Loosely based on the real-life singing group (and written by the lead singer’s son), The Sapphires follows four musical Koori women- three sisters and their cousin- who tour Vietnam in 1968 to perform for American troops. They are accompanied by their drunken manager, Dave Lovelace (Chris O’Dowd), who is generally useless but seriously believes in their talent. While traveling the young women experience various ups and downs: the oldest, Gail (Deborah Mailman), fights to protect everyone else in an unfriendly environment; her sister Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell) embarks on an affair with a handsome soldier; Julie (Jessica Mauboy), the youngest, suddenly finds herself in the spotlight…
With sexy teens, high fashion, celebrity burglary, and a based-on-a-true-story plot worthy of a Lifetime Original Movie, Sofia Coppola’s latest offering The Bling Ring has a lot going for it. It centers on a group of privileged California teens who dream of becoming a part of celebrity culture, and find that breaking into famous stars’ homes and “going shopping” brings them artificially closer to their goal. The high of committing a crime and the bonds that form between the group keep them reaching for more and more scores, until, of course, they get caught.
Using careful re-enactments that feature the actual people involved as well as courtroom footage with some scripted speeches, the film examines the actions of Hossain Sobzian, a mild-mannered film buff who impersonates noted Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makmahlbaf. For about a week he ingratiates himself with a well-off family, saying he wants to make a film with them. His deception is revealed after a few days and he is put on trial for fraud, at which point director Abbas Kiarostami hears the story and decides to film the proceedings.
Inspired by true events, Goodfellas traces the rise and fall of gangster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) as he becomes part of a major New York criminal enterprise. He’d always dreamed of being a gangster, and believes the respect and wealth that he gains are worth the murders and threat of imprisonment and all that. As the years pass he starts a family, does some time, gets deep into drug trafficking, and eventually becomes an informant when several of his friends are killed.
A polite, effusive, intelligent assistant funeral director, Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) is beloved by all in the small city of Carthage, Texas. He is very socially active in the community, especially in church and theater, but it is his unlikely friendship with wealthy, surly widow Marjorie (Shirley MacLaine) that eventually immortalizes him. The questions surrounding their relationship (at times manipulatively romantic, at others bordering on indentured servitude) are explored, as are the strange events surrounding Marjorie’s (premeditated?) death at the hands of Bernie himself.