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Since beginning his career back in the mid-80s, Johnny Depp has proven to be one of the most talented, enigmatic actors working in Hollywood. He.s done everything from animated features, to big action-adventure blockbusters, to Oscar-centric drama, and is without question among the most popular actors in the world. And this weekend his fans will be able to see his latest: the new sci-fi thriller Transcendence. Directed by first-time filmmaker Wally Pfister, the new movie stars Depp as Dr. Will Caster, a brilliant man and leading mind in the research of artificial intelligence and the creation of a sentient computer. When Will becomes the target of a luddite terrorist organization known as Rift, however, he, his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and his partner Max (Paul Bettany) are left with a choice: either Will.s mind can die along with his body, or they can try and upload it »
Directed by: Wally Pfister Written by: Jack Paglen Main Cast: Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman, Cole Hauser, Cillian Murphy, and others Past Oscar relations: Pfister won Best Cinematography for Inception and Morgan Freeman won Best Supporting Actor for Million Dollar Baby Here now we have the next article in this series on 2014 contenders hoping to compete for Oscar attention at the Academy Award ceremony in 2015. Next up is Dp turned filmmaker Wally Pfister’s directorial debut Transcendence, which hopes to more or less establish Pfister as the next Christopher Nolan (especially since he’s Nolan’s longtime cinematographer), though that may be a somewhat overly optimistic ambition. There’s clearly a bit of Nolan in Pfister though, so we’ll see. He’s got a top notch cast in place here, including Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman (a Nolan veteran), Cole Hauser, »
- Joey Magidson
Wally Pfister made a name for himself as one of the top cinematographers in Hollywood over the past decade, shooting Bennett Miller's "Moneyball," Lisa Cholodenko's "Laurel Canyon," and the films of Christopher Nolan, culminating with his Oscar win for "Inception." But with "Interstellar," Nolan has to do without Pfister for the first time since his debut, "Following," as his regular Dp has greater ambitions. Pfister's directorial debut "Transcendence" hits theaters on April 17. It's a highly ambitious, fascinating concept, but it remains to be seen whether Pfister has a shot at a long-term career as a director. In anticipation for that project, here are fifteen major cinematographers who tried their hand at directing, with varying results. [Just a quick note: this list doesn't include directors who serve as their own cinematographers, such as Steven Soderbergh or Robert Rodriguez.] Mario Bava Cinematography Background: Bava got his start working with none other than Italian »
- Max O'Connell
The idea behind Transcendence is big, ambitious and nearly impossible to pull off in a two hour feature film. For a logic-based narrative such as this one it becomes troubling when it ends up with logic flaws of its own, largely as a result of the film's running time as it would take nearly four hours or one thousand pages to properly set this story up so critical audiences wouldn't ask questions such as, "Why hasn't the government noticed this yetc" However, it's the underlying fabric of this story, the questions it poses about our future, that I found compelling, even if the characters and scenarios involved are a little hokey and ridiculous. Transcendence takes a look at "what's next" for humanity, with the increasing influence of technology in our lives, and how it will be used in the future, driving the narrative. Looking into the idea of what's next »
- Brad Brevet
You can always bet on a lively press conference with Johnny Depp, but a recent Los Angeles tech talk about "Transcendence" and the inevitability of uploading human consciousness into a super computer brought out his more vulnerable side. Depp admitted, among other things, that he's too clumsy when it comes to texting and that his role as an AI scientist-turned megalomaniac was difficult without a flamboyant mask to hide behind. "Things go wrong all the time, especially between me and technology," Depp quipped. "I'm not familiar enough with it and I'm too old school to be able to figure it out. But anything that I have to attack with my thumbs for any period of time makes me feel stupid. So I try to avoid it as much as possible, to protect my thumbs, of course." Joining Depp at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills were Wally Pfister, the Oscar-winning »
- Bill Desowitz
Reviews are in for Wally Pfister's directorial debut "Transcendence," the ambitious sci-fi film starring Johnny Depp as a scientist whose efforts to create the ultimate artificial intelligence machine land him square in the middle of an ideological war. Hopes were high for this one because Pfister, though a first-time director, has worked as cinematographer on all of Christopher Nolan's films (and he won an Oscar in 2011 for "Inception"). Consensus is far off, but with 12 reviews and 25% on the Tomatometer -- and a Metacritic score of 40 with seven reviews -- in general, critics haven't been too kind to the costly film. Costarring Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara and Morgan Freeman, "Transcendence" hits theaters this Friday, April 18 via Warner Bros. Here are a few snippets from the reviews so far. (Trailer below.) Indiewire's Eric Kohn admires the film, but with reservations: At its worst, "Transcendence" is a messy, »
- Ryan Lattanzio
“Transcendence,” the brainy new Johnny Depp thriller about the perils of modern technology, has some critics griping that the film is a few Iq points short of intelligent. Early reviews for the picture are mixed. The film centers on a dying scientist who uploads his consciousness to a supercomputer resulting in sociological disaster. It marks the directorial debut of Wally Pfister, Christopher Nolan's long-time cinematographer, and co-stars Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall and Morgan Freeman. “Transcendence” opens Friday, and many critical sages have yet to add their two cents, so it's possible the consensus will shift in a more positive direction. »
- Brent Lang
Jack Paglen is the sole credited writer of "Transcendence," the new science-fiction film starring Johnny Depp, and if he really is the man responsible for the script, then it scares me to learn that he's been hired to write the big-screen "Battlestar Galactica" reboot. One of the truths of science-fiction is that anytime we as a culture try to get our heads around a jump forward in technology, one of the ways we do that is by imagining the very worst case scenario, so it should come as no surprise that as we discuss ideas about The Singularity and trans-humanism, "Transcendence" arrives to serve as this decade's "Lawnmower Man," a deeply stupid movie that uses smart ideas as a springboard but without any real sense of what they're talking about. Wally Pfister, best known until now as the cinematographer on Christopher Nolan's big films, makes his directorial debut here, »
- Drew McWeeny
We are the company we keep, and in the case of Wally Pfister, he and his professional cronies are some of the most iconic around. As Dp alongside Christopher Nolan, his outlook working with key actors promises a certain atmosphere, a unique method. So here we are: a gloomy thriller trying to ground its at-times-daffy premise, emphasis on a grieving protagonist, with supporting turns from Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy. These aren’t rumored plot details from Nolan’s “Interstellar,” however. No, in mounting his feature directorial debut, “Transcendence,” Pfister has chosen to tackle familiarity head on, carving out a new arena for himself while rigging the grounds with pitfalls at every step. In reality, the film serves as a stronger document of Pfister’s creative DNA than a compelling narrative. It tosses neatly mussed extremists and surly FBI agents into a sci-fi love story about the dangers of technology, »
- Charlie Schmidlin
“Transcendence,” the directorial debut of cinematographer Wally Pfister (“The Dark Knight”) is a sleek, smart techno-thriller loaded with interesting ideas — until it stops being any of those things. Like a snazzy new laptop that immediately heats up and stops working, this exploration of our reliance upon technology — and how far mankind will subsume itself to its creations — seems great when it's right out of the box. But by the end of two hours, you'll find yourself wishing that first-time screenwriter Jack Paglen had taken his creation to a Genius Bar for a thorough de-fragging. See video: ‘Transcendence’ Trailer: »
- Alonso Duralde
“Transcendence” is a most curious name for a movie that never shakes free from those hoary old cliches about the evils of technology and the danger by which man plays at becoming a god. The man in question here is Johnny Depp, whose listless lead performance as a brilliant scientist in the field of artificial intelligence does little to aid this overplotted, dramatically undernourished debut feature from longtime Christopher Nolan d.p. Wally Pfister. Arriving at a crowded spring box office, the pic will test Depp’s drawing power outside of the Disney franchise factory, before weak word of mouth and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” send it packing.
One of the manifold pleasures of Spike Jonze’s “Her” was how elegantly it shrugged off decades of speculative fiction in which technological progress correlated to a loss of human individualism. In its place was the delightful suggestion that, rather than battling us for domination, »
- Scott Foundas
When Wally Pfister won an Oscar for Inception, his sixth film with Christopher Nolan, he went home and put the statuette on his mantel. "And then it moved to the corner, and then my office, and then the closet because you go away for a few months, and then it never comes out of the closet," Pfister laughs. "So it's like, 'All right, well, I got this. And there's other things I want to do.'"
Like direct his first film, Transcendence, starring Johnny Depp as Dr. Will Caster, an artificial intelligence expert who stays "alive" by uploading his brain into a computer network with the power to rule the world, leaving his wife (Rebecca Hall) to convince violent hacktivists that he's benevolent, not a handsome Hal 2.0. Transcendence opens with a flash-forward to »
Nurturing an admirably vaulting ambition that doesn't always fit neatly within the format of a conventional, mass audience-aimed Hollywood production, Transcendence joins a growing group of films that intriguingly speculates about the implications of imminent technological breakthroughs on life in the very, very near future. Christopher Nolan's regular cinematographer Wally Pfister certainly didn't choose to cautiously test the waters when it came to making his directorial debut, having instead chosen to dive in deep with a story so ripe with dramatic, thematic, ethical, scientific, political and romantic angles that the feeling of possibilities missed inevitably seems greater than the
- Todd McCarthy
The internet is gone and so goes civilization in the opening minutes of "Transcendence," the directorial debut of accomplished cinematographer Wally Pfister, a heady science fiction effort that smartly explores mankind’s vulnerabilities in the information age. That’s a helluva way to start a story, and unsurprisingly, nothing that comes next can compete. A polished, serious-minded alternative to the action-packed momentum of most contemporary blockbusters, “Transcendance” offers a keen look at the dangers of relying too heavily on computers for interacting with society. But Pfister struggles to make Jack Paglen’s moody screenplay as engaging as the ideas provoked by its premise. Yet while never as dynamically involving as Christopher Nolan's "Inception," for which longtime Nolan director of photography Pfister justifiably won an Oscar, "Transcendence" still grapples with provocative existential concepts in similarly thoughtful terms. Despite its inherently silly premise — a »
- Eric Kohn
Like all our episodes this one pretty much touches on everything from what happened over the weekend as Brad went to a Mariners' game and the casino, to all the latest movie news including rumors of an Die Hard 6, David Fincher dropping out of directing Aaron Sorkin's Steve Jobs biopic, the Blended trailer, the weekend box office results, new DVDs and Blu-rays and much, much more. If you are on Twitter, we have a Twitter account dedicated to the podcast at @bnlpod. Give us a follow won'tchac I want to remind you that you can call in and leave us your comments, thoughts, questions, etc. directly on our Google Voice account, which you can call and leave a message for us at (925) 526-5763, which may be even easier to remember at (925) 5-bnl-pod. Just call, leave us a voice mail and we'll add those to the show and respond directly. »
- Brad Brevet
In Transcendence, Johnny Depp uploads his brain into a super computer to keep on living. You don't have to go through such trouble, as we're sure our new giveaway in support of this sci-fi thriller will give you all the motivation you need to stay alive! We're celebrating the directorial debut of Wally Pfister, cinematographer on The Dark Knight trilogy, with tons of cool sci-fi inspired prizes including a solar charger with speakers, a Stylus Spiral light up pen, branded T-Shirts, a color cup and some very nifty coasters. We also have Hollywood Movie Money passes so you can see Transcendence in a theater near you when it opens April 18. This high concept film about the collision between mankind and technology will surely resonate with mass audiences and tech-types alike. So get in on the excitement today, and enter our giveaway. You only live once (unless you're Johnny Depp, then »
Wally Pfister has worked with the great Christopher Nolan as his director of photography in movies like .The Prestige,. .The Dark Knight Rises,. Memento,. and much more -- pretty much in all of Nolan movies. But now, the Oscar-winning cinematographer from .Inception. is branching out and making his debut as a director in .Transcendence. starring Johnny Depp.
The film explores the possibility of sentient computers, able to perceive and feel. In this interview, we talked about his interest in making the movie, research, and his talented cast.
Wally Pfister’s Transcendence is kind of a big deal. For one, it stars a stunning cast that boasts Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany and Kate Mara. That aside though, Pfister has been Christopher Nolan’s longtime cinematographer and has turned films like The Dark Knight and Inception into visually stunning pieces of work. So, it’s quite understandable why moviegoers are eager to see him make his feature-film debut.
For those who haven’t been keeping up, Transcendence follows Dr. Will Caster (Depp), a scientist who uploads his brain to a computer before he dies. While it seems like good idea at first, Will’s “thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power,” and it becomes increasingly apparent that there is no way to stop him.
Last week in Los Angeles, Warner Bros. rolled out the red carpet for Pfister and his cast »
- Jami Philbrick
Since their first partnership on 2000’s “Memento," the work of Oscar-winning Dp Wally Pfister has helped shape and define the trademark style of Christopher Nolan and his output. His influence has proved so pronounced that Nolan’s upcoming “Interstellar” will mark an unclear break in DNA, it being “The Dark Knight” director’s first outing in 14 years without his usual collaborator. Not that bad blood had anything to do with the split, however. Instead, Pfister harnessed the years of working alongside Nolan into his first directorial effort, “Transcendence," starring Johnny Depp. An ambitious cyber-thriller in the vein of “The Lawnmower Man," the film still boasts a lineup of familiar faces to any fan of Nolan’s work, but in a recent Los Angeles press conference, members of the massive cast, along with Pfister and screenwriter Jack Paglen, set about discussing the unique aspects to the cautionary tale. “Technology is probably »
- Charlie Schmidlin
Film directors come from all kinds of backgrounds. Some begin their careers as writers. Others get their start in the editing room. As you'd expect, plenty of them learn their craft behind the camera. Cinematographers are responsible for the actual look of a film. They're in charge of the lighting and camera departments and it's up to them to create images that trick the eye into thinking that everything on screen looks real. Plenty of cinematographers have tried their hand at directing. Some have found massively successful careers and some of the best camera masters in the business have tried and failed. These are 10 of the most noteworthy cinematographers to make that jump. Wally Pfister Even if you don't know his name, you're familiar with Wally...
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