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TRANSCENDING, OR SOMETHING

For Hicksflicks.com, April 18, 2014

New movies this week range from the literally transcendent to something for Earth Day to a musical about dancing to a raunchy comedy to a couple of raunchy dramas … nine new titles in all, four of them "art-house" films.

"Heaven Is For Real" (PG) was the first to arrive, having opened Wednesday (April 16). This is, as the title suggests, a faith film based on the autobiographical book by small-town Nebraska preacher Todd Burpo, whose 4-year-old son nearly died, then told people he went to heaven, complete with details about what — and who — he saw. Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Thomas Haden Church and Margo Martindale star.

"Transcendence" (PG-13). Johnny Depp's latest is a sci-fi thriller about an artificial-intelligence researcher attempting to create a machine that combines intelligence and collective world knowledge with human emotions. Co-stars include Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy and Kate Mara.

"Bears" (G). John C. Reilly narrates this Disney documentary about the title creatures, a mother and her two cubs, over the course of winter and summer in the wilds of Alaska.

                          

"Make Your Move" (PG-13). Utah native and winner of five "Dancing With the Stars" trophies Derek Hough makes his film debut with this dance drama as a parolee who just wants to, well, dance. Sounds tailor-made.

"A Haunted House 2" (R) is a raunchy sequel co-written by and starring Marlon Wayans, another off-the-wall spoof of recent horror movies, chiefly such found-footage yarns as the "Paranormal Activity" franchise. Jaime Pressly, Gabriel Iglesias and Cedric the Entertainer co-star.

"Under the Skin" (R), exclusively at the Broadway Centre Cinemas, is an art-house vehicle for Scarlett Johansson. She stars as an alien seductively luring earthmen to their doom. But in an "artsy" way, of course.

"Dom Hemingway" (R), also at the Broadway, is a profane comedy/drama that stars Jude Law in an atypical role as a sleazy ex-con out for revenge. Richard E. Grant co-stars.

"Finding Vivian Maier" (not rated, documentary), yet another Broadway exclusive, is about Maier, a Chicago nanny for 40 years whose hobby was street photography, mostly pictures of cityscapes and people in her city but also elsewhere around the world. After her death, her negatives were purchased at auction and have since been acclaimed as a major collective work of artistry.

Nymphomaniac: Vol. II (not rated) is at the Tower, Lars von Trier's follow-up to "Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1," continuing the hardcore sexual adventures of the title character.