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“Steve Jobs” Is Intense Biopic About Apple’s Top Dog

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Steve Jobs

Steve JobsThere is something very brave about the intensity of the Danny Boyle-directed biopic on Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., and something equally brave about the relentless portrayal of the man as a complete schmuck.

With few exceptions, in any form of storytelling from comic books to opera, it is a standard litmus test that the audience at least find something likeable about the main characters. Sympathy is more enduring than loathing. But Boyle doesn’t allow much of that. His Steve Jobs, played beautifully by Michael Fassbender, is a bastard who threatens his staff, gives thanks to no-one and ignores his daughter, Lisa, and one-time partner Chrisann Brennan, even when they are living on welfare and he is earning millions.

More than that, despite Jobs’ ability to look serene even in the midst of an argument, he goes at people like a bulldozer burning rocket fuel. His handler over a 19-year stretch, Joanna Hoffman played by Kate Winslet, helps tremendously both from a personal point of view and a dramatic one, given we need someone up there on the screen to like, even just a little.

The script is cleverly staged, jumping from one product launch to another, which allows for it to focus on the next Apple innovation without getting bogged down by it. It also gives Jobs ample opportunity to wax prophetic with tiresome statements like “we are inventing the future.”

Meanwhile, without fail, 30 minutes before Jobs is to glide on stage and make his pitch, there is room for at least four revved up arguments with various key players. This version of Jobs is all but Shakespearean in his capacity for alienating people. His consistent targets are Apple engineer Andy Hertzfeld, played by Michael Stuhlbarg, and company co-founder Steve Wozniak, played by Seth Rogan. His relationship with his daughter, Lisa, is also mind-numbingly cold.

Jobs is kinder to John Sculley, played by Jeff Daniels, the chief executive officer at Apple from 1983 to 1993, whom he sees as a father figure. They have almost heartfelt conversations, which is as close to bread and butter humanity as Jobs ever gets.

Meanwhile, at the end of each round of arguments, Jobs gets to walk on stage, where he is greeted as if he were Mick Jagger walking on stage at a Paul McCartney concert. Does this means we are supposed to hate him, but admire him, anyway? If so, what are we admiring him for?

Jobs cultivated a messianic brand for himself. If he hadn’t found himself as the world’s high-tech guru, he would probably have been a guru, anyway. The sad truth is that you need inventors and salesmen to change the world and the one who gets to be the executive is invariably the salesman, because he understands profits. That business model rarely changes over the ages.

But this movie is also trying to sell us something. Since Jobs was seen as the billionaire hippy, Boyle sells us Jobs with references to Bob Dylan, whom Jobs apparently admired, and the late John Lennon, who is flashed in a montage at the end of the picture. But I worry about the product placement here, the subliminal hint that Jobs deserves his cult-like status.

Still, this biopic fires on all cylinders. While the “Ghosts Of Arguments Past” feel to the picture seems canned in places, I still give the script at least five stars. The casting is simply as good as it gets. The acting is superb. Boyle, who gave us Slumdog Millionaire, appears to be a director who can throw a fastball through nine innings without getting tiring. This picture is terrific, even mercilessly so.

Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Robert DeNiro de-agedHave you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. ????

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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