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UNCENSORED VIDEO: Robert Downey Jr. Interview

“Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” put ROBERT DOWNEY JR. back on the map.  The movie is fantastic. “Top Gun” 3D is playing in select IMAX Theaters now.  Here’s an interview gem from the K.K.B.B. press junket. Robert’s paired with co-star VAL KILMER.  It’s then when RDJ confesses to pleasuring himself to Top Gun.        For more, follow me on Twitter @leoquinones, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell does!

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang – Interview with Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer
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Rock of Ages Movie Review

The year: 1987.  Mullets were the rage.  I know, I had one.  On the upside, I had my share of fun & frolic on the famed Sunset Strip.  It’s literally a Miracle Mile for Blackouts.  Such is the time and backdrop of ‘Rock of Ages.’  The Broadway Musical’s now a full-fledged, star-studded feature film.  so I sit down & when the movie started I was genuinely lost.  What’s happening here?  Why is everyone singing?  After 10-15 minutes, I was struck by the obvious hammer: It’s a musical.  I know, I’m a genius.

So I settle in for a rock n’ roll journey.  Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) is a small town girl.  Drew (Diego Boneta) is a city boy, born & raised in South Detroit.  You get where I’m heading.  She dreams of being a singer.  He wants to be the next Rock God,  Stacee Jaxx.   Their fates intertwine at The Bourbon Room, a fictitious Rock N’ Roll sanctuary on the Sunset Strip.

The bread & butter of “Rock of Ages” is the music.  It’s funny how a few actors in the movie were not really into the music. Alec Baldwin, who plays Dennis Dupree owner of The Bourbon Room, says he remembers “switching off the radio in the 80’s.”  Russell Brand who plays Lonnie, Dennis’ right hand man freely admits he wasn’t into pop-rock at all, but The Cure. Be that as it may, the music drives the movie.

Tom Cruise should get alot of credit here for taking on the role of Stacee Jaxx.   The love story of Drew & Sherrie revolves around the surreal rock star existence of Stacee Jaxx, longtime lead singer of the rock band, Arsenal.  Jaxx is at a crossroads in his life and career.  The thing about Cruise that I appreciate most is his work ethic.  Unlike many actors, he doesn’t inhabit a role without first doing his homework.

The result is out there on the “Rock of Ages” soundtrack, forever. The guy spent months getting his voice right for the part, before ever stepping on set.  Two highlights were his versions of Bon Jovi’s anthemic, “Wanted: Dead or Alive” and a duet of Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is” with Malin Ackerman.

NON SPOILER FACTS:  When I saw the movie, I thought they’d closed part of the Sunset Strip.  I was about 3,000 miles off the mark.  The crew scouted locations as far away as Sydney Australia.  The mock Sunset Strip is actually located in Miami in the neighborhood of Overtown.  Built in 6-weeks, the set included The Bourbon Room,a Guitar Center, The Roxy, The Comedy Store, The Sunset Grill, Duke’s Filthy McNasty’s which is now The Viper Room and of course, Frederick’s of Hollywood.  If you look closely, you’ll see a Shell gas station where a gallon of gas was just $1.31.

Dressing the set, you’ll also see vintage cars of the period like Corvettes, Pontiac Fieros, Jeeps & even a 1985 white Cadillac Fleetwood limousine used by the one & only Stacee Jaxx.  You’ll also see a blow-up, 20-foot balloon of a chick sitting spread-eagle atop the Tower Records building.  But my favorite piece of background dressing is the DeLorean sitting in front of the Venus Gentleman’s Club owned by Justice. (Mary J. Blige) I’ll have to confirm later if that was a tip of the Hoverbaord to Doc Brown & Marty McFly.

I do have to state, with all these 80’s pop songs driving the plot, there’s a definite cheese level at play here, but ultimately that’s the fun.  Cynics take caution:  The tone of Rock of Ages doesn’t ever make fun of the music, the high hair or the huge shoulder pads. It celebrates it.  Who’s in for the ride?  I see cougars simply loving this movie & anyone who wants nuthin’ but a good time.

Directed by Adam Shankman, Rock of Ages is Rated PG-13.  Hey man, Follow me on Twitter @leoquinones. I mean why not, Stacee Jaxx & Heyman do do and they’re my Rock N’ Roll brothers.



Tom Cruise’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy

Tom Cruise’s version of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has zero to do with honorable gay men & women serving in the United States Armed Forces.  He’s had his own version for over 20 years.  It’s an understanding with motion picture studios in regards to doing his own stunt work.  Hollywood is so overprotective of their superstars with good reason.  Things go wrong.  People who do stunts die.  It’s rare, but it does happen.  When stars get too close to the action, anything goes.  While Fighting as James Bond, Pierce Brosnan’s million dollar face had to get stitches when a stunt man caught him with a miscalculated punch.   Production was shut down for days.  That’s just one example.  In Tom Cruise’s case, that’s him on the outside of the train in the first “Mission: Impossible” flopping around with a jet engine blasting air in his face. Tom Recalls, “That’s wasn’t acting!  We were just hanging on!”

I love when an actor shows pain to get the role right.  A few examples: Natalie Portman transforming into a ballerina.  Daniel Day Lewis working with miner’s tools months before filming to play an oil man in “There Will be Blood.”  Christian Bale changing his appearance in “Rescue Dawn,” “The Machinist” & most recently, “The Fighter.”  On the other side of the coin,  when guys like Owen Wilson play a surfer in a movie, he trots out of the ocean with a surfboard safely ticked under his arm.  No pain, or dedication & the audience loses out.  If Tom Cruise was to play a surfer, you can bet he’s been out there in the ice-cold water for at least six months working it through with top rated surfers.  Even if it’s only for 30 seconds of footage, you know it’s Cruise in the surf  ‘going for it’ & mastering it.

“Going for it” describes “Mission  Impossible: Ghost Protocol.” (OK, I’m not crazy about that title) Tom’s character Ethan Hunt finds himself high atop, the Burj Khalifa Dubai Skyscraper. It’s quite simply the tallest building on the planet standing at 2,717 feet.  That’s a 1/2 mile straight up folks!

Yes there are safety straps in place, but when you’re that high up, nothing is safe.  I have friends on the inside telling me, the filming was doubly dangerous because of the IMAX factor.  IMAX cameras are clunky & awkward to maneuver.  The images are said to be incredulous.  Another dangerous  factor, the high speed Dubai winds at that altitude carry stinging sand particles. Not to mention hovering helicopters subjected to gusts of high winds.

No matter what you think of Tom Cruise, you gotta be impressed by his willingness to push himself.  Some people say too much.  These “Mission: Impossible” movies are arguably built ar0und action sequences & not where the focus should be, around a good story. Let’s hope the writers push themselves to create a story that matches the action.  That’s the movie I’d like to see, in IMAX.

“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” opens in theaters December 16th, 2011.

@leoquinones on Twitter


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