Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher in jOBS

Editor’s note: Kate’s review originally ran during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-running it as the film opens in limited theatrical release this weekend. Apple founder and technology visionary Steve Jobs changed the way the world connects and computes, created one of the world’s most revolutionary companies and recently died, so of course he is now being remembered by way of an unsatisfying biopic that could have been far more creative and inspired than the final product. Director Joshua Michael Stern (best remembered for the completely forgettable Swing Vote) works off a script by newbie scribe Matt Whiteley (a former marketing wonk who was commissioned to write the script by his boss, producer Mark Hulme) that, while well-paced and interesting, also fails to illuminate much about the man and skips over large chunks of his life. As Jobs, Ashton Kutcher does a fine job (sorry, had to do it) with his role, though when Jobs amps up its intensity, he can’t quite keep his character compelling or believable.

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Ashton Kutcher in jOBS

Ashton Kutcher, Josh Gad, Dermot Mulroney, and writer-director Joshua Michael Stern have put together a handy-dandy guide to Jobs, the biopic about the iconic Apple co-creator. And while it’s basically just the men talking about how inspirational their subject matter is over footage from the trailer, it’s still a neat look at what makes the film tick. Kutcher and company are clearly very excited to be part of this film, which starts when Jobs and Steve Wozniak (Gad) were free-wheelin’ ’70s college students/dropouts and ends at the revolutionary debut of the first iPod. I’m hoping this means that at some point, someone will explain how they developed those orange and blue iMacs that we all had to use in the school computer labs. You know the ones. And while we all know that Kutcher knows the ’70s quite well, it’s a dramatic turn for the usually goofy actor. In his interview, he still seems a little awestruck that he gets to play this part. Check out the interviews and inspirational speeches in the featurette after the break.

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Jobs Instagram Trailer

It had to happen sometime. Today marks the first time a movie trailer has been released on Instagram, and that movie is Jobs, the upcoming biopic starring Ashton Kutcher as Apple icon Steve Jobs. Back in June, Instagram gave users the option to filter videos as well as photos, and now it seems as though Instagram movie trailers will become a regular thing.

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Ashton Kutcher in jOBS

So much product placement, right? The Steve Jobs biopic (the Ashton Kutcher one, not the Aaron Sorkin one) hit a bump in the road when it didn’t emerge from Sundance as a clear favorite. Audiences and critics (including Kate) were tepid in their praise, the film’s distribution was delayed indefinitely back in March, and a few months later Open Road Films announced that Jobs would land in August. And so, like a 1980s version of The Social Network, a trailer emerges from the wilderness:

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Ashton Kutcher in jOBS

Before this year’s Sundance Film Festival even opened, its Closing Night Film, Joshua Michael Stern‘s Ashton Kutcher-starring Steve Jobs biopic, jOBS, had already been snapped up by Open Road Films for a spring release. It was the first big buy of the festival, and it seemed to indicate that the film was more than ready for a big theatrical release. Perhaps not. Vulture now reports that the film will no longer open in its once-set April 19th date (a date that marked the 37th anniversary of Apple, natch), as the studio wants more time to put a bigger marketing push behind it. As of now, the film doesn’t have a new release date. The film premiered at Sundance to mixed reviews (it currently holds a 43% on Rotten Tomatoes, which sounds about right). In my review of the film, I found it to be entertaining, but took issue with the fact that it “is very much a film that tells, not shows, what is going and how it’s going on and what’s important, perhaps the worst sin any biopic can commit. Sadly, jOBS is in no way committed to innovation or creativity, a true shame considering its subject matter.” Oh, and it’s also just called Jobs now, because, come on.

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Ashton Kutcher in jOBS

While some of might still be holding out for that Aaron Sorkin-penned Steve Jobs biopic, there’s still Joshua Michael Stern‘s Sundance-premiering, Ashton Kutcher-starring jOBS to look forward to. Yet, surely, no one is looking forward to this one quite as much as Kutcher, who looks tickled pink to not only be starring in what sounds like a quality film (sorry, Just Married!), but pretty excited by how much he looks like the Apple founder, as evidenced by a brand new still from the film. We can’t wait for Kutcher to fill out those black turtlenecks later in the film, however. jOBS will serve as the Closing Night Film of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and its official fest synopsis tells us: “The true story of one of the greatest entrepreneurs in American history, jOBS chronicles the defining 30 years of Steve Jobs’ life. jOBS is a candid, inspiring and personal portrait of the one who saw things differently.” The film also stars Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, and Matthew Modine. The film was just picked up for Canadian distribution by Remstar Films, in collaboration with Entertainment One. The film also has Swiss and Italian distribution lined up. While there is no word yet on domestic distribution or release, it seems like a safe bet that won’t last soon, as jOBS will surely sell very soon, likely before it even bows at Sundance. [ComingSoon]

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Feeling like an updated cousin of the 90s MTV animation line-up with a hint of Real World via Tumblr thrown in for good measure, this freestyle multimedia short blends live-action environments with disaffected animated characters. They have the usual sort of 20-something issues, but one of them has a heart for a head and another is a snowman. Just for example. It’s wry and fun, and at five minutes, it’s just the right size punch line.  Plus, it comes with a hip soundtrack, a great sense of comic timing and a visual hook that’s blissfully endearing. Produced by Ashton Kutcher and Thrash Lab, from animator Tim Bierbaum, it’s the first in a planned web series. What will it cost you? Only 5 minutes. Skip work. Watch more short films.

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Despite it’s truly awful title, Joshua Michael Stern’s indie biopic of Steve Jobs is going to continue to get attention. Despite Ashton Kutcher‘s lack of dramatic chops (as far as we can tell), he does bear a striking resemblance to the young Apple founder. So despite itself, there may be plenty to talk about in the months to come as jOBS continues its production. Today brings a number of new photos from the set, including looks at Josh Gad as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak; Ahna O’Reilly as Jobs’ girlfriend Chris-Ann Brennan; Lukas Haas as early Apple employee Daniel Kottke; and Dermot Mulroney as former Apple CEO Mike Markkula, who will ultimately serve as the villain of this particular story. The folks at /Film were kind enough to assemble a gallery

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Does that look like Steve Jobs to you? Five Star Institute is hoping it will, but that’s not the most important question. The most important, is whether Ashton Kutcher will actually make a believable Steve Jobs beyond the cosmetic layers. Isn’t that the real worry for Jobs: Get Inspired? That this movie about a recent monumental figure will be plagued by the third of two and a half men? That there will be an inescapable television quality to the whole thing? With Kutcher in the lead and Swing Vote director Joshua Michael Stern at the helm, it seems like an icon like Apple’s former CEO deserves a lot better. Check out the pictures alongside the source and judge for yourself:

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Ashton Kutcher and Steve Jobs

Variety’s Jeff Sneider swears this story is not an April Fool’s joke. If it is, he’s gone quite far to make it happen. For one, Variety isn’t exactly the type of publication one would call “playful,” nor is The Hollywood Reporter, who also confirmed the following story. As it stands, Ashton Kutcher has been cast to play a young Steve Jobs in the indie film Jobs, which Swing Vote helmer Joshua Michael Stern will direct from a script by Matt Whiteley. The film is said to follow the years between Steve Jobs’ founding of Apple to his exile from the company and his return, which ultimately spawned the current resurgence that has led Apple to become the most valuable company on the face of the planet. It’s an interesting bit of casting, as Kutcher certainly resembles a young Steve Jobs, but its unknown yet whether or not he can actually become Mr. Jobs. Time will tell, we suppose. It’s worth noting also that Sony Pictures is developing its own Steve Jobs biopic, based on the bestselling book by Walter Isaacson. As it turns out, Steve Jobs is about to be the new Snow White.

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Here’s something sort of bizarre – director Garry Marshall and writer Katherine Fugate‘s latest star-crammed desecration of random, non-religious holidays is not monumentally or irremediably terrible. It is also not good, but it’s certainly better than its predecessor, the rancid Valentine’s Day (though that’s not saying much). New Year’s Eve is not so much a film as a gimmick – tons of stars! lots of plots! all kind of connected! just one day! – and such a gimmick can yield some unexpectedly positive results just as often as it can ending up being simply terrible entertainment not worthy of being called cinema. New Year’s Eve is not so much a film as a two-hour piece of wish fulfillment for the sort of people who read US Weekly on, well, a weekly basis. Unlike Valentine’s Day, its very existence is not offensive, but it’s bloated and kind of boring and really, just really, tremendously unnecessary.

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The horror…the horror… The best part about this poster for New Year’s Eve is either that it features all of the names and pictures of the actors, but not in the same order, or that the catchphrase “Let The Countdown Begin” lets us know that it’s a Doomsday Movie. Garry Marshall, who should be ashamed of himself for directing Valentine’s Day, proves once and for all that he owes some serious men down at the race track by stepping up to direct this sequel which seeks to squeeze even less screen time out for even more famous faces. Also, Homeless Hector Elizondo is kind of cruel considering they made everyone else look halfway decent (except for Ashton Kutcher who clearly didn’t show up for a photo shoot and forced the marketing department to find a paparazzi shot of him smiling). Enough with the words! Check it out for yourself, and feel free to largify it by clicking (if you dare):

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If the multiple storylines, loose connections, and a total lack of chemistry of Valentine’s Day was simply not enough for you, director Garry Marshall has yet another holiday-themed film for the masses – twice the storylines! twice the loose connections! twice the total lack of chemistry! Wait, that math isn’t right. Even less chemistry! Everyone, meet New Year’s Eve. Like last year’s chillingly empty Valentine’s Day, Marshall’s latest film tracks a group of romantically challenged love losers across the course of one holiday. Will they find love? Will I hiss in the theater again? When is he making Flag Day? New Year’s Eve moves the action to New York City, though it inexplicably features two stars of VD (Ashton Kutcher and Jessica Biel) who appear to be playing totally different roles than in the previous film. If that hints at some sort of alternate universe, well, that’s still not very interesting to me. The really strange part about this trailer is the sense it gives off that all of its many stars were thrown into a blender, set to “frappe,” and poured out onto the pages of the script. How else can we possibly account for a film that pairs up Katherine Heigl with Jon Bon Jovi, Michelle Pfeiffer with Zac Efron, Lea Michele with Ashton Kutcher, or Jessica Biel with Seth Meyers? And that’s only about a quarter of the cast, everyone else flew by so quickly that my own mother could be in this film, and I wouldn’t […]

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Culture Warrior

The cinematic doppelganger effect seems to happen on a cyclical basis. Every few years, a pair of movies are released whose concepts, narratives, or central conceits are so similar that it’s impossible to envision how both came out of such a complex and expensive system with even the fairest amount of awareness of the other. Deep Impact and Armageddon. Antz and A Bug’s Life. Capote and Infamous. Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Observe and Report. And now two R-rated studio-released romantic comedies about fuck buddies played by young, attractive superstars have graced the silver screen within only a few short months of each other. We typically experience doppelganger cinema with high-concept material, not genre fare. To see two back-to-back movies released about the secret life of anthropomorphic talking insects, a hyperbole-sized rock jettisoning towards Earth’s inevitable destruction, a Truman Capote biopic, or a movie about a mall cop seem rare or deliberately exceptional enough as a single concept to make the existence of two subsequent iterations rather extraordinary. Much has been made of the notion that Friends with Benefits is a doppelganger of No Strings Attached (the former has in more than one case been called the better version of the latter), but when talking about the romantic comedy genre – a category so well-tread and (sometimes for better, sometimes not) reliably formulaic that each film is arguably indebted to numerous predecessors – can we really say these films are doppelgangers in the same vein as the high-concept examples, or […]

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Without dragging the back story out too much, back in January Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen went bat shit crazy to the point of no return. The highest paid actor on television (two million an episode) took all his winnings and flushed them down the toilet along with his heroin, crack, marijuana, alcohol, and what ever else he flushes down there when the cops show up. His behavior forced CBS and Warner Brothers to halt production on the show and cancel the rest of the season. A few weeks later the bomb shell came out that Warner Brothers (who actually produces the show) fired Sheen from the program for good. The question then became, who could replace him? Well that answer has come today in the form of former sitcom and “current” movie star Ashton Kutcher. Yup, Mr. Good Looking himself will indeed be coming on to replace Sheen for at least a season. No other details on how Kutcher will be integrated into the show have been announced, but there is no doubt that all of that will be revealed in the coming weeks.

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Justin Beiber has already provided some musical interludes for movies (including arthouse icon Marmaduke), and he brought in a ton of money with Justin Beiber: Never Say Never – the concert biopic about a kid who achieved all of his dreams before your first hair popped out down south. It was uplifting, and made us all feel better about ourselves. Now, according to Variety, Beiber is ready to act as something other than “Self,” and he’s going to get his first shot at the screen alongside Ashton Kutcher (because life has a sense of humor) in What Would Kenny Do. In a twist on the old Big model, this story focuses on a high school kid who starts hanging out with his older self (which means Kutcher will be credited with playing Justin Beiber) and starts getting advice. Piece of advice #1? Trucker hat, tilted to the side, is always clutch. Sony is developing in with a start date, but nothing’s been set in stone (the preferred contract material for Hollywood) just yet. Also, the rumors are true. Nathan Adams was going to write up this bit of news but was rushed to the hospital when his mind broke from imagining all the sarcastic comments he could make. I’ve set up a Beiber-playing boombox on loop outside his window in lieu of flowers.

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The day that Hollywood waits for all year is here. Also, the day that people who write about Hollywood wait for all year is here. Hollywood is probably paying attention to the Oscar winners, but for the rest of us it’s time to see who won The Razzies. After all of the paychecks have been cashed and all of the artistic compromises have been made, the moment to find out who crapped out the worst schlock comes here: The Golden Raspberry Award Foundation has poured over all of the nominees and named their winners for the worst work of the year. Watching bad work earn Razzies isn’t quite payback enough for having to suffer through all of the crap that Hollywood churns out every year, but for people who watch everything in hopes of steering the public towards the good, it does serve as a little peace of mind. If the ceremonial blowjob of the Oscars has to exist, then I’m glad the Zen of the world is maintained by the Nelson Muntz “ha-ha” of The Razzies; the snarky yin to the gushing yang.

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The Week That Was

This week our Saturday tradition known as The Week That Was takes on a new look. And as I’m sure you probably won’t notice (because I’m not entirely convinced that anyone reads this column), I will be the first to point out that the new format was at least in part inspired by a new feature I read over at Cinematical. And because sometimes the best ideas are stolen, I’m not sorry. I just can’t apologize for finding a better way to help you catch up on all of the excellent content you may have missed here on Film School Rejects. I won’t do it. Now lets forget all about this nonsense and focus on what matters: the best articles of the week, as brought to you by the lovely and talented FSR contributors.

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Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Live Free or Die Hard, the list of franchises that were long past their glory days but decided to go for another sequel anyway is growing every year. A lot of these movies end up financial successes when everything is tallied up, but they all have one thing in common: they are needless and lame from a story perspective and they turn off people who used to be fanatics of the brand. We’ve been hearing about a potential Ghostbusters 3 for quite some time now. Everybody seems to want to do it except for Bill Murray. Well, as of now, news on that front seems to be at basically a standstill, but with a little Ashton Kutcher thrown in.

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I’m going to share something with you. I have a sick obsession with sex movies. I don’t mean I always watch them with salacious intentions, because I have to draw the line between art and pornography somewhere. Let me be clear, I really enjoy a movie whose sole purpose is to titillate a viewer so much that they question what they are really watching. I’ve spent many nights snuggled up on my couch cringing my way through Catherine Breillat’s many sex shockers. I made a boyfriend attend a viewing party for the highly controversial, yet exceptionally boring, 9 Songs. I’ve even gotten into fights with Netflix over its recommendation of Salo based on my high rating of Irreversible. Those last two movies have nothing in common, by the way. Sex-centric dramas have been a secret, back alley passion of mine. But in all my years devouring these movies, I rarely see comedies that both deal frankly with sex and show it. Sex is usually the butt of a joke in comedies, rather than a catalyst for moving a couple forward.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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