EDITOR’S NOTE: DVDs reviewed in this column will be available in stores the week of July 21.
PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Transcendence” (PG-13) — Could our reliance on technology harm us? What if Johnny Depp became the all-powerful personification of the Internet? These are the questions “Transcendence,” a talk-heavy sci-fi thriller, tries to answer.
Dr. Will Caster (Depp) is working to build a computer-thingy that connects to all of mankind’s techno-stuff. Folks call him a lunatic, and some radicals shoot him. His loving, genius wife (Rebecca Hall) puts Caster’s dying mind into an extra-big computer, making him the all-knowing techno-lord he was working on. This does not go well for mankind.
Debut-director Wally Pfister is known for his work as a cinematographer, crafting intense visual sequences in “Inception” and the new Batman movies. He brings that same visual strength to parts of “Transcendence,” but it doesn’t make a satisfying flick. Depp’s performance is so detached that he’s not much fun to watch or listen to.
“Sabotage” (R) — Arnold Schwarzenegger rampages through this hyper-violent criminal action flick. The big guy leads nine tough-as-nails DEA agents on a drug raid, where they find a big ol’ stack of money. They’re all pretty crooked, so they agree to skim a few million dollars for themselves.
Soon, members of the morally corrupt crew turn up viciously murdered. Is it the drug cartel’s revenge, or one of their own? Everyone is a suspect. Everyone also is heavily armed and full of rage.
Even fans of shoot’em-up revenge flicks could find this movie too fixated on up-close nastiness and torment. Rent it only if you wish to see Arnold hulk-out once more.
“Make Your Move” (PG-13) — Donny (Derek Hough of “Dancing with the Stars”) is a street-wise dancer from New Orleans, just making his appearance on the Brooklyn club scene. He has an impromptu and electric dance on top of a bar with Aya (Korean pop-star BoA), a beautiful hip-hop dancer with an overprotective brother. They fall in love and have a series of romantically charged dance sequences.
The writing is skimmed from various soap operas, and all of the expected love-story tropes are included.
“The Human Race” (R) — A group of strangers find themselves trapped in an abandoned detention center, when a voice in their heads tells them they are in a deadly race. Straying from the path, stepping on the grass or getting lapped twice by another runner all result in instant death via head explosion.
Among the contestants are two veterans — one missing a leg — two friends who are deaf, and a cyclist who’s quick to outdo people in the race against death.
This survival-horror movie sprang forth with almost no budget and has many faults. Still, it can provide some unexpected thrills.