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Transcendence, Vinyl, Hell On Wheels: The Complete Third Season 

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click to enlarge Transcendence (PG-13)

Transcendence (PG-13)

Warner Home Video

I must admit to a longtime fascination with the so-called Singularity — the point at which artificial intelligence exceeds that of the human brain. So with Wally Pfister, cinematographer extraordinaire for Christopher Nolan, directing a big-budget dramatization of such an event, it would have taken a lot of wrong to disappoint me. Transcendence is a lot of wrong. Johnny Depp stars as a Ray Kurzweil type on the verge of bringing about such an event. When he's fatally shot, his wife uploads his consciousness to the Internet, thus creating the "strong A.I." that a lot of real-life scientists are working to prevent. The script's problem is that it never makes a convincing case for the massive effort to stop Depp. His goals are utopian, but the human side preoccupies itself with framing terrorists and mindlessly shelling a tech compound. It's sad when nano-enhanced rain seems less far-fetched than the idea that humanity is worth saving. — Justin Strout

click to enlarge Vinyl (NR)

Vinyl (NR)

Shout! Factory

There used to be a time when the record charts were filled with grown-ups, most of them over 30, making rock 'n roll for the masses, and unashamedly so. Sadly, now those artists are relegated to the oldies bin, touring on the basis of nostalgia, all of their new work ignored. Yes, the radio belongs to the kid and unless you're a pretty young thing, you might as well put the guitar down and give up, Gramps. That's the idea behind the smashing British comedy Vinyl, based on the true musical hoax perpetrated by '80s U.K. hit-makers The Alarm. Forgotten rockers Weapon of Happiness haven't seen each other in 20 years, and when a funeral reunites them, the old magic is still there, but no one wants it. They perpetrate a scam to have a bunch of tweens lip-sync it, and when a hit emerges, all hell breaks loose. Vinyl is a fast, furious rock 'n roll fable that will leave a bittersweet taste in any aging rocker's mouth. — Louis Fowler

click to enlarge Hell on Wheels: The Complete Third Season (NR)

Hell on Wheels: The Complete Third Season (NR)

Entertainment One

AMC's Hell on Wheels is back for a fourth season, and Season 3's now on DVD. With crooked businessman Durant (Colm Meaney) in jail, the Union Pacific is now in the hands of outlaw Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount). After surviving a harsh winter, he's determined to lay tracks all the way to Cheyenne, but damn if both hell and high water don't do everything imaginable to stop him. From corrupt government officials to bloodthirsty Mormons, Season 3 is a maddening trip. Mount does a great job as the brooding ex-Confederate soldier hell-bent on turning his revenge into ambition, while rapper Common shines as freeman and law enforcement officer Elam, dealing with not only everyone trying to undermine him due to his race, but also to the stigma that having a baby with a white prostitute entailed back then. HOW is one of the most engrossing shows on TV, going places emotionally that few Westerns have ever gone before. — Louis Fowler

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Film Details

Transcendence
Rated PG-13 · 120 min. · 2014
Official Site: www.transcendencemovie.com
Director: Wally Pfister
Writer: Jack Paglen
Cast: Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Kate Mara, Rebecca Hall, Cillian Murphy, Paul Bettany, Clifton Collins Jr., Luce Rains and Wallace Langham

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