Spike Jonze is one of those directors that has a unique perspective on storytelling. From Adaptation to Being John Malkovich to Jackass. His repertoire is diverse. And always just that little bit strange. He is able to play with what we think and believe able the world and create a social and cultural commentary without making you feel like what he is critiquing is wrong. This is exactly the case with his latest writing and directing feat of Her.
Joaquin Phoenix is a writer in an age where everything is digital. He creates beautiful handwritten notes for people. He creates their voice, their words, their feelings, and is really good at it. But he has trouble connecting and understanding people. His wife left him and has drawn up divorce papers, he is a bit of a loner with only a few friends. So when a new operating system comes along with the ability to understand and predict what the user needs and wants, he subscribes, and then falls in love with his AI, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. She becomes every thing he needs and they start up a relationship.
This film delves into the very real situation of us falling in love with someone we can’t see, touch, be with. Most people would say that is just a long distance relationship or an online relationship, and that is what I think Spike Jonze is getting at. Why wouldn’t it be okay for us to fall in love with an operating system? We fall in love over a screen already, it isn’t that much of a stretch. We have friends all over the world who exist mostly in our minds and on a screen. Of course, they also do exist in the real world, but what if they didn’t? Would it make that much of a difference to us? If we had an operating system that was like our friend, what would we do? Do we treat it just like a computer, or would we treat it like that friend we have in another city, state, or country?
Her is a film that tips the balance on romantic cliches and uber gooey lovey-dovey talk which makes it unbearable in parts if you aren’t romantically inclined to sentimental talk. And even for someone that has seen more bad romantic films more than once it is cringe worthy in parts. It’s like those couples that stare lovingly into one another’s eyes for long periods of time in the park. It’s just a little sickening. Of course there isn’t any staring into one another’s eyes in Her, because she is an operating system and doesn’t have eyes, but there is a lot of talk.
I liked this film, even though it left me feeling uncomfortable, because it makes me question how I use my technology. Do I really consider who I am texting or am I doing it just to have contact with someone in the void? Am I more in love with the idea of someone or am I appreciating them for who they truly are, outside my own crazy imagination. In saying that though, it isn’t a film for everyone and for some it will be unbearable. But isn’t that the way with all films?
Director: Sacha Gervasi
Writers: John J. McLaughlin (screenplay), Stephen Rebello (book)
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson
I’ve never been able to sit and watch a thriller without getting scared out of my brains or laughing at how ridiculous it is. Alfred Hitchcock films are different though. I still remember watching North by Northwest as a young teen and not really understanding who made it or what it was meant to be, but it was in black and white so I was interested. It turned out I have a love/hate relationship with thrillers. I also studied Rope at university as part of a film studies class and from that moment onwards I was both enthralled and petrified of Hitchcock. So when my friend suggested we go see a movie about Hitchcock and the making of Psycho I wasn’t completely sold on the idea, but friends will make you do amazing things, and it was a very hot day…
I was blown away. Utterly and completely. Hitchcock is an incredible film about an incredible man. Strange and sometimes scary, Alfred Hitchcock – portrayed perfectly by Anthony Hopkins – is a man who needs to be in charge and who needs to be engaged with a project. The thing that is terrifyingly brilliant about this film is how Hopkins brings Hitch so much to life that you feel like you are watching the man himself. It’s not just the mannerisms or speech, it’s his air and the delivery of every second of every scene. And with Helen Mirren by his side as Alma Reville, Hitch’s wife and script editor/writer, the world of Psycho is lived out on screen for the audience. The perversity of Hitch’s obsession of his lead ladies and his want of control over their lives is very evident but done in such a way that you are both repulsed by him and pity him at the same time, but above all you come out with an admiration for a broken but brilliant man who was and still is the master of suspense.
Special mention needs to go to Scarlett Johansson (Janet Leigh) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Lew Wasserman) who held the supporting actor roles with such integrity that the film would not have been as convincing without them.
Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: Joss Whedon (screenplay), Zak Penn (story), and Joss Whedon (story), Stan Lee (comic book) & Jack Kirby (comic book)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson
This movie could not have been more awesome if it had tried. I have raved and raved about this film to my friends and I’ve seen it multiple times at the cinema and will continue to go back for more. There is something about it that just works. I grew up watching action films with my brother and so have a bit of a love for comic book hero stories. This, however, is the first time that I’ve fallen in love with the evil dude as well as cheering on the good guys. I don’t know what Tom Hiddleston does to get into Loki’s head but he can keep doing it forever in my head. That man can play evil and you still want to take him home and introduce him to your mum, and he has the most wonderful smile. As well has the wonderfully evil Loki, Joss Whedon’s creation of the Avengers and his script are perfection for an action film. It has the crazy evil plot, the heroes fighting against one another which only makes them come together even more, it has humour, it has a hot Scarlett Johansen in a tight black lycra body suit, it has the best Hulk/Stark dynamic and it has the enigmatic Agent Coulson. There are so many moments in this film when I caught myself wriggling in my seat with a massive grin on my face thinking “THIS IS SO FREAKING GOOD!!!” and getting so excited about the film even as it was happening. Even now I get excited jitters about how incredibly good this film was. It’s hard to explain the euphoric feeling that The Avengers gives me. It’s like being a teenage girl in love with a crush and having them pay you a compliment, you go all gooey inside and can drift through the next week in a daze. That’s how the Avenger’s makes me feel, like a stupid, cupid-struck, teenage, fangirl… and it feels amazing.
If you don’t see this film you will be missing out on one of life’s great blessings. I want to thank Joss Whedon and Marvel for bringing together such an incredible cast, a good scriptwriter and director and for spending the big bucks to make this film all we could have ever asked for and more.