Rock of Ages [Blu-Ray] Adam Shankman

Rock of Ages [Blu-Ray] Adam Shankman
For better or worse, an era of the '80s gets the movie musical that it deserves with Rock of Ages. Brash, melodramatic and, yes, more than a little vacuous, Adam Shankman's adaptation of the stage show matches its subject matter at a significant cost. The plot, as thin as it is, is culled from the lyrics of "Don't Stop Believin'," with familiar parts of other stories thrown in for good measure. A small-town girl, Sherrie (Julianne Hough), takes the midnight bus directly to the Sunset Strip in L.A., chasing her dreams of musical superstardom. At the hottest club, the Bourbon (where she gets a job almost immediately), she meets an eclectic bunch, including gruff owner Dennis (Alec Baldwin), his flamboyant underling, Lonny (Russell Brand), and Sherrie's obvious love interest, fellow musician Drew (Diego Boneta). They all worship at the altar of rock god Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) and when Drew manages to snag a spot opening for him, it creates a stir that attracts Jaxx's slimy manager, Paul Gill (Paul Giamatti). There is also an expendable plot thread about politician Mike Whitmore (Bryan Cranston) and his wife Patricia's (Catherine Zeta-Jones) crusade to put an end to depravity on the Strip. Much of your enjoyment of all of this will depend upon your opinion of songs like "Nothing But A Good Time" and "Pour Some Sugar On Me," as the actors perform all their own vocals in what amounts to intermittent music videos of varying quality. As far as rock stars go, Jaxx is a particularly lethargic one and Cruise's hazy, whispered performance saps much of the fun out of the lifestyle, when not delivering a convincingly charismatic performance onstage. It's fortunate that everyone else's energy levels are high throughout, as the plot is telegraphed and redundant, providing the flimsiest of clotheslines on which to hang the tunes. Poison's Bret Michaels, looking especially gaunt and lecherous, awkwardly hosts much of the bonus material, which includes an extensive look at the time spent recreating the era in painstaking detail. Many of the legends from the period make appearances, with members of Def Leppard, Journey and Night Ranger discussing the halfway interesting back-stories behind the songs included in the film. The bands seem all too pleased to offer up many of their old stories about staying up all night partying and discovering groupies hiding in the walls of venues. They are most likely just happy anybody is still willing to listen to them. (Warner)