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Mixed notes Monday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: January 20, 2014

Spent part of Sunday watching "Her." Some of it quite good, including the performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johannson. The ending was sweetly touching, and the whole thing raised plenty of questions about emotional connections and physical ones in technological times like these. And those questions go beyond whether an operating system can have an emotional connection.  (In more contemporary terms, is a Facebook friend really a friend if you never see each other in person?) It took a good bit of time to connect, though, because director Spike Jonze was so deliberate in his pace.

Also went through some more of the fourth season of "Downton Abbey," which arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on Jan. 28. One episode to go, then I will have some non-spoilery thoughts. (I have avoided an episode-by-episode discussion because I have fallen prey to binge-watching, and have seen stuff most American viewers have not, and cannot remember what is where.) I remain hooked, though with reservations; there's a lot of soap in this season.

NBC made a bunch of press-tour announcements that are in my mailbox, including that it will follow "The Sound of Music" with a live "Peter Pan" in December 2014, and its pilot orders include one with Katherine Heigl, meaning that her big shift into movies may finally be blessedly over (Heigl as Stephanie Plum, egad!).

 

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