A Star is Born - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Star is Born Reviews

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½ September 20, 2015
I haven't seen the Judy Garland version but i'm sure that one worked much better than this. Barbra Streisand is the best thing about the movie and her songs are great. Kris Kristofferson is just bland and the chemistry isn't very strong. It felt like The Rose but everything that felt like The Rose was far better done in The Rose especially the romance aspect of the movie. Great idea but ok execution
January 10, 2015
Who told Kris he can sing? Shoot that fellow.
½ January 11, 2015
A surprisingly engaging film with strong performances from Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. It does, however, fall short of its potential with a script that requires another revision (the Grammys scene is far too over-the-top) and a more pedantic editor's hand. The songs are entertaining enough and the film is good looking; Streisand's costumes were sourced from her personal wardrobe. The production background is perhaps more interesting than the finished product (it would have been amazing to see Elvis Presley in Kristofferson's role), but the film was a huge box office hit and the soundtrack's sales were astronomical, despite scathing reviews from critics across the mediums.

The most financially successful version of this particular tale, previously made in 1937 (with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March) and 1954 (with Judy Garland and James Mason) where the protagonist was an actress. It was also remade in India as 'Aashiqui 2' (2013) and inspired Malaysia's 'Bharatham' (1991). 'Up Close & Personal' (1996), with Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer, followed a similar premise centred on television news anchors.
½ August 25, 2014
A Star is Born feels quite unnecessarily long and at the same time pretty boring for most of the film
August 4, 2014
It's unfortunate that the only memorable song is Evergreen. The acting is done well, but it would have been interesting to see Elvis Presley (who was the original choice) in the Kris Kristofferson role.
July 20, 2014
This is more what I was expecting when I watched the Judy Garland version. Just as good as the 1937 version with great production numbers. There were some plot HUUHs??, but overall the music and the story meshed well.
½ May 1, 2014
Another film that doesn't deserve it's hype. This is basically a showpiece for Barbara Streisand to show herself off. Unfortunately, she's, by now, ruined the looks she had in her earlier films by adopting a germanic frizzy perm. The story is basic with no surprises; I fell asleep half way through and by the end I was tired again, but of hearing her voice. It was no surprise, either, when the closing credits came up and I see that Streisand was the exectutive producer; doesn't that mean that she stumped up the cash for this to be (re)made? So it was really an investment in herself; a bit vain perhaps?
½ April 28, 2014
love it! I watch it again and again! It's sexy and sweet.
The soundtrack moves me. Great flick. Huge improvement over Judy Garland's version which went on and on and on.
Super Reviewer
April 8, 2014
After one remake, they decided to redo A Star is Born for a second time in the seventies and ended up with crud. Utterly barfy.
April 7, 2014
The cast is great and the original screenplay was written by John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion. What the hell happened once the cameras started rolling? Definitely the worst version ever made.
Super Reviewer
March 30, 2014
I appreciate the attempt to make something that's truly different that the other two, but it doesn't really work. The Garland one is often a shameless showcase, but at least its one that meshes with its star's talents in a realistic way . . . Streisand, while obviously a fantastic performer, isn't really the right choice for a film set in the pop-rock world. She's got the voice, but she always looks out of place in the film (especially when she sings a "funk" number). It doesn't help that once Kristofferson and her become lovers it gets really boring.
½ January 28, 2014
the changes in this version-making it music instead of movies really works well but i prefer the 1954 judy version best
½ October 20, 2013
Though it screams '70s this has nothing on the 1950s version. Not only does Judy out-sing and out-act Babs, but James Mason's pathos as Norman Maine is palpable in a way that Kris Kristoffersonjust can't emulate.
August 5, 2013
This film is the second remake of the classic story, after the 1934 original, which was then remade in 1954 starring Judy Garland.

This remake, starring Barbra Streisand, is a fantastic remake that suits the time perfectly. Society was a little out of the Broadway and musical movie era and it moved over to the rock and roll music era which started the introduction of the Grammy awards in 1959 and with Woodstock in 1969. This was a new age of mainstream pop culture with rebellious teens, braless women, and rock and roll seemed to be the only loved type of music.

With all of this, Barbra Streisand was at the top of her game. Some people may have even known her as the next Judy Garland. She was the perfect choice to play Esther.

Kris Kristofferson plays John, a rebellious and lazy alcoholic rock and roll star in a band. He is one the majorly popular music stars during the time in this film. He meets Esther (Barbra) at a nightclub as she is singing lead on the small stage. He is won over by her and they come together by chance after they both escape the club after a bar fight commenced that John was partially responsible for.

Eventually, John gets Esther in at his studio to record an album of hers to try and get her the fame and success that she has always dreamed of.

Esther becomes a raging success and John becomes just a memory.

I greatly enjoyed this film and the many connections and similarities that it shares with the Garland version. I believe the 1954 version is slightly better, mostly because of the endings.

The 1954 version's was simple yet went off with a bang. Garland was very distraught and did not want to sing at her next show. But her friend said that she must even though she is said, because that is how she would keep the memory of Norman alive. She introduced herself as Mrs. Norman Maine and the film ended with the audience's standing ovation.

The 1976 version's was too long in comparison. We saw that Esther was very sad over the death of John but it seemed like she was ok to sing again right away, despite the tragedy. Then she sang for about 7 minutes. I enjoyed it, but I feel like I was forced to enjoy it.

Barbra I love you.

A Star is Born, I give you an 80%.
½ March 9, 2013
I am reminded what a great songstress Barbra is when she crooned the mesmerizing 'Evergreen'. Rock stars like Hollywood stars have giant egos. Life becomes unbearable for them and those around them when their shine fades because they cannot accept ignominy. Death becomes their only avenue of escape.
½ March 9, 2013
I am reminded what a great songstress Barbra is when she crooned the mesmerizing 'Evergreen'. Rock stars like Hollywood stars have giant egos. Life becomes unbearable for them and those around them when their shine fades because they cannot accept ignominy. Death becomes their only avenue of escape.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
December 30, 2012
Yeah, the music in George Cukor's 1954 version was really good and all, but forget all of that Judy Garland big band band bull, because we're talking about that ol' time rock and roll, courtesy of... Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand. ...Oh yeah, now that's some hard rockin' right there; look out, Ozzie Osbourne, because this film's rock soundtrack is going off the rails of the crazy train. Seriously though, this film's musical tastes are indeed a reasonable ways away from those of Cukor's "A Star is Born", which isn't to say that music genre is the only thing changed in this "remake", because they threw the whole film performer storyline completely out of the window. Come to think of it, William A. Wellman's original 1937 version didn't even have a musical aspect, Cukor's version turned our lead specifically into a musical film performer, and with this film, they just went ahead and cut out the whole film performer profession aspect to make our leads simply regular, garden variety musicians, so this whole "A Star is Born" mythology has been creeping closer and closer to pure musicality with each incarnation, meaning that "when" they make another version (I say when, because, seriously, how many times can this star be born?), it's probably just going to be a black screen over nothing but a couple of hours of music. When that film arrives, I'd imagine a couple of people will say that it's at least not as bland as this version, and I won't agree, because I think that this film is pretty good, and, evidently, I'm not the only one, as this thing got quite a few Golden Globe nominations. Of course, then again, the Globes prior to the one that gave this film so many nominations awarded Ann-Margret Best Actress for "Tommy", so I guess they weren't too credible when it came to musicals in the late '70s, unless, of course, Ann-Margret won for the Comedy part of "Musical or Comedy", which would make sense, seeing as how she was laughable in "Tommy". Seriously though, this film is more deserving of its accolades, and yet, even then, this film is hardly without its flaws, failing to hit as many high notes as it probably should.

At approximately 140 minutes, this film isn't exactly George Cukor's "A Star is Born", yet it is lengthy, and probably should be, given the depth of its subject matter, though it's a bit difficult to fully tell when you see the final product and find its length perhaps too palpable, not necessarily because of slow spells, but because of a kind of consistent aimlessness that isn't so intense the film is unable to compensate with entertainment value and compellingness, but lingers over the final product all too often. Needless to say, it's not long before aimlessness slips into repetition, which may never come close to a descent into monotony, yet blands things up much too often, sometimes to the point of all-out disengagement, and leaves the film's conceptually fitting hefty length to come off as overlong, not to where blandness ensues so deeply that it distances investment to the point of rendering the final product underwhelming, but certainly to where engagement value and, by extension, full investment, take some damage. Of course, more damage might very well rest, not within Frank Pierson's sometimes questionably paced execution of his and his relatively large team of fellow screenwriters' scripted story structure, but within the scripted story structure itself, which is certainly meaty, yet stands to have more layers and depth to its exposition, not necessarily because character development is lacking, but because additional flesh-out might be needed to obscure the intensity of melodrama. Not too much in the way of subtlety goes into characterization, because although direction and performances are effective and convincing enough to sell you on the characters' and story's depth and range, things get to be quite histronic, portraying certain character and story areas in a fashion that proves to be a bit difficult to fully buy into, and it doesn't help that certain story and character aspects are, at least on paper, somewhat limited in notes. If nothing else, story and character flesh-out is presented with only so much in the way of total originality, and while that isn't to say that this film is quite as cliched as they say, it is to say that many of this film's key aspects go tainted by conventionalism, so much so that even if you're not familiar with this film's story, you'd be hard pressed to not find this film a bit predictable. This film's subject matter is strong, and is presented here about as rewardingly as it's going to be, yet there's still a fair bit to be desired that goes undercut by this film's aimless pacing, characterization issues and conventionalism, all of which go into spawning blandness that threaten to drive this film into underwhelmingness that hardly ensues as often as they say. The film has its improvable spots, but on the whole, this film rewards, bypassing most of its shortcomings through compellingness and entertainment value, complimented by good looks.

Robert Surtees' cinematography has, of course, dated, and really wasn't too remarkably distinguished from other forms of good-looking photographic tastes of this film's time, yet Surtees sure delivers, nevertheless, absorbing about as much color and definition as he can in order to grace visuals with consistent livliness, broken up by occasions in which Surtees really takes advantage of lighting and, on occasions, shot staging to provide shots that were, at the time, stunning, and remain striking to this day. Visually, the film is impressive, and musically, well, to be frank, it's upstanding, presenting lively and dynamic original songs that weren't exactly inventive at the time, but were strong, with colorful lyrics and decent instrumentality whose shortcomings go easily drowned out by leads' Kris Kristofferson's and Barbra Streisand's, of course, remarkable and distinct vocal skills. This film is certainly emphatic about its musicality and advertizes it as key, considering that it proved to be key in its 1954, which, even then, underused musical numbers, though it's not like this film is driven by its music, having it around as a supplement to livliness, which is just fine with me, as this film's soundtrack is a strong one that really lives up substance, which does indeed to be livened up a bit, though not too much so. As I said, the value of this film's story is hurt in execution, being structured upon a slightly unsubtle and often conventionalist foundation, and presented with an aimless pacing, thus blandness ensues, yet cannot obscure this film's subject matter's being worthy. True, this story is a familiar one, and not just because it's attached to a remake of a remake, and it doesn't help that the story isn't as well-handled as it probably should be in the long run, yet the subject matter boasts potential for compellingness, and more often than not, director Frank Pierson delivers on just that, providing plenty of entertaining color to distance the film from too much blandness and to keep the audience from getting too distanced from the film, and breaking up with genuine resonance that could be more realized and potent, but still punctuates a consistent degree of intrigue and compellingness that drives this film, helping in making the final product as rewarding as it is. What ultimately solidifies this film as rewarding is, of course, the acting, because although leads Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, like Judy Garland and James Mason before them, lack material until the latter acts, they keep consistent with their own individual yet equally engaging charismas, amplified when they bond in the form of excellent chemistry, and when the aforementioned acting material does finally come into play, it goes delivered on sharply, as Kristofferson and Streisand deliver on engrossing emotional range and depth that defines the genuineness within our often problematically written lead duo of Esther Hoffman and John Norman Howard. The film has its problems, and they loom over the film throughout its course, yet go challenged around every corner by undeniable strengths that hit and hit until they finally break through, carrying the final product to a genuinely rewarding state, even if the rescue from underwhelmingness is admittedly achieved by a little more than a hair.

Bottom line, the film suffers from an aimless pacing that spawns repetition and a degree of emotional distance whose potency goes exacerbated by there not being enough flesh-out to obscure layers limiting, melodrama and, of course, conventionalism within story structuring and characterization, thus making for a film that goes threatened by underwhelmingness, yet ultimately powers on, going supported by handsome cinematography and an upstanding soundtrack that color up a worthy story concept, brought to life by the lively directorial storytelling and compelling performances by Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand that help the most in making Frank Pierson's "A Star is Born" an entertaining and, at times, resonant rewarder.

3/5 - Good
August 14, 2012
Love this movie! And the sound track is great. Tears every time.
August 10, 2012
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