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Her Blu-ray Review

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#1 of 7 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted May 15 2014 - 11:49 AM

Her Blu-ray Review

Director Spike Jonze’s near-future meditation on love and romance won’t appeal to everyone, especially those who can’t get over some of the oddness, but the film offers some poignancy for those who can look past – or better yet, embrace – its quirks.


Cover Art


Studio: Warner Brothers

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Rating: R

Run Time: 2 Hr. 6 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, UltraViolet

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: A

Release Date: 05/13/2014

MSRP: $35.99




The Production Rating: 4/5

Writer Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) can’t help but mope. He’s in the middle of a divorce from his wife Catherine (Rooney Mara), and his job as a writer of "handwritten" letters, made-to-order for those who don’t have the time or inclination to write something themselves, only reminds him of his fundamental loneliness and isolation. Late night sexual chat sessions offer some release, but just leave him feeling empty, if not perplexed.

On a whim, Theodore picks up a new operating system (OS) for his computer that touts the incorporation of artificial intelligence. After a short set up, the OS introduces itself to him as Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johannson), interacting with him and expressing itself in such a natural and human way, that Theodore can’t help but be intrigued.

Samantha immediately proves a highly capable personal assistant, organizing Theodore’s writing, email and calendar with both speed and intuition, but its warm and engaging personality moves their relationship from one of utility to something more personal as they begin treating each other as good friends and soon lovers. How a human being can have a relationship with a software program is hard for anyone to comprehend, much less Theodore, but he can’t deny he’s finally found something he’s been missing, even when he was married to the fully flesh-and-blood Catherine. Nevertheless, he’ll learn that all relationships, no matter how unusual, are challenging; the ones he encounters with Samantha will prove unique, but also surprisingly ordinary.

Because of its occasional, undeniable weirdness, it’s tempting to look at director Spike Jonze’s latest film purely as a metaphor for how society reacts to unconventional romances (and how that changes over time), but viewing it through that lens means making the film more heavy handed than it is. It’s better just to take the story, written by Jonze, at face value with its near-future, cultural oddities; meditations on loneliness; and unresolved questions about the human condition. Despite the strangeness of the world and situation Jonze has crafted, it’s hard not to feel a bit moved as ultimately we’ve all experienced some level of what’s on display, be it the end of a relationship, a sense of disconnection from the world, or the inability get past a lingering melancholy. Jonze’s inimitable quirkiness almost distracts from these core themes, but natural performances by both Phoenix and Johansson, not to mention their chemistry in voice only interactions, grounds the story and legitimizes the characters’ relationship. Even so, Her will likely prove too out there for some viewers, though I have a feeling Jonze wouldn’t want it any other way.



Video Rating: 4/5  3D Rating: NA

Framed at 1.85:1 (and, for once, NOT modified to 1.78:1, per Warner's past practice) and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec, the transfer provides what I assume is a faithful presentation of the film’s desaturated, low contrast, cinematography by director of photography Hoyte Van Hoytema. Thanks to a look that seems inspired by Instagram camera filters, colors have a faded, almost pastel hue, blacks come short of full depth, and contrast tends to be flat, giving the film an anachronistic or retro quality despite its near future setting. Detail is quite good, especially in close ups, and there’s few, if any, signs of digital compression or processing artifacts.



Audio Rating: 4/5

Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is consistently crisp, clear and intelligible. Surround channels tend to provide light support for music soundtrack cues, but a couple scenes with environmental noise provide some added depth. LFE is basically non-existent, but bass notes in background music have the requisite depth and fullness.



Special Features Rating: 2.5/5

  • The Untitled Rick Howard Project (24:19, HD): The more-artistic-than-most production journal, directed by Lance Bangs, document’s the film’s location shoot, scoring, post-production and premiere.
  • Her: Love in the Modern Age (15:10, HD): Directed by Lance Bangs, colleagues and friends of Spike Jonze share their thoughts on love and relationships in the current culture.
  • How Do You Share Your Life with Somebody (3:56, HD): Montage of film scenes and behind-the-scenes production footage.
  • DVD
  • UltraViolet Digital Copy: Redeem by May 13, 2017.



Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Warner Home Video delivers a faithful HD presentation for Her, an unequivocally odd but ultimately thoughtful exploration of love and romance in modern society. The special features are pretty limited, but those who appreciated the film during its theatrical run should be pleased with the release overall. Others should probably seek out a rental first, given the film’s premise.


Reviewed By: Cameron Yee


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#2 of 7 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 15 2014 - 11:56 AM

The movie is a bit of an oddity....

 

...but I loved HER.

 

Sensational film.  A must see.

 

Cameron, you really captured the essence of this film within your review.

 

Enjoyed reading it.

 

Hope more people discover this wonderful movie.


 

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#3 of 7 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted May 15 2014 - 01:02 PM

Definitely grabbing this one.



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#4 of 7 OFFLINE   Mark VH

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Posted May 15 2014 - 01:12 PM

Beautiful film, haven't been able to get it out of my head since I caught it theatrically. Hoping to grab this today.



#5 of 7 OFFLINE   Bryan^H

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Posted May 19 2014 - 11:26 AM

Thanks for the review Cameron. I picked this up, and thought it was fantastic. Profound, and thought provoking. While the movie is fictitious, it probably is right on the mark in say 20 years from now...which is kind of scary.Best film of 2013. Wish I could have caught it at the theater.

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#6 of 7 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 19 2014 - 11:29 AM

Bryan,

 

So you bought this blindly.

 

So happy to hear that you loved it.

 

All of the Oscar nominated films of 2013 were spectacular.  Could not remember

another recent year where all the nominees were exceptional.  


 

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#7 of 7 OFFLINE   Bryan^H

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Posted May 21 2014 - 10:00 AM

2013 was a great year for dramatic movies!

 

Yeah, I blind bought this (and Nebraska) mainly because I wanted very much to see them at my local Cinema, but they never arrived, or were there for such a short time I missed out.  Blind buying for me is rare these days, but wow 'Her' justified all the poor purchases I have made on Blu Ray since I started collecting them.

 

I thought the film was great but a perfect ending sealed the deal for me:

Spoiler

 

Beautiful film, with a lot of heart.


housekeeping 2.jpg

"She always does that, she just wanders away"

 

 

 






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