Archive for the ‘Bradley Cooper’ Category

Beautiful Bernstein


Director: Bradley Cooper

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Matt Bomer, Sarah Silverman, Vincenzo Amato, Maya Hawke, Matt Bomer

Running Time: 2 hours and 9 minutes

Film Rating: 8 out of 10

Please note this film is only available on Netflix

With acclaimed directors Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg acting as executive producers, Bradley Cooper’s Maestro about the extraordinary life of American composer Leonard Bernstein features a deftly performed triple act with multiple Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper (American Sniper, A Star is Born, Silver Linings Playbook) acting as director, writer and as the leading man, ably assisted with Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan (An Education, Promising Young Woman) as Bernstein’s long suffering wife Felicia Montealegre.

Both Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan are absolutely superb in Maestro, binding this film together as they perfectly portray the complex façade of a marriage that the Bernstein’s had, particularly Felicia’s artistic and sacrificial decision to turn a blind eye to her husband’s rampant homosexuality often bringing lover’s home and entertaining them in front of their children.

There is a particularly brilliant scene towards the end of Maestro whereby Leonard and Felicia have a terrible fight in a New York apartment which is overlooking the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, in which the marital veneer is cracked and all the resentment and anger boils over.

Bradley Cooper literally disappears into the role of Leonard Bernstein thanks to the extraordinary makeup by Japanese American prosthetic make up artist Kazo Hiro who won Oscars for Bombshell and Darkest Hour.

Mulligan is excellent as a broadway actress Felicia who takes a decision to put her career on hold while Leonard Bernstein’s musical career flourishes during the 1960’s as he is made musical director for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Leonard Bernstein is an icon in the classical and theatrical music world having penned the music for the Stephen Sondheim hit musical West Side Story and the film score for the Marlon Brando film On The Waterfront.

Bernstein’s sexual relationship with David Oppenheim flamboyantly played by out gay actor Matt Bomer (The Normal Heart, Boys in the Band, The Nice Guys) is comfortably portrayed in Maestro as Bernstein feels nothing at introducing his beloved wife Felicia to his starry eyed gay lover.

At the heart of this complex artistically compatible marriage is the toll that two creative and volatile parents have on their three children particularly their oldest daughter Jamie Bernstein played by the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, Maya Hawke (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Asteroid City) who often has to discover through gossip the sexual indiscretions of her father, the world famous conductor Leonard Bernstein.

Essentially, Maestro is an art film and it is filled with beautiful music, talented people and a toweringly famous artistic conductor who was passionate about classical music, conducting and leaving an indelible mark on the canon of America’s 20th century contribution to the history of music.

Maestro shot in black and white and colour, is a complex and slightly off kilter biopic about an extremely charismatic conductor whose sexual proclivities detonated the marriage in which Felicia was the main casualty. Fortunately, Bradley Cooper and Carey Mulligan are both excellent as husband and wife in a film which re-examines their relationship in the context of Bernstein’s massive fame and creative contribution, which was both controversial and significant.

Maestro is Bradley Cooper’s languid love letter to Leonard Bernstein, a formidable task to encapsulate in a unconventional biopic which should have been released in theatrical cinemas to attain the full effect.

Featuring highly skilled acting, cinematography and direction, Maestro gets a film rating of 8 out of 10 and is recommended for viewers that love the music of Leonard Bernstein.

Source material:

You Will Never Be Alone

A Star is Born


Director: Bradley Cooper

Cast: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, Rafi Gavron, Anthony Ramos, Alec Baldwin, Ron Rifkin

Three time Oscar Nominee Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, American Sniper, American Hustle) gives a superb no holds bar performance as the frequently inebriated singer Jackson Maine in the third remake of A Star is Born, which he also boldly directs.

The key to the 2018 version of A Star is Born is to fill the part played by Barbra Streisand in the 1976 version in which she starred opposite Kris Kristofferson who won a Golden Globe for Best actor Musical Comedy in the 1970’s version.

Enter pop icon and music superstar Lady Gaga who plays the significant role of aspiring singer Ally who is discovered by Jackson Maine in a Gay Bar (it’s not what audiences think!) as she enters on stage amidst a bevy of Drag Queens singing Edith Piaf.

The onscreen chemistry between Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper sizzles and it’s what makes the 2018 version of A Star is Born so palatable and such entertaining viewing.

Besides some fantastic cutting edge cinematography by Black Swan Oscar nominee Matthew Libatique, who really captures the chaotic energy of live music performances, the actual songs, the music and Bradley Cooper’s superb Oscar worthy acting makes this version of A Star is Born worth seeing.

As the awards season approaches, I am sure that both Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga will get Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor and Actress in a Musical or Comedy. As for the 2019 Oscars, it’s too early to predict, but this is without a doubt the best performance I have seen Bradley Cooper do onscreen as he inhabits the complicated role of Jackson Maine a singer whose addictive personality cannot handle the sudden and glittering fame bestowed upon his protégé Ally.

Ally is egged on at every turn in her rise to fame by a ruthless music manager Rez played by Rafi Gavron. Audiences should also watch out for a solid supporting performance by Sam Elliott as Jackson’s older brother and manager Bobby.

A Star is Born is superb viewing, fantastic singing and a brilliant film to watch ably assisted by Oscar worthy performances by its two main leads whose onscreen chemistry dazzles from the first musical number.

A Star is Born gets a film rating of 9 out of 10 and is a musical treat. Highly recommended viewing.

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February 2024
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