BOON was delighted to be invited to attend the preview screening of the latest blockbuster movie A Star Is Born at London’s swanky Soho Hotel.
The private screening was hosted by Entertainment Focus and Warner Brothers and attended by the good and the great of the UK country music scene, including Bob Harris, The Wandering Hearts, Ward Thomas, Backwards Creek, Catherine McGrath and Two Ways Home.
This is the third remake of the original 1937 film, following Judy Garland’s in the fifties and the 1976 Kris Kristofferson/Barbara Streisand version which spawned a hugely successful soundtrack album.
This remake stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Lady Gaga is tremendous as a struggling singer taken under the musical and romantic wing of the established star Cooper, who initially picks her up in a seedy backstreet drag bar where she was performing a cheesy cabaret version of La Vie En Rose.
The film chronicles her rise to fame and the corresponding fall of Cooper, the conflict between Cooper’s alcohol and drug-fuelled character and the emerging talent of Gaga, being manufactured into a star by the record label with a musical and image makeover.
It’s the old guard taking the new pretender under his wing and a story of love, jealousy and addiction. One notable line in the movie is “If you don’t dig deep in your soul you don’t have legs” as Cooper warns Gaga about the musical direction the label is taking her in.
It wasn’t a surprise to see Lukas Nelson’s band act as Cooper’s backing band on stage. Nelson is friends with Gaga, she guested on his latest album, and he leads one of country’s best kick-assed bands, with a heavy touch which fitted the musical style of the movie perfectly.
There are parallels with The Bodyguard, with Whitney Houston playing a singer, the power ballads that Gaga excels at, and the evil record music industry executive pulling the strings behind the scenes.
Gaga’s emotionally charged musical and acting performances are staggering. She is tipped for an Oscar, as is Cooper. Go and see it, it’s the music movie of the year.
Full list of Country artists is attendance:
Gasoline & Matches
Two Ways Home
The Wandering Hearts
Bob Harris and founders of Black Deer Festival; Deb Shilling and Gill Tee.
Review by Chaz Brooks