At The Movies
Adam & Steve
Two New York gay men, having met in the '80s after a disastrous, life-changing, one-night stand, don't recognize each other when they meet again 15 years later. With the help of their best friends, they fall in love with each other. Review on Page 10. (R)
A British shoe factory owner, trying to save his family's failing business, finds a savior in, of all people, a transvestite cabaret star who becomes his fashion advisor. From the makers of "Calendar Girls" and inspired by true events. Review on Page 23. (PG-13)
Mountain Patrol: Kekexili
A gritty Chinese drama about armed eco-vigilantes battling antelope poachers on the high desolate plains of Tibet. Review on Page 21. (NR)
X-Men: The Last Stand
Change is at the core of the third "X-Men" movie, with director Brett Ratner taking over for Bryan Singer. When a cure for the genetic aberrations that grant the mutants their powers is discovered, the embattled team must choose between remaining as they are or become normal human beings. Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn, James Marsden and Shawn Ashmore reprise their roles. Review on Page 22. (PG-13)
PG - Parental guidance suggested.
Akeelah and the Bee
The innate talent of an 11-year-old inner-city black girl makes her a surprise contender for the national spelling bee. Keke Palmer steps into a lead role with poise, panache, a headstrong spirit and hearty humor. The movie manages to uplift without drowning in its own contrived sweetness. Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett are part of the sturdy supporting cast.
Carl Hiaasen's award-winning children's book is adapted for the big screen. It's the story of an eighth-grader's campaign to save a family of endangered owls from a developer. But the screen version turns out to be lightweight and bland.
Ice Age: The Meltdown
The cheery animated sequel might as well come with another subtitle: "Featuring Scrat!" The fanged little goof constantly upstages the top-billed talent with his manic antics to secure his precious acorn. The movie is right on par with the 2002 original: brisk, pleasant and loaded with slapstick that should keep young children giggling, though repetitive enough that parents at times may feel they're sitting through the first "Ice Age" all over again.
Over the Hedge
Based on the comic strip seen in the Sunday Star-Bulletin, a group of woodland animals visit the strange new world of suburbia with the prompting of an opportunistic raccoon (voiced by Bruce Willis). Even though it isn't taken with pop-culture references as a recent slew of inferior animated films, this is still a mildly amusing, if hackneyed, movie. For kids only.
Robin Williams stars as a dad who rents a gigantic recreational vehicle to take his family on an adventure-filled vacation to Colorado. Lame jokes and sight gags are repeated so often you feel you're driving in circles. "RV" amounts to four flat tires and a busted radiator hose.
The Shaggy Dog
A top-secret serum turns a high-powered district attorney (Tim Allen) into a pooch. Before he can become human again, he must stop the evil forces behind the serum. This is a well-intentioned but forgettable mutt without any new tricks, the gags harmelessly predictable.
PG-13 - Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate from children under age 13.
An American Haunting
Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland star in this horror-chiller based on the legend of the Bell Witch, an unrelenting demon that has plagued a Tennessee family since the early 1800s. The family's descendants uncover the mystery and realize old ghost stories can come back to haunt them. While the movie feels like an affectionate re-creation of those atmospheric Gothic flicks of the 1960s, it still doesn't add up to much of a movie.
This baseball buffoonery comedy packs more pop than you'd expect from a film made up of former "Saturday Night Live" second-stringers (Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Lovitz, plus Jon Heder from "Napoleon Dynamite"). Three grown-up dweebs form a barnstorming team seeking to lay the smackdown on full-rostered youth squads. The movie takes this inherently funny concept and frontloads its best gags to get you in a good mood, then plays small ball the rest of the way to maintain its dwindling lead.
The Da Vinci Code
Based on the best-selling novel, the murder of a curator at the Louvre reveals a sinister plot to uncover a secret that has been protected since the days of Christ. Tom Hanks stars as the symbologist out to solve the murder and co-stars Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellan and Paul Bettany. Ron Howard's adaptation, while handsomely produced and decorated with a few good supporting performances from McKellan and Bettany, just comes off as wordy and slow. The movie devolves into a series of speeches, separated alternately by bouts of cryptology and bits of masochism.
Failure to Launch
Matthew McConaughey plays a thirty-something slacker who still lives with his parents. They hire a professional motivator (Sarah Jessica Parker) to lure him out of the nest. The movie has a TV sitcom-y shine to it when it starts, but then it reveals its surprises, such as quirky and appealing characters played by a talented cast, sly and hilarious dialogue, and slapstick magic realism.
Just My Luck
19-year-old Lindsay Lohan eases out of the tween genre by playing a New York career woman, lucky in life, who exchanges a kiss -- and fortunes -- with a hapless stranger. It's a thin premise stretched paper thin into a feature-length romantic comedy, but it's harmless enough and targets its tween audience perfectly.
Mission: Impossible III
Tom Cruise's superspy series continues, this time helmed by "Lost" co-creator J.J. Abrams. Cruise's character Ethan Hunt goes against a dangerous international weapons and information dealer (Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman) who places his girlfriend (Michelle Monaghan) in peril. It's basically a rote replay of some of Cruise's best-known hits, although some of the action sequences are jaw-droppingly thrilling.
A smart-mouthed, size-plus, aspiring fashion designer (Mo'Nique) tries to find love and aceeptance in a world full of "hot-bodied" babes. This is a disarming and, in its own way, delightful vehicle for its star and executive producer. It's a touching demand for the empowerment of the big-boned woman who's disenfranchised by society.
A groaning giant of a film, it delivers disaster on an epic scale and absurdity in abundance. The action remake, about a cruise ship capsized by a freak wave, is bigger, louder and cheesier than its 1972 predecessor. There are some serious pyrotechnics on display, as fire and water fill the vessel, but the acting and dialogue are pure camp. The intensity of the situation is diluted by bad melodrama.
"24's" Kiefer Sutherland is protecting the president again, this time hunting down a suspected Secret Service mole (Michael Douglas), who claims he is being framed. The movie delivers modest action at best and the plot is silly. A decent episode of "24" packs more and better action sequences in less than half the movie's running time.
She's the Man
This movie takes a little bit of "Bend It Like Beckham" and a lot of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" and twists them into a cross-dressing teen farce with occasional forays onto the soccer field. A spunky Amanda Bynes pretends to be just one of the guys in this energetic but unspectacular comedy.
Frankie Muniz and Samaire Armstrong are part of a group of teens who play a mysterious online video game and suddenly find themselves being murdered the same ways as their game characters. This is a cheesy, unintentionally funny and, worst of all, not at all scary movie.
It's a retread of 2000's "Bring It On," only with gymnastics in place of cheerleading. While the movie trots out a cornucopia of sports-movie clichés, it's watchable for the performance of Missy Peregrym as the rebellious lead character. The Canadian actress is a perfect mix of beauty and tomboyish strength.
R - Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Art School Confidential
"Ghost World's" Terry Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes team up again to adapt Clowes' comic story about an arrogant freshman art student who, when he sees that a clueless jock is attracting the glory he feels is due him, hatches an all-or-nothing plan to hit it big in the art world and win the heart of the most beautiful girl in the school. The film tries to coast by on bitter rants against the art world, but it just doesn't have enough bite.
Don't Come Knocking
The reuniting of American playwright/screenwriter Sam Shepard with German director Wim Wenders results in a visually majestic but dramatically inert film about a burned-out Western movie star who flees the set of his latest picture to embark on a rambling exploration of his past.
Lucky Number Slevin
Part mistaken-identity thriller, part flimflam game, this film stars Josh Hartnett as a sap caught in the middle of a mob war between New York's rival crime bosses (Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley). It's an engaging crime romp, and its convolutions will keep the audience guessing. The movie's biggest flaw is that, in the end, it makes things too easy and pat for viewers.
See No Evil
Wrestling star Kane plays a giant-sized serial killer that hunts down and kills in gory detail the delinquent teens who invade his hotel hideout. The movie is uncomfortably misogynistic even by horror-movie standards. And with its run-down, abandoned setting, it's more dark, dirty and gross than scary.
Thank You For Smoking
This satirical comedy follows the machinations of Big Tobacco's chief spokesman, Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart), who spins on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his 12-year-old son. Perfectly pitched and genuinely funny, every cast member's performance clicks, and Eckhart's character stands as a memorable creation in contemporary cinema.
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Actor Tommy Lee Jones directs this moralistic and non-linear tale of a Texan taking the corpse of his Mexican best friend south across the border to bury him, accompanied by the patrolman that killed the man. Barry Pepper, January Jones and Melissa Leo co-star.
A real-time drama about the fourth plane hijacked on 9/11. The story of the passengers who fought back is told with devastating realism, stirring up a fresh sense of horror and erasing five years' distance from the attacks. British writer-director Paul Greengrass ("The Bourne Supremacy") handles volatile material with tact, his detail-laced screenplay based on interviews with family members and reports from the 9/11 commission. Seeing the events play out on a big screen could be therapeutic, as long as one is prepared to deal with the emotions the film evokes.
V for Vendetta
Natalie Portman stars as a young British woman enlisted by a masked revolutionary to help fight against a totalitarian government in this thriller set in the near future. The saga scores well enough in the first hour, but loses focus midway through, the tone shifting from silly but smart to just silly. The Wachowski brothers wrote the screenplay based on Alan Moore's graphic novel, and the result lands somewhere between the neo-noir freshness of their original "The Matrix" and the indecipherable bombast of the two sequels.
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):
17th Annual Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival
See info box, story and schedule on Page -.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
Red Rock West
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Friday.
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
Kingdom of Heaven (director's cut)
At 12:30, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Crimson Tide (extended version)
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. May 29.
Hear My Song
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. June 1.