Spike Jonze doesn't waste any time introducing us to the technology at the center of Her. "An operating system that can mimic human sentience?" a dangerously lonely Joaquin Phoenix wonders after catching glimpse of an ad in a transit station. "Don't mind if I do!" (He doesn't actually say that, don't worry.) But by the time we're meant to believe that such a world can seamlessly integrate characters like Scarlett Johansson's automated voice Samantha into the lives of living, breathing men and women like Phoenix's Theodore, we're already established residents of this arresting, icy, quivering world the filmmaker has built. We meet Theodore midway through his recitation of a "handwritten letter" he penned on behalf of a woman to her husband of many years. That's his job — tapping into his own unique sensititivies to play ghostwriter for people hoping to adorn their spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, and children with personal notes of personal affection. Theodore is no independent contractor; he's part of a thriving company, and we almost get the feeling that the folks on the receiving end of these letters are in the know. Before we ever encounter Samantha, we're embedded in the central conceit of the movie: emotional surrogacy is an industry on the rise.
What makes Jonze's world so palatable is that, beneath its marvelously eerie aesthetic, this idea is barely science-fiction. Theodore, humbled and scarred by a recent divorce from lifelong love Catherine (Rooney Mara, who contrasts Johansson by giving a performance that, for a large sum of the movie, is all body and no voice), accesses the will to go on through interractions with video game characters and phone-sex hotlines. But the ante is upped with Samantha, the self-named operating system that Theodore purchases to stave off loneliness, deeming choice a far less contorting one than spending time with old pals like Amy (Amy Adams)... at first.
Samantha evolves rather quickly from an articulate Siri into a curious companion, who is fed and engaged by Theodore just as much as she feeds and engages him. Jonze paces his construction of what, exactly, Samantha is so carefully that we won't even catch the individual steps in her change — along with Theodore, we slowly grow more and more enamored and mystified by his computer/assistant/friend/lover before we can recognize that we're dealing with a different being altogether from the one we met at that inceptive self-aware "H-hello?" But Jonze lays tremendous groundwork to let us know this story is all for something: all the while, as the attractions build and the hearts beat faster for Samantha, we foster an unmistakable sense of doom. We can't help but dread the very same perils that instituted one infamous admission: "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."
But Jonze's sci-fi constructs are so cohesively intertwined with his love story that our dread doesn't exactly translate to an anticipation of HAL's hostile takeover. Her wedges us so tightly between Theodore and Samantha that our fears of the inevitable clash between man and machine apprehend a smaller, more intimate ruin. As Samantha's growth become more surprising and challenging to Theodore, to herself, and to us, the omens build for each.
And although all three parties know better, we cannot help but affix ourselves to the chemistry between Theodore and Samantha, and to the possibility that we're building toward something supreme. A good faction of this is due to the unbelievable performances of Phoenix — representing the cautious excitement that we all know so painfully well — and Johansson, who twists her disembodied voice so empathetically that we find ourselves, like Theodore, forgetting that we have yet to actually meet her. The one castigation that we can attach to the casting of Johansson is that such a recognizable face will, inevitably, work its way into our heads when we're listening to her performance. It almost feels like a cheat, although we can guarantee that a performance this good would render a figure just as vivid even if delivered by an unknown.
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In this way, Her is as effective a comment on the healthiest human relationships as it is on those that rope in third parties — be they of the living, automated, or greeting card variety. In fact, the movie has so many things to say that it occasionally steps on its own feet, opening up ideas so grand (and coloring them so brightly) that it sometimes has trouble capping them coherently. Admittedly, if Spike Jonze had an answer to some of the questions he's asking here, he'd probably be suspected of himself being a super-intelligent computer. But in telling the story of a man struggling to understand what it means to be in love, to an operating system or not, Jonze invites us to dissect all of the manic and trying and wonderful and terrifying and incomprehensible elements therein. Just like Samantha, Her doesn't always know what to do with all of its brilliance. But that might be part of why we're so crazy over the both of them.
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Actor Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to join the cast of the Man Of Steel sequel. It is unclear who the Walk the Line star will play in Batman vs. Superman, but he has been linked to the role of Superman's arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor, according to Variety.
Kevin Spacey and Gene Hackman have previously portrayed the villainous Luthor on the big screen and Michael Rosenbaum and John Shea have played the character on TV.
The Man of Steel sequel is shaping up to be quite the star-studded film - Ben Affleck will play Batman, Gal Gadot has signed up to play Wonder Woman and Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Diane Lane and Laurence Fishburne will reprise their role from the first film.
Actor Jason Momoa is in talks to join the cast of the Man Of Steel sequel, according to a U.S. report. It's unclear who the Conan the Barbarian star will portray, but reports have indicated he'll suit up as Doomsday, Superman's ultimate foe.
However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, if director Zack Snyder decides to fill the movie with Justice League characters, Momoa could portray the Martian Manhunter, an alien with super powers trapped on earth.
Henry Cavill will reprise his role as Superman in the sequel, while Ben Affleck has signed on to play Batman and Fast & Furious actress Gal Gadot will portray Wonder Woman in the highly-anticipated blockbuster, which is set to hit theatres in 2015.
Harry Potter co-stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint have both been honoured among the cream of the British theatre scene after landing nominations for the upcoming WhatsOnStage awards. Radcliffe is on the shortlist for the coveted Best Actor in a Play prize for his turn in The Cripple of Inishmaan, but he faces fierce competition from fellow Hollywood actor James McAvoy for his role in Macbeth, as well as Lenny Henry (Fences), Rory Kinnear (Othello) and Skyfall star Ben Whishaw (Peter and Alice).
Grint has followed his friend into theatre this year (13) and has landed a nod in the Newcomer of the Year category for his West End debut in Mojo. He faces rivals including Jack Huston (Strangers on a Train) and singer Tori Amos, who has been nominated for composing the score to her musical The Light Princess.
Other stars to have landed nods include Dame Helen Mirren, whose turn playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience scored her a nomination for Best Actress in a Play. She is going up against Captain America: The First Avenger star Hayley Atwell (The Pride), James McAvoy's wife Anne-Marie Duff (Strange Interlude), Suranne Jones (Beautiful Thing), and Tanya Moodie (Fences).
The awards, which are voted for by theatre-goers, will be handed out at a ceremony in London on 23 February (14).
Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6 star Gal Gadot has been cast as Wonder Woman in the Man Of Steel sequel. The Israeli actress will measure up to Superman Henry Cavill and Batman Ben Affleck in the film.
Director Zack Snyder has confirmed the news in a statement that reads: "Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe. Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role.
"We look forward to audiences discovering Gal in the first feature film incarnation of this beloved character."
Gadot reportedly beat out former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko for the part.
Henry Cavill has praised Ben Affleck for taking his career in a new direction by signing up to play Batman. Affleck drew the wrath of comic book fans when he was announced as the new Caped Crusader, taking over from British actor Christian Bale to face Cavill as the Man of Steel in upcoming blockbuster Batman vs. Superman.
A petition was even launched in a bid to have Affleck dropped from the cast, but Cavill insists his new co-star is the right man for the job despite the objections from fans.
He tells Total Film, "I'm sure he'll be fantastic, above all else, and as a filmmaker he's got his own style, you know, he's not copying anyone else. And he's also sort of been tenacious in his career. He's had ups followed by downs and now he's very up again and I think that requires and shows a very special strength of character, and it's something which I enjoy working with because jobs like this require a strength of character. They require a dedication to the work and a belief in oneself and Ben has that, clearly."
The Man of Steel sequel is due for release in 2015.
Former Batman Christian Bale has thrown his support behind Ben Affleck and offered the actor/director some helpful advice as he prepares to take over the superhero role. The British actor played the Caped Crusader in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, but stepped down after the release of The Dark Knight Rises in 2012.
Affleck has signed up to take over the role in upcoming blockbuster Batman vs. Superman, prompting a furious reaction from some fans who called for the star to be dropped from the film.
They even released a petition demanding his removal from the cast, but the Oscar-winner has now received the seal of approval from his predecessor.
Bale tells Accesshollywood.com, "I wish him all the best. He's a very experienced actor and filmmaker. He'll make it his own. It should be passed on to another actor and will be again after him."
The American Pyscho star also reveals he spoke to Affleck and gave him some helpful hints about working in the character's skintight costume, adding, "(I told him) just make sure you can take a p**s without anyone helping him because it's a little bit humiliating. I went through having to have someone help you out of the costume in order to be able to do that. That was my main piece of advice for him."
Batman vs. Superman, which will pit Affleck's character against Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel, is due to hit cinemas in 2015.
Actor Adam Driver has dismissed speculation he is close to landing the role of Robin opposite Ben Affleck's Batman in the upcoming Man Of Steel sequel, although he insists the rumours are "intensely flattering". The Girls star was said to be a frontrunner to play Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing, in Batman vs. Superman, but he claims he has no knowledge of the project.
When quizzed about starring in the movie, he tells Collider.com, "Not that I know of no. If you find out, let me know, then I'll know."
However, Driver admits he would love for the reports to be true: "That's (the reports are) like, intensely flattering, as you can imagine. It's Batman and Superman... who doesn't want to be involved in something not only of that scale, but of who those characters are? That's an incredible world to be able to be in for a bit. Like, who wouldn't want to do that?"
One casting rumour which has been given credence is that Jaimie Alexander is in the running to play Wonder Woman in the forthcoming film, going up against former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko, and the Thor star admits it would be a dream to land the coveted part.
She said, "It would definitely be a cool job. I was a huge fan growing up... Not just the show, the comic books too."
Director Zack Synder is due to begin shooting the sequel next year (14), with Henry Cavill returning to reprise his role as Superman.
Actress Jaimie Alexander is anxiously waiting to hear if she has landed the role of Wonder Woman in the forthcoming Man Of Steel sequel, insisting the job would be a dream come true. The Thor star was recently rumoured to be a frontrunner to portray the comic book heroine on screen, going up against former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko, and although she is hesitant about discussing her audition, she admits Wonder Woman has always been a part of her life.
When quizzed about the movie rumours by U.S. talk show host Jay Leno on Thursday night (14Nov13), she said, "It would definitely be a cool job. I was a huge fan growing up... Not just the show, the comic books too."
If Alexander does score the coveted role, she will join Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader in the cast of upcoming blockbuster Batman vs. Superman, which is due to hit cinemas in 2015.
Actor Adam Driver has emerged as the frontrunner to play Robin to Ben Affleck's Batman in the Man Of Steel sequel. The Girls star is currently in talks to take on the role of Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing, according to The Wrap.com.
According to Batman myth, Grayson, who is better known as Robin, adopted the identity Nightwing after growing out of his other alter-ego, aged 18.
Bosses at Warner Bros. studio are also currently searching for the female lead in the film with Olga Kurylenko, Gal Gadot and Elodie Yung emerging as the top actresses to portray Wonder Woman and her alter-ego Diana Prince.
Batman vs. Superman, which also stars Henry Cavill, is set to hit theatres in 2015.