Looking back on 2013, it’s hard to spot one overriding trend other than “great.” Like any other year, the superhero movies, sequels, adaptations and remakes were present, but most of them were disposable and forgettable. The greatness in 2013, not surprisingly, was from the original and unexpected movies. Films born out of the mind of talented, creative people which were executed to delightful and sometimes heartbreaking perfection. Those unique wonders of cinema make up the majority of my top films of the year, but don’t fret. There are some adaptations and sequels on there too. It’s a list that hopefully represents 2013 as one of the best in recent memory.
Over the course of the year, I saw almost 150 films that had theatrical releases. Below you can read about my ten favorites. Read More »
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Posted on Thursday, December 12th, 2013 by Angie Han
While most of the West Coast was still curled up in bed, Aziz Ansari, Zoe Saldana, and Olivia Wilde got up bright and early this morning to announce the nominees for the 71st annual Golden Globes.
12 Years a Slave and American Hustle led the film nominations, with an impressive seven each. The latter didn’t get nearly as much recognition at yesterday’s SAG awards announcement, but the former is crystallizing its status as the one to beat this year. Nebraska also came in strong with five nominations, while Captain Phillips and Gravity picked up four apiece.
Meanwhile, House of Cards and Behind the Candelabra topped the list of TV nominees, with four nods each. Breaking Bad, if you were wondering, got three. On the comedy side, Parks and Recreation, Girls, and newcomer Brooklyn Nine-Nine picked up two each.
Read the full list (with announcements still in progress) after the jump.
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Posted on Monday, December 9th, 2013 by Angie Han
As depicted in Spike Jonze‘s Her, the future promises neither self-tying Nikes nor clear plastic skullcaps. Instead, we’ll all be wearing soft, colorful basics, like Gap pieces with a few offbeat tweaks. But if you don’t want to wait around for that future to come to pass, you can dress like a man in love with an operating system right now thanks to a new collection by Opening Ceremony.
Jonze and costume designer Casey Storm have teamed up with the clothing company to release a collection of outfits that echo the outfits worn in the movie — right down to the safety-pinned pockets, which are perfect for storing your digital girlfriend. Check ‘em out after the jump.
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The new film from Spike Jonze is Her, which delves into the strangeness of modern relationships through an unusual device: Joaquin Phoenix plays a man who falls in love with a piece of software, appealingly voiced by Scarlett Johansson.
Set in a slightly sci-fi near-future Los Angeles, the story features Phoenix interacting with Johansson in voice only, through an earpiece that allows him to stay in constant contact with the operating system of his dreams. This is no glib gag laughing at the idea of a man/machine romance, however, but an earnest inquiry into what makes relationships tick.
There’s a new trailer out today, which you can see below. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 by Angie Han
As we head into awards season — and into the endless debates and predictions that come with it — there’s one name we can cross off the potential Golden Globe winner list for certain.
The HFPA has deemed Scarlett Johansson‘s work in Spike Jonze‘s Her ineligible in the Best Supporting Actress category, despite its being one of the most buzzed-about performances of the year. The reason? Although Johansson’s voice can be heard throughout the movie, she never appears in physical form. Hit the jump for more details on the ruling.
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There’s a vast difference between simply making a movie and taking the time to develop a new idea to make a movie about. It’s the difference between franchises releasing a new sequel every year, and the work of Spike Jonze, a filmmaker who up to this point has only made three movies in 15 years. His fourth film, Her, is the director’s first original screenplay. It’s everything you’d hope for from the mad genius who brought to life Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Where the Wild Things Are.
Her is a dramatic sci-fi romance about a man named Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with his artificially intelligent computer operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). It’s a simple, yet brilliant conceit realized with depth and emotion, two rare traits in mainstream cinema. The depth comes from Jonze’s ideas about technological dependence and loneliness, and the emotion is conveyed as the film raises questions about what it means to love and our capacity to do so. It’s a film that’ll both spark intelligent debate and plenty of tears.
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Posted on Monday, October 14th, 2013 by Angie Han
Most movies involving sentient, self-aware technology begin or end with the apocalypse. But in truth, those movies bear little resemblance to our actual, day-to-day relationship with technology. There are many jokes to be made about Siri’s similarity to HAL 9000 (and Siri knows all of them), but they haven’t stopped us from inviting her into our lives. And if we feel a bit anxious about that, it’s less because we worry she’ll go all SkyNet on us, and more because we aren’t sure what this dependence on our iPhones means for us and our relationships to one another.
It’s that uneasiness that Spike Jonze explores in Her, an unconventional love story about an operating system and the man who loves her. He is Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a lonely man who makes a living writing other people’s love letters for BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com, and she is Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), the digital personal assistant programmed to meet his every need. Their meet-cute comes when he unboxes the software and answers a few questions about his relationship with his mother so the program can spit her out.
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Briefly: Bad news Spike Jonze fans. Warner Bros. has bumped the release of the director’s upcoming film, Her, from November 20 to December 18. The good news is this limited release is aimed to attract awards voters, which bodes well for the film’s quality.
It’ll then be released wide on January 10. Check out the trailer here. [Deadline]