At the Movies
The 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. Review on Page 14. (PG)
Detectives try to unravel the mystery at Granny's house in a new satirical, animated take on "Little Red Riding Hood." Review on Page 27. (PG)
Queen Latifah stars as a shy woman diagnosed with a fatal illness who decides to let loose on a European vacation. Review runs on Thursday's Entertainment page. (PG-13)
The Squid and the Whale
Based on the childhood experiences of writer-director Noah Baumbach, it's the story of how two boys deal with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn's intellectual stratum in the 1980s. Review on Page 26. (R)
Tristan & Isolde
A love affair between a knight and a princess threatens to break the peace between medieval England and Ireland. James Franco and Sophia Myles star as the young lovers. Review runs on Friday's Entertainment page. (PG-13)
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
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.
Good Night, and Good Luck
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
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
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 death of his sister caused 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
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
This action-packed sequel chronicles the teenaged 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 as the Great Ape) star.
Memoirs of a Geisha
Based on the bestselling 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.
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 Farrell and Uma Thurman. It's wacky and giddy in a way Hollywood films rarely are nowadays.
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 ...
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.
Based on the popular video game and directed by video game-turned-into-bad movie-specialist Uwe Boll, a woman searches for her vampire father before he gains power to take over the human world. Boll opts for the story's simplest click-and-kill clichés instead of trying to appoximate anything close to the grand Hammer studio shockers.
Ang Lee's epic love story between a ranch hand and a rodeo cowboy should be seen not for its hot-button topicality or its cultural cachet but simply that it's a very good movie, with a staggeringly fine performance by Heath Ledger, His portrayal of Ennis Del Mar is both ennobled and shamed by feelings for Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) he doesn't possess words to describe. Ledger turns the classic iconography of the Western male into protective coloring.
Heath Ledger stars as the legendary Venetian lover who meets his match in the form of a feisty, feminist writer, played by Sienna Miller. Director Lasse Hallstrom tries too hard to evoke the complex hilarity of a Shakespearan comedy with this giddy romp.
Get Rich or Die Tryin'
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 doesn't have the same screen charisma and half the acting skills Eminem has.
A comedy about a 35-year-old slacker and video game tester who moves in with his grandmother and her two elderly roommates, and tells his friends that he living with "hot babes." It's an interminably flat, one-joke movie with admittedly a couple of decent laughs.
Director Eli Roth takes an avant bloody cue from Asian cinema with this harrowing tale of three Eurotrip backpackers who wind up in a Slovakian hell house where obnoxious tourists are hacked to pieces. It's a clip reel of sicko tableaus. The torture scenes are inventively disgusting, but the narrative linking one murder to the next is sketchy. Genre fans, however, should appreciate the envelope-pushing carnage.
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.
The sequel to 2004's creepshow of a hit. This time, the maniacal killer Jigsaw lures eight strangers into a fun house decorated with high-concept death traps. The movie has a few memorably gory moments and a clever twist ending, but it cannot match the impact of the original.
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.
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.
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):
Review on Thursday's Entertainment page. (R) At 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 4 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Jan. 16; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17 to 19.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
Ride the High Country
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Friday.
The Constant Gardener
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid
Original uncut version. At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Sunday.
Hustle & Flow
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Jan. 16.
The Straight Story
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Jan. 19.
"THE HEALING WORLD" FILM SERIES
Spalding Hall Auditorium, University of Hawaii-Manoa, (223-0130):
The Knowledge of Healing
At 5 p.m. Sunday.
Encounters of a Healing KInd: Approaches to Alternative Medicine
At 7 p.m. Jan. 19.