Saturday, June 16, 2012

Rock of Ages

Rating : 5/10
Release Date : 15th June, 2012
Time : 123 minutes
Director : Adam Shankman; Writers : Justin Theroux, Chris D’Arienzo, Allan Loeb, (based on the Broadway Musical by Chris D’Arienzo); Music : Matthew Rush Sullivan
Starring : Julianne Lough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman, Bryan Cranston, Mary J. Blige, Angelo Valderrama

Make no mistake. This is a Bollywood film. Not just a film about music, but a proper musical, where actors burst into spontaneous song to express how they feel at the slightest hint of angst or happiness. Where there are clearly etched out heroes and villains. And where at the end, there is the obligatory showdown / climax where all characters come together, put their hands in the air and sing “Hallelujah” till they orgasm.

I liked the nubile charms of Julianne Lough, the vampish role of Malin Akerman. And have liked Tom Cruise ever since I saw his boyish smile in Top Gun. So I liked it overall.

Cute small town girl, Julianne, meets cute boy, Diego, literally as soon as she steps of the bus in Los Angeles. He happens to work in Bourbon Room, a place run by Alec Baldwin, which is a live rock event paradise. The Room though is struggling financially and is also under ‘moral’ threat by the mayor (Bryan) and his uptight wife (Zeta-Jones), who blame it for all the evils afflicting their city (kind of the role Shiv Sena / BJP normally play in our country). Things will come to a head (pun intended), in a make or break fashion, when Tom Cruise, a legendary rocker, will come and perform. He symbolizes the filth and decadence that the mayor hates. And is wildly popular, so just might rescue Alec Baldwin.

Paul Giamatti plays Tom’s odious manager, Malin is the reporter asking the rock star tough questions. Russell Brand is the weird guy who ‘helps’ Alec run the place. And there are other assorted weirdoes including Mary Blige, a kind of ‘Madam’ with the heart of gold, who runs Venus Gentleman’s club.

The music is nice, though more pop than rock. There are times when you wish the characters just spoke instead of singing. There are times when you wish the story had more to it than being so predictable. It was the weirdness and eccentricity of Tom Cruise though, that made the film for me. You really never know what he’s going to do next.

I like the fact that mainline stars in the USA are able to do such offbeat roles in films. Catherine Zeta Jones, Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Paul Giamatti are all legitimate leads in their own rights. And here they are, infusing the crazy, crackpot characters they represent with all they’ve got. Just for that, its probably worth a watch. But don’t forget, it’s a Hindi film through and through. Keeping that in mind may make it easier to digest…

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