Spike Jonze

10 Fun and Fascinating Facts About the 2014 Oscar-Nominated Films

Tomorrow night, we’ll finally be able to cash in on those Oscar bets when the best of Hollywood are honored at the 86th Academy Awards. Nine feature films created by some of the greatest directors working today will compete for Best Picture gold. We’ve selected ten fun and fascinating facts about each movie, recognizing the extreme and sometimes unusual methods these filmmakers and stars employed to create a memorable motion picture. … Read More

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Mundane Futurism: St. Vincent, ‘Her,’ and the 21st Century’s Bland New Dystopia

The 20th century’s visions of the future were as grandly dramatic as its narratives of the present — either it was flying cars and space colonies, a utopian vision of the rewards of ceaseless Progress, or it was a terrifying dystopia wherein people were ground in the machinery of state power. Either way, artists presented the future as something that would be radically different from the present, for better or worse. … Read More

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15 of the Funniest Music Videos Ever Made

The music video is, by all accounts, as much of an art form as the feature-length film, although too often these mini musical movies are too serious. Still, plenty of artists have been able to show that they do, in fact, have senses of humor — not just in general, but even when it comes to their own public personae. Here are some of the best, many of which feature cameos from famous funny people to ensure the musicians don’t have to quit their day job. … Read More

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I Can’t Decide Whether ‘Her’ Is a Touching or Manipulative Portrait of Male Loneliness

Spike Jonze’s Her is about a very lonely man who logs onto the Internet and finds, buried in one particular algorithm of artificial intelligence, the woman of his dreams. Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is a little defensive about that, of course. Though “Samantha” (Scarlett Johansson’s utterly recognizable voice) herself says she’s adapting to every new experience he gives her, he tells friends that it’s not like “Samantha” does only what he says. And his creator, Jonze, seems to agree. Throughout the film we’re given indications that “Samantha”  has free will, and it doesn’t spoil much if I tell you that in the end she makes a kind of ultimate exercise of it. … Read More

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The Greatest Movie Trailers of 2013

Vanity Fair recently published an essay asking if 2013 is the greatest year for movies since the Gone with the Wind era. That benchmark is certainly debatable, but if we had to judge this year’s cinema based on the trailers alone, we’d say there’s a strong possibility 2013 could trump all. This year’s trailers got us talking and left us wanting more (everything a good trailer should do) — and we’ve surveyed the best of 2013, below. What trailers left a lasting impression on you this year? … Read More

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The Beautiful and Frightening Art of Marcel Dzama

In case you needed more incentive to geek out over the work of Canadian artist Marcel Dzama, his new book, Marcel Dzama: Sower of Discord, includes a foreword by the artist Raymond Pettibon (you know, the guy who created the Black Flag logo), three original Dave Eggers short stories inspired by Dzama’s work, an essay by the art historian Bradley Bailey, and an interview with Dzama by filmmaker Spike Jonze. … Read More

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Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ Is a Delicate, Poignant, Tech-Savvy Romance

When we meet Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), the hero of Spike Jonze’s exquisite new film Her (which closed the New York Film Festival last weekend), he is a reservoir of melancholy. His wife is divorcing him, his job is depressing, and he lives a life of crushing solitude. He is, in short, the perfect audience for OS1, the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system; “It’s not just an operating system, it’s a consciousness,” boast the ads. And sure enough, Samantha, the voice (provided by Scarlett Johansson) that purrs from his desktop and smartphone, is bright, and funny, and wonderful — everything he can no longer imagine in a partner. Early on, as he pours his soul out to her, he utters one of the movie’s key lines: “I can’t believe I’m having this conversation with my computer.” But he does, and he falls in love with her as well. … Read More

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