9   +   9   =  

There are few, if any companies able to inspire the same level of devotion as Apple. Every new product launch is only one crowd control error away from catastrophe. After a previous attempt that’s best forgotten (it never even received a release in the UK), Steve Jobs is in the biopic spotlight again this week alongside the most indie of indie movies, a very British tale and a spot of cheeky espionage.

The Social Network was just a warm-up really. Influential as Mark Zuckerberg undoubtedly is, he never inspired the feverish cult that built up around Apple kingpin Steve Jobs. With Aaron Sorkin once again holding the pen, Danny Boyle and Michael Fassbender aim to bring the man to life in all his charismatic/arrogant (the trailer suggests the film’s depiction veers between both) glory. The imaginatively named Steve Jobs looks slick, comes with a strong supporting cast – Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels, Seth Rogen et al – and packs in the usual Sorkin zingers. Reviews are decent if not quite glowing.

Here comes a Christmas film far from both the glossy corporate world of Steve Jobs and the usual yuletide fare. Set around a seedy LA intersection, it follows two transgender prostitutes as they head out to track down an unfaithful boyfriend on Christmas Eve, stumbling across a number of adventures along the way. Making the most of Jobs’ work by shooting on iPhones, Tangerine mixes wonderfully larger-than-life performances from Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor with oodles of flair. It’s one hell of an energetic ride.

If it’s all been a little too American for you, The Lady in the Van can help. In an endearingly odd real life story, an old woman living out of a van in a plush part of London ended up parking in Alan Bennett’s drive for fifteen years. Bennett, played by Alex Jennings in the film, writes the screenplay, but the star is Maggie Smith on prime form as the lively woman of the title.

Back to the US, albeit with plenty of Bond overtones, for the home entertainment release of Spy. Melissa McCarthy plays the back office intelligence agent thrust into action when her boss – Jude Law on charmingly vacuous form – bites the bullet in the field. From the Bridesmaids team, there are plenty of laughs along the way as McCarthy and co send up all manner of spy movies. Watch out for an excellent comic turn from Jason Statham as well.

That brings us to a close once more. See you next week as Katniss concludes her odyssey.

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