2013 Movie Reviews: Her

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I know I should have put this movie review up earlier. But what can I say? I’ve been busy with all of he stuff I got for Christmas. But I have a big post planned when I talk about some of the recent guilds, and so, it seems important for you to know my opinion on the recent Spike Jonze film which the HFPA classified as a comedy because the HFPA are stupid.

In the not-so far off future, people can write your apology letters for you, video game characters can communicate with you, and artificially intelligent Operating Systems are widely purchased. One man, a writer named Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) buys an OS called Samantha. (Scarlet Johansson) It appears to be love at first gigabyte for these two, but is romance between man and machine (which turns out to be fairly common) even possible? And if not, will Theodore be able to move on from another heartbreak?

The first thing I want to point out about this movie is that the film is surprisingly more adult and dirty than the trailers would have you believe. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The film’s portrayal of sex, depending on who the act is between, can range from disturbing to oddly calming. Also, it sickens me that some people actually want American Hustle to win Best Original Screenplay. A screenplay that was largely improvised vs a screenplay that explores the relationship that mankind has with both each other and their machines in both a stylized and shockingly realistic way? This isn’t exactly Sophie’s Choice, people.

Spike Jonze’s vision of the future is amazing. Much like WALL-E it shows us a glimpse at where humanity is headed that is not only brilliant but also believable. We shut humans out of our lives because of our computers every day. Heck, right now, I’m writing a review on my blog when I should be spending time with my mother. The thing about technology is that it will still be there when your loved ones are long gone, a point that the film makes. And while it’s no secret that many, including myself turn to technology as a substitute for human companionship, it’s still a point that humans and computers are different in many ways, and which one has the upper hand is debatable.

I know that the Best Actor race is seemingly all sewn up at this point, but Joaquin Pheonix deserves to win an Oscar for his performance. It’s a performance that’s honestly hard to describe, you just need to see it for yourself. Scarlet Johansson’s performance on the other hand, is a little bit more interesting. Unlike a performance in an animated film, there is no animator that will draw the audience’s attention away from the performance, so Johansson shines, and I’d say that her, Nyong’o and Lawrence all gave Oscar worthy performances this year. It’s a shame to call two of them ‘losers’

Let me put it this way.

Lat year, this film would have been my vote for Best Picture.

The year before that, this film would have been my vote for Best Picture.

The year before that… there was How To Train Your Dragon. So probably not. But the point remains. I imagine this film will eventually crack my top ten favorite movies. The film inspires me and it pains me to not give it Best Picture or Best Director. It’s a shame that this movie has had to compete against Gravity. All I can say is that in a year with two masterpieces, the academy better not give their top prize to 12 Years A Slave.

*****

Oh, there was another film I saw recently. I might as well do a snapshot review like I did for The Book Thief.

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY

While the cinematography is admirable and it’s clear that Ben Stiller’s heart is in the right place, the film comes across as juvenile with a very similar storyline to Up and cliches that suck up any density this movie might have had. To be honest, it may have actually made it to 3 1/2 stars, but the Benjamin Button sequence cuts it down to 2 1/2.

**1/2

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