VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Her (2013)

Clint: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 8.1/10 IMDB (Currently IMDB Top 250: #206).

Spike Jonze sure has a range of talent! He wrote (but didn’t direct) Bad Grandpa — a movie that made us laugh harder than any other movie we watched during the year we watched it. He directed (but didn’t write) Adaptation.  He’s been part of the Jackass writing crew forever. He directed Where The Wild Things Are. He was a producer for Synecdoche, New York. He was an actor on The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. I’m just so totally confused about the amazing range of work he seems to get.

This one is written AND directed by him. That doesn’t happen much for him. It turned out really well.  I’m surprised it’s currently in the IMDB Top 250 movies ever. It’s a sci-fi romance drama, though Netflix tries to act like it’s a sci-fi romantic comedy. It’s not a comedy. It’s a pretty serious movie.

It’s simply a very thought-provoking movie about loneliness and drifting apart from others as you grow and change — not always together.  When we get older, we get so specialized that we often aren’t compatible with others.  Robotic lovers and artificial intelligence companions ARE the future, like it or not. And we will lose touch with each other even further.  This movie is about that.

But it’s also another exercise in seeing how technology may shape the way we live in the future. A little bit Robot And Frank, a little bit Sim0ne, a little bit A.I. [the Spielberg movie], this movie totally explores the philosophy of artificial intelligence, whether they have “feelings”, and how they themselves may come to have motivations and aspirations.

It also challenges the concept of what a relationship can be. Can you have a sex life with someone who doesn’t have a body? (Though I often wondered why Samantha didn’t just draw up plans to place her conciousness inside an articulatable RealDoll — that issue was actually addressed by the reading-a-book metaphor she used later in the movie.)

It’s also weird to have a movie where we only *hear* Scarlett Johansson, instead of *see* her. It really allowed me to elevate my appreciate of her voice more — she could totally do animation. We also get to hear, but not see, Kristen Wiig — but only for a minute. Don’t worry, though — not all attractive women in the film are heard but not seen! There’s plenty of Amy Adams AND Olivia Wild AND we get to see Portia Doubleday at age 25 after only having seen her at age 20. Just saying. A lot of this movie is staring at Joaquin Phoenix talking to himself, but not all of it.

But anyway — a very cerebral, well-written movie in my opinion. Carolyn, not quite being as tech-y as me, didn’t quite like it as much as myself.

Written and directed by Spike Jonze (writer of Jackass, Bad Grandpa movies, Where the Wild Things Are, director of Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, Where the Wild Things Are).

Starring Joaquin Phoenix (The Village, Signs, Hotel Rwanda) as Theodore.
Scarlett Johansson as Samantha, the A.I.
Chris Pratt (Guardians Of The Galaxy, The Lego Movie, Take Me Home Tonight, Movie 43, What’s Your Number?, Jennifer’s Body, The Five-Year Engagement) as Paul, the receptionist coworker.
Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo remake movies, Side Effects, The Social Network, Youth In Revolt, A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)) as Catherine, the ex-wife.
Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, Pineapple Express, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, Superbad, The Brothers Solomon, Men In Black 3, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, The To Do List, Year One, Adventureland, 7 eps of The Venture Bros., 4 eps of The Human Giant, 2 eps of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, 2 eps of South Park, 1 ep of Drunk History) as Chat Room Friend #2.
Amy Adams (Lois Lane in Man Of Steel, American Hustle, Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby, Psycho Beach Party, Cruel Intentions 2, 3 eps of The Office, 3 eps of King Of The Hill, 1 ep of Smallville) as Amy, as Theodore’s friend.
Olivia Wilde (Tron 2, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The Change-Up, Drinking Buddies, Better Living Through Chemistry, Year One, 1 ep of Tron: Uprising, 1 ep of Portlandia, 1 ep of American Dad) as Blind Date.
Portia Doubleday (Youth In Revolt) as Surrogate Date Isabella.
Kristen Wiig (Young Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development, Date Night, Anchorman 2, Adventureland, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, The Brothers Solomon, How To Train Your Dragon, Saturday Night Live, Despicable Me, Girl Most Likely, 2 eps of The Simpsons, 1 ep of Drunk History) as SexyKitten (the phone sex in the very beginning).

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1798709/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: American Hustle (2013)

Clint’s thoughts: It was interesting, but alas, it was just another movie where a bunch of people with competing angles try to deal with crime in the way that suits that individual. In the end, I don’t think this lived up to all the hype. I’m pretty tired of these kinds of movies, and want to watch them less often.

Carolyn’s thoughts: I think it was interesting, but I agree that it didn’t live up to the hype, but I did enjoy how it narrated the different perspectives of the characters…

Directed by David O. Russell (I Heart Huckabees).
Written by Eric Warren Singer (1 ep of Aeon Flux) and David O. Russell (I Heart Huckabees).

Christian Bale (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Terminator Salvation, Howl in the English version of Howl’s Moving Castle, Equilibrium, American Psycho) as Irving Rosenfeld.
Bradley Cooper (The Hangover movies, Limitless, The A-Team, All About Steve, He’s Just Not That Into You, Wet Hot American Summer, Stella Shorts, Wedding Crashers, 6 eps of Nip/Tuck) as Richie DiMaso.
Amy Adams (Lois Lane in Man Of Steel, Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby, Psycho Beach Party, Cruel Intentions 2, 3 eps of The Office, 3 eps of King Of The Hill, 1 ep of Smallville) as Sydney Prosser.
Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy, 28 Weeks Later, The Hurt Locker, National Lampoon’s Senior Trip, uncredited in Thor) as Mayor Carmine Polito.
Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games movies, Mystique in X-Men: First Class movies) as Rosalyn Rosenfeld.
Louis C.K. (5 eps of Home Movies, 4 eps of Dr. Katz) as Stoddard Thorsen.
Jack Huston (Twilight 3, 1 ep of Tron: Uprising) as Pete Musane.
Michael Pena (Observe And Report, Turbo, 2 eps of American Dad, 1 ep of Andy Richter Controls The Universe) as Paco Hernandez / Sheik Abdullah.
Shea Whigham (Wristcutters: A Love Story) as Carl Elway.
Colleen Camp (Tackleberry’s wife in Police Academy 2 and 4, Four Christmases, Last Action Hero, Sliver, Wayne’s World, Clue, Apocalypse Now, Speed 2, Plump Fiction, 3 eps of Roseanne) as Brenda. I forget who she is in this movie, but it’s interesting that she was in the Police Academy movies.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1800241/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Man Of Steel (2013) [watched in 3-d]

Claire: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 9/10.
Evan: 4.3/5 stars, 9/10.
Native ratings: 4.0/5 stars Netflix, /10 IMDB.

I knew this would be a movie I loved… Although I had my doubts because the last Superman movie wasn’t that memorable. (Though checking my notes, I said it was as good as any other Superman movie. Of course those other ones were late 1970s/early 1980s, so of course something made in the 2000s will generally be comparable just by the fact that movies are much more well done nowadays).

Suffice to say, I was not disappointed.

Very entertaining.  Superman origin story with LOTS of action.  LOTS. The action barely let up, even for a moment.  Those were literally some of the most epic fight scenes I’ve seen in my entire life. Especially if you don’t count animation.  Superheroes are awesome, and this was awesome.

I like how they made it a point to not spend too much time on his childhood. I like to think of that as a “fuck you” to Smallville’s later, shitty seasons. Incindentally, at least 5 people from this movie played in at least 1 episode of Smallville. Amy Adams (S1E7), Mackenzie Gray (S5E15,S10E1), Tahmoh Penikett (S6E19/21,S3E15), Alessandro Juliani (14 S8 eps), and David Paetkau (S1E3,S8E15).

One complaint: Everyone had way too visible pores. I do not need to be THAT aware of y’alls’ pores!

 

Directed by Zack Snyder (Sucker Punch, Watchmen, Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole, 300, Dawn Of The Dead (2004))
Written by David S. Goyer (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance, The Crow 2, Jumper, Blade: The Series) and Christopher Nolan (Inception, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Memento, Following).

Henry Cavill (The Count Of Monte Cristo) as Clark Kent / Kal-El.
Amy Adams (Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby, Psycho Beach Party, Cruel Intentions 2, 3 eps of The Office, 3 eps of King Of The Hill, 1 ep of Smallville) as Lois Lane.
Michael Shannon (Cecil B. DeMented, Groundhog Day, 8 Mile, Vanilla Sky, 1 ep of Delocated) as General Zod.
Diane Lane (Jumper, Judge Dredd) as Martha Kent.
“Oh my God, it’s Russell Crowe” as Jor-El. Took 3 of us to come up with who he was. Claire: “Isn’t that what’s his name? The guy who went fightin’ round the world in South Park.” Carolyn: “That’d be Russell Crowe.” Evan: “Yes, that is Russell Crowe.”
Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent.
Antje Traue (Pandorum) as Faora-Ul, Zod’s right-hand woman.
Harry Lennix (Commander Lock in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, 6 eps of 24) as General Swanwick.
Richard Schiff (Se7en, Deep Impact, Speed, The Hudsucker Proxy, Ghost In The Machine, 1 ep of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) as Dr. Emil Hamilton, the scientist.
Christopher Meloni (Chris Keller in Oz, Green Lantern in Green Lantern: First Flight, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, Wet Hot American Summer, Twelve Monkeys, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, Junior, 1 ep of Michael & Michael Have Issues) as Colonel Nathan Hardy.
Ayelet Zurer (Angels & Demons) as Lara Lor-Van.
Laurence Fishburne (The Colony, Morpheus in The Matrix movies, Silver Surfer in Fantastic 4: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, Contagion, Mission Impossible 3, Mystic River, Apocalypse Now) as Perry White.
Dylan Sprayberry (Spaced, 1 ep of MADtv) as Clark Kent (13 Years).
Richard Cetrone (he’s usually a stuntman, but he plays The Headless Horseman in a Sleepy Hollow TV series, a werewolf/merman in The Cabin In The Woods, a lyncan creature in Underworld: Awakening, Hunter Morlock in The Time Machine, CJ in Sucker Punch) as Tor-An.
Mackenzie Gray (The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus, Iron Man: Armored Adventures, 2 eps of Smallville) as Jax-Ur.
Julian Richings (Atticus’s father in Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil, and Satan in the 2003 Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, X-Men: The Last Stand, Detroit Rock City, Mimic, Naked Lunch) as Lor-Em.
Mary Black (Mrs. Henderson in Fido, The Wicker Man, ) as Ro-Zar.
Michael Kelly (The Adjustment Bureau, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Unbreakable, 6 eps of The Sopranos) as Steve Lombard.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0770828/combined