Posts Tagged ‘ Sofia Coppola ’


The Bling Ring


Based on true events The Bling Ring tells the tale of a group of  Los Angeles based teenage high school kids who faced with the onslaught of media coverage about celebrities living the high life, decide that the best way in which to attain such a lifestyle is to simply steal it ,quite literally, from their heroes themselves. Directed by Sofia Coppola –possibly the biggest name director showing at this years EIFF- it is an interesting study on how the internet, social media and constant access and availability to the stars and their lives make it easy to track their movements and thus able to work out when their properties are empty and thus more vulnerable.

 Arriving at a new school and desperate to make friends Marc (Israel Broussard) falls in with Katie (Rebecca Chang) who is obsessed with stars such as Paris Hilton, Megan Fox and Lindsay Lohan. Initially just breaking into an empty house of one of Marc’s rich friends they realise how easy it is to obtain entry to a vacant property.

 Deciding that their next target should be someone more famous they one night, after determining the whereabouts of their victim online, decide to break into Paris Hilton’s house and find-after ridiculously discovering her key under the doormat- it is just as simple to break into and what is more they can pilfer designer clothes, jewellery and cash. What is more is that in the beginning they were able to go unnoticed as the stars they selected had so much stuff they simply did not notice they had even been burgled.

 At this point unable to keep it to themselves they draw other celebrity obsessed types into their circle and become bolder in their objectives, holding impromptu parties in the empty properties and actually planning what they are going to steal before they get there. Thus, alongside the three already mentioned, next to fall prey to their scavenging are Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson and Audrina Partridge. Eventually they are caught on camera footage and at this point the game is almost up but it is Marc who breaks down under questioning and turns the others in.

An interesting commentary on the celebrity sated society we-  and probably more so in America-  live in today it shows how such a proliferation of wealth inspires not only envy but motivational greed. Coppola does an admirable job with this film and her young cast (including a clearly in her element Emma Watson) manage to elicit little sympathy but still manage to help us understand why they did what they did. Coming across as shallow and self serving it is an observation on society in general and the belief that the lifestyles we are fed in gossip magazines and online make it all seem so easy and within reach that it is little wonder that people will believe that all they have to do is reach out and take it. Inevitably the group became celebrities in their own right and this shows just how easy it all really is.

The Bling Ring is showing at the Filmhouse on Saturday 22nd June and at Cineworld on Sunday 23rd June at 6.40pm



Just An Observation Friday June 21st


 This week I have been mainly kept busy with the Edinburgh International Film Festival which officially started on Wednesday, although I have been attending press screenings since Monday. I must admit I was a little underwhelmed by the choice of opening film, Breathe  In, which starred Guy Pearce as although it was competent enough-the performances and cinematography are quite outstanding- it just didn’t resonate on any real emotional level.

 In some ways it was similar to the opening party held at the NationalMuseum on Wednesday night which despite being a red carpet affair failed to attract any major big names or make it onto the Scottish News. This contrasts with the new Brad Pitt film World War Z which although only filmed in Glasgow and premiered in the same evening as the Edinburgh event managed to secure a five minute news slot despite also having no major stars attending. Personally I thought this was a pretty poor show and someone in PR deserves to have their butt kicked for failing to secure the Festival with some much needed publicity.

 Of the films I have seen Svengali is the one which stands out so far. A pastiche/parody of the rock industry seen through the eyes of a modern day Billy Liar it is extremely acerbic, witty and even when it lapses into cliché and caricature still has something to recommend it. Showing today (Friday 21st) and tomorrow it is definitely worth catching.

 Elsewhere a documentary about growing old on the gay scene, Before You Know It, is also a worthwhile film. Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring is probably one of the bigger films premiering at the festival this year and although I haven’t had time to post a review yet it is a decent film focussing on a bunch of Los Angeles brats whose sense of entitlement to a celebrity lifestyle is so overwhelming they set out to steal it-quite literally- from the celebrities themselves. The East starring Alexander Skarsgard- Eric from HBO’S ‘True Blood’- about the moral dilemmas and questions raised by a group of Eco Terrorists is also worth catching as it is a stylish thriller which leaves many issues unresolved and is all the better for deploying this tactic.

 Other sad news came through this week that the great actor James Gandolfini had passed away at the age of 51. Best known for his role as Tony Soprano in ‘The Sopranos’ which was probably one of my favourite TV shows of all time and Gandolfini was instrumental in its success. Showing a different side to the life of a gangster we were able to empathise with many of his decisions whilst still realising that often the moral implications of what he did were wrong but somehow still justifiable. It also had the best ending to a final episode ever and with Gandolfini’s parting any chance of a revival will be laid to rest alongside him. Tony Soprano may sleep with the Fishes but may James Gandolfini-who went onto give strong performances in many films with The Man Who Wasn’t There, Killing Them Softly and Zero Dark Thirty among them, but it was as Tony Soprano that he secured his legacy- rest in peace.

 That is it for this week as I have to be at the cinema for press screenings later this morning. I must say I have observed that the majority of film reviewers are cut from the same cloth as far as I can see. That cloth being a check shirt, faded denims, converse and geek chic specs with facial hair an optional extra-for both male and female- as well as an overwhelming sense of their own importance. Well at least they are keeping Zara and RiverIsland afloat with their individual sense of fashion.

They also seem to wear a sense of self importance which means that after a film they have to check their phones whilst the credits are still rolling and thus filter out of the cinema without exchanging thoughts or even glances with anyone else as they are so wrapped up in their own  bubbles. When did everyone become so important that they believe that being incommunicado for a mere hour and a half means others must be so desperate to get hold of them? Perhaps the real life brats in Sofia Coppolas The Bling Ring are not so different after all.


Just An Observation Friday May  31st


At last a sleepy hibernating Edinburgh seems to be rubbing its tired eyes and stirring itself from its winter slumber-it is the end of May and still the weather often makes this seem premature-as Festival season hovers into view and kicks into gear. In the past week I have attended several press launches with the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the establishment based Fringe stalwart Assembly Rooms and the relatively new Summerhall all throwing their hats into the ring with an interesting and diverse mix of acts to choose from.  Hopefully this will stifle the city’s residents from  complaining that there is nothing to do.

 Also there are rumblings about a new night time venture called Rammed which aims to put the life back into Edinburgh’s night life and shake things up with a series of events featuring live music and inhouse DJ’s, aiming to create a sonic environment and experience unlike any other at the moment. More details will follow in the next couple of weeks once everything is confirmed and I have more information to give you but the signs at the moment are all good …if not even better than that!

 The Film Festival is the first of these events to take place and with artistic director Chris Fujiwara delivering his second year at its helm the high standards met last year look like being matched if not surpassed. The opening film Breathe In stars Guy Pearce and Kyle MacLachlan and the festival closer stars Karen Gillen but in-between contemporaries and up and coming lesser knowns conspire to create an interesting mix of modern cinema which has something to offer anyone who actually bothers to investigate. Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, a portrait of Harry Dean Stanton, The East –starring Alexander Skarsgard of True Blood fame- and a German offering called Oh Boy are the ones which  caught my eye on initial inspection of the brochure but I am sure on further investigation other jewels will reveal themselves to me.

 I haven’t had time to acquaint myself too much with the Summerhall programme but must admit their launch was one of the more elaborate and successful I have attended. Pushing the boat out with countless Bellinis, never ending Gin and tonics with  Hoi Sin duck snackettes and mini lemon mousses-of which I consumed several- providing some much needed food sustenance the night rolled along both effortlessly and impressively. I did manage to ascertain that even before the fringe kicks off they have an evening with man of the moment-of several moments over the last few decades- Niles Rodgers as well as the International Fashion Festival. Certainly upping the ante this year, after finding their formative feet over the last two, their programme focuses on the more artistic end of the spectrum but initial responses would indicate that some of the bigger players should maybe start looking over their shoulders.

The official Fringe programme also came out this week but admittedly I haven’t even managed to look at that, so daunting a prospect does it present. Luckily I am now becoming more discerning in my choices and several years of experience now allow me to be able to pick and choose what I think may be the more worthwhile shows and direct you all in the right direction whilst hopefully steering you away from the dross and the bullshit which, believe me, the Fringe has more than its fair share of.

 Elsewhere I have been disappointed by the return of ‘Britain’s Got Delusions and Mental Health Issues’ to our screens this week. It still puzzles me that Simon Cowell is still allowed to dominate, monopolise and commandeer the viewing schedules with such regularity. Personally I find the whole experience insulting to my intelligence and tastes and think it appeals to the lowest common denominator but  is so thrust into our faces, with little in the way of competition or opposition, that even those who cannot stand it become involved in some kind of debate on its merits or total lack of them.

Luckily I haven’t subscribed one second of my week to watching this drivel and am disappointed that whilst trash like this receives inordinate screen time and front page headlines one of the best British dramas in years ‘The Fall’ languishes in the hinterland of BBC2 largely unnoticed.

Starring an impressive Gillian Anderson as an emotionally devoid Policed officer on the hunt of a cold and detached serial killer portrayed by an equally impressive Jamie Dornan the performances are as outstanding as the drama which uncoils itself weekly. If Broadchurch was ITV’s attempt to create a drama on a par with the excellent Danish cult show ‘the Killing’ then ‘The Fall’ is those ambitions actualised. This is British drama at its most complex, unnerving and exhilarating and moving away from the tired clichés  has the added twist of not being so much of a whodunit –as we knew the killer from the opening scenes-but has much more of the psychic chill of a whydunit. This is British drama at its highest standard and if you haven’t seen it so far then I recommend catching up on Iplayer before the penultimate episode on Monday.

 That is it for this week and further news about what and what not to see at the various festivals will be winging its way through these pages very soon as will further information about Rammed. This weekend however I will be mostly avoiding the Meadows Festival which has seemingly camped itself very noisily outside my front door. More than likely it will be rained off anyway as any event in Edinburgh with the word Festival seems to elicit an immediate torrential downpour. Aside from this there is always Neu Reekie tonight and as usual this night will put a little sunshine in your heart whatever the weather.