Tag Archive: scarlett johanssen


 

capamerica2

The latest chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been called the one closest to a ‘real movie’.  I get that.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier lets us catch up with Marvel’s resident Boy Scout in a post Avengers world.  Disclaimer for those who don’t know, when it comes to Marvel, I’m a complete ‘casual fanboy’, so the vast majority of inside references, either I have to look up when I get home or have someone else break it down for me.  I say that to say, my higher than normal interest in this film wasn’t due to Scarlett having a more featured role; (that doesn’t hurt but) for me it was all the buzz going in on how this one was influenced by 70s conspiracy thrillers (yes) and featured Robert Redford in a major supporting role (hell yes).  So for me as a film geek, seeing Redford and Sam Jax share a few scenes was damn near worth the price of admission alone.

Without going too deep into plot points for anyone else who hasn’t seen it yet, the theme of this film is ‘Who Can You Trust?’  Are we the good guys, really?  What if you (as a soldier) are waist deep in a war, then you realize you might be fighting for the wrong side?  All philosophical questions I can ponder for years on end (and I have).  No worries for those of you who come for the action, there’s more than enough warships and guns and double crosses to feed the summer movie buzz.  I liked this one a lot more than Thor 2 personally.

So that’s one down.  Peter Parker, I believe you are on deck…

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‘Her’

 

Jaoquin Pheonix in Spike Jonze's Her

The latest film from Spike Jonze, Her, is funny, and creepy, and it’s a dead on social commentary…and it’s brilliant.

Set in the ‘very near future’, the story revolves around Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix as Spike’s on screen avatar), a shy guy who still hasn’t fully jumped back in the game after a messy divorce.  He buys the latest technology, an artificially intelligent operating system for his computer that’s marketed as more ‘intuitive’ than anything we’ve had before.  And as I’m sure you know, when Theodore chooses a female voice for his OS, the voice that comes back is…Scarlett Johannsen.  (And let me the 10,000th guy to make the joke, ‘So…when is this OS going on the market for the rest of us?)  As Theodore and ‘Samantha’ get a feel for each other’s temperament and mood, they begin to fall in love.  And like with all relationships, the honeymoon stage is great (capped with one of the most clever ‘hookup/morning after’ scenes in a little bit).

Her really takes off when, naturally, Theodore has to deal with real people, especially women.  Scarlett never appears on screen, but the rest of the female cast includes Amy Adams playing completely away from her looks, Rooney Mara (in the Sofia Coppola role, let’s be honest), and Olivia Wilde fairly accurately representing the L.A. dating scene.  That is a geek wet dream list of actresses in any film, and they all work great here.  The bulk of the film is just Joaquin onscreen reacting to something invisible though, and this role makes great use of his quirkiness.

At this point, I want to think my friends and fellow film geeks for not talking too much about this film.  Even having the beats of the genre burned in my brain, when the film hit its third act ‘twist’ (which I won’t ruin here), I yelled ‘OH HELL NO!’ at my TV.  The story is told well, and you feel for what the characters are going through.  That’s all the audience wants, most of the time.

The Rum Diary

 

My interests cover a lot of ground, but I can’t say I’m anyone’s Hunter S. Thompson fan.  Don’t dislike the man, just not in my wheelhouse.  I ‘got’ Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas as one big acid trip (and a good Terry Gilliam piece) but that’s as far as it moved me.

So I went into The Rum Diary without any real expectations.  I knew with Johnny Depp again playing the Hunter doppleganger, this film was basically a prequel to Fear & Loathing, but that didn’t really shade me one way or another.  Coming out of the film I still feel nonplussed.

As much as anything, I thought this film was a great travelogue (for the most part) for Puerto Rico.  The story is about a struggling writer who finds his voice after spending many days and nights running wild and loose in 1960s Puerto Rico, but when you watch this film…you’re really just watching it.  Admiring how beautiful the beaches are, how the people have their own culture. As one character remarks, we can act like it’s ‘foreign’ but for all intents and purposes you’re technically still in America.

Depp by Johnny Depp standards is extremely low key in this movie.  No over the top makeup, not a huge stretch with the voice (especially since he’s done it before).  He’s not on autopilot but he’s blending in with this role.  Amber Heard has her moments where she’s a dead ringer for a younger and less curvy Scarlett Johannsen (and apple of the main character’s eye).  Aaron Eckhart is as close to a villain as this film has, he plays his part.  If this review feels middle of the road, that’s just how I felt about this film.

But, there is a nice sequence at the end of the second act which was as blatant as I can remember in recent memory on preying on the old ‘black man lusting after white woman’ stereotype.  I mean, it was really blatant!  So you have that to look forward to I guess.