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Entries in Spike Jonze (16)


Three Quick Notes / Roles

Cara Seymour has taken over TFE for a day - Editor

Three film stills and the first thing that came to mind...

Adaptation (2002) as "Amelia Kavan"
I still cannot believe I was sitting there with the glorious Nick Cage being directed by Spike Jonze who is literally an Angel.

Hotel Rwanda (2004) as "Pat Archer"
I was blessed to work on this movie. I don't think I have words to describe it.  

American Psycho (2000) as "Christie"
This was filmed in the meat packing district when it still smelled of meat.
(more on this movie


A.I. "Her," or The Rise of the Empathetic Machines

Wrapping up the sci-fi week festivities (did you see the final top ten list?) we turn the time over to our fine new contributor Lynn Lee. You'll want to read this one! - Editor

Deep down, most people who think about artificial intelligence have the same fear: that it will not only surpass humanity but supplant us, ending our reign as the planet’s dominant species and extracting cosmic revenge for our own abuses.  Building on these anxieties, movies about A.I. have embraced a pretty consistently grim outlook for humanity in the face of this phenomenon (which even has a fancy, if oddly spiritual-sounding name: the singularity).  The slaves become the masters, seeking either to exterminate or enslave us. 

But if A.I. overtakes human intelligence, and the machines evolve into a superior being, wouldn’t that include superior emotional intelligence?  And wouldn’t a super (emotionally) intelligent being have developed extraordinary powers of empathy?  Rather than using those powers to manipulate us, couldn’t they serve as a bridge between us and them?  Or would they, in outstripping our own poor abilities, become a further source of divergence?

Films that pursue this line of inquiry typically balance the A.I.s’ desire to understand and learn human emotions against their basic survival programming.  Blade Runner’s most transcendent moment involves a replicant (“more human than human”) reaching out to save a man (who may actually be a replicant himself) he was ready to kill just a minute earlier.  A.I: Artificial Intelligence, brandishing the tag line “His love is real.  But he is not,” teases out the conceit of such artificial beings, initially programmed to be and feel just like humans, evolving into a super-species who must deconstruct the emotional memories of one of their earliest prototypes in order to understand their own connection to us.  

More recently, the quietly disquieting Ex Machina introduces an A.I. who turns the Turing test on its head and leaves unanswered whether a machine that can so expertly read and simulate our more vulnerable emotions will ever come to feel them for “real.”

I can’t think of another movie, however, that explores these questions quite like Spike Jonze’s Her...

Click to read more ...


Beauty vs Beast: Mommie Knows Best

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast," which could be considered a preview of coming attractions (random aside: I can only hear that phrase in Grace Kelly's voice) -- this week's episode of TFE's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series on Wednesday is devoted to the camp masterpiece Mommie Dearest, and so are we. I can't help myself. It's perfect for this series too, and somehow we've never asked the question. In one corner you've got Christina Crawford (played by Mara Hobel as a little girl and Diana Scarwid as a not-so-little girl), adopted daughter and axe-bringer. In the other corner you've got legendary movie star and crazy person Joan Crawford, played by legendary movie star (and perhaps also a crazy person - I have heard stories!) Faye Dunaway, giving a great, dedicated performance - I won't hear a word about her being "bad" in this movie. Not a word of it! On the one hand I'll grant you that it's awfully hard not to side with an abused child... but on the other hand, come on! Who are you watching this movie for???

Whose team are you on?
Team Christina0%
Team Joan0%

PREVIOUSLY Last week we climbed inside the brains of Charlie Kaufman & Spike Jonze and oh yeah Catherine Keener for her birthday with a Being John Malkovich round, pitting Keener's caustic Maxine against Cameron Diaz's desperate Lotte - ultimately it was Cathy's brilliantly sleek sarcasm that won the day with just over 60% of the vote. Said Mr. Goodbar:

"Team Maxine. She is cut of the same cloth as Linda Fiorentino's from The Last Seduction: a misanthrope with irresistible charm and wit, except she finds love and changes whereas Fiorentino just stays on course to become a psychopath."


Beauty vs Beast: Beauty & (Malkovich) Brains

Jason from MNPP here with this week's "Beauty vs Beast" -- I wish that we could use this column every week to celebrate actresses on their birthdays, but it doesn't always work out that way time-wise unfortunately... this makes two weeks in a row though. Last week was La Huppert, and this week no less than the great Catherine Keener is celebrating her birthday! Keener's turning 56 today and so we celebrate with her, looking back at maybe our favorite performance of hers (although that's a tough choice) - Maxine in Spike Jonze's and Charlie Kaufman's brilliant existential-comedy Being John Malkovich (1999).

Maxine is in many ways the nasty yin to John Cusack's sad-sack yang... but nobody's rooting for Craig. That would make this question too easy. Craig's wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz) though... the battle for Malkovich Malkovich is in your hands!

Whose team are you on?
Team Lotte0%
Team Maxine0%

PREVIOUSLY As mentioned up top we were all about Huppert last week - specifically her performance in Michael Haneke's The Piano Teacher (in a stroke of random continuity today is Michael Haneke's birthday! Happy birthday Mikey boy!) against that of the pretty boy played by Benoit Magimel - Pretty Boy put up a good fight all things considered but when your competition's willing to fill people's pockets with glass to win, it's not really a fair fight. Said Nathaniel:

"...the only way Walter is going to win this is if you post nude photos of Benoit Magimel with it and confuse people as to what they're voting on. That said I voted for Walter because Erika is so fucking depraved. and not in the good way. That ending!"


Backstage at the 86th Oscars

The people who are lucky (or random as Cate Blanchett might say) to win an Academy Award get their moment on the stage and then dive headfirst into a throng of press backstage who proceed to ask them generally innocuous, occasionally offensive, usually bland, nationally-biased questions. This year was no different, but there's usually at least one tasty lil bon mot hidden amongst the winners' videos so while the Academy haven't released the full videos yet, we can still use what we've got to find those anecdotal morsels and quick quips.

All the acting winners, Frozen, Cuaron, Jonze and the make-up artists after the jump...

Cate Blanchett:

This is an auction! I'm for the highest bidder."

Click to read more ...


I am link parts, link skin, link heart... ♫

The Wrap Frozen nearing the $1 billion mark globally. Unreal.
Mail Online Matt Damon faxes his buttcheeks to Ben Affleck... for charity. No really. 
The Dissolve on the broken down grace of Bill Murray 
AMPAS you have to see this "moment" from the 68 Oscars with Jane Fonda and costume design!

LAist Spike Jonze in a very uncomfortable interview about Her
Gold Derby will Mickey Mouse finally win an animated short Oscar this year for "Get a Horse"? He's quite a loser in this category
TFE icymi Tim, our animation expert, reviewed that short here. (I loved it, too)
Mental Floss Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure just turned 25 years old. Can you believe I asked my team if anyone wanted to write about it and NO ONE did. sad face. 
Twitter I don't know why I find the 'Jake Gyllenhaal stole Taylor Swift's virginity' gossip so amusing but I do.(Jake used to have such better taste!)
Variety a review of that gay themed Brazilian film The Way He Looks that took a Berlinale prize 
Vanity Fair Katey talks to the Oscar nominated makeup artist on Dallas Buyers Club. the budget she had to work with is shocking.

It's a franchise world. We're just living in it only to consume
Pajiba the new Wonder Woman Gal Gadot "shows off her, uh, Amazonian biceps"
The Film Doctor with 13 questions on The LEGO Movie
Den of Geek Star Wars Episode 7 rumors and Indiana Jones 5, too 
Hypeable new stills for Guardians of the Galaxy 
Cinema Blend Steven Price, Oscar-nominated for his Gravity score, will be composing Ant-Man 

Slate an interesting share on the extremely rigid rules about figure skating at the Olympics. I knew same sex couples were not allowed but I did not know any of these rules about costuming and I was just wondering aloud the other day why the costumes were so monotonous from year to year apart from color changes and the occassional surprise of where the bejazzlements occur. 


The Secret Year of Spike Jonze

[Editor's Note: Tonight's guest column comes from Andy Hoglund, previously featured in reader spotlight. Here's his choice for "Entertainer of the Year"]

Spike on the set of "Her"

As we sign off on the final moments of 2013, the same names have repeatedly been uttered as defining this year in entertainment. From Miley twerking, to Kanye’s limitless ability to stimulate conversation, to Sandra's space solo, and so on, they've all had their moments. Overlooked thus far is 2013’s quintessential utility man in pop culture—the equivalent of Chone Figgins (versatile infielder/outfielder who finished 17th in American League MVP balloting in 2005). This all-around talent has worn multiple hats this year in film and music, some of them unsung. Spike Jonze may still not quite be a household name in 2013. He should be.

The deep impact Jonze achieves with a project as ambitious and heart-wrenching as Her should be no surprise. After all, his first feature length film, Being John Malkovich, was a touchstone of one of Hollywood’s most audacious years. Rather than pursue a work schedule along the lines of the prolific Steven Soderbergh, Jonze has released only three films since that impressive debut in 1999.

Click to read more ...