Universal | R | Danny Boyle
Pictured: The artist in all his smug ignominy.
(Note: The following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)
“Computers aren’t art,” bellows Woz.
“Fuck you,” retorts a hostile Jobs.
Eventually, Steve Jobs won this argument, but in the moment, Jobs (Michael Fassbender) and Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) aggressively disagree in a garage over the creative potential and purpose of home computing. Jobs may have likely been a pain in the ass, a bully, a Machiavellian prince of the modern age, but man did he get to put his name on some important technology. Steve Jobs, the new production from Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle, purports that Jobs’ greatness was inherently at odds with his bad-guy qualities, and damned if it doesn’t make for some soapy theatrics. Steve Jobs subverts the biopic genre by approaching it as a whip-smart play told in three acts, which opts not to glorify its lead subject. In lieu of delicacy, the Jobs of this film is a real bastard, which makes Steve Jobs all the better. Devils usually make for more salacious stories than saints, after all. Just look at The Social Network. (more…)
Magnolia | R | Lenny Abrahamson
Pictured: Hey. Friend. You forgot your Super Big Boy.
Frank (Michael Fassbender, but you’d almost never know) sports a paper mache head. It eerily resembles those drive-thru microphones shaped like cartoons, all born of the fiberglass Big Boy statue. Frank never takes the head off. He refuses. He “has a certificate.” It’s his shield, his identity, his gimmick. His bandmates, the audiences he plays for, everyone really seems to dig on the helmet. It adds a level of mystery, maybe even insanity. Or it’s just some dumb idea. But the question remains: why does Frank wear a cartoonish head? That question could be asked of every modern pop star’s branding. Yo Miley, what gives with the wrecking ball and tongue lashing? Ke$ha, thesis on your gold tooth, please? Hey Biebs, was the boy prince petulance always there, or did fame let it loose? (more…)
20th Century Fox | PG-13 | Bryan Singer
Pictured: “What have I done? Sweet Jesus, what have I done? Become a thief in the night, become a dog on the run…”
Oh dear, X-Men: Days of Future Past is the seventh film in this series? This was a risky gambit, at five, no, seven, probably more leads, with time travel elements, a deep budget, genre tropes and needs, and the inevitable concern that this was a last-ditch effort by a studio looking to milk its comic book property for everything it has left while flying in the face of franchise fatigue. Yet, we got lucky. X-Men: Days of Future Past is now the third comic book superhero movie of 2014, and easily the most enjoyable and alive of the bunch. As a re-up on a 14-year-old movie franchise about alienated mutants, this doesn’t feel like a seventh film stalling to maintain its box office legs. This is a functional, standalone actioner.
Boy, Diamonds are Forever and Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow must feel silly now. (more…)