Urbanite

Movie review: 'In Secret' -- 3 stars

'In Secret', directed by Charlie Stratton.

Émile Zola's "Thérèse Raquin" gets its first major big screen English language treatment in Charlie Stratton's "In Secret," which is technically also an adaptation of Neal Bell's play based on the Zola novel but retains the pinpoint exploration of human nature that made the original work so influential.

It's a tragedy captured in hushed tones and muted colors, a story in which everyone and...

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Movie review: 'Pompeii' -- 3 stars

Milo (Kit Harington) and Atticus (Adewele Akinnouye-Agbaje) with

(Credit: TriStar Pictures/Caitlin Cronenberg)

Pompeii is one of the great underexplored subjects in cinematic history. There's rich dramatic potential in the stories of the civilization ended by Mt. Vesuvius' sudden, terrible eruption in 79 A.D. and they've been barely exploited save for several adaptations of Edward Bulwer-Lytton's 19th century novel "The Last Days of Pompeii."

Paul W.S. Anderson, the auteur of trash like the "Resident...

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Movie review: '3 Days to Kill' -- 2.5 stars

Kevin Costner and Hailee Steinfeld in '3 Days

(Credit: Relativity Media / Julian Torres)

Luc Besson has made a cottage industry out of Eurotrash like "3 Days to Kill," an action-comedy-drama set in Paris that Besson co-wrote and produced.

The gold standard in Besson world, of course, is "Taken," which transformed Liam Neeson and his "set of skills" from a respectable serious actor into the 21st century's Charles Bronson. "3 Days to Kill" is no "Taken."

It's no "From Paris...

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Hailee Steinfeld gears up for '3 Days to Kill'

Kevin Costner and Hailee Steinfeld in "3 Days

(Credit: Julian Torres)

You might think that journeying from an Oscar-nominated performance to playing second-fiddle in a Kevin Costner flick over the span of a few years is a weird career move.

But it made perfect sense for 17-year-old Hailee Steinfeld, who started her feature film acting career earning all sort of accolades as Mattie Ross in the Coen Brothers' 2010 "True Grit" adaptation, and can be seen beginning...

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Film Comment Selects: Intriguing cinematic offerings

Jake Gyllenhaal in "Enemy."

One of the great joys of attending any film festival is the experience of discovering a movie for the first time, to sit down without any preconceptions and to emerge with your mind expanded and your perspective shifted.

There's a flip side to that, of course. Entrusting your moviegoing experience to a team of festival programmers leaves you exposed to their whims and desires.

There's...

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Movie review: 'Winter's Tale,' half a star

Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay in "Winter's

(Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Maybe I'm just a heartless cynic, a contemptible miser here to rain on a cinematic Valentine's Day parade, but Akiva Goldsmith's time-bending, amber-lit romance "Winter's Tale" struck me as perplexing and empty-headed at best and downright unbearable at worst.

The directorial debut of the longtime screenwriter is adapted from a popular 1983 novel by Mark Helprin, but it plays like some sort...

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Movie Review: 'RoboCop,' 2.5 stars

Joel Kinnaman, right, stars in the "RoboCop" remake.

(Credit: Joel Kinnaman, right, stars in the "RoboCop" remake. (Columbia Pictures - Sony, Kerry Hayes))

Samuel L. Jackson's recent interview with a Los Angeles TV station got a lot of attention when the anchor apparently mistook him for Laurence Fishburne. But look past that awkward encounter with KTLA's Sam Rubin and you'll find a revealing moment when it comes to the "RoboCop" remake.

"When I heard they were making a remake, I wondered why," Jackson says on the program. "I read it, still didn't...

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Movie review: 'The Monuments Men,' 1.5 stars

Matt Damon, left, and George Clooney in "The

(Credit: Matt Damon, left, and George Clooney in "The Monuments Men" (Columbia Pictures/Claudette Barius))

"The Monuments Men" recalls the postwar era of cornball Hollywood war films with such exactitude that it might as well have been made in 1951. This is a dated relic from George Clooney that strips a compelling premise of its dramatic heft by undercutting its seriousness at most turns.

Clooney, who directs and co-writes, stars as Frank Stokes, a lieutenant charged with assembling a team that...

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Movie review: 'Love & Air Sex,' 3 stars

Ashley Bell in "Love & Air Sex."

(Credit: Tribeca Film/Ryan Green)

Micro-indie "Love & Air Sex" at first seems like it's yet another tired movie about agreeable hipsters grappling with first-world problems in the haven of Austin, Texas.

But director and co-writer Bryan Poyser finds his way around that minefield thanks to a script that's consistently funny and a foursome of actors who bring conviction and smarts to their characters.

The movie follows...

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Movie review: 'The Pretty One,' 2.5 stars

Zoe Kazan in "The Pretty One" (Dada Films)

(Credit: Zoe Kazan in "The Pretty One" (Dada Films))

"The Pretty One" has plenty of charm, but not enough to overcome a heaping dose of clichéd whimsy.

The always-likable Zoe Kazan stars as a shy woman named Laurel who assumes the identity of her vivacious twin sister Audrey after the latter's sudden, tragic death.

First-time filmmaker Jenée LaMarque leans heavily on her star and profits; Kazan masters the multiple levels here, keeping...

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