“Jobs” (PG-13,127 minutes, Universal): A dramatization of the life of Apple founder and chief executive Steve Jobs (played by Ashton Kutcher), the movie opens with a brief prologue showing a graying Jobs at the 2001 unveiling of the iPod music player. The film then leaps backward to the 1970s, when a barefoot and much younger Jobs is about to become a college dropout. The shaggy-haired hippie kid is far more comfortable territory for the boyish Kutcher. Flashing back to the character as a young man helps the audience get used to Kutcher in the role, allowing him to grow into the part as the character matures. Kutcher does a couple of things well, aping Jobs’ guarded, tight-lipped smile and familiar, half-hunching, half-bouncing gait. But there’s a void inside the man that Kutcher never fills. The problem is not with the actor but with the film itself. Directed by Joshua Michael Stern (“Swing Vote”) and written by first-time screenwriter Matt Whiteley, “Jobs” confuses the story of Apple, the company, with the story of its guru and guiding force, spending way too much time on backroom personnel dealings than on encounters that might help us understand, on a deep level, the title character. Contains obscenity, brief sensuality and drug use.
“Red 2” (PG-13, 116 minutes, Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate): The 2010 sleeper hit “Red” felt refreshing and paid as much attention to the comedy as to the action, but the luster has faded in a clunky and unsatisfying “Red 2.” CIA retiree Frank (Bruce Willis) has returned to the quiet life, shopping at Costco with his girlfriend, Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker). As he attempts to embrace the joys of the ’burbs while searching for giant bags of shrimp, she’s despondent, craving adventure. Luckily, Frank’s quirky former partner, the conspiracy theorist Marvin (John Malkovich), appears with a new plan in mind. The trio ends up traveling to Paris, Moscow and London trying to discern the meaning of Operation Nightshade. The plot is fairly busy, and so’s the action: shootouts, car chases, shootouts during car chases, hand-to-hand combat, helicopter crashes, bomb explosions and death by paper crane. Contains intense action sequences, mostly bloodless violence, language and drug references.
Also: “The Getaway,” “The Canyons,” “Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman” (Japan, 25 Zatoichi films made between 1962 and 1973, The Criterion Collection), “JFK Assassination: The Definitive Guide” (History Channel documentary), “Le joli mai” (“The Lovely Month of May,” 1963, re-released in the U.S. in September), “Battle Ground” (a.k.a. “Forbidden Ground”), “The Horror Show” (1989), “Samson & Delilah” (Australia), “How Sherlock Changed the World” (PBS documentary), “Photo: A History From Behind the Lens” (documentary, Athena), “Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish” (2010), “The Snow Queen” (Russia, animated) and “Please Kill Mr. Know It All.”
Television series: “Breaking Bad: The Final Season” “Murdoch Mysteries, Season 6” (13 episodes of Canadian detective series, Acorn Media), “Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Series 10” ( and “Old Dogs & New Tricks: Seasons 1 & 2.”
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