Steve Jobs reviews

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Re: Steve Jobs reviews

Postby flipp525 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 8:03 am

The trades are portraying this as a "bomb" because of lackluster box office. I'm excited to see it based on the reviews provided by members here. But does this affect Fassbender's chances at an Oscar or even a nomination? This movie was supposed to be the front-runner in all categories before it actually opened but this flop will take a lot of wind out of its sails. And, for all we know, Fassbender's performance in Macbeth could be his nomination this year.

I know I'd nominate Fassbender for his VPL in Macbeth in that one scene alone.
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Re: Steve Jobs reviews

Postby danfrank » Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:58 am

The Original BJ wrote: There is one pesky historical accuracy question I'd have to ask -- were all of these people at ALL THREE of these product launches? I haven't looked into it, but my hunch is that some creative license was taken there, and I'm not sure how I felt about that. Or, let me put it another way -- I COULD believe that most of the characters would have been at all of these events, but I had a very difficult time imagining that Jobs's daughter showed up at all the right moments the movie needed her to in reality. I guess this is the trade-off for getting a non-traditional bio -- you have to accept that specific moments are going to symbolize entire relationships rather than display historical truth -- but I can't say the movie made me entirely believe everything I was seeing, no matter how effective all of it was.


I took it for granted that Sorkin was taking a huge amount of dramatic license here. I have no idea which of these players were present at these launches and, even if they were all at all the of them, I'm fairly positive that he wasn't having these highly dramatic, soul-searching moments with them just before he went on stage. I'm totally fine with his playing with the facts, because I think the structure of the movie allowed him to tell larger truths about Jobs in a compact way. This kind of narrative structure, where smaller truths are sacrificed for larger ones in order to have some dramatic flare, makes for the best kind of biopic.

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Re: Steve Jobs reviews

Postby Sabin » Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:12 pm

The Original BJ wrote
I often try to make mental notes when watching a movie about specific lines of dialogue I liked, so that I can remember them later -- about twenty minutes into this, I found my brain just couldn't keep track of all the incisive exchanges Sorkin was giving us here, so fast were they all coming.

There's that great moment in The Social Network where they ask Mark if he has their attention and he just shuts them down. Just a titanic piece of writing. Steve Jobs has ten or twenty moments just like that. It was hard for me to keep track of them all.
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Re: Steve Jobs reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Mon Oct 19, 2015 2:44 am

I thought this movie was pretty much a total kick. I don't think it's quite at the level of The Social Network -- that movie seemed to tap into the zeitgeist of an entire era in a way that Steve Jobs, with its more limited focus on one man, just isn't able to do. Still, the way Aaron Sorkin packs so much information about Jobs's life into essentially three brief moments in time is hugely impressive, making the film a biography for those of us (like me) who feel the genre typically needs this kind of explosion of convention to ever really work at all.

And what energy the movie has! I often try to make mental notes when watching a movie about specific lines of dialogue I liked, so that I can remember them later -- about twenty minutes into this, I found my brain just couldn't keep track of all the incisive exchanges Sorkin was giving us here, so fast were they all coming. And Danny Boyle keeps the pace of the movie rollicking along splendidly -- even sequences that feel like they could threaten to tip the movie over (like the intercut fight scenes between Fassbender and Daniels), play like a superbly orchestrated symphony of elements instead, to borrow the movie's own metaphor.

Not that anyone had any doubts about Michael Fassbender's status as one of the most significant screen actors to emerge in the past decade, but he confirms that position yet again with his work here, in a performance that feels like it's operating from an entirely different center of gravity from his other roles. I've read much about how the film portrays Jobs as an unlikable character -- I guess my reaction was, with a lesser actor behind the performance, I probably could have felt the same way, but the way Fassbender grounds Jobs's carelessness toward others in completely human ways (i.e. letting his personal drive and ambition be monumental distractions from others' feelings as opposed to callous attempts to override them) made him a far more tragically sympathetic character to me. Terrific work.

And the rest of the cast completely matches him. This is Kate Winslet's best film role since her 2008 double-punch, providing a perfect counterpoint to Fassbender throughout the movie, and getting a knockout third act scene ("What you make shouldn't be the best part of you") that sums up a lot of what the film is about. And the three supporting men -- Stulhbarg, Daniels, Rogen -- all make very strong impressions, though I wonder if the lack of a standout among them might prevent any of them from gaining any serious awards traction.

There is one pesky historical accuracy question I'd have to ask -- were all of these people at ALL THREE of these product launches? I haven't looked into it, but my hunch is that some creative license was taken there, and I'm not sure how I felt about that. Or, let me put it another way -- I COULD believe that most of the characters would have been at all of these events, but I had a very difficult time imagining that Jobs's daughter showed up at all the right moments the movie needed her to in reality. I guess this is the trade-off for getting a non-traditional bio -- you have to accept that specific moments are going to symbolize entire relationships rather than display historical truth -- but I can't say the movie made me entirely believe everything I was seeing, no matter how effective all of it was.

Although I think a few efforts on the horizon have the potential to dethrone it, right now this is my favorite movie of the year.

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Re: Steve Jobs reviews

Postby danfrank » Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:32 pm

I was surprised that the theater was barely half-full on the opening Saturday here in the Bay Area, home of Apple, Steve Jobs, etc. Box office looks great overall, so wonder if the Silicon Valley and environs is a bit Steve Jobs'd out. In any case, I thought this was pretty riveting for almost the full two hours, and then it had that seemingly disingenuine ending. It wasn't enough to ruin the whole thing, but it was a big disappointment given what came before it. Even though this was never a play, obviously, it felt like a great film adaptation of a terrifically written 3-act play. Interesting that almost the whole movie took place in theaters. Great emotional drama played out in the left-brained computer industry? That's quite a feat, I would say. With this Fassbender becomes a truly major actor. The supporting cast was terrific too. I'll agree with those below who singled out Michael Stuhlbarg. That last scene with him and Fassbender was richly dramatic and so emotionally charged. Through Andy/Stuhlbarg's reflection the deepest layer of Jobs' character becomes revealed. It's one of the best film scenes I've seen in some time. I also thought the aging of the Jobs character was well pulled off by the hair/styling/makeup people.

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Re: Steve Jobs reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:24 pm

I don't have the time or energy to write a lot now, but I was mostly wowed by this. It's more alive than any other movie I've seen this year, and just wonderfully acted all around (it's inconceivable it won't be in heavy contention for SAG Ensemble). Fassbender is splendid, and I agree with Sabin's singling out Michael Stuhlbarg, whose last scene is the emotional highlight of the film.

Pre-Social Network, I thought of Aaron Sorkin as a guy who wrote dialogue that "played" but didn't feel fully human, and as a plotter from the William Goldman hokum school. But here the interchanges (which are basically the whole movie) play as real -- even the final Jobs/Wozniak face-off, one of the only loud-argument-in-front-of-a-crowd scenes I've ever seen that didn't feel phony. And the storyline, while structured around the three launches and played in real time, manages to suggest the fullness of Jobs' life while never slipping into biopic-land (kind of like Lincoln, in that regard), and is thematically rich besides.

I do agree the climax felt out of joint with the rest of the film, and smacked of "let's redeem our character so the audience can feel better about him". I was happy with Jobs the way he was, but of course I'm not a standard American moviegoer. I also felt the daughter in that segment was the one character who felt too Sorkin-y when she spoke -- the other characters spoke his language as well, but it seemed natural coming out of their mouths; with her, it felt like a stretch.

Based on my late afternoon crowd, this is going to at least open huge. It'll be interesting to see how widely it plays; I do know unexpected people -- including my mother -- have asked me about it. It's for sure going to be an Oscar player.

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Re: Steve Jobs reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:39 am

And here's what Rex Reed had to say:

STEVE JOBS ★
(1/4 stars)

If you’re interested in the rags-to-riches story of the late Steve Jobs, the tech nerd who devoted his life to the digital revolution and self-destructed in the process, then stay away from the cold, bloodless and incomprehensible movie with the cut-the-crap-and-get-to-the-point title Steve Jobs. You will learn a lot more about him by watching the excellent and fascinating Alex Gibney documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine—a much better movie and a far more revealing look at the person behind the enigma than anything in the fictionalized mess that has been clumsily directed by Danny Boyle and pretentiously written by Aaron Sorkin. There’s no humanity in this grave disappointment that justifies the passion his fans feel for the father of the iMac. Steve Jobs and all of the characters around him fail to come to life in any absorbing fashion. They’re not real people; they’re all hashtags.

At the press conference following the unveiling of Steve Jobs at the New York Film Festival last week, Mr. Sorkin informed the audience he did not want to make a “biopic.” This is the major problem of a movie infected with them. It fails to tell any story at all. How did a child who was ashamed of being adopted rise from loser to CEO of Apple? He may have revolutionized digital technology, but he also weakened humanity’s most valuable asset—the power of communication. How did he feel about that? And what about his personal life? Inquiring minds want to know. If there is a story worth telling, it’s a secret here.

The movie touches on his rejection of the woman and child who claimed to be his only legal family, although the truth is that he was married with three other children. These are facts that are never mentioned. And despite the immense charisma of Michael Fassbender (who looks nothing whatsoever like Jobs) in the title role, and Kate Winslet as his tough, smart and loyal right arm and head of Apple marketing (a totally fabricated composite of several people), the characters created by Mr. Sorkin are so faceless and one-dimensional that the supporting actors playing them (Jeff Daniels, Alan Alda, Seth Rogen and others) are as wasted as disposable Kleenex from a tissue box.

What you do get is a character called Steve Jobs who embodies the qualities of a man who is not worth making a movie about. Cold, obnoxious, neurotic, selfish, indifferent toward everything but his computers (worth $441 million when his wife and daughter were living on welfare), and as cracked as the Apple logo. The structure, designed by Mr. Sorkin to take place during three separate Apple product launches, is so hard to keep up with that the characters show up in myriad costumes in the same scene. The show-off dialogue about profit margins and market shares and revolutionary Ethernets is so full of technological mumbo-jumbo it might as well be written in Swahili.

Like Facebook guru Mark Zuckerberg, Mr. Jobs comes off as so arrogant, illogical, unbearably unpleasant and self-absorbed to the point of self-delusion that he comes unhinged when somebody else writes a tuition check for his daughter at Harvard because it makes him sound like he’s a poor role model. A mass of contradictions, he manipulates the press, insults his employees and shows indifference to other people’s opinions and feelings, then loses it when a confidante suggests, “You can be gifted and decent at the same time!” But it’s a presumption a man as chilly as an ice bucket never comprehends.

This is a movie in freefall. It never coheres or lands on two feet. I suppose one should respect its unconventional pacing and screwball screenplay, and I suppose there are computer geeks out there who may very well care, but there are millions of potential moviegoers who won’t. Steve Jobs may be a film of great audacity. But any bogus entertainment that crams 19 years of computer technology into two hours of film without any identifiable human emotion, character development or narrative coherence is not the kind of movie I could ever cuddle up with.

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Re: Steve Jobs reviews

Postby Sabin » Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:59 am

Watching Steve Jobs, I was intermittently aware of how much I wished that David Fincher had directed this film instead of Danny Boyle. And yet in the hour since leaving the film (which I immensely enjoyed during the movie itself), I've wondered why my enthusiasm has waned a bit. I think that's because it's impossible for me to imagine David Fincher directing this ending. As written, The Social Network could have played a bunch of little shits trying to get their way out of detention, and to some here that's how it played out. David Fincher changed that. I can't imagine David Fincher finding anything to do with a script that ultimately pivots around Steve Jobs' acceptance of his daughter. Watch the final images and tell me if you can see a David Fincher version of that? I can't. The more commercial (in every sense of the word) Danny Boyle is likely a better choice, although the film starts off quite clunky.

This film is very good. There's likely three ways to make a movie about Steve Jobs: 1) biopic, 2) character assassination, and 3) something like this. Aaron Sorkin wants to explain his behavior, a behavior which is alluded to but never really seen. Michael Fassbender does a great job of implying this. The way Aaron Sorkin writes this is by creating what felt to me at times like a Christmas Carol" narrative where Jobs is beset upon by ghosts of Christmas Pasts. Their arguments create a portrait that feels like a feature length Sorkin "walk and talk". The film is three long scenes, all leading up to Steve Jobs on stage for a launch. You wouldn't think that a Steve Jobs biopic would be grounds for the Sorkin-est thing you've ever seen, but there it is. That alone is likely to put people off. What made me almost love this film is that Sorkin's writing is that these arguments are punctuated with incredible, lacerating dialogue. It's not just talk, it's strong, articulate dramatic beats hurled at us. I felt dizzy at times and appreciative. But there's something a little disappointing about a movie that ends replacing the mask that the film has spent two hours removing. Steve Jobs begins with the man's struggle to make his computer say hello and settles for a forgery. The end of the movie, he (and the movie) may as well be doing the same thing back to us.

Aaron Sorkin will likely win an Oscar for this film. Anything else is unlikely, although it'll rack up a boatload of nominations. Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet are assured. They're both quite good. Seth Rogen is quite good. His Wozniak amounts to a turn on his persona, one shade of affability for another, but he conveys the hurt he struggles to articulate in the face of a former friend who has no trouble doing so. Michael Stuhlbarg and Katherine Waterson are unlikely to get any awards consideration but they're ensemble MVPs.
Last edited by Sabin on Sun Oct 11, 2015 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Steve Jobs reviews

Postby Greg » Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:35 pm

Okri wrote:Oscar seasons featuring an Aaron Sorkin movie are the worst oscar seasons....

Well, I was pretty happy with 2010.
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Re: Steve Jobs reviews

Postby Okri » Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:08 pm

Oscar seasons featuring an Aaron Sorkin movie are the worst oscar seasons....

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Re: Steve Jobs reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:06 pm

Without question, the most enthusiastically reviewed film of the week. A biopic it may be, but it apparently has more life than anything else at either festival.

Variety
Justin Chang
Chief Film Critic @JustinCChang

For those who subscribe to the generally held view that the late co-founder of Apple was both an iconic visionary and a monster with a silicon chip where his heart should be, rest assured that writer Aaron Sorkin, director Danny Boyle and star Michael Fassbender have given their subject the brilliant, maddening, ingeniously designed and monstrously self-aggrandizing movie he deserves. Blowing away traditional storytelling conventions with the same withering contempt that seems to motivate its characters’ every interaction, “Steve Jobs” is a bravura backstage farce, a wildly creative fantasia in three acts in which every scene plays out as a real-time volley of insults and ideas — insisting, with sometimes gratingly repetitive sound and fury, that Jobs’ gift for innovation was perhaps inextricable from his capacity for cruelty. Straining like mad to be the “Citizen Kane” (or at least the “Birdman”) of larger-than-life techno-prophet biopics, this is a film of brash, swaggering artifice and monumental ego, a terrific actors’ showcase and an incorrigibly entertaining ride that looks set to be one of the fall’s early must-see attractions.

Despite the cinematic cottage industry that has recently sprung up around Jobs’ legacy (including Alex Gibney’s fine documentary “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine”), Universal should have little trouble establishing its Oct. 9 release as the only Steve Jobs movie the broader public will really need or want to see; to even compare it to “Jobs,” the Ashton Kutcher-starring indie mediocrity that came and went in 2013, would be as unfair as likening the Star Child to one of those apes wandering around at the beginning of “2001.” Indeed, it’s a measure of the film’s chutzpah that “Steve Jobs” at times seems to be channeling Kubrick’s science-fiction touchstone (which is duly mentioned here) by developing its own sophisticated, multi-part structure — one where every new chapter marks a major evolutionary leap forward, and where Jobs himself is the cold, towering obelisk dictating humanity’s steady onward march toward technological supremacy.

Inspired, in the loosest possible sense of the word, by Walter Isaacson’s massive and authoritative Jobs biography, Sorkin’s screenplay has mastered the art of conveying a character’s essence — not by delivering the most comprehensive account possible (Pixar, Xerox and cancer are just a few topics that go unmentioned), but by compressing the most relevant data into one significant time frame. Or rather, three significant time frames, each one centered around the public launch of a Jobs-created product that would change the course of his career and thus the course of global technology. It’s a most appropriate conceit for a man who, by most unflattering accounts, lavished more love and care on his signature creations than on any of the people in his inner circle. At the same time, the picture’s surreal backstage-farce approach ensures that those people are very much in Jobs’ face mere minutes before showtime, always choosing the worst possible moment to take him to task.

Act one is set in 1984 at De Anza Community College in Cupertino, Calif., where Jobs (Fassbender, not quite looking 29) is about to unveil the first-ever Macintosh, for which a recent Super Bowl ad has stoked massive anticipation. Everyone is in crisis mode: System-software developer Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) is desperately trying to get the computer to say “hello” to the audience, something Jobs insists on with typical stubbornness. He’s already fuming because he’s lost the Time magazine cover he was promised, possibly due to the recently aired scandal involving his ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston, “Inherent Vice”) and her 5-year-old daughter, Lisa (Makenzie Moss), whose paternity he has publicly denied. Making matters worse, Chrisann herself shows up with Lisa in tow and demands money, asking him how it feels to be worth $441 million while the mother of his child is on welfare.

If Jobs is the master of this three-ring circus, then his long-suffering mediator is Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), his most trusted friend and consort, who tries to manage his moods and demands over the course of the film while urging him to treat those around him fairly. Certainly few deserve such consideration more than Steve “Woz” Wozniak (Seth Rogen, exceptional), the friendly, long-suffering Apple co-founder and programming genius who knows he deserves more credit for their success than his partner has given him over the years (the film includes a few judicious flashbacks to the two men building their future empire in Jobs’ garage). But such consideration is not forthcoming from Jobs, who rebuffs Woz’s request that he publicly acknowledge the team behind the Apple II computer — still the company’s biggest moneymaker, and one for which Jobs doesn’t bother to hide his dislike.

In this first act alone, Sorkin’s script establishes core aspects of Jobs’ personal and professional identities that will be further advanced and imaginatively embellished in the next two segments. We witness firsthand his impossible perfectionism and refusal to take no for an answer; his withering criticism of his colleagues and employees, all in the name of eliciting their very best work; his ridiculously high opinion of himself, complete with self-flattering comparisons to Stravinsky and Caesar; his insistence that his computers reflect his exquisite design sense and remain incompatible with non-Apple products; his ongoing hang-ups about his adoption as a child, and what it says about his inability to control his destiny; and above all, his startling callousness toward his own child, who begins to interest him only when she shows flashes of her father’s brainpower.

Things have shifted considerably when act two picks up in 1988: The Macintosh has tanked, Jobs has been fired from Apple, and he’s now preparing to stage a comeback via his new company, NeXT, which is about to release a computer model notable for its “black cube” design and impractical $6,500 retail price. The setting is the San Francisco Opera House, and Daniel Pemberton’s music adroitly shifts from percussive beats to classical orchestrations — all the better to underscore Jobs’ sense of himself as not a lowly musician, but a master conductor. Even now, kicked out of his empire, he seems to be firmly in control of each situation as he goes another few rounds with Woz, discusses the uncertain future of both NeXT and Apple with Joanna, and grudgingly spends time with the now 9-year-old Lisa (Ripley Sobo), who’s clearly warmed to the dad who once disowned her.

But Jobs’ chief sparring partner this time around is John Sculley (Jeff Daniels), the Apple CEO who fired him three years earlier under mysterious circumstances that are revisited here in a boardroom flashback. As editor Elliot Graham cuts swiftly between past and present, overlapping Sorkin’s already rapid-fire dialogue, the formal showmanship dazzles even if the corporate backbiting isn’t especially easy to follow. But with Sculley on his way out at Apple, which has foundered in Jobs’ absence, the latter seems all the more triumphant in his conviction that personal vision will always prevail over groupthink: “Artists lead,” he snarls, “and hacks ask for a show of hands.”

By act three, set in 1998 at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall, the now 43-year-old Jobs has been restored to his full glory at Apple, where he’s about to launch the iMac to unprecedented anticipation; the Internet is about to explode and the iPhone is just three years away. Even now, sporting the graying hair, glasses and black turtleneck that will constitute his signature look in years to come, he’s as obstinate and nasty as ever, finding yet another reason to quarrel with the now 19-year-old Lisa (Perla Haney-Jardine), to the ongoing chagrin of both Joanna and Hertzfeld. And he has one more harsh confrontation with Woz, in which Jobs once again digs in his heels and refuses to admit any wrongdoing, prompting his old frenemy to declare his own philosophy of life: “You can be decent and gifted at the same time.” It’s here, however, that after roughly two hours of nonstop bitchery and antagonism, Sorkin and Fassbender allow the faintest flicker of compassion to emerge; we’re left pondering that this ruthless conqueror may have been capable of love after all, albeit a love that he was willing to define only on his deeply distorted terms.

Indeed, all but Jobs’ most violent detractors may take issue with a picture that can be read on one level as a form of high-end character assassination, and on another as a live-action cartoon. Sorkin’s warts-and-all approach is so thorough that it seems to discover warts on top of warts; you’d have to go back to “There Will Be Blood” to find another Hollywood antihero so willing to isolate himself from others, and to pursue his dreams with such violent single-mindedness. This isn’t, of course, the first time Sorkin has turned an unflattering eye on a tech-world revolutionary, and those viewers who thought “The Social Network” was a bit too show-offy will find this even more brazenly written picture truly insufferable by comparison. The virtues of Sorkin’s style are as self-evident as the vices; his work here is by turns ferociously inventive and cloddishly on-the-nose — a high-wire achievement that’s easy to admire even when it’s nearly impossible to like.

And something similar could surely be said of Steve Jobs himself, whose profound disinterest in soliciting anyone’s affection is what ultimately lends Boyle and Sorkin’s film its underlying integrity, despite the outrageous factual, dramatic and aesthetic liberties they’ve taken with the material. In this unabashedly fictionalized context, Fassbender overcomes the obvious casting hurdle (he looks nothing like Jobs, whose Arab-American lineage is briefly referenced) and delivers a performance as enthralling and fully sustained as any on his estimable resume. That the actor is onscreen at every minute makes it all the better that it’s impossible to take your eyes off him, or your ears: This is an actor who knows exactly how to toss off Sorkin’s dialogue, emphasizing rhythm and inflection over volume, while embodying confidence and authority in his every atom. It’s a performance that sets the tone for equally fine work all around: Rogen delivers a lovable, downright huggable spin on Wozniak; Stuhlbarg mines layers of wry wisdom from Hertzfeld; and as Jobs’ right-hand woman, Winslet overcomes a wobbly Polish accent to provide the audience with an essential lifeline to reason and sanity.

Working with d.p. Alwin Kutchler, Boyle sometimes sends the camera hurtling after the characters in lengthy, down-the-corridor tracking shots; elsewhere, the brief transitional snippets between acts feature some fairly aggressive stylization, in line with his usual m.o. But for the most part, this is the filmmaker’s most reined-in picture in some time, as if a too-kinetic approach would interfere with the verbal energy of Sorkin’s script. Besides Guy Hendrix Dyas’ unobtrusively excellent production design, the picture’s major visual coup is the decision to shoot the three acts on three different formats: grainy 16mm film for 1984, lustrous 35mm for 1988, and sleek, high-definition digital for 1998. The distinctions may well be lost on the vast majority of viewers, but it’s just the sort of nicely understated aesthetic flourish that Steve Jobs himself would have surely appreciated.
ariety
Justin Chang
Chief Film Critic @JustinCChang

For those who subscribe to the generally held view that the late co-founder of Apple was both an iconic visionary and a monster with a silicon chip where his heart should be, rest assured that writer Aaron Sorkin, director Danny Boyle and star Michael Fassbender have given their subject the brilliant, maddening, ingeniously designed and monstrously self-aggrandizing movie he deserves. Blowing away traditional storytelling conventions with the same withering contempt that seems to motivate its characters’ every interaction, “Steve Jobs” is a bravura backstage farce, a wildly creative fantasia in three acts in which every scene plays out as a real-time volley of insults and ideas — insisting, with sometimes gratingly repetitive sound and fury, that Jobs’ gift for innovation was perhaps inextricable from his capacity for cruelty. Straining like mad to be the “Citizen Kane” (or at least the “Birdman”) of larger-than-life techno-prophet biopics, this is a film of brash, swaggering artifice and monumental ego, a terrific actors’ showcase and an incorrigibly entertaining ride that looks set to be one of the fall’s early must-see attractions.

Despite the cinematic cottage industry that has recently sprung up around Jobs’ legacy (including Alex Gibney’s fine documentary “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine”), Universal should have little trouble establishing its Oct. 9 release as the only Steve Jobs movie the broader public will really need or want to see; to even compare it to “Jobs,” the Ashton Kutcher-starring indie mediocrity that came and went in 2013, would be as unfair as likening the Star Child to one of those apes wandering around at the beginning of “2001.” Indeed, it’s a measure of the film’s chutzpah that “Steve Jobs” at times seems to be channeling Kubrick’s science-fiction touchstone (which is duly mentioned here) by developing its own sophisticated, multi-part structure — one where every new chapter marks a major evolutionary leap forward, and where Jobs himself is the cold, towering obelisk dictating humanity’s steady onward march toward technological supremacy.

Inspired, in the loosest possible sense of the word, by Walter Isaacson’s massive and authoritative Jobs biography, Sorkin’s screenplay has mastered the art of conveying a character’s essence — not by delivering the most comprehensive account possible (Pixar, Xerox and cancer are just a few topics that go unmentioned), but by compressing the most relevant data into one significant time frame. Or rather, three significant time frames, each one centered around the public launch of a Jobs-created product that would change the course of his career and thus the course of global technology. It’s a most appropriate conceit for a man who, by most unflattering accounts, lavished more love and care on his signature creations than on any of the people in his inner circle. At the same time, the picture’s surreal backstage-farce approach ensures that those people are very much in Jobs’ face mere minutes before showtime, always choosing the worst possible moment to take him to task.

Act one is set in 1984 at De Anza Community College in Cupertino, Calif., where Jobs (Fassbender, not quite looking 29) is about to unveil the first-ever Macintosh, for which a recent Super Bowl ad has stoked massive anticipation. Everyone is in crisis mode: System-software developer Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) is desperately trying to get the computer to say “hello” to the audience, something Jobs insists on with typical stubbornness. He’s already fuming because he’s lost the Time magazine cover he was promised, possibly due to the recently aired scandal involving his ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston, “Inherent Vice”) and her 5-year-old daughter, Lisa (Makenzie Moss), whose paternity he has publicly denied. Making matters worse, Chrisann herself shows up with Lisa in tow and demands money, asking him how it feels to be worth $441 million while the mother of his child is on welfare.

If Jobs is the master of this three-ring circus, then his long-suffering mediator is Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), his most trusted friend and consort, who tries to manage his moods and demands over the course of the film while urging him to treat those around him fairly. Certainly few deserve such consideration more than Steve “Woz” Wozniak (Seth Rogen, exceptional), the friendly, long-suffering Apple co-founder and programming genius who knows he deserves more credit for their success than his partner has given him over the years (the film includes a few judicious flashbacks to the two men building their future empire in Jobs’ garage). But such consideration is not forthcoming from Jobs, who rebuffs Woz’s request that he publicly acknowledge the team behind the Apple II computer — still the company’s biggest moneymaker, and one for which Jobs doesn’t bother to hide his dislike.

In this first act alone, Sorkin’s script establishes core aspects of Jobs’ personal and professional identities that will be further advanced and imaginatively embellished in the next two segments. We witness firsthand his impossible perfectionism and refusal to take no for an answer; his withering criticism of his colleagues and employees, all in the name of eliciting their very best work; his ridiculously high opinion of himself, complete with self-flattering comparisons to Stravinsky and Caesar; his insistence that his computers reflect his exquisite design sense and remain incompatible with non-Apple products; his ongoing hang-ups about his adoption as a child, and what it says about his inability to control his destiny; and above all, his startling callousness toward his own child, who begins to interest him only when she shows flashes of her father’s brainpower.

Things have shifted considerably when act two picks up in 1988: The Macintosh has tanked, Jobs has been fired from Apple, and he’s now preparing to stage a comeback via his new company, NeXT, which is about to release a computer model notable for its “black cube” design and impractical $6,500 retail price. The setting is the San Francisco Opera House, and Daniel Pemberton’s music adroitly shifts from percussive beats to classical orchestrations — all the better to underscore Jobs’ sense of himself as not a lowly musician, but a master conductor. Even now, kicked out of his empire, he seems to be firmly in control of each situation as he goes another few rounds with Woz, discusses the uncertain future of both NeXT and Apple with Joanna, and grudgingly spends time with the now 9-year-old Lisa (Ripley Sobo), who’s clearly warmed to the dad who once disowned her.

But Jobs’ chief sparring partner this time around is John Sculley (Jeff Daniels), the Apple CEO who fired him three years earlier under mysterious circumstances that are revisited here in a boardroom flashback. As editor Elliot Graham cuts swiftly between past and present, overlapping Sorkin’s already rapid-fire dialogue, the formal showmanship dazzles even if the corporate backbiting isn’t especially easy to follow. But with Sculley on his way out at Apple, which has foundered in Jobs’ absence, the latter seems all the more triumphant in his conviction that personal vision will always prevail over groupthink: “Artists lead,” he snarls, “and hacks ask for a show of hands.”

By act three, set in 1998 at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall, the now 43-year-old Jobs has been restored to his full glory at Apple, where he’s about to launch the iMac to unprecedented anticipation; the Internet is about to explode and the iPhone is just three years away. Even now, sporting the graying hair, glasses and black turtleneck that will constitute his signature look in years to come, he’s as obstinate and nasty as ever, finding yet another reason to quarrel with the now 19-year-old Lisa (Perla Haney-Jardine), to the ongoing chagrin of both Joanna and Hertzfeld. And he has one more harsh confrontation with Woz, in which Jobs once again digs in his heels and refuses to admit any wrongdoing, prompting his old frenemy to declare his own philosophy of life: “You can be decent and gifted at the same time.” It’s here, however, that after roughly two hours of nonstop bitchery and antagonism, Sorkin and Fassbender allow the faintest flicker of compassion to emerge; we’re left pondering that this ruthless conqueror may have been capable of love after all, albeit a love that he was willing to define only on his deeply distorted terms.

Indeed, all but Jobs’ most violent detractors may take issue with a picture that can be read on one level as a form of high-end character assassination, and on another as a live-action cartoon. Sorkin’s warts-and-all approach is so thorough that it seems to discover warts on top of warts; you’d have to go back to “There Will Be Blood” to find another Hollywood antihero so willing to isolate himself from others, and to pursue his dreams with such violent single-mindedness. This isn’t, of course, the first time Sorkin has turned an unflattering eye on a tech-world revolutionary, and those viewers who thought “The Social Network” was a bit too show-offy will find this even more brazenly written picture truly insufferable by comparison. The virtues of Sorkin’s style are as self-evident as the vices; his work here is by turns ferociously inventive and cloddishly on-the-nose — a high-wire achievement that’s easy to admire even when it’s nearly impossible to like.

And something similar could surely be said of Steve Jobs himself, whose profound disinterest in soliciting anyone’s affection is what ultimately lends Boyle and Sorkin’s film its underlying integrity, despite the outrageous factual, dramatic and aesthetic liberties they’ve taken with the material. In this unabashedly fictionalized context, Fassbender overcomes the obvious casting hurdle (he looks nothing like Jobs, whose Arab-American lineage is briefly referenced) and delivers a performance as enthralling and fully sustained as any on his estimable resume. That the actor is onscreen at every minute makes it all the better that it’s impossible to take your eyes off him, or your ears: This is an actor who knows exactly how to toss off Sorkin’s dialogue, emphasizing rhythm and inflection over volume, while embodying confidence and authority in his every atom. It’s a performance that sets the tone for equally fine work all around: Rogen delivers a lovable, downright huggable spin on Wozniak; Stuhlbarg mines layers of wry wisdom from Hertzfeld; and as Jobs’ right-hand woman, Winslet overcomes a wobbly Polish accent to provide the audience with an essential lifeline to reason and sanity.

Working with d.p. Alwin Kutchler, Boyle sometimes sends the camera hurtling after the characters in lengthy, down-the-corridor tracking shots; elsewhere, the brief transitional snippets between acts feature some fairly aggressive stylization, in line with his usual m.o. But for the most part, this is the filmmaker’s most reined-in picture in some time, as if a too-kinetic approach would interfere with the verbal energy of Sorkin’s script. Besides Guy Hendrix Dyas’ unobtrusively excellent production design, the picture’s major visual coup is the decision to shoot the three acts on three different formats: grainy 16mm film for 1984, lustrous 35mm for 1988, and sleek, high-definition digital for 1998. The distinctions may well be lost on the vast majority of viewers, but it’s just the sort of nicely understated aesthetic flourish that Steve Jobs himself would have surely appreciated.

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Steve Jobs reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:11 am

From The Hollywood Reporter

By Todd McCarthy

The Bottom Line
The Jobs legend keeps on growing.

Michael Fassbender plays the Apple CEO in the new film from director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin.

How do you get to the bottom of a character like Steve Jobs, a figure so towering and complex that he could arguably serve as the basis of a film as ambitious as Citizen Kane? If you’re a dramatist with the character insight and verbal dexterity of Aaron Sorkin, you make him the vortex of a swirling human hurricane, the puppetmaster who kept all around him on strings, the impresario of a circus dedicated to the creation and dramatic unveiling of technological wonders that changed the world. Racing in high gear from start to finish, Danny Boyle’s electric direction tempermentally complements Sorkin’s highly theatrical three-act study, which might one day be fascinating to experience in a staged setting. With its high-profile launches at the Telluride, New York and London film festivals, this Universal release is clearly positioned as one of the prestige titles of the fall season and will be high priority viewing for discerning audiences around the world.

Conceptually, Sorkin’s work is structured like a play, as the three roughly forty-minute sections are set backstage as Jobs, who has been invested with equal parts hubris and focus by Michael Fassbender, prepares to launch three of his major products: The Macintosh in 1984, the NeXT “Cube” in 1988 and the iMac in 1998. The same subsidiary characters swirls in and out — Jobs’ feisty and invaluable marketing executive Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), tech genius and early partner Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), Mac software designer Andy Herzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg), Apple chief executive John Sculley (Jeff Daniels), perennially shunned ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston) and the latter’s daughter with Jobs, Lisa (Mackenzie Moss, then Perla Haney-Jardine). The actors are uniformly superb.

The dramatic dynamic linking all these characters is that everyone wants something from the young Zeus of their world that they cannot get. The specifics differ in each case, but they all boil down to the desire for acknowledgment of their value from a difficult and withholding man, one famous for abusing his underlings, keeping them guessing about where they stand and rejecting their ideas only to later claim them as his own. As with Kirk Douglas’ ambitious movie producer in The Bad and the Beautiful in another era, the boss treats even those closest to him very badly but, in the end, his intimates and associates so desperately crave his approval that they keep coming back for more.

Following a disarming black-and-white clip of Arthur C. Clarke, in 1974, accurately extolling a future in which computers will “enrich our society” and be as commonplace as telephones, Boyle and Sorkin jump ahead just ten years and plunge right into the mad moments before Jobs is to take the stage in Cupertino to introduce the Mac to a panting public, which has already had its appetite whetted by Ridley Scott’s brilliant 1984 Super Bowl commercial.
Jobs (who was just 29 at the time) was never anything other than cool and composed before the public, but conditions backstage could not be more chaotic: Jobs insists to his frazzled tech wizard Herzfeld that the Mac itself must say “hello” to the crowd and demands that the exit signs be (illegally) turned off, Woz badgers him to publicly acknowledge the old Apple II team and Chrisann picks this moment to show up with little Lisa and give him hell for not acknowledging his daughter and providing for them.

To a man who insists that the day’s event is equal in importance to the winning of World War II and repeatedly compares himself to God, the entreaties of his underlings seem like so much begging. It must be accepted by everyone in his sphere that Jobs operates on an immeasurably higher level than they do and that his will must be done. Although he can, however infrequently, bend and compromise, people mostly go along for fear of being cast out of his orbit altogether.

While the presence of Jobs’ ex and child at a moment like this seems pretty unrealistic, even forced, Sorkin’s dramatic strategy becomes clear: He’s using compressed moment of career intensity to spotlight diverse elements of his subject’s nature—overweening ambition, massive self-confidence, ultra-demanding posture, lack of compassion and overriding egomania—for the purposes of illuminating his genius as well as his paranoia about others. “I’m like Julius Caesar,” he insists to Sculley. “I’m surrounded by enemies.”

As he has repeatedly shown in the past, Sorkin has a gift for writing the elevated gab of brainiacs, which has made him an ideal chronicler of such modern-age titans as Mark Zuckerberg and now Jobs. That said, The Social Network and Steve Jobs are radically different in their approaches to drama and character. But whereas David Fincher’s direction of the former provided an incisive, and often quite funny, sense of cool to the former, Boyle’s fast-heartbeat pacing and quasi-verite style provides the new film with a constant dramatic hum and you-are-there immediacy.

Four years later, Jobs’ suspicions have been confirmed by his exile from Apple. The grand old San Francisco Opera House is the setting for the next presentation, of the gorgeously geometric but universally undesired NeXT computer. Indeed, the portent of failure looms over this attempt at reinvention like a fog bank rolling in over San Francisco, and years of mounting conflict come to a head as Jobs and Apple separately hit bottom.

By 1998, however, Jobs is back in charge overseeing the launch of the iMac. Although Woz persist in goading his old friend about how the Apple II is still the only successful Apple product, Joanna (the only person in this telling who can sort of stand up to Jobs) assures him that, this time, “You’re gonna win.”

After the downer dynamics of the second act, Boyle whips up a real sense of enormous expectations in the home stretch a feeling that the revolution has arrived due to one man’s unswerving foresight, drive and perfectionism. Jobs may have treated many people badly and never built anything himself, but what mattered was his vision and refusal to be deterred. It’s a description that fits many, if not most, great and influential figures in history, and it certainly does here.

Still, Steve Jobs might have been a too remote, too documentary-like film if it weren’t for the element of his daughter Lisa. This part of Jobs’ story is painful in human terms, with the child of one of the nation’s richest men obliged to live, along with her mother, on a pittance in squalid surroundings; getting anything out of him, be it love or money, provokes legitimate comparisons to Scrooge. But as Lisa grows older, there is a bit of understanding on her part and a degree of grudging generosity from him, providing the film with its bit of heart.

Propulsively fast, fleet and inquisitive, the film is at the same time somewhat less flashy than most of Boyle’s most famous and successful works, including Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours. Due to its “backstage” setting and approximate real-time frame, Jobs can’t help but provoke memories of the recent Birdman, which breathtakingly covered continuous action with unprecedented fluidity. Boyle’s sophisticated but pragmatic visual approach to evoking a maelstrom of activity stands somewhere between that and more conventional cinema-verite, befitting, perhaps, the period in which it’s set.

But hardly any of this would matter without a dynamic actor at the center of things nailing the part of Jobs, and while Fassbender doesn’t closely physically resemble the man, he fully delivers the essentials of how we have come to perceive the man: Along with intellectual brilliance and force of personality, the actor also taps into the man’s frequently unreachability, power to inspire, unswerving faith in his own instincts, attention to the smallest detail, utter lack of sentimentality and the certitude that can come from occupying a different, loftier realm. Most of all, you get the strong sense from Fassbender of a mind that is always several steps beyond everyone else’s, one that allows him to shift gears without taking a breath.

The three women in Jobs’ life portrayed here get just enough screen time for the actresses playing them—Winslet, Waterston and Haney-Jardine as the adolescent Lisa—to bust out with long-surpressed emotion. Albeit with great difficulty, they, at least, get the man to bend slightly, which is more than his male associate can say.

Works about Jobs have become something of an industry in the four years since his death. There have already been two number-one best-selling biographies, by Walter Isaacson in 2011 and the current Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli. This is the second posthumous dramatic film, after Joshua Michael Stern’s lackluster Jobs in 2013, with Ashton Kutcher in the title role (there was also the 1997 cult favorite TV film Pirates of Silicon Valley). Documenaries are proliferating, from Steve Jobs: One Last Thing in 2011 to the indefatigueable Alex Gibney’s current Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine. And in 2017 there will be an opera. There may never be the last word.
"I think he sexually assaulted a child and I don't think that's right…It's gotten very quiet in here, but that's true." Susan Sarandon on Woody Allen, Cannes Film Festival 2016


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