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.
Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
Richard Riddick (Vin Diesel) has a really bad rep and with good reason: Five years ago convicted killer Riddick escaped the galaxy's law enforcement during a botched interplanetary prison transfer and has been on the lam ever since. As The Chronicles of Riddick picks up our antagonist finds his relative freedom has been compromised when mercenaries out for the $1 million bounty on his head discover his location and hunt him down. Riddick escapes their clutches steals their ship and sets off for Planet Helion to find Imam (Keith David) the Muslim cleric he rescued in Pitch Black and the only person who could have squealed his location to authorities. But while Riddick's hunch about Imam are correct the cleric has a reason for luring the mammoth murderer out of hiding: Helion is falling to unholy armies of Necromongers--warriors who conquer by force in the vein of Star Trek's Borg. Of course Riddick doesn't give a damn about the Helions or their plight--until he gets wind that the Necromogers want to kill him because of an old prophecy that foresees their end at Riddick's hands. Like it or not Riddick is left with no other choice but to battle the Necromongers.
The character of Riddick is unquestionably what made Pitch Black one of the most sequel-worthy sci-fi films in years. And Riddick would not have been one of sci-fi's most intoxicating characters if it weren't for Diesel. Like his Dominic Toretto in the 2001 actioner The Fast and the Furious Riddick is a villain of few words but when he speaks his carefully chosen words have impact--even if the dialogue is at times overly theatrical. Riddick is the perfect antihero; a cold-blooded and indifferent being who somehow evokes more compassion than the film's so-called good guys. Joining Riddick are some recurring characters including David as Imam but Riddick benefits the most from the addition of some new characters particularly Colm Feore as Lord Marshal the Necromonger leader whose goal is to rid the universe of all human life. Feore channeling nuggets of Julius Caesar into his role makes for one of Riddick's most thrilling foes. Another prominent addition to the cast is Judi Dench who has a surprisingly small role as Aereon an Elemental captured by the Necromongers and used for her special powers including ESP.
Writer/director David Twohy took his horror pic Pitch Black which gained a cult following since it was released four years ago and managed to successfully turn it into an sci-fi actioner of epic proportions. Everything is grander here which is almost a given considering Twohy shot Pitch Black on a dime in Australia using colored filters. In Riddick the director distinguishes the film's different environments--the Necros' mothership Crematoria's cavernous prison and Helion--using warm to cool tones that are dazzling yet more subtle than its predecessor. The CGI effects get a little gamey at times but production designer Holger Gross' gargantuan sets are impressive and help craft Twohy's otherworldly vision into a plausible one. And although Twohy jumps genres from Pitch Black to its sequel his storyline evolves logically from the original premise. But while moviegoers unfamiliar with Pitch Black will be able to follow the story easily enough they may have a difficult time grasping what makes Riddick such a big deal; the film explains the legend but never fully captures its quintessence. This could hurt Riddick's chances to broaden its Pitch Black fan base.
Go ahead and throw logic out the window on this one folks. A mysterious Tibetan monk with no name (Chow Yun-Fat) has spent a lifetime protecting an ancient document known as the Scroll of the Ultimate--a parchment that will yield unlimited power to anyone who reads it. After running around the globe for 60 years the Monk knows it's time to hang up his robes and find a new guardian but spotting a successor isn't easy in the hustle bustle of the 21st century where Tibetan traditions and rituals are almost non-existent. Maybe the next protector should be the crafty rebellious pickpocket Kar (Seann William Scott) who learned martial arts from watching kung-fu movies; after all Kar helps the Monk escape from the scroll's most avid pursuer Strucker (Karel Roden) a sadistic old Nazi who wants to use the its power to rid the planet of inferior races. Or maybe the Monk's successor is the elusive but beautiful bad girl Jade (James King) whose skills are numerous and who seems to pop up to help Kar whenever he gets in a jam. Whomever the Monk eventually chooses they must first unite to battle the ultimate enemy--and keep the scroll safe.
If it weren't for Yun-Fat Bulletproof Monk would be pretty hopeless. The charismatic actor finds a nice balance no matter what he does and in this case he resists the obvious temptation to play the Monk as a fish out of water in the big city. Since he's long been one of Chinese cinema's most well-known action heroes he's definitely in his element in Monk standing on top of a car with guns blazing and the Zen master persona he discovered in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon serves him well here too. The script requires him to spout off fortune-cookie mumbo jumbo but he manages to do it without sounding ridiculous. The petite King actually holds her own as the brawny-yet-brainy tough chick but the wisecracking Scott is completely out of his element for the first time in his career. He handles the little comedic tidbits well but in no way is it possible to believe that the "Dude" who couldn't find his car and the jackass who drank someone else's bodily fluids in American Pie can be a martial arts hero who saves the planet. It just isn't going to happen.
Bulletproof Monk relies on the ghosts of movies past including Crouching Tiger and the 1986 Eddie Murphy stinker The Golden Child for its plot which results in a film that's chock full of cliches especially the evil Nazi who has spent 60 years chasing after the scroll using his tow-headed granddaughter whose cover is an organization for human rights to do the dirty work. A few bright moments with Yun-Fat coupled with director Paul Hunter's good use of fast-paced martial arts action make the rest of this unimaginative movie somewhat palatable--even novices Williams and King look good doing the moves--but all in all Bulletproof Monk is shooting blanks.
Steve and Terri Irwin are crocodile relocators in Far North Queensland Australia. They spend a lot of time well relocating crocs--saving a baby kangaroo and charming a few snakes along the way. But all that's about to change. A U.S. satellite has exploded in space and its black box has re-entered the atmosphere and ended up in the gut of a nasty 12-foot croc the Irwins are about to relocate. The FBI CIA and goodness knows what other agencies are out to find the box at any cost because it contains data that could change the world's power structure. When the agents cross paths with the Irwins they become convinced that the two croc hunters are actually spies mainly because as one agent says toward the end of the film "You don't make that kind of money in cable television." That's for sure and that's probably the reason the producers turned The Crocodile Hunter cable show into a movie. It definitely wasn't because the script was irresistible: The plot is as transparent as shed snakeskin and the acting (if it can be called that) is as stiff as the spikes on a croc's back. I'm sure this is the kind of movie that a critic shouldn't take seriously but from its lizard-pooh opening to its crocodile-pooh finish The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course really stinks.
Director/story writer/producer John Stainton was working with Irwin long before The Crocodile Hunter TV show became an international hit. In fact he wrote a movie script for Irwin in the mid-1990s that was scrapped because he didn't think Irwin should be acting. It's a shame he didn't take that thought process one step further; we'd all have been spared an agonizing guided tour of a good idea gone very very bad. The film's stars while appealing enough in the one-hour documentary format simply can't sustain a full-length motion picture and Mr. Irwin would have done well to heed his own advice--"Don't muck with it." Granted at least Stainton was smart enough to present the Irwins doing what they do best--enthusiastically working with wild animals while talking straight into the camera. The task of plot development is left to the other cast members--mainly Australian actors doing caricatures of Americans--who overdramatically play out the goofy spy plot in scenes that are completely separate from the Irwins' animal antics until the last 10 minutes of the film. The Irwin family dog Sui is probably the best actor of the bunch--and the smartest too. Most of the time she looks like she'd rather be just about anywhere else which is the most intelligent thing anybody in this film does.
As if anybody needed it The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course is proof that what works on TV doesn't necessarily make a good movie; the Crocodile Hunter documentary routine quickly grows frustrating in the film because the Irwin scenes do nothing to further what little plot the movie actually has. Plus the reason why the Irwins continually talk into the camera goes unexplained until the very end of the film--and when someone finally mentions the fact that the Irwins have been "filming" their show throughout the movie it's so offhand that it's easily missed. At the same time the spy storyline that drives the plot is trite and because of the movie's bizarre structure it's played out by actors the audience couldn't care less about rather than by the ones they came to see. The spy scenes separate the Irwin segments like commercials--and like commercials when they come on you just want to get up and go to the bathroom grab a snack or feed the dog. The best thing that can be said for Stainton's direction is that at least he's not afraid of the film's ridiculousness. Bad though the movie is in every way Stainton puts it all out there as enthusiastically as Steve Irwin wrestles crocs and that's saying something. The film also gets across the Irwins' admittedly important message about conservation loud and clear but that probably won't be enough to keep its audience from becoming extinct.