At The Movies
Ryan Gosling plays a hotshot assistant district attorney prosecuting a man (Anthony Hopkins) who readily admits to murdering his wife. Review on Page 29. (R)
In this action spoof, a top London cop is transferred to a sleepy, rural burg, but the seemingly peaceful village is soon rocked by a series of grisly "accidents." Review on Page 27. (R)
In the Land of Women 1/2
A brokenhearted young man moves in to care for his grandmother and stumbles into the lives of the family across the street, a mother and her two daughters. Review on Page 18. (PG-13)
Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale play a couple who check into a motel and discover hidden cameras watching them. Review on Page 17. (R)
Meet the Robinsons
In this Disney animated movie, a boy genius creates a machine to recover the past and embarks on an amazing adventure with his future family. While the script is strictly two-dimensional, the digital 3-D effects are pretty spectacular. The movie has a beautifully retro art deco aesthetic, a sci-fi vision of the future as it might have been imagined during the 1950s.
Ioan Gruffudd portrays William Wilberforce, who led efforts as a member of Parliament in 18th century England to end slavery and the slave trade in the British empire. It's a heartfelt if occasionally stodgy tribute to the man.
Are We Done Yet? 1/2
Ice Cube and Nia Long return in the sequel to the popular "Are We There Yet?" Nick and his ever-growing family move out to the Oregon countryside and have an adventure rebuilding their dream Victorian house. No cleverness was exerted on this movie, as it's more of an endurance test than a comedy.
A dog star is born in this wonderful new family movie. After a stunt goes awry, an overpampered Hollywood pooch finds himself with some hapless but well-meaning firefighters.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back on the big screen, this time in CGI animation. The team reunites when tech-industrialist Max Winters amasses an army of ancient monsters apparently to take over the world. Even though the plot's subtext of the need of family is hammered throughout, the movie is consistently entertaining to look at and listen to, albeit on the level of a well-crafted video game.
Blades of Glory
Will Ferrell and Jon Heder star as rival figure skaters, banned and disgraced from competition, who, in an attempt to make their return years later, team up to perform as the first male-male pair in the sport. There's enough material here for a great little "Saturday Night Live" sketch, but the trouble is there's an extra 80 minutes or so of downtime in which the cast has to repeat their characters' shallow shtick again and again.
In a contemporary variation on Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window," a young man (Shia LaBeouf) under house arrest becomes a voyeur from his window and suspects that one of his neighbors is a serial killer. This decent thriller is far smarter than most big studio flicks with teen protagonists, and even though it's completely predictable, LaBeouf comes off as a sturdy leading man.
Jennifer Hudson, winner of the best supporting actress Oscar, walks away with this big, splashy dazzler of a movie, based on the 1981 Broadway musical about the rise of a Supremes-style vocal trio called the Dreamettes. Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy and Beyoncé Knowles co-star.
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 dad. Blaze is transformed into a supernatural agent of vengeance. The movie is just different enough from other superhero fare to be worth a look, but it's not a particularly stirring genre entry. Cage, however, does put in an inspired and goofy performance here.
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, this is a formulaic romantic comedy.
A middle-class Indian family moves from Calcutta to New York in the late 1970s to start a new life, but it's a lifelong balancing act to meld into a new world without forgetting the old, as the college-age son in particular finds out. Director Mira Nair has created a gentle and compassionate variation on the often-told immigrant movie theme and Kal Penn puts in a crackling star performance as the conflicted son.
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.
Producer and auto enthusiast Daniel Sadek parades his personal collection of rare Porsches, Ferraris and Lamborghinis in this plotless mash-up of a movie with little to offer beyond the novelty of the expensive European cruisers on display. There's shifty businessmen, mob bosses, outlaw races and the requisite bikini car wash scene.
Stomp the Yard
A troubled street dancer from Los Angeles attends a historic black 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.
Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls 1/2
The popular black filmmaker 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. While leads Gabrielle Union and Idris Elba have chemistry on screen, they don't have a director who knows yet how to use either to make real movie magic.
Director Zack Snyder painstakingly re-creates the panels from Frank Miller's graphic novel about the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, in which 300 Spartans fought off a much larger Persian army. But the movie is so over-the-top it's laughable -- so self-serious, it's hard to take seriously. The CGI effects and inventive violence are extremely cool at first, but the gimmicks wears off quickly and ultimately becomes overbearing, including the pounding music score and profuse use of voice-over narrative.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters
It's a barely-there movie version of the barely dynamic trio from Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. Not only does it reveal the mysterious origins of Master Shake, Frylock and Meatwad, but it also has them do battle with a diabolical exercise machine that threatens the balance of galactic peace. Like the late-night cartoon, this is best watched while under the influence.
Black Snake Moan 1/2
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. Craig Brewer's Southern-fried Gothic tale is filled with such incendiary topics as nymphomania, interracial sex and the iconography of black male sexual power, but the film never catches fire.
Dead Silence 1/2
The killer ventriloquist dummy is back in this horror film that reunites the creators of "Saw." While a more credible, less grisly act of filmmaking than its grimy predecessor, it's also a less compelling exercise. The revenge story is told through rushed montages that cheapen the sensation of discovery and leave the craving for shock unfulfilled.
First Snow 1/2
Guy Pearce plays a cocky, smooth-talking salesman whose life slowly unwinds even though a roadside soothsayer assures him a windfall is on its way. It's a slow, moderately involving descent into the inevitable, with Pearce gamely trying to figure what's going on.
Longtime friends Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino have made an epic homage to '70s B-movie kitsch by each writing and directing an entire feature-length film in this double bill complete with fake trailers. Rodriguez's zombie flick "Planet Terror" is a total blast and Tarantino's "Death Proof," while overly verbose (like the director), does have a climactic and truly dazzling car chase.
The origin of how 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.
Richard Gere is ideally cast as the writer Clifford Irving, who nearly pulled off one of the most audacious media scams in history when his bogus autobiography of billionaire Howard Hughes was published in 1972. Gere infuses Irving with a mastery of subterfuge and showmanship that makes this a crowd-pleasing caper.
The Lives of Others
Winner of the best foreign film Oscar, the 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 girlfriend. This is a miracle of a film that manages to be both subtle and intense at once. It's a political thriller and a portrait of unexpected humanity, with brilliant performances.
A young Norse warrior raised by Native Americans wages a personal war to stop the invading Vikings' trail of destruction. The movie is part "Apocalypto" and part "300," but with the commercial misfortune of being neither. What the movie lacks in developed characters, anthropological rigor and dialogue, it makes up for in two grueling action sequences. That's unfortunate in an hour-and-a-half movie that feels longer.
When an investigative reporter learns that her friend's murder might be connected to a powerful advertising executive, she goes undercover to find out the truth, only to discover that she isn't the only one changing identities. Halle Berry and Bruce Willis star in this thriller that collapses in a heap of plot twists that are annoyingly implausible.
The Reaping 1/2
Hilary Swank stars as a debunker of religious phenomena who investigates what looks like Biblical plagues befalling a small Louisiana town. Even though Swank does a solid job, the movie, doesn't have a prayer due to hackneyed and sloppy writing.
Mark Wahlberg stars as a former Marine Corps sniper who is lured out of retirement only to be double-crossed in a government conspiracy. Antoine Fuqua's silly action flick revels in masculine clichés and over-the-top braggadocio.
Slow Burn 1/2
Ray Liotta plays a district attorney who untangles the truth behind a murder involving a beautiful assistant D.A., a record store clerk and a powerful gang lord. LL Cool J, Jolene Blalock, Mekhi Phifer and Taye Diggs co-star. Review on Page 28.
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):
Neil Young: Heart of Gold
At 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Monday, and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
At 1 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and April 26.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended (735-8771):
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Friday.
The History Boys
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
Hawaii premiere. At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Sunday.
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Monday.
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. April 26.