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While far from original, THE ROCKER ($40) is a surprisingly likable and generally amusing comedy set on the fringes of the world of rock music. Using the experience of Pete Best, the one time drummer for The Beatles for a springboard, THE ROCKER builds its comedy upon the premise of a drummer being kicked out of a band just as they are about to achieve greatness. THE ROCKER stars Rainn Wilson as drummer Robert "Fish" Fishman, who, in 1986, was kicked out of heavy metal rock band Vesuvius, as a condition of being signed by a major record company. Twenty years pass; Vesuvius becomes the number one heavy metal rock band in the world, while Fish becomes embittered loser, failing at one desk job after another… and then getting kicked out by his latest girlfriend, who has grown tired of his failure and self pity.

Moving in with his sister, Fish becomes aware that his nephew Matt (Josh Gad) plays the keyboards in a garage band called A.D.D., along with lead singer, songwriter guitarist Curtis (Teddy Geiger) and bassist Amelia (Emma Stone). As expected, A.D.D. loses their drummer just before they are scheduled to play their first gig at the prom. Unable to find a suitable replacement drummer, the band asks Fish to play the gig, which he agrees to do only after some heavy persuasion. With his interest in music re-ignited, Fish sets out to find A.D.D. some paying gigs. The band’s first brush with notoriety comes as a result of some unexpected exposure in the Internet, which ultimately catches the attention of a record label. When the record label sponsors a tour, Fish stars living out his rock and roll dreams like it’s still the 1980s… with his irresponsibility leading to Curtis’ mom Kim (Christina Applegate) joining A.D.D. on the road. The cast of THE ROCKER also features Jeff Garlin, Jane Lynch, Jason Sudeikis, Will Arnett, Howard Hesseman, Fred Armisen, Bradley Cooper, Lonny Ross, Jon Glaser and Jane Krakowski.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made THE ROCKER available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. While not a disc one would use as a high definition demo, the 1080p presentation is very pleasing. Image sharpness, depth and fine detail are really quite good for a modestly budgeted comedy. Colors are pretty vibrant and flesh tones come across in an attractive fashion. Blacks are deep and the whites are clean. Contrast and shadow detail are very good for this type of material. The film elements used for the transfer are virtually pristine. Grain is mild, but the presentation seems pretty organic.

THE ROCKER is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Much of the film features a dialogue driven comedy mix, so this is not the most aggressively mixed track out there, but the outlying channels are effectively deployed to create convincing sonic environments. During the songs, the sound issues forth from all the channels, pulling the audience into musical performances. Fidelity is pretty terrific thanks to the lossless encoding, so the songs are rendered with a terrific amount of musical presence. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some supplements. There are two running Audio Commentaries included on the Blu-ray Disc. The first track is with director with director Peter Cattaneo and actor Rainn Wilson, while the second track features actors Emma Stone, Josh Cad, Jason Sudeikis, and Teddy Geiger. Featurettes include: Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character With The Rocker (two minutes), The Music (eleven minutes), Vesuvius Gags (four minutes), Pete Best Interview (seven minutes), Vesuvius PSAs (one plus minutes), Rainn Wilson: Office Rocker (four minutes), Behind The Band: Vesuvius (three minutes), Rock Tales (six minutes) and Rock Beat With Fish Fishman (three minutes). A MTV Panel, Podcasts and a Music Video for the song I'm Not Bitter closes out the supplements. A Digital Copy of the film is also provided.

THE ROCKER doesn’t present anything new or unexpected, but it did make me laugh and the cast does have some charm. The Blu-ray presentation is very good for a modestly budgeted comedy. If the subject matter holds appeal, they you probably have some fun with THE ROCKER.



The Rocker [Blu-ray] [includes Digital Copy] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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