By Robin E. Simmons
A STAR IS BORN
But I suppose the main draw for this unnecessary fourth iteration of a classic American movie melodrama is whether or not Lady Gaga can actually act.
In this new take on the tragic love story, Cooper plays established country western musician Jackson Maine, who discovers–and falls in love with–struggling artist Ally (Gaga) who has given up on her dream to make it as a singer. That’s when Jack coaxes her into the spotlight and her career takes off. But the personal side of their relationship falls apart as Jack fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.
This nicely crafted fantasy romance is also a rootable underdog story and a painful, substance abuse drama. What more can you ask for?
It’s hard to not see Judy Garland’s ghost haunting every frame of this reboot. Gaga is okay but Bradley is really good. Also noteworthy are co-stars Sam Elliott and Andrew Dice Clay.
There’s little joy at final fade out in this decidedly sad cautionary tale about the pitfalls of aspiring to and achieving stardom. I was not particularly moved by the story’s downward spiral and unsatisfying arc.
NEW FOR THE HOME THEATER:
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP
In this new chapter, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is ending his house arrest following the final events Captain America: Civil War. Clearly, he struggles not only as a Super Hero but also as a father.
When he’s confronted by his old partner Hope Van Dyne (Lily) a.k.a. the Wasp, who has been working with her scientist father, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), to discover the location of the missing Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), lost for decades in the subatomic quantum realm.
Now Scott must once again don the suit and learn anew how to fight alongside The Wasp if he’s to ever uncover important secrets from their past.
Make no mistake, this playful and sometimes weirdly funny film makes it an okay and welcome entry in the Marvel canon, just don’t expect too much if you are looking for some deeper explanation or answers to the startling and memorable ending of Avengers: Infinity War. The special effects are state-of-the-art as are the visceral chase sequences.
It must be noted that the absurd premise of a team of thieves that can shrink or expand at will pretty much demands a tongue-in-cheek touch. Recommended if you’re craving some silly, superhero fun.
Cassie (Rose Marie DeWitt) is a real estate agent and single mom struggling to keep it all together during the housing crisis of 2009. Her problems go from bad to worse when disgruntled client Sonny (Danny McBride violently confronts Cassie’s boss –- and then kidnaps Cassie, only to make one outrageously bad and bloody decision after another.
Things continue to spiral out of control in director Jonathan Watson’s debut feature. It’s a crude, violent and sometimes funny action comedy. But hey, it’s all in glorious 4K UHD! Limited bonus features: “The Making of Arizona” and a photo gallery. RLJE films. Blu-ray/4k UHD.