“Yesterday Dr. Will Caster Was Only Human.”
Chronologically, we have The Dark Knight Rises, Moneyball, Inception, The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Batman Begins, The Italian Job, Insomnia, Memento. Those are some very impressive credits. Although Transcendence director wasn’t at the helm for the aforementioned films, he was the cinematographer – and very influential on how they turned out looking. Needless to say, the directorial debut of a D.P. with that kind of resume is sure to get some attention. Unfortunately looks aren’t all that matter when it comes to making a film, and without a cohesive story and well-written script, things tend to fall apart. At least Transcendence looked good, right? I wish I could say it did. With a background like Pfister’s, the movie should have been visually better than simply complacent.
Dr. Will Caster (Depp) is a world-renowned scientist in the field of Artificial Intelligence, or AI. His life’s work has lead to his most important project, a sentient computer code-named PIMM. While there are those who strongly support the work Dr. Caster is doing, there are many who fear this type of computer intelligence – mainly a group of extremists called RIFT (Revolutionary Independence From Technology). What they are afraid of is “Transcendence,” defined as an existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level. During simultaneous attacks on AI labs across the country (don’t other countries have AI research too?), Will is shot with a radiation-laced bullet and given only weeks to live. His wife and fellow researcher Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) decides to apply the research of uploading the consciousness of rhesus monkeys and apply it to her dying husband. With the help of Max (Paul Bettany), Will’s mind lives on… or is it really Will?
For those who know anything about comedy, the name “Wayans” is sure to ring a bell. Comprised of 10 brothers and sisters who do everything from acting and writing, to directing and producing, the Wayans have made their name synonymous with funny. And that is only in the first generation, who have given birth to an entirely new line of actor/writer/comedian/directors.
Marlon Wayans, the youngest of the siblings, made his film debut in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (1988) at the age of 16. Although he only had a small role in his brother Keenen’s directorial debut, it would be the start of an epic career spanning the last 26 years. And things don’t look like they are slowing down any time soon.
In honor of the release of A Haunted House 2, the sequel to his hugely successful 2013 comedy (which grossed over $60 million dollars worldwide on a $2.5 million dollar budget), Marlon came to St. Louis to talk about the film and his long-running career.
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“They just don’t make them like they used to.”
Prior to seeing Need for Speed, the above statement summed up my thoughts about “car” movies as of late. Last year we were subjected to the travesty that was Getaway, which was preceded by the ridiculously unrealistic Fast & Furious 6 (don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Fast Five – but this was just too much). Where are the great car chases like we saw in Gone In 60 Seconds, or Bullitt or The French Connection? Or more recently Ronin or The Italian Job (the remake was pretty good). This past week I had my answer – and it is Need for Speed.
Let’s get one thing straight – the film isn’t going to win an Oscar for best screenplay, or acting. But those car scenes. The script is just one big excuse to get from race to chase, which fortunately make up a majority of the movie.
As for the story, Tobey (Aaron Paul) is a mechanic who took over his father’s auto body after his passing. He’s constantly struggling to pay the mortgage, as well as his handful of friends who work there, and is only able to stay afloat a little longer because of his winning from street racing. When Dino (Dominic Cooper), an old rival who made it big in Formula 1, comes back to town with an offer to fix up a rare car – Tobey has no option but to accept the offer. But when egos get in the way, the two illegally race at high speeds in rare concept cars which prove to be fatal to their friend Pete (Harrison Gilbertson). Tobey ends up in jail, while Dino gets off scot-free. When he gets out, the one thing on Tobey’s mind is revenge.
R.I.P. Free Popcorn Wednesdays at Wehrenberg Theaters.
If you are a moviegoer near one of Wehrenberg’s 16 multiplexes, and you have ever been on a Wednesday – chances are you have enjoyed a free popcorn. For the last two years members of Wehrenberg’s free rewards program, MVP (Movie Viewer Program), have been able to show their card at the concession stand every Wednesday and receive a complimentary medium popcorn (around a $7 value). As of December 18, 2013 the program ended.