At The Movies
Black Snake Moan
Samuel L. Jackson is a God-fearing blues guitarist in a rural Tennessee town who tries to redeem the soul of the troubled town tramp (Christina Ricci) by chaining her to his radiator, justifying his unorthodox methods with quoted Scripture. Review on Page 28. (R)
Full of It
A teenager tells elaborate lies to impress the popular kids in his school, only to find himself in deeper trouble when his tall tales come true and he becomes the big man on campus. (PG-13)
The Lives of Others
Winner of the best-foreign-film Oscar, this German film takes place five years before the fall of the East German government. A surveillance agent, in hopes of boosting his career, finds his own life changing when he takes on a job collecting evidence against a playwright and his actress girlfriend. Review on Page 26. (R)
Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy play a group of middle-age friends who decide to rev up their routine suburban lives with a freewheeling motorcycle trip. Review on Page 27. (PG-13)
Jake Gyllenhaal stars in the true story of a serial killer who terrorized San Francisco and taunted police during the 1960s and '70s. David Fincher ("Se7en," "Fight Club" and "Panic Room") directs. Review on Page 29. (R)
Ioan Gruffudd portrays William Wilberforce, who led efforts in 18th-century England to end the slave trade in the British Empire. It's a heartfelt if occasionally stodgy tribute to the man.
The Astronaut Farmer
An astronaut is forced to leave NASA to save his family farm, but he continues to dream of space travel and sets out to build a rocket in his barn. Billy Bob Thornton and Virginia Madsen star in this charming and gorgeous-looking movie that touches a strain of modern American mythology.
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 magical beings. This is a perfect family-friendly movie and even a bit of a tear-jerker.
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.
Happily N'Ever After
When the wizard in charge of Fairy Tale World goes on holiday, Cinderella's wicked stepmother takes over. A riff on Cinderella with a gimmick could have worked in deft hands, but this animated fantasy comes off as diluted.
Night at the Museum 1/2
Ben Stiller stars as 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 is mainly a collection of slapstick vignettes and, despite some inventive visual effects, comes off as unimaginative.
Rocky Balboa 1/2
Sylvester Stallone's iconic boxer steps out of retirement. His new rival is played by boxer Antonio Tarver. The movie is a tired retread padded with flashbacks of the previous "Rocky" movies.
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 coach (Matthew McConaughey) rebuilt the team and the spirit of the surrounding community.
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).
Based on the real-life Robert Hanssen story, a young FBI analyst (Ryan Phillippe) must find proof that his boss (Chris Cooper) has sold secrets to the Soviet Union. The movie is less a biopic than a psychological thriller framed around the men's volatile relationship.
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.
Code Name: The Cleaner
Cedric the Entertainer plays an amnesiac janitor who is duped into thinking he's an undercover agent.
Jennifer Hudson, winner of the best-supporting-actress Oscar, 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.
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.
An unashamed heart-tugger, this movie is based on the true story of an idealistic teacher (Hilary Swank) who inspires her poor and ethnically diverse Southern California high school students.
Ghost Rider 1/2
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 transforms into a supernatural agent of vengeance.
Music and Lyrics
Hugh Grant plays an '80s pop singer who collabo-rates with a lyricist (Drew Barrymore) when he gets a chance at a come-back. The actors try hard with what they're given, but this is a formulaic romantic comedy.
After seeing his 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 comedy is filled with fat-bashing and ethnic stereotypes.
The Painted Veil
Based on the W. Somerset Maugham novel set in the 1920s, a young 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 and find an unexpected chance at redemption.
The Queen 1/2
Best-actress Oscar winner 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.
Stomp the Yard
A troubled street dancer from attends a historical African-American university, 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.
Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls 1/2
The popular filmmaker is back with the story of an attorney who falls in love with a struggling garage mechanic, the single father of three girls. While leads Idris Elba and Gabrielle Union have chemistry on screen, what they don't have is a filmmaker who knows yet how to use it to make movie magic.
An American film producer returns to her Russian homeland, where her mother's dead body has been found under bizarre circumstances. The only clue to what might have happened is an abandoned farm. With a "Lost"-meets-"The Haunting" plot, this movie limps into a nebulous kind of horror netherworld, and suffers unimaginative dialogue.
Mel Gibson applies the same breathtaking production values and attention to detail of his previous films with this epic set 600 years ago during the decline of the Mayan civilization.
Biopic about Edie Sedgwick, the trust fund girl who was transformed into the It Girl of Manhattan by pop artist Andy Warhol. While director George Hickenlooper easily apes the frenetic scene of the 1960s, and despite fabulous performances by Sienna Miller and Guy Pearce, the script falls short of a true exploration of Sedgwick's abbreviated life.
The origin of how Hannibal Lecter became the monster movie fans have embraced. Director Peter Webber does a great job of blending the pathos of Lecter's experiences with his descent into obsession and taste for blood.
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. Forest Whitaker portrays the mad dictator in a best-actor Oscar-winning performance.
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.
The Number 23
Jim Carrey stars as a man whose life unravels when he becomes obsessed with a pulp murder mystery that's all about the number. The thriller is a one-note affair, straining to build an engaging story. It has a lot of visual flair but little suspense and a predictable series of plot twists.
Guillermo del Toro's Oscar-winning film (for best art direction, cinematography and makeup) is set against the postwar repression of Franco's Spain. It's a fairy tale that centers on a lonely child who creates a world filled with fantastical creatures.
A TV news crew goes to war-torn Burundi, where they hope to capture, on tape and in a huge metal cage, a giant crocodile that has claimed more than 300 victims.
Reno 911!: Miami
Based on the popular Comedy Central show, Reno's "finest" are called in when a terrorist attack disrupts a national police convention they're attending. The end result is a formulaic, unfunny farce.
Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar's latest film is a generational story of three women: a mother who is desperately in love with a flawed man, a young mother carrying a large burden upon her shoulders and an illegal hairdresser whose shop is the meeting point for all the neighborhood gossips. The cast, led by Oscar nominee Penélope Cruz, is superb.
Art House | Revival
Doris Duke Theatre, Honolulu Academy Of Arts
900 S. Beretania St.; $7 general; $6 seniors, students and military; $5 Academy members (532-8768):
At 1 and 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Monday; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
Fujisankei Communications International 20th Anniversary Film Festival: Bayside Shakedown 2
At 7:30 p.m. Friday
At 7:30 p.m. Saturday
At 1 and 7:30 p.m. next Thursday.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Friday.
The Cave of the Yellow Dog
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday; and 2, 4 and 6 p.m. Monday.
Stranger Than Fiction
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Sunday.
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. next Thursday.
UH Ocean Planet
Spalding Hall Auditorium, University of Hawaii-Manoa; $5 general and $3 UH students, faculty and staff:
Volcanoes of the Deep Sea / Exotic Terrane: Geological Discoveries in the Pacific Northwest
At 5 p.m. Sunday.
Lords of the Arctic / In Hot Water
At 7 p.m. next Thursday.