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.
Arthur Poppington (Woody Harrelson, “2012”) doesn’t need super powers or fancy toys to fight crime. Armed only with a childlike sense of wonder and his quirky arsenal of cheap, home-made gadgets, he becomes “Defendor”! He finds an unexpected partner when he rescues and falls for a local prostitute (Kat Dennings, “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”). Can the two of them take down the city’s most fearsome crime boss without getting killed in the process?
2009 – Certificate 15 – Canadian Film
Strong language, sex references and drug use
8.5 out of 10
I’ve got to go back to work tomorrow. At the moment it feels I’d have more chance of launching a 20 tonne satellite into space with an elastic band, than being able to work productively when I get into the office. But I’m sure once I arrive, inspired by the latest tales about the England Cricket Team’s fighting spirit, I’ll soon be protecting the Earth once again from all manner of ‘bad guys and stuff’. (That really is my job.) I can sometimes feel a little ill-equipped for my mission though. I guess in many respects that makes me a lot more like Defendor than Superman; just a few toys, homemade gadgets and no superpowers. I have a quote on the wall in my office that says, “Do you ever find yourself striving for perfection with a virtually worthless attempt at it?” I like to think it’s inspirational. Indeed the whole song it’s taken from (“Lemon Water” by Guttermouth) is inspirational and can be applied to very many situations in life.
Billed as a comedy, this movie has quite a dark heart, whilst it highlights the value of friendship and sticking to what you believe in. I was a bit worried that having a lead character with a mental illness might make it a bit uncomfortable to watch, but actually it more or less gets away with it; it quickly ceases to be anything more than a facet of Arthur’s make up and is rarely mentioned explicitly, other than on a couple of occasions where it fits appropriately into the scenes. This is one of those films that after the first 15 minutes or so I thought I was watching a bit of an Edsel; but then it started to get good. The final scene is pretty powerful and for a superhero film about a guy with no superpowers who takes on a ‘crime boss’, quite realistic. This isn’t exactly a kid’s film, as it’s full of drug references and swearing, as well as quite a bit of violence too. It’s not as good as the amazingly brilliant “Super”, but it’s most definitely worth watching. If it has a weakness then it’s probably that it takes time for Arthur’s/Defendor’s character to settle down into someone understandable, but once it does you’ll be right behind him. In many ways he’s as much a tortured soul as Batman, only he doesn’t realise it. I love films like this. I can relate to them.
I really like this movie’s soundtrack. There’s not a lot to it really and it could so easily have ended up as a parody of what superhero films should sound like, but in fact it’s really good. It makes a big difference when it matters. I even went out and bought the track that plays over the first half of the end credits too.
This trailer is a decent enough, although it probably plays down the darker elements of the film and instead highlights the comedy.
Recommended for superheroes (obviously), prostitutes, corrupt police, drug barons and ‘nice guys’.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Nearly all superheroes are badass and Defendor’s no exception. Going after the city’s crime boss armed with only a few marbles and wasps is pretty ballsy; it’s also one of the most stupid things you can probably do too. Monumental stupidity is always badass.