Mini Reviews of Steve Jobs + Mr. Holmes + temporary blogging hatus

Hello everyone! You might’ve noticed I’m not blogging as regularly of late after the flurry of Twin Cities Film Fest. Well, I’ve been wanting to take a real blogging break and since this is Thanksgiving week, it sounds like the perfect time.

I’ve been wanting to really focus on my script and so I also plan to blog less in the coming weeks. I’m really close to finishing my script but as with many things in life, the last stretch is often the toughest. But before I do so, I wanted to share just my quick thoughts on two recent films in which the protagonist has been the subject of many films/tv projects. Thankfully we’ve got two very competent thespians in the lead of both movies (movie geeks will probably realize they’ve played the same role in the X-Men franchise).

STEVE JOBS (2015)
    SteveJobsMovie2015Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution, to paint a portrait of the man at its epicenter. The story unfolds backstage at three iconic product launches, ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac.

My hubby and I are huge fan of everything Steve Jobs had built, as we pretty much use solely Apple products in our homes: Macbook, iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, etc. So we’re quite familiar with his life and my hubby has read Jobs’ biography by Walter Isaacson and at first I was rather reluctant to see this given that it’s mostly a work of fiction. Well, ahead of the press screening, I read a bunch of articles that outline its inaccuracies, which I’ve listed in this comment section. That fact actually helped tamper my expectation about the film, but as soon as the film started I was immediately engrossed in the film. Ok so Michael Fassbender didn’t resemble Steve Jobs one bit, but it hardly matters once he started spewing lines from Aaron Sorkin‘s sharp script.

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I have to say the film is quite mesmerizing, Fassbender is as charismatic as ever, as I think he captured the essence of Jobs’s magnetic but difficult personality. Apparently he memorized the entirety of the 180-page script which is just incredible. The supporting cast is equally phenomenal. Kate Winslet is fantastic as Jobs’ loyal marketing exec Joanna Hoffman and the constant banters they have are entertaining, even her Polish accent is quite believable. But my favorite supporting cast has got to be Jeff Daniels as Jobs’ former BFF and business partners John Sculley whom Jobs stopped speaking with when he was fired from Apple. Even Sculley himself was reportedly impressed by Daniels’ performance, even though most of the conversations between them never took place. One thing I didn’t really care for is Seth Rogen‘s performance as Steve Wozniak, which seems so sensationalized and just didn’t ring true at all. Yes the rest was pure fiction but at least they seemed believable. It’s ironic since Rogen apparently met with Wozniak extensively for the role.

That said, I definitely recommend this film. Danny Boyle‘s fine directing brings the fine elements of the script and performance to life and the camera angles and intriguing shots certainly liven up an otherwise dull scenes of talking people. If you’re going into this film expecting excellent dialog and great acting, then you won’t be disappointed. Just don’t expect a documentary because Sorkin himself envisioned it more like a ‘painting, not a photograph.’

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Mr. Holmes (2015)

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Now, Sherlock Holmes’ adaptation has been done many times over, but this one seems to have an intriguing angle that’s rarely seen. The aged, retired London detective is dealing with early dementia, as he tries to remember his final case and a woman, the memory of whom still haunts him. Ian McKellen is perfectly cast in the role, playing Sherlock as a 60 and 93 years old. As he returns to Sussex  in 1947, he ends up befriending the young son of his housekeeper, Roger (Milo Parker). The interraction between these two is the heart of the film.

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The curious kid had been through Holmes’ study and it’s clear that he wanted the detective to work again. Through his proding and also because he’s still hunted by his final case, Holmes started writing again. The film goes through several flashback scenes, which is handled very well and definitely adds the mystery aspect one would expect from a Sherlock Holmes film. Hattie Morahan is terrific as the woman central to Holmes’ case and there’s a heartfelt exchange between the two that undoubtedly left a mark on him. As the film progressed, it’s apparent that the older Holmes is a changed man and that he has learned that intellect and logic alone often won’t solve issues involving matters of the heart.

McKellen is effortlessly magnetic here, as he always is, and he is whom I’d imagine an older Holmes to be. The usually excellent Laura Linney has a rather distracting British accent here as Holmes’ housekeeper, though I think towards the end she redeemed herself in the role. I do love Milo Parker as Roger who more than held his own against his much older and far more experienced co-star.

I wasn’t impressed with Bill Condon’s direction of The Fifth Estate (which strangely enough starred Benedict Cumberbatch who became famous playing Sherlock on BBC), but he did a good job here. It’s a slow-burn narrative that remains interesting even when there’s not much going on, and the film is beautifully shot. It’s the quintessential character study of a titular character that certainly merits its existence.

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Have you seen either one of these? Do share your thoughts in the comments!

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43 thoughts on “Mini Reviews of Steve Jobs + Mr. Holmes + temporary blogging hatus

  1. I did see Steve Jobs last month as I thought it was great. I knew there were going to be some dramatic liberties but I felt it was effective to play into the kind of man Jobs was. Plus, I liked the cast as I felt Fassbender, Winslet, Daniels, and Rogen all knocked it out of the park.

    1. Hi Steven! Glad to hear you saw Steve Jobs before they yanked it off theaters. I disagree though about Rogen, I thought he was the worst of the bunch.

  2. Two strong reviews Ruth. Haven’t seen Steve Jobs but I’ve heard good things about it. Still working on my review of Mr. Holmes.

    Hate to see you gone Ruth by I sure understand why. Look forward to your return! Good luck on your script’s ending!

    1. Hi Keith! Pardon the late reply, been swamped at work too so this break couldn’t have come soon enough. Both of these are worth seeing, I didn’t plan on it but it turns out both have played Magneto, ahah.

      Thanks for the kind words!

  3. Tom

    Ah yes, best of luck on your script duties Ruth! That’s so exciting! We all eagerly await your return soon. Happy Thanksgiving if we don’t speak before then ! 😀

    1. Hi ya Tom! It’s been a rather slow end to my script, but it’s quite exciting to see it almost finished!

      Happy Thanksgiving to you as well my friend!

  4. Between these two movies, I’m more interested in Steve Jobs. The writer, director and lead actor are good reasons for me to be intrigued and of course it’s about Steve Jobs. Have a nice blogging hiatus and thanksgiving! 😀

    1. Hi Eddie! You should see Steve Jobs if you’re curious about it. It’s not accurate but it’s a VERY good film.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

  5. I haven’t seen any of these movies. Heard that Steve Jobs didn’t get to box office or hit it off at the sales. why do you think that is?
    Good luck your script, hope all goes well

    1. Hi Andina! Not sure why Steve Jobs didn’t make money at the box office, I mean the cast and filmmakers are well known. It’s really too bad as it’s a great film.

      Thanks, it’s been fun working on it 🙂

  6. I was surprised by how much I liked Steve Jobs. I was prepared to be underwhelmed but actually I was rivetted. I unfortunately haven’t seen Mr Holmes yet but intend to.

    1. Hi Jay! Yeah me too, but I guess I shouldn’t be given Sorkin’s talent as a screenwriter. It was quite riveting which is a testament to all involved. Mr. Holmes is good, too, definitely worth seeing for McKellen’s performance.

  7. Short but very sweet reviews! I really liked MR. HOLMES, have not seen STEVE JOBS yet. All best wishes with your screenplay doll, and if I don’t “see” you, have a great Thanksgiving 🙂

    1. Hi Paula! Glad to hear you’ve seen and liked Mr. Holmes. Steve Jobs is great, and I know you like Mr. Fassbender right, so it’s a must see 🙂

      Have a lovely Thanksgiving to you as well!

  8. I haven’t seen Steve Jobs or Mr Holmes, so I’ll go back and read your reviews if I do. I’m passing on many of the oscar season movies, as I want to focus on other things. Hateful Eight,Star Wars 7, Anomalisa, The Lobster, High-Rise and Macbeth are must-sees though.

    Have a great hiatus and also Thanksgiving!

    1. Hello Chris! There are a ton of great films coming in Dec, I’m looking forward to Macbeth too, gonna see that in a couple of weeks! I’ve seen Anomalisa and reviewed it last month.

  9. I really wanted to see STEVE JOBS but now it’s been pulled out of many theaters, maybe some of the theaters here are still showing it. Just like THE SOCIAL NETWORK, I never expect anything in the movie to be true like the real person; let’s face it most people’s lives are quite boring. For the film version, they have to over dramatize everything.

    1. Hi Ted! I’m curious to hear what you think once it hits VOD. Yeah it’s too bad it got yanked from theaters so soon. I think it’s as good as TSN, and Fassbender is certainly more mesmerizing than Jesse Eisenberg. I’m surprised this film wasn’t boring at all.

  10. Have seen Mr. Holmes recently and really loved it, such great performances and I love the slow burn of it all. Steve Jobs will be released here soon I think and I’m interested in checking it out.

    Enjoy your break!

    1. Hello Nostra! Glad to hear you love Mr Holmes too, I think the slow burn pace works well for this story. Steve Jobs is excellent too, both actors are so great in their roles.

  11. I ended up loving Steve Jobs thought the performances were top quality and the dialogue was brilliant.

    I enjoyed Mr Holmes but thought it felt extremely long as not a lot happened at certain times. McKellen was the perfect choice for the role though.

    1. Hi there Caz! Yeah, the dialogue and performances of Steve Jobs are really excellent that despite the innacuracies I still found it gripping. I kind of expected Mr Holmes to be a slow-er film given that Sherlock is now an older man. I think Mc Kellen was able to keep my interest when there’s not much going on.

  12. Yeah I’m fairly sure Winslet will suck to my ears if she speaks with Polish accent 🙂 But I’m definitely looking forward to the movie, mostly for Fassbender and I want to see how Rogen did here

    1. Hi Margaret! Ahah yeah I think for people familiar w/ Polish language will think differently than I do about Winslet’s accent. But it’s not a distraction to the film in any way and I think the entire cast, save for Rogen, was great. Fassy was indeed excellent!

  13. Have a great break Ruth 🙂 I’d sure love to read your script when you finish it, good luck! I know I am having trouble finishing my book so I feel ya, the end is the hardest part!

    1. Hey thanks Jordan! Well I hope to wrap my script up soon but I still have to format it properly as right now I’m using Google doc for convenience, he..he.. Best of luck w/ your book too, mate.

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