Alberta's Rock of Ages
Bruce Von Stiers
Staci Layne Wilson is a screenwriter, director and producer who has been known to step in front of the camera bit. Not too long ago, I reviewed the film, The Ventures: Stars on Guitars, which Staci produced and directed. The film was a documentary about the band, The Ventures, whose leader Don Wilson, was Staci's dad.
Besides the Ventures documentary, Staci is known for directing and producing horror films such as Cabaret of the Dead, The Fiancé and the anthology film Shevenge.
Now Staci has embraced a slightly different genre. She has a film that just came out titled The Second Age of Aquarius. The film is a romantic comedy with some slightly skewed sci-fi blended in.
Staci directed the film and co-produced it with Darren Smith. Darren was one of the principal contributors to the cult classic Repo! The Genetic Opera. He also wrote some of the songs used in this new film. The film is based on a short story that Staci and Darren wrote for the book, Sex Death Rock N Roll.
Mod Science and Philly Chick Pictures were the production companies for the film. Richard Trejo was the cinematographer for the film. He has a minor role in it as well. His credits behind the camera are extensive, along with some sound editing gigs.
The film asks the question, what would you do if you could spend time with your favorite dead rock star? What if you could bring them back to life, if only virtually? Would it be as wonderful as anticipated or something else entirely?
The film opens as Alberta is on the phone with her mom. Apparently, Alberta's grandmother just died. Alberta is saying that if she'd known that grandma was sick, she would have been there. Mom says no, that she couldn't have and says you know whose music was played at the funeral.
Mom had sent some things of Grandma's that Alberta was supposed to have. Those items concerned Russell Aquarius, a rock singer that had died decades ago, long before his time. These items included record albums, posters, and t-shirts, one of which Alberta wears. A cool nod to Staci Layne Wilson's other work comes in the form of a The Ventures: Stars on Guitars movie poster on the wall behind Alberta.
Alberta makes an avatar of Aquarius on her computer. Some kind of power surge happens and, all of a sudden, the avatar has come to life.
But before Alberta discovers her live wire avatar, she has a meeting that she mushustle to. While she's getting around, harried and in a hurry, Russell sneaks out of her bed, hides in the closet then kind of slinks around trying to not get noticed by Alberta. While all of this is going on, a DJ on the radio is extolling on Russell's way with groupies and waking up in strange women's beds.
That evening, Alberta gets back to her apartment. Only to discover Russell there. She thinks he's a celebrity impersonator. That is, until she sees an A on Russell' right foot. That is something she had placed on the avatar's foot when creating him. So, what the heck is going on?
We find out that for a supposed laid back super cool rock star, Russell is chauvinistic. It seems that Russell has only three things on his mind; music, sex and food. And not necessarily in that order. He expects Alberta to be his sex partner and cook for him.
The thing about Russell is that they seemed to have modeled him to be a little like a Jim Morrison kind of rock star. His hair is a sort of like that and the fringe vest he wears screams Morrison. But the dude is wearing some kind of tie-dyed shorts. I don't know if Morrison ever wore that type of thing, but he may have. And the music in the film that was supposed to be from Russell isn't the same styling as Morrison's. But that's okay, because it wouldn't make for a good story if Russell was just a Morrison clone.
A bit of body shaming, background drama with her ex, a mishap with cannabis gummy edibles and a co-worker trying to take credit for Alberta's work makes for some entertaining plot devices. There's a strange but fun thing that happens with a neighbor and the how and why of Russell's death is revealed. Add in Russell's manager, some missing song lyrics, that unscrupulous co-worker and Alberta's ex again, and you have a fine comic mess.
Christina Jacquelyn Calph stars as Alberta Stevens. Christina's previous roles include appearing in an episode of Side Hustle, voicing characters in a video game and co-starring in a whole bunch of short films. And Christina was also in Russell Brand's remake of Arthur.
Michael Ursu co-stars as Russell Aquarius. Michael has composed music for several short films and has co-starred in a few more. He's been in an episode of The Goldberg's and in feature films such as The Lost Recursion.
Brooke Lewis Bellas is Tawny, Alberta's mom. She co-starred in the film Sinatra Club and several other films such as Shevenge. Brooke has produced a few things, including the upcoming series Red Rooms. Martin Olson played Sid, Russell's agent. Besides acting, Martin has been a storyboard artist, worked on music for shows and been a writer for shows such as Phineas and Ferb. He even wrote some stuff for the video game, Sim City, which I reviewed many, many years ago.
Kevin Giles plays Alberta's ex, Merrick. Nancy Long was the neighbor, Helen. And Jeffrey Henderson is the DJ that is on the radio at different times during the film. I mentioned Richard Trejo earlier. He played the credit stealing co-worker.
Some of the other people involved in the film, either behind the camera, just beyond camera range or behind the scenes were Maggie Middlebrook, Jacob Rachinski, Nikki McLelland, Allison Noelle and Nina Helene Hirten.
The Second Age of Aquarius was fun to watch. Its core is a romantic comedy with a rock n roll theme that is wrapped up in a strange computer geeky framework. It's not a rock fable, nor is it Weird Science, but something fun and unique.
The Second Age of Aquarius has been officially released and is available on most streaming services and VOD outlets such as Apple TV, Amazon Prime and Vudu.
The official site for the film is https://secondageofaquarius.com/
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© 2022 Bruce E Von Stiers