Custom Search





Steve Jobs

Our Brand Is Crisis

October 29, 2015

Steve Jobs (** ½) R

The good news is that director Danny Boyle’s take on the Steve Jobs story, Steve Jobs, is much superior when compared to the similar film from several years back, Jobs, which starred Ashton Kutcher in the title role. That wasn’t a hard feat to accomplish when taking into consideration the rushed, made for TV movie feel that the earlier film had. Still, that’s not saying that this second cinematic take on the subject isn’t without its own set of problems, most of them attributable to the uneven structure of the film.

The film is scripted by the undeniably talented Aaron Sorkin, who tackled similar themes in his scripting of director David Fincher’s The Social Network five years ago. Sorkin’s straightforward approach to the material on that earlier film worked beautifully but here he has opted for a story structure that renders the Jobs’ story into a three-act play.

Each of the three segments last around three quarters of an hour and the resulting film plays like a sort of anthology film, a Steve Jobs greatest hits, if you will. The first segment is extremely well done but the quality of the remaining two segments seem to taper off with the second section being merely okay and the final act proving to be somewhat of a disappointment.

Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs opens spectacularly in 1984 as Jobs attempts to launch the Mac. It’s plagued with problems right from the get go and Sorkin’s script, aided by Boyle’s visual flair for this type of filmmaking, puts us into Jobs’ skin and we feel the pressure he’s under to make this product launch a success. The second act, which is less vibrant, is still interesting as the mastermind of Apple launches his NeXT computer in 1988. The film finally ends with the launch of the iMAC in 1998.

Those going into this film uninitiated will probably be shocked at how Jobs the man is portrayed as a human being. As a businessman he was undoubtedly matchless but his human flaws almost overshadow his achievements in technology if you subscribe to the film’s portrayal of Jobs. Crafting a film around a man whose grand vision literally changed the world, a man who was also a louse as a human being, is no easy assignment but I guess Steve Jobs does some justice to the task at hand. I just wish the film had given us more to chew than what it ultimately leaves the viewer with, when all is said and done. (Starring Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet & Seth Rogen.)

Our Brand is Crisis (**) R

Director David Gordon Greene’s career has been one I’ve taken note of over the years with great interest. After bursting on to the scene with his widely praised 2001 directorial debut George Washington, Greene churned out some interesting dramatic films, All the Real Girls and Snow Angels among my favorites, before opting for mainstream fare of such questionable taste as Pineapple Express, The Sitter and Your Highness. His latest film, Our Brand is Crisis, is an uneasy melding of his lighter and more serious minded efforts. So much so that a more apt title for the picture might have been, Our Film is having an Identity Crisis.

Sandra Bullock turns up here donning blonde tresses in the film’s lead role, not that it really matters, except the last time I recall Bullock having gone blonde was for the 2009 film The Blindside. I wasn’t a fan of that clichéd piece of tripe, in spite of its having netted the actress an Oscar, so perhaps a film sporting a blonde Bullock should be a warning sign to me from here on.

Billy Bob Thornton and Bullock in ‘Crisis’

At any rate, Bullock’s character in Our Brand is Crisis is ‘Calamity’ Jane Bodine. She’s a political strategist clearly bearing resemblances to James Carville, who gained fame during the Clinton campaigns. Bodine is supposedly the best at what she does in spite of the fact that she’s retired and living in some sort of secluded mountain cabin after a string of failures, which leads one to wonder why she would be enlisted to aid in a political campaign in the first place, given her recent losses, but I digress.

The plot mechanics get underway when a group of political advisers (Anthony Mackie, Zoe Kazan, Scott McNairy and Ann Dowd) enlist her aid in getting former head of state, Pedro Castillo (Joaquim de Almedia) elected in Bolivia, in spite of the fact that he’s clearly trailing in the polls. The first two acts of the film clearly are played for laughs as Bodine and company pull out all the stops, reaching their nadir during a scene where the strategist sticks her naked butt out of the window of a moving tour bus. The audience I was in the presence of clearly enjoyed the comedic shenanigans transpiring and laughed heartily. I suppose they’re less jaded than I am.

After playing the film mostly for laughs, the film then takes a strange detour during its final section and the story suddenly turns serious. This strange shift in tone makes it seem as if Our Brand is Crisis is actually two separate movies vying for the audience’s attention. You can’t have it both ways and, as a result, the film succeeds neither as the satire it clearly wants to be during its early section or the serious expose it wants to be during its finale illustrating the political films may not be the strong suit of director David Gordon Greene.

(Also starring Billy Bob Thornton.)

Questions or comments? Write Adam at



Crimson Peak & Room

Bridge Of Spies & Goosebumps

99 Homes

The Martian • Sicario & The Walk

The Intern • The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials • Everest

The Visit & Black Mass

Mistress America

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl A Walk In The Woods

American Ultra • No Escape • Sinister 2

Straight Outta Compton, The End Of The Tour, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Irrational Man & Fantastic Four

Ricki And The Flash & The Gift

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation • Southpaw • Vacation

Ant-Man & Trainwreck


Amy • Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys

Me & Earl & The Dying Girl, Ted 2

Inside Out & Dope

Love and Mercy & Jurassic World

Insidious Chapter 3

San Andreas & Aloha

Poltergeist &

Mad Max: Fury Road

Hot Pursuit

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Ex Machina

While We’re Young & Unfriended

The Longest Ride

Fast & Furious 7

It Follows




Focus & The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Fifty Shades Of Grey

Jupiter Ascending

Still Alice

The Imitation Game A Most Violent Year

American Sniper Inherent Vice

Selma & Taken 3


Big Eyes • The Interview

Night At The Museum The Secret of the Tomb • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Top Five • Wild • Annie


Whiplash & The Theory Of Everything

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 • Horrible Bosses 2

Dumb And Dumber To

Birdman & Interstellar




The Judge

Annabelle & Gone Girl

The Equalizer & Happy 75th, GWTW!

The Drop • A Walk Among & The Tombstones

No Good Deed

The Identical

As Above, So Below & November Man

If I Stay & Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

The Giver • Code Black & The Expendables 3

Boyhood • Into The Storm & Magic In The Moonlight

Get On Up & Guardians Of The Galaxy


Begin Again & The Purge: Anarchy

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Chef & Tammy

Transformers: Age Of Extinction

Jersey Boys

22 Jump Street & How To Train Your Dragon 2

The Fault Is In Our Stars & Edge Of Tomorrow

A Million Ways To Die In The West

X-Men: Days Of Future Past Maleficent

Godzilla • Summer Preview

Neighbors • Godzilla

The Amazing Spiderman 2 & Belle

The Other Woman & Brick Mansions

A Haunted House 2 & Heaven Is For Real

Oculus & Rio 2

Captain America: The Winter Soldier



The Grand Budapest Hotel & Veronica Mars

300: Rise of the Empire

Non-Stop & Son Of God

Three Days To Kill

Robocop & The Past • About Last Night

The Monuments Men

Labor Day

I, Frankenstein

Inside Llewyn Davis & Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Lone Survivor & August: Osage County

Her • Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom & The Wolf Of Wall Street

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, Anchorman 2

The Hobbit: The Desolation & Of Smaug • Nebraska

Dallas Buyers Club & Oldboy & Out Of The Furnace

Philomena & The Book Thief

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire & Delivery Man

About Time & All Is Lost

Thor: The Dark World & 12 Years A Slave

Ender’s Game & Last Vegas

Bad Grandpa &The Counselor

Carrie & The Fifth Estate

Captain Phillips, Enough Said & Machete Kills

Gravity & Runner Runner

Metallica: Through The Never , Rush & Don Jon

Prisoners & Rush

Insidious: Chapter 2 • The Family & The Spectacular Now



The World’s End You’re Next

Lee Daniels’ The Butler • Jobs • Blue Jasmine

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters & Elysium

2 Guns

Blue Jasmine • The Wolverine & Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station • The Conjuring & The Way Way Back

Pacific Rim & Grown Ups 2

The Lone Ranger & Despicable Me 2

The Heat & White House Down

Monsters University, World War Z, Before Midnight & The East

Man of Steel & This Is The End

The Internship & The Purge

After Earth, Now You See Me & Frances Ha

The Hangover Part III Before Midnight

Star Trek: Into Darkness & Fast and Furious 6

The Great Gatsby & Frances Ha

Iron Man & Peeples

Pain and Gain & Mud

Oblivion & Lords of Salem

42 and Scary Movie 5

Evil Dead & Jurassic Park 3-D

G.I. Joe: Retaliation Tyler Perry’s Temptation

Spring Breakers Admission

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone • The Call

Oz: The Great And Powerful West Of Memphis

Jack the Giant Slayer The Last Exorcism, Part II

Dark Skies & Snitch

A Good Day to Die Hard & Safe Haven

Side Effects & Identity Thief

Bullet To The Head Warm Bodies




BannerEventAd-01.jpg   BannerEventAd-01.jpg

PO Box 1721 | Hickory, NC 28603 | 828.322.1036 | Office Hours: Mon. - Fri. 9am - 5pm |

Home • Reviews: MoviesAdam Long • Editorials: FocusHave Chainsaw Will TravelSid On SportsBobbi GSara MawyerPeople PicturesPlaces/PeopleExtra Events Listing
Out Of Focus • News: Local NewsNational NewsHoroscopes • Info/Links: Staff/ContributorsList Of AdvertisersOnline AdvertisingOnline ClassifiedsContact UsFocus BLOGStoreLinks

© 1978 - 2018 Tucker Productions, Inc.