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I was really looking forward to Sofia Coppola’s new film, Somewhere, mostly because I was enormous fan of her Lost in Translation.

Sad to say, Somewhere isn’t in the same class. It is the story of a hard-living, self-indulgent Hollywood actor, played by Stephen Dorff, who begins to reconsider his ways after spending time with his 11-year-old daughter, enchantingly played by Elle Fanning. But it has the problem of being a 97 minute movie that feels like a 197 minute movie.

There are things about it I liked, especially the Woody Allen-like approach to setting up shots. Coppola tends to put the camera in one place and then let the action unfold within the frame; she doesn’t believe in a lot of fast cuts, and it is an approach that I like, depending on the project.

But in Somewhere, the subject matter is less than compelling. It is hard to work up any sympathy for an emotionally distant movie star who drives around in a Ferrari, stays in sumptuous hotel suites, gets pretty much anything he wants, and yet is not happy. (I kept hoping that Cher would come into the movie in Moonstruck mode, slap him a couple of times and say, “Snap out of it!”) It’s been speculated in the press that Coppola is commenting on her own life and father, the legendary Francis Ford Coppola of Godfather fame, but if so, she should have saved the introspection for the therapists’s office.

One of Sofia Coppola’s central metaphors in the movie is the Ferrari, which Dorff’s character drives on the LA freeways but never seems to be able to get our of second gear because of all the traffic. But it’s also a good metaphor for the movie itself, which never gets out of second gear.

I am so tired of snow. And ice. And cold.

And there’s another seven or eight weeks of winter left.

I hope the groundhog was right. But I’m not counting on it.

I know this sounds like I’m whining. And I suppose I am. But I cannot help myself.

(Tell you one thing, though. If I am going to endure a winter like this one, I’m glad I own an insulated Flying Tiger leather jacket from LL Bean...which is an amazingly warm garment that stands up to pretty much anything that nature throws at me.)

Good to see that “White Collar” has begun a new season on USA - this terrific series is “It Takes A Thief” for a new generation. Well acted and written, and filmed in the New York City that seems a lot brighter and stylish than it looks on “Law & Order.”

BTW...everybody needs to start watching “Fringe” on Friday nights. Now. Because this is a TV series that has hit its science fiction and metaphysical stride, is tons of fun, but now is in danger of getting cancelled because it has what some folks call the “Firefly” time slot on Friday night, which is where TV shows go to die. (You may need to catch up its previous seasons via DVD or iTunes...but it is worth it.)

As much as I hate to say it, Fox ought to give “Fringe” the time slots that it has been sliding “Human Target” into ... because “Human Target” has steadily gone downhill this season, getting sillier and sillier with each passing week. They ought to just cancel it ... and let Mark Valley go off and play “Spenser” on the rumored reboot of the Robert B. Parker TV series.

My wine of the week - the 2009 Dolcetto d’Alba from Granducato, which is wonderfully robust and perfect with dishes like lasagna and chicken parmesan, which I’ve been making a lot lately as a way of bearing up against the cold and ice. Fantastic - and at about $16, a bargain.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend...

Until Monday ... Slainte!
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