Tag: Bling Ring

***2013 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | The Bling Ring

the-bling-ring-1

Over five films, Sofia Coppola has established a pretty solid and recognisable style. Long single takes, sustained moments of not much happening, a gritty realness to her cinematography and sound mixing. The fact that she manages to keep so much of that aesthetic intact, while also telling such a tabloid-tastic, glitzy, main stream story, is a major part of what makes The Bling Ring so great.

Based on a Vanity Fair article which was based on true events, The Bling Ring is the story of a group of bored Los Angeles teens who discover the kinds of dumb celebrities they’re obsessed with are the kind of dumb celebrities who leave their keys under the door mat, because they’re dummies. Katie Chan, as Rebecca Ahn, and Israel Broussard, as Marc Hall, start by stealing the odd car and robbing the house of a rich friend whose family is out of town. They soon realise a quick Google search is all they need to do to find out where a celebrity lives and when they are out town, so they up the anti and their level of victim.

Soon, they’re robbing the likes of Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr, and Megan Fox. They also recruit a few friends into the fun, played by Emma Watson, Alexis Neiers, Claire Julien, Courtney Ames and Taissa Farmiga. Even though the middle section of The Bling Ring is basically just a series of robberies, Coppola shoots each one in a different way to keep it from feeling like a never ending loop. Some robberies are all about the fun and exhilaration, some are about the suspense and fear of being court, one is shot in complete silence. My favourite is nothing more than a single take, shot from a distance, as we see Chan and Broussard ransack a house from top to bottom with ruthless efficiency.

Possibly the greatest achievement by Coppola is the fact that I didn’t completely hate these characters. I should, they’re terrible, terrible people. Everything about them and their actions is so unlikeable. Yet, somehow, as happy as I was to see them go down, I also kind of liked watching them commit their crimes and enjoy the spoils.

I feel like The Bling Ring is the movie Spring Breakers wanted to be. The only difference is, where Coppola looks at her vapid, shallow, fame obsessed characters with a kind of sympathy but also understanding, Harmony Korine just leers at his bikini clad babes like a dirty old man. Spring Breakers tried to justify its exploitative, date rape vibe by claiming to be a comment on the disposability and short sighted selfishness of “the kids”. The Bling Ring takes the time to actually get to know its characters, sympathise with its characters, understand its characters and make some really interesting comments on the disposability and short sighted selfishness of “the kids”.

The Bling Ring
Directed By – Sofia Coppola
Written By – Sofia Coppola

MOVIE REVIEW | Somewhere (2010)

somewhere
In 1999, Sofia Coppola finally escaped the dark shadow of her acting role in The Godfather Part III and revealed herself as a film maker to be taken seriously with the indie darling, The Virgin Suicides.  She stepped it up a notch with the financial, critical and awards success of Lost in Translation in 2003.  Three years later, there was the overly ambitious, but not overly successful Marie Antoinette.  This year, Coppola gave us her most commercial attempt yet with The Bling Ring.  But maybe a little scarred from the experience of Marie Antoinette, there was a movie in between.  By far her smallest and most introspective, 2010’s Somewhere.

Centred around Stephen Dorff as Johnny Marco, Somewhere is about…  Well, I don’t think Somewhere is really about anything.  But don’t let that scare you away, because it’s not nearly as pretentious, arty or precious as that sounds.  It’s just not a movie built around a standard screenplay structure that leads to any character revelation or story climax.  It’s almost like an invisible camera crew followed this Johnny Marco guy around, and no one ever noticed.

The character of Johnny Marco is a Tom Cruise style mega star.  He’s been in blockbuster movies and is set to make more, but right now, he’s just chilling in his suite at the Chateau Marmont, playing video games with his best friend, hanging out with his young daughter and watching the odd double act pole dancing show.  Like I said, just chilling.

He takes his daughter on a junket to Italy, he bangs around with women staying in his hotel, his car breaks down at one point, he has a broken arm that’s never explained and never needs to be.  It really is just one person’s meandering life where you totally believe that even the most luxurious life would become mundane if you lived it for long enough.  But again, none of this ever gets boring or seems indulgent on the part of Coppola or Dorff.

One aspect I really liked was Coppola’s decision to not make Dorff’s super star Marco some sort of tortured soul.  He’s a great dad to his daughter, he seems to have a healthy relationship with the girl’s mother, he enjoys the benefits of being  rich and famous in regards to women, but never seems to exploit them or be self loathing about his conquests.  He’s nice to people around him without it ever being a comment on shallow celebrities.  I’m worried I’m making Somewhere sound boring and inconsequential, but it’s really not.

It’s real in a way I don’t think I’d ever seen before, right down to the sound and lighting.  It looks like there isn’t a single artificial light source or piece of audio added in later.  Little things, like Dorff’s voice being almost inaudible over traffic when stuck on the side of the road, or hearing Foo Fighters blasting out of a stereo when the duel strippers do their thing all ad to the reality of Somewhere and show how the little things can make a big difference.

Somewhere
Directed By – Sofia Coppola
Written By – Sofia Coppola

MOVIE REVIEW | The Bling Ring (2013)

the-bling-ring-1

Over five films, Sofia Coppola has established a pretty solid and recognisable style. Long single takes, sustained moments of not much happening, a gritty realness to her cinematography and sound mixing. The fact that she manages to keep so much of that aesthetic intact, while also telling such a tabloid-tastic, glitzy, main stream story, is a major part of what makes The Bling Ring so great.

Based on a Vanity Fair article which was based on true events, The Bling Ring is the story of a group of bored Los Angeles teens who discover the kinds of dumb celebrities they’re obsessed with are the kind of dumb celebrities who leave their keys under the door mat, because they’re dummies. Katie Chan, as Rebecca Ahn, and Israel Broussard, as Marc Hall, start by stealing the odd car and robbing the house of a rich friend whose family is out of town. They soon realise a quick Google search is all they need to do to find out where a celebrity lives and when they are out town, so they up the anti and their level of victim.

Soon, they’re robbing the likes of Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr, and Megan Fox. They also recruit a few friends into the fun, played by Emma Watson, Alexis Neiers, Claire Julien, Courtney Ames and Taissa Farmiga. Even though the middle section of The Bling Ring is basically just a series of robberies, Coppola shoots each one in a different way to keep it from feeling like a never ending loop. Some robberies are all about the fun and exhilaration, some are about the suspense and fear of being court, one is shot in complete silence. My favourite is nothing more than a single take, shot from a distance, as we see Chan and Broussard ransack a house from top to bottom with ruthless efficiency.

Possibly the greatest achievement by Coppola is the fact that I didn’t completely hate these characters. I should, they’re terrible, terrible people. Everything about them and their actions is so unlikeable. Yet, somehow, as happy as I was to see them go down, I also kind of liked watching them commit their crimes and enjoy the spoils.

I feel like The Bling Ring is the movie Spring Breakers wanted to be. The only difference is, where Coppola looks at her vapid, shallow, fame obsessed characters with a kind of sympathy but also understanding, Harmony Korine just leers at his bikini clad babes like a dirty old man. Spring Breakers tried to justify its exploitative, date rape vibe by claiming to be a comment on the disposability and short sighted selfishness of “the kids”. The Bling Ring takes the time to actually get to know its characters, sympathise with its characters, understand its characters and make some really interesting comments on the disposability and short sighted selfishness of “the kids”.

The Bling Ring
Directed By – Sofia Coppola
Written By – Sofia Coppola