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Review: Jobs

Jobs_Poster“Jobs” is an entirely wooden and bland representation of the tech icon, but for Apple devotees, it’ll still have an appeal as an informative biopic.

“Jobs” features Ashton Kutcher as Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs. The narrative hones in on him during his earlier years, shortly after dropping out of Reed College. Later on, while working at Atari, Jobs’ enormous ego earns him a make-or-break assignment he truly can’t handle, so he reconnects with his old friend and computer genius, Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad). After fixing the Atari problem, one of Wozniak’s pet projects catches Jobs’ eye, the beginnings of the personal computer. Through his insatiable dedication to creating the best possible product, Jobs forms Apple Computer alongside Wozniak, a company that ultimately grows to become one of the most profitable in the world.

“Jobs” needs to be assessed from two standpoints – as a film and nothing more, and also as a film for the Apple lover. Steve Jobs does not come across as a particularly likable guy for the majority of the movie, but his ideals clearly made Apple what it is today and, personally, that’s precisely why I’m a dedicated Apple user. Jobs wasn’t out to make devices so they could compete in the market and turn a profit; he wanted Apple computers, iPods, and beyond to be as simple and natural to use as your average kitchen appliance, a model that leads to so much more. For those who are as attached to their laptops, iPhones, and iPads as I am, the devices have become almost like an additional appendage, something that’s integral to getting work done, but also something that offers a release through games, lets you connect with family and friends, and more. Many talk of the dream of being able to disconnect, but personally, I could never imagine such a thing. Regardless of the occasional unwanted e-mail, my Apple products make every day better.

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Interview: Jobs Director Joshua Michael Stern

Jobs_Movie_StillYou go to the movies to experience a story, period, but Joshua Michael Stern’s Jobs is also going to mean something else to many people because Steve Jobs didn’t just create products to buy; he created products that changed the way we live our lives.

Jobs focuses on the rise of Apple, beginning with Steve’s discovery of Steve Wozniak’s (Josh Gad) early design of the personal computer. Positive that the machine could change the industry and the world, Steve insisted that they create Apple Computers and start pushing the product fast. Sure enough, things took off and Apple eventually grew into one of the most profitable companies in the world, but not without a great deal of time, energy, and extreme highs and lows. While Jobs’ dedication to the user over the shareholder would eventually see him removed from the company, it’s that devotion to making the best user-friendly product that made Jobs himself an icon and turned items like the iPhone into an additional appendage of sorts.

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Interview: Ashton Kutcher Proves He Deserved to Play Steve Jobs

Ashton_Kutcher_JOBSConsidering Ashton Kutcher became highly-identifiable from That ‘70s Show,Dude, Where’s My Car? and various other comedic works, it’s easy to forget that off camera, the guy is serious, thoughtful, and especially knowledgeable about Steve Jobs.

Admittedly, back when news first broke that Kutcher was cast as the late Apple co-founder and CEO, something seemed a bit off. Not only is the actor known for lovable and somewhat goofy performances, but he’s also so recognizable. Why would director Joshua Michael Stern run the risk of casting an actor that would have a tougher time hiding his famous persona while portraying a real person? At the New York City press conference for Jobs, Kutcher answered that question himself.

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Review: Valentine’s Day

The power of a consumer driven holiday is frustratingly overwhelming. We’re weakened to the point that we’re willing to drop hundreds of dollars on overpriced meals, greeting cards and flowers even though a simple ‘I Love You’ would have sufficed. Not only have I conceded and bought gifts, flowers, cards and candy, but I haven been suckered into enjoying one of the most poorly made films of the year, Valentine’s Day.

Brace yourself; this is no simple plot. Ashton Kutcher is a florist who proposes to his girlfriend, Jessica Alba, on Valentine’s Day morning. He’s ecstatic and can’t wait to tell his best friends George Lopez and Jennifer Garner about the good news. She’s thrilled for him, but is more concerned with her budding relationship with a heart surgeon, Patrick Dempsey. Garner’s friend Jessica Biel isn’t having such a romantic day. She’s busy eating her loveless life away and planning her anti-Valentine’s Day dinner. In between, she’s helping her client, football player Eric Dane, deal with becoming a free agent. Her boss, Queen Latifah, is keeping an eye on the situation while her new secretary, Anne Hathaway, handles things at the office. Little does the Queen know administrative work isn’t Anne’s only gig; she moonlights as a phone sex operator. In addition to hiding her secondary job from her boss, she’s also keeping it a secret from her boyfriend of two weeks, Topher Grace. Meanwhile, Emma Roberts is planning a magical first time with her boyfriend, Carter Jenkins, and babysitting a little boy desperate to give his Valentine a dozen roses. Deep into their lengthy marriage, the kid’s grandparents, Shirley MacLaine and Hector Elizondo, manage to run into some trouble themselves. There’s also Jamie Foxx as a sports reporter forced by his boss, Kathy Bates, to get sappy and cover the holiday and Julia Roberts and Bradley Cooper on a plane. [GASP]

The two most expendable elements of this film are the two items missing from this lengthy synopsis, character names and the Taylors. Writer Abby Kohn should have saved the audience and herself some trouble, and just stuck with the actors’ names. The massive cast is the primary reason moviegoers will see this film anyway. When you’ve got such a major star like Julia Roberts, 15 minutes of screen time is just not enough to establish a sufficient rapport and make viewers forget that she’s not the actress and is the character. Another element that should have been done away with completely is the inclusion of Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift. Regardless of how popular they are, they’re not good actors. It doesn’t help that the sparse moments they’re given are downright ridiculous. Rather than get a giggle at their expense, their moments are painful to watch and will only make you blush.

At least the acting only gets better from here. Bryce Robinson has some cute look-at-me-I’m-a-love-struck-little-boy moments, but he’s no Dakota Fanning. He’s able to pull off the whole mature for his age act to a point, but the majority of his actions feel forced making him annoying. Just as irritating is Alba. A minimal character is no excuse for bad acting. If Dempsey, Grace, Latifah and Lopez are able to put on believable performances in their minimal roles, she should too.

As for the rest of the cast, their work is truly commendable. Valentine’s Day is a gigantic mess of cliché romantic dramas that only works because it’s brought to life by familiar faces and talented actors. Every time a famous face makes its debut it’s a thrill, but only a few manage to take that excitement and make it last throughout the film. The best of the bunch is Hathaway. Not only is her storyline amusing but so is she. In fact, she’s a little too good at the whole phone sex thing. The runner up is Kutcher not because he does anything spectacular or because his character is particularly intriguing, but because he’s the nicest and most likeable of the bunch.

Valentine’s Day is not a good film, but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. For every cringe worthy moment there’s one that’ll make you laugh out loud. Sometimes just making a person feel good is all that’s necessary and director Gary Marshall knows it. By taking advantage of his most promising resources, the cast and the undeniable power of the holiday, he pushes the errors into near obscurity leaving us with a fun loving movie for the holiday.

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