At The Movies
The Grudge 2
In this sequel to the popular remake of the Japanese horror hit, Aubrey travels to Tokyo to look into the evil spirits that haunted her big sister Karen, and soon finds herself exposed to the same mysterious curse. Amber Tamblyn and Sarah Michelle Gellar star. (PG-13)
This film tells the same tale told by the Oscar-winning "Capote." It's based on the true story of the young gay New York writer and socialite and his investigation into the 1959 murders of a wealthy Kansas family by a couple of drifters that led to his acclaimed book "In Cold Blood." Toby Jones, Sandra Bullock, Daniel Craig, Gwyneth Paltrow and Sigourney Weaver star. Review on Page 26. (R)
Man of the Year
Robin Williams plays a political comedian who decides to run for president as a joke, but the gag gets out of hand when he ends up winning due to a voting-machine error. Directed by Barry Levinson, the cast includes Laura Linney, Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum and Lewis Black. Review on Page 27. (PG-13)
WWE star John Cena plays a former Marine back from Iraq who finds himself returning to action stateside when his wife is kidnapped by a murderous gang led by a merciless criminal. (PG-13)
One Night With the King
An epic adventure that follows a young Jewish orphan who rises from peasant to Queen of Persia only to face the annihilation of her people. Review in Thursday's Today section. (PG)
The U.S. vs. John Lennon
This documentary traces the ex-Beatle's life from 1966 to '76, where he transformed into an antiwar activist, one in constant conflict with the U.S. government and its views. Review on Thursday's Entertainment page. (PG-13)
G - General audiences.
A CGI-animated story about a boy who crosses the country to return a very special baseball bat to his hero, Babe Ruth, on the eve of the 1932 World Series. It's a sweet, inspirational kids' movie tailor-made for family viewing.
PG - Parental guidance suggested.
The Ant Bully
After a 10-year-old boy terrorizes an ant hill, the tiny insects shrink him to their size and make him live and work in their colony in order for him to earn his freedom. An all-star cast offers up boisterous performances, and while never less than colorful and high-energy, it's hard to shake the feeling that we've seen this before in other previous animated movies.
Barnyard: The Original Party Animals
An CGI-animated movie about a free-wheeling cow named Otis and his misfit farm animals who live the high life when humans aren't looking. But when a pack of coyotes attack, sending the entire farm into fear and turmoil, Otis must reluctantly step up to the grown-up role he's been avoiding his whole life. This movie actually has a clever concept and handles such sensitive topics as birth and death with unexpected grace.
A group of kids suspect a creepy old house is really alive and dangerous. Can they save the neighborhood in time? This blend of motion-capture and CG animation is being shown in Digital 3-D and has lots of fun to deliver. It makes for a great scary film for youngsters.
An animated feature about a domesticated grizzly bear (voiced by Martin Lawrence) who gets deposited in the woods during hunting season. The bear and his pal, a scrawny, one-antlered mule deer (Ashton Kutcher), rally all the other forest animals to turn the tables on an evil poacher (Gary Sinise). It has three strong funny scenes, and the rest is filler, good moments to take the kids to the restroom and the concession stand.
A retired superhero (Tim Allen) is called back to work to transform an unlikely group of ragtag kids into new heroes at a private academy. Lacking the punch and good cheer of similar movies as "The Incredibles" and "Sky High," this is a dull and laugh-free affair.
PG-13 - Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under age 13.
Justin Long plays a guy rejected from every college he's applied to, so he and his friends start their own fake and functioning university. The movie has a certain subversive élan -- the banter is snappy and the pacing is brisk -- that keeps it light on its feet until the very end, when it turns self-righteous and takes itself way too seriously.
It's studly teenage warlocks trying to destroy each other at an elite New England boarding school! Hack director Renny Harlin serves up a dreary movie that lacks genuine supernatural thrills.
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.
Employee of the Month
Standup superstar Dane Cook and Dax Shepard face off as stock-boy slackers at a Costco-style store who compete for the love of a new checkout girl, played by Jessica Simpson. Except for the likable Cook, everyone else involved belongs in the unemployment line. This is a miserably idiotic movie, excessively long with a succession of empty-headed jokes and pranks.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars as a true-life probation officer who coaches a football team made up of rival gangbangers in a youth detention camp. Director Phil Joanou is relentless in his attempts to inspire the audience. Instead, the result is just overbearing and redundant.
Kevin Costner plays a Coast Guard rescue swimmer who's struggling with life on the water after losing his squad in an accident. He ends up being the mentor of a hotshot swimmer (Ashton Kutcher) training for his elite military unit. Though the movie has its potent action moments, it basically drags on like a slow boat ride, its standard-issue heroics and flavorless dialogue gone stale long before it arrives at the big, valorous finish.
While fine technical wizardry went into this period film set in early 20th-century Austria, it lacks the magic of romance, drama, longing and faith you think would be generated in a tale about a love triangle involving a magician (Edward Norton), a noblewoman (Jessica Biel) and the heir to the throne (Rufus Sewell). Their supposed ardor is as illusory as the title character's stage magic.
Jet Li's Fearless
Billed as Li's final martial arts movie, it's an underwhelming farewell, rife with tepid drama and mixed messages. While filled with impressive fight choreography by Yuen Wo Ping, it's still a pretentious biopic about Chinese fighting legend Huo Yuanjia, who emerged as a populist hero challenging foreign rivals during the early 20th century.
School for Scoundrels
A beleaguered New York City meter maid tries to overcome his feeling of inadequacy by enrolling in an unorthodox and top-secret confidence-building class. Billy Bob Thornton and Jon Heder basically play weaker versions of their "Bad Santa" and "Napoleon Dynamite" characters, the clash of those two opposing forces generating only a few laughs in this overlong movie.
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. Bryan Singer's big-budget movie is reverential to the source material, joyous with the possibility of discovery, yet deeply moving in its melancholy.
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
Will Ferrell plays a NASCAR driver who must face his own demons and fight to retain his place at the top when he is challenged by the arrival of a flamboyant French Formula One star (Sacha Baron Cohen). Like the sport it spoofs, the movie has its thrilling moments but mostly feels repetitive, and it runs out of gas at the end.
World Trade Center
Oliver Stone retells the harrowing true story of the last two first-responders to be rescued after the 9/11 attack. For a lightning rod like Stone, this movie stays grounded in facts, not opinions or paranoia, and fights to remain even-handed. It stays smartly rooted in the day-to-day, going between the trapped men (Nicolas Cage and Michael Peña) and the women at home (powerfully played by Maggie Gyllenhaal and Maria Bello) hoping for the best.
R - Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
Leonardo DiCaprio and director Martin Scorsese team up again in this remake of the 2002 Hong Kong police thriller "Infernal Affairs." DiCaprio plays a Boston undercover cop who infiltrates a mob syndicate, while at the same time a criminal (Matt Damon) has infiltrated the police department as an informer. When it becomes clear to both the gangsters and the police that there's a mole in their midst, each informant must race to uncover the other's identity. It's two-thirds vintage Scorsese, with the last third lolling around in much soul-searching and pill-popping before reaching its climactic conclusion.
Jackass: Number Two
Johnny Knoxville and his original crew of reprobates return for another round of pointlessly dangerous, absurd and disgusting stunts. But because of the gleeful attitude and friendship shared amongst the guys, all of this bawdy, earthy, puerile humor is shamelessly entertaining.
Little Miss Sunshine
A hit at this year's Sundance Film Festival, the film follows an oddball clan as they race across three states to get their 7-year-old daughter to a beauty pageant. It's a sunny, prefabricated charmer of a comedy, looking at the all-American obsession with winning and chortles darkly.
The Science of Sleep
A shy graphic designer (Gael Garcia Bernal) caught in a mundane job at a Parisian calendar publisher has his dreams of a perfect life and true romance constantly invade his waking life. Blurring the boundary between fantasy and reality, whimsy and delusion, director Michel Gondry creates a hallucinatory love story with a twisted sense of humor.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
In this prequel to the 1974 horror classic, we find out how the psychopath murderer Leatherface was manipulated by a crooked sheriff into being a tool for evil. Most of the actors are reduced to meat puppets, leaving no justification for making this movie in the first place. There's no character, no commentary. Just slice and dice, pare and scare, scream and run, and fall and die.
NR - No Motion Picture Association of America rating.
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont
Dame Joan Plowright and newcomer Rupert Friend star in the story of a lonely London retiree who befriends a struggling young writer who conspires with her to act as her grandson.
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):
Viva Pedro!: Law of Desire
At 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Friday.
At 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
At 1 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17.
At 1 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18.
At 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Friday.
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Oct. 16.
All the President's Men
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Sunday.
At 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Oct. 19.
UH CINEMA SERIES
BEYOND OIL: ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOLUTIONS
Spalding Hall Auditorium, University of Hawaii at Manoa; $5 general and $3 UH students/faculty:
Clash of the Geniuses: Inventing the Impossible / Geothermal Energy: A Renewable Option
At 7 p.m. Oct. 18.