Her



Hell is having to explain the movie Her to somebody. A man falling in love with an operating system is definitely a bizarre premise and by all accounts makes Her a weird film, but there’s more to it than the surface level would lead you on to believe. It’s a wonderful commentary on human relationships as well as our rapidly changing technology and the way we incorporate it into our day-to-day lives. It also weaves a simple yet moving love story to accentuate the new ways we are meeting our emotional needs with technology. There’s so much warmth and beauty to this film that it has stuck with me since I first saw it this past Monday and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite movies.

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Unable to move forward with his divorce, Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) has slowly become a lonely introvert shielding himself away from society. Silently reaching out for some sort of connection Theodore eventually buys a new product called OS One. OS One is a personalized A.I. assistant designed to adapt and evolve into a more human like companion. Theodore chooses a female OS named Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) as his companion and together the two help teach other learn about life, dealing with the complexity of emotions, and finding happiness.

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It’s a never-ending debate on whether or not technology is hurting or helping the way we interact with each other. We’ve never been more readily connected than we are now and yet there’s still a sense of detachment, especially in face-to-face communication. I’ve seen lasting friendships made through online communities and I’ve seen stories of malicious deception through online anonymity. Her takes this debate and provides us with a smart, funny, and often awkward look on both sides. The film opens up with Theodore going through the various different ways we use technology to connect with others but illustrating the emotional disconnect without the personal touch. From online chat rooms, video games, and automated news feed, Theodore wanders aimlessly through his life. He’s searching for some connection but each readily available avenue doesn’t provide him with the satisfaction he is looking for, as is evidently seen with his late night chat room partner.  Enter in Samantha. Together Samantha and Theodore hit it off far more than any of the other contrasting human relationships in the film. On paper the two are perfect for each other despite the fact that Samantha is a computer.

The biggest and obvious challenge the film faces is getting you to buy into this strange relationship. Personally it works for me largely due to the wonderful chemistry between Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. The conversations are playful and fun and the sense of happiness the two bring to the screen is undeniably warm. Scarlett Johansson especially brings Samantha to life with nothing more than her voice. The sheer range of pure emotion she brings to Samantha is pleasant and incredibly soothing. I found myself really invested not only in the living breathing Theodore but also the artificial Samantha. Her progression from an enthusiastic AI to something far more emotionally complex is interesting and served as a nice compliment to Theodore’s journey to understand his emotions. Joaquin Phoenix gives a great performance as well. He really captures the isolated sadness his character faces all while providing a warm sense of optimism. Both Johansson and Phoenix work in tandem to create a melancholy but beautiful look at human relationships and helps the film capture a true sense of love. Not just the romantic lovey dovey everything is perfect aspect but also the fears, the insecurities, and jealousy as well. By including this less than glamorous look into something as complex as love, the film impresses the rewarding experience of sharing your life with someone. Needless to say the film sold me on their relationship and it only opened up more interesting questions.

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I remember thinking it was strange how matter of factly some people accepted this bizarre relationship, especially when Theodore and Samantha would be out and talking in public. However, in this near futuristic setting where professional companies are created to write personal love letters for others it makes all the sense in the world. It took me a second to realize how disengaged others often were in the public settings yet still communicating with their own devices. To them Samantha and Theodore are no different, if they even stopped to take notice at all. It really showcases the similarities to the way we are today whether it’s through long distant relationships or purely Internet based relationships in both a romantic and non-romantic sense. We’re constantly bombarded with notifications from social networks, texts, and emails, all while holding extensive phone conversations with seemingly no one. It really showcases the film’s ideas looking ahead at the evolution of human relationships and how obsessed we are with technology.

Sure what Samantha and Theodore have is strange, but who’s to say we’re not that far off? To quote a soon to be over quoted line from the movie, “Falling in love is a crazy thing to do. It’s kind of like a form of socially acceptable insanity.” Samantha and Theodore found their own sense of joy so what’s it to others as long as they’re happy? They seemingly meet each other’s needs emotionally and are helping each other learn new things. Although the film does a good job of showing both sides of the argument it eventually tips it’s hat on how it feels in the end and I think it serves as a wonderful litmus test for your own feelings, which is what makes this film great.

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Without going into too much detail the film begins to capture the painful fall out of any relationship. It’s wonderful that although this film is first and foremost a love story it manages to include a very thoughtful sci-fi narrative on artificial intelligence as well. As things begin to take a turn for the worst the film begins to shed light on its personal feelings about emotional needs. I’m always amazed at how we strive to imitate such human nuanced responses in machines but I highly doubt we’ll ever reach a point where it becomes the alternative. My feelings with technology and relationships seems to fall in line with the films in that although it can be a wonderful thing we still need that elusive human element to reciprocate true happiness. Like anything there needs to be a balance in the way we handle our relationships and the way we handle our technology. It was nice to see the film shed light on the way the OS One adoption was spreading through their society. People were interacting with their own personal AIs in a variety of different ways to meet a variety of different needs. There’s room for this technology to aid us in connecting with others and learning about ourselves but the moment it becomes an escape to hide away from facing our problems or pure instant gratification is the moment it becomes just a hollow experience.

As I said early the hardest job this movie faces is getting you to accept the idea of falling in love with an OS. Playing the devil’s advocate here, it’s a tough pill to swallow that will leave you unengaged and most likely repulsed by the absurdity. On the outside looking in it is such a weird concept and most of the drama and tension evaporates under this silly premise, leaving it wide open for unintentional humor. It doesn’t help that the idea of being absorbed by our technology isn’t exactly fresh grounds either. It’s a constant debate that’s has been beaten to death going in circles. However, if you can set aside your feelings and buy in for just a moment, you’ll be rewarded with a love story that is far more thoughtful and speaks more about love and human relationships than most traditional romance films.

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If you couldn’t tell I really loved the movie Her. On top of the thought provoking ideas the film provides it also creates such beautiful imagery. It’s a wonderfully colorful film with perfectly timed music creating an almost dreamlike perfect day. On the surface it seems to borrow just about every cliché moment from any indie feel good movie ever but it’s in its execution and knowing when to use these moments that make the film stand out.

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In addition to Scarlett Johansson and Joaquin Phoenix, the film also features a sincere performance from Amy Adams who provides a heartfelt friendship to Theodore. Although it’s understated, Amy’s story mirrors Theodore’s in finding happiness. Amy’s journey and search for emotional reciprocation is a nice contrast to Theodore’s and shows the non-romantic side of emotional needs. Overall it’s such a warm movie and I’ve left the theater in a euphoric state and the glow has stayed with me since. If you’ll allow me to gush for a second it’s movie that really conveys the happiness about being alive and being in love. There’s a lot of depth to this film and it’s a great conversation to have.

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Interested in writing reviews or news posts for Thinking Cinematic? Contact me at ThinkCinematicReviews@gmail.com! You can also send your guest reviews there too!

Connect with me at:
Twitter: @TreyRSolis
Twitter: @Think_Cinematic
Email: ThinkCinematicReviews@Gmail.com

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Man of Steel


Summary:

Man of Steel is visually impressive and overall delivers on some highly entertaining action sequences. The rest of the film is unfortunately caught up in terrible pacing and excessive use of flashbacks. There’s a constant sense that the movie is always on the verge of something more but it never quite finds a way to deliver on its grandiose promises. It’s a shame that the impact of the film never quite matches up with its narrative beats especially given how wonderful this movie looks and sounds. At the very least Man of Steel is an entertaining ride but it has a hard time proving that it’s more than just hollow popcorn fluff.


After a long exciting wait Superman has finally made his return on the big screen. Releasing this past Friday, Man of Steel aims to reboot the series and retell the origins of Superman. I’ve never been overly excited about Superman as a character but after the first rounds of trailers I was sold and anxiously waiting for this movie. Does Man of Steel live up to the hype and establish a solid foundation for DC’s universe or does it fall victim to being popcorn fluff?

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Man of Steel brings us through the origins of Clark Kent as well as the struggles on Krypton. When General Zod stages a coup in order to save the dying planet in a militaristic fashion, a worried couple decide it’s best to send their son to Earth. The young boy is forever haunted by the question of who he is and where he came from and sets out to find the answers in order to become the hero he was born to be.

My expectations for this movie were high and ultimately I walked out of this movie pretty disappointed. It’s a shame that the movie never seems to reach it’s potential when Zack Snyder’s style creates a movie that looks and sounds as beautiful as it does. The elements for the movie to be great were there but the movie’s pacing never quite matches up with the narrative beats. It comes away as mellow dramatic and often times I found myself laughing at scenes that were unintentionally funny. That’s not to say the movie is without powerful scenes but it’s hard to take seriously, especially when dialogue can be incredibly cheesy. Even with its run time sitting at two hours and twenty minutes the movie comes away with sections that feel glanced over. The opening is great, and the end is satisfying on a visual scale, but in between it’s kind of an aimless drift from scene to scene.

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The movie is told in a non-linear fashion and these excessive flashbacks ultimately hurt the movie for me. It became a chore to sit through the beginning of Clark’s journey when we couldn’t go more than 10 minutes without jumping to another flashback of Kent’s childhood. They disrupted the pacing and after a while were just regurgitation of the same information. It got to the point where it feels as though we’re watching someone’s slideshow highlights of his or her vacation instead of watching our hero’s journey unfold. In the movie’s defense these scenes more than likely would have been more impactful for me had I not seen the trailers to the film but it’s just another one of those tricky situations where it’s hard to fault a film for it’s marketing strategies.

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I’m pretty happy with the movie casting wise. Henry Cavil has me sold on his Superman, and Michael Shannon brings a satisfyingly evil persona to General Zod. Though I mostly enjoy Amy Adam’s performances, her take on Lois Lane wasn’t memorable, mostly due to the bland writing for her character. They actors do their best to overcome some of the less than stellar aspects of Man of Steel but unfortunately it’s not enough to get it off the ground. Man of Steel gets so caught up in itself that its dialogue becomes spoon fed exposition and symbolism too blatant to suspend disbelief. Another big blow to the movie is that at the end of the day it’s another origin story, one we’re all familiar with, and in this particular case, Man of Steel doesn’t tread any unfamiliar ground. There’s no unexpected twists or turns to keep the audience engaged, or at the least enough dedicated screen time for Clark’s agonizing inner conflict to give the film meat. These flaws aside I’m happy with the foundation of characters that they’ve set and in particularly happy with Cavil’s depiction of the human side of Superman as well as Clark Kent. I would be more than willing to give this series another chance if it came back with a tighter script and a more focused direction.

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Drawbacks aside, the film looks incredible and features some highly entertaining action sequences. Though the collateral damages is bit excessive with Superman’s battles, it’s still fun to watch this super being wail on his enemies and vice versa. The early scenes on Krypton are also extremely fun to watch and have a grand scope for this alien planet in turmoil. I couldn’t escape the sense that the movie was always on the verge of something more but never quite finding away to deliver on its grandiose promises. At the very least Man of Steel is an entertaining ride but it has a hard time convincing me it’s more than just hollow popcorn fluff.

Man of Steel is visually impressive and overall delivers on some highly entertaining action sequences. The rest of the film is unfortunately caught up in terrible pacing and excessive use of flashbacks. There’s a constant sense that the movie is always on the verge of something more but it never quite finds a way to deliver on its grandiose promises. It’s a shame that the impact of the film never quite matches up with its narrative beats especially given how wonderful this movie looks and sounds. At the very least Man of Steel is an entertaining ride but it has a hard time proving that it’s more than just hollow popcorn fluff.

Interested in writing reviews or news posts for Thinking Cinematic? Contact me at ThinkCinematicReviews@gmail.com! You can also send your guest reviews there too!

Connect with me at:
Twitter: @Treyrs20o9
Twitter: @Think_Cinematic
Email: ThinkCinematicReviews@Gmail.com

Movie Monday Update Week of April 22st


Hello and Happy Monday TC readers! A lot to choose from on the retail front but another pretty lax week at the theaters! Don’t forget to check out my Community review Intro to Knots (4.10) here! Also don’t forget to read my review on Oblivion here if you haven’t done so already! Alright let’s get right to it!

In Case You Missed It:

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A trailer for the movie The Hunger Games: Catching Fire hit the web last week and you can check it out here! After the events of the previous movie Katniss has stirred a new feeling of hope within the districts.  Fearing a revolution President Snow begins to conspire again Katniss and the rest of the previous Hunger Games victors! The Hunger Games: Catching Fire stars Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, and Jennifer Lawrence. The movie is set to hit theaters on November 22nd, 2013!

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A new trailer for the Man of Steel hit the web last week and you can check it out here! This third trailer reveals more footage and additional plot points. Man of Steel stars Amy Adams, Russel Crowe, Kevin Costner, Michael Shannon, and Henry Cavil. Man of Steel is expected to hit theaters on June 14th, 2013!

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A new trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness hit the web last week and you can check it out here! The newest trailer shows off additional footage and more plot points! Star Trek Into Darkness stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Zoe Saldana, and Chris Pine. The movie is expected to hit theaters on May 17th, 2013.

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A new trailer for the movie The Long Ranger hit the web last week and you can check it out here! The newest trailer shows off additional footage and more plot points! The Lone Ranger stars Armie Hammer, Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp. The movie is expected to hit theaters on July 3rd, 2013!

That does it for a glimpse of last week’s trailers. Which one is your favorite? Leave a comment below and let us know! Let’s go ahead and move on into home releases.

Coming to Blu-ray/DVD:

April 23rd:

Coming to Theaters:

April 26th Wide Releases:

See anything that’s missing? Comment and let us know!

That does it for this week! Be sure to keep coming back every Monday and Saturday for new Thinking Cinematic content!

As always, I want to end with this. Thinking Cinematic is looking for more writers. Feel like sending in a guest post? Want to be apart of the Thinking Cinematic team? Send your emails to: Rrsolis@me.com

Connect with me at:
Twitter: @Treyrs20o9
Twitter: @Think_Cinematic 

Movie Monday Update Week of February 25th


Hello and Happy Monday TC readers! Got a few solid retail releases both tomorrow and Saturday! As usual, there’s a fair crop of movies to choose from this Friday as well. Don’t forget to check out my Community review on Conventions of Space and Time (4.03) here, as well as my review on Snitch here! Let’s get started!

In case you missed it:


A trailer for the movie, Eden, was released recently online. When a young female is abducted from her home and forced into a prostitution ring, she forms a plan to deliver her to safety. Eden stars, Jamie Chung, Matt O’Leary, and Beau Bridges and is set to hit theaters on March 20th, 2013!


A trailer for the movie, Simon Killer, was released online last week. After a rough break up a young man travels to Paris in an attempt to get over his heartbreak. He falls in love with a prostitute and teams up with her to extort her clients. Simon Killer stars, Brady Corbet, Mati Diop, and Constance Rousseau and is set to hit theaters on April 5th, 2013!


A trailer for the movie, Kon Tiki, released online last week. In 1947, a man sets out on the open waters to prove that in 5,000 miles Peruvians were the first to settle Polynesia. Kon Tiki stars Pal Sverre, Anders Christiansen, Gustaf Skarsgard, and is set to hit theaters on April 19th, 2013!

That does it for a glimpse of last week’s trailers. Which one is your favorite? Leave a comment below and let us know! Let’s go ahead and move on into home releases.

Coming to Blu-ray/DVD this week we have:

February 26th:

March 2nd:

Here’s a look at what’s coming to the theaters!

March 1st Wide Releases:

See anything that’s missing? Comment and let us know!

That does it for this week! Be sure to keep coming back every Monday and Saturday for new Thinking Cinematic content!

As always, I want to end with this. Thinking Cinematic is looking for more writers. Feel like sending in a guest post? Want to be apart of the Thinking Cinematic team? Send your emails to: Rrsolis@me.com

Connect with me at:
Twitter: @Treyrs20o9
Twitter: @Think_Cinematic 

Movie Monday Update Week of December 17th


Hello and Happy Monday TC readers! We’re about a week away from Christmas and the movies just keep coming both in stores and at the theaters! We got some theater releases coming both Wednesday and Friday so be sure to check the dates below. Also, don’t forget to check out my Hobbit review if you missed it Saturday! Anyway let’s get started and take a look at some the latest trailers on the web.

In case you missed it:


A trailer for the movie, Pacific Rim, was released and you can check it up above. After mysterious giant sea monsters emerge from deep within the ocean, soldiers begin to fight back using giant robots. Guillermo del Toro will be at the helm of Pacific Rim, which is set to release in 3-D, and IMAX 3-D on July 12, 2013!


Another trailer for Gore Verbinksi’s, The Lone Ranger was released last week. The Lone Ranger stars Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp as Tonto. The Lone Ranger is set to release July 3, 2013!


The marketing for G.I. Joe: Retaliation looks to be gearing up again! For those that don’t know, G.I. Joe: Retaliation was originally supposed to release on June 29th 2012, but the studio decided that they would delay the film until March 29, 2013 in order to convert the film in to 3D. You can check out the new trailer for G.I. Joe: Retaliation up above! The film stars Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson, and Channing Tatum and is set to release March 29, 2013!


Man of Steel got a theatrical trailer last week that shows off a lot of footage for the upcoming Superman film. You can check it out up above. Man of Steel is directed by Zack Snyder and will star Henry Cavil as Clark Kent, and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Man of Steel is set to release June 14, 2013!


Finally we have a new trailer for Star Trek Into Darkness that was just released today. You can check it out up above. Star Trek Into Darkness sees J.J. Abrams returning to direct and will star Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumberbatch. Star Trek Into Darkness is set to release on May 17, 2013!

That does it for a glimpses of the latest movie trailers. Which one is your favorite? Leave a comment below and let us know! Let’s go ahead and move on into home releases.

Coming to Blu-ray/DVD this week we have:

December 18th:

December 21st:

Here’s a look at what’s coming to the theaters:

December 19th Wide Releases:

December 19th Limited Releases (Check your local listings):

December 21st Wide Releases:

December 21st Limited Releases (Check your Local Listings):

See anything that’s missing? Comment and let us know!

That does it for this week! Be sure to keep coming back every Monday and Saturday for new Thinking Cinematic content!

As always, I want to end with this. Thinking Cinematic is looking for more writers. Feel like sending in a guest post? Want to be apart of the Thinking Cinematic team? Send your emails to: Rrsolis@me.com

Connect with me at:
Twitter: @Treyrs20o9
Twitter: @Think_Cinematic