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HAL has come a long way.

First, we had Scarlett Johansson as a human-like operating system. Now, Johnny Depp has been uploaded. If the singularity - when artificial intelligence surpasses human smarts -is indeed coming, at least it has decent taste in movie star avatars.

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If you have a kid of a certain age - especially a girl, preteen or thereabouts - then you know the young-adult entertainment message of choice these days:

You're you, and nobody else. Don't let them define you. Don't let them put you into one of their neat little slots. You're unique. And you're gonna show the world. You go, girl!

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A vivid and delightful animated spectacle, Rio 2 is chock-full of colorful 3-D wonder and jubilant musical numbers set against a tale of family dynamics and environmental dilemmas.

The sequel opens with a vibrant New Year's Eve bash, as partying in the music-filled streets of Rio de Janeiro is punctuated by fireworks bursting above the Christ the Redeemer statue.

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For the latest Marvel release, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, most fan boys might prefer

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What to make of Darren Aronofsky's Noah? Perhaps that's the wrong question. Indeed, what NOT to make of Noah? Because it is so many things.

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A strange sense of doom hangs over the rebooted Muppets, and it's not from the Swedish Chef's cooking.

The Muppets (2011) may have been an earnest and largely successful relaunch for Jim Henson's troupe, but it also had a hangdog melancholy, fretting about the obsolescence of Kermit and the gang. Pop-culture insecurity looms in Muppets Most Wanted, too, which begins with the same self-conscious tone as the last film in the musical number We're Doing a Sequel.

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It takes a lot for a film based on a video game to impress a crowd these days, given the dazzling advancements in gaming technology. But Need for Speed, based on the hit

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Settling in for a film that takes place almost entirely on an airplane, as does the latest Liam Neeson action flick Non-Stop, one's instinct is to search for the nearest sleeping pill.

The prospect of nearly two hours on an airliner, without the complimentary peanuts, is not quite the sensory experience we typically seek in the movies. After federal air marshal Bill Marks (Neeson) morosely guzzles some whiskey in his car outside JFK Airport, he boards the plane headed for Heathrow that he's to protect, that will be the setting from here on out.

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The glistening abs are back in 300: Rise of an Empire, and they've been doing crunches.

Like its forerunner, the 2007 hit 300, Rise of an Empire again plunges us into bloody, hyper-stylized Greek history: mythology with muscles. The computer-generated warfare franchise is now a third of the way to a six-pack.

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A historical drama based on the ill-fated Roman city of the same name, director Paul W.S. Anderson's Pompeii is a far cry from Robert Harris' 2003 novel. Yet, the film is distinct and appealing. It's a revenge drama with a tinge of romance and dollops of natural disaster.

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