My favorite film of 2013 was, by a fair margin, Spike Jonze’s Her. The critical reception has been pretty uniformly positive, as far as I have seen, so I won’t simply pile on. The main thing I have been saying to people to whom I’ve recommended the movie is that there is much more to it than the premise (a man falls in love with an artificially intelligent OS) might suggest. Instead of saying more, I decided to link to a couple of the more thoughtful and interesting reviews I’ve seen of the film, both of which get at different aspects of what made me like it as much as I do.
Article: “Is Your Computer a ‘Him’ or ‘Her’? — and Other Questions Raised by Spike Jonze’s Speculative Romance” by Peter Debruge
Article: “Boy Uploads Girl: The Beautiful, Sad, Near-Future Shock of Spike Jonze’s “Her“ by Wesley Morris
And, on the same note, this is a short film (about half an hour) that Jonze made a few years ago. It does not share setting or characters with Her, so there’s no direct relationship, but it does have a lot in common in terms of tone and theme. It’s also based on Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, which is about the best recommendation I could give it. Anyway, if you like this at all, you should go see Her; if you don’t like this, see Her anyway.
Short Film: I’m Here by Spike Jonze
Song: “Wrong or Right” by Kwabs
Kwabs’s song “Last Stand” was one of my favorites of 2013. I don’t like this song quite as much as that, but it has many of the same virtues. Apparently there’s an EP which is not yet available in the US, but should be some time next month; I’m thinking this guy will be someone to pay attention to this year.
Article: Where Should Richard III Lie?” by Sam Knight
About a year ago, a skeleton was found under a parking lot in Leicester which was later proved to be that of King Richard III, infamous for, maybe, murdering two young rivals for the throne. Now there is great controversy and competition, mostly between Leicester and York, where Richard was from, to be his final resting place. That does not sound very exciting, and on a day-to-day level it probably isn’t, but as with any historical event that people see as somehow connected to their individual identity a lot of weirdness has come to surround the debate. Not least is the founding of, and tension between, numerous “Ricardian” factions in places as far away as Canada, all of insist on having a say. It’s a sort of forensic science meets tourist board meets Start Trek convention story.