Open Road Films
What separates a biopic from any other character piece is that a "true story" isn't necessarily expected to resolve or redeem its central characters. Unlike their fictional counterparts, real people often stay bastards throughout adulthood, submitting in the end to the same fatal flaws that carried with them through their earlier acts. It is the charge of the filmmaker, as such, to extrapolate some meaning from the heap of misanthropy that is, in essence, his or her subject. Be it the wonder, the progress, or even the horror of the featured individual's journey, something must be pinpointed as a reason to remember the biographical story in question. What Jobs does, instead of working toward a reason for us to be enamored with or at least intrigued by the fascinating character that Steve Jobs was, is bank on the simple likelihood that we already know that.
Anyone going into a Jobs biopic has, presumably, an established interest in and familiarity with the founder of Apple, who died of cancer in 2011. But that shouldn't absolve the movie of its duty to prove to its audiences that Steve Jobs is a subject matter worth their while. It doesn't absolve Ashton Kutcher of his responsibility to build a real character, as opposed to just yelling when he's in an angry scene and sobbing when he's in a sad scene. But Jobs seemes unconcerned with its own obligations toward this story. It just wants to tell it.
As such, what we have is two hours of a Steve Jobs seminar. Director Joshua Michael Stern and star Kutcher chatting about Jobs' life and career, joking about his off-putting quirks and offensive hygiene, pulling no punches in discussing his less admirable choices (like abandoning his baby daughter, and firing Apple employees for voicing disagreement). Lucky for Stern, the story Is an interesting one. Jobs, for all his flaws, is a guy you'll enjoy hearing about. But all that is accomplished by JOBS could have been earned by picking up a textbook about his life. And those who have already done so, those who know Jobs' story well enough (those who are the most likely to check out this movie, in fact), will find themselves experiencing nothing new.
Open Road Films
But an even better problem with this method is that it results in an incomplete film. Some of the better biopics that do handle flawed characters like Steve Jobs manage to pull some sense of significance from their tales, affirming that we didn't just spend two hours watching some son of a bitch get away with being just that. Even in the darkest, saddest, most unsettling stories, it is necessary to leave the viewer with something. Something learned, changed, accomplished, earned. The director cannot help if it if the Jobs of the 2000s was the same self-driven man who used people and dismissed ideas in the '70s and '80s. But he can and must do something to work around that. To turn this collection of anecdotes into a comprehensive account, which warrants an ending that is different from its beginning. That's not just cinema, it's storytelling.
And without this effort put in to conform Jobs' life to the demands of the narrative medium, nor the effort to build him into an independently interesting character by Kutcher, we're left with a moreover dull time at the theater. Steve Jobs might be an interesting guy, and his story might be worth telling — that benefit of the doubt is probably the only thing keeping this movie afloat. In company with an external fixation on the man at its center, Jobs might work just around sea level as a piece of entertainment. But what we're looking at, here, is a standalone movie, and one that hasn't put in quite enough work to pay tribute to the man in question.
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Nearly 18 months after Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs passed away, he is going to return from the dead in theaters in the form of Ashton Kutcher. The upcoming biographical film, jOBS, about the famed American entrepreneur and starring Kutcher, is going to drop in theaters in April. jOBS will also be making its world premiere on Jan. 27 as the closing film for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Open Road Films will be releasing the film for Five Star Feature Films. Directed by Joshua Michael Stern, who directed Swing Vote in 2008 and Neverwas in 2005, jOBS follows the story of a college dropout (Steve Jobs) as he makes his way to become one of the most revered businessmen of the 20th century.
"jOBS is certain to resonate with audiences, and we are thrilled to partner with Five Star Feature Films to bring this film to theaters," Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg said. "We set out to find the perfect partners to present jOBS to audiences worldwide, and we feel we have found one with Open Road," Mark Hulme, Chairman of The Five Star Institute, added. "They were as impressed as we were with Ashton Kutcher's inspiring and unforgettable performance as Steve Jobs and are excited to distribute the picture in the U.S."
Follow Lindsey on Twitter @LDiMat.
[Photo Credit: Open Road Films]
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Between That '70s Show and Two and a Half Men we know Ashton Kutcher can do comedy, but he isn't known for his dramatic ability. However, that may be about to change. Kutcher has signed on to play the title role in Jobs, an independent biopic on Steve Jobs' rise from California hippie to Apple CEO.
Kutcher, who closely resembles Jobs, is set to start filming when Two and a Half Men goes on hiatus in May. Five Star Institute's Mark Hulme is producing Jobs and hopes to get it into theaters before Sony's Jobs biopic, which is based on Walter Isaacson's best-selling biography. Sony's film has yet to be cast, so Noah Wyle, who played the CEO in the TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, still has a shot at reprising the role.
Anton Corbijn’s absorbing new thriller The American is based on a novel entitled A Very Private Gentleman which quite aptly sums up its main character Jack (George Clooney). A veteran assassin-for-hire Jack’s life bears none of the trappings that we’ve come to associate with men who kill people for a living. There are no exotic cars or high-tech gadgets no boisterous comrades-in-arms not even a precocious 12-year-old to help pass the time. Exiled to a small town in Italy while he waits for the heat to subside after a job in Sweden gone awry he spends the bulk of his time alone confined to his plain apartment pausing between sets of pushups to peer anxiously out his window where scores of invisible enemies no doubt lurk waiting to strike.
When he does venture out it’s either to pay a visit to Father Benedetto (Paolo Bonacelli) a friendly and inquisitive local priest or to enlist the services of Clara (Violante Placido) an enchanting young prostitute. Jack makes for a reluctant social companion talking little and smiling even less and yet his two acquaintances seem inexorably drawn to him. Jack tries to keep them at a distance — he’s learned from experience that relationships can be hazardous to men in his line of work — but after years of allowing professional considerations to trump emotional ones his resistance is no longer as stout as it once was. Having gotten a taste of love he decides he rather likes it — so much in fact that he tells his boss (Johan Leysen) that he wants out of the death-delivery business for good as soon as he completes his latest assignment: the construction of a highly specialized firearm for a beautiful and mysterious would-be assassin (Thekla Reuten). But exiting such a profession is never a straightforward task especially when there are angry Swedes vying for one’s scalp.
Director Corbijn shuns much of the conventions of modern thrillers in The American employing a style as spartan as his protagonist’s. Though the film contains several references — both overt and implied — to the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone it might be said to have more in common with 1992's Unforgiven Clint Eastwood’s acclaimed deconstruction of the well-worn genre. Corbijn prefers long static shots to the quick-cut shaky-cam chaos of the Bourne films and their analogues and his muted aesthetic makes even Italy’s scenic countryside seem a bit drab. There are no high-energy pop songs to be found on the soundtrack only Herbert Gronemeyer’s haunting piano-heavy score which Corbijn employs sparingly. Instead pervasive in The American is a kind of unnerving quiet that effectively underscores the film’s most potent scenes. How frightful a single gunshot can be when bracketed by near-complete silence.
Clooney is characteristically superb as the paranoid tormented Jack a role that calls for a tremendous degree of subtlety if not range. Corbijn tasks him along with co-stars Bonacelli and Placido to carry a determinedly minimalist film that boasts no fancy tricks up its sleeve and they deliver admirably. Audiences who go to see The American expecting a conventional Hollywood spy thriller will no doubt be disappointed to find out they’ve stumbled into an art-house film — and an unrelentingly grim one at that — but those seeking relief from the inanity and bombast of the summer movie season will be pleasantly surprised.
British actor Paul Bettany has joined the race to play Batman's nemesis
The Joker in a planned sequel to Batman Begins.
Director Christopher Nolan left no doubt The Joker would feature heavily in
the next Batman installment when the villain, formerly played by Jack
Nicholson, left a calling card in the final scene of the box office smash hit.
And now Batman fan sites are desperately trying to make sure producers pick
the right man for the job.
Crispin Glover was an early favorite, along with Star Wars' Mark Hamill, who
provides the voice of The Joker in the Batman animated series and Aussie actor
Lachy Hulme, and now Bettany has got the fans' vote.
An insider tells website Batman-On-Film.com that the Beautiful Mind star is
officially in the running to play the evil character.
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