A Star Is Born

Village East Cinema, NY
A Star Is Born opening credit

In the news yesterday, I noticed that Lady Gaga is engaged to be married. My only hope is that it works out better than it does for Ally in her 2018 film A Star Is Born. I liked this film, a romantic drama that was not quite a musical but featured some pretty good musical numbers; particularly her first song that she sings in French at the drag club. This film had character, and feeling, and glitz, and romance as imperfect as it can be. I think that Gaga had direct creative control over every element of the production, while some of the scriptwriting might have seemed forced it was actually the pop star’s own true voice.

The film is about Ally, who is a normal girl who lives with her dad in the suburbs. She works some service job in a high-end hotel and sings when she can at a drag bar in the city. It is in this drag bar where she’s discovered by the rock star Jack.  Jack is kind.  Jack is sensitive.  Jack knows how to ice a broken hand. His brother is the cowboy from Big Lebowski.     Don’t be Jack.

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The Whore From Ohio

I just came home from the New Yiddish Rep. A play taking place in Israel, about a dirty old man his son and a local streetwalker opens with the dirty old man begging the prostitute for a discount, starting at 10 sheckels and working his way up to her 100 sheckel price, only to find himself unable to get it up. He passes the oppertunity up to his son, a beggar like his father, who is able to perform but is more concerned about his fathers money than the lay in the courtyard.

This production is beautifully played out, and presented in the yiddish language with projected subtitles. The viewer is able to forgive the humble studio setting with folding chairs and a backdrop of flats. Even the dream scenes were believable, with actors standing with eyes closed holding blankets.
I liked it.

Viking Destiny (2018)

Walking by Cinema Village yesterday, I checked the showtimes and was intrigued by a doc about space travel but there was this other film that only had two showtimes that day 11 am and 11 pm. So, passing over Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow, which has better press and many showings, I determined to come back at 11pm to see Viking Destiny. I was the only person in the theater, which was alright, but disconcerting. Probably better than seeing Venom with one hundred twittering teenagers. This film is probably the best viking movie in recent memory. Like Valhalla Rising (2009) it features panoramic shots and odd long silences, but that may be a part of Scandinavian culture and filmmaking. Oh, but you believe in it. It has a weird philosophy, and doesn’t shy away from moralizing, but let me tell you the story. It presents as a saga, with Odin and Loki visiting mortals and swaying events to their greater goals.

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