Name one film directed by a celebrated director of photography (in this instance Wally Pfister) that became a critical and commercial knockout…just one. Name one successful film in which the lead protagonist (played here by Johnny Depp) is killed early on or otherwise doomed a la D.O.A. — people want their heroes to live and fight and see it through. Name one box-office handicapper who doesn’t think Depp’s box-office power-punch rep (a) was over-rated all along due to the uniquely weird Pirates franchise and/or (b) is definitely over in the wake of the El Flopperoony of The Lone Ranger.

Depp will be fine for the next 20 or 30 years but he’s going to have to content himself with the $350 million he’s made so far and just eek along on modest salaries from here on.

Transcendence (Warner Bros., 4.18.14) has been described as “a present-day science fiction story centering on a scientist (Depp) who is murdered by anti-technology terrorists, but his wife (Rebecca Hall) uploads his brain into the supercomputer he created, allowing him the ability to communicate through it and continue conducting his research. Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy and Cory Hardrict costar.

Pfister’s pro-celluloid, anti-digital remarks in Side by Side vaguely bothered me. He’s obviously a gifted dp but he struck me as a head-in-the-sand holdout.