At The Movies
A young FBI analyst (Ryan Phillippe) must find proof that his boss (Chris Cooper) has been selling secrets to the Soviet Union. Review on Page 26. (PG-13)
Bridge to Terabithia
An 11-year old boy has his life changed forever when he befriends the tomboy class outsider. Together, they create an imaginary kingdom filled with ghosts, trolls and other magical beings. Review on Page 18. (PG)
Biopic about Edie Sedgwick, the beautiful 1960s trust fund girl who was transformed into a "superstar" by pop artist and New York scenemaker Andy Warhol. Sienna Miller, Guy Pearse and Hayden Christensen star. Review in Thursday's Today section. (R)
Nicolas Cage stars in this Marvel Comics film adaptation about a motorcycle stuntman, Johnny Blaze, who sells his soul to save his girlfriend. When the bargain goes sour and the girl isn't saved, Blaze is transformed into a supernatural agent of vengeance. (PG-13)
Based on the best-selling book series about a young man thrust into an incredible world of magic and power through which he and his hatchling dragon must navigate. The movie works as an unintended comedy, filled with awful acting and long-winded exposition.
Flushed Away 1/2
A pampered British rat (voiced by Hugh Jackman) finds himself in an elaborate sewer-city re-creation of a miniature London filled with rats, toads and slugs of varying caste. His attempt to return to the surface world with a self-sufficient lady rat (Kate Winslet) is blocked by a royalist toad and his hench-rats. This great-looking CGI movie (done with the help of the Aardman studio of "Wallace and Gromit" fame) is hampered only by a constant hyperkinetic pace.
Night at the Museum 1/2
Ben Stiller stars in the story of a night watchman dealing with dinosaur skeletons, statues and wax figures that come to life at a museum. Stretched to greater length than its thin idea merits, the movie mainly is a collection of slapstick vignettes and, despite some occasionally inventive visual effects, comes off as unimaginative and annoying.
A rascally gang of kids, traveling alone, run wild while stranded at an airport during a Christmas Eve blizzard. The movie pretty much swipes the formulas from every holiday-grouch story ever written, from "A Christmas Carol" to "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."
We Are Marshall
Based on the true story of a tragic plane crash that decimated a West Virginia university's football program in 1970 and how a young coach (Matthew McConaughey) rebuilt the team and rejuvenated the spirit of the surrounding community. More than a football movie, its theme is not about winning or losing, but finding the strength to move on in spite of tragedy.
Because I Said So
Diane Keaton's acting talents are wasted in this shrill romantic comedy about an overbearing mother who secretly places an Internet personal ad for her daughter (Mandy Moore). The movie isn't awful, just pandering and generic.
Casino Royale 1/2
Daniel Craig takes over the iconic role of James Bond in a movie about the secret agent's first mission. The action scenes are riveting, clever and well-choreographed, with the movie's appeal laying much heavier on Bond as a person, so it's no surprise that Craig delivers one of the finer performances as 007 in the long history of the franchise.
Code Name: The Cleaner
Cedric the Entertainer plays an amnesiac janitor who is duped into thinking he's an undercover agent and is subconsciously carrying a dangerous secret that can link the FBI with an arms scandal. Cedric, unfortunately, doesn't have a big enough persona to fill a film, and the one-note character cramps his style. He's not particularly helped by the stale script that listlessly recycles action-comedy clichés.
Former "American Idol" contestant Jennifer Hudson absolutely walks away with this big, splashy dazzler of a picture, based on the 1981 Broadway musical about the rise of a Supremes-style vocal trio called the Dreamettes. The movie is a multiple Oscar nominee, including for best supporting actor and actress (Eddie Murphy and Hudson) and best original song three times over.
Epic Movie 1/2
Attempting to compensate for its own lack of originality and humor, this flick spoofs recent summer movies, a few MTV shows and, of course, Paris Hilton. With the flimsiest of story lines, the movie is more spliced-together mimicry.
The American debut of Hong Kong horror directors the Pang brothers is a stylish but almost completely generic thriller. A family moves into an old, run-down farm only to encounter ominous signs that something is very wrong with their new home, especially after they hire a farmhand (a ridiculous performance by John Corbett).
Music and Lyrics
Hugh Grant plays a washed-up '80s pop singer who collaborates with a lyricist (Drew Barrymore) when he gets a chance at a comeback. While it has its moments -- and the lead actors try their best with what they're given -- this is a formulaic romantic comedy.
After seeing his strong and nuanced acting in "Dreamgirls," Eddie Murphy regresses to "Nutty Professor" latex, slathering himself in makeup to play a nebbish, his morbidly obese bride and a cartoonish Chinese man. The mutant romantic comedy is filled with fat-bashing and ethnic stereotypes. Every character, heroes and antagonists alike, is either overplayed or underwritten.
The Painted Veil
Based on the W. Somerset Maugham novel set in the 1920s, a young English couple -- a conservative doctor (Edward Norton) and a restless society girl (Naomi Watts) -- marry hastily and relocate to Hong Kong. There they betray each other easily and find an unexpected chance at redemption and happiness while on a journey into the heart of ancient China. Excellent performances all around in this beautifully designed film entirely shot in China.
The Queen 1/2
Oscar nominee Helen Mirren gives a strong performance as Queen Elizabeth II, here shown during the time of the tragic death of Princess Diana. Mirren gives the role a restrained soulfulness and sense of duty that reinvents the monarch.
Stomp the Yard
A troubled street dancer from Los Angeles attends a historical African-American university in Atlanta, where he joins a struggling fraternity and learns the true meaning of brotherhood when he tries to help the school's step team win the national championship. The rhythmic step dancing is infectious in this otherwise formulaic underdog flick -- so much so you'll want to see more of it and less of a plot.
Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls
The popular moviemaker is back with the story of two worlds colliding when a successful attorney falls in love with a struggling garage mechanic, the single father of three daughters.
A drama based on the life of Jesse James Hollywood, the youngest man to ever be on the FBI's most wanted list. It's a tumble into a world of drugs, depravity and murder, and the movies carries a strikingly easygoing vibe as it plunges into the underworld. Emile Hirsch and Justin Timberlake star.
Mel Gibson applies the same breathtaking production values and attention to detail of his previous films with this epic adventure set 600 years ago during the decline of the Mayan civilization. The extreme blood and gore undermine a simple, stirring story of family devotion as a man races from vile captors to return home and rescue his pregnant wife and their son.
In telling the story of the tragic assassination of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 at Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel, writer-director Emilio Estevez has created a large group of disparate fictional characters who populate the hotel that fateful evening. It's an innovative approach with lofty ambitions, but that's the movie's downfall. So many people come and go that their separate stories feel rushed and superficial.
The Good German
Director Steven Soderbergh decided to film this thriller, set in the amoral wasteland of 1945 Berlin, as if he were literally making a Warner Bros. movie of that year. George Clooney plays a U.S. journalist in search of a lost love (Cate Blanchett). In the process, he trips over a corpse, a conspiracy and the death of his idealism. There's a great movie somewhere here, but it's buried under 3 tons of run-amok formalism.
The origin of how Dr. Hannibal Lecter became the monster millions of movie fans have embraced. Director Peter Webber does a great job of blending the drama and pathos of Lecter's experiences with his descent into obsession and taste for blood. It may not be perfect as a prequel or a stand-alone film, but it's among the most sympathetic serial-killer movies ever made.
The Last King of Scotland
A Scottish doctor on a medical mission becomes irreversibly entangled with one of the world's most barbaric figures, Ugandan President Idi Amin, who picks the doctor as his personal physician and closest confidante. Forest Whitaker portrays the mad dictator in an Oscar-nominated performance, an inspired study in commotion.
Letters from Iwo Jima
The bookend to Clint Eastwood's masterful "Flags of Our Fathers." This time, the story of the battle of Iwo Jima is told from the perspective of the Japanese. Compared to "Flags," this smaller, meditative film is more elegaic, and Eastwood's real triumph is that the incipient mawkishness that could've been found in the voices of the dead is tamped down in favor of ruefully observed realism. (Eastwood is a best director Oscar nominee for this film, itself nominated for best picture and original screenplay.)
Little Children 1/2
In a suburban town full of "perfect" parents devoted to rearing their children for Ivy League futures, Sarah, a stay-at-home mom has an affair with Brad, an ex-jock, stay-at-home dad. With strong direction by Todd Field ("In the Bedroom"), the film also boasts two Oscar-nominated performances by Kate Winslet and Jackie Earle Haley.
Notes on a Scandal
Oscar nominees Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett star as two British public school teachers -- one a self-professed "old battle-ax," the other a fresh-faced art instructor -- who share the secret of an illicit affair with a student. It's a perfectly executed movie whose working motto is keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
Guillermo del Toro's multiple Oscar-nominated film is set against the postwar repression of Franco's Spain. It's a fairy tale that centers on a lonely and dreamy child, who creates a world filled with fantastical creatures and secret destinies. Del Toro has crafted a terrifying and visually wondrous masterpiece, blending fantasy and gloomy drama into one of the most magical films in recent memory.
Smokin' Aces 1/2
A rogues' gallery of characters collide with the FBI when a Vegas mob boss takes out a hefty contract on a magician's head. The movie's utterly absurd and weirdly boring. It's all attitude and firepower.
Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar's latest film is a generational story of three women -- a good mother who is desperately in love with a man who is far from being a saint, a young mother carrying a hard life upon her shoulders and an illegal hairdresser whose shop is the meeting point for all the neighborhood gossips. Penélope Cruz, who plays the young mother, is a best actress Oscar nominee.
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).
79th Annual Academy Award Nominated Short Films
See reviews on Pages 16 and 17. (NR) Animated films at 1 and 7:30 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Sunday and Wednesday, and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Live action films at 4 p.m. Friday, 7:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, and 1 p.m. Tuesday and Feb. 22.
Iraq in Fragments
Oscar nominee for best documentary. Review on Friday's Entertainment page. (NR) At 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 4 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
An Unreasonable Man
At 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22.MOVIE MUSEUM 3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
With best actor Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling. At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Friday.
The Cave of the Yellow Dog
Review on Page 27. At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
Kekexili: Mountain Patrol
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Sunday.
An Inconvenient Truth
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Monday.
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Feb. 22.
UH OCEAN PLANET
Spalding Hall Auditorium, University of Hawaii-Manoa; $5 general and $3 UH students, faculty and staff:
Lost Jewel of the Atlantic
At 7 p.m. Feb. 22.