The story we can’t get enough of (cleaned up and sans addiction for The Artist) is back again with a new “digibook” Blu-Ray release of the Kristofferson/Streisand effort A Star is Born. Not the story’s best telling, even among films that share the name, this one nevertheless has its place in cinematic history for Streisand’s vocals alone.
The film centers around the music scene in this go, and Kristofferson is the aging rock star who finds himself at a point where he has more ego than tangible excuses to boost it, when he stumbles upon Streisand performing in a lounge act with little hope of going anywhere.
The two fall for each other, and we basically get the exact game we figure we will. He pushes her into the limelight, though unable to stay there himself, and she hopes to save him from his vices, etc., etc. There are some interesting moments the two share together, but their on-screen chemistry is by now a celebrated failure. The cover photo, as an easy example, seems to be a shot of two people who barely know each other, and represents well the connection the pair manage to make as a couple to the audience.
Despite any shortcomings, the film is surprisingly entertaining, though that might sound odd given the heart-string-pulling effort we’re after here. It telegraphs it’s moves far too much, and rushes toward its endgame, but the overall structure itself pulls you in well enough, and it keeps things moving far better than a lot of newer films seem capable of. The result is a decent enough film, perhaps with delusions of grandeur, but with enough going on to keep you invested. Besides which, Streisand is in top form, and even for those who are not moved by here generally (like me), she knows how to command a vocal scene.
For fans, the digibook is a solid release, though the video qualities are not superb. The book is one of the better efforts in the category, with some interesting production notes, and the kind of details that fans (especially those of Streisand) will enjoy. Adding to the effort is a commentary track by Streisand, and a couple of deleted scenes that also have her commentary. For some it may seem like a package that isn’t exactly overloaded, but others will find enough that we will be more than happy with the purchase.
Though not exactly a special feature, it’s worth it for the sound, which isn’t something you hear everyday. The soundtrack is remastered in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, and you can tell. With the audio being the chief sell of the thing in the first place, this gets a lot more weight than it usually might.
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