As far as 20th century literary figures go, few are held in high repute as much as the late David Foster Wallace (1962-2008). Unsurprisingly, then, people have had a desire to further understand and process the man and his work, which in part explains the decision to make a film wherein he is a main figure. James Ponsoldt’s The End of the Tour is such a film; an adaptation of David Lipsky’s Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, it tells the story of a road trip Lipsky takes with Wallace while the latter is on a book tour. Jesse Eisenberg plays Lipsky, and Jason Segel takes on the lofty task of portraying Wallace.
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In 2013, Jobs, a biopic about the life of the late Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs, was released to little fanfare. Starring Ashton Kutcher as the titular figure, the film received a mostly mixed response, from both critics and the higher-ups at Apple. Bill Fernandez, one of the early employees of Apple, called it “the biggest, flashiest piece of fan fiction that there’s been to date.”
Two years have passed since then, and clearly Jobs’ story is still compelling to many filmmakers, as director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionare) and Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing and Academy Award-winning writer for The Social Network) have prepared their own spin on the life of Jobs. Their film, entitled Steve Jobs, is “set backstage at three iconic product launches” and concludes “in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac”, according to Universal Films’ official statement.
Theoretically, if a work of art is bad, we will view or listen to it only once and never return to it again; after all, if it is truly bad, why would anyone want to spend additional time with it? Yet dozens of films fall under the umbrella of “so-bad-it’s-good”, where a film’s badness becomes the very reason why we enjoy it. From the terrible direction, performances, and editing of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room to the apocalyptic nonsense of Southland Tales, so-bad-it’s-good cinema offers moviegoers the chance to have fun at the expense of itself.
In a fresh spin on the narrative of Jesus’ temptation in the desert—famously staged in films such as Martin Scorsese‘s The Last Temptation of Christ—director Rodrigo García adds an additional dimension to the tale through a narrative involving Jesus leaving the desert. As he does, he encounters the Devil, with whom he grapples over a situation involving a family in crisis.
The plot details have not been made widely available beyond the description above, but the one thing that is known is that Ewan McGregor is taking on a daring double role as both Jesus and the Devil, undoubtedly one of his most creative steps as an actor yet. McGregor is joined by a small cast, including Tye Sheridan, Susan Gray, Ciarán Hinds, and Ayelet Zurer.
Although the world of documentary filmmaking no doubt felt a major tremor of loss when director Albert Maysles passed away in Manhattan earlier this year, there remains one final film to add to his considerable legacy. In Transit, which saw its debut screenings in mid-April at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, tells the stories of passengers on board Amtrak’s Empire Builder train, which is the busiest long-distance train in the United States. The film represents a unique and final swan song to Maysles’ “direct filmmaking” style, which he used to great effect in essential documentary pictures such as Salesman and Grey Gardens.