Tag Archives: Paul Giamatti

“Rock of Ages” Rocks Out

Everyone sang well.

Don’t see “Rock of Ages” for the hackneyed plot lines of small-town girl moves to Hollywood seeking fame and fortune, boy meets girl hoping for a love story, and a boozing rocker who seems off his rocker comes to his senses.

See it for the foot-tapping, pulsating 1980s music and choreography. It’s a good, silly musical that all four of us enjoyed on Father’s Day. If you’re like me, you’ll leave the theater singing “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” (while embarrassing the youngsters, who won’t be walking anywhere near you).

Sherrie and Drew fall in love.

There’s a lot going on in the film. First up is Sherrie (Julianne Hough), who moves to L.A. from Tulsa to become a singer. She meets Drew (Diego Boneta), a songwriter who works at a nightclub while hoping for his band to get noticed. Cue the music: There are love songs on the horizon!

Dennis and Lonny make a great team.

Then there’s the Bourbon Room where Drew works. It’s in financial trouble, as owner Dennis (Alec Baldwin . . . I didn’t know Mr. Conductor could sing) and his right-hand man Lonny (Russell Brand) try to keep it afloat. Baldwin and Brand were wonderful together (when you could understand Brand).

Patricia leads a show-stopper in a church.

Meanwhile, the mayor’s wife leads a group of adults wanting to silence that evil rock ’n roll. Catherine Zeta-Jones is superb as Patricia Whitmore—she and her fellow protestors did a great job with “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”

The one, the only Stacee Jaxx!

Finally, there’s rock star Stacee Jaxx, the role that might one day define Tom Cruise. Jaxx is an odd duck swimming in bizarre waters. Cruise isn’t the most-powerful singer, but he gets the job done and is very believable in the role.

Also lending their considerable talents to the movie are Mary J. Blige (a lovely singer) and Paul Giamatti as Jaxx’s slime-ball agent.

Because I believe the best music ever produced was from 1964 (especially the British invasion) through 1975 (my sons’ opinions to the contrary), I wondered how much I’d enjoy the film. I only knew a handful of the songs. But I ended up liking most of the tunes (had to laugh at how “Can’t Fight This Feeling” was used). I’ll bet this was a fun flick to film.

Plus I love musicals. They may be campy. They may be too long. But I just can’t stop believin’!

Note: Even though this is rated PG-13, it’s definitely not for the younger teenagers.

“The Ides of March”: Beware?

Ryan Gosling (left side) tries to help George Clooney become the next U.S. president.

Et tu, my second husband? Must even you, George Clooney, succumb to the foul-mouthed language that is populating PG-13 and R-rated movies these days? I’m disappointed. As usual, the f-bomb isn’t necessary in your newest movie, “The Ides of March.”

Sorry to air our “marital” laundry in the blog! Time to move on and actually talk about the film, which the Mister and I saw yesterday.

Mike Morris needs to win the Ohio primary.

Clooney co-wrote and directed “Ides.” Even though he also acts in it, playing Governor Mike Morris, who is running for president—of course, as a Democrat, he’s definitely not the star. Instead, Ryan Gosling is front and center as Morris’ brilliant, young media consultant, Steve Myers. Myers believes in Morris, who is trying to win the Ohio primary in mid-March with speeches about honesty and integrity.

Steve’s idealism becomes challenged.

Those of us who have read “Julius Caesar” both when we were in high school and again last year when our sophomores took on Shakespeare’s classic remember that “beware the Ides of March” was a soothsayer’s warning to the Roman statesman. Betrayal was the name of the game for the general, and it plays a big part in the movie . . . along with loyalty, morality, and doing the right thing for the right reasons.

Myers works for Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman).

“The Ides of March” features a wonderful cast, starting, of course, with Georgie and Gosling. Philip Seymour Hoffman (forever known to me as the fat Art Howe) is Morris’ somewhat-jaded campaign manager, while Marisa Tomei plays a reporter who could make or break Steve.

Paul Giamatti in bluer days.

Meanwhile, Paul Giamatti, as usual, does an excellent turn as rival campaign manager Tom Duffy. Is it just me or does everyone else think of Giamatti as a blue meanie in “Big, Fat Liar” (a favorite film of my younger son) when he’s onscreen?

I mostly liked “Ides,” but it did leave me underwhelmed. I especially didn’t buy into the lame romance between Myers and a young intern, Molly (Evan Rachel Wood), which was important to the plot in several ways. And the flick covers no new ground: Politics are dirty? Power plays help win elections? Sex and politics can be a combustible combination? Really? Yawn!

I’d give it two and a half stars (out of five).