‘A Star Is Born’

a star is bornAfter a magnificent opening 20 minutes or so as troubled rock star Bradley Cooper (American Sniper, Silver Linings Playbook) meets the big-voiced Lady Gaga, A Star is Born settles into a slow, episodic unfolding of its narrative.

Gaga’s meteoric rise into a Grammy-award winning Britney Spears-like pop star is juxtaposed with Cooper’s demise into drug and alcohol addiction. It’s his struggle that is the real focus of Cooper’s directorial debut – in spite of the fact Lady Gaga is a revelation in her first leading role.

A solid remake/adaptation of the 1954 classic starring James Mason and Judy Garland, with some fabulous tunes from both leads, A Star Is Born is nevertheless disappointing considering the hype that surrounds it.

Rating: 64%

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‘Spiderman: Homecoming’

Spider-Man-Homecoming-poster-2-largeAn adolescent superhero within an adolescent storyline. The cheeky charm of Tom Holland (The Impossible, How I Live Now), introduced as Peter Parker in a cameo in last year’s Captain America: Civil War wears thin over the length of Jon Watts’ (Cop Car, Clown) first foray into the Marvel canon.

A predictable storyline (youth ignored by adults who therefore relies on his own wits to save the day) with a flat, uninvolving telling with little real excitement and only the occasional flashes of humour. That’s Spiderman: Homecoming.

Rating: 32%

‘Frantz’

Frantz_2016The latest from the prolific Francois Ozon (8 Women, Swimming Pool) is an elegiac narrative set in a small German town post World War I. A mysterious stranger places flowers on the grave of Frantz Hoffmeister, a young German soldier killed in battle.

Filmed in a mix of colour and black and white, Ozon’s film is a story of truths and non-truths, of similarities and opposites, of nationalism and love as Frantz’s fiancee, Anna (a quietly expressive Paula Beer – The Dark Valley, Ludwig II), comes to understand the stranger – a  shy, nervous French soldier, Pierre Niney (Yves Saint Laurent, Just Like Brothers).

Based on Ernst Lubitsch’s 1932 feature Broken Lullaby starring Lionel Barrymore and Phillips Holmes and itself based the stage play The Man I Killed by Maurice Rostand.

Rating: 58%