Sunday, December 17, 2017
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Movie planner: Winslet, Rogen and Sorkin on 'Steve Jobs,' plus 'Jem' and 'Last Witch Hunter'

FEAR NOT: The awe factor of 'Steve Jobs'

The day after Danny Boyle's biopic Steve Jobs made its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and actors Kate Winslet and Seth Rogen confessed their fears while making the movie.

Actually, Rogen insinuated his, deferential in an atmosphere of serious filmmaking to which he's not accustomed. "I was just happy to be invited" to play Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, he said. Like many Rogen comments, there was a wisp of "can you believe I'm here?"

Sorkin, an Academy Award winner for writing A Few Good Men, was thrown off by the subject himself.

"I had a lot of … the same fear I have before I write anything: I don't have an idea yet," he said. "When it comes to Steve Jobs, he's somebody people have very strong feelings about, so it was a little bit like setting out to write about the Beatles, that kind of nervousness."

Sorkin's dialogue, featuring the walk-and-talk structure he made famous on The West Wing, was the source of Winslet's distress.

"There's one scene in the third act that I remember reading and just crying, like: 'Oh, f---. I'm just not going to be able to do that,'" the Academy Award winner said. "Because of the way we shot, in these long, continuous takes. Often if there's a real punchy moment, a real emotional moment, you have the luxury of … getting around difficulty by saying: 'Actually, can we cut there and I can get myself into the zone and we can go?' We didn't have that. It all ran into one."

Winslet said Fassbender, who was not at Telluride, turned alarm into a terrific performance.

"He turned his proper true, white, blind fear into the most incredible determination that any of us have ever seen," Winslet said. "I have really never seen anything like it. He just did it, no fuss, no tricks, no cards. He sort of disappeared into a hole and emerged as Steve Jobs."

Rogen wasn't sure of what to expect from Fassbender, an intense screen presence in films like 12 Years a Slave and Shame.

"The first day of rehearsal I went over to him, like: 'So, are you like a weird actor and should I not, like, talk to you between takes? I've heard people are like that,' " Rogen said. "He's like, 'No, man, talk to me about whatever you want.' "

"We'd run lines between takes, very casual. Then he would just turn and go into it. It was horrifying at times … the most impressive thing I've ever seen an actor do. And I've worked with Danny McBride."

Click here for a full review of Steve Jobs.

ALSO OPENING:

JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS

This week's entry in the "what are they thinking?" sweepstakes is Jem and the Holograms (PG-13), based on an '80s cartoon about a girl-power pop band whose posterity is being wildly overrated by Hollywood. Didn't anyone learn anything from Josie and the Pussycats?

Jem is the alter ego of young recording mogul Jerrica Benton (Aubrey Peeples), created by her late father's holographic breakthrough. One tweak of her earrings and Jessica becomes Jem, with pseudo-glam fashion sense and programmed musical accompaniment. The crisis is Jem's desire to go solo, dissing her bandmates (Stefanie Scott, Hayley Kiyoko, Aurora Perrineau).

THE LAST WITCH HUNTER

Vin Diesel is furious, if not fast in The Last Witch Hunter (PG-13), reconfirming his lack of box office clout without a steering wheel in his hands. Diesel plays Kaulder, lone surviving member of the Axe and Cross, after being cursed with immortality. Slaying rogue witches isn't as much fun when performed alone but the human race needs protecting, so what else can the big lug do?

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION

The sixth and hopefully last entry in the Paranormal Activity franchise puts the dim in "dimension." The Ghost Dimension (R) that is, where night vision cams and yank wires fake supernatural bunk. At least Paramount isn't claiming Gregory Plotkin's directing debut is based upon or inspired by a true story. Based upon what's known to be true about the series, I'm inspired to stay away.

in theaters: our Top 5

Current movies recommended by the Tampa Bay Times:

1 Sicario: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro battle a Mexican drug cartel in a gripping drama. One of the year's best.

2 The Martian: A brainy blockbuster, with Matt Damon surviving outer space through science and a helping hand from Jessica Chastain.

3 99 Homes: Florida's foreclosure crisis makes a single dad (Andrew Garfield) deal with a real estate devil (Michael Shannon) in a timely thriller.

4 Crimson Peak: Guillermo Del Toro crafts a bloody valentine to Gothic horror, with deftly arch performances by Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska.

5 Bridge of Spies: Steven Spielberg's Cold War drama stars Tom Hanks but its secret weapon is Mark Rylance as a mild-mannered Russian spy.

UPCOMING RELEASES

Oct. 30: Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse; Autobahn

Nov. 6: Spectre; The Peanuts Movie; Brooklyn; Spotlight; Trumbo

Nov. 13: Rings; The 33; By The Sea; Love the Coopers

   
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