Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

December 26, 2013

CALLERI: Are you going to the movies this holiday season? Here are six new choices


Night & Day — “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom” is well-made and sincere. But it tells you little that you may not already know.

While watching the unusual fantasy called “Her,” I was thinking a lot about the colors seen on the screen. The movie follows a computer guy (Joaquin Phoenix) who works for a whose employees write personal letters for subscribers to its website and send these good tidings to the subscribers’ friends.

While watching the film, I noticed a specific color palette. The movie is definitely shot with a very faint pink lens. The clothes, sets, faces, even everyone’s hair all seem caressed with pink, tan, beige, rose, tangerine and salmon tones.

One day, a new computer operating system is installed. Phoenix’s character, Theodore, is a quiet, nerdy type who, over the course of the film, makes his operating system’s voice his “girlfriend.” Because he’s shy by nature, being in love with a “voice” suits his current unpleasant emotional and fluctuating romantic needs.

But because Theodore is also, by nature, bland and boring, the combination of dull personality and being smitten by a “vocal idea” eventually makes for a bland and boring movie. Written-director Spike Jonze delivers too much that’s superficial and nothing that you would call erotic.

The movie is set in Los Angeles, but most of it was actually filmed in a city in China, which is expected to pass for L.A. but looks absolutely nothing like it. The city has horrible air pollution and you notice it. There are too many modern skyscrapers and no classic Los Angeles views.

Overall, “Her” is a series of disjointed conversations, most of them spoken very softly. Not much of what the dull characters say is all that interesting. Scarlett Johansson’s operating system voice is not as alluring as it should be. The only flash of energy comes from Theodore’s ex-wife who wants him to sign divorce papers. His boss seems to be a human automaton.

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