10   +   9   =  

her_posterThere is only really one thing to do when Valentine’s Day comes around. Watch a film. You can either share a lovely evening with your partner, or hide from the whole tedious affair in a movie. Luckily, there are great films to watch this week.

Admittedly, a man falling in love with his operating system might not jump out as the best topic to make a love film out of. It sounds like a vaguely creepy premise. Or an Apple ad. Perhaps both. Yet if you are looking for something to take your partner to, or you just want to watch a great film, there is nothing better. Spike Jonze’s beautifully shot science fiction romance sees a shy and retiring Joaquin Phoenix finding love in the shape of his Scarlett Johansson voiced operating system. With a powerful emotional core, Her looks like a sunset and comes with a strong soundtrack from the likes of Karen O and Arcade Fire. In short, it is perfect for Valentine’s and then for every day after.

Back when that first block emerged out of Denmark, it cannot have come across as the most likely subject for a hit movie. Yet here we stand with The Lego Movie sitting atop the US Box office, basking in financial and critical riches. It is easy to see why. With conflicting forces battling over a superweapon, it falls to Chris Pratt’s ordinary construction worker to save the world from Lord Business (Will Ferrell). The dialogue is smart, set pieces hilarious, the voice cast fabulous and the animation impressive. What more could you want.

Not everything this week is sweet, romantic and fun. It would be hard to level any of these at Bastards, Claire Denis’ new film. Following Vincent Lindon’s ship captain, he returns to find his niece in a terrible condition, potentially having been abused by rich businessman Edouard Laporte. Setting out for revenge, he gets mixed up with Laporte’s mistress and sucked into an ever bleaker world. If sappy love cards and wilting roses aren’t your thing, then take this journey into powerlessness, perversion and the dark recesses of the mind.

With the Bafta’s on Sunday and the Academy Awards only two weeks after, why not plunge into the multi-nominated and frankly great Captain Phillips. Paul Greengrass has a fine track record as a director, and he maintains his standards here with this story of the hijacking of a cargo vessel by Somali pirates. Tom Hanks is the captain, and Oscar nominated newcomer Barkhad Abdi leads the opposing forces in an oppressively tense thriller that refuses to let up until the credits roll.

I think we can agree that all the options above beat an overpriced dinner and hideous novelty soft toy. Until next week.

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