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Tue01282020

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

1. Divergent (Lionsgate)

2. Noah (Paramount)

3. Heaven Is for Real (Sony)

4. The Other Woman* (20th Century Fox)

5. Need for Speed (Disney)

6. Oculus* (20th Century Fox)

7. Sabotage* (Universal)

8. God's Not Dead (Pure)

9. Rio 2 (20th Century Fox)

10. Transcendence* (Warner Bros.)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. Noah (Paramount)

2. Rio 2* (20th Century Fox)

3. The Other Woman* (20th Century Fox)

4. Sabotage* (Universal)

5. Heaven Is for Real (Sony)

6. Transcendence* (Warner Bros.)

7. Cesar Chavez (Lionsgate)

8. 300: Rise of an Empire (Warner Bros.)

9. Bad Words (Focus)

10. Non-Stop (Universal)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. Sabotage* (Universal)

2. Heaven Is for Real (Sony)

3. Transcendence* (Warner Bros.)

4. Rio 2* (20th Century Fox)

5. 300: Rise of an Empire (Warner Bros.)

6. Tyler Perry's Single Moms Club (Lionsgate)

7. Cesar Chavez (Lionsgate)

8. Non-Stop (Universal)

9. A Night in Old Mexico (Phase 4)

10. Road to Paloma (Anchor Bay)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

Married (Thursday, July 17, FX): Judy Greer, Nat Faxon, Jenny Slate, Brett Gelman, Regina Hall, John Hodgman, Michaela Watkins—any one of the players of Married are funny enough to headline their own series; thankfully, they’ve been assembled for a grown-up cable comedy instead of being wasted separately on more network filler (as they all have been before). Greer and Faxon are Russ and Lina Bowman, a long-married couple whose three daughters drain them of any impulse for Sexy Time—one of them, anyway, though Russ’ wife-“sanctioned” quest for a mistress only lands him a puppy. Married walks the line between sweet and caustic more smoothly as it progresses (Lina and Russ come into focus as real people by the second episode, partially in contrast to their really damaged friends). This could be the most authentic relationship portrayal in years.

You’re the Worst (Thursday, July 17, FX), series debut: On the other end of the authenticity scale, in You’re the Worst, Chris Geere and Aya Cash play a pair of self-absorbed Los Angelinos who are essentially profane, chain-smoking cartoon characters—again, thank god for cable. Despite their exaggerated flaws and penchants for bad choices, Geere’s Brit novelist and Cash’s music-PR agent (yes, they just keep getting worse) are smart, charming and, from the second they meet, obviously meant for each other. The characters (and actors) click so well, in fact, that it’s easy to overlook the surrounding L.A. entertainment-biz clichés and near-Showtime levels of sex and drugs that pretty much scream, “Hey, look at all this decadence! Huh? Huh?” You’re the Worst is a dark, cynical, bitingly funny love story, but it’s still just a love story—not a romantic comedy. Rom-coms don’t involve bathtub cocaine and spitting on genitalia. Just sayin.’

Rush (Thursday, July 17, USA), series debut: The usually sunny-fluffy USA Network has had success going off-brand with new comedies (Playing House, Sirens); but new dramas, not so much (unless you count Graceland as a “hit,” which no one outside of USA PR does). The net’s latest attempt to snag some of that gritty FX cred starts with Rush, about “renegade” L.A. doctor William Rush (Tom Ellis), who patches up Hollywood’s celebrity elite and criminal underbelly off the books for hefty fees that, in turn, support his own bad-boy lifestyle. Ellis is charismatic and believable in the role, but, as usual, USA won’t commit to the grit, leaving Rush as just a glossy knockoff of Royal Pains and Ray Donovan.

Satisfaction (Thursday, July 17, USA), series debut: At least Rush has some ambition; Satisfaction is barely an idea. A well-off-if-bored suburban couple (Matt Passmore and Stephanie Szostak) embarks on sexy, dangerous encounters outside of their marriage, because, unlike most well-off-if-bored suburban couples, they didn’t think to just re-up their Cinemax package.

The Lottery (Sunday, July 20, Lifetime), series debut: TV is doing its damndest to kill off the human race this summer; Lifetime’s The Lottery is just going about it more subtly. In 2025, it’s been five years since any woman on the planet has given birth—those of us averse to children call this “heaven,” while scientists refer to it as a “global fertility crisis.” When one of those scientists, Dr. Alison Lennon (Marley Shelton), finally manages to fertilize 100 embryos, the guv’ment hijacks her project and declares a national lottery to determine who will carry them to term and forestall extinction. The Lottery is frothy sci-fi-lite that would have made an intriguing movie-of-the-week, but a 10-episode series? That’s crazier than Extant.


DVD ROUNDUP FOR JULY 22!

All Cheerleaders Die

When a party with their high-school football team goes awry, a group of cheerleaders return deader, hotter and hungry for revenge (but mostly just human flesh). It’s Bring It On meets Heathers meets The Walking Dead meets Redbox porn. (Image)

Dom Hemingway

Out after 12 years in prison, playboy safecracker Dom Hemingway (Jude Law) plans to collect for protecting his boss (Demian Bichir), reunite with his estranged daughter (Emilia Clarke) and kill time until Sherlock Holmes 3. (Fox)

Heaven Is for Real

Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly and Connor Corum star in the true-ish story of a young boy who comes back from a near-death experience with vivid afterlife visions that irrefutably prove that only extremely white Christian Republicans get into Heaven.(Sony)

Sunset Strip

Slash, Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Keanu Reeves, Courtney Love, Hugh Hefner and others detail the history of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip in the flashy documentary that somehow gives equal billing to Jane’s Addiction and the Pussycat Dolls. (Blu-ray release; MVD)

Transcendence

Speaking of Johnny Depp: When a scientist (Depp) researching artificial intelligence is killed by an extremist anti-tech group, his wife (Rebecca Hall) uploads his consciousness to the Internet, like Max Headroom never even happened. (Warner Bros.)

More New DVD Releases (July 22)

The Angriest Man In Brooklyn, Blue Ruin, Border Break, Cell 213, Gangster, GMO OMG, Haunted Trailer, Hoser, The Human Race, Made in America, Make Your Move, Pawnz, The Perfect House, Red Wing, Sabotage, Sector 4: Extraction, Wahlburgers: Season 1.

Published in TV

Those hoping that Johnny Depp’s latest film would make up for that dick move he made by playing Tonto in The Lone Ranger are watching their hopes get dashed upon the rocks and swept out to sea: Transcendence is terrible.

This is another one of those “technology is evil” movies that suggest humans are slaves to computers. That may very well be true (I, for one, have been sitting at my damn computer all day), but movies haven’t really gotten evil computers right since 2001: A Space Odyssey and WarGames.

Depp plays Will Caster, a seemingly mild-mannered scientist who is mapping out brains in hopes of creating a self-learning, artificial-intelligence program capable of emotional growth. However, a terrorist organization grazes him with a radiation-laced bullet, and he finds out he only has a few weeks to live. Therefore, it’s time to speed up his work and get his brain into a computer so he can keep hanging out with his wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), after his body is dead.

Will dies, and he does, in fact, get himself uploaded into a computer. He immediately starts asking for more power, along with access to the stock market and banks—actions that seem to clash with the nice guy he was when alive. Evelyn, acting upon instructions from Computer Will, buys up a small town and starts rebuilding it with money made through shrewd, fast investing in the stock markets.

Caster then builds an army of humans that act like robots, because he’s healed them with computers and made them super strong … or some crap like that. It all makes little sense. Even worse: While Caster is portrayed as an out-of-control egomaniac during most of the film, the screenplay pusses out in the end and tries to partially redeem him. It fails miserably.

Morgan Freeman is here, because the script called for a sympathetic type to rise up against Will Caster and hopefully save humanity. Cillian Murphy shows up as a crime investigator type who gets to run around with Morgan Freeman and look concerned. Murphy actually looks as if he’s angry to be in this movie, knowing that his part is worthless.

I paid the big bucks to watch this goofy crap on IMAX, and there is really no reason to see the film in this way. Not only does the film suck as far as content is concerned; the visuals and audio don’t benefit from being turned up to extremes. Only the preview for Godzilla was pleasing on this particular IMAX visit.

Starting with The Tourist and Alice in Wonderland, Depp’s garbage-movie ratio has been on the rise. He made stinkers before (The Brave, The Astronaut’s Wife), but it seemed like he was at least trying to do something different when he screwed up. Depp is now a big commercial commodity with the Pirates movies and his dopey Mad Hatter character; sequels for both of those franchises are in production, so we know Depp will have plenty of money in the bank. It would be nice to see some more experimental, low-budget stuff to go with those excremental behemoths. Actually, a big-budget offering with a decent script and some edge would be nice, too.

Depp will always be a great actor. Heck, he even has moments in Transcendence in which he transcends the trite material and shines for a bit. I’m hoping these last four years are just a hiccup for him, and he gets back on track. Johnny Depp: Please call Scorsese, Wes Anderson or Tarantino and remind the world that you are not all about the big paycheck.

Transcendence is playing at theaters across the valley, in a variety of formats.

Published in Reviews