CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Film Review: Ashton Kutcher Portrays the Ethereal Hero in ‘Jobs’
CHICAGO – The revolution in technology, that has allowed the world to change completely in just two generations, was led in part by dreamers in a garage. One of those “Edisons” was Steve Jobs – the creator of Apple Computers – portrayed with an inventor’s instinct by Ashton Kutcher.
Kutcher, and the approach that director Joshua Michael Stern and writer Matt Whiteley took with the character of Steve Jobs, are the highlights of the film. There is great respect toward the passion in the dreamers and innovations, and that type of creativity that changes our way of doing and thinking. Where the film doesn’t score points is within the “inside baseball” elements of the Apple Computer corporation. There is too much time given to boardrooms, marketing managers and staffing decisions, and while this is intriguing, it isn’t as interesting as the reflective vision that Steve Jobs gave his products. Ashton Kutcher understands this part of the Jobs’ persona, and rises above the office politics in in his performance and the character portrayal.
The film begins with Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) announcing the new iPod to his company, on the cusp of that revolution. The familiar bearded guru with the black turtleneck and jeans gives way to his story, beginning as a barefoot college dropout in the mid 1970s. He is fascinated with what his tech geek friend Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad) is working on, as he pairs an early desktop computer with a television monitor. A new era is dawning.
Jobs sets up a company in his parent’s garage, intent on producing the first Apple Computers (the new name for his venture), and collects a motley crew of like thinking innovators including Daniel Kottke (Lukas Haas) and Rod Holt (Ron Eldard). Their small venture gains interest from outside money, represented by Mark Markkula (Dermot Mulroney), and a new business is born. The growth of Apple unfolds from there, and it’s mostly growing pains, with Steve Jobs both at the helm and exiled at various times.
Photo credit: Open Road Films