Clarence: This week’s film is a big shift from last week’s selection. We go from technology to the primal forces of nature in The Revenant, directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Set in the 1800s, this is a tale of survival centered on wilderness guide Hugh Glass (DiCaprio), who, along with his son Hawk, is escorting a group of fur trappers through wild territory as they collect a fortune in pelts. A group of Indians attack, and most of the trappers are killed. The remaining group members try to make their way to the safety of a fort. Along the way, thanks to a bear attack and deceit from one of the other trappers, Glass is left for dead and must fight the elements and hostile native American warriors in his quest to get back to friendly ground.
The photography in this movie is drop-dead gorgeous. This didn’t feel like an almost three-hour long movie because there’s so much amazing scenery to look at. The “spherical” camera style of Iñárritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki is a perfect fit to capture the vastness of the American wilderness.
Ravyn Lenae is the most soulful Chicago artist you'll hear that's still in high school, and while people make a lot out of the fact that she's only 18, this EP is on par with the best hip hop and R&B coming out of Chicago right now. Midnight Moonlight's got an electro-R&B vibe with themes of loneliness, youth, and love paired with smooth vocal stylings and beats on par with FKA Twigs.
Lenae's voice is always ephemeral but remains rooted in the realities of being a young woman growing up in Chicago, and despite her youth, her maturity shines. Hell, she's already been mentioned by Rolling Stone, Vibe, & Nylon Magazine, and her fame and prestige are only going to grow.
Here's a thought experiment. Think back to when you were a young child. No computer, no phone, and no postal service. The only people you could maintain relationships with were those you could see and touch -- which pretty much meant your immediate family, neighbors, and classmates. That was your entire universe.
What percentage of our relationships today fall under that umbrella? How many of our friends are those with whom we hardly ever share physical space? Does it matter? Should it matter?
In Her, a 2013 Spike Jonze film set in the near-future, Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a sad-eyed romantic who's in the process of getting divorced. One day, he purchases an Operating System with artificial intelligence (Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johannson) and the ability to learn and evolve. The OS is designed to be a personal assistant, but they soon bond, and become... well, more than friends.