In the fame-obsessed world of Los Angeles, a group of teenagers take us on a thrilling and disturbing crime-spree in the Hollywood hills. Based on true events, the group, who were fixated on a life of glamour, tracked their celebrity targets online and stole more than $3 million in luxury goods from their homes. The victims included Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson and Lindsay Lohan. The gang became known in the media as “The Bling Ring”. Written and directed by Academy Award Winning Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”, “The Virgin Suicides”, “Marie Antoinette”),”The Bling Ring” stars Emma Watson (“Harry Potte”, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”), Leslie Mann (“This is 40”, “Knocked Up”), Taissa Farmiga, Claire Julien, Israel Broussard and Katie Chang.
2013 – Certificate: 15 – American Film
Rating Details: Strong language and drug use
7.0 out of 10
In an effort to bolster our fading place in the world, us Brits often like to remind others that the last person to successfully invade mainland Britain was William the Conqueror, who in 1066 shot King Harold in the eye at the Battle of Hastings. (And that’s about all we actually bother to learn about the story, even though that last bit probably isn’t even true either. The fact that it happened before America and much of the rest of the world had been invented, is good enough for us. ) Last week I had a chance to do something similar. (No, not shoot someone in the eye! God, do I really need to even write that?) Instead, I had a chance at fame and fortune on the south coast myself, when due to a severe lack of (and I’m putting it diplomatically) coordination at work, I found myself giving a presentation to a lot of ‘important people’. (Well important in Hastings anyway.) I spent the guts of two days (including a Sunday) putting the sort of PowerPoint presentation together that really ought to be released as a stand-alone DVD for others to enjoy. Indeed, a limited cinema run wouldn’t be out-of-place. It was all very stressful though; at one point I even had to order myself an Indian takeaway from the Alamin Tandoori to recover from the whole, ‘creative experience’. (These things don’t just come together; each slide was torn from my very soul.) So the day of the presentation arrived. In my mind I had a vision, a vision of a room full of people, many of them standing, clapping and cheering me as an environmental saviour. (A bit like Noah, but without the boat.) Sadly, the train I was travelling on broke down and I ended up arriving 20 minutes late; obviously the 40 minute, ‘crappy public transport safety margin’ I’d opted for wasn’t up to the job. Apparently there was a “communication problem” with the train; the driver couldn’t speak to the guard or something; (or Train Manager as they seem to get called these days.) Bollocks to that. How did them not being able to have a chat about last night’s TV stop the wheels turning? Sitting in the train, watching three guys in orange jackets wondering about outside, the only other thing I could see was a bit of hawthorn growing nearby, as we’d got stuck in a cutting. John Lydon told us all that “Anger is an energy”. I could probably have solved the world’s energy crisis single-handedly such was my mood, which would have been quite ironic under the circumstances. Well, it turned out to be the fastest PowerPoint presentation I’ve ever given to anyone, that’s for sure. Thanks to Southern Trains, my chance to become an international eco-celebrity was ruined. All I want to do is save the planet, I’m not asking for much really. Next time I’ll rob a few rich people instead. It worked for Robin Hood and I’m sure I can find a few affluent bankers that no one really cares about. By a strange coincidence, this film covers a not dissimilar topic. (That’s robbing the rich and famous, not inefficient pubic transport.)
Closely mirroring the real events it’s based on, this movie follows the exploits of a group of celebrity obsessed teenagers, who start robbing the homes of the rich and famous. Paris Hilton, whose home they broke in to a number of times, allowed these scenes to be filmed in her house. OMG! OMG! (OMG I’m starting to talk like them now…) A whole room full of shoes? A nightclub room, complete with pole? I own six pairs of shoes, including two pairs of steel-capped boots for work. The only poles I come into contact with are the ones living near me. Not a lot seems to happen in this film. Vacuous teens are not the most exciting of people, unless you like watching them hanging out in nightclubs taking selfies and immediately posting them on Facebook. Even the break-ins are somewhat low-key and most of the time they just messed about when they got into these people’s homes. Google Maps is every villain’s friend. Somewhat trippy one moment and almost documentary-like at others, it’s actually quite entertaining. Given that it’s based on a real group of people and real crimes, the extras are especially interesting and add quite a lot to the whole story. The car crash scene works well too; it made me jump anyway. The sound is pretty good, as is the overall look of the movie and the acting. Well worth a watch. At the end I was left with two questions. Firstly, why? Secondly, it features a group of very good-looking young people, plus drink and drugs; yet there wasn’t any sexual chemistry or apparent attraction between any of them, not even a little bit of tension. That’s just a bit weird. I guess celebrities really do screw up your life.
Schoolboy Q, 2 Chainz, Young Jeezy, Bassnectar, Really Doe, Kid Cudi. Yep, you’re right, that means it’s time for a hip-hop based soundtrack. Given the nature of the movie, the music works really well.
The trailer’s pretty good.
Recommended for vapid, non-celebrities and anyone who posts loads of pictures directly to their Facebook page without bothering to delete the technically crap ones (they make my eyes hurt) and doesn’t see the irony in doing it in the first place. Also anyone who thinks they matter to anyone outside of their immediate family and friends. Trust me, you really don’t.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? The scenes where they break into Paris Hilton’s home were really filmed in Paris Hilton’s home. She has cushions with her face on them! Really big pictures of her face. In her own home. Whatever the story behind them, that’s just not normal. Seriously, it’s not. It’s only one step away from going to bed with a picture of yourself. Still, at least I know what to get in future as presents for ‘those awkward people who have everything’. Thanks Paris! Sorting out this year’s Christmas pressies for me is badass.
I went to a gig last Saturday, to see Random Hand, Tyrannosaurus Alan and four other bands. One of the latter was Tallowah, a great reggae band from Southend-on-Sea which I hadn’t seen before; but now I have I’ll want to see again. I haven’t been to that many gigs over the past couple of months and oh boy did I feel it; all that ‘dancing’ and stuff people do. I felt really unfit and my neck is sore now too. It was like I’d forgotten what to do; weird. Random Hand was great; it’s pretty well always great. I’ve no idea why it’s not huge; (but then again, having heard today that the most pirated artist in the UK is Ed Sheeran, that doesn’t really surprise me). Tyrannosaurus Alan is continuing to get better and better. Saturday was by far the most moshing I’ve ever seen at one of its gigs. A highlight was the tallest guy in the room crowd surfing for an entire song without touching the floor; he must have been at least 12 feet tall and as is usual for the tallest person at every gig I’ve ever been to ever, he’d managed to stand in front of me. On the train journey home I also thoroughly enjoyed the antics of the snogging young couple sitting opposite. She finally ended up asleep with her head in his lap, (well I think she was sleeping); probably due to a lack of air, poor thing. I think this all goes to prove what a jolly nice, decent and tolerant person I am. However…
2001 – Certificate: R – USA
Rating Details: Drug use, language, some sexual content and a scene of violence, all involving teens.
One thing I really hate is when the cover of a DVD has little to do with the content. Here we have a classic example. Whoever it is that’s on the cover, she’s not in the film at all. Not only that, but her knickers are clearly white, whereas any we seen in the film are black; (and her skirt is totally different to the ones worn in the film too). That’s two DVDs in a row I’ve watched that have suffered from ‘false advertising’ in this way. Whoever designed and authorised the sleeve used for this DVD should go directly to prison and suffer some embarrassing, undignified and degrading experiences in the toilets, before finally being put up against a wall and shot. Well okay maybe just life imprisonment then; I did say I was a tolerant person. Oh, and before I forget, the title of the film is entirely misleading too; there’s no pastry-based food featured in it anywhere, with or without a sweet or savory filling! So anyway, now I’ve trashed the marketing, what about the film itself? Well, it basically follows a group of boring, spoilt, rich kids who go to a private school in New York, who spend most of their time taking drugs and trying to be ‘rebellious’. Of course, someone gets killed, friendships get tested and we all learn a bit more about life and ourselves; well, I’m certainly glad about all that then and I’m sure you are too. Actually I’m probably making it sound worse than it is; it is entertaining enough in its own way. Dominique Swain (Cat Storm) looks great in a school uniform (nice legs) and her mother is some sort of saint. It just somehow doesn’t really seem to get going before it’s all over. Even the injection of some oh so naughty bestiality and shocking gay sex can’t wake it up. (I bet you really do want to see it now.) Actually there’s a brilliant review of it on IMDB, which is so good it sort of put me off even trying to write anything better here. Go read it.
Recommended for boring, spoilt, rich kids, school uniform ‘enthusiasts’ and fans of the private education system.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? In a film filled with boring, self-centred people, the only contender is Lily Storm. Faced with an argumentative, selfish daughter and with an equally crappy ex-husband, she remains supportive, caring and understanding. Being the sort of mother everyone needs/wants is totally badass.
I went to see The Skints last night, at The Fighting Cocks in Kingston; (that’s Kingston-Upon-Thames, London, not Kingston, Jamaica). The Skints are a great, punk-edged reggae band from east London. Now, I have three irrational fears in life; getting my hair cut in a hairdressers/barbers, public toilets and seeing bands in venues I haven’t been to before. Given that selection, you’ll be please to know that my experiences last night only concerned the latter. Kingston is a bit of a pain to get to from Reading by public transport; well it’s okay to get to but really difficult to get back from afterwards, mainly because the last train times aren’t very bohemian. So on the odd occasion I go there I have to drive, which means I both add a little more towards the destruction of the planet (and suffer weeks of guilt-ridden nightmares as a consequence) and also of more immediate concern, I can’t really drink anything. Why new venues freak me out I’m not sure. I think it’s a fear of not knowing how to find where the stage is, while everyone else there knows the most intimate details of the place and will basically notice my confusion and inability to navigate myself around, leading to my being laughed at by them all (complete with pointing fingers) and as a consequence having to run away after suffering this public humiliation and never ever being able to go to a gig again, in case anyone recognises me and tells everyone and the nightmare starts again. Now I totally realise that this probably inflates my worldly importance and significance somewhat and that in reality no one would even notice or give a dam, or would just tell me where to go if I asked, but I did say it was an irrational fear. The venue in the Fighting Cocks is basically a shed (it looks like a garage from the outside) next to the pub. So after arriving and sitting in my car for ten minutes to build up the courage to go, I walked up the road to meet my nemesis. When I arrived the bloke on the door was giving some guy trying to get in a hard time, suggesting that the photo on the Driving Licence he’d provided as proof of his age had been tampered with; something to do with his eyes looking in different directions. Anyway he was got in in the end and I just walked past the bouncer; no one asks me to prove I’m over 18 these days; not sure why… Anyway, I walk into the place and what do I see? Giant writing on the wall saying “Toilets and venue this way”, with a big arrow to reinforce the message. (Well I think that’s what it said, I was just so happy that I could have thrown myself on the floor and prayed to God for thanks). There was also a bit of a queue too, which helped reinforce the suggestion; (well it could have been a queue for the toilets I guess). Inside the place wasn’t much bigger than a double garage, with a small bar in one corner, a stage in the other and paint peeling off the walls everywhere. I managed to end up trying to dance more or less under the speakers, as I slowly went deaf and the sweat of 150 people dripped down the walls. Yes, it was a pretty cool place! Great gig too; a benefit for the band (so it got to keep all the money from the sale of the tickets), as it had a van with most of its gear and merchandise in it stolen a couple of weeks ago. I only managed to stand on one person’s feet, which wasn’t too bad for me, but he was very forgiving. In a complete contrast to all this, Cruel Intentions features nothing materially seedy but lots of very questionable characters.
1999 – Certificate: 15 – USA
I love this film. I shouldn’t, but I do. Offering some terrible role-models and dodgy morals, we get to see so-rich-its-obscene kids taking pleasure in fucking up other people’s lives just for the fun of it. They aren’t even politicians or bankers either! In “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” I was always more of a Willow than a Buffy fan, but Sarah Michelle Gellar manages to turn her character in this film into a total sex diva. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to slobber all over her as she tells you to be like Captain Picard and “boldly go where no man has gone before”. (I’ll just add that one to my Bucket List, shall I?) A smart script makes the most of a less the original story and the characters are sufficiently well written and acted to make this a genuinely awesome, must-watch movie.
Recommended for fans of excellent films and those that like to say things like, “what a bitch” or “what a bastard” while watching them, especially when the primary emotion when saying them is jealously.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? Sarah Michelle Gellar gets to be the sexy-bad-bitch-from-hell that Buffy could have become if she’d not have been a prime-time TV character; except without all the fighting. Her every word in this film is badass and not ‘good’ baddass either. However, I’m almost sorry she got her comeuppance in the end. What a bad person!