At The Movies
A group of death row inmates compete in a deadly game on an abandoned island, where the surviving winner will avoid execution. Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vinnie Jones star. Review on Page 26. (R)
Attacked and left for dead, a young man's spirit finds himself trapped in limbo -- not quite dead, but invisible to the living. His spirit can only watch as his mother and the police search frantically for him, unaware that he is only hours away from truly perishing. (PG-13)
Journey From the Fall
A former Vietnamese political prisoner tries to reunite with his family that has relocated to Southern California, six years after their escape from their homeland. Ham Tran directs this heartfelt independent feature that was financed in its entirety by donations from the Vietnamese-American community. (R)
Kickin' It Old Skool
In 1986, a 12-year-old boy ends up in a coma after a breakdancing accident at a school talent contest. But he wakes up 20 years later as a man-child, played by Jamie Kennedy. When his parents' yogurt store faces closure, the dancer attempts to revive his career by entering a top-dollar competition with the help of his old dance crew, who have all long left breakin' behind them. (PG-13)
Nicolas Cage stars as a man who can see into the future, an ability that makes him a target of the FBI who want him to help stop America's enemies before they strike. But what's more important to him: saving his country or saving the love of his life (Jessica Biel)? (PG-13)
Meet the Robinsons
A boy genius creates a machine to recover the past and embarks on an adventure with his future family. While the script is strictly two-dimensional, the digital 3-D effects are pretty spectacular. The movie has 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.
Are We Done Yet? 1/2
Ice Cube and Nia Long return in the sequel to "Are We There Yet?" Nick and his growing family move to the countryside and have an adventure rebuilding their dream house. No cleverness was exerted on this movie; it's more endurance test than comedy.
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 to apparently take over the world. 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. There's enough material here for a great "Saturday Night Live" sketch, but there's an extra 80 minutes of downtime in which the cast has to repeat the shallow schtick again and again.
In a contemporary variation on Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window," a man (Shia LaBeouf) under house arrest becomes a voyeur 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 though it's 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. 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.
In the Land of Women
A brokenhearted young man moves in to care for his grandmother and stumbles into the lives of the family across the street. Writer-director Jonathan Kasdan, unfortunately, bangs the audience over the head with sentimental platitudes and leaves nothing open for interpretation.
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. 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. Director Mira Nair has created a compassionate variation on the often-told immigrant theme and Kal Penn puts in a star performance as the conflicted son.
After his strong and nuanced acting in "Dreamgirls," Eddie Murphy regresses to "Nutty Professor" latex, slathering himself in makeup to play a nebbish, his obese bride and a cartoonish Chinese man. The mutant romantic comedy is filled with fat-bashing and ethnic stereotypes. Every character is either overplayed or underwritten.
Redline 1/2 star
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.
Stomp the Yard
A street dancer attends a historical black 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 nationals. 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 mechanic, the single dad to three daughters. While leads Gabrielle Union and Idris Elba have chemistry on screen, what they don't have is a director who knows yet how 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 self-serious, it's hard to take seriously. The CGI effects and inventive violence are cool at first, but the gimmicks wears off quickly.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters 1/2
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 they do battle with a diabolical exercise machine that threatens the balance of galactic peace.
Black Snake Moan 1/2
Samuel L. Jackson is a God-fearing blues guitarist in a rural town who tries to redeem the soul of the troubled town tramp (Christina Ricci) by chaining her to his radiator and quoting Scripture. Craig Brewer's Southern-fried Gothic tale is filled with incendiary topics such as nymphomania and interracial sex, but the film never catches fire.
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 descent into the inevitable, with Pearce gamely trying to figure what's going on.
Ryan Gosling plays a hotshot assistant district attorney prosecuting a man (Anthony Hopkins) who readily admits to murdering his wife in this suspenseful and darkly stylish movie. Whenever the two actors share screen time together, it's exhilarating.
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 actioner "Death Proof," while overly verbose, does have a truly dazzling car chase.
The origin of how Hannibal Lecter became the monster movie fans have embraced. Director Peter Webber does a great job of blending the drama and pathos of Lecter's experiences with his descent. 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 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.
The guys from "Shaun of the Dead" -- Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost -- do for buddy-cop action tales what they did for zombie flicks on "Shaun of the Dead." They present a nice homage while tweaking the conventions and making jolly good fun of the genre's clichés.
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, 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 the same time. It's a political thriller but also a portrait of unexpected humanity.
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.
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.
The Reaping 1/2
Hilary Swank stars as a debunker of religious phenomena who investigates what looks like biblical plagues befalling a Louisiana town. Even though Swank does a solid job, the movie, doesn't have a prayer due to sloppy writing.
Mark Wahlberg stars as a former Marine Corps sniper who is lured out of retirement only to be double-crossed. Antoine Fuqua's silly action flick revels in masculine clichés and over-the-top braggadocio.
Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale star as a couple who wind up at a middle-of-nowhere motel. They find graphic snuff movies on the TV set and find out that they were shot with hidden cameras right in their rundown room.
Jake Gyllenhaal stars in the true story of a serial killer who terrorized San Francisco and taunted police during the 1960s and '70s. "Zodiac" certainly has its moments, but it's no masterpiece.
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):
Avenue Montaigne 1/2
Review on Page 27. (PG-13) At 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and 7:30 p.m. Monday.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Friday.
The Last King of Scotland
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Sunday and May 3.
Sailor of the King (aka Brown on Resolution)
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Monday.
UH Cinema Series
Spalding Hall Auditorium, University of Hawaii-Manoa; $5 general and $3 UH students, faculty and staff:
10 Questions for the Dalai Lama
At 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (special $10 admission for this film only).
Climate on the Edge / People of the Ice
At 5 p.m. Sunday.