Rock of Ages (2012)


This Place is About to Become a Sea of Sweat, Ear-Shattering Music and Puke.

Rock of Ages (2012)My interest was piqued in today’s movie while listening to the Nerdist podcast. Chris Hardwick was talking about this movie because he was in the original LA cast of the musical that this movie was based on. Another thing that drove me to want to see the movie was the ridiculous hotness of some of the actresses in the movie. That’s always a driving factor for me. But it didn’t drive me hard enough to bother to go and see the movie when it was still in theaters. When I was perusing a RedBox, I saw this movie along with the movie I was looking for and decided that I might as well watch it. If nothing else, I would enjoy the hotness and tune out the movie. Did I have to do that? Find out as I review Rock of Ages, based on the musical by Chris D’Arienzo, written for the screen by Justin Theroux and Allan Loeb, directed by Adam Shankman, and starring Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bryan Cranston, Malin Ákerman, Kevin Nash, Jeff Chase, and Will Forte.

A girl named Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) moves to Los Angeles to become a singer, but realizes pretty quickly that most of LA is a cesspool when her prized record collection gets stolen from her. A barback named Drew Boley (Diego Boneta) rushes to help her and the two later start dating even though this pansy didn’t even try to run the guy with her records down. Maybe it was because he gets her a job as a waitress at The Bourbon Room, a famous rock club that’s fallen on hard financial times. To help their situation, bar owner Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) and his right-hand man Lonny Barnett (Russell Brand) book the famous band Arsenal – and their temperamental lead singer Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) – to perform their final gig at the club before Jaxx embarks on a solo career. Also going on, Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones), wife of Mayor Mike Whitmore (Bryan Cranston), is trying to shut down rock and roll, Constance Sack (Malin Ákerman) has sex with Jaxx and writes a scathing review about him in Rolling Stone, and Paul Gill (Paul Giamatti) tries to make a star out of Boley, knowing that Jaxx is unreliable.

I’m admittedly torn about Rock of Ages. I’m about dead center in my feelings for it. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. I think it was mainly the story that didn’t work for me. It just didn’t strike me as all that funny. And, without the comedy, it’s basically just a run of the mill love story/musical. There’s also a little bit of Empire Records in the people trying to keep their dream of rock and roll alive in the Bourbon Room, and perhaps a little bit of Footloose in the religious crazies trying to shut down something for whatever stupid reason. But I’ve already seen those movies, and I didn’t really like them either. And I think I wanted it to be funny, but it never managed to pull that off. Stacee Jaxx got a few laughs with his wackiness, but he also frequently bordered on depressing. I also always appreciate a good shot at boy bands, but then I get depressed because – let’s face it, rock fans – they’ve kind of won. Sure, they don’t have staying power, but that genre has made far more unworthy millionaires than rock has, at least recently. I think the only thing in the movie that got a good, solid laugh out of me was when Sherrie applied for a job by saying, “I can wait tables! I’m good!” Fer real? That’s what you’re gonna put on your list of special skills. Not writing, sketching, speaks limited French. You’re gonna post up with, “Excellent waitress.” I think there’s about one job that qualifies you for…

One of the things that definitely worked for me in this movie was the music. Gangnamed that’s a good soundtrack! Check out some of these songs: Paradise City, Sister Christian, Juke Box Hero, Wanted Dead or Alive, I Wanna Rock, Pour Some Sugar on Me, Here I Go Again, Any Way You Want It, Rock You Like a Hurricane, We Built This City, Don’t Stop Believin’, and the list goes on. Add some Metallica to that and I could survive on just that soundtrack for the rest of my life. I know everyone’s taste in music is not the same as mine, but if you don’t agree then your opinions are wrong. The reason this movie was so easy to get through even with the mediocrity of the story was because of the kick ass music throughout.

The performances in this movie were fine enough, but I was focused mostly on a different kind of “fine.” Namely Julianne Hough and Malin Ákerman. SO hot! Want to touch the heiney! Amongst other things. I guess the same could be said for Catherine Zeta-Jones, but she never really did it for me. Certainly not when I have Hough and Ákerman to distract me. They did fine jobs in the movie, but you also get to see them in underwear and other such skimpies! The only thing that bothered me about that is that there were times in the movie when Hough wore less clothes then when she was acting as a stripper at one point. When she was a stripper, she rocked something that looked like an old-timey one-piece bathing suit that was low cut in the front. She wears much hotter stuff when she’s not supposed to be getting naked for money! Tom Cruise also made me take note fairly frequently. I thought at first that I would be watching him do this part and be mostly thinking about how Chris Hardwick would have done it, even though I’ve never really seen Hardwick do it. But Cruise does an interesting enough performance of his own that I never really got to thinking about that part. But, y’know what? To hell with complimenting Tom Cruise! He got to make out with Malin Ákerman AND touch Julianne Hough and Catherine Zeta-Jones boobs! ALL IN THE SAME MOVIE!

Rock of Ages was an underwhelming but totally watchable movie. Its mediocre story was elevated drastically by the awesome songs in the musical numbers. The actors also did a very good job, especially Julianne Hough and Malin Ákerman who did an exceptional job being hot and Tom Cruise who did very well at being interesting to watch. But altogether, this is probably a skippable movie. You can buy the soundtrack without sitting through the movie, and you can see Julianne Hough and Malin Ákerman being hot with a Google image search. Rock of Ages gets “It’s not an improvement” out of “I just threw up. In my pants … out of my ass.”

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Iron Man 2 (2010)


Sir, I’m Gonna Have to Ask You to Exit the Donut

Avengers is drawing ever closer, at present a mere 3 months away.  My nipples are so hard with excitement!  In an effort to further prepare myself and my audience, I have prepared a review of yet another Avenger movie.  Just like last time, this is one of two parts for a specific Avenger.  In fact, just like the last time, this one stars Iron Man.  This movie received some harsh treatment amongst the fans of the first movie, but their name is not on the top of this page.  So let’s see what I thought of Iron Man 2, written by Justin Theroux and Stan Lee, directed by Jon Favreau, and starring Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Slattery, Clark Gregg, Jon Favreau, Garry Shandling, Leslie Bibb, and the voice of Paul Bettany.  And with special appearances by Stan Lee and Olivia Munn.

Good old Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has been doing alright for himself since the times of the first movie.  He has a new convention, the Stark Expo, set up to continue his father’s legacy, he’s been doing a lot of good work with the Iron Man suit, and he’s dying of palladium poisoning.  …Okay, two out of three.  Other things start going wrong for Tony, starting with Senator Stern (Garry Shandling) telling him he has to turn over the Iron Man armor.  Stark refuses, citing that no one is remotely close to duplicating the Iron Man armor, and it belongs to him.  Problems come up with THAT theory when Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), son of the recently deceased Anton Vanko, replicates the arc reactor that powers the armor and uses it to attempt to take revenge on Tony – due to his inherited belief that the Starks stole the idea from Anton – by channeling the reactor’s power into whips.  Tony is able to overcome Vanko and Vanko is sent to prison, until he is freed by Tony’s rival, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), and tasked to create better Iron Man armor.  Tony decides to make his assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), the new CEO of Stark Industries, taking on Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) as his new assistant.  This frees him up to take the self-destructive paths he had not the time for as the CEO.

I feel like people hated on this movie much more than it deserved.  Was it as good as the first one?  No, probably not.  But it wasn’t as bad as I’ve heard most people go on with.  Origin stories are easy because most of them have already been written and displayed in comic book form.  The fans just want to see that, but with more moving and less need for us to use our imagination.  When you come to the second movie, you mostly have a new script to work with, and it’s only occasionally something that’s already been written.  I thought the story was fine in this movie, the graphics were amped up a little, and the action was superior.  I wasn’t AS fond of it as I was with the first movie, but it was still pretty good.  It’s equally as funny as the first movie, though I would say the drama of the movie was toned down for this one.  Maybe that’s what people wanted out of an Iron Man movie.  Not me, however.  I went in wanting fun, and I got that.  One of the first things that comes to mind is the press conference that Tony was in.  I really liked that scene.  First, it was pretty funny that Tony was definitely not taking any part of that conference seriously.  The second thing I liked was when Don Cheadle showed up, because their brief dialogue made sense for the scene while simultaneously addressing the fact that Rhodes was a new actor.  They just kicked out something like “Yeah, I’m here now.  Deal with it,” which seemed to be a little bit of “Fuck off, nerds who will complain about this.”  The graphics of the original movie were already great, but you could argue that they got a little bit better with this movie.  I liked the whips that Rourke used, and I especially liked when he showed up with them for the first time and the whips burned his shirt off.  Then, when he was cutting off chunks of car with them, that was pretty sweet as well.  The portable Iron Man briefcase was a pretty cool idea, except that he kind of got his ass kicked in it.  For the first half of the movie, it only adds to my complaints about the first Iron Man movie: that the fights were too short or only gave us a half-powered Iron Man.  This one frightened me that the first big fight of the movie makes Iron Man into a bitch again, having him look like he’s going to lose to Vanko before barely pulling it out.  It ends up as kind of a stalemate when Tony fights Rhodes, but you can kind of get behind that because, though Tony is more experienced at fighting in the armor, Rhodes is more experienced at fighting.  But then they finally give me the payoff I wanted in the end of the movie, where something like 20 minutes is just a SUPER-powered Iron Man fighting seemingly infinite robots, mixed in with scenes of the Black Widow laying an epic ass whooping on about 8 guys in Hammer Industries … while Hogan struggled to beat The Rock’s stunt double.

The performances were still great in this movie, probably because the actors were either the same or replaced with better actors.  Robert Downey Jr. was still pretty charming.  He had a little bit of sadness this time around, but dying from palladium poisoning is a slight step down from being the reason a bunch of soldiers died.  Plus, he got that whole situation worked out.  I like Don Cheadle a lot more than Terrance Howard.  He’s a more likeable guy.  Gwyneth Paltrow is still great, but she was a little bit bitchier to Tony this time around, and that made me less fond of Pepper until near the end of the movie.  I appreciated that Samuel L. Jackson had a decent-sized role in this movie, as he had mostly just popped in for a second in the other Avenger movies.  Even though I had always known Nick Fury to be a white guy, Samuel L. Jackson is alright in my book.  Mother fucker.  Scarlett Johansson is a great addition as well.  Not only because I am always more than happy to look at that lady, and also not just because she looks really good as a redhead, but because that lady kicked some serious ass in this movie.  Sam Rockwell mostly got on my nerves in this role, and it’s strange that I like him even though most of his roles are fairly annoying dudes, but that is what he was going for here so I can’t blame him for it.  What I think I can blame him for is that he feels the need to dance in almost every role I can think of right now.  Even though that’s only three roles, he should tone that shit down.  The cameos were nice in this movie as well.  First, Olivia Munn is gorgeous and, even though she was only in for a couple seconds, I am always happy to see her.  Stan Lee was back in this one, and I like the running gag they have for him that he gets mistaken for a different old, white dude in each Iron Man movie so far.  First he was Hugh Hefner, and this time he was Larry King.

I have still been thoroughly entertained by the Iron Man movies, even if others have not.  Quality story, great actors, and a big step up in action makes me still be a fan of the series so far, even if the movie didn’t resonate quite as deeply with me as the previous movie.  By my count, I have only one Avenger movie left to review, so I guess I’ll need to find something else to throw in after that one.  But for now, we’re one step closer to the Avengers.  I own Iron Man 2 on BluRay, and I don’t see any good reason why you should not do the same.  Iron Man 2 gets “Nice work, Kid” out of “Drop your socks and grab your crocs, we’re about to get wet on this ride.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

Your Highness (2011)


Am I the only one that gets really excited to see a movie they don’t expect very much from? Probably, I guess. Either way, I had been counting down the days until Your Highness came to RedBox. I had watched it released on DVD about 3 weeks back but, being new to RedBox, I was unaware that some movies don’t release to RedBox the same day they come out. Your Highness was such a movie. So I went to RedBox’s website and found out when they’d release it, and Tuesday was that day. So let’s jump in to my review of Your Highness, starring Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman, Zooey Deschanel, and Justin Theroux.

Thadeous (Danny McBride) is a ne’er-do-well prince and brother of the future king Fabious (James Franco). Thadeous is an awful prince. He’s more likely to be angering tribes of dwarfs and smoking weed with goblins than anything positive. His brother returns from one of many heroic quests he has been on, but this time he returns with a beautiful maiden he rescued from a tower and an evil wizard. Turns out Fabious has fallen in love with this maiden, Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel), and has decided to marry her. Thadeous’ jealousy for his brother is not sated by this triumphant return and, even though Fabious asks Thadeous to be his best man, Thadeous neglects to show up to his wedding. But someone else shows up in his stead; the evil wizard Leezar (Justin Theroux). Leezar needs the virgin Belladonna to fulfill a prophecy that will reward him with a powerful dragon he can use to rule the world. Leezar makes quick work of the knights and Fabious and leaves with Belladonna. Fabious decides he needs to rescue her but Thadeous has no interest in joining … until the king says he won’t be welcome in the castle if he doesn’t. So the two embark on their journey to save Belladonna. At some point, they run into Isabel, another warrior with a vendetta against Leezar, and they’re off to rescue Fabious’ bonny lass.

Can I deviate from the movie for a second? In the previews for this movie I watched a trailer for a new production that is Bring it On: The Musical. Some might know that Bring it On is a movie that spawned 3 sequels or spin offs or whatever you’d want to call it, making it a Quadrilogy of sorts, regardless of how much Quadrilogy is not a word. So this Tetralogy has now apparently spawned a musical as well. Strangely enough, my problem is not that Bring it On won’t die, my problem is with one of the reviews they played during the trailer. Someone actually had the balls to call this musical “explosively original”. Can you call something that is so clearly based on 4 movies “original”? It seems like an oxymoron or something!

Anyways, we’re not here to talk about raping the English language, we’re here to find out what I think of Your Highness. I was probably only vaguely interested in seeing this movie because a) Natalie Portman is smokin’ hot and b) almost every time I’ve gone into a movie thinking it would suck and Danny McBride was in it, he surprised me by making a movie funny, even if for only his small part in said movies. Well I didn’t expect much from this movie and Danny McBride was a star in it, and I’m proud to say this time I was not wrong. This movie sucked. I wasn’t counting during the movie or anything, but I’m pretty sure the exact count of laughs from me in this movie was zero … maybe negative one. Pretty much every joke in this movie was about as juvenile as you could imagine, which can sometimes be funny, but obviously not all the time. I’m sure 14 year old boys would think there was funny parts in this movie, but who’s parents would let them see this? Not even just because of the violence and nudity and juvenile cock jokes, but because if you’re going to allow them to see that, show them good movies with that stuff. You want a kid to have a good sense of humor, expose them to funny stuff. Simple math right there. To give you an example, at one point McBride slays a minotaur – which was, by the way, dry humping McBride’s man slave at the time, though that’s not the worst part – and he attempts to cut it’s horn off for a trophy. Portman (whilst being hot) tells him that you can’t cut a minotaur’s horn. You might be ahead of me here, but he decides to take it’s dick instead. … yup … Then he wears it as a necklace for the next 20 minutes of the movie.

The production value of this movie was actually surprisingly good. The creatures, both CG and practical, are convincing, the back drops make you believe they’re really in the forest (they probably were) and the costumes look accurate. My assumption is that someone gave this movie a lot of money on the belief that McBride could do no wrong. Well he did, so sucks to be you, money people.

The actors were all fairly good in the movie. McBride played the same character McBride always plays, but this time with an accent. Franco was pretty good. The man servant guy was pretty good. Zooey Deschanel may have come closest to being funny in the beginning when they were using the fact that she’d been trapped in a tower so long she didn’t know normal people’s customs and started brushing her hair with a fork. I said she came closest to funny; didn’t say she arrived. And Portman was super hot. At one point she was wearing a thong! And that MAY have been the reason I wanted to watch this. Impossible to say for sure, really. As for her performance, it was okay. She probably wanted to take a little break after acting her sweet ass off in Black Swan. Justin Theroux’s choices for the wizard were a little tedious though.

So that’s basically the movie. Is this the worst movie ever? No. Is it the worst comedy? No. Is it the worst comedy set in medieval times? … Oh, no probably not. That’s probably that Martin Lawrence Black Knight movie. But, you also don’t need to see this. I don’t technically need to ruin it for you because it’s not a surprising movie, but good triumphs over evil, Zooey and Franco get married, and McBride gets Portman kinda. Surprised? No, probably not. I give this movie a “Don’t bother” out of Crap.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others. It may help me get better.