REVIEW: Somewhere

Somewhere
Directed by: Sofia Coppola
Written by: Sofia Coppola (screenplay)
Starring: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Chris Pontius, and Michelle Monaghan

The Coppola pop cultural dynasty is an interesting and often overlooked member of the pop culture framework.  It has produced the immortal in Francis Ford Coppola, who directed masterpieces both well-known (The Godfather Trilogy, Apocalypse Now) and forgotten (The Conversation, Tetro).  Other members include Nicolas Cage, who changed his name to forge an identity away from the family name, and Sophia Coppola, who is the most interesting by far.

This Coppola is also a director, though she tried acting to universal disgust in The Godfather Part III.  Behind the camera, though, she is somewhat of a master.  Her latest, vaguely titled Somewhere, is the kind of film nobody really knows what to do with.  It stars nobody in particular and is about nothing in particular.  She is the only selling point because of the critical triumph of her 2003 feature Lost in Translation.

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REVIEW: Kick-Ass

Kick-Ass
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Written by: Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn (screenplay), Mark Millar & John Romita Jr. (comic book)
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Aaron Johnson, and Chloe Moretz

The way Kick-Ass was marketed, you’d never know what it was about.  It could be the next raunchy teen comedy, a Scary Movie iteration with super heroes, or a campy exploitation flick.  After seeing this movie, I now know why they could not market it efficiently.  Kick-Ass is all of the aforementioned things, struggling much like a super-hero to find an identity.  At it’s best, it is a rocking reinvention and exploitation of the super hero mythos.  At it’s worst, it is a formulaic teen comedy with shock value language dueling with shock value violence.

The premise of the film is interesting enough.  With caped crusaders invading our pulp culture like cockroaches, why has no one in the real world donned a mask and set out to fight crime?  Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) plays the nerdy philosopher who comes up with this idea, and decides to take action.  He becomes Kick-Ass, a scuba-suit wearing crime fighter who is stabbed and beaten to a pulp his first night on the job.  The answer to his earlier question is answered early on.

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