Movies to watch this week at the cinema: Steve Jobs, Tangerine, more...

Out on Friday 13 November

Michael Fassbender walks and talks as Steve Jobs. A transgender hooker seeks revenge in a Christmas comedy shot on an iPhone. Maggie Smith camps outside Alan Bennetts house. Yes, heres this weeks new releases. Click on for our reviews of Steve Jobs, Tangerine, The Lady In The Van, The Hallow, Fathers And Daughters, Warriors, The Fear Of 13, A Christmas Star, Orthodox, Angels Vs Bullies and Tell Spring Not To Come This Year. For the best movie reviews, subscribe to Total Film.

STEVE JOBS

Machine-gun written by Aaron Sorkin and directed with controlled gusto by Danny Boyle, Steve Jobs possesses a three-act structure, but dont for one second think this is a typical Hollywood movie. The three acts here are each focused around a major technological launch the Macintosh in 1984; the NeXT computer in 1988; and the iMac in 1998 and shot primarily in real time, with Jobs (Michael Fassbender) ricocheting between Apples Head of Marketing Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), co-founder Steve Woz Wozniak (Seth Rogen), CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) and system software developer Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg). Also on hand is ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston) and her daughter Lisa (played at the ages of five, nine and 19 by, respectively, Makenzie Moss, Ripley Sobo and Perla Haney-Jardine), whom Jobs denies fathering despite a pretty conclusive blood test and obvious physical resemblances. Its like five minutes before every launch, everybody goes to a bar and gets drunk and tells me what they really think, says Jobs, and how you respond to that on-the-nose statement should tell you how youll get on with this fast and furious biopic. Truth and storytelling conventions be damned as befits a project about a rampantly egocentric, bullying, brilliant, monomaniacal, maddening, visionary being, Steve Jobs makes its own rules even as it collapses timelines, jettisons chunks of history (Pixar, anyone?) and flagrantly flaunts its artifice. Either embrace the genius or know where the door is. Act One is set in the De Anza Community College, Cupertino, California, Jobs in meltdown because hes lost a cover of Time magazine a result of the paternity issue being made public, he feels and the Macintosh refusing to say Hello to the waiting audience. Hertzfeld, charged with conjuring the on-screen greeting, feels the full force of Jobs refusal to settle for anything less than perfection, while Chrisann wants to know why she and Lisa are on welfare when Jobs is worth $441m. Act Two takes place at the San Francisco Opera House, Jobs having it out with the visiting Sculley as to why he was let go by Apple a boardroom decision were made privy to via judicious flashbacks. Jobs knows that his overpriced NeXT computer, designed as a perfect black cube, is doomed to fail in the marketplace, but also knows that Apple will have to buy his operating system and reopen its doors to him. Act Three, set at San Franciscos Davies Symphony Hall, hails the return of the prodigal son, with the iMac announcing the next era of home computing just as the internet takes off. So why is Jobs refusing to pay $25,000 for his daughters tuition, and why must he still refuse to credit Woz, whose electronic engineering is the cornerstone of the companys success, or the team that built the pioneering Apple II? As written by Sorkin (who of course tackled another tech genius, Facebook co-creator Mark Zuckerberg, in The Social Network) and acted by a never-better Fassbender, Jobs is as much arse as genius, repeatedly using and abusing all those about him and so self-aggrandising as to compare himself to Stravinsky, Caesar, Picasso, Dylan, DiMaggio and, yes, god. There are glimmers of decency, especially towards the end when Sorkin and Boyle perhaps realise theyd better give audiences at least a hint of humanity to reward their investment. But this is unafraid to alienate as it assassinates. The guff about Jobs being adopted as a child, and therefore out of control of his own life, thus resulting in all this monstrous over-compensation, feels half-hearted. What was it Welles said about Rosebud in Citizen Kane? Dollar-book Freud. For the most part, viewers are invited to form their own opinions from the whirlwind of information. Perhaps such callous single-mindedness was essential to Jobs bestowing us with such gifts? Or perhaps, as Wozniak says, You can be decent and gifted at the same time. Whatever you leave with, it wont be your breath. This is brazen, bravura filmmaking, with Boyle corralling a clutch of terrific performances while taming his own often-ostentatious style for fear of getting in the way of the words. Comprised of mainly interior shots and with each segment shot on different formats 16mm for 1984, 35mm for 1988 and digital for 1998 its a backstage musical of sorts, jumping and jittering to the rhythms of Sorkins incessant patter and propelled still faster by Daniel Pembertons wall-to-wall score: percussive beats, computer bleeps, orchestral swells. This is a movie that never lets up or allows viewers to do anything but meet it with fearsome focus. Much like its subject. THE VERDICT: I dont want people to dislike me. Im indifferent to if they dislike me, says Jobs. Well, this wont be for everyone but it dazzles. Markedly better than Ashton Kutchers Jobs Director: Danny Boyle Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Katherine Waterston Theatrical release: 13 November 2015 Jamie Graham

TANGERINE

You can relax. Though Tangerine was famously filmed on three iPhone 5s, Sean Bakers super-fresh and edgy street-life dramedy motors like a proper movie. Like his earlier no-budget offering Prince Of Broadway, it follows a marginalised character on a low- life odyssey. Splashed with saturated colour as fierce as transgender hooker Sin-Dees temper, its her bitch-slapping, trash-talking Christmas Eve quest for cheating pimp and fianc Chester, whos rumoured to be playing away. Portrayed by unabashedly OTT screen newbie Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, she stalks the real-life Santa Monica Boulevard like a vengeful whirlwind. Wearing the camera like a second skin, she hunts down love rival Dinah, whos working a motel sex party so seedy it makes John Waters look coy. Combining fly-on-the-wall prostitute encounters with tough, playful drama, the pavement brawls with tight-fisted punters have a doco authenticity. Baker developed the film with LA trans sex-workers, including Rodriguez and co-star Mya Taylor, whose tetchy sidekick Alexandra is a wisecracking pleasure (You didnt have to Chris Brown the bitch!). It feels mighty real, but its loving, rather than lurid, painting its hookers, junkies and johns as people, not social problems. In among its raucous interludes (carwash blow-jobs, ladies lav cosmetics-and-crack binges) winds a poignant streak, personified by ladyboy-loving Armenian cabbie Razmik (a lugubrious Karren Karagulian) whose traditional family threaten to discover his secret double life. Utterly original, this wild piece is unafraid to mix trap-hop and Beethoven over scenes, or slap on neon orange sunsets, Spring Breakers-style. A velvet-lined scene of Christmas kitsch, where Alexandra sings operetta to a deserted bar, creates a shot of lyrical artifice in a film where real and fake blur constantly. The only happy ending here is the slang sort, but the films big heart gets you rooting for those sisters whose only choice is doing it for themselves. THE VERDICT: This arresting dramedy boasts a clutch of stellar turns from non-actors, and shakes up cinematic convention at 326 pixels per inch. Director: Sean Baker Starring: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey OHagan Theatrical release: 13 November 2015 Kate Stables

THE LADY IN THE VAN

A mostly true story, the Lady In The Van is a delicious and distinct comedy drama from the incomparable Alan Bennett. Think the Charlie Kaufman-scripted Adaptation relocated to 1970s Camden, with a down-at-heel Dame Maggie smith, and youre some way to describing this wryly observed recollection of a real-life event. Reuniting with his long-time collaborator Nicholas Hytner, who has twice directed Bennetts screenplays, The Madness Of King George and The History Boys, its an affectionate reminder of just what a talent Bennett is. In truth, this makes The Lady In The Van feel rather self-serving. And while a film that puts the writer (played by Alex Jennings) squarely in the picture has some measure of indulgence, theres a deeply profound emotional arc here. Enter Dame Maggie, as Miss Shepherd, the local eccentric who lived in a van in Bennetts driveway for fifteen years. While the neighbours (including Roger Alam and Frances de la Tour) tolerate her, its the timid new resident and then fledgling playwright Bennett that gets lumbered. As the years pass, the irascible Miss shepherds backstory gradually unfolds her ability to play the piano and speak French, her time living in a convent and even some past trouble stirred up by Jim Broadbents retired policeman (arguably the films least satisfactory element). Handled sensitively by Hytner and Bennett, the point, to put simply, is that everyone has a story, even those we pass on the streets. How you react to the film will depend on your feelings to the way Bennett dramatises his inner struggles. Jennings plays two Bennetts, often in the same frame the writer and the do-er, who are frequently clashing about life, love, family, work and, of course, their imposing houseguest. Acting-wise, its a tour-de-force from Jennings who almost, but not quite, steals it from the marvellous Dame Maggie. A third Oscar for her? Dont bet against it THE VERDICT: A masterful meta-movie about creativity and companionship, The Lady In The Van comes highly recommended. Bennetts writing, Hytners direction and the two superb leads are not to be missed. Director: Nicholas Hytner Starring: Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Dominic Cooper, Jim Broadbent, Frances de la Tour Theatrical release: 13 November 2015 James Mottram

THE HALLOW

Stuck together with sticky tape and love, this micro-budget horror harks back to the days when Sam Raimi and Tobe Hooper were crafting shoestring classics like Evil Dead and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. While The Hallow doesnt quite reach those trippy heights, its a refreshingly balls-out monster movie from debut director Corin Hardy, whose love for old-school B-horrors is evident in every grisly set-piece and squelchy prosthetic. While contemporary genre studios like Blumhouse have cornered the market in spook flicks, Hardy has gorier ambitions. Nodding to monster movies like Pumpkinhead and The Fly, his film is pure, joyful creature feature, set in the wilds of Ireland where conservationist Adam (Joseph Mawle) moves with his wife Clare (Bojana Novakovic) and their newborn baby. Theyve barely unpacked before Adam uncovers strange black goo in the forest, and then the locals turn up demanding they get off their land. Moving at a storming pace, The Hallow frequently feels like a creaky 90s gem. Its familiar ingredients (yes, the family have a dog) produce the odd surprise, including some great early scares (one revolving around a car boot) and the leaf-dappled colour palette is gorgeously ominous. You wont have to wait long for the monsters to turn up, either, and theyre the films icky prize, accomplished using a seamless blend of prosthetic and CGI wizardry. In a time when CGI has been left to run wild, The Hallow offers a timely reminder of how it can be used alongside traditional techniques to create something genuinely startling. Hardy struggles to maintain the furious pace into his films third act, but it hardly matters as more monsters emerge from the shadows and, like the best horror films, youre never sure quite how its going to end. Like other low-fi filmmakers before him, Hardy has stitched together a film that monster lovers will adore, and while its not perfect, what monster is? THE VERDICT: A hair away from being a B-horror classic, The Hallow delivers where it counts: moody, fast-paced and packed with monsters, it contains nostalgic scares aplenty. Oh, and the promise of a sequel. Director: Corin Hardy Starring: Joseph Mawle, Bojana Novakovic, Michael McElhatton, Michael Smiley, Charlotte Williams Theatrical release: 13 November 2015 Josh Winning

FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS

With a title like Fathers And Daughters, Gabriele Muccinos movie sets out its stall from the off: a mawkish melodrama that has all the hallmarks of an episode of Dynasty. Car accidents, mental breakdowns, promiscuity, alcoholism, family squabbles all it needs is a dead character coming back in the shower. But for all its flaws and there are a lot of them it has heart-wrenching moments, too. The biggest problem is its biggest star, Russell Crowe. He plays Jake Davis, an author who loses control of his faculties after a traffic accident that leaves his wife dead. He and his daughter Katie (Kylie Rogers) survive, but Davis ends up in a hospital for months. With Katie looked after by her aunt and uncle (boozy Diane Kruger and lawyer Bruce Greenwood), the film cuts to 25 years later with Amanda Seyfried now playing the daughter. Damaged from her childhood, she sees this as an opportunity to sleep around until she meets Cameron (Aaron Paul), a fan of Fathers And Daughters, the book a cash-strapped Davis writes post-hospital. Flashing back and forth, theres also a subplot involving a custody battle over Katie. Muccino has form in this arena (The Pursuit Of Happyness, Seven Pounds), but is seemingly unconcerned with these trashier elements perhaps because the core relationships (Crowe/Seyfried/Paul) work hard to tug the heartstrings. With support from the likes of Jane Fonda and Octavia Spencer, its a real mix of class and crass, but if youre looking for a family weepie, thisll tick the requisite boxes. THE VERDICT: So soapy you could scrub yourself clean with it, this is a guilty pleasure. Trash fiction and more tears than an Oscar acceptance speech. Director: Gabriele Muccino Starring: Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Aaron Paul, Diane Kruger, Bruce Greenwood Theatrical release: 13 November 2015 James Mottram

WARRIORS

The unlikely story of a group of Maasai Warriors who form a cricket team makes for a fascinating subject on its own. But this documentary from Barney Douglas becomes vital when considered in the context of a generational divide between attitudes towards female genital mutilation in their remote community. Perhaps the two topics dont connect as well as they should the team is, after all, composed solely of men speaking on behalf of female victims, and the cricket can feel like a frivolous distraction but this is insightful and heart-warming Director: Barney Douglas Theatrical release: 13 November 2015 Stephen Puddicombe

THE FEAR OF 13

Convicted murderer Nick Yarris has spent over 20 years on Death Row. So having protested his innocence for years, why does he want to speed up his execution? Nothing is clear-cut in this gripping monologue-cum-confessional and its best to go into Fear Of 13 blind, without prior knowledge of its numerous twists and reveals. As much a meditation on the transformative power of love and literature as an indictment of the US penal system, Yarris and director David Sington have worked together to produce a masterclass in storytelling that will haunt you for days. Director: David Sington Theatrical release: 13 November 2015 Ali Catterall

TELL SPRING NOT TO COME THIS YEAR

In 2013, American and NATO forces finally withdrew from Afghanistan leaving the countrys National Army to fight the Taliban. In this vital, gripping documentary, co-directors Saeed Taji Farouky and Michael McEvoy tell the story of the soldiers left behind. Some are angry at the US abandonment, some are simply poor. All are scared. You follow as these men police farmers, play cards at night all until the Talibans terrifying Spring assault, where, in incredible footage, it looks like no one is getting out alive. The war didnt end we just dont hear about it anymore. Directors: Saeed Taji Farouky, Michael McEvoy Theatrical release: 13 November 2015 Stephen Kelly

A CHRISTMAS STAR

Both Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson appear in small roles, but theres little else here to elevate this Irish Christmas movie above the usual made-for-TV schmaltz. Born with a magical power to spread feelings of goodwill, young Noelle (Erin Galway-Kendrick) has to convince her parents and the local townsfolk that evil douche Pat McKerrod (Downton Abbeys Rob James-Collier) has nefarious reasons for buying the local factory where they all work. Theres a degree of charm, but it will be a Christmas miracle if anyone remembers this film a week after watching. Director: Richard Elson Starring: Erin Galway-Kendrick , Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Suranne Jones, Rob James-Collier Theatrical release: 13 November 2015 Matt Looker

ORTHODOX

David Leons tale of a kosher butcher who turns to crime to make ends meet started out as a half-hour short before being expanded to feature length. Thats perhaps why his drama feels both over-extended and underpowered, for all the brooding intensity Stephen Graham brings to the troubled central role. Scenes involving arson, loan sharking and bare-knuckle boxing seem drearily clichd, even when set against Grahams faith-based struggles. The result is a film just as conflicted as its hero, its thoughts on Judaism at odds throughout with all the conventional gangster business. Director: David Leon Starring: Steven Graham, Michael Smiley, Christopher Fairbank Theatrical release: 13 November 2015 Neil Smith

ANGELS VS BULLIES

Most quasi-amateur productions struggle to make a mark in todays multiplex culture but theres enough gusto and bonkers energy to this, combined with an admirable anti-bullying message, to warrant attention. On paper, the story sounds nuts rogue teen teams up with ghosts to combat school bullies but in the heightened drama of teenage life, extravagances like these do make a bizarre sort of sense. While the acting can be patchy, writer/director Christopher Turner stretches a clearly limited budget in a way that requires real talent this is more than a glorified home movie. Director: Chris Turner Starring: Harry Goodwins, Rosie Woolman, Eleanor Corcoran, Amarra Smith, Josh Huckett, Alex Barham Theatrical release: 13 November 2015 Andrew Lowry

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