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Black comedy about four US college girls who get drawn into a world of drugs and violence while on their spring break. With no money to fund their annual break to Florida, hedonistic teens Faith (Selena Gomez), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) hold up a restaurant using toy guns and head south for some fun in the sun. Soon after arriving, however, the girls are arrested in a police raid and consequently land up in jail. Despite having doubts about his motives when they find themselves bailed by local drug dealer Alien (James Franco), the initially suspicious girls soon dive in over their heads when their new mentor introduces them to the wonders of a bling-driven, and addictively dangerous, way of life.
For more about Spring Breakers and the Spring Breakers Blu-ray release, see Spring Breakers Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on July 9, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: James Franco, Selena Gómez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine
Director: Harmony Korine
» See full cast & crew
Spring Breakers Blu-ray Review
Where the bad boys are.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, July 9, 2013
If you've ever wondered what would happen if Quentin Tarantino or even Alain Resnais were to helm a remake of the 1960 perennial Where the Boys Are (and who amongst us hasn't?), chances are it might look quite a bit like Harmony Korine's bracing Spring Breakers. The sixties, especially 1960 which was more like the end of the Eisenhower Era than the beginning of the Kennedy Era, were obviously a much more innocent time, and the romantic shenanigans of four Midwest co-eds in the Henry Levin film were decidedly virginal creatures, despite some lip service toward more liberal (if not outright libertine) points of view. The film was actually rather surprisingly frank for its time, one of the reasons for its enduring popularity, but it of course all seems charmingly quaint to modern day eyes. Will future audiences have the same reaction to Spring Breakers in, say, 2063? The young women in this spring break fracas are hardly innocent to begin with, but they then evolve into rather more ruthless characters as the film evolves, especially once they become involved with a would be rapper and low rent criminal named Alien (James Franco, nearly unrecognizable under what looks like several pounds of metal dental appliances). Harmony Korine has already proven he likes to push envelopes, and he's up to his old bag of tricks throughout Spring Breakers, only perhaps even more so than usual. He both celebrates and deconstructs the whole Spring Break mythos, acting as willing participant and cynical observer (if not downright satirist). This gives Spring Breakers a really appealing internal dialectic that may be tonally hard to grasp but which makes the film both slyly funny and rather surprisingly visceral.
Where the Boys Are had a none too subtle subtext that a desire to grow up and experience the salacious joys of adulthood might not be a great idea. Spring Breakers turns that idea on its head, positing a group of bored young women who decide on a lark to rob a diner so that they can get out of their backwater college town and journey to Florida for some real fun in the sun action. Writer-director Harmony Korine has already shown us that the wild and wooly world of Ft. Lauderdale is a maelstrom of raging hormonal activities. Bare breasted women flaunt their bosoms as crotch grabbing guys poor beer over them while a bacchanal of other overtly sexual activity takes place in and around this particular revelry. Boys will be boys and evidently girls will be girls.
The closest thing to a throwback to the sort of character depicted in Where the Boys Are would probably be Spring Breakers's relatively innocent Christian girl Faith (Selena Gomez), a sweet naďf who finds herself mixed up with much more "adventurous" young women after her roommates Cotty (Rachel Korine), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens) and Brittany (Ashley Benton) engineer the robbery and then persuade Faith to join them on their road trip after introducing her to the joys of getting stoned. The bulk of the film then switches to the Wild Wild Southeast (so to speak), with the quartet ingratiating themselves rather easily into the party lifestyle afforded by the spring break community in Florida. Only after a misstep and arrest do they come in contact with Alien (James Franco), who bails the girls out of their predicament and then introduces them to a more serious life of crime.
That starts a slow but steady attrition of the girls, as first Faith and then Cotty decide to return home for different reasons. The rest of Spring Breakers plays out as a sort of demented ménage a trois that becomes significantly more precarious when one of Alien's main drug dealing competitors decides Alien has encroached too far on his territory. As might be surmised from the above précis, Spring Breakers isn't exactly a traditional "party hearty" comedy, but it really isn't a traditional crime spree thriller either. Korine weaves an oddly hypnotic spell in this film, utilizing impressionistic color and weirdly repetitive pieces of dialogue to craft a quasi-hallucinatory spell where the viewer is never quite sure if the off the wall shenanigans being depicted on screen are really happening.
While a certain demographic may flock to this film to see Selena Gomez (who does rather well), the real revelation here is James Franco, who buries himself in Alien's bizarro world of rapping and petty criminal activity. Franco endured a lot of slings and arrows after his ill-advised stint hosting the Academy Awards a couple of years ago, but as films as disparate as this and Oz the Great and Powerful prove, he's really an actor of formidable versatility, able to navigate both big budget blockbusters and scrappier independent fare with similar ease.
While the film itself may be a prime example of style over substance, but Korine is no mere empty headed showman. Any film which can combine the hyperbolic violence and wry comedy of Pulp Fiction with the dreamlike repetitive power of Last Year at Marienbad obviously has more up his intellectual sleeve than simple gimmickry. Spring Breakers tends to be overly ironic at the expense of actual character development too much of the time (an irony highlighted by the final voice over of the film), but buried beneath the rampant post-Modernist desconstruction Korine exploits is much the same message that pervaded Where the Boys Are: reckless behavior can get you killed.
Spring Breakers Blu-ray, Video Quality
Spring Breakers is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.40:1. Korine and cinematographer Benoît Debie have created an incredibly lush palette which is delivered with amazing gusto on this Blu-ray. A swirling kaleidoscope of deeply saturated blues, greens, reds, teals and purples assaults the eyes with vigor and extremely well modulated tones. The film exploits various techniques, with an overly grainy approach in some nighttime scenes that help to define the grittier world into which the girls are entering. Fine object detail is excellent throughout this presentation, especially since Korine tends to favor extreme close-ups quite a bit of the time. Contrast is also solid and consistent, though Korine really likes to play with light and shade in this film, and some of the darkest sequences offer little in the way of shadow detail.
Spring Breakers Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Spring Breakers features an extremely robust DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that benefits from some fairly nonstop use of cues by Cliff Martinez and Skrillex. The music regularly populates the surrounds and just as often offers some extremely boisterous low end courtesy of thumping bass lines and aggressive percussion. Dialogue is very cleanly rendered, and some of the set pieces in the film deliver excellent immersion. Fidelity is excellent and dynamic range is very wide.
Spring Breakers Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Spring Breakers Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Some of the marketing for Spring Breakers might lead you to believe the film is nothing other than a sort of sexcapade comedy with Franco and a bunch of nubile young women. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm frankly not entirely convinced that Korine's deconstructionist efforts bear nutritious fruits, but as snack food, Spring Breakers is deliciously sweet and tart. This Blu-ray offers great video and audio and comes with some excellent supplements. Highly recommended.
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Spring Breakers Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Spring Breakers 2 and Maniac Cop Remake to be Promoted at Cannes - May 6, 2014
French distributors Wild Bunch have revealed that they are planning to introduce a number of exciting in-production films at the Cannes Film Festival. Amongst them are Jonas Akerlund's Spring Breakers 2: The Second Coming, Gaspar Noe's upcoming Love, and Abdellatif ...
• This Week on Blu-ray: July 9-16 - July 7, 2013
For the week of July 2nd, Lionsgate is bringing Harmony Korine's provocative, satirical Spring Breakers to Blu-ray, with its hallucinatory widescreen energy and its great James Franco performance. Other releases include the Colin Farrell/Noomi Rapace neo-noir Dead ...
• Spring Breakers Blu-ray - April 24, 2013
Lionsgate Films has officially announced and detailed its upcoming Blu-ray release of director Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers (2012), starring James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, and Ashley Benson. The release will be available for purchase online and ...
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