It doesn't take much to grasp the visuals of a Christopher Nolan film and see that there are two filmmakers at work. Which is why no one was surprised that the Oscar-winning cinematographer behind those films would shift into directing. Wally Pfister shaped the Nolan aesthetic from Memento into the Dark Knight films, and now he's got a big shiny blockbuster all his own: Transcendence, a star-packed sci-fi story that expands his customary sleek visuals and film (not digital) aesthetic. Pfister's not alone. Hollywood is just brimming with directing talent that has yet to be discovered. The industry is peppered by people who have the talent, the vision, and the mileage to be the primary storytelling force behind the scenes. All they're lacking is an opportunity. Pfister's shot is rare, given that this is an industry that would rather trust filmmakers with prolific track records over first-timers. Here are 13 established »
In 1818, around the time British "Luddites" retaliated against the textile industry's increasing use of power looms, Marry Shelley published the first edition of Frankenstein, her horror parable spun from the 19th century's plentiful scientific breakthroughs. A little under 200 years later, director (and Christopher Nolan's longtime cinematographer) Wally Pfister makes his directorial debut with Transcendence, a thriller starring Johnny Depp as the app equivalent of Frankenstein's Monster. Different technology — same technophobia.
'Transcendence' and 60 Other Reasons to Love 2014
As Shelley predicted through her literary proxy Victor Frankenstein, humanity never »
When Katie Holmes popped onto Hollywood's radar in 1998 as lovable girl-next-door Joey Potter on “Dawson's Creek,” many people didn't realize that by that time, she had already worked with Ang Lee and Tobey Maguire on “The Ice Storm.” Within the next two years, she teamed with Doug Liman on “Go,” Curtis Hanson on “Wonder Boys” and Sam Raimi on “The Gift.” Her more recent collaborators include Christopher Nolan (“Batman Begins”), Jason Reitman (“Thank You For Smoking”) and producer Guillermo del Toro (“Don't Be Afraid of the Dark”) — all of whom most actors would kill to work with. While Holmes »
- Jeff Sneider
We are obsessed with technology. This much is true. Between our cell phones and tablets and home computers and whatever else we have in our home that whirs, beeps, or produces faint electromagnetic waves, it sometimes feels like we have a more intimate relationship with our things than the people in our lives. And this has long been the realm of speculative science fiction, which wonders what would happen if that love affair with technology turned really, really dark.
The latest example of this is Warner Bros' new sci-fi epic "Transcendence," which is about the nature of humanity and all of the cumbersome fleshiness that goes with it, and concerns a mad scientist (Johnny Depp) who, after getting poisoned by a radioactive bullet (don't ask) has his consciousness uploaded to a computer which results, of course, in some unintended consequences.
- Drew Taylor
Director Christopher Nolan is known for the secrecy that surrounds the production of his films. Think locked rooms, surreptitiously delivered scripts, each page watermarked with the name of the actor, and endings that are verbally delivered. In fact, during the filming of the final scene from The Dark Knight Rises (Spoiler), Christian Bale was on set in order to prevent leaks about the ending. Although, considering the recent escapade surrounding the Quentin Tarantino Hateful Eight leak, one can never be too careful. Nolan has been as evasive as ever about Interstellar, which will be his first film since the end of The Dark Knight Trilogy in 2012. But, since the release of the teaser trailer in December, hints about the up coming science fiction picture are slowly beginning to emerge.
“We have always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible.” So begins the teaser to Interstellar. What follows is »
- Hannah Campbell
Los Angeles, April 17: Actor Johnny Depp is concerned about the world's current affairs and hopes for a better future.
In recent times, Hollywood actors are becoming increasingly aware of the issues that the world is facing. Especially the actors who have been a part of films based far in the future.
"If you turn on the TV and see the horrors that are happening to people in the world, there's no better time to have hope," Depp said in statement expressing his fears.
The actor plays scientist Will Caster in sci-fi film "Transcendence" that is set to release in India April 18.
- Meeta Kabra
The last four or five editions of the Cannes Film Festival have been heavy on global movie star power. Sure, it won't always compete with Hollywood fueled Toronto, but the programmers have made sure the paparazzi have had someone pretty to photograph on the festival's legendary red carpet. 2014 is no different. (You could also argue more well known actors have jumped into he prestige game in their off time over the past decade, but, frankly, it's somewhat cyclical.) With that in mind, here are 10 big names who we expect to follow their films to Cannes in just a few weeks. Robert Pattinson The former "Twilight" star has been to Cannes before. He starred in David Cronenberg's drama "Cosmopolis" which premiered on the Croisette in 2012. Now, he's back with another Cronenberg title, "Map to the Stars," and David Michôd's "The Rover" alongside Guy Pearce. Nicole Kidman We've known this one for awhile. »
- Gregory Ellwood
Transcendence marks the directorial debut of Wally Pfister, who is best known for being the longtime cinematographer of Christopher Nolan. The film stars Johnny Depp as Dr. Will Caster, an artificial intelligence observer who is looking to create a machine which possesses sentience and collective intelligence. But when he is targeted by an extremist group that opposes technological evolution, Will is forced to download his mind into a computer in order to save his life. The procedure works, but those closest to him are mixed on the outcome: Is it still Will Caster in there, or is it someone else? Whoever it is, he is gaining more and more power and putting the world in increasing peril.
It was a star studded event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles, California last weekend when the cast, writer and director of Transcendence arrived for a press conference. Among those there were director Wally Pfister, »
- Ben Kenber
Zimmer told Digital Spy that he will begin working on Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” follow-up once he completes the score for Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” (Nolan evidently kept the sci-fi film’s plot a secret from his longtime composer).
“We’ve already had a couple of chats, and once I finish the movie that I shall not talk about, I will probably head over to where Zack is shooting his movie and just hang out a bit and see if we can come up with any ideas,” said Zimmer, who most recently scored Oscar winner “12 Years a Slave” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
Zimmer is no stranger to the Batman universe, having penned the music to Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. However, he »
- Maane Khatchatourian
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
Criterion has announced their July 2014 titles and among them is one fans have been waiting a long time to see introduced, David Cronenberg's head-exploding sci-fi Scanners, set for a July 15 release. The set will include a newly restored 2K digital film transfer, supervised by Cronenberg, "The Scanners Way" visual effects documentary, a new interview with Michael Ironside, a 2012 interview with actor and artist Stephen Lack, an excerpt from a 1981 interview with Cronenberg on the CBC's "The Bob McLean Show" and Cronenberg's first feature film, Stereo (1969). Also on July 15 comes Robert Bresson's 1959 classic Pickpocket, telling the story of Michel (Martin Lasalle), a young pickpocket who spends his days working the streets, subway cars, and train stations of Paris. Features include: New, 2K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray Audio commentary by film scholar James Quandt Introduction by writer-director Paul Schrader The Models of "Pickpocket," a »
- Brad Brevet
“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” 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
Sometimes it's helpful to know certain details about how a film has come together. And sometimes it's just so much information. Transcendence, the directorial debut of Christopher Nolan's go-to cinematographer, Wally Pfister, was shot on film rather than digitally, as most big Hollywood movies (and nearly all small ones) are today. Is that going to make you like it better than you might otherwise? That depends on your tolerance for quasi-cerebral cautionary tales about our dependence on digital whatsits and man's supposed tendency to want to play God — with lots of special effects thrown in.
To be fair to Pfister and other directors who prefer the textural depth and the delicately calibrated shadings of light that old-school technology affords — a loyal ban »
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