At The Movies
After Dark Horrorfest
A mini-festival of brand-new gore 'n' scare flicks, including "Wicked Little Thing" (mother and daughters move to a remote mountain home near an old mine, the site of an early 20th century tragedy where many children were buried alive), "The Hamiltons" (recently orphaned siblings, seemingly normal, captured by one of their own's video camera) plus "Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horrors." (R and NR)
Casino Royale 1/2
Daniel Craig takes over the iconic role of James Bond, in a movie about Agent 007's very first mission. Feature on Page 10; review on Page 12 (PG-13).
Fast Food Nation
Richard Linklater directs a fictionalized thriller inspired by Eric Schlosser's bestselling nonfiction exposé of fast food corporations. Greg Kinnear, Catalina Sandino Moreno and Wilmer Valderrama star. Review on Thursday's Entertainment page. (R)
Happy Feet 1/2
This anticipated CG-animated movie features a young penguin named Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood), searching for his soul mate. He is unfortunately the worst singer around ... but, boy, can he tap dance! Is that enough to win him a love? Review on Page 27. (G)
Let's Go to Prison
A career criminal (Dax Shepard) finds himself sharing a prison cell with the son (Will Arnett) of the judge who sentenced him. He tries to make sure that his new buddy gets the full in-prison treatment, but his plans of sweet revenge don't go as planned. (R)
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
Suiting up again as the title character, Tim Allen seems bored with his own franchise. This new sequel centers mainly on St. Nick's rivalry with Jack Frost (Martin Short), who plans to turn the North Pole into a tacky theme park. The movie panders to every demographic with a fail-safe yuletide mix of puns, slapstick and platitudes.
Facing the Giants
A failing high school football coach finds that, in order to succeed, he must convince his team that there's more to sports than fame and glory in this religious tale of courage on the gridiron and the power of God's word. The low-budget movie is the brainchild of Georgia Baptist ministers Alex and Stephen Kendrick and the cast is made up of church members. It's an inspiring film made with humor and heart.
A pampered British rat (voiced by Hugh Jackman) finds himself in an elaborate sewer-city recreation of a miniature London filled with rats, toads and slugs of varying caste. His attempt to return to the surface world with a self-sufficiend lady rat (Kate Winslet) is blocked by a royalist toad and his hench-rats. This great-looking CGI movie (with the help of the Aardman studio of "Wallace and Gromit" fame) is only hampered by a constant hyperkinetic pace.
Mark Wahlberg takes on the inspiring role of real-life zero-to-hero Vince Papale, a 30-year-old substitute teacher and part-time bartender who was plucked out of obscurity at an open tryout for the Philadelphia Eagles and won a spot on the team in 1976 as a wide receiver. The period detail is uncanny and the performances are solid all around.
A rebel in trouble with the law becomes the dance partner of a beautiful ballet student at a prestigious performing arts school in Baltimore. It's a thoroughly formulaic but mildly enjoyable dance movie.
All the King's Men
Sean Penn plays a corrupt Southern politician in this new adaptation of Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, loosely based on the life of Louisiana Gov. Huey Long. Despite the use of a classic novel and Penn's powerful acting, director-writer Steve Zillian's film translation is uninspiring.
A Good Year
The "Gladiator" team of actor Russell Crowe and director Ridley Scott reunite for a gentle pastoral comedy. A soulless London banker travels to Provence following the death of his beloved uncle who raised him there on his sprawling vineyard. The movie often feels desperately strained in its whimsy, and as it morphs from travelogue to slapsticky French farce to shameless chick flick, it grow nauseating in its sickly sweet romantic dialogue -- in two languages, no less.
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.
Man of the YearH 1/2
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. Director Barry Levinson and his cast deliver well enough to keep the movie in the race.
Marie Antoinette 1/2
Kirsten Dunst plays the title role of the young queen of 18th-century France who became a symbol for the wanton extravagance of the monarchy that incited a revolution. Director Sofia Coppola has created a mash-up of classical opera and early-'80s New Wave, knowing self-reference and careless anachronism, as the silly, self-pitying film staggers from moment to mood only to finally end on the way to the guillotine.
The Marine 1/2
WWE star John Cena plays a former jarhead back from Iraq who finds himself returning to action stateside when his wife is kidnapped by a murderous gang led by a merciless criminal. In keeping with the orchestrated mayhem of pro wrestling, there is much noise and violence, and little else.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom reprise their roles in this swashbuckling sequel. This time, Capt. Jack Sparrow discovers he owes a bloody debt to the legendary Davy Jones. It's a darker tale than the first, but it's still a rollicking, well-paced yarn.
A mystery-drama about the rivalry between two turn-of-the-20th-century stage magicians, one a brilliant showman (Hugh Jackman), the other a brilliant technician (Christian Bale), and the beautiful assistant (Scarlett Johansson) they both desire. By film's end, the notion of a rational and satisfying climax has hopelessly disappeared in a silly spiral of one-upmanship and a barrage of half-baked revelations that won't make you marvel so much as shrug and forget about them.
The Queen 1/2
Helen Mirren gives an Oscar-worthy performance as Queen Elizabeth II during a turning point in recent British history, surrounding the tragic death of Princess Diana. Mirren gives the queen a restrained soulfulness and sense of duty that reinvents her.
The Return 1/2
Stronger on spooky atmosphere than narrative sense, this ghost story stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as a troubled young woman travelling across the Midwest who discovers that she may be reincarnated and that supernatural forces are helping her avenge her own murder in a past life.
Stranger Than Fiction
Will Ferrell plays a confused man who discovers that an unseen female narrator is chronicling the events of his life in a voice only he can hear. A literature professor (Dustin Hoffman) helps him figure out that he's gotten caught up in the latest work-in-progress of a British novelist (Emma Thompson). This movie is a sweetly engaging concoction, refreshing for its ability to create tension by keeping the audience guessing whether it's going to wind up as tragedy or comedy. And Ferrell gives his best performance on screen yet.
Alejandro González Iñárritu's latest film, with a cast featuring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Gael García Bernal, is a global testament to the curiously incommunicative species that is man, as four separate stories from around the world slowly reveal their interconnected-ness. But the film struggles to be as true as it is portentous. The sight of so many different characters bursting into tears brings on your own catharsis or leaves you feeling as if the movie's doing the weeping for you.
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan 1/2
British satirist Sacha Baron Cohen portrays an absurdly clueless Eastern European "journalist" on a real-life, culture-clashing cross-country trip across the United States. The transgressive comedy is an instant classic -- crude, confrontational and stunningly sick -- as Cohen stays in character as he interacts with real people. He has inflammatory fun with hypocrites and zealots on both sides of the political spectrum.
Action star Jason Statham plays a hitman who wakes up one morning and finds himself juiced with a poison that'll stop his heart unless he can keep his adrenaline extremely high. The filmmakers play up the manic, pointless rage for a gleefully violent romp, stomping on anything and everything along the way.
Leonardo DiCaprio and director Martin Scorsese team up again in this remake of the 2002 Hong Kong police thriller "Infernal Affairs." Caprio 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.
Flags of Our Fathers
Clint Eastwood directs this astounding ensemble drama about the six soldiers who planted a U.S. flag atop the island of Iwo Jima in the midst of World War II's bloodiest Pacific campaigns. The inspiring photo capturing that moment became a symbol of victory to the nation and made instant celebrities of the soldiers. It's a powerful, harrowing and disturbing film.
Harsh Times 1/2
Christian Bale stars as an ex-Army Ranger on a destructive search for thrills through the streets of South Central Los Angeles. Writer-director David Ayer boils down his successful violence-and-machismo formula to its bare minimum, ending up with characters the audience doesn't care about or find interesting.
Jackass Number Two 1/2
Johnny Knoxville and his crew of reprobates return for another round of pointlessly dangerous and disgusting stunts. But because of the gleeful attitude of the guys, the puerile humor is shamelessly entertaining.
The Last Kiss
Zach Braff plays a young man struggling with commitment. He knows his pregnant girlfriend is "the one," yet he's tempted by a younger, flirtatious beauty. Though well-acted and filmed, depending where you are in your own journey through life, this film will either seem deep and illuminating, or petty, indulgent and annoying.
Little Miss Sunshine
This hit indie 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.
Running with Scissors
Director Ryan Murphy's adaptation of Augusten Burroughs' dark if charming memoir is a black comedy riddled with problems. While it's funny in spots and the 1970s period setting is well-rendered, the movie amounts to a series of increasingly bizarre episodes featuring the teen protagonist and the unstable people that surround him. Annette Bening, Brian Cox and Joseph Cross head the cast.
This latest installment in the horror franchise, compared to its more resourceful predecessors, is just a hodgepodge of gruesome moments and a weird love story that's even more cringe-inducing than the gory death scenes. The original concept of a serial killer targeting people who are already self-destructive is lost amid the new movie's messy storytelling.
Originally titled "Sione's Wedding," the movie's about a group of Samoan emigre buddies in Auckland, New Zealand, who are challenged to find proper girlfriends to bring as dates to a wedding. What ensues is remarkably funny, thanks to the first-rate comedy of members of the comic troupe Naked Samoans.
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):
At 4 p.m. Friday.
Global Lens Film Festival: Stolen Life
At 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21.
In the Battlefields
At 1 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 22.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
March of the Penguins
At 1, 3 and 5 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
The Best of Youth
Part I at 7 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday; Part II at 7 p.m. Saturday and 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Nov. 20.
Chicken and Duck Talk
At 6 and 8 p.m. Nov. 23.