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Career Watch: Can Depp Transcend His Rep for Onscreen Quirk?

3 hours ago

For most actors, playing a cyber-age Dr. Frankenstein whose consciousness is converted into an artificial-intelligence experiment that threatens humankind would be considered a rather unusual role. But casting Johnny Depp as a mad scientist in the just-opened sci-fi thriller “Transcendence”? It barely registers a ripple on his scale of bizarre characters.  Even critics who bemoaned his mystical twist on Tonto in “The Lone Ranger” and his campy take on Barnabas Collins in “Dark Shadows” are dissing this toned-down version of Depp – to the point that "Transcendence"’s 18% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes ranks among the star’s lowest ever. Richard Corliss of Time speaks for many as he describes Depp’s performance as “subdued to the point of entropy,” while adding, “If he can’t overplay, he doesn’t play at all.” Signature line: “Savvy?” – Capt. Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003) Career »

- Susan Wloszczyna

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Woody Allen Propels 'Fading Gigolo' to Strong Second-Best Limited Opening of 2014

12 hours ago

In the specialty world, strong grosses follow critical reaction most of the time. When distributors fear reviews, they often avoid narrow two-city, high-profile openings, going broader or even heading straight for video on demand. Millennium Films, despite mixed reactions to the "Fading Gigolo" premiere at Toronto, committed to a high-end New York/Los Angeles debut for the John Turturro film starring (but not directed by) Woody Allen, along with a wide advance screening program and significant marketing expenditures. The surprise result is the second-best limited opener of the year, with grosses comparable to some much higher profile first weekends in similar theaters. Its success is welcome, as several other decent openers don't boast the wider reaction that could propel them into crossover or lengthy limited release success. Opening "Fading Gigolo" (Millennium) - Criticwire: B-; Metacritic: 56; Festivals include: Toronto 2013, Rio 2013, Miami 2014 $198,000 »

- Tom Brueggemann

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