John Gregory Dunne

John Gregory Dunne

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A Star Is Born (1976) Review


Weak
Here's another nominee in the increasingly crowded category of Most Unnecessary Remake: 1976's A Star Is Born, with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson picking over the bones of not one but three previous versions, most notably the 1954 musical epic starring Judy Garland and James Mason. It's a great story for sure, but this star turn for Streisand, which is hopelessly stuck in the bell-bottomed clichés of the '70s, hasn't aged well and isn't much fun to watch.

We first meet struggling singer Esther Hoffman (Streisand) as she performs a gig in an L.A. club backed up by two African-American women. Their name: The Oreos (groan). Into the club stumbles hirsute rock legend John Norman Howard (Kristofferson) on one of his daily benders. He loves her voice, she loves his... hair, I suppose... and soon, for no apparent reason, she's madly in love with him.

Continue reading: A Star Is Born (1976) Review

Up Close And Personal Review


OK
If nothing else, Up Close And Personal will remind you just how hideous the hairstyles of the 1980s were, especially among media personalities. Fortunately, the film accomplishes a lot more than that, giving us a nice romance that isn't harmed too much by its attempts at melodrama.

Up Close And Personal tells the loosely-based-on-reality story of Sally (who becomes Tally) Atwater (Michelle Pfeiffer), a vain upstart girl from Reno who wants to make it big in television. Robert Redford costars as Warren Justice, a Miami news director who gives her her big break and takes her under his wing. Under his influence, Tally is transformed from brash loudmouth to The Next Big Thing, and of course, the two fall madly in love along the way.

Continue reading: Up Close And Personal Review

A Star Is Born (1976) Review


Weak
Here's another nominee in the increasingly crowded category of Most Unnecessary Remake: 1976's A Star Is Born, with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson picking over the bones of not one but three previous versions, most notably the 1954 musical epic starring Judy Garland and James Mason. It's a great story for sure, but this star turn for Streisand, which is hopelessly stuck in the bell-bottomed clichés of the '70s, hasn't aged well and isn't much fun to watch.

We first meet struggling singer Esther Hoffman (Streisand) as she performs a gig in an L.A. club backed up by two African-American women. Their name: The Oreos (groan). Into the club stumbles hirsute rock legend John Norman Howard (Kristofferson) on one of his daily benders. He loves her voice, she loves his... hair, I suppose... and soon, for no apparent reason, she's madly in love with him.

Continue reading: A Star Is Born (1976) Review

The Panic in Needle Park Review


OK
Al Pacino isn't particularly searing in this urban heroin drama, a precursor to much better films like Trainspotting, which really pushed the genre. But credit must be given, I suppose, to pioneers like Needle Park, which has Pacino and Susan Dey-lookalike Kitty Winn dazed and frequently comatose through nearly two hours of drugging, culminating in an inevitable bust. More a character study than any kind of narrative story, it's moderately worthwhile but far from a classic.
John Gregory Dunne

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