With modern technology speeding towards “the singularity,” the turning point where humans become obsolete as computers meet and exceed our intellect, Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) and his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) are in pursuit of the same dream, but instead refer to the phenomenon as the mildly friendlier term “transcendence.” But, despite the most noble intentions, a reasonable fear from an underground organization known as R.I.F.T. has elevated to action, the move towards transcendence must be stopped and Dr. Caster must be killed. Conveniently, before his untimely demise a major breakthrough allows Dr. Caster to preserve his intellect via computer, transcendence is reached, now the battle for humans vs. Dr. Caster’s software is on. It’ll take former colleagues Max and Joseph (Paul Bettany and Morgan Freeman)to stop development, but it may already be too late. Oh, I get it, a man creates his own god, instead of a God (Zeus) creates a man (Castor), there’s a blatant little twist on Greek mythology going on here….Caster is Castor, I see what you did there. Meanwhile, what starts as classic interesting sci-fi and philosophy quickly becomes muddled textbook procedure and action with limited creativity or innovation– so much for transcending greatness. A stoic, flat, and uninspired performance from Depp comes across as a bit bland from what we’ve come to expect, mind you, the rest of the cast seem to fit nicely, just can’t win ‘em all. But, as it would happen, Director Wally Pfister, no slouch when it comes to cinematography, consistently composes interesting shots making for good art. Scoring is also well thought out as Mychael Danna’s music achieves its intended and appropriate result. So, bittersweet it is, what could have been doesn’t entirely materialize, but you could do worse. Matinee worthy, maybe more, Transcendence is rated PG-13.
Coming up on NFL Draft day the Cleveland Browns have been flailing for some time and it’s up to general manager, Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner), to put together a potentially winning team for next season. Meanwhile, his father’s legacy looms large in the halls and team confidence is at an all time low; can he make the right decisions with his assistant, Ali (Jennifer Garner), that will make his players, coaches, mother, ex wife, and even the Seattle Seahawks happy? Directed by Ivan Reitman, the guy who used to hold the keys to the side door of the cinematic comedy palace, Draft Day is a mess. Here’s the recipe: 3 parts informational, 10 parts melodrama, 50 parts hokey, and a handful of jokes made at the Seattle Seahawks expense (intentional or otherwise). Blend all ingredients to a frappe of beige lumpy consistency and pour into tall glasses, refrigerate until mixture settles and serve at your next social function. So, there’s a little fun to be had here, and while new comers to football will appreciate the lessons the film has to offer, the overall story is so forced, so contrived, and so tied up in a little bow that eye rolls are almost mandatory at the film’s “exciting conclusion.” Maybe a rental. Draft Day is rated PG-13.
There once was a time when the British Salsa scene had a king by the name of Bruce Garrett (Nick Frost)– he was a 13 year old dancing phenom with a fire in his heels and snakes in his hips, partnered with his sister Sam (Olivia Colman) and coached by the infamous Ron Parfitt (Ian McShane) the two were unstoppable. Sadly, a tragic bullying incident would eventually shake Bruce to his timbers causing him to leave the dance world in shame. Now, 22 years later a new motivation to dance sparks in an out of shape and self pitying Bruce, his new attractive American Boss, Julia (Rashida Jones). Of course wining Julia’s attention will be difficult while office alpha male, Drew (Chris O’Dowd), is busy thumping his own chest, so, Salsa it will be, but will he even stand a chance?Co-written by Nick Frost, and Jon Brown, the film’s humor comes fast, furious, and what has the feel of improvisational dialogue. In a recent chat with Nick Frost, the actor/writer had this to say about scripting and improvising on set:
Meanwhile the dancing involved has a sense of genuine panache as well, Nick explains where his Salsa/Cuban Fury comes from:
Light hearted and fun all round, the end result is a date ready film with entertainment on the docket. Mind you, we’re not talking high cinema, but rather a romantic comedy that might just inspire you and your significant other to lace up your dancing shoes and learn to cut up the carpet. Oh and singles, here’s some food for thought on Salsa Lessons, good guys ears up, creepy dudes beware:
Grab a date and go, Cuban Fury is rated R.