Movie News

Friday, March 8, 2013

‘Spring Breakers’ & ‘The Bling Ring’ – Pretty Young People Gone Bad

Chris here from way down South:

It is not rare for Hollywood to release two eerily similar movies in the same year – Armageddon/Deep Impact, Capote/Infamous, Antz/A Bug’s Life, Dante’s Peak/Volcano, No Strings Attached/Friends With Benefits, The Prestige/The Illusionist, etc., etc. etc. And it is not necessarily always a bad thing – both films can be good and bring different things to the table despite such a major resemblance.
Yesterday, Dan pointed out to me the apparent similarities between Tom Cruise’s Oblivion and Will Smith’s After Earth, and I have to agree (I can’t help but notice a distinct Wall-E vibe from Oblivion too). But there is another pair of particularly awesome-looking, yet semi-comparable films due out this year that I am even more excited to see – director Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers and Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring.
Spring Breakers follows four college girls (including former Disney starlets Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens) who land in jail after robbing a restaurant in order to fund their spring break vacation. Later, they find themselves bailed out by a drug and arms dealer (an over-the-top James Franco) who wants them to do some dirty work.
Check out the trailer here:

Whereas The Bling Ring tracks a group of fame-obsessed teenagers who use the Internet to track celebrities' whereabouts in order to rob their high-class homes of luxury items. Plus, this one is based on actual events.
Great new teaser trailer released today (love the use of "Crown on the Ground" by the Sleigh Bells):

As usual, my anticipation for these films stems from multiple points. First, I am a fan of both directors.

Sofia Coppola, daughter of the legendary Francis Ford Coppola, burst on to the scene with a string of fantastic films (The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette), and though I did not particularly care for her last flick (Somewhere), she is still a filmmaker I greatly anticipate new works from. Hopefully this film will cast a sharp commentary on today’s misguided obsession with “celebrity.”

Korine (Gummo, Trash Humpers, a massive library of short films, plus he wrote Kids) is more hit-and-miss, but I like his visual style and boundary pushing tendencies, though Spring Breakers is said to be his most accessible film to date. I think he is perfectly suited for the subject matter at hand here.

Next, I am intrigued by both casts, even the Disney princesses (I must admit, I actually did like Gomez’s show Wizards of Waverly Place). Young, pretty people gone bad . . . what’s not to like there? But more significantly, James Franco looks awesomely ridiculous and over-the-top (in a good way) as a white-boy-rapper-wannabe-thug with cornrows and a grill no less.

As for Bling Ring, we have the lovely Emma Watson (she’ll always be Hermione Granger) playing against type as the leader of the teen theft group with supporting roles from Leslie Mann, Kirsten Dunst, Gavin Rossdale, and apparently cameos from some of their real life celebrity victims like Paris Hilton.

The Bling Ring, which hits theaters in June, has yet to screen publicly, but Spring Breakers premiered late last year at the Venice Film Festival to mostly positive response and is due out for wider release later this month. I know I’ll be checking out both in theaters, will you?

And can you think of any other pairs of similar films released the same year?

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