Tommy Anderson, Staff Writer



Her, based in the not-so-distant future, tells the story of a card writer named Theo who sinks into depression following a bad breakup, but found love in the most unlikely place. When he updates his computer, a new voice named Samantha greets him. In that moment, their love begins.

In the movie, writer/director Spike Jonze dissects the elements of a relationship and puts them back together in a beautiful love story between man and computer. The story is unique yet extremely familiar, as Samantha and Theo share experiences together, make each other laugh and find pleasure in one another.

Her makes us question what is important in finding love, and creates real emotions connected to their relationship. Throughout this quirky drama, you laugh with the characters, fall in love and experience heartbreak. The kind of genuine emotion thrown at the viewer is unparalleled in recent releases, and this seemingly unbelievable tale of love quickly becomes all too familiar and one of the best love stories of the decade.

Her is nominated for five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Original Score, Original Song, Production Design and Original Screenplay.

Entertainment Value: 8

Deeper Meaning: 7

Accomplishes Set Out Intention: 9

Overall: 9.5

Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor retells the story of the failed attempt of four Navy SEALs to kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd. After Mark Wahlberg’s earlier action-packed thriller Shooter (2007), one might expect Lone Survivor to be very similar: entertaining with a suspenseful plot, but lacking substantial connection with the characters.

Without mentioning the “based on a true story” aspect that too many movies rely on to draw audiences, Lone Survivor surpassed expectations, and director Peter Berg definitely put more thought into this movie than he did into 2012’s cheese ball Battleship. Taking a lesson from Act of Valor (2012), Lone Survivor includes real Navy SEAL extras. Using war realism similar to that of Black Hawk Down (2001) and Saving Private Ryan (1998), Lone Survivor portrays the endless carnage through the eyes of the four helpless soldiers.

Berg uses a contrast of sound to put the viewer in the movie, which is why it is nominated for an Academy Award for best Sound Mixing. Specifically, the movie presents a vast contrast between the chaos of communication in the base camp and the immediate switch to the serene wilderness in Afghanistan. With this, Berg crafts an intense drama that had the audience laughing one moment and covering their eyes the next.

Lone Survivor is nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.

EntertainmentValue: 8

Deeper Meaning: 4

Accomplishes Set Out Intention: 8

Overall: 7.5

Inside Llewyn Davis

Inside Llewyn Davis features Oscar Isaac as the titular struggling folk singer in 1961 whose attitude toward his closest friends is as harsh as his music is beautiful. The original songs in this film speak to the true emotions that Isaac’s character faces with such brilliance that the viewer is faced with hating the character, while still rooting for his musical success.

The Coen brothers, being both the writers and directors of this film, have an affinity for long driving sequences in their films, and Inside Llewyn Davis is no exception. In a long hitchhiked journey to New York to try to sell his album, Llewyn has more success discovering himself than finding an audience for his music.

The viewer experiences the same hardships as Davis, feeling the same kind of contempt and sorrow when very few situations go his way. The film serves not as a biography of a struggling musician destined for stardom, but as a reminder of the challenges one faces when refusing to let go of a dream.

By having Llewyn play the same song at the end of the movie that he does at the beginning, the Coen brothers bring him full circle. Llewyn is the same desperate musician that he was at the beginning, evidencing the cycle of tough luck and despair life sometimes throws at us. Regardless of the authenticity surrounding the events of the movie, there is no title screen that says “based on a true story.” This film is purely a work of Coen brothers’ fiction, leaving the viewer confused, sad, desperate and hopeful.

Inside Llewyn Davis is nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Cinematography and Sound Mixing.

Entertainment Value: 5

Deeper Meaning: 7

Accomplishes Set Out Intention: 9

Overall: 8

Tommy Anderson is a freshman business and film major who likes all kinds of movies, long walks on the beach and sitting on the back of an old chevy to watch the sunset. You can contact Tommy at