A Star Is Born (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

A Star Is Born (4K Review)I remember growing up and my mom adoring 1976’s  A Star Is Born, which stars Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.  Not so much the movie per se, but I remember the LP always being prominently displayed in her collection.  I suppose this information severely dates me, but I’m really just trying to set the mood here.  Years later I would find out that it was actually a remake of a 1937 movie of the same name, but I digress.  What made me take notice though as I got into collecting home media formats like DVD and Blu-ray my mom would always ask me when does A Star Is Born come out for it.   Now some 40 years later it’s kind of sentimental that I’m equally excited for the newest incarnation of A Star Is Born releasing on Blu-ray and 4K UHD Disc this February 19th.

A Star Is Born


Instead of Streisand and Kristofferson the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born stars Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in the respective lead roles.  Cooper is also making his directorial debut here too.  In addition he penned the screenplay as well with Will Fetters and Eric Roth.  The story, which follows a hard-drinking country musician (Cooper) who not only discovers, but falls in love with a younger singer (Gaga) is officially the third remake of this property.  What I failed to disclose up above is that there is a 1954 musical version too.  We’ll skip the rumors of who all was attached to play at one time or another in starring roles and just focus on the facts here.  That being said let’s also make mention of some supporting cast here, which includes the likes of Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle and Sam Elliot.

Needless to say the film went to receive quite the critical acclaim, with praise for Cooper and Gaga’s performances, Cooper’s direction, cinematography and of course that music.   Lady 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 completely original and all vocals for the movie were recorded live during filming.  That literally equates to no lip-syncing!  Could you ask for anything more? No way!

Before we dive into the story let us continue talking about all the critical acclaim A Star Is Born has been receiving, which includes its many award nominations/take homes.  A Star Is Born recently received five Golden Globe nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Drama; Best Director – Motion Picture, Bradley Cooper; Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, Lady Gaga; Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, Bradley Cooper and Best Original Song in a Motion Picture, “Shallow.”  The film also received three awards from the National Board of Review, including Best Director Bradley Cooper, Best Actress Lady Gaga and Best Supporting Actor Sam Elliott.  In addition there were four Grammy Award nominations two weekends ago for “Shallow” for Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Song Written For Visual Media.  Notice I didn’t even talk about the 7 Oscar nominations the film also received.  I think you get the BIG PICTURE.

So what’s this all about? Oh wow! You’re going to get me emotional aren’t you? A Star Is Born is heartbreaking, haunting, but also so very beautiful. The former two refer to the film’s subject matter which is so gut wrenching and painful. Having been a former musician in my past life I can immediately identify with all the tropes here. The latter refers to how this sad story of loss and redemption ultimately unfolds and is told through its presentation here. It’s like a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly, but from a human storytelling perspective. You almost always can’t have fame and fortune without heartbreak and sorrow. The life of a musician is a hard one. Think about it. Night after night you find yourself in a different city and despite any problems you’re facing and/or ailments you have to make thousands of people happy. It’s a lonely life kind of grass is always greener on the other side kind of living.

A Star Is Born sees one end of a candle fizzling while the other new side brightly shines. It’s always the unexpected people that come into our life that make a difference and propels us into unspoken ground we never saw ourselves experiencing whether lone achieving. This is the yin yang of Gaga and Cooper’s characters here. They both need each other for different reasons, but ultimately we see here just how abusive and destructive loving someone really is. No one said relationships were not difficult. Sometimes they’re very toxic and the endgame is not often what we expect. Thus is the musical tale of A Star Is Born where I don’t exactly get the ending I want, but it’s the tragedy that fuels the fire within that is necessary here. Truth be told though after watching this movie for the second time for this 4K review I was absolutely traumatized. I had issues sleeping overnight and coping with the outcome the following day. Let this be a warning that while I feel this movie is a masterpiece it’s a very soul crushing one. Be prepared!

A Star Is Born


The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Warner Bros’ A Star Is Born.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Dolby Vision: Yes
  • HDR: Yes
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.4:1
  • Clarity/Detail: A Star Is Born looks cinematically pleasing, organic and pulpy throughout. So because of the inherent grain there is softness thus not making it exactly the sharpest looking 4K presentation you’ll see all year. So what! I love the gorgeous cinematic way it all looks. Textures stand out here like the denim in jean jackets, the wood grain in a bar top, leather in a guitar strap, tree bark and the list goes on. Closeups in the actors reveal the usual in way of moles, wrinkles, hair, stubble, etc.
  • Depth: There’s a lot of different environments captured throughout this film. I’m happy to report though most everything has a great sense of depth to it all. Examples of such include, but are not limited to the following: Gaga’s character breaking up with Roger over the phone in the bathroom, the drag club and bar, residential city streets, on stage performances, looking over the balcony at the cityscapes and so much more.
  • Black Levels: The black levels are deep and dark for the most part. The nighttime city sequences look amazing, but there are lighting problems here or there where things are completely washed out. One of the first dance rehearsal sessions Gaga’s character first interacts within instantly comes to mind as an example of this.
  • Color Reproduction: This one is kind of all over the place here due to the fact of all the different lighting and ways footage was captured here. For the most part it has a real natural look to it, but other times like in the drag dressing room things are a bit washed out. However, all the great concert lighting and performances captured here truly make up for it all and really give the concert footage a step up above everything else in the color department.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones can run hot and warm due to the lighting and filming techniques, but for the most part are natural and authentic looking.
  • Noise/Artifacts: Other than the light veil of cinematic grain throughout, which I mentioned up above there’s really nothing I can think of that I saw in this presentation to make you up and say yuck that sucks. It’s a fine looking film to behold on the 4K UHD Disc format.

A Star Is Born


Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of Warner Bros’ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of A Star Is Born.  I do want you to know that both the 4K UHD Disc and 1080p Blu-ray one houses a Dolby Atmos surround track. I also want to bring it to your attention that the disc defaults to DTS and you have to go into the menu and select the Atmos surround track. That’s a small inconvenience, but obviously not the end of the world.

  • Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos – TrueHD, English DTS-HD MA 5.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, French (Quebec) Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
  • Dynamics: A Star Is Born enjoys an ultra wide soundscape to not only breathe in, but also employ a frolicking atmosphere you can soak it all in from. When you’re talking the drama of the film everything is presented in a clean, prioritized environment ensuring you never mis a spoken word. However, when you’re talking the music of this masterpiece you’re in a whole other world altogether providing you an almost concert-like experience with reverb, ringing ears and everything that comes from it. The dynamics of this Atmos surround track ensures you feel like you’re a suffering musician in this one. I cant say enough good things about that for authenticity reasons.
  • Height: The height channels employ the usual gimmicks throughout here including pumping out the “heightened” crowd noises, microphones, music and even a shower scene to boot.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The LFE track here clearly makes itself known in the music department alone. As I’ll describe in more detail below you have the true bonafide concert experience going on here with the deep bass guitars to the rhythmic pounding of drums. You’re in for a hefty treat my friends!
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Just like in my 4K review of Bohemian Rhapsody over a week ago A Star Is Born puts you in the driver’s seat like you’re attending a concert right there in your viewing room. What I mean by that is the rear channels are full of ambiance, crowd noise, cheers, claps, screams, music and more. In other words you’re right in the middle of it all.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: The dialogue levels are clear and intelligible throughout. Vocals during songs and musical performances are loud, clean and prioritized above all else.

A Star Is Born


Sadly there’s not much here to work with in the way of Extras within the A Star Is Born 4K UHD Blu-ray package.  It would have been great to have an audio commentary or two, but down below is all we have to work with.  There’s the ability to select musical performances on both the 4K UHD disc and Blu-ray one, but that’s all you’re getting in the way of extras on the 4K disc.  Thankfully the lone “Making Of” featurette is thirty minutes long.  There’s also one lone extra found only on the iTunes Digital Copy version as listed below.  Without further ado then let’s take a closer look at the several supplemental materials you’ll find housed on the 1080p Blu-ray Disc and Digital Copies.

  • Jam Sessions and Rarities  (HD) – Here we have a near 10 minutes worth of never-before-seen musical performances featuring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.  There are three segments here as listed below.
    • “Baby What You Want Me To Do” (HD, 2:20)
    • “Midnight Special” (HD, 2:37)
    • “Is That Alright” (HD, 1:58)
  • The Road to Stardom: Making A Star is Born (HD, 30:03) – It seems from watching this that Cooper is “gaga” over Lady Gaga and the feeling is obviously vice versa.  Cooper talks about how everything weighs on Lady Gaga here and after meeting her he knew the camera was going to love her,  His job was then developing her character.  He believes they met at the perfect time as this is his first directing gig and this is Gaga’s first major feature role.  They both needed the same thing from each other.  I guess you can say they were both “born” for this.  It was interesting to watch how Bradley became a musician for this role with both piano and guitar lessons and then singing lessons five to six times a week to prepare for this.  There’s plenty more within this thirty minute extra, but at least this whets your appetite to watch this one.  If you’re a fan of A Star Is Born, this is a very worthy supplement to learn all you can about the behind-the-scenes and production of this masterpiece.
  • Music Videos  (HD) – And here we have four music videos as listed below.
    • “Shallow” (HD, 3:38)
    • “Always Remember Us This Way” (HD, 4:03)
    • “Look What I Found” (HD, 3:19)
    • “I’ll Never Love Again” (HD, 4:54)
  • Musical Moments (HDR & HD) – The ability to select and jump to certain songs throughout the movie (also Play All is available too) is on the main menu of both enclosed discs here.  This is the only extra on the 4K UHD Disc.  The song selections include: “Black Eyes,” “La Vie en Rose,” “Maybe It’s Time,” “Shallow (Dialogue),” “Alibi,” “Shallow,” “Maybe It’s Time,” ” Always Remember Us This Way,” ” Why Did You Do That?,” “Oh, Pretty Woman” and “I’ll Never Love Again.”
  • Lady Gaga and Zane Lowe Discuss A Star Is Born on Beats 1 (HD, 15:59) – This lone extra is available only on the iTunes Digital Copy of the film.

A Star Is Born


Truth be told the only reason I’m dinging the overall score of A Star Is Born on 4K disc despite the 5-star story, near reference video and an audio presentation to die for is they skimped severely in the Extras department.  How hard would it have been to record a Gaga and Cooper audio commentary or even the latter for that matter?  That’s a rhetorical question of course.  Despite the lack of extras A Star Is Born is really a staple and MUST-OWN in your ever growing 4K home media library.  It should literally be a no-brainer purchase.  It doesn’t get any easier than this in the decision department. You picking up what I’m dropping? Good! Now go get it!


DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified Ultra HD Premium television set found here and player here.  The above screenshots are not taken from the actual 4K product.  Make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.


A Star Is Born

Swoons and Delights


4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

February 19th




A Star Is Born 4K Cover


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

2 Responses to “A Star Is Born (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Ulises

    My favorite movie of the year with Roma!

  2. Brian White

    Can’t argue with your choice there sir!