12th Nov2015

Steve Jobs (Film)

by timbaros

STEVE_JOBS_reflectionSteve Jobs, one of the co-founders of Apple, has changed the way we communicate with each other. He’s had a fascinating life, but it’s not detailed in the new ‘Steve Jobs’ film.

Director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) has assembled a first rate cast (Michael Fassbender plays Jobs and Kate Winslet plays his long suffering assistant Joanna Hoffman). While the movie is a timeline of crucial events in Jobs life, it’s not, as writer Aaron Sorkin bluntly put it at a recent press conference for the film, a ‘dramatic recreation of his Wikipedia page.’ Sorkin admitted that the script is his invention, and while the characters are real, most of the events that take place in the film are not. There is lots of conflict, with his daughter Lisa, and with his daughter’s mother Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston), conflicts that underpin and take over the whole movie. There is also conflict between Jobs and Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), who co-founded Apple with Jobs; and conflict between Jobs and then Apple CEO John Scully (Jeff Daniels), a man who Jobs hired for the role. This is not to mention Hoffman’s conflict she had in keeping up with Jobs and his temperament, and for keeping her love for him a secret for many years, according to Boyle’s version of events.

Boyle comes from a theatre background, and he shot ‘Steve Jobs’ in three acts, acts that all deal with Jobs’ product launches. Act 1, which takes place in San Francisco in 1984, was shot in 16mm to give the look of the film a rough homemade feel. It’s an act that introduces the world to Job’s (and Wozniak’s) Macintosh computer. It’s a computer that is one of a kind, a device that they hope will reinvent the way people do stuff. But it wasn’t Apple’s computer that had recently made Time Magazine’s ‘Man of the Year,’ it was an IBM. To say Jobs is bitter is an understatement. Meanwhile, Brennan shows up to tell him that she’s got no money to pay the bills, that’s he’s not taking care of his daughter Lisa the way he should be (Lisa is played by various actresses as she gets older), yet he’s worth an estimated $484 million and pretty much fobs her off. But it’s minutes to the Mac product launch, and there’s a problem with the computer that will be used during the launch show. And Jobs makes Hoffman find a white shirt with a pocket so that the shirt the has on won’t clash with the colors on stage. It’s a lot of conflict for just one act – Shakespearean even. And even Wozniak gets to throw a barb in his direction by telling Jobs ‘Computers aren’t supposed to have human flaws, I’m not going to build one with yours.’ Ouch. And Scully wants to sell the Mac at a much higher price than Jobs recommends.

But the Mac was a failure, sales never live up to expectations, so Jobs is fired from Apple (after a massive row with Scully and the board of directors) and sets up his own company – Next. Act 2 then takes place in the lead up to the launch of Next’s Black Cube, also in San Francisco, in 1988. It’s a computer where Jobs confesses has no Operating System! It’s like building a great car but with no engine. So it’s not a great start to the Black Cube. And Lisa is lurking in the background again, asking Jobs lots of questions. She’s missing school just to be with him and she says she wants to live with him. And Brennan is still bitter. Jobs is becoming crazy, desperate and angry. But one year later the Black Cube is a failure, and Jobs was able to convince Apple to buy Next.

By 1998, Act 3, Jobs is back at Apple, he’s got the gold rim glasses, black sweater, jeans, tall, lanky and thin. And it’s another launch, this one for Apple’s new computer iMac, a bulbous computer very sleek in design. But Jobs has just found out that one of his lieutenants, Andy Herzfeld (Michael Stuhlberg), has paid for Lisa’s Harvard education. And yes, again, Lisa is there, right before another product launch, and she’s there we presume to create more conflict and drama as if it’s not already palpable. And Jobs is so obsessed with work that he forgets his true responsibility – his daughter. And he’s launching the Apple as we know it today, a logo of an Apple with a bite on the upper right hand side, but Wozniak is still in conflict with Jobs, even though they’re still working together. He tells Jobs: ‘I am tired of being Ringo instead of being John.’ With all this going on, and with Jobs needing to be on stage in a couple minutes, he feels that he must resolve the biggest conflict he’s got, with his daughter. And this is what he does, with much chagrin to the investors waiting in the auditorium. And then all is right with his world.

‘Steve Jobs’ ultimately turns into Boyle’s vision of Steve Jobs. Think of it this way; this movie is made up almost mostly of events and conversations that didn’t happen. And that is what is most disappointing about ‘Steve Jobs.’ It’s going to have to be accepted as a work of fiction. But Jobs was such a fascinating man and made a huge impact to the world, why would an Oscar-winning director do this?

03rd May2014

Bad Neighbours – Film

by timbaros
images-161What would you do if a fraternity house moved in right next door to you?
This is the dilemna faced by Mac and Kelly Radner (played to perfection like a real couple by Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne). They live on a quiet, tree-lined street with their absolutely adorable daughter Stella, who is perhaps the cutest baby ever to appear on screen. One day, they look outside the window and see a moving truck at the house next door. They go outside to see who is moving in, in the hopes that it is a couple, with children, hopefully playmates for their baby girl. Instead what they encounter is a bunch of young men moving into the house, not just young men who are sharing the house but an actual college fraternity. The men belong to a fraternity with a reputation for being the rowdiest at the nearby university. They are led by the handsome and hot Teddy Sanders (Zac Effron – playing himself). He’s intent, in his year as Fraternity president, on getting his term as president on fhe fraternity’s  wall of fame. Helping him to break party records is his second in command Pete (Dave Franco – younger brother and lookalike of James Franco).
Mac and Kelly and attempt to make piece with their new next door neighbours by greeting them when they move in. They also casually and cautiously tell them to keep the noise down. The boys agree, on the condition that if they are making too much noise, that Mac and Kelly should call them first instead of calling the police. So for a short time they are very friendly neighbours, where Mac and Kelly go over and hang out and get stoned, reliving their college days, oh not too long ago. Then one night the frat house hosts a massive party, very loud music, lots of lights, fireworks, and with many college kids spilling out of the house. Mac and Kelly call the cops anonymously, but when the cops arrive, they tell the boys that it was their next door neighbours (Mac and Kelly) who called to complain. Caller ID!
This leads to a campaign by the boys to retaliate against the Radners. And retaliate they do. They don’t stop having parties, in fact their parties get wilder, including pool parties in a newly-built pool in their backyard, complete with scantily clad young men and women. Another of their retaliation techniques is to remove the airbags from Kelly’s car into cushions in their house and in chairs at Mac’s place of business. How they got into the car, into the house, and into Mac’s place of business  is not explained. What are the Radner’s going to do? They can’t raise cutey Stella living next door to these crazy bunch of college kids? Should they move or continue to complain to the police? They do neither and decide to play along with them and their game.
Bad neighbours is a comedy, in case you couldn’t figure it out. But the jokes are not really that funny. Sure, there are lots of college jokes about girls, penises, sex, penises, etc…but the jokes get pretty lame quickly. And when you think the film is actually over, another plot point is introduced and you have to endure another 20 minutes for the plot point to play itself out….so Bad Behavior feels longer than it’s 97 minutes. The boys, especially Effron and Franco, don’t have much to do except stand around, most of the time with their shirts off, and tell the other boys what to do. But Rogen and Byrne save the movie. They have great onscreen chemistry, and if there was another movie with just them and their baby it would be much much better….but as it is stands now Bad Neighbors is just another Zac Effron teen comedy. It’s about time he grows up into adult roles.