COUCH THEATER —  DVD PREVIEWS

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Joaquin Phoenix in “Her”

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PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Her” (R) —  In the nearish future, computers become so adept at human interaction that it’s hard to tell the difference between a machine and a real personality. Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely, divorced writer who falls in love with the operating system of his new computer. To be fair, Sam —  as the software is called —  knows every intimate detail of Theodore’s online life, she reads his emails, loves his sense of humor, asks thoughtful questions … and she’s voiced by Scarlett Johansson.

Writer/director Spike Jonze (“Adaptation,” “Being John Malkovich”) took home both the Oscar and Golden Globe for best original screenplay because of “Her.” The film uses the wacky premise to get at the heart of bigger ideas about how we relate to technology, and how love works between humans.

“That Awkward Moment” (R) —  This is one of those romantic comedies where the characters are adults, but all of the jokes and commentary were clearly designed by adolescents. Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller play a trio of buds in their mid-20s, just pallin’ around New York City, picking up chicks, cracking (lame) jokes and dodging emotional entanglements. This movie would be hilarious as a parody of the shallow lessons taught by romcoms, but that’s not how it tries to be funny —  instead you get a recurring bit about how one of the guys always leaves a smell in the bathroom.

“Generation Iron” (PG-13) —  The Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competition draws contenders from all over the world, and it was the stage that helped make Arnold Schwarzenegger into a superstar. The highest level of competitive bodybuilding demands an amazing level of skill and commitment. This documentary follows seven contestants in the 2013 Mr. Olympia as they forge their muscles and discuss what drives them. Narrated by Mickey Rourke, the movie finds what makes bodybuilding such a unique world.

DOG OF THE WEEK
“I Frankenstein” (PG-13) —  After years colorless crap about vampires, zombies, werewolves and every tired ghoul in between, Hollywood now has to retire the “Monster Reboot” strategy. It goes like this: Dig up an old monster and make the story “gritty” or “young adult” without any regard for what made the source material great. Now, Frankenstein’s monster (Aaron Eckhart) has been resurrected into a pulpy gray world where he punches animated demons.

The Monster now goes by “Adam Frankenstein,” for, you know, forms and stuff. He has survived into the modern era, and he’s become instrumental in a never-ending war between good gargoyles and bad demons. Eckhart is totally committed to his grimacing, but it’s not enough to save this humorless clone of the tapped-out “Underworld” franchise.

TV RELEASES
“Longmire: Season 2”
“Orange Is the New Black: Season 1”
“Eastbound & Down: Season 4”
“Wrestlemania XXX”
“Doctor Who: Series Two, Part Two”
“Barney Miller: Season 5”

© 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

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