‘The Bling Ring ‘
The critical consensus on Sofia Coppola’s airy brand of filmmaking seems to have turned on her as quickly as it had embraced her initially. Now her fifth film, The Bling Ring, feels like her least personal yet (though she still wrote it, adapting it from a magazine article). It follows a group of wealthy teens in Beverly Hills as they discover just how easy it is to locate celebrities’ houses on Google maps, find out when they’re out of town then rob them. It’s a pretty straightforward story populated with shallow, trashy characters that hold little interest.
Adore, aka Two Mothers, takes a premise that could, and probably has, been used for many a porn film, as two sexy blonde forty-something friends (Robin Wright and Naomi Watts) end up sleeping with each other’s buff young surfer sons in a beach house. One does this due to a long-standing crush by the son, and the other as a form of payback in response. Rather than being a bawdy comedy or trashy drama, Adore remains rather chaste, and takes itself desperately seriously. It’s well shot, offering a postcard view of the Australian coastline but doesn’t have anything interesting to say on this taboo situation beyond soapy melodrama.
The ‘buddy-cop’ action comedy film has been around for some time, even though it doesn’t seem so prominent nowadays, there’s still life in it. Despite its longevity, The Heat is apparently the first time the mismatched partners have been women. It’s a sorry state of affairs to be sure, but does that mean The Heat should get a free pass simply for breaking that unfortunate trend? No. Thankfully, the film easily stands up, getting a good deal of laughs from its leading ladies, stuck-up FBI agent Sandra Bullock and foul-mouthed Boston cop Melisa McCarthy. The Heat isn’t breaking much ground story-line wise, and not everything works, but it’s easily a worthy addition to the sub-genre, and a lot better than Paul Feig’s previous film, the overrated Bridesmaids. Plus, Biff from Back to the Future, when did we last see him in anything?
‘No One Lives’
No One Lives has one big twist in its first half that’s a genuine shocker, and every single report or review of the film I’ve encountered since I saw it a while back has felt this fair game to reveal. I strongly disagree. Especially as, that twist aside, it’s not a particularly interesting backwoods horror film, following a young couple’s unpleasant encounters with the less than friendly locals. Soon it becomes a series of gruesome death scenes, very gory, not very scary, and disappointing considering director Ryuhei Kitamura (Versus, Azumi), is capable of far more inventive things.