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Somewhere - Blu-ray Review

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Somewhere - Blu-ray Review

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5 stars

Who is Johnny Marco? The world knows him as a famous Hollywood celebrity, but he himself can’t pin down his own being. Perhaps it’s the drugs, the alcohol, the woman, and the schedule that has numbed him from his own life. Perhaps it’s something more. Regardless, identity is the essence of Sophia Coppola’s latest film. From its opening scene in which a Ferrari – without explanation - circles a loop no less than five times, Somewhere paces itself slowly – never settling for story conventions – and unfolds its image-driven narrative about one man’s journey from within the clutches of celebrity nowhere. It’s a deconstruction of sorts of one of our social obsessions and attempts to express the seclusion of ‘American Celebrity’ while at the same time expressing an interest in bringing to light the importance of honestly being somewhere else.

Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is a big time Hollywood celebrity. He lives in the Chateau Marmont, the famous hideout for the Hollywood elite, and spends his money on ladies, liquor, and all sorts of pills. It’s party central for this hot shot. Yet, he’s reminded of how awful he actually is to people – almost on a daily basis – from a text he receives from a private number. When Cleo (Elle Fanning), his 11-year-old daughter, comes to stay with him for longer than every other weekend, Johnny discovers just how secluded his life actually is. It’s her love – always unconditional and constant – that begins to awaken him from his trance.

Dorff is mesmerizing as the actor in search of self. His movements are splendidly in tune with the character of Marco. Certainly, there is a bit of himself in this role. Yet, almost as if by surprise, Dorff earns the empathy that so many actors in these types of roles don’t get. His eyes become deep wells of reflection as he smiles for his daughter. Moment after moment, layers are peeled from this guy. Suddenly, his pick-up line of “Hi, I’m Johnny” seems as vapid as the nights he spends alone in his room smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. The world doesn’t want him to change and, in fact, encourages his bad behavior with glamorous award ceremonies (which he takes his daughter to) and bizarre questions fielded from clueless reporters.

Accessible and dangerously engrossing, Somewhere is a film to be celebrated for its foray into nontraditional storytelling arcs. Marco’s disconnection from the world (as well as the connection with his daughter) is depicted through images and silent interaction – not through dialogue and plot points – and within those images are the moments that resonate with the viewer. Powerful and poetic, somewhere is a mighty jawdropper of unexpected truth and pathos. Captured by cinematographer Harris Savides, there is a gentle seductiveness to the powerful naturally-lit images of this quiet film.

Somewhere is an observation full of mellow poignancy; something Coppola, who directed and wrote the movie, I’m sure shares with the character of Cleo who watches her father’s antics with other celebrities with childlike affection and the occasional chiding. Coppola herself probably has her own fair share of stories from growing up under The Godfather’s (Francis Ford Coppola) enormous shadow. Yet, she has proven herself to be a master of art and image. Her films (The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette) are always expressive and sure-footed. Yet, with Somewhere, Coppola breaks free from the form of storytelling and reveals a skilled hand at making images do the bulk of the communication. Because of this, Somewhere won’t find a welcome audience with everyone, but – for my tastes – I’m still applauding this feature.

{pgomakase}

{2jtab: Film Details}

Somewhere - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R for sexual content, nudity and language.
Director
: Sofia Coppola
Writer
: Sofia Coppola
Cast:
Stephen Dorff; Elle Fanning; Chris Pontius; Erin Wasson; Nathalie Fay
Genre: Drama
Tagline:
Somewhere
Memorable Movie Quote: "I need you to take Cleo"
Distributor:
Focus Features
Official Site: www.scsomewhere.com
Release Date: December 22, 2010
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 19, 2011

Synopsis: Writer/director Sofia Coppola reunites with the film company with which she made the Academy Award-winning hit "Lost in Translation." Her new film is an intimate story set in contemporary Los Angeles; Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is a bad-boy actor stumbling through a life of excess at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Hollywood. With an unexpected visit from his 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning), Johnny is forced to look at the questions we must all confront.

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{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Somewhere - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
5 stars

3 stars



Blu-ray Experience
4

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - April 19, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS 5.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); BD-Live; Mobile features

This is a glorious transfer that merges classy photography with HD brilliance on such a mesmerizing level. Universal's 1080p/VC-1 transfer is loaded with crisp and crackling colors and lingers warmly over Savides' natural photography. No noticeable defects were detected…only a transfer that stays true to the artist’s intentions. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track provides a strong and suitable atmosphere for the film to revel about within. Strong bottoms and warm sounds throughout.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

This is where the release falls down a bit. There is but one supplemental item for this feature, but really it’s a damn good and revealing making of featurette. Entitled ‘Making Somewhere’, the 17 minute feature goes inside the process of how Coppola makes her films. It’s quiet and revealing and documents the extent the crew went through to make the film as natural and as quiet as possible.

  • Making Somewhere (17 min)

Playback

  • Region free

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