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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British-Canadian girl group All Saints are reuniting to go on tour with the Backstreet Boys. The band initially broke up in 2001 and returned briefly in 2006, but the comeback came to an end less than a year later after their new material flopped in the U.K. charts.
Bandmembers Shaznay Lewis and Melanie Blatt, and sisters Nicole and Natalie Appleton, have now got back together once again, and they are heading off on tour with U.S. pop group Backstreet Boys when they hit the road in the U.K. next year (14).
The band will open for the Backstreet Boys on a number of shows, which kick off at the LG Arena in Birmingham, England on 26 March (14).
A statement from All Saints reads, "We are really looking forward to performing together as special guests of the Backstreet Boys. The Backstreet Boys are a great band, so it's an honour. We're singing a lot of big songs like Never Ever and Pure Shores, which will be amazing. We can't wait!"
The reunion will be a welcome distraction for bandmember Nicole Appleton, whose marriage to former Oasis singer Liam Gallagher has allegedly broken down over the last few months following reports he fathered a love-child with a New York journalist.
British actor Damian Lewis is raising money for prostate cancer research as attempts to grow a fine moustache for his role in Werner Herzog's upcoming World War One film. The typically clean-shaven Homeland star is letting his facial hair grow out as part of his preparation for Queen of the Desert, but he reveals he's using his new look to spread awareness and raise cash for the Movember movement, during which men worldwide are encouraged not to shave their upper lip for a month to draw attention to the cause.
He explains, "I'm actually going to do a film with Werner Herzog just after Christmas, and (with) Nicole Kidman, and he (his character) is an Edwardian German. Takes place in the First World War and he has an amazing, kind of handlebar moustache... so I started early to try just to try and get there."
However, Lewis admits not everyone is a fan of his moustache: "My wife does not like it. She's being polite and saying she does."
The actor isn't the only celebrity supporting Movember this year (13) - Ashton Kutcher is also taking part in the hairy campaign.
We can picture a young John Wells, staring merrily out of a classroom window in grade school, dreaming of his future in show business. "Someday," he said, "I'm going to make a movie. And it's going to have Julia Roberts, and Meryl Streep, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and a Star Trek villain, and the guy who shot Kevin Spacey." We realize that there might be some anachronisms in there, but we'll chalk it up to clairvoyance on the boy Wells' part. After all, he was right. August: Osage County is only the director's second feature film, and he has amounted an ensemble cast that would make Garry Marshall revert to the behaviors of a Tex Avery cartoon wolf.
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From the looks of the new trailer, the family drama might seem like surprisingly weightless material to amount such a stellar troupe, which alongside Roberts, Streep, Ewan McGregor (the Kenobi), Benedict Cumberbatch (the Trek baddie), and Chris Cooper (the Spacey killer — American Beauty), also includes Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Sam Shepard, and Abigail Breslin. But the play on which the film is based (playwright Tracy Letts is also handling the film adaptation's script) has earned a great deal of positive attention from rave reviews and a handful of award wins. Plus, this might turn out to be one of those simple dramas whose performances alone make it unforgettable.
Check out the trailer, and catch August: Osage County in theaters Jan. 2, 2014 (sure, the release date isn't a great sign, but not all movies that come out in January are bad).
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"The truth is we're no longer together. It is over. I know he's been very public about trying to get me back, but we're still not together." Pop star Nicole Scherzinger has no plans to rekindle her on/off romance with racing driver Lewis Hamilton.
Well, that many words... The Homeland season 3 trailer was just released and we couldn't be more excited to see Carrie and all her wonderful crazy back in action this fall. The trailer really says it all with saying very little. (Cinematic Orchestra's "To Build a Home" may have been the perfect song choice, too). Enjoy:
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Nicole Scherzinger is so lonely following her split from longterm boyfriend Lewis Hamilton, she is taking her employees out on dinner dates. The former Pussycat Dolls singer and the Formula 1 champion ended their five-year relationship earlier this month (Jul13) due to their hectic schedules, and Scherzinger is struggling to adjust to single life.
The star has thrown herself into her work as a judge on U.K. TV show The X Factor in the wake of the split, but admits she has to rely on her staff to keep her company.
Speaking backstage at The X Factor auditions in London she says, "I don't have anyone here (in the U.K.), I don't have my family, I don't even have any friends here. My publicist is my closest friend. It gets lonely but I'm working all the time. You just make those sacrifices and they made me feel so at home last year. It is hard but you always make those sacrifices and it's worth it.
"I love good food, so I'm getting to explore lots of restaurants. I take my publicist and my assistant as dates."
Formula One ace Lewis Hamilton has confirmed his split from pop star Nicole Scherzinger, admitting he is struggling to cope following their break-up. Earlier this month (Jul13), tabloid reports suggested the former Pussycat Dolls singer and the racing driver, who went public with their romance in 2007, had parted ways once again due to their hectic schedules.
Now the 28-year-old Brit has opened up about their broken romance, telling Sky Sports, "I'm trying my hardest to be positive, but I'm going through a really, really tough time at the moment with the loss of someone really, really special in my life. My world's turned upside down."
Hamilton is now trying to throw himself into his racing to take his mind off his heartache: "I have a job to motivate my team. And if I come in with my head down and negative energy then that goes around to all my mechanics who work day and night, and I don't ever want that. So I'm really trying to pull myself together and keep my head up, but it's so hard to do."
The stars previously went their separate ways in 2011, but later rekindled the romance.
Pop star Nicole Scherzinger has split from her on/off boyfriend Lewis Hamilton once again, according to a U.K. report. The former Pussycat Dolls singer and the British Formula One champion, who went public with their romance in 2007, have parted ways once again due to their clashing schedules.
A source tells Britain's The Sun, "It's so hard to keep up a relationship when they're barely in the same country as each other.
"Both have supported each other in their careers and will continue to do so. But the nature of their work ultimately cost their relationship."
The report comes just weeks after Hamilton suggested he may be ready to propose to the singer, hinting, "We've been together for five years, which is quite a milestone really. But hopefully in the near future. Maybe before we get to six years."
The couple previously split in 2011, but later rekindled the romance.
"We've been together for five years, which is quite a milestone really. But hopefully in the near future. Maybe before we get to six years." British racing driver Lewis Hamilton hints he may be ready to propose to singer girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.