Movie Previews: ‘3 Days to Kill,’ ‘Pompeii,’ ‘Barefoot’

Kit Harington in "Pompeii."
Kit Harington in "Pompeii."

Before you head to the movie theater this weekend, get some help deciding what you’ll see from Cineast.

3 Days To Kill
It’s the perennial dilemma. How to explain the fact that the action hero in your action-adventure blockbuster is played by a wizened old man? Is he an old trooper called back into service and haunted by some forgotten failure that he’s trying to make up for? Is he just so good and resilient that the team can’t get along without him? Well, the makers of 3 Days To Kill have arrived at a new explanation: their hero, played by a wrinkly Kevin Costner, is actually terminally ill, and he agrees to one last mission in return for an experimental drug that might save his life. It’s a good ruse for Costner, since he presumably didn’t have to go on a training regimen to get buff for the role. He just reported to the set his paunchy, grizzled self and acted like he was on his way out. Nice work if you can get it.

Once upon a time, there was a sprawling computer-generated city in the shadow of a towering computer-generated volcanic mountain. The imaginary city’s designers called it Pompeii, after the famous Roman city that was destroyed by a volcano, and they made a fake-looking film set in the computer-generated city, a film they also called Pompeii. Apparently, while the streets and buildings of the digital Pompeii looked unreal and cartoonish, the city still managed to suffer from all manner of corruption and intrigue among its inhabitants. Ah, these hubristic inhabitants—little did these mostly evil and vicious inhabitants know that the computer mountain looming behind their computer city was set to send a ludicrously fake-looking hail of destruction upon their digital world. That’s what they get for their petty, godless ways.

So, a gambling addict takes a girl from a mental ward to his brother’s wedding. That may sound like the set-up for a cheap joke, but it’s actually the set-up for the romantic comedy Barefoot, starring Evan Rachel Wood and Scott Speedman. Ever since the ’60s, makers of romantic comedies have had to deal with the basic obsolescence of the form. They have to have two very good-looking people meet and hit it off early in the film, and then they have to find some way to have the couple avoid consummating their relationship until the very end of the film. This wasn’t too hard back in the ’30s and ’40s when those were the rules people followed, but now filmmakers tie themselves in knots trying to make it work. So, in Barefoot, the girl grew up in a mental ward and she might be crazy, so naturally they’re going to take things slow. Better hope the popcorn’s good.

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