Movie Diary 10/3/2018

A Star Is Born (Bradley Cooper, 2018). I really didn’t have high expectations – maybe a nice old-fashioned slice of cheese would be good – but still I wasn’t prepared for this odd, fumbling, slack-paced series of drama-workshop scenes. Almost every dialogue sequence plays out in close-up, so it’s a relief when we arrive at the Grammy Awards and get an actual two-shot showing Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga all the way to their knees, and then it turns out there’s a specific reason for that, so never mind. One surprise is that this version is very much the man’s story, the emphasis on Cooper’s suffering rather than the major-diva slant in the Garland and Streisand films – a rather strange note for These Times. People who don’t go to many movies will find it amazing.

The Wife (Björn Runge, 2017). Glenn Close plays the wife of a newly-minted Nobel Prize-winning writer (Jonathan Pryce), off to Stockholm for a memorable ceremony. The idea behind the film carries it along through a few conventional patches, and Close gets to build her performance in a satisfying way. With Christian Slater, Max Irons.