Film Friday… week 85

Rock of Ages

Small town girl, Sherrie (Julianne Hough) travels to Los Angeles to try and make her dream of being a singer a reality. Not long after she arrives, she meets rock star wannabe, Drew (Diego Boneta), who helps her get a job at the famous Bourbon Rooms. They soon fall in love, but on the night that Drew gets his big break, he spots Sherrie coming out of the dressing room of charismatic but screwed up rock god, Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise), dramatically changing both their paths. At the same time The Bourbon Room is under threat from a group of crazed church mums and owner, Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) and his bonkers assistant, Lonny (Russell Brand) must do everything they can to keep the cornerstone of the Sunset Strip alive. There are good things about this film. The soundtrack is epic and it’s really fun. If you can watch it for that only, it’s a good way to spend an afternoon. That said, I thought the casting was a bit questionable. I hated Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx and I would have loved to see Dennis Dupree played by Anthony La Paglia. I also had to suppress the disgust of my inner feminist since the portrayal of the female characters is less than stellar and lousy with cliche. 2.5/5

Tarzan, the musical… coming soon to a theatre near you

Water for Elephants

After the death of his parents and the loss of his home at the height of the Great Depression, Polish-American veterinary student, Jacob (Robert Pattison) runs away and joins the circus. It’s not long before he finds himself falling in love with the star of the show, Marlena (Reese Witherspoon) who also happens to be the wife of the brutal but charming, ring master, August (Christoph Waltz, as always acting everyone else except the elephant off the screen). Things come to a head when August acquires an elephant and insists that Jacob train it. Overall this is a pretty engrossing story with multi-layered characters.  Where it falls down is the total absence of chemistry between the romantic leads. It’s easier to believe that Marlena is in love with August than with Jacob, which I doubt was the intention. Worth a watch but far from perfect. 3/5

I had something a bit different in mind when I asked you to check out my trunk…

Senna

This documentary charts explores the life of Ayrton Senna, widely considered one of the greatest Formula One drivers who ever lived, up until his tragic death in 1994. The film focuses not only on Senna’s famed rivalry with his French teammate Alain Prost but also his love of his country and the people of Brazil, as well as his ongoing battle with the sport’s safety specialists. Despite the fact that I couldn’t give a toss about F1, I found Senna’s life story engrossing, largely down to his incredible charisma and humility. Outstanding. 4/5

Ayrton couldn’t help but feel like he’d overcorrected his aim

The Good Girl

Jennifer Anniston plays Justine, a depressed thrift store worker who attempts to escape the claustrophobic banality of her day-to-day life by embarking on an affair with a much younger co-worker who calls himself Holden (Jake Gyllenhaal). When Holden predictably becomes too attached and extent of his “issues” become apparent, Justine finds herself caught up in a tangled web of betrayal and lies. The highlight of this film is a young Zooey Deschanel as a scene-stealing make-up counter girl. For the rest it’s really quite depressing fare and I found it an unpleasantly challenging watch. 2/5

Prozac… you need some

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