MAESTRO – Review by T. J. Callahan

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Maestro: Bravo Bravo

Bradley Cooper has really raised the baton with Maestro. The former Sexiest Man Alive is still a hunk, but he’s sobered up since The Hangover. Audiences have seen he can be a triple threat as writer/director/star after A Star is Born, but with Maestro, another music-based motion picture, he’s triumphant.

There is creative directing and editing, phenomenal makeup, a soaring score and flawless acting from the entire cast, but Cooper as famed maestro Leonard Bernstein and Cary Mulligan as his supportive yet suffering actress wife Felicia Montealegre Cohn, are pitch perfect. Cooper gave his all to the roles he played in front and behind the camera being personally given the director’s wand from co-producer Steven Spielberg and spending six years learning to use the conductor’s baton in order to film a six minute London Symphony scene live.

Maestro chronicles the 30 year love story between the iconic conductor-composer and the performer and mother of his three children. When the pair met at a party in 1946 through the 1960’s, the film takes on a look and feel of movies from that era all the way down to the black and white film. As their life together progresses and becomes so much more complex and flamboyant personally and professionally, the screen becomes technicolor.

The attempted controversy over Cooper’s alleged “Jewish Nose” that began after initial photos and the first trailer were released, soon became a non-issue, especially since the film had the approval of the Bernstein children.

As they say in symphony circles, Maestro is an embellishment not an elegy from the exposition to the epilogue. It’s a musical version of Netflix’s A Marriage Story. Family first, warts and all. See this rousing film in theaters beginning November 22nd and on Netflix December 20th.

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T. J. Callahan

Texas Radio Hall of Fame broadcaster, T.J. Callahan switched gears from traffic and news reporting as a member of the Marconi Award winning Hudson and Harrigan Show on KILT in Houston to directing you to the right movie theatre as the resident film critic for Houston Radio Platinum and 101 Gold , Southern New Mexico's favorite radio station. Since 2009, T.J. has exclusively critiqued premiering films on such stations as KRMD in Shreveport, La., KILT in Houston, WCKT in Sarasota, Fla., as well as on The Chris X Blayney Show on The Liberty Eagle Radio Network and The Sam Malone Show on KNTH in Houston. Entertaining and informative, T.J. gets right to the point and lets you know whether the latest epic is worth your time. Listen to her Friday and Saturdays on and on Friday afternoons on the Leslie T. Travis Show on KVLC FM in Las Cruces. T.J. is also a proud member of the Critics Choice Association and the Houston Film Critics Society. She truly believes everything in life is one degree of Blazing Saddles.