Urbanite

Penn Jillette considers the magic of 'Tim's Vermeer'

"Tim's Vermeer"

(Credit: Penn Jillette and Tim Jenison in "Tim's Vermeer")

Penn & Teller produced the new documentary "Tim's Vermeer" but don't be fooled. It's not some elaborate con, a sleight of hand, an act of deception.

The film, which follows the efforts of inventor Tim Jenison to replicate the revolutionary painting techniques of 17th century master Johannes Vermeer, offers a radical theory to explain Vermeer's photo-realistic works: Vermeer produced...

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Movie review: 'Frozen,' 3 stars

"Frozen"

(Credit: "Frozen")

Frozen Three Stars Directed by Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee With the voices of Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad Rated PG

By now, Disney has the animated musical thing down to such a precise science that it's fair to wonder how a movie like "Frozen" could deviate from the standard formula. At first glance, it doesn't. The main characters are princesses, it's based on a fairytale (Hans...

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Movie review: 'Homefront,' 1.5 stars

Jason Statham and Izabela Vidovic in "Homefront"

(Credit: Jason Statham and Izabela Vidovic in "Homefront")

Homefront One and a half stars Directed by Gary Fleder Starring Jason Statham, James Franco, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth Rated R

Fans of James Franco's long, strange trip across the pop-cultural landscape really shouldn't miss "Homefront," which finds the polymath taking a break from doing just about everything else to play the bad guy in a Jason Statham movie.

Is Franco's...

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Movie review: 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,' 3 stars

Idris Elba, left, and Naomie Harris in "Mandela:

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Directed by Justin Chadwick Starring Idris Elba, Naomie Harris Rated PG-13 Opens Friday at Angelika

"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" is one of those obsessively linear, respectful biopics that begins toward the beginning and ends roughly at the end.

It's a far less interesting form of filmmaking than the alternative, as personified by, say, Clint...

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Movie review: Spike Lee's 'Oldboy,' 2 stars

oldboy movie

(Credit: Josh Brolin in "Oldboy" )

Oldboy Two stars Directed by Spike Lee Starring Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley Rated R

"Oldboy" finds its way into the realm of inexplicable remakes with this re-imagining, which transforms the 2003 Korean horror-thriller classic into the world's most unlikely Spike Lee movie.

Yes, the director of "Do the Right Thing" and other classic American slices...

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Jason Statham chats about his new drama 'Homefront'

Jason Statham

(Credit: Jason Statham in "Homefront")

Jason Statham can kick your butt.

He knows that, we know it, and lots of movies over the course of the past decade-plus have proven it to be true.

The new flick "Homefront," starring Statham and scripted by Sylvester Stallone, has plenty of butt-kicking, to be sure.

But "in Sly's words, this is particularly a drama, with high moments of suspense and high moments...

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Steve Coogan takes a break from irony in 'Philomena'

"Philomena"

(Credit: Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in "Philomena")

As one of Britain's foremost comic talents, having embodied the iconic Alan Partridge among other memorable characters, Steve Coogan is an undisputed king of sardonic humor.

So it's surprising to hear the 48-year-old discuss his motivation for co-writing and co-starring in "Philomena," a drama based on the true story of Irish woman Philomena Lee's (Judi Dench) search for the son...

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Movie review: 'The Great Beauty' -- 3 stars

"The Great Beauty"

(Credit: Toni Servillo in "The Great Beauty")

"The Great Beauty" finds Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino channeling Federico Fellini and other masterful chroniclers of the surreal, absurd and unrelentingly beautiful Roman cityscape.

The impressionistic film is centered on Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), a 65-year-old writer who experiences many facets of the city over the course of heady nights and beautiful days.

It's...

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Movie review: 'Nebraska' -- 3 stars

"Nebraska"

(Credit: Will Forte, left, and Bruce Dern in "Nebraska")

With some notable exceptions, movies set in the American heartland tend to regard Midwesterners as simplistic rubes living uncultured lives.

Omaha, Nebraska native Alexander Payne is one of the few filmmakers to have steadfastly resisted the stereotype over the course of several pictures set in his home state, including "Election" and "About Schmidt."

The spare black-and-white...

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Movie review: 'Sunlight Jr.' -- 3 stars

"Sunlight Jr."

(Credit: "Sunlight Jr.")

"Sunlight Jr." is an affecting drama set amid a hellish Floridian landscape of strip malls, sleazy motels and car-jammed commercial roads.

Writer-director Laurie Collyer treats her characters with high regard despite the fact that they're suffering through the depths of despair in this awful place.

Naomi Watts stars as gas station clerk Melissa, who is dating the unemployed...

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