Review: Her

Her

Bad design causes stress and discomfort; whether it is typography in a document, or unfettered suburban sprawl or too many buttons on a mobile phone. Life and relationships, which invariably happen in a haphazard fashion by their nature are bad design, and even the happiest of marriages, or most well adjusted of families and such are nevertheless full of tensions and misunderstandings, but virtue of design being non-controlled, that we learn to live with and accept, or we move on. Storytelling, autobiography, blogging and other personal narratives are an attempt to put some good design on something as chaotic as ‘a life.’ Technology, from ink and paper, to the printing press and eventually the internet have enabled our capacity to do this on an individual level. The landscape of modern social media platforms and the specialized subset of dating websites, while far (very far) from perfect, are a significant step to projecting some ‘design’ onto how we present ourselves to the world. Ultimately, though we have to find a way to be comfortable in our own skin and headspace, while alone in a room, and this includes whether or not another person or persons are present. Comfort and confidence can be driven by good design, but finding some truth and understanding in the messiness is essential.

Spike Jonze has been surveying and navigating these strange lagoons and very often uninviting rocky places with his music videos, short films and of course, his accomplished trio of feature films, Being John Malkovich, Adaptation., and Where the Wild Things Are. In collaboration with an eclectic gathering of intuitive but articulate ‘philosophers,’ Charlie Kaufman, David Eggars and Maurice Sendak, Jonze sets out on his own to great effect writing and directing his fourth feature.

Her, serves up a beautifully designed world. It is perhaps the best film on design outside of the more literal-minded “Design Trilogy” documentaries by Gary Hustwit. Here a near-future Los Angeles (or erstwhile Shanghai) is rendered skyward with clean glass towers, minimal advertising, and plenty of wide vistas and inviting space. In terms of cinematic depictions of America’s richest and most forward-thinking domain (California in itself the world’s 12th largest economy), we have come a long way from Ridley Scott’s septic, tactile and dizzying dystopic Blade Runner full of belching flames, corporate ziggurats and effluent pedestrian clutter. Architecture and aesthetics aside, there is more than a little common ground as a science fiction conceit; the questions being considered are somewhat in alignment: Can we love something ‘artificial’ if that thing can and will evolve to be more human than human? How do we interact with pervasive and ubiquitous ‘technology?’ Despite this concept being explored in may ways even in the infancy of this new millennium (From Soderbergh’s Solaris to Niccol’s S1mOne), this is the first true cinematic Pygmalion of the information age.

Would you like to know more…?

Bradley Cooper is Word [Thursday One Sheet]

 

 

Tomorrow’s regular post is already set to go (and it’s a good one), so I thought I’d jump the gun a bit and post a taste of first time directors’ Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal’s film The Words. I’m pretty sure this sort of design has been done before, but I can’t recall one quite as classy or eye-catching. So first time film makers they may be, but from a marketing standpoint, it looks good so far.

Furthering my interest, the movie also boasts a really nice cast. Obviously Bradley Cooper; but also Zoe Saldana, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, Ben Barnes, John Hannah and J.K. Simmons.

I don’t know much about the movie’s plot yet. It has something to do with strong consequences for plagiarism and how our use of words defines us especially when they are not your own. Now to me, this poster gives off a bit of a sci-fi (sort of an The Adjustment Bureau) feel for some reason. No reason to think that will be part of the story, but I like the style/vibe.

 

“Cowboys and Aliens” Super Bowl Ad

I imagine we’ll be seeing a lot of ads coming out of Super Bowl Sunday over the next few days. A more interesting one might be the promo spot for Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. While I remain skeptical, it’s optimistic skepticism as the trailers so far have looked fairly exciting and interesting. Everything here looks pretty great. And I’m always hoping my childhood hero will someday make a triumphant comeback. Will this be it? Probably not, but I can always hope. Universal is bringing Cowboys & Aliens in only 2D(!) to theaters on July 29th, 2011 this summer.

 

1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger (Craig) with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution dont welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). Its a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience a fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation.

 

Cinecast Episode 195 – Z-Axis

 
The last episode of 2010 clocks in with a triple review, as Kurt and Andrew look at David O. Russell’s earnest and farcical boxing drama, The Fighter, as well as John Cameron Mitchell’s look at how a couple (in this case, Aaron Eckhart and Nicole Kidman) grieve the loss of their young son in Rabbit Hole. Andrew and Gamble gripe on and praise Tron 2 for various reasons, before Gamble gives a double-sneakpeak of The Green Hornet and Fockers 3: Meet those Tiny Mothered-Fockers. All three of the boys discuss their Top 5 male performance picks of 2010 (and add a few honorable mentions in there to boot), and along the way there are digressions on Stanley Kubrick, Stephen King, the nature and requirement of good comedy writing and whether or not it is a good idea to watch mega-blockbusters under the influence of strong cocktails and bacon popcorn.

The Cinecast will return early in 2011. Be safe. Be happy. Be catching up on the holiday cinema offerings if the family gets to be too much for you!

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!


 
 

 

To download the show directly, paste the following URL into your favorite downloader:
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_195.mp3

ALTERNATIVE (no music track):
http://rowthree.com/audio/cinecast_10/episode_195-alt.mp3

 
 
Full show notes are under the seats…
Would you like to know more…?

Cinecast Episode 195 – Z-Axis (Alt. No Music Version)

Cinecast Episode 194 (alternate version with no music). This post is simply for streaming purposes and easier access for iTunes subscribers. For full show notes and listener comments, please visit the official post for this episode.

Thanks!

 

 
 

A Wagonload of Stills and a Trailer for “Cowboys & Aliens”

Oh God oh God, pleeeze tell me Harrison Ford finally kicks some ass in this sci-fi gunsliger picture! Now granted this is from the director who brought us the likes of Iron Man and Zathura (neither of which were particularly inspiring), but LOST co-creator, Damon Lindelof, helped out with the screenplay. So I’m keeping my hopes up that this is as full of awsome as it looks.

 

 

1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger (Daniel Craig) with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don’t welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford).

But as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he’s been, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a fighting chance against the alien force. With the help of the elusive traveler Ella (Olivia Wilde), he pulls together a posse comprised of former opponents – townsfolk, Dolarhyde and his boys, outlaws and Apache warriors – all in danger of annihilation. United against a common enemy, they will prepare for an epic showdown for survival.

Besides what we get in the stills/trailer, the film also stars Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano and Keith Carradine.

more pics AND THE TRAILER are under the seats…
Would you like to know more…?

“Weird” Al Biopic Trailer

Much to the dismay of friends and loved ones I am a huge “Weird” Al Yankovic fan. It never fails; if “King of Pain” comes on the radio, I loudly and proudly sing the correct lyrics of “King of Suede”. Same goes for “I Think I’m a Clone Now” or “Theme from Rocky XIII” or any other of his parodies. His originals are pretty damn good too. The guy owns 3 Grammys and his concert is one of the more elaborate, well thought out and fun times you’re ever going to see a musical artist put together. Put simply: genius. Whacky, misunderstood, nerdy genius; but genius nonetheless.

Thanks to Funny or Die today, a mock trailer was made up for a movie that I totally wish was real, of Al’s “life.” Granted this has sort of already been done with The Dewey Cox Story, but nevertheless, some great casting in here including Patton Oswalt, Gary Cole and Mary Steenburgen.

Two words: “EAT IT!”

 
[via]