'Rock of Ages' hits the big screen with star-studded cast
Rock of Ages opened Friday to generally mixed reviews. But the mixed reviews are passionate. Those who liked it, loved it. Those who weren't so pleased did not like it at all.
“Rock of Ages,” the all-star love letter to 1980s hair metal, hits the big screen this week.
It's got a star-studded cast including Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti, Mary J. Blige, Catherine Zeta-Jones and several others. And, perhaps surprisingly, they all work astonishingly well together.
Plus, the music is pretty good, too. Kristen Meinzer, culture producer for The Takeaway, said REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar come together perfectly in the movie.
Rafer Guzman, film critic for Newsday, said the movie centers on two, young rockers working at a nightclub, until they can get their big break.
"It's a romance that unfolds against 1987 and the Sunset Strip," he said. "The Bourbon Room a stand-in for the Whikey A Go Go."
The movie is based on a Broadway musical.
"The play actually won me over," Guzman said. "The play was really charming and funny and winking. This version, I found none of those things. I think this one does not work."
Over all, Guzman said, the problem is the film lacks a "rock heart." All of the musical acts in the movie are more pop-oriented, than rock-oriented, he said.
Meinzer, though, vehemently disagrees.
"If you have a heart, you're going to stand up and cheer when you see this movie," she said. "You're going to love it. You're going to be thinking 'I'm cheering for extreme right now. I'm cheering for Styx.'"
That said, Guzman praised Giamatti's performance in the movie and said he was impressed. Meinzer, though, was particularly laudatory toward Baldwin and Cruise.
Rock of Ages opened in theaters Friday.
"The Takeaway" is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what's ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH Radio Boston.