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A Star Is Born Blu-ray Review – Take Home This Dramatic Musical Film

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper nail this engaging musical drama.

Reviewed by on Feb 19, 2019
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews A Star is Born now out to take home on Blu-ray and DVD. It’s a triumph for Lady Gaga and her director/co-star Bradley Cooper. The home entertainment release has some fun musical extras.

By: Lynn Barker

There have now been four film versions of the A Star is Born story. We all love the tale of a rise to fame and the perks and damages that result. This time songwriter but shy singer Ally (Lady Gaga) only feels comfortable singing at a drag club. Her outfit and make-up don’t fool super-famous singer Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) who, after his concert, drops into the club because he needs a drink. He is blown away by this talented young woman. The encounter leads to stardom and a rocky personal relationship. (Warning: This film is rated “R” for language throughout, some sexuality/nudity and substance abuse).

Jackson on stageJackson on stageCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

A Star is Born "Songwriter" Clip

First Meeting

Jackson Maine, a popular rocker, takes a slug of whiskey and goes onstage in a huge fan-packed arena. Although he is a giant hit, he needs more to drink so gets his chauffeur to drive him to a bar….any bar. At a drag queen club and is mesmerized by a supposed “guy” in drag singing the French tune “La Vie En Rose”. He realizes the singer is a girl and goes backstage to meet her and asks her to come for a drink with him. Ally writes songs but doesn’t sing them because she’s been told that nobody likes the way she looks. He disagrees. She creates a song for him on the spot. He shares sad things about his past including the fact that older brother, now manager Bobby (Sam Elliott) raised him.

Ally and Jackson write songs togetherAlly and Jackson write songs togetherCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The Concert

Ally is taken home by Jackson who asks her to his next gig where we learn that Jack is losing his hearing! His brother Bobby tells him it won’t get better and drinking doesn’t help. With Ally’s dad’s (Andrew Dice Clay) approval (he thinks Jackson might help her career), she goes to the concert where she is treated like royalty. Jack has done an arrangement of her song and, after much protest on her part, she comes on stage to sing it with him. They are a big hit! Afterwards looks like they will hook up but, Jackson passes out and Bobby has to put him to bed. Evidently, this happens a lot.

Jackson argues with his brother/manager BobbyJackson argues with his brother/manager BobbyCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The New Couple on the Road

Ally goes with Jackson on his current tour. In Arizona Jack and Bobby have a huge fight over his substance abuse and their past family history and Bobby leaves. Ally doesn’t like seeing Jack use drugs and drink before a performance. She keeps singing with Jack and does some singing on the tour. Her popularity attracts a record company and a big record deal. Ally’s new manager/producer Rez (Rafi Gavron) leads her in the wrong musical direction, adding dancers to her act and a more “pop” tune feel. Jack hates it. It’s not her! The couple shares a house but is separated by their busy musical lives. His hearing is getting worse.

Jackson asks Ally to marry himJackson asks Ally to marry himCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Tying the Knot

Ally finds Jackson at the Memphis home of his old musical buddy Noodles (Dave Chappelle) where he is in worse shape than usual. He sobers up enough to make a ring out of a guitar string and propose. They get married as Ally’s career takes off bigtime. She changes her look and Jack tells her to “Dig deep in her soul and tell your truth”. She’s gone way off track. Her sound is no longer her own but she is nominated for several Grammys and, as Jack’s career wanes, they fight, he goes off the rails and apologizes to her.

Jackson struggles to make a come-backJackson struggles to make a come-backCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Huge Embarrassment

Jack is asked to play guitar at the Grammys but only as backup for some new kid singer. He’s upset, drinks more than ever and, when Ally wins, joins her on stage, pisses himself and passes out in front of everyone. Ally loves him and freaks out. He goes to rehab and she moves back in with her dad. He admits that he tried suicide at age 13 and his dad, an alcoholic, didn’t even notice. He is released after months and writes a great love song for her. He cries as he apologizes for his behavior. She still loves him.

Happily married, Jackson and Ally play with their dogHappily married, Jackson and Ally play with their dogCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Is It Over?

After Jack embarrasses himself and Ally on TV, her manager Rez insists that she can’t take him on her tour. In fact, she shouldn’t be seen with him at all. Although Jack has cleaned up and also apologized to brother Bobby who has joined him again, Rez tells him he is ruining Ally’s career and shouldn’t be anywhere near her. Jackson is hurt but thinks it is true. Can he ever part from Ally? If he leaves, what will it do to her? How will this troubled relationship end?

Jackson meets with old pal NoodlesJackson meets with old pal NoodlesCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Special Extra Features

This Blu-ray/DVD/Digital set looks, and more importantly, sounds great.  

  • Jam Sessions and Rarities is a casual collection of practice sessions that could have been shot on Bradley Cooper’s cellphone. They are fun and very candid. One is the first time Cooper and Gaga ever sang together in her living room. They do a version of “Midnight Special”. Cool. We have “Baby What You Want Me to Do” and “Is That Alright?” by Gaga from the soundtrack.
  • Music Videos are all over scenes from the movie inter-cutting with the artists singing. We have “Shallow”, “Always Remember Us This Way”, “Look What I Found” and a very emotional “I’ll Never Love Again”.
  • Musical Moments also over scenes from the film include “Black Eyes”, “La Vie En Rose”, “Maybe It’s Time”, “Shallow”, “Alibi”, “I’ll Always Remember Us This Way”, “Why Did You Do That?”, a short “Pretty Woman” and “I’ll Never Love Again”. These are mostly over different footage than the music videos but there are some repeats.

Ally sings with Jackson on tourAlly sings with Jackson on tourCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
  • The Road to Stardom: Making A Star Is Born is the more meaty “making of” featurette. It includes an interview with Bradley on why he made the film taking three years of his life, casting Gaga etc., shots between scenes, Bradley and Gaga on stage at several rock concerts including Coachella, taking stage during downtime for a few cooperative famous rockers. Gaga talks about how much Bradley helped her improve her acting and admits that a lot of the Ally character is her. She talks about encouraging Bradley’s singing. It’s a mutual admiration society. We learn that her performance on film of “I’ll Never Love Again” occurred the same day as a good friend’s death from cancer, resulting, perhaps in the authentic emotion in the song.
  • Also appearing with comments are Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle.

Bradley Cooper directing A Star is BornBradley directing the movieCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Wrapping Up

As we said in our original review, A Star is Born is not for younger tweens. There is a load of substance abuse and foul language but that is a necessary part of telling the story of a popular singer’s downfall. You should make your home collecting choice as you and parents see fit.

Lady Gaga and Bradley on setLady Gaga and Bradley on setCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Also worth repeating here is that Lady Gaga’s acting as Ally is a revelation. Whether you are one of her “Little Monsters” (fans) or not,….If you liked her in TV’s creepy “American Horror Story”, that was just the tip of the iceberg. Underneath that and her wild publicity appearances as a singer, lies an amazing actress. Bradley Cooper also directs the film and his work is sensitive and “real” making the most of both funny and emotional moments. He hones right in on just how soul-stripping the starmaker machine can be whether artists are on the way up, or down. You will be “shipping” for Ally and Jackson to keep it together.

Lady Gaga with director Bradley on setLady Gaga with director Bradley on setCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

This set includes a limited number of interviews and on set footage but the extras do include several good music videos and personal “practice” footage that will be fun for fans.  There is no voice-over commentary and one with Bradley and Gaga would have been cool. There are no “bloopers” to lighten up such a serious film either so we award four stars.

A Star is Born Blu-ray Rating: 4

A Star is Born Blu-ray and DVD Cover ArtCourtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

You can buy A Star is Born in stores now!

Will You Take A Star is Born Home?

Are you a Lady Gaga or Bradley Cooper fan? Have you been waiting for this film to come out to take home or gift? What if your talents were “discovered”? Would you handle it well?  Share your feelings with us by leaving a comment below and/or on your Kidzworld profile page.