I have never heard anyone else say it so I will go ahead and do so. Sophia Coppola is one of my favorite directors. Five features in and the worst thing I can say about any one movie is that “I liked it”. ”Lost In Translation” has aged the least well, but it still holds the charm of it’s cast enough to be a good film. ”Somewhere” functions as a better dreamy slice of life than “Lost…” while her debut “The Virgin Suicides” and the unfairly maligned “Marie Antoinette” are both brilliant and gorgeous films about teenagers. You don’t get those very often, let alone twice from the same film maker.
"The Bling Ring" falls somewhere in the middle of my like scale. It’s a ripe subject to explore, the true story of modern teens who used the internet to figure out celebrities schedules and then broke into their houses. (As an aside, it’s shocking how many famous people leave doors unlocked, stars they are just like us!) The film does two things boldly and well, the most significant is to treat the kids are complex people with various reasons for doing these crimes. Coppola isn’t hear to judge, she just wants to watch and learn.
The second aspect is linked to the first, in that Coppola often films scenes from far away shots, sometimes partially obstructed and sometimes through security cameras. We get to learn a bit about these kids, but it comes slowly. Instead of exposition telling us who these characters are we get telling bits of confession dropped into very ordinary sounding discussions.
I found the bits seen from a webcam’s view to be odd and pulled me out of the flow of the movie. This can be dangerous with a film maker who so relies on a rhythmic, detached style of observation. But Coppola never lacks empathy and her camera, more restless than ever here, allows right minded viewers to combine their gaze and hers, instead of just being pointed right at everything. I liked the movie, I love Sophia.
Last minute entry into favorite songs of the year. Is it right that a tween boy band made the best power pop song in ages? It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright ya know!
Somewhere Alex Chilton is….well, not smiling, but smirking near happiness.
Spotified friends, post your 2013ish jams. (Apologies to “Closer” and “I Should Live In Salt” but I wanted one song per artist for brevity’s sake.)
If you shop Thursday or Friday you are part of every employee leaving their families and every person who is hurt. Stop being stupid.
This is the worst kind of movie. Blessed with a clever idea and the perfect setting “Chernobyl Diaries” utterly fails to find anything to do with either. It stands as a sad testement to mediocrity and how much worse of a state that is than simple ineptitude or badness.
The film was create by the same production team behind the massively successful “Paranormal Activities” series. I have only seen the first one of those films but it was clever and tense in ways this movie doesn’t dream of. I stand right by that last bit of sentance there, this movie doesn’t dream. It is as if the film makers came up with a setting, in this case the long abandoned town nearest the Chernobyl reactors, and a profitable budget and went from there. The is zero inspiration beyond that and that lack of passion is all over the screen.
For me, the profitable margain and amazing location should be safe enough bets to go crazy. The film does do a nice job of recreating to town of Pripyat (google images for a haunting feeling) and there ends my praise. Even the weak acting and horrid script could be forgiven if the scares had gone for broke. Instead we can’t even get a proper jump scare in a scene where both the camera and a character gaze desperately out of a van window. We know someone or something is coming to slap against the window, and we still expect to jump and laigh at ourselves. Nope. No jumps here.
This film dies because it had all the room in the world to explore this setting, all the space to put some clever or soulful discussions into the dialoge. Don’t the writers have anything to say about tradgedy turned to tourism? If not, couldn’t the writers find some bit of personal story to add to these characters? Do none of them have anything to add to this? Given a can’t miss concept and some sadly creepy set design this movie should have been a green light to experiment, have fun, go nuts. Instead we get badly timed jump scares, dark tunnels, screaming and stupidity. There is nothing worse that wasted freedom, creative or otherwise. Not worth the time.