Tag Archives: Seth Rogen

Steve Jobs (2015)

97% of Steve Jobs is nearly perfect. Much like the products borne of the man’s unparalleled creative vision, everything in his latest biographical film is optimized, streamlined, rounded when the edge should be rounded, sharp when the edge should be sharp, forward-thinking, life-changing, and pitched to be perfect. The performances are subtle and explosive, depending on which character you’re dealing with. The drama is heavy-duty; the comedy is excitingly witty. The pacing of the whole film is breathless. And the writing — whew, the writing — Aaron Sorkin has probably never been this good or done this much with a film script. This is ostensibly The Social Network 2.0, a story about a genius/jerk who defined the times for the rest of us, except Steve Jobs has a richer character in the driver’s seat.

And in comparing the two, that leftover 3% only becomes all the more glaring. The structure of the film is unique, built over three days in history: the launch of the Macintosh in 1984, the launch of the NeXT computer in 1988, and the launch of the iMac in 1998. The aforementioned breathlessness of the film is derived from setting each episode immediately before these launches, as that’s probably the most stressful and nerve-wracking collection of hours in any product launcher’s life. No different in Steve Jobs. Jobs needs everything to be perfect, every address to start exactly on time, every personal grievance from his staff and family (of which there are many, and between which the words staff and family mean less and less) to be voiced and dealt with. “It seems like five minutes before every launch, people go to a bar and get drunk and decide to air their grievances,” says Jobs.

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The Interview (2014)

By now it’s clear that the magnitude of the turmoil surrounding The Interview is vastly disproportionate to the actual strength of the film itself. It’s frustrating, certainly, that this is the movie at the center of everything. Still, the American film industry is a weird beast. In nearly every form — be it Jaws or Sharknado — it’s been a cultural behemoth that reaches pretty much every corner of the globe. Here’s Commentary‘s Abe Greenwald on the current state of all of that in the wake of the movie getting yanked from theaters:

Hollywood movies are a monolithic U.S. export that have served to plant American notions of freedom and unbridled possibility in the minds of untold millions. From now on, filmmakers will think twice before crossing the next paranoid despot. That’s tragic.

That’s no doubt an important point, and probably the point of greatest significance that will ever be associated with a movie starring Seth Rogen. Is that a completely credible fear, though? Amidst the larger concerns of global politics, should we be worried about the “tragic” future of our movies? This piece will wrap up briefly with more thoughts on this. For now, though, let’s shelve the real-life cyberwar fallout discussion and just talk about The Interview.

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