‘Transcendence’? Not in this Johnny Depp sci-fi thriller

Rebecca Hall and Johnny Depp in “Transcendence.”
(Peter Mountain / Warner Bros.)


Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99

Available on VOD Tuesday

Christopher Nolan’s regular cinematographer, Wally Pfister, was unavailable to shoot Nolan’s upcoming “Interstellar” because he was making his directorial debut with this brainy science-fiction thriller that strains credulity. Johnny Depp plays a scientist whose research into super-advanced computers takes a leap forward when he eludes would-be assassins by having his consciousness uploaded into a machine. The transformation gives him near-God-like powers, initially inspiring and then worrying his friends and family. Pfister and screenwriter Jack Paglen are grappling with serious ideas about the future of technology and society, but the action-movie format makes everything seem just a notch or two more ridiculous. The DVD and Blu-ray include featurettes that are actually more informative about where we might be headed as a society.


Cesar Chavez

Lionsgate, $19.98; Blu-ray, $19.99

Available on VOD Tuesday

It’s taken decades for the life of the pioneering California labor leader to make it to the big screen, which may be why director Diego Luna and screenwriter Keir Pearson’s biopic feels a little stiff: This is an important subject, and as the first to take it on, Luna and Pearson are eager to do it justice. They’re helped by their cast, which includes Michael Peña as Cesar Chavez, America Ferrera as his wife, Helen, and John Malkovich as a farm owner who opposes the Chavezes’ efforts to organize migrant laborers. The actors add some juice to otherwise dry material about contracts and working conditions, bringing an important (and still relevant) piece of American history to life. The DVD and Blu-ray add a featurette about the making of the film.


Blue Ruin

Starz/Anchor Bay, $24.98; Blu-ray, $29.99

One of the most gripping thrillers of recent years, writer-director Jeremy Saulnier’s low-to-the-ground indie thrives on simplicity and silence. Macon Blair plays an emotionally unstable homeless man named Dwight who receives word that the thug who’s been in prison for murdering his parents is about to get out. Dwight impulsively decides to get revenge but soon discovers that violence isn’t easy and that even if his plan succeeds, there’ll be terrible repercussions. Saulnier and Blair (who also produced) keep the dialogue to a minimum, letting the audience think along with Dwight as he finds himself getting deeper and deeper over his head. Saulnier and Blair contribute a commentary track to the DVD and Blu-ray, which also has deleted scenes and a featurette.

The Essential Jacques Demy

Criterion Blu-ray, $124.95

He was both one of the most accessible and most eccentric of the filmmakers associated with the French New Wave. Criterion’s magnificent DVD/Blu-ray box set doesn’t contain every major film Jacques Demy made, but it has most of them, including “Lola,” “Bay of Angels,” “Donkey Skin,” “Une Chambre en Ville” and the 1960s musicals “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and “The Young Girls of Rochefort,” which are still his most popular pictures. Demy’s style blended the dreaminess of Golden Age Hollywood with ordinary heartbreak, making everyday life seem more like a romantic old movie and vice versa. The box set adds short films, documentaries and interviews galore.


All Cheerleaders Die


Image, $27.97; Blu-ray, $29.97

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

Lionsgate, $19.98; Blu-ray, $19.99

Dom Hemingway

20th Century Fox, $26.98; Blu-ray, $27.99

Heaven Is for Real

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $40.99

Available on VOD Tuesday


Made in America

Phase 4, $19.99; Blu-ray, $19.99

Make Your Move

Sony, $26.99; Blu-ray, $30.99


Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98

Available on VOD Tuesday

Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club

Lionsgate, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99

Available on VOD Tuesday

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