At The Movies
28 Weeks Later
In the sequel to the zombie hit "28 Days Later," it's now six months after the rage virus wiped out the British Isles. Even though the reconstruction of the country is beginning, the virus is still alive and, with no outward symptoms, deadlier than ever. Review on Page 27. (R)
Set in the fall of 1944, a thriller about the Dutch underground based on true events that span nearly a year around Rachel Stein, a young, pretty German Jewish woman who falls for a high-ranking Gestapo officer while seeking revenge for her family's murders. Review on Page 17. (R)
Three hapless guys are mistaken for Army Reservists, loaded onto a plane to Iraq and accidentally ejected somewhere over Mexico, where they save a rural village and become local heroes. Bill Engvall, D.J. Qualls and Larry the Cable Guy star. (PG-13)
Tom (Zach Braff), an underachiever, must take a job when his pregnant wife, Sofia (Amanda Peet), quits her high-pressure, big-salary career. Unfortunately, Tom gets fired and is forced to start working with his father-in-law in his wife's Ohio hometown. There he clashes with one of his work colleagues, the wheelchair-bound Chip (Jason Bateman), who still carries a torch for Sofia from their high school days. (PG-13)
A rebellious teenager is taken to her mother's Idaho farm, where she meets the formidable matriarch of the family. Lindsay Lohan, Felicity Huffman and Jane Fonda star as three generations of women who learn about the true ties that bind. Review on Page 18. (R)
Year of the Dog
A single 40-something woman embarks of a journey of personal transformation after the unexpected death of her beloved pet dog. Molly Shannon stars. Review on Page H16. (PG-13)
G - General audiences.
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.
PG - Parental guidance suggested.
Are We Done Yet?
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 (actually four of the same breed) is born in this wonderful family movie. After a stunt goes awry, a talented if overpampered Hollywood pooch finds himself the mascot of some hapless but well-meaning firefighters.
The Last Mimzy
Two siblings exhibit remarkably high intelligence and abilities when they discover a mysterious box filled with sophisticated toys from the future. The heart and core of the movie is rooted in 1940s science fiction values -- like being smart is good for you -- so this makes for an appealingly thoughtful family outing.
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. Even though the plot's subtext of needing family is hammered throughout, the movie is entertaining to look at and listen to, albeit on the level of a well-crafted video game.
PG-13 - Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under age 13.
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 schtick 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.
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.
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. It's a fully felt, decently crafted teen B-movie, plenty preposterous in places but alive to the vibrant miseries of being young and misunderstood.
Kickin' It Old Skool
In 1986, a 12-year-old boy ends up in a coma after a breakdancing accident at a 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. This movie is more amusing than it has a right to be, thanks to the surprising subtlety of Kennedy and the script itself.
Eric Bana stars as a high-stakes card player who sets out to win both the World Series of Poker and the affections of a Vegas lounge singer (Drew Barrymore). The romantic drama crackles with life here and there, but it's a curiously uninvolving tale, considering the director is Curtis Hanson, the man responsible for "L.A. Confidential" and "8 Mile."
A middle-class Indian family moves from Calcutta to New York in the late 1970s to start a new life. But it's a life-long balancing act to meld into a new world without forgetting the old, as the college-age son particularly 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.
Nicolas Cage stars as a man who can see into the future, an ability that makes him a target of the FBI, which wants him to help stop America's enemies before they strike. This supposed paranormal thriller, unfortunately, shows how a solid crew of filmmakers and performers can apply a big-studio budget to a good story and still have absolutely everything come out wrong.
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.
In this latest installment of the hugely successful franchise, the result is a bloated, uneven behemoth of a flick, with more villains, more supporting characters and more plot lines. Peter Parker/Spider-Man battles human foes and their supervillainous alter egos and goes to the dark side when a black goop from outer space attaches to him. People and threats come and go, and the narrative feels scattered.
Stomp the Yard
A troubled street dancer from Los Angeles attends a historically 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.
R - Restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
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 in this disheartening, headache-inducing barrage of a movie.
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. They needle and spar with each other and generally enjoy doing fantastically smart, zippy banter.
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 (like the director), does have a climactic and truly dazzling car chase.
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 reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes was published in 1972. Gere infuses Irving with a mastery of subterfuge and showmanship that makes this a crowd-pleasing comic caper.
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 with "Shaun of the Dead." They present a nice homage while tweaking the conventions and making jolly good fun of the genre's clichés. The movie packs a lot of hearty laughs and few real guffaws as a hotshot London cop (Pegg) adjusts to life in a seemingly tranquil country town.
Journey From the Fall
Writer-director Ham Tran achieves the impossible with this independently funded sprawling tearjerker about a war-splintered South Vietnamese family trying to survive the aftermath of the American withdrawal and then seek a new life in Southern California. The film depicts one family's endurance in sturdy, old-movie style, with sweeping camerawork, a monumental and occasionally intrusive orchestral score, gorgeous yet forbidding natural vistas and enough shocking tragedies, brazen escapes and crowd-pleasing acts of defiance to fuel several action-adventure pictures.
The Lives of Others
Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, 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 actress 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 marvel of controlled storytelling and mood, with brilliant performances.
Reign Over Me
Two former college teammates rekindle their friendship after one of them loses his family in the Sept. 11 attack. Adam Sandler has his meatiest -- and most maudlin -- screen role to date, and Don Cheadle brings his typical intelligence and nuance to what might have been a dry, straight-man role. He can elevate anyone's game, and here he and Sandler share a buoyant chemistry.
Jake Gyllenhaal stars in the true story of a serial killer who terrorized San Francisco and taunted police during the 1960s and '70s. Director David Fincher ("Se7en" and "Fight Club") has been know for his visual flair, but he tones things down here and also drags out the movie to close to three hours. "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):
Review on Page 26. (NR) At 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Monday, and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Shakespeare Behind Bars
At 1 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and May 17.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
The Dead Girl
Hawaii premiere. At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Friday and Monday.
The Neverending Story
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
The Story of the Weeping Camel
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Sunday.
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. May 17.