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Lions Gate presents
Prey for Rock and Roll (2003)

"All my life, all I ever wanted was to be a rock and roll star."
- Jacki (Gina Gershon)

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: March 31, 2004

Stars: Gina Gershon
Other Stars: Drea de Matteo, Lori Petty, Shelly Cole, Marc Blucas, Ivan Martin, Eddie Driscoll, Shakara Ledard, Ashley Drane, Sandra Seacat
Director: Alex Steyermark

Manufacturer: 3rd Sector
MPAA Rating: R for language, sexual content, drug use and brief violence
Run Time: 01h:43m:18s
Release Date: March 09, 2004
UPC: 031398117643
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- B+A-B+ B

DVD Review

It's a rather uncommon moment when movie characters who are supposed to be in a rock band actually seem like they could really be in a rock band if it wasn't a movie. Prey for Rock and Roll achieves that level of hard rocking believability right out of the box, and that is really key because without that immediate level of acceptance there wouldn't be any substance to the story that follows. If you're not buying that you're watching a real-life rock band here, then the movie is really up the proverbial creek.

Gina Gershon plays Jacki, a tattooed bisexual, wannabe Los Angeles rock star about to turn 40, coming to terms with the fact that success, in all likelihood, has permanently eluded her. She's a guitarist/vocalist and de facto leader of the all-girl band The Clamdandys, which also includes Faith (Lori Petty), another long-in-the-tooth lead guitarist; Tracy (Drea de Matteo), a substance abusing bassist; and perky young drummer Sally (Shelly Cole). The band, who one character laments missed the riot-grrl era "by a butthair" does indeed rock awfully hard (with Gershon providing the vocals, and yes, she can sing), and the film chronicles the assorted pitfalls that cross their path on the way to a possible recording contract, and the fame and fortune that goes with it.

Prey for Rock and Roll was written by Cheri Lovedog, leader of the seminal L.A. all-girl punk band Lovedog from back in the early 1980s, and director Alex Steyermark was able to take her story and channel all of that angry, edgy rock-infused energy into a film that really captures the balls-out (pardon the expression) spirit of rock and roll. All of the character dialogue flows like natural, real-life conversations, and things like the fact that Faith and Sally are lovers is treated with a kind of seldom seen casualness that presents their relationship as what it is: a relationship.

The musical performances and rehearsals look and sound just as real, and aside from Gershon's rock-worthy vocals, all of the music in the film is performed by Cheri Lovedog, along with ex-Gang of Four Sara Lee, the Lunachicks' Gina Volpe and Hedwig and the Angry Inch's Stephen Trask. Like the rock songs in Hedwig, there is that same degree of swagger and bravado that makes these songs breathe, and this is another feather in the cap of Steyermark in that they never sound like those hastily slapped together "movie songs" that show in most lightweight rock flicks. I accepted The Clamdandys' as a real band, and the songs, all foul-mouthed and nasty, have the kind of raw, sharp edge necessary to make them all the more believable.

Performances are pretty good all around in the film, but top honors go to Gershon and de Matteo, who both excel at portraying tough-as-nails rock chicks with occasionally bad attitudes. Some of the trite moments (de Matteo's lecherous boyfriend or Gershon's attraction to equally tattooed ex-con Marc Blucas) were acceptable because the heart of Prey for Rock & Roll is so immersed in guitar-driven rock music, and you have to appreciate the tenacity of a film in which Gina Gershon has sex with another woman set to Iggy Pop's I Wannabe Your Dog.

Rock on.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in what appears to 1.85:1, Lions Gate has issued Steyermark's film in anamorphic widescreen. Though this was a low-budget film (made for under $2 million), it was shot on hi-definition video, and as a result, the transfer is pretty damn impressive. Image detail is excellent, and if you need proof check out the scene where Gershon examines her face in the mirror—you can see every pore. Colors are bright and evenly rendered, with black levels that hold up equally well during the club scenes.

The transfer is free of any noticeable halos or compression issues.

I think this one will surprise you.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: If you have a choice, opt for the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track over the 2.0 mix, because you will be rewarded with a dramatically fuller presentation, though I wish the .LFE was more pronounced, because the way Shelly Cole bangs on the drums I really wanted to feel my ribs thump. While the dialogue scenes are confined to the front channels, the musical performances make use of the rears, relegating crowd noise and the like to fill out the effect of being in a rock club. Dialogue and vocals are clear, and easily discernible.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Shattered Glass, Stealing Candy
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Alex Steyermark
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Director Alex Steyermark provides a full-length, scene-specific commentary track, and in it he traces the origins of the story, his involvement with Cheri Lovedog, script origins, and how he was trying to "capture the culture" with the film. I really enjoyed this film quite a bit, and it was probably for that reason that I liked listening to Steyermark tell me how the whole thing came to be. There aren't really any startling revelations here, but most importantly, he gives well-deserved credit to Gershon, Petty, de Matteo, and Cole for being able to look like they were really rockers.

In addition to some trailers, the disc is cut into 24 chapters, and features optional subtitles in English or Spanish.

Extras Grade: B


Final Comments

Gina Gershon shows off her acting and singing chops as an aging rock star chasing stardom, and the film mixes in a little sex, some drama, tattoo retribution, and plenty of all-girl rock and roll.

Who said rock is dead?

Highly recommended.


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