Review: A Star is Born (4K)

In this new take on the iconic love story, four-time Oscar nominee Cooper makes his directorial debut, and also stars alongside multiple award-winning, Oscar-nominated music superstar Gaga in her first leading role in a major motion picture. Cooper portrays seasoned musician Jackson Maine, who discovers and falls in love with struggling artist Ally. She has given up on her dream to become a successful singer until she meets Jack, who immediately sees her natural talent.

The film also stars Andrew Dice Clay, with Dave Chappelle and Sam Elliott. In addition to playing Ally, Gaga performs original songs in the film with Cooper, which they wrote with a handful of artists, including Lukas Nelson, Jason Isbell and Mark Ronson. The music is original and all vocals for the movie were recorded live during filming.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of “A Star Is Born” features Dolby Vision HDR that dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame. It also features Dolby Atmos soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.

Plot: In “A Star Is Born,” Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga fuse their considerable talents to depict the raw and passionate tale of Jack and Ally, two artistic souls coming together, on stage and in life. Theirs is a complex journey through the beauty and heartbreak of a relationship struggling to survive.

Director:  Bradley Cooper

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Runtime: 135 min

Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 90% & IMDB 8.0/10

Unboxing (see below)

Special Features and Technical Specs:

  • Dolby Vision HDR Presentation of the film
  • English Dolby Atmos Track
  • Jam Sessions and Rarities
    • “Baby What You Want Me To Do”
    • “Midnight Special”
    • “Is That Alright”
  • The Road to Stardom: Making A Star is Born
  • Music Videos
    • “Shallow”
    • “Always Remember Us This Way”
    • “Look What I Found”
    • “I’ll Never Love Again”
  • Optional English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles for the main feature.

Review & Conclusion:

Movie was shot with a variety of camera’s both in the 2.8K & 3.4K formats and ultimately given a 2K Digital Intermediate. As per the norm with UHD release, it was also given a HDR color grade for your viewing pleasure in both Dolby Vision and HDR 10.

Overall, this movie has a fine layer of grain to begin with, but the latter half of the movie starts to get really sharp — nothing demo worthy, but it does get close in a few scenes. The one word I would use to describe this movie is cinematic because everything from visuals to audio is at a high level. Let’s roll with that in mind.

For anyone curious about those black levels and HDR — they are continually solid throughout the course of the movie. There was never a specific moment where anything looked out of place. Where you will see these features highlighted the most are in circumstances like in Chapter 3 when they are having a drink at the bar. The ambiance of the intimate red lighting really shines through with HDR— while the black levels keep everything else in the room dark. That’s just the first example, because this type of atmosphere continues with concert lighting seen in Chapter 6 and every following scene that has a big stage and lighting. If there’s a musical number, everything looks, sounds and feels like your there.

Like I mentioned before, the latter half of the movie gets sharp, so those super detailed close-ups that 4K usually gives off will be seen more regularly. That’s not to say it’s not there in the first half, it’s still there consistently too, just more frequently later on. From these shots you will get detail down to the pores in the skin, makeup, beard stubble… even the appearance of dry skin. A perfect example of this is in Chapter 16 when the deep conversation at the rehabilitation facility between Jack and Ally takes place. It’s full of all the little details, plus great color and lighting contrast too. Near demo-worthy at moments.

Another example of great UHD can be seen in Chapter 12 on the rooftop with Jack and Ally overlooking the city. Great natural lighting, up close conversation, color… the works. When good portions of time are spent in dark low-lit bar scenes, concerts or at the studio — scenes that basque in natural light look extra vibrant.

I still don’t have my Dolby Atmos setup, but the music sounded amazing with what I have — every musical scene put in work with my subwoofer. If you have a nice setup the music will sound top notch. I can’t comment about the atmospheric effects, but I can only imagine what it has the capability of adding.

This is a top notch movie that was undoubtably one of the greatest films released last year. The music, acting, directing and everything in between was way above par — that’s why it’s so heavy in award nominations across the board. Once your in the final stages of the 135 minute film, that last scene of the movie brings everything together beautifully. The scene drops from Ally in full orchestrated mode to just her and Jackson (singing a capella) at the piano — back to Ally — then fade to black.

Truly a timeless movie and the 4K UHD brings everything the format has to offer. This is a must own, no exceptions.

The 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD editions will be available on February 19th, or fans can own it early on Digital right now.

Cheers,

Matt.