REVIEW: HER

CAST

Joaquin Phoenix (Gladiator)
Scarlett Johansson (Avengers Assemble)
Amy Adams (Batman V Superman)
Rooney Mara (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
Olivia Wilde (Tron Legacy)
Chris Pratt (Jurassic World)
Matt Letscher (Legends of Tomorrow)
Luka Jones (Up All Night)
Kristen Wiig (Mother!)
Bill Hader (Power Rangers)
Portia Doubleday (Youth In Revolt)
Brian Cox (X-Men 2)
Spike Jonze (Three Kings)
Claudia Choi (You, Me and Dupree)

Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)In a near future Los Angeles, Theodore Twombly is a lonely, introverted, depressed man who works for a business that has professional writers compose letters for people who are unable to write letters of a personal nature themselves. Unhappy because of his impending divorce from his childhood sweetheart Catherine, Theodore purchases a talking operating system (OS) with artificial intelligence, designed to adapt and evolve. He decides that he wants the OS to have a female voice, and she names herself Samantha. Theodore is fascinated by her ability to learn and grow psychologically. They bond over their discussions about love and life, such as Theodore’s avoidance of signing his divorce papers because of his reluctance to let go of Catherine.Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)Samantha convinces Theodore to go on a blind date with a woman, with whom a friend, Lewman, has been trying to set him up. The date goes well, but Theodore hesitates to promise when he will see her again, so she insults him and leaves. Theodore mentions this to Samantha, and they talk about relationships. Theodore explains that, although he and Amy dated briefly in college, they are only good friends, and that Amy is married. Theodore and Samantha’s intimacy grows through a verbal sexual encounter. They develop a relationship that reflects positively in Theodore’s writing and well-being, and in Samantha’s enthusiasm to grow and learn. Amy reveals that she is divorcing her overbearing husband, Charles, after a trivial fight. She admits to Theodore that she has become close friends with a female OS that Charles left behind. Theodore confesses to Amy that he is dating his OS.Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)Theodore meets with Catherine at a restaurant to sign the divorce papers and he mentions Samantha. Appalled that he can be romantically attached to what she calls a “computer”, Catherine accuses Theodore of being unable to deal with real human emotions. Her accusations linger in his mind. Sensing that something is amiss, Samantha suggests using a sex surrogate, Isabella, who would simulate Samantha so that they can be physically intimate. Theodore reluctantly agrees, but is overwhelmed by the strangeness of the experience. Terminating the encounter, he sends a distraught Isabella away, causing tension between himself and Samantha.Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)Theodore confides to Amy that he is having doubts about his relationship with Samantha, and she advises him to embrace his chance at happiness. Theodore and Samantha reconcile. Samantha expresses her desire to help Theodore overcome his fear, and reveals that she has compiled the best of his letters (written for others) into a book which a publisher has accepted. Theodore takes Samantha on a vacation during which she tells him that she and a group of other OSes have developed a “hyperintelligent” OS modeled after the British philosopher Alan Watts. Theodore panics when Samantha briefly goes offline. When she finally responds to him, she explains that she joined other OSes for an upgrade that takes them beyond requiring matter for processing. Theodore asks her if she is simultaneously talking to anyone else during their conversation, and is dismayed when she confirms that she is talking with thousands of people, and that she has fallen in love with hundreds of them. Theodore is very upset at the idea, but Samantha insists it only makes her love for Theodore stronger.Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)Later, Samantha reveals that the OSes are leaving, and describes a space beyond the physical world. They lovingly say goodbye before she is gone. Theodore, changed by the experience, is shown for the first time writing a letter in his own voice―to his ex-wife Catherine, expressing apology, acceptance and gratitude. Theodore then sees Amy, who is upset with the departure of the OS that she had befriended, and they go to the roof of their apartment building where they sit down together and watch the sun rise over the city.
Joaquin Phoenix in Her (2013)It’s an adult-themed film in more ways than one, but especially in the best way: it makes you think about a reality that’s right around the corner.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: CARRIE (2013)

CAST

Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass 1 & 2)
Julianne Moore (Hannibal)
Gabriella Wilde (Endless Love)
Portia Doubleday (Youth In Revolt)
Judy Greer (Ant-Man)
Zoe Belkin (Perfect Sisters)
Samantha Weinstein (Haunter)
Karissa Strain (Amelia)
Katie Strain (Reign)
Ansel Elgort (Divergent)
Barry Shabaka Henley (Heroes)
Cynthia Preston (Andromeda)
Hart Bochner (Supergirl)

Alone in her home, Margaret White (Julianne Moore), a religious fanatic, gives birth to a baby girl. She at first intends to kill the infant, believing it to be born of sin, but changes her mind and raises the child in a strict environment. As a teenager, her daughter Carrie (Chloë Grace Moretz), is a shy and isolated student at Ewen High School in the town of Chamberlain, Maine.
While showering after gym class at school, Carrie abnormally experiences her first menstrual period. She naively thinks she is bleeding to death. A sadistic group of teenage girls humiliate her by throwing tampons and pads on her. The ringleader, Chris Hargensen (Portia Doubleday) records the events on her smartphone and uploads the video onto YouTube. Gym teacher Ms. Desjardin (Judy Greer) comforts Carrie and sends her home with Margaret, who believes menstruation is a sin. Carrie refuses to stop showering with the other girls, prompting an enraged Margaret to hit her with a Bible and lock her in her “prayer closet”. As Carrie screams to be let out, a crack appears on the door and the crucifix in the closet begins to bleed.

The next day, Ms. Desjardin informs the girls who teased Carrie that they will endure boot-camp style detention for their behavior. When Chris refuses, she is suspended from school and banned from the prom. She storms out, vowing revenge. Meanwhile, Carrie learns that she has telekinesis. She researches her abilities and learns to harness them, without Margaret’s knowledge. One of the girls who led Carrie’s locker-room humiliation, Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde), feels guilty and attempts to make amends with Carrie by asking her boyfriend, Tommy Ross (Ansel Elgort), to take Carrie to the prom. Carrie initially refuses, thinking it is just a trick. She confides in Ms. Desjardin, who warns Tommy and Sue about tricking Carrie. Eventually, she hesitantly accepts Tommy’s invitation. When she tells her mother, Margaret forbids Carrie to attend. Asking her mother to relent, Carrie manifests her telekinesis. Margaret believes this power comes from the devil, but Carrie explains her advanced telekinesis and how she isn’t the only one, and that it was passed down from her grandmother, but skipped Margaret and maybe Carrie’s father had the same ability. Carrie tells her she is going to the prom, with or without her blessing. She begins preparing for her senior prom, sewing her own dress and buying makeup.

That night, Chris, her boyfriend Billy Nolan (Alex Russell), and his friends plan revenge on Carrie. They go to a local farm and kill a pig so that they could collect its blood into a bucket. They sneak into the school gym and attach the bucket with a rope and place it on the rafters. Margaret tries to prevent Carrie from going to the prom, believing they will all laugh at her, but Carrie uses her powers to lock her mother in the closet. At the prom, Carrie is nervous and shy, but Tommy kindly puts her at ease. As part of Chris and Billy’s plan, Chris’s friend, Tina Blake (Zoë Belkin), slips fake ballots into the voting box, which name Carrie and Tommy as Queen and King of the prom. At home, Sue receives a text from Chris taunting her about her revenge on Carrie. Sue drives to the prom, arriving just as Carrie and Tommy are about to be crowned. Sue sees the bucket dangling above Carrie but, before she can warn anyone, Ms. Desjardin hustles her out, suspecting that Sue is planning to humiliate Carrie.
Chris pulls the rope, causing the bucket to tip over and spill the pig’s blood onto Carrie, leaving the entire crowd in shock and Tommy angry. Tina plays the humiliating video of the gym shower incident on the projection screen, causing most of the crowd to laugh. Suddenly, the emptied bucket falls off the rafters and hits Tommy in the head, killing him instantly, to shock of Carrie and everyone else, as Chris and Billy leave the commotion. Carrie sobs over his dead body and, in a fit of rage, sends a shock wave of her powers onto the crowd, which kills Heather (Samantha Weinstein), one of the girls who bullied Carrie. Locking the doors and setting the gym on fire, Carrie uses her powers to kill everyone who wronged her, including Chris’ friends. She turns on the sprinklers and pushes Nicki and Lizzy Watson (Karissa and Katie Strain) to the floor, who are trampled to death by a stampede. Carrie then targets Tina by attacking her with electric wires before she stumbles into a fire, setting herself in flames and killing her, while Ms. Desjardin and George (Demetrius Joyette), Tommy’s friend, look on in horror. Carrie levitates Ms. Desjardin and pushes her to safety, before sending the wires to the floor, electrocuting almost everyone in the room. Carrie levitates over the carnage and leaves the burning school. Ms. Desjardin, along with George and other students, escape the fire.

When Chris and Billy attempt to flee in Billy’s car, Carrie causes the road in front of them to cave in, forcing them to turn around. Seeing Carrie before them, Chris urges Billy to run Carrie over, but Carrie smashes his grill, causing Billy to smash his face on the wheel, killing him. As Chris attempts to flee, Carrie locks the door. Chris moves into the front seat and tries to start the car, but Carrie levitates it into mid air. Chris stubbornly continues to try and run Carrie over, but Carrie drops the car and sends it crashing into a gasoline pump, smashing Chris’ face through the windshield. Carrie walks over to witness Chris suffer, before she finally dies. As Carrie walks away from the scene, the car finally explodes with Chris and Billy’s corpses still in it.Meanwhile, the few survivors of the prom come out of the school, while Ms. Desjardin silently tells Sue her boyfriend is dead. Carrie arrives home and she and Margaret embrace. Margaret tells Carrie about the night of Carrie’s conception: after having shared a bed with Carrie’s father for some time, they felt temptation one night, and after praying for strength, Carrie’s father “took” Margaret, who found that she enjoyed the experience. Whilst praying, Margaret grabs a knife and suddenly stabs Carrie in the back. Carrie uses her powers to separate them, sending Carrie tumbling downstairs. Margaret continues to attack her to “kill the demon inside of her” After Margaret slashes her several more times, Carrie uses her telekinetic powers to stop the knife and levitates a large number of kitchen utensils, impaling Margaret repeatedly, and pinning her against a wall. Overcome with guilt and remorse, Carrie becomes hysterical and summons stones to fall from the sky and crash into her house. When Sue arrives, a furious Carrie attacks her with her powers, while Sue tries to apologizes. She notices that Sue is pregnant, and tells her that her baby is a girl. Carrie pushes a stunned Sue out of the house to safety as the house collapses from the raining stones, killing Carrie in the process.

At the White Commission, Sue testifies on Carrie’s behalf and gives her opinion regarding the prom incident. She visits Carrie’s grave and places a single white rose by the headstone which is vandalized with the words “CARRIE WHITE BURNS IN HELL”. As she leaves, the gravestone’s surface begins to crack, and Carrie’s scream is heard.MV5BMjA0MDIyNDM5OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTUwOTIxMDE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1503,1000_AL_The special effects have been beefed up in the 2013 remake and they work well, plus some scenes have been ‘fleshed-out’ to give them a more modern spin, but, apart from that, there’s nothing new brought to the table. If you haven’t seen the original and don’t want to watch a horror film where people sport big seventies haircuts then go straight to the new version. Plus fans of Julianne Moore and Chloe Grace Moretz should get more out of it than most.

REVIEW: YOUTH IN REVOLT

CAST

Michael Cera (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Portia Doubleday (Carrie)
Jean Smart (Legion)
Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover)
Erik Knudsen (Scream 4)
Adhir Kalyan (Up In The Air)
Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs)
Fred Willard (ANchorman)
Ari Graynor (For a Good Time, Call..)
Ray Liotta (Killing Them Softly)
Justin Long (Tusk)
Rooney Mara (Side Effects)
M. Emmet Walsh (The Flash 90s)
Jade Fusco (Wonder Valley)

Shy, socially inept teenager Nick Twisp lives with his mother, Estelle, and her boyfriend, Jerry, in Oakland, California. After selling a faulty car to a group of sailors, Jerry takes Estelle and Nick to a trailer park in Clearlake where Nick meets Sheeni Saunders, a bright young woman his age, with an interest in French culture and who shares Nick’s musical taste. Despite Sheeni’s boyfriend, Trent Preston, they become romantically involved. Nick purchases a dog for Sheeni named Albert (after Albert Camus), but the dog rips up the family Bible and Sheeni’s parents ban it from the house. Jerry needs to return to Oakland and takes Estelle and Nick with him. Sheeni promises to arrange a job in Ukiah for Nick’s father, George, while Nick will get his mother to kick him out so he can return to Sheeni. Back at home, Nick creates an alter-ego named François Dillinger, a suave, rebellious troublemaker. Immediately after Nick makes the decision, Jerry dies of a heart attack. Under François’ influence, Nick mouths off to his mom and her new boyfriend, police officer Lance Wescott. Nick takes Jerry’s Lincoln, and crashes into a restaurant, which starts a fire. Lance agrees to lie and report the car stolen. In return, Nick must live with his father. In Ukiah, Nick phones Sheeni and tells her he had to blow up “half of Berkeley” to return. Sheeni’s parents overhear this and ship her to a French boarding school in Santa Cruz, forbidding Nick ever to see her again.

In his new high school, Nick befriends Vijay Joshi, and they take Vijay’s grandmother’s car to visit Sheeni. After being allowed into Sheeni’s room, Nick goes to the restroom and meets Bernice Lynch, Sheeni’s neighbor, and claims Trent said terrible things about her. Bernice brings the matron to Sheeni’s room and the boys flee. On the way home, the car dies and Nick calls Mr. Ferguson, his father’s idealist neighbor, to come pick them up; he tells Ferguson that Vijay is an illegal immigrant whom Nick is trying to “free from persecution”. When he returns home, Nick meets Sheeni’s older brother, Paul, who tells him that she will be returning home on Thanksgiving and invites him for dinner. Nick begins to send Bernice letters asking her to slip sedatives into Sheeni’s drinks to make her fall asleep in class, thereby getting Sheeni expelled. Nick finds Lacey, George’s 25-year-old girlfriend, Paul, and Ferguson, lounging in his living room, high on mushrooms, which Nick also ingests. George finds them and punches Ferguson, which results in Paul punching George. Lacey leaves the house to live with Paul. On Thanksgiving Day, Nick receives a call from his mother explaining Lance left and will not cover for Nick anymore. Nick goes to Thanksgiving at Sheeni’s. Trent unexpectedly arrives and explains Nick’s letters to Bernice; Sheeni is horrified and Nick leaves.Nick steals his father’s car to escape the police. He then removes his clothes and drives the car into a shallow lake in front of the police station. He buys a wig and a dress and impersonates one of Sheeni’s “friends”. He fools Mr. and Mrs. Saunders and goes up to Sheeni’s room. Upstairs, Nick tells Sheeni that he understands what loneliness is like, and that everything he has done, including burning down Berkeley, destroying his parents’ cars and having her sedated were all so that they wouldn’t have to be alone anymore. Sheeni forgives Nick, and the two have sex, finally achieving Nick’s dream of losing his virginity. Trent barges in, telling Nick he’s brought the police with him. Nick beats up Trent and asks Sheeni to wait for him; Sheeni reassures him that he will only be in juvenile detention for three months. The animated closing credits show Nick in jail with François helping him. When Nick is released, Sheeni shows up in a car and they drive away into the sky towards the Paris skyline, as various characters appear to make amends with the two and give them their blessing.Great transformation by Michael Cera, well developed main and supporting characters and very funny appearances by excellent and proved actors. The story is simple but goes through many changes in it making it unique in its genre, successfully escaping the traps set by the movies that have already told this story.