BY RICK JACKSON
With its orgiastic and hard-driving rock soundtrack, Rock Of Ages is destined to become a cult classic. Tom Cruise delivers a mind-blowing and surprising appearance as rock idol Stacee Jaxx.
Set on the Sunset Strip, the screen explodes in song with the actors using their own voices to convey the energetic and near messianic influence rock has had on society for more than one generation.
The main thrust of the plot is set around The Bourbon Room, a popular club run by Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) and Lonny (Russell Brand). Screenwriters Justin Theroux and Chris D'Arienzo, based on the latter's musical book have come up come up with a contemporary and updated version of The BroadwayMelody of 1929 which focused on the love story between a young girl from the American mid-West and a-song-and-dance man. In Rock Of Ages it is betweenSherrie (Julianne Hough), a girl from the American mid-West, and Drew (Diego Boneta), a bartenderwho meet at the same club. Their sexual tension is initially felt in the song lyrics. Granted their romance is predictable, there is room to appreciate every level of the film's easygoing style to match the laidback acting ensemble.
As you will soon see, this is not another Fame (1980) or A Chorus Line (1985), but an exuberant, classy adaptation of the Broadway musical, Rock Of Ages.
In his second outstanding supporting role in less than a month, Paul Giamatti (Cosmopolis) injects solidarity as Jaxx's personal manager and he adds to an already impressive filmography.
The rest of the cast features Malin Akerman as Constance, the reporter from Rolling Stone, and Mary J. Blige as Justice.
It is in the choreography and editing of the performances, Rock Of Ages generates a newfound excitement. Some of the key songs and singers include Joan Jett & The Blackhearts' I Love Rock And Roll (1982) (Boneta); Foreigner's I Want To Know What Love Is(1984) (Akerman); Quarterflash's Harden My Heart(1982) (Hough); Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead Or Alive (1987)(Cruise), and Guns'n' Roses' Paradise City (1989) (Cruise).
Others you will hear sung are Def Leppard's Pour Some Sugar On Me (1988), Sister Christian's Night Ranger (1984), Whitensnake's Here I Go Again (1987) and Poison's Every Rose Has Its Thorn (1988).
Listening and watching, you can't help be swept up in the power of song that has made such movies as Saturday Night Fever (1977), Grease (1978) and Flashdance (1983) so memorable.
Director Adam Shankman (Hairspray) has come up with a film that will leave you on the fast track to a movie high.
It is rated PG, with the warnings: mature theme and language may offend.
June 17, 2012
Copyright Rick Jackson 2012