At the movies
The inspiring true story of the underdog Texas Western college basketball team, with history's first all African-American starting lineup, and their surprising championship win in the 1966 NCAA tournament. (PG)
Before the Fall
The life of a teenage, working class boxer in 1940s Germany becomes conflicted when he's admitted into an elite and cruelly rigorous Nazi National Political School. Review on Page 10. (NR)
Based on the popular video game, a woman searches for her vampire father before he gains power to take over the human world. (R)
Brokeback Mountain 1/2
Ang Lee's epic love story between a ranch hand and a rodeo cowboy. Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway star. Review on Page 22. (R)
Heath Ledger stars as the legendary Venetian lover who meets his match in the form of a feisty, feminist writer, played by Sienna Miller. Review on Page 9. (R)
Comedy about a 36-year-old slacker / video game tester who moves in with his grandmother and her two elderly roommates and tells his friends that he's living with "hot babes." (R)
Eli Roth of "Cabin Fever" fame directs this harrowing movie about two American buddies in Europe who, while looking for fun at a remote hostel in a Slovakian town, instead find themselves in a bizarre chamber of horrors. Review on Thursday's Entertainment Page.(R)
G General audiences.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
The befuddled, cheese-loving English inventor and his silent and patient canine companion are back in a feature-length comedy. It's a sendup of old horror flicks as the duo fight a fiendish mutant bunny who's ravaging the backyard veggie patches of their local village.
Parental guidance suggested.
Cheaper by the Dozen 2 1/2
It's a battle between the Baker and Murtaugh clans held at a lake vacation spot in this dopey retread. It's a loose collection of sketches, bellyflops, pratfalls and sight gags, none of them remotely inspired. Steve Martin and Eugene Levy star.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Based on C.S. Lewis' classic fantasy novel, the story follows four siblings in World War II England who enter the world of Narnia through a magical wardrobe. There they join a noble and mystical ruler, the lion Aslan, in fighting the evil White Witch, Jadis. The visual overload is impressive, Tilda Swinton is positively insane as the witch, and the young actors give winsome performances.
Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story
An injured racing horse is given to a grizzled trainer as severance pay by its owner. With the help of the faith and determination of the trainer's young daughter, the two work together to win the Breeders Cup Classic. Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning star.
Good Night, and Good Luck 1/2
George Clooney directs this timely docudrama that recounts the events of the mid-1950s leading up to acclaimed CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow's decision to stand up against the reckless, red-baiting Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
The Legend of Zorro 1/2
Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones return in this sequel to the 1998 hit. It's a decade later and they have a young son. When plans for California statehood are undermined by land barons and businessmen, the masked swashbuckler comes out of retirement.
Zathura: A Space Adventure 1/2
Two young brothers are drawn into an intergalactic adventure when their house is magically hurtled through space because of the board game they are playing. "Elf" director Jon Favreau serves up kid-friendly sci-fi thrills with low-tech special effects.
Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate from children under age 13.
This is in the dubious tradition of Halle Berry's "Catwoman." Charlize Theron plays a top rebel operative out to avenge the murder of her sister by government agents in this inscrutable, laughably bad sci-fi adventure. The character's a flatliner in the personality department, staring blankly as she fights foes with Rockette kicks and berserker yoga poses.
The Family Stone
It's a matriarchal twist on "Meet the Parents," following a loathsome, tightly wound career woman (Sarah Jessica Parker) on a Yuletide jaunt to visit her boyfriend's neo-hippie kin. It's sad to see such a talented cast (Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Luke Wilson included) wasted on such an insipid, manipulative enterprise.
Jodie Foster plays a recently widowed woman whose 6-year-old daughter vanishes on a cavernous aircraft during a trans-Atlantic flight. The crew and passengers suspect the girl was never on the plane -- and may not even exist. It's a somewhat suspenseful, but ultimately silly film, but veteran Foster's acting makes the whole thing tolerable.
Fun With Dick & Jane 1/2
Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni star as a materialistic couple who, when he loses his job in an Enron-like scandal, go on a crime spree to make ends meet. The movie's a light, likable distraction, and the two actors share good comedic rapport.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 1/2
This action-packed sequel chronicles the teenage Harry's participation in the TriWizard Tournament, while simultaneously unraveling a sinister conspiracy, discovering girls, and later confronting a grotesquely reborn Lord Voldemort. British director Mike Newell has crafted a film full of images that are vast and wondrous, but strangely detached and obviously artificial.
A successful music executive is reminded of his high school loser past when he reconnects with a woman he had a crush on back then. Starring Ryan Reynolds and Amy Smart, this is a surprisingly observant comedy, with an insane, propulsive energy that keeps it endearing even when the movie threatens to spiral out of control toward the end.
Peter Jackson's latest fantasy masterpiece is an eye-popping remake of the 1933 original. While the special effects and action sequences are first-rate, the film's greatest achievement is the tenderness with which it conveys the love and longing between the gorilla and the actress. Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, Jack Black and Andy Serkis (who works his motion-capture magic again with the Great Ape) star.
Memoirs of a Geisha 1/2
Based on the best-selling novel, a poor girl (Ziyi Zhang) is taken from her penniless family in the years before World War II and trained to be a geisha who becomes the legendary Sayuri.
It's the rare work of art, an American film with the lush, languid look of Chinese cinema. Director Rob Marshall layers the story's despair with an easy grace and sensuality.
The Producers 1/2
Mel Brooks' comedy about Broadway con artists stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, reprising their roles from the hit stage musical. While the new version is not quite as good as the 1968 movie classic it's closely based on, it does have some clever gags and a great supporting cast led by Will Ferrell and Uma Thurman. It's wacky and giddy in a way Hollywood films rarely are nowadays.
The Ringer 1/2
Johnny Knoxville stars in this comedy produced by the Farrelly brothers. A con man hatches a scheme to pose as an "intellectually challenged" contestant in the Special Olympics to fix the games. It's surprisingly funny -- often laugh-out-loud hilarious -- and yes, inspirational, without trying too hard.
Rumor Has It ... 1/2 star
Jennifer Aniston plays a self-consumed journalist who finds out that her grandmother was the basis for Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate." This movie is a failure of "Gigli" proportions, a Molotov cocktail of mood disorder and dysfunctional behavior, more an insult than a tribute to the 1967 satire.
Walk the Line
Joaquin Phoenix plays the late country music star Johnny Cash, following the iconic figure's rise to fame, drug addiction and romance with June Carter (Reese Witherspoon). Phoenix inhabits his role fully, with a raw intensity and a blaze in his eyes, and Witherspoon is in the role she was born to play, with her radiance, charm and maturity showcased to perfection.
Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Philip Seymour Hoffman's Oscar-worthy central performance guides a well-constructed retelling of the most significant period of author Truman Capote's life -- namely his research into and writing of "In Cold Blood" -- that ultimately led to the New York sophisticate's downward spiral.
The Rock and Karl Urban star in this tedious shoot-'em-up based on the popular video game. A rapid-response tactical squad journeys through a wormhole to take down nightmarish creatures infesting a science facility on Mars.
Get Rich or Die Tryin' 1/2
50 Cent stars as a drug dealer who tries to turn his life around after imprisonment by pursuing a promising career as a rapper. While 50 and director Jim Sheridan try to duplicate Eminem's successful "8 Mile" formula, 50 lacks Eminem's big-screen charisma and acting skills.
An adept adaptation of a sniper's memoir of the 1991 Gulf War. It's a sand-blown story of the U.S. Marines and the dusty details of one grimy operation. Directed by Sam Mendes, with sharp performances by Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, Peter Sarsgaard and Chris Cooper.
Steven Spielberg directs the true story of a secret Israeli squad assigned to track down and kill the Palestinians behind the '72 Olympic attacks. It's a morally complex story about morally agonizing matters, with both sides' characters evoking both compassion and repugnance, and Spielberg deftly recreates the gritty, menacing look of 1970s thrillers. Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, and Geoffrey Rush star.
Charlize Theron stars as a struggling single mother who rouses her female co-workers to take a stand against unfair treatment at a Minnesota iron mining factory. It's a provocative drama inspired by a landmark sexual harassment case.
From the writer/director of "Traffic," George Clooney stars in this political thriller about a CIA agent who uncovers the dark secrets behind the oil industry. Stephen Gaghan's film weaves powerful moments of pathos, compassion, and cross-cultural insight into its lesson on the realities of greed in international commerce.
Waiting ... 1/2
Ryan Reynolds leads a rebellious wait staff at a chain restaurant who deal with rude customers in even ruder ways. This is a derivative paean to potato skins, hard partying and dormant ambition.
The Weather Man
Nicolas Cage stars as a self-absorbed TV news personality who gets a shot at the big time when a national morning show calls him for an audition. But first he must deal with his ailing father (Michael Caine), his soon-to-be-remarried ex (Hope Davis) and his precocious children. Cage acts with earnestness, though it ends up a largely two-dimensional labor of groan and moan.
With brutality that rivals "Saw" on the sadism scale, the Australian shocker follows a group of hikers who encounter a menacing stranger while exploring the Outback. First-time writer-director Greg McLean gets a lot of mileage out a standard stalker scenario, drawing inspiration from "Deliverance" and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" yet crafts something original out of those influences. The movie has a vérité vibe that ratchets up the scares.
ART HOUSE | REVIVAL
THE DORIS DUKE THEATRE, HONOLULU ACADEMY OF ARTS
900 S. Beretania St.; $7 general; $6 seniors, students and military; $5 Academy members (532-8768):
Where the Truth Lies 1/2
Review on Page 23. (NC-17) Preceded by local short "Sand Island Drive Inn Anthem." At 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Jan. 9; 1 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 10 and 11; and 1 p.m. Jan. 12.
MOVIE MUSEUM 3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Friday and Sunday.
Something's Gotta Give
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Jan. 9.
The Constant Gardener
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Jan. 12.