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Posts Tagged ‘Sofia Coppola’

Nicole Kidman, Colin Farreell

“THE BEGUILED” My rating: C+

93 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Riding a tsunami of high expectations (she’s only the second woman to be named best director at Cannes), Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled” is poised to become the Second Coming of feminist cinema.

Except that it isn’t. Not even close.

It’s not a bad movie. “The Beguiled” (based on the same novel as the 1971 Don Siegel/Clint Eastwood version) is fiercely atmospheric and slyly subversive. It’s been well acted and the physical production is impressive.

But it’s emotionally remote and something of a bore.  Don Siegel may have been a pulp filmmaker, but his melodramatic instincts were fun, at least.

Coppola’s screenplay offers some new dialogue but the plot arc is mostly faithful to the earlier movie and the novel.

During the Civil War, a handful of teachers and students at a Virginia boarding school for women discover a wounded Union soldier, Corporal McBurney (Colin Farrell). They sew up his mangled leg, intending to turn him over to the rebel home guard when he’s healed.

But the presence of a potent male sets off yearnings among the residents. Among them is the outwardly formidable headmistress (Nicole Kidman), a lonely teacher (Kirsten Dunst), a spoiled teen on the cusp of sexuality (Elle Fanning), and even a small girl (Oona Laurence) looking for a playmate.

The canny bluebelly works the situation, becoming to each woman or girl just what she requires in this testosterone-starved environment.

Those looking for a fresh feminist twist to the material will be disappointed.  There’s less about women’s theory here than about the dark corners of the human psyche: sexual fear and repression, jealousy, revenge, exploitation. (more…)

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Emma Watson On The Set Of 'The Bling Ring'“THE BLING RING” My rating: B (Opens June 21 at the Alamo Drafthouse)

90 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The juvenile delinquents depicted in Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring” are neither impoverished nor uneducated. They are the beautiful children of Southern California, privileged numbskulls who wear classy clothes, drive expensive cars and party hearty.

In 2008-09 a half dozen of these handsome young people went on a burgling spree, entering the homes of the famous people—Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton — whose lives they experienced vicariously through the Internet and  TV’s ”TMZ” celebrity gossip show. On their nocturnal prowls they made off with more than $3 million in clothing and cash.

In Coppola’s hands their fictionalized story has become a deadpan comedy about really stupid kids (who consider themselves smart) whose sense of entitlement is so complete and moral compass so nonexistent that they assume the rules just don’t apply to them. 

It’d make a hell of a double feature with “Spring Breakers,” though I doubt audiences are prepared for quite that much adolescent idiocy and arrogance.

We’re introduced to the Bling Ring through Marc (Israel Broussard), a baby-faced teen and a new student at Indian Hills High School (a sort of high-class dumping ground for rich kids who been booted from other schools). Marc is sweet and unassertive and totally bowled over when he’s befriended by the beautiful, catty Rebecca (Katie Chang).

It’s not about sex. Marc is pretty obviously gay. He thinks of Rebecca as his sister.

(more…)

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