Capsule reviews of new movie releases
"The Bling Ring" -- Given that the film currently ruling the box office is about Americans encouraged by their government to indulge their homicidal urges one night a year -- we're talking about "The Purge" -- it's tempting to hail the clueless young burglars in "The Bling Ring" as veritable humanitarians. After all, they're not out to kill or even hurt anyone. All they want is your designer shoes, your cute tops, your Rolex watches, your cash. And if you're not a hot young celebrity they'll leave you alone anyway. Not that Sofia Coppola's latest film, based on a true story, isn't chilling. It is, and not only because it displays the soulless nature of our fame-obsessed youth culture. It's also that Coppola doesn't judge these kids. It's intentional, but it makes the whole enterprise a little depressing. Coppola bases her movie on a 2010 Vanity Fair article about the so-called Bling Ring, a group of mostly 19-year-olds who stole some $3 million in jewelry and designer goods from Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and others. It's obvious that Coppola knows this milieu, what these kids wear and how they speak. Coppola has chosen newcomers for leads, and gives her most famous cast member, Emma Watson, a supporting role. She's by far the most fun to watch. Rated R for teen drug and alcohol use, and language including brief sexual references. 90 minutes. Three stars out of four.
-- Jocelyn Noveck, AP National Writer
"Man of Steel" -- It has been a black eye for Hollywood that throughout this, the unending and increasingly repetitive age of the superhero blockbuster, the most iconic son of the comics has eluded its grasp like a bird or, if you will, a plane. New hopes of box-office riches and franchise serials rest on Zac Snyder's latest attempt to put Superman back into flight. But Snyder's joyless film, leaden as if composed of the stuff of its hero's metallic nickname, has nothing soaring about it. Flying men in capes is grave business in Snyder's solemn Superman, an origin tale of the DC Comics hero that goes more than two hours before the slightest joke or smirk. This is not your Superman of red tights, phone booth changes, or fortresses of solitude, but one of Christ imagery, Krypton politics and spaceships. Beefy Brit Henry Cavill inherits the cape, with Russell Crowe and Ayelet Zurer serving as his Krypton parents, and Kevin Costner (back among the corn stalks) and Diane Lane as his earthly ones. When General Zod (Michael Shannon) comes to Earth, Clark Kent must embrace his previously hidden away powers. Snyder ("300") doesn't have the material or inclination to make his grim film as thought-provoking as "The Dark Knight" by Christopher Nolan (a producer here). The gravity that cloaks this Superman is merely an en vogue costume. PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, and for some language. 144 minutes. Two stars out of four.
-- Jake Coyle, AP Entertainment Writer
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