A Star Is Born – Putting my money down now that in February 2019 you will hear the words, “…and the Best Actress Oscar goes to…Lady Gaga!” Yes indeed, she’s that good in this film. It’ll also probably win Best Song of the Year (take your pick from this soundtrack) and production design, along with nominations for Best Picture and Best Director – Bradley Cooper. Cooper’s performance in the film is nearly as good as Gaga’s but in a crowded acting field this year, he’ll probably be honored with a directing nomination. Now don’t get me wrong; Academy Award recognition does not necessarily mean this is the Best Film of the Year nor a great film. What it does mean is that it is a very good film and features excellent performances across the board. But let’s face it – we’re not reinventing the wheel here. The story of “A Star Is Born” has been told numerous times before with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March in the original 1937 film, Judy Garland and James Mason is the classic 1954 version, Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson in 1976. It’s the simple story of an alcoholic music star on the downside of his career who discovers a bright new talent, romances her, falls in love, then watches as her star rises as his continues to fall and tragic consequences that result. Simply put, it’s melodrama in its simplest form. Having said that, Cooper infuses this 2018 version with a modern sensibility, giving us an idea of the ruthless nature of today’s music business, the fragile egos, the jealousy and the presentation of today’s entertainment. Because of this, the music related sequences are far more engaging than the behind the scenes domestic drama. It’s almost as though you want the romancing, fighting and confrontations to end just so you can get to the next hair-raising tune. And don’t be fooled – it’s the amazing songs that really give the movie its punch. Bradley Cooper has proved to be a director to keep an eye on (we already knew he had the acting chops), Lady Gaga proves she is more than a stage entertainer and is in fact a very talented young woman (if you didn’t know), and the supporting cast also provides solid support. Veteran actor Sam Elliott is excellent as Cooper’s bitter older brother and Andrew “Dice” Clay is very good as Gaga’s father. A Star Is Born 2018 is a fun entertaining ride with moments of brilliance that transcends its minimal flaws.