It’s a Siri-ous kind of love affair — Her takes on line dating to a whole new level
By Peter Covino
Arts & Entertainment Editor
I used to really dislike You’ve Got Mail.
It looked and felt dated the day it came out and has only gotten worse through the years.
It made me want to swear off any film that even vaguely involved computer dating. And then along comes Her, the new Spike Jonze directed film that rewrites the genre, if you can call this a genre.
Jonze, who usually takes an experimental trek when it comes to film (Where the Wild things Are, Being John Malkovich, Adaptation) has definitely elevated to the first tier of American directors (if he wasn’t already there) with this fresh approach to film-making.
Joaquin Phoenix stars as Theodore, a loner, who appropriately enough writes love letters for others at his job BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com.
His job is intriguing enough, in this very near future world, as he writes really personal letters for people who don’t have the time, inclination or ability to write a beautiful handwritten letter.
Theodore, of course, is not a great communcator himself. He has a failed marriage and divorce is imminent and apparently has no clue or desire to get back into the dating game.
And so he begins one of the most unusual romantic involvements ever — he begins dating his computer’s new operating system. (Think Siri on an iPhone or Google Now on an android).
After a few awkward, shy moments Theodore and Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) begin dating and even become quite intimate.
Strangely or maybe not so strangely, everyone in this near future world (set in Los Angeles) finds this to be pretty normal behavior and soon Theodore and Samantha go on outings together (he has a portable device about the size of a phone that allows them to communicate no matter where they are) and even double date with “real” couples).
Remarkably, all of this seems so very plausible in 2014 even though it would have been pure science fiction just a decade ago.
Her is funny and sad, futuristic and retro, all rolled up in one neatly put together package with a lot of stated and unstated commentary on the human condition.
The visual design, the acting (Phoenix has never been better), the soundtrack, even Theodore’s ill-fitting/ill-advised wardrobe are all perfectly in tune to the feel of Her.
It all adds up to the most original film of 2013 and a definite contender at the annual parade of award shows.
Coming soon (Feb. 18) is the Blu-ray/DVD set of Games of Thrones: The Complete Third Season.
The most pirated show of 2013 (a title it has held before). the Blu-ray will include some hard to get features (even if you are adept at stealing).
In addition to multiple featurettes, extended and deleted scenes, and audio commentaries the set will include an extensive feature on the creation of “The Rains of Castamere,” containing nearly two hours of never-before-seen material, as well as new looks at the infamous “Red Wedding.” The Rains of Castamere was one of the most talked about episodes from any series last year.
Other bonuses include:
The Roots of Westeros – Explore the interconnected web of relationships, rivalries and conflicts between the noble houses of Westeros with this interactive guide.
Histories & Lore – Learn about the mythology of Westeros as told from the varying perspectives of the characters themselves.
DVD and Blu-ray:
“A Gathering Storm” Featurette – Look back at the stormy events of Season 2 in this 14-minute recap with cast and crew.
“The Politics of Marriage” Featurette – The concept of matrimony in Westeros is all about making power plays and political alliances. Cast and crew examine this ancient institution and its place in Game of Thrones.
“Inside the Wildlings” Featurette – Go beyond the Wall with this introduction to the wildlings to gain a better understanding of their backstory.
New Characters of Season 3 – Meet the new faces in Season 3: Olenna Tyrell, Missandei, Mance Rayder, Tormund Giantsbane, Orell, Jojen & Meera Reed, Blackfish & Edmure Tully, Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion.
Deleted/Extended Scenes – Five deleted and extended scenes.
Audio Commentaries – 12 commentaries with cast and crew including David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, George R.R. Martin, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Michelle Fairley, Kit Harington, Richard Madden and more.