Movie Review: Somewhere [2010]

Somewhere [2010]

Somewhere [2010]
Director: Sofia Coppola
Genre: Drama
Language: English/Italian
Country: USA

Somewhere opens with a shot of a black Ferrari aimlessly driving around in circles in an open area. This goes on for a few minutes, after which popular actor Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) steps out and gazes into the horizon. End scene. This minimalistic shot sets the stage for the rest of the movie, one that most either seem to love or hate, with very few settling somewhere in between.

Johnny Marco is an apathetic actor who shows little emotion to what surrounds his life. Twin strippers, hotel parties, movie press conferences — he seems disillusioned by it all. As he inches through his life, his 11-year-old daughter Cleo (Elle Fanning) is left to live with him for an undetermined amount of time by his ex-wife. This brings a sense of change to Johnny’s life, and now he has no choice but to begin to show some signs of responsibility.

Somewhere [2010]

Not a lot happens in Somewhere. The movie focuses on Johnny’s life outside of the movies and it shows the strain of his relationship with his daughter, but there are no major events that take place. We are merely taken in on a period of this movie star’s life, one who is marred with some sort of depression. Director Sofia Coppola lets the film crawl along, often invoking the use of extended scenes, many of which will leave some people scratching their heads in bewilderment. Occasional quirks are brought up but never resolved. I found these traits to be enjoyable and oftentimes humorous, but it’s easy to see how they could bother certain audiences.

The best moments in Somewhere happen when both Johnny and Cleo are on screen together. Their relationship is simplistic, but there is noticeable chemistry between the two. This is helped by strong performances from the two leads. Stephen Dorff is effective at showing minimal emotion, and Elle Fanning’s acting feels natural and authentic. Since the movie is strictly about these two characters, there aren’t many noteworthy roles played by others. A seemingly random selection of Chris Pontius (of Jackass fame) plays Johnny’s friend and roommate, Michelle Monaghan plays an actress that he has worked with before, and Ellie Kemper (The Office) briefly escorts Johnny around in Italy.

Somewhere [2010]

While Somewhere’s slow pace sometimes works against itself, I found the movie to be a very interesting character study overall. It requires a fair amount of patience and the right mindset, but if you are willing to stick with it you should be able to get something out of it. While not up to the level of Lost In Translation, Somewhere is still an involving experience that can be utterly compelling at times.

7.5/10

Movie Review: Bridesmaids [2011]

Bridesmaids [2011]

Bridesmaids [2011]
Director: Paul Feig
Genre: Comedy
Language: English
Country: USA

Is this the beginning of a new genre? The raunchy “Chick Flick”?

Bridesmaids is not your typical romantic comedy. In fact, to call it as such is a bit of a disservice. Many have compared this movie to The Hangover, which is a fair comparison, even if Bridesmaids doesn’t quite reach the level of the other’s Vegas shenanigans.

Kristen Wiig stars as Annie, the maid of honor for her best friend’s (Maya Rudolph as “Lillian”) upcoming wedding. While dealing with the stresses of this important role, Annie’s life starts to collapse all around her. She struggles to handle the possessive Helen (Rose Byrne), a bridesmaid who feels the need to take control of the pre-wedding events. She has issues with her job at a jewelry store, frequently scaring off customers with her “love is doomed” rantings. Her love life is in disarray; her current sleazy “boyfriend” (an uncredited Jon Hamm) is more of a self-labeled fuck buddy, and he treats her like shit. Annie is definitely a sad case, but damn if she isn’t funny as hell!

Bridesmaids [2011]

I have never been a huge Kristen Wiig fan. She is pretty much hit-or-miss for me, and I never really fell in love with anything she’s done. That has all changed with Bridesmaids. This is Wiig’s movie when all is said and done (she even co-wrote it), and she has some damn good comedic chops here. Her brand of physical comedy is hilarious, particularly during an elongated airplane scene in which she is unbelievably inebriated. Her timing is great, and she shows strong chemistry with her fellow women on screen, including a surprisingly hilarious dance-off with Maya Rudolph. I can really see this being the start of big things with Wiig.

The rest of the cast is great as well. The aforementioned Byrne excels as the wealthy rival of Annie. The other bridesmaids, played by Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper and Melissa McCarthy, all have their moments, but I thought McCarthy surprised the most. She is perhaps the most crude of the bunch, and she has some hilarious moments on the airplane ride with someone she suspects is an Air Marshal. In a movie dominated by women, Chris O’Dowd’s police officer character is really the only likable male to be found, and he is certain to charm the ladies.

Bridesmaids [2011]

While some traditional “Chick Flick” moments are in place, Bridesmaids does not hesitate to bring on the raunchiness. There are a lot of relentless sex jokes and vulgar language, and there is even a ridiculously over-the-top scene that involves excessive human excrement. Yeah, this movie goes there.

I could have done without some of the more slapstick sequences, but for the most part Bridesmaids is a hilarious romp from beginning to end. Consider me a Kristen Wiig fan from this point forward — I can’t wait to see what she does next. Guys, don’t be afraid to give this movie a shot. This is a lot of fun for both genders, no doubt.

8/10