The Bling Ring

2013: A Year of Girls Behaving Badly

While YA girls have had their fun saving their families from constant supernatural and dystopian peril, a new sort of teenage girl has emerged in cinema, fueled by the age-old mantra of “live fast, die young, bad girls do it well.” 2013 was the year that young women found a different kind of representation in film through characters who took a different approach to life. Without the YA label, there was a decent crop of films centered upon teenage girls who not only lived in the real world, but also experienced real dilemmas (as for realistic, we can get into that later). Free from being the heroine that the people desperately needed and the love interest that some bland boy thought he deserved, these new teenage girls were free to be – and eagerly were – selfish, brutal and unapologetically uninterested in saving anyone but themselves. And why shouldn’t they be? After years of being relegated to the punch lines and stereotypes of the teen comedies that populated the 1990s and early 2000s, then taking up residence in the present day literary dramas, it was time for a change. 2013 was the year of girls behaving badly — and for being portrayed as real people on screen.

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discs day of the dead

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Day of the Dead The zombie apocalypse continues to ravage the Earth, and one of the last pockets of survivors makes their home in an abandoned missile silo. The group is divided unevenly between civilians and soldiers, but as the days pass and the undead keep coming, the tension among the living rises to dangerous levels. George Romero‘s Dead films currently number six, and while his most recent three are mostly forgettable, the original trilogy remains a classic both collectively and individually. And this is where I admit that I find Day to be the best of the bunch. Tom Savini‘s effects are the most gorily effective of the series, and while it lacks the previous films’ allegory and metaphor, it manages a self-contained story complete with good guys, bad guys, and entertaining set pieces. And hell, even John Harrison‘s score is fantastic. Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray gives the film the treatment it deserves complete with original artwork, a new HD transfer, and a load of extras including a documentary almost as long as the movie itself. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Documentary, commentaries, featurettes, galleries, trailer]

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Mud Hunter

There are many reasons to compare and contrast current films with historical ones. One is to attempt to explain why some films have been spotlighted in place of a possible litany similar films. Another is to show the machinations of cinematic influence, or explore the persistence of repeated narratives throughout film history. And yet another is because it’s damn fun. Here at Criterion Files, we have (on a not-at-all-regular basis) compared recent films with relevant counterparts canonized in the cinephilic annals of the Criterion collection, including two Lincoln biopics, two iconic exercises of the close-up, and the overwhelming similarities between Pierrot le Fou and a certain beloved Wes Anderson film. But rarely has a crop of films released in a single season echoed the specific work of classic counterparts than the summer of 2013.

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Oscar 2013 Mid-Year

What kind of movies get released in January? In the summer? From November through December? Exactly. We know the cycle so well that a movie with only half a dozen explosions in June is considered counter-programming while Fall films are actively baiting golden statues and podiums. We know it so well that people predict the following year’s Oscars the day after the Oscars. We know it so well that the ceremony “shaking things up” has become the status quo. So I wondered what would happen if they truly shook things up by holding the Oscars in July. A kind of mid-year awards ceremony where The Weinstein Company hasn’t even brought out its heaviest hitters yet. This alternative universe isn’t necessarily about what movies are the best — because the Oscars almost never are. It’s about finding the close enough blend of prestige and popularity from the first half of the year, but make no mistake, it would still result in a wildly different list of nominees.

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The Bling Ring

On the balance of probabilities, Sofia Coppola‘s fifth feature is likely to be one of her most commercial; not only is it based on true events (in more certain terms than her edgy if sketchy Marie Antoinette), but the real life tale’s rooting in the cult of celebrity will almost certainly ensure that it earns its fair share of fans. Disappointing it is, then, that Coppola can’t wring much of interest out of the people behind the story, while the eminent appeal of Emma Watson in yet another boundary-pushing, post-Harry Potter presence is almost completely squandered in a throwaway supporting role. Though The Bling Ring is not a good film by any stretch of the imagination, it is still very much the sort of feature audiences would expect from the director, crowded with an indie rock soundtrack and featuring long, deliberate takes in order to focus on the existential ennui of the characters therein. Despite doing little with them, it is the characters which Coppola peculiarly decides to focus on instead of the facts of the case itself. The titular collective of criminals is headed by Rebecca (Katie Chang), who leads her friends to the homes of their favorite celebrities to make off with their most expensive and illusive wares.

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The Bling Ring

Sofia Coppola’s latest minor opus about the perils and pitfalls of being (actually criminally this time) plagued by ennui and blind ambition, The Bling Ring, opens in limited release this week. Based on one of those “only in Hollywood” stories that, in fact, really only could and did happen in Hollywood, The Bling Ring tells a vaguely fictionalized version of the life and times of a ring of fame-obsessed teen burglars who broke into the houses of a number of big name stars in 2008 and 2009. The ring made away with the clothes, jewelry, accessories, artwork, and cash of celebs like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr, Brian Austin Green, Megan Fox, and Audrina Patridge (yes, the terms “celeb” and “star” are used somewhat loosely as it applies to a few of the victims), until they were finally caught by way of surveillance footage and anonymous tipsters. “The Bling Ring” itself is weird enough, and while The Bling Ring the movie never quite digs deep enough into what made the teen criminals do what they did (beyond wanting cool clothes and rightly assuming that Paris Hilton was too stupid to lock her front door), it’s still a nice addition to Coppola’s resume and a nifty addendum to some real life strange crime. How strange is it? One of the major players in the ring, Alexis Neiers (brilliantly played in the film by Emma Watson), was in the middle of filming her own reality show (titled […]

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Iron Man 3

Harmony Korine and friends already gave us a taste of sand, sun and heavy weaponry, but it doesn’t quite feel like summer yet. Maybe that’s because global warming is making everything so cool or because President Obama keeps delaying all of our vacation planes, but the hugeness of the season still hasn’t fully descended. That’ll change this weekend when Iron Man 3 drops an arc reactor into theaters. Then, the parade of unbelievably massive summer movies commences with buddy cops, mischievous teens, people probably named Khan, bald Matt Damons, super men, and the end of the world itself in tow. It’s a tight race this year. Optimism runs high, and the next few months are packed full with studios and indie outfits hoping to entertain and score big, so the task of naming the 13 most-anticipated summer movies was a tough one. So instead of hurting our brains over it, we let math do the work by putting the question to the whole staff and tallying up the results. It’s a slightly eclectic mix, displaying the powerful potential of cinematic storytelling to bring us into the cool, dark room with a single light source. As luck would have it, we found a fittingly seasonal place to start:

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Bling Ring Trailer

There are a ton of great things in this full Bling Ring trailer, but Emma Watson is the absolute best. It’s very likely that her character’s conversation with the press that’s featured here could be the highlight of the entire movie. Otherwise, she just looks and sounds fantastic with her affected Valley Girl drawl and angsty airheadedness. Seriously, though. She might want to run a country someday. In the movie, she and her friends get the idea to rob from the rich and famous by paying attention to when they’re own publicity machines have them making high-profile appearances. They get caught, but they get a few high heels out of the deal. Check out the trailer for Sofia Coppola‘s latest for yourself:

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The Bling Ring

It’s almost time for sunscreen, something you won’t need to purchase if you plan on staying in the cool, dark space of the movie theater from June through August. But what are you going to see? How could you possibly know what’s coming out and when? Did you even know there’s a Superman movie on the way? Of course you did. Geoff and I have combed through studio press releases, had a lot of secret meetings in parking garages, and decided to talk about 6 Limited Release Summer Movies that might have slipped under the cape-filled radar. Plus, our big interview is with Cheech and Chong, who review Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines and promise to make Up in Smoke 2 if their new animated movie makes $100m in its opening week. For more from us on a daily basis, follow the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on the Twitter. And, as always, we welcome your feedback. Download Episode #15 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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Cannes 2013

This year, The Cannes International Film Festival opens on May 15th with a bombastically modern retelling of the Roaring Twenties and closes on May 26th with a South African-set crime thriller on the heels of apartheid. Everything in between looks amazing. The lineup boasts new Winding Refn, Chandor, Sofia Coppola, Miike, Denis, Coen Brothers and what looks like a nice symmetrical career send off for Steven Soderbergh, who’s bringing Behind the Candelabra there 24 years after winning the festival’s top prize with sex, lies and videotape. That means Soderbergh has an opportunity to join the elite group of multiple Palme d’Or winners, and the Coens and Roman Polanski have that potential as well. All others in competition have never won before. Plus, the non-competition films look equally fantastic. Read the full field, wipe that drool away and check to see what kind of deals you can get on plane tickets to France for May.

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The Bling Ring Emma Watson

It’s an interesting confluence of events that Sofia Coppola is following up her ambiguous Somewhere with a different kind of look at fame just as Harmony Korine’s exploitative-feeling Spring Breakers is hitting SXSW. Like a movie lovechild, the first DayGlo trailer for The Bling Ring has hit, and it shows off Emma Watson and friends dancing around, acting immortal and stealing from famous people. Ephemeral as it is, it would be unfair to judge a teaser trailer for not showing anything substantive. That’s kind of the point. To tease. But Coppola has such a history of exploring airy what-does-it-all-mean nonsense that this trailer seems likely to be an honest portrayal of what we’ll actually end up getting (even despite its energy). Check it out for yourself:

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Casting on Sofia Coppola’s new celebrity-obsessed crime movie The Bling Ring seems to be coming together quite quickly. It was just about a week ago we learned that Emma Watson had signed on to become the first actor confirmed for the film, and now THR has news that she’s being joined by a gaggle more. The biggest name added to the cast is Leslie Mann (Knocked Up), who is set to play the mother of two of the female members of this teenage crime ring – but she’s not alone. This movie tells the based-on-a-true story of a bunch of teenagers who break into celebrity homes, and Coppola reportedly wants to use it as an opportunity to break in a bunch of young new actors. Perhaps the biggest break is going to come to Israel Broussard (The Chaperone), who gets to play the male lead. But, in addition to him, young actresses named Katie Chang, Claire Pfister, and Georgia Rock are all set to make their feature debuts here, and American Horror Story actress Taissa Farmiga is on board as well (in just her second feature appearance). With the members of the crime ring coming together so nicely, will it be long before we start to get word on which celebrities will be making cameos as the people whose houses get broken into? Call me crazy, but it seems like there’s some potential for hilarity there.

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If you had bet that Sofia Coppola’s next film would deal with disaffected young women in some way, then it turns out you’re a big winner. And if you imagined it would be a look at the bored lives of the rich and depressed, then congratulations, you were pretty spot-on. But what may come as a surprise is that, despite Coppola’s trademark inert style, her next film is going to have something of an action element. Based at least in part on true events, The Bling Ring tells the tale of a group of fashion- and celebrity-obsessed teens in Beverly Hills who form a crime ring and proceed to break into celebrity homes. Coppola says that the film will “reveal a sobering view of our modern culture,” which sounds about right if you replace the word “sobering” with the word “infuriating.” The movie is intended to be an ensemble piece, and Coppola says of pre-production so far, “I’m excited about the young cast we’re assembling and I’m looking forward to shooting on location here in Los Angeles.” While most of the specifics of who make up this exciting young cast aren’t known, we do know that Coppola and her producers have landed a pretty huge name already.

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