well. In addition, the fact that this is all based on a Rolling Stone article left me wondering how much was true and how much of this was Hollywood magic and fantasy. And as for the ending, it is a little lackluster and I would have thought more ploy, drama, and actual footage would have been in the film. Not to mention the final scene was ambiguous and unnecessary.

 

The VERDICT

War Dogs was much better than I expected and really portrays the actions some may take to make a quick buck. While certainly not the most original or entertaining movie, the engaging characters will keep you entertained and the dialogue will have you laughing. However, these qualities are not enough to recommend a trip to the theater for most of the audience members. Only those with great capitalistic pride and who don’t mind American political jabs should venture into this movie, otherwise wait for the Redbox rent.

 

My scores:

Comedy/Drama/War: 8.0

Movie Overall: 7.0