Friday, July 13, 2012

Rock of Ages (Rhoades)

“Rock of Ages”
Rocks the House

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Think of it as a concert film, even though it's a musical based on a Broadway play. For here you’ll hear the music of Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, Def Leopard, Poison, Journey, Foreigner, Night Ranger, Pat Benatar, Europe, Whitesnake, Twisted Sister, and REO Speedwagon.
Yes, it’s taking you back to the ’80s.
This is “Rock of Ages,” the new movie that’s blowing it out at Tropic Cinema.
In addition to all the great music, you’ll encounter an impressive ensemble cast: Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta as the romantic young couple who aspire to rock stardom. Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand as desperate club managers.  Paul Giamatti as a rock star’s sleazy manager. Even singer Mary J. Blige.
However, it’s Tom Cruise who steals the show as aging rocker Stacee Jaxx, the act that’s been booked at LA’s Bourbon Club in an attempt to save it from being closed down by the mayor (Bryan Cranston) and his Tipper Gore-ish wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones).
Turns out, Tom Cruise has a rad voice. “It’s this brilliant mashup, it seems, of Axl Rose, Keith Richards, and Jim Morrison,” exclaims the film’s director, Adam Shankman (TV’s “Glee” and “Hairspray”).
Get over Cruise’s he-man performances in the “Mission Impossible” movies and the upcoming Jack Reacher actioner, this sweaty drug-addled performance is akin to “Magnolia,” a bid to remind you of his acting chops. Rumor has it, his name’s already being floated for an Academy Award nod. Honest.
Think of this as “A Star Is Born” for Heavy Metal fans. A naive young girl from the Midwest goes to the Big City to seek fame. And, of course, find the man of her dreams. It’s a universal story that translates well to multiple generations and differing cultural backdrops. You’ve seen it in everything from “Showgirls” to “Burlesque.”
Based on the script by Chris D'Arienzo and Allan Loeb, it’s an amalgam of musical, romance, comedy, and drama.
As the girl who comes to town with the dream of seeing her favorite group, Arsenal and its lead singer Stacee Jaxx, Julianne Hough (star that "Footloose" remake) epitomizes her character. As a teen, she had a big crush on Tom Cruise. She took the role in “Rock of Age” to meet him.
The highlight for 23-year-old Hough was giving a lap dance to her 49-year-old idol (although it’s been cut from the film). “I’m upset that the world doesn’t get to see me give Tom Cruise a lap dance,” she says. “The reason I’m upset is we worked so hard on that number. I’m sad no one will see the hard work we put in until the DVD comes out.”
The number was cut after audience testing found it “a little too hot and steamy and sexy.”
Hough laughs, “Let’s just say I’ll always have that in my back pocket, that I gave Tom Cruise a lap dance.”
And rocked the house with him.

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