Review: Somewhere DVD

Somewhere DVD boxSTUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: Sofia Coppola | CAST: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning
RELEASE DATE: 4/19/11 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $39.98
BONUSES: featurette
SPECS: R | 98 min. | Drama | 1.85:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 |  English, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Somewhere, Sofia Coppola’s film, tackles a theme she appears all too aware of: the empty, isolated lives of pampered, rich people. After all, the daughter of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola (who produced here) already has Lost in Translation, about American movie star Bill Murray’s (Get Low) liaison with young, disillusioned wife Scarlett Johansson (The Island), and Marie Antoinette centering on Kirsten Dunst’s (All Good Things) French queen, under her belt.

Somewhere movie scene

Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning chill at the Chateau Marmont in Somewhere.

This time, the focus is on movie star Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff, Immortals), an action star living and partying at Los Angeles’s famous Chateau Marmont hotel while promoting his latest action opus. Chain-smoking, checking out strippers, tooling around in his Ferrari. popping pills and messing around sexually with other hotel guests, Marco’s life is one big movie star trip, but one he is not necessarily enjoying.

Enter Cleo (an impressively understated Elle Fanning), his 11-year-old daughter, put into Marco’s lap when her mother decides to take an unscheduled vacation. Marco takes his daughter to ice skating lessons, watches as she plays videogames with his slacker friend and brings her along on publicity junket in Milan. Johnny and Cleo form a bond while both realize what has been missing from their lives.

Like Lost in Translation, Somewhere poses more questions than it can answer while centering on the interaction of its two principals. While people are still wondering what did Bill Murray say in Scarlett Johansson’s ear in the end of Lost, they, too, may also ask “How big a movie star is Johnny? Is he on the way up or way down? How long has he crashed at the Chateau Marmont? And how little has he seen his daughter recently?

Coppola, who also scripted, doesn’t provide many answers, but she does have a way of pulling audiences into this priviliged world by eavesdropping on her lead and peripheral characters’ conversations, capturing the Old Hollywood atmosphere of the Marmont and slyly satirizing movie star sycophants and idiotic foreign press members. There’s a little bit of La Dolce Vita and The Player amidst Ms. Coppola’s cool Antonioni-like deliberations.

There will be those who will find Somewhere too slow, but fans of Coppola’s other films should know what they are headed into even if Johnny Marco doesn’t .

There’s only one bonus features on the disc, a making-of featurette that takes a look at Ms. Coppola’s inspiration for the film and improvisatory work with her leading man. Both are interviewed in the 18-minute-long piece.


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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.