REVIEW: Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper Let the Music Shine in ‘A Star Is Born’




Lady Gaga at 'A Star Is Born' Premiere - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia for CaliforniaRocker.com
Lady Gaga at 'A Star Is Born' Premiere - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia for CaliforniaRocker.com

LA Premiere Party Brings Out Music and Movie Stars

By DONNA BALANCIA

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper could be shoo-ins for Oscar glory this year with “A Star Is Born,” but the real winner in this classic film is the music team.

The key to the success of “A Star Is Born,” is the music. “Shallow,” written by Gaga and Mark Ronson drops Thursday, Sept. 27. Another track, “Is That Alright?” was teased by Gaga herself on her Twitter account.

Music bigwigs were all on hand at the L.A. premiere for the film, including Diane Warren, Lukas Nelson and a host of others who surrounded Gaga and her family and exchanged pleasantries. The party fare at The Shrine ran from healthy American food like quinoa and spinach, to macaroni and cheese, and pastries. 

Bradley Cooper - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia (1 of 1)
Bradley Cooper – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia (1 of 1)

Musical Collaboration is Key to ‘A Star Is Born’

Musical collaborations in “A Star Is Born” set this latest version apart from the rest. Lady Gaga and Warren on “Why Did You Do That?” and Lady Gaga and director-actor-producer-musician Cooper and Nelson on “Alibi” are supported by a strong team that got the music on its legs, including Don Was. Producer Dave Cobb told us at the premiere that working with all the musicians on the movie was a true labor of love.

The soundtrack for “A Star Is Born,” will be released on Oct. 5, through Interscope, the same day the film hits the theaters.

The film is produced by former Warner Bros. executive and renowned producer Billy Gerber (“Unforgiven,” “Gran Torino”), who shares that credit with Cooper, Todd Phillips, Lynette Howell Taylor  and that unsinkable name from the past: Jon Peters.

Peters of course produced the 1976 version of “A Star Is Born,” starring his then-wife Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. We hear some nifty deals made long ago keep his name on the film and any remakes. The original 1937 version of “A Star Is Born,” was not a musical and starred Janet Gaynor and Fredric March. Judy Garland was the rising star to James Mason in the 1954 film, the first musical rendition of the story.

Lady Gaga at Premiere with costars Bradley Cooper and Sam Elliott - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia (1 of 1)
Lady Gaga at Premiere with costars Bradley Cooper and Sam Elliott – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia (1 of 1)

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper Captivate 

That all being said, Gaga and Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” has been captivating audiences where it has played; The world premiere was at the Venice Film Festival and it has impressed all along the fest circuit including in Toronto and San Sebastian.  Gaga is praised for her acting, which elevates the singer into a completely new realm, although she is no stranger to the filmed production aspect of her successful rock music career and lifestyle and has worked with many top directors and producers along the way.

SEE LADY GAGA CROWDSURF THE SATELLITE 10/2016

Cooper will get a crack at Oscar, after all he fits the Warner Bros. requirements: He’s made the studio money in previous movies in which he’s starred, he’s leading-man good-looking and has mass appeal. Who knew he had such musical talent? 

 

Bradley Cooper, Warner Bros. and The Oscars

Cooper has a history with Warner Bros. After all, he starred in “American Sniper,” (2014) directed by Clint Eastwood. The film hit remarkable milestones: It brought in more than $350 million domestically, topped $547 million worldwide and had a record run holding the No. 1 spot at the box office for a good part of the year. You probably get a production deal in return for all that. So, armed with that deal, Cooper got the long-languishing “A Star Is Born” development project up and running.

Cooper bonded with Gaga over leftover pasta one night, then they recorded “Midnight Special” on his cell phone and that recording was what he brought into the studio to call attention to Gaga and the possibility of her starring in the project that had once been in Eastwood’s camp.

Gaga and Patrick Starrr - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia (1 of 1)
Gaga and Patrick Starrr – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia (1 of 1)

Lady Gaga Makes Character Ally Feel Real

In “A Star Is Born,” Gaga is great at taking the ordinary girl-next-door plight and presenting it realistically. As Ally, she brings a special depth to the plight of all aspiring musicians. She was there once herself, albeit it’s been a while since the 2008 release of “Pokerface,” the song that helped make her a worldwide household name. But particularly outstanding is her performance of “La Vie En Rose,” during the scene when her character Ally and Cooper’s Jackson Maine first meet.

Cooper as a quadruple threat has hit a pinnacle as there probably will not be too many more times where this leading man will also produce, direct, get a screenwriter credit, write the music, act, sing and play music. His imitation of Sam Elliott aside, Cooper is impeccably credible as Jackson Maine, a borderline washed-up Americana-rock singer-songwriter.

Lady Gaga poses with friends and fans at premiere - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Lady Gaga poses with friends and fans at premiere – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

Elliott plays Jackson Maine’s older brother, Bobby, and he drops a lot of F-bombs in the film. Yes, he’s playing another brother but this one is a far cry from the tobacco-spitting supportive sibling, Virgil Earp in “Tombstone.” And where goeth Elliott so goeth his product placement deal, particularly evident in a car interior where Bobby and Jackson talk about, then dismiss, the idea of working together — Dodge Ram logos are on both actors’ headrests inside the truck.

Lady Gaga shares a laugh with friends at the premiere of 'A Star Is Born' - Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia
Lady Gaga shares a laugh with friends at the premiere of ‘A Star Is Born’ – Photo © 2018 Donna Balancia

Yes: Andrew Dice Clay as Lady Gaga’s Caring Father

The big surprise of the film is the successful — of course comedic — turn of Andrew Dice Clay who exhibits a more mellow side. Yes, that Andrew Dice Clay. He plays Ally’s dad and he’s actually sort-of lovable. Look for Dave Chapelle as Jackson Maine’s supportive pal. 

“A Star Is Born” gets a release date of Oct. 5 probably because the Oscar submission deadline is Nov. 15. The film’s got legs with Gaga’s millions of “Little Monsters” as fans. The pic will easily sail through the holidays with people returning again and again for the acting, and more so for the music.

Check out the latest release ‘Is That Alright?’

Track List for ‘A Star Is Born’ soundtrack:

1. “Intro”
2. “Black Eyes” – Performed by Bradley Cooper. Written and produced by Bradley Cooper and Lukas Nelson.
3. “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”
4. “Fabulous French”
5. “La Vie En Rose” – Performed by Lady Gaga. Written by Louiguy and Edith Piaf. Produced by Lady Gaga and Brian Newman.
6. “I’ll Wait For You”
7. “Maybe It’s Time” – Performed by Bradley Cooper. Written by Jason Isbell. Produced by Bradley Cooper and Benjamin Rice.
8. “Parking Lot”
9. “Out of Time” – Performed by Bradley Cooper. Written and produced by Bradley Cooper and Lukas Nelson.
10. “Alibi” – Performed by Bradley Cooper. Written and produced by Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper and Lukas Nelson.
11. “Trust Me”
12. “Shallow” – Performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Written by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, and Andrew Wyatt. Produced by Lady Gaga and Benjamin Rice.
13. “First Stop, Arizona”
14. “Music To My Eyes” – Performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Written by Lady Gaga and Lukas Nelson. Produced by Lukas Nelson.
15. “Diggin’ My Grave” – Performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Written by Paul Kennerley. Produced by Lady Gaga and Lukas Nelson.
16. “I Love You”
17. “Always Remember Us This Way” – Performed by Lady Gaga. Written by Lady Gaga, Natalie Hemby, Hillary Lindsey, and Lori McKenna. Produced by Dave Cobb and Lady Gaga.
18. “Unbelievable”
19. “How Do You Hear It?”
20. “Look What I Found” – Performed by Lady Gaga. Written by Lady Gaga, Mark Nilan Jr., Nick Monson, Paul “DJWS” Balir, Lukas Nelson, and Aaron Raitiere. Produced by Lady Gaga, Mark Nilan Jr., Nick Monson, and Paul “DJWS” Blair.
21. “Memphis”
22. “Heal Me” – Performed by Lady Gaga. Written by Lady Gaga, Mark Nilan Jr., Nick Monson, Paul “DJWS” Blair, Julia Michaels, and Justin Tranter. Produced by Lady Gaga, Mark Nilan Jr., Nick Monson, and Paul “DJWS” Blair.
23. “I Don’t Know What Love Is” – Performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Written and produced by Lady Gaga and Lukas Nelson.
24. “Vows”
25. “Is That Alright?” – Performed by Lady Gaga. Written by Lady Gaga, Mark Nilan Jr., Nick Monson, Paul “DJWS” Blair, Lukas Nelson, and Aaron Raitiere. Produced by Lady gaga, Mark Nilan Jr., Nick Monson, and Paul “DJWS” Blair.
26. “SNL”
27. “Why Did You Do That?” – Performed by Lady Gaga. Written by Lady Gaga, Diane Warren, Mark Nilan Jr., Nick Monson, and Paul “DJWS” Blair. Produced by Lady Gaga, Mark Nilan Jr., Nick Monson, and Paul “DJWS” Blair.
28. “Hair Body Face” – Performed by Lady Gaga. Written and produced by Lady Gaga, Mark Nilan Jr., Nick Monson, and Paul “DJWS” Blair.
29. “Scene 98”
30. “Before I Cry” – Performed by Lady Gaga. Written and produced by Lady Gaga, Mark Nilan Jr., Nick Monson, and Paul “DJWS” Blair.
31. “Too Far Gone” – Performed by Bradley Cooper. Written and produced by Bradley Cooper and Lukas Nelson.
32. “Twelve Notes”
33. “I’ll Never Love Again” (Film Version) – Performed by Lady Gaga. Written by Lady Gaga, Natalie Hemby, Hillary Lindsey, and Aaron Ratiere. Produced by Lady Gaga and Benjamin Rice.
34. “I’ll Never Love Again” (Extended Version) – Performed by Lady Gaga. Written by Lady Gaga, Natalie Hemby, Hillary Lindsey, and Aaron Ratiere. Produced by Lady Gaga and Benjamin Rice.