At The Movies
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom reprise their roles in the sequel to the immensely popular 2003 movie. This time, Capt. Jack Sparrow discovers he owes a bloody debt to the legendary Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) of the ghostly Flying Dutchman.
G - General audiences.
Director John Lasseter and his Pixar animation team's latest feature is about a hotshot rookie race car (voiced by Owen Wilson) who learns about life in the slow lane when he finds himself unexpectedly detoured to the sleepy town of Radiator Springs. Kids will find the movie fast and colorful, but adults may find it quite facile.
PG - Parental guidance suggested.
Akeelah and the Bee
The innate talent of an 11-year-old inner-city 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.
Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties
On a trip to England, the beloved comic strip fat cat (voiced by Bill Murray) is mistaken for another tabby who inherited a castle. But a nefarious count is determined to do away with Garfield, so he can turn the castle into a resort. The movie is mere kitty litter, filled with the shticks and tics that weren't funny in the original movie, and still not here.
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.
An Inconvenient Truth
A documentary about former Vice President Al Gore's touring multimedia talk about the moral challenge of global warming. The film's not so much about Gore but mainly on his presentation on the alarming effect of carbon-dioxide emissions on the world's climate, a talk he's given many times over the last few years. For that, it's a necessary film.
The Lake House
Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves star in this remake of a South Korean film about a doctor who trades love letters with one of her home's previous owners -- and discover that they are living two years apart of each other. You either surrender to this sort of conceit from the beginning, or you're not. But if you enjoy going to the movies to be swept up by romance, the film should at least have the fundamental decency to make sense.
Jack Black plays a Mexican cook who moonlights on the masked Lucha Libre wrestling circuit to funnel his prize money to needy orphans. Black cultivates an exaggerated accent that helps establish the character as an awkward fit in a life that was foisted upon him. But his wild-man persona cannot be contained, and director Jared Hess ("Napoleon Dynamite") doesn't seem to have been able to control his star. It's an interesting failure in a film that's a mix of Fellini-esque imagery and flatulence gags.
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.
PG-13 - Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for 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. While it feels like a re-creation of the atmospheric Gothic flicks of the 1960s, it 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.
Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn play a Chicago couple who call it quits but refuse to move out of their jointly owned condo. This anti-romantic comedy is pretty much a remake of "The War of the Roses," only watered down. Supporting performances from Vincent D'Onofrio, Judy Davis and Jon Favreau help enliven the movie a bit.
Adam Sandler's latest comedy overflows with the juvenile hijinks that initially made him a star and ventures into the serious adult territory of his later, more thoughtful films. He stars as a harried architect who stumbles upon a universal remote that allows him to perform TiVo-like functions on his life. The first hour is often so tiresomely sub-moronic that it's surprising that Sandler and director Frank Coraci are able to pull out a movie that shows real heart at the end.
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.
The Devil Wears Prada
More college drab than haute couture, a hapless young woman (Anne Hathaway) becomes the assistant to a demanding editor (Meryl Streep) who oversees the fashion bible of New York. Like the hottest new fashion trend, the movie is initially irresistible -- fun, flirty, spirited and sexy. But then it drags the audience down through a love triangle plotline that gets too complicated and heavy.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
A young American street racer, living in Japan, gets caught up in the underworld world of drift racing. Trouble ensues when he falls for the girlfriend of the Drift King, a local champ with yakuza ties. This is the perfect movie for adolescent boys. The thin story and thinner characters are just setups for the race sequences. The cars have more personality than most of the actors.
Just My Luck
Lindsay Lohan plays a young 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 Prairie Home Companion
Veteran director Robert Altman applies his masterfully ironic and curmudgeonly eye to a whimsy-filled fantasy about the last night of Garrison Keillor's venerable radio variety show. It blends real people behind the show with fictional characters who form part of the "Prairie Home" universe, and even weaves in a trippy supernatural element. The result is an ambling, rambling folksy yarn that nicely captures the radio-show-that-time-forgot spirit of Keillor's music and comedy revue. The all-star cast mixes with an easy camaraderie.
Scary Movie 4
The latest sequel has sporadic flashes of comic greatness, but is separated by draggy repetitive sketches that make this movie feel longer than it should. It's basically a cross between parodies of "The Grudge" and "War of the Worlds." The details are done perfectly, but the gags are hit-and-miss.
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 in a perfect mix of beauty and tomboyish strength.
The Man of Steel returns to Metropolis after a five-year absence, as he begins his life on Earth again as his alter ego Clark Kent, all the while trying to restart his romance with Lois Lane and doing battle with his arch-nemesis Lex Luthor. This thrilling summer blockbuster lives up to the hype. It's reverential to the source material, yet a unique film all its own. It's steeped in art-deco mood and details, yet completely current. It's joyous with the possibility of discovery, yet deeply moving in its melancholy. It should satisfy purists and attract new converts.
This poignant import directed by Deepa Mehta reflects on the plight of Indian women who, according to Hindu custom, are not allowed to remarry after their husbands die. They are abandoned by their families to dwell in squalor in ashrams, where some of them are sold into prostitution. Set in the late 1930s, the story centers on three widows, one of them a young girl. Mehta tells their stories with metaphors, using water to signify death, division and rebirth. Lyrical imagery is matched with subtle performances.
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. The nuance and complexity of character that made the first two "X-Men" movies compelling are gone, with spectacle trumping substance.
R - Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
A paroled ex-convict (Tyrese Gibson), gets into immediate trouble after a dangerous gang kidnaps his son during a carjacking. A street-smart female hustler (Meagan Good) tries to help him get back his son during an action-packed tear through Los Angeles neighborhoods. Most of the movie is your standard gangsta-driven action flick.
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):
(R) At 4 and 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and 7:30 p.m. July 10 to 13.
The Beauty Academy of Kabul
At 1 p.m. July 11 to 13.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Friday and July 10.
All Through the Night / Flight from Destiny
At 1, 4:30 and 8 p.m. ("Night") and 3 and 6:30 p.m. ("Flight") Saturday.
The Garment Jungle / Counsellor-at-Law
At 12:30, 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. ("Jungle") and 2, 5 and 8 p.m. ("Counsellor") Sunday.
Blue Murder at St. Trinian's
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. July 13.
UHM CINEMA SERIES: BEYOND OIL
Spalding Hall Auditorium, University of Hawaii at Manoa; $5 general and $3 UH students/faculty:
The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil / French Fries to Go
At 5 p.m. Sunday.