Rocked with Gina Gershon (2004)
"Four weeks, eight cities, three hot bandmates, one loyal assistant, one kick-ass crew and a ****-load of songs. In other words, I got rocked."- Gina Gershon
Stars: Gina Gershon, Girls Against Boys (Scott McCloud, Alexis Fleisig, Johnny Temple), Elizabeth Cover, Aron Levine, Lorena Lopez, Matt Robinson, Nick Pellicciotto
Other Stars: Lenny Kravitz, Chris Rock, Drea de Matteo, Shelly Cole, Cheri Lovedog, Alex Seyermark, Archbishop Don The Magic Wand
Director: David Roma
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (strong language, partial nudity)
Run Time: 02h:55m:00s
Release Date: 2004-07-27
DVD ReviewNothing strikes fear more than an actor who decides to branch out and become a singer. But every so often, the marriage of thespian and musician within one exceeds expectations. Another attractive, photogenic celebrity courageously tosses her hat into the ring risking public ridicule: Gina Gershon. You know, the sexy brunette actress with the killer smile, gypsy eyes, lips of perfection, and a smoky voice most men would kill to hear on their answering machine after a hard day at the office.
Weeks away from the release of her longtime pet project and first film as a producer (Prey for Rock and Roll), the L.A.-bred performer had an unusual challenge ahead. Unless she went on tour and gave concerts like the character she portrayed in her movie, the distributor would only open it on three screens. Never one to shy in the face of fear, Gershon began the tedious process of looking for a backing band in New York. Eventually, she engaged the services of indie-rock faves Girls Against Boys, a power trio that was not only able to recreate the tough, punk-ish mettle of Prey's soundtrack offerings, but, in Gershon's words, were "the cutest."
Rocked with Gina Gershon, a limited-run series originally seen on cable's IFC, is the equivalent of an all-access, V.I.P. pass inside a four-week, coast-to-coast eight-city tour that documents her transition from "nice Jewish girl" to take-no-prisoners rock and roll frontwoman. Unlike many celebs-turned-musicians, this wasn't Gershon's first time in unfamiliar territory; enamored of rock from younger days onward, she joined her first band at the age of 15. However, it's a long way from garage combo neighborhood gigs of teen years to the stages of legendary, high profile rock clubs; it wasn't an assignment she took lightly.
After two weeks of promising rehearsals in the Big Apple, Gershon and her band jet to the west coast for a low wattage, warm-up show at a combination restaurant-performance hall in San Juan Capistrano; at first glance, it has that warm, Bob's Country Bunker/Blues Brothers setting. In the end, unfortunately, the attending crowd turns out to be as stoic as the one Elwood and Jake encountered at their climatic movie gig; unlike that performance, our newly baptized quartet fails to get the crowd moving—it turns out to be as bright a booking as Metallica providing the entertainment at a debutante ball.
With an imposing hometown gig at L.A.'s House of Blues looming as the official start to the tour, you have to wonder if all this is happening too quickly, especially for a barely broken-in live artist. A sell-out crowd gathers with over 500 additional sets of feet waiting to enter, including many of Gershon's family and close friends, including Prey co-stars Drea de Matteo and Shelly Cole. Yet, with all these worries and the freshness of the kinks that marred the previous evening's run still undoubtedly in mind, the band manages to find its footing as Gershon's natural stage presence begins to exert itself (particularly during a killer punked-up cover of Nancy Sinatra's These Boots Are Made for Walking, with pounding power chords taking the place of the classic descending guitar lick). But it's the sophomore stop in the Golden State's other major legendary musical capitol, San Francisco, where all the elements truly come together in a sexy, smoking performance at the Great American Music Hall. From the seductive allure of Make Me to a ballsy rendition of My Little Red Book, Gershon and company start clicking.
But Rocked also counters the low moments with appealing vignettes featuring her loyal support staff, including Elizabeth Cover, Gershon's delightful personal assistant whose duties range from arranging a multitude of press opportunities to gamely making her way to a sex shop to purchase a replacement riding whip for Gershon's use as a stage prop; Aron Levine, the trip's endearingly super cool tour manager who keeps everything on even keel; and surly guitar tech Matt Robinson, whose moody exterior kind of reminds me of that edgy guy in Stripes; the new recruit that said if anyone touched him, he'd kill 'em. Don't feel like tuning the guitars now, Matty? That's okay, man...really.
More fun than a week at a rock and roll fantasy camp, Rocked with Gina Gershon is as revelatory as it is enjoyable. Packed with the most memorable songs from Prey, impressive new material (Gershon's Midnight Girl is an adult alternative hit waiting to happen), and classic rock chestnuts (including The Stooges I Wanna Be Your Dog with high school chum Lenny Kravitz guesting on harmony vocals and lead guitar), don't be surprised if you start scouring store shelves in search of both the Prey DVD and its companion soundtrack.
Gina, I sincerely hope your musical experience isn't just an experiment. You've got what it takes, sister.
Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A
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Image Transfer Review: Visually impressive for a documentary presentation; excellent camera work on both cinematography and technical levels are well replicated with mostly positive results and extremely impressive colors for a project of this type. From filmed performances to home video camera footage, the varied materials are wonderfully blended to form a consistent overall look.
Image Transfer Grade: A
Audio Transfer Review: Though disappointed that none of the performances were re-mastered into 5.1 mixes, the Dolby Surround track packs enough punch (albeit a tad trebly at times) and impressive stereo separation to make up for it. Low end could have commanded more presence, but it might have compromised the non-musical moments. The dialogue in off-stage moments is extremely well recorded.
Audio Transfer Grade: A-
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu
Scene Access with 36 cues and remote access
7 Other Trailer(s) featuring Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back, Go Tigers!, Keep The River On Your Right, Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy, Lost in La Mancha, The Smashing Machine, The Weather Underground
9 Deleted Scenes
Packaging: Keep Case
Extras Review: There are nine deleted/extended sequences, all are worth checking out, and are a nice change from the fast-track pacing of the regular episodes. Additional moments with Craig Kilborn and Drea de Matteo are presented, along with a couple of press interviews that display Gershon's wicked sense of humor, an asset I wish more casting directors would notice... put this lady in more comedies, guys.
Extras Grade: B
Final CommentsSort of a female Hard Day's Night, Rocked with Gina Gershon packs so much fun, drama, and rock-on-the-road excitement into its almost three-hour running time, you might find yourself pouting. A no-brainer purchase for fans of the actress, and classic rock aficionados, reality show lovers, and behind-the-scenes entertainment documentary viewers will truly enjoy this winning portrait of a woman who dared to put herself under intense scrutiny and wound up with a whole new creative outlet and new fans to match.
Jeff Rosado 2004-08-11