At the Movies
Away From Her
The comfortable life of an aging couple living in the country is disrupted by the wife's onset of Alzheimer's, something she realizes when she insists on going to a rest home. Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent star. Review in Thursday's Today section. (PG-13)
Ashley Judd plays a lonely waitress who rooms in a rundown motel, living in fear of her abusive, recently paroled ex-husband. But a tentative romance with an eccentric, nervous drifter turns paranoiac when he reveals that there are bugs crawling under his skin. Review on Page 27. (R)
Pirates ofthe Caribbean: At World's End 1/2
With Jack Sparrow trapped in Davy Jones' locker, Will and Elizabeth ally with Capt. Barbossa on a desperate quest to free him. But first, the trio must forge their way to exotic Singapore and confront a cunning Chinese pirate. Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush and Chow Yun-Fat star. Review on Page 4. (PG-13)
When a waitress in a cheery Southern diner discovers she's pregnant with her immature husband's baby, her dreams for a better life -- with the help of her delicious pies -- are squashed until a sympathetic and good-looking doctor arrives in town. Review on Page 18. (PG-13)
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.
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. This is a perfect family-friendly movie and even a bit of a tear-jerker.
Shrek the Third
Everybody's favorite green ogre is back, this time embarking on a quest to find a suitable replacement king (besides himself) to rule the land of Far Far Away. This final installment in this monster of an animated franchise still subverts the fairy tales we grew up with, but it's smothered in a suffocating sense of been-there, done-that. While it's visually more dazzling than ever, it lacks the zip of its predecessors.
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.
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.
Delta Farce 1/2
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. It's dopey Army comedy in the tradition of "Stripes," just with the sights aimed lower and blissfully unaware of its own monumental tastelessness.
In a contemporary variation on Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window," a young man (Shia LaBoeuf) 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.
The Invisible 1/2
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 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. This movie is more amusing than it has a right to be, thanks to the surprising subtlety of Kennedy's performance and the script itself.
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.
Nicolas Cage stars as a man who can see into the future, an ability that makes him a target of the FBI who 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.
Starring Sandra Bullock as a woman whose husband is killed in a car wreck one day but turns up alive and well the next, the movie plays out too tranquilly in the early going to build much suspense. It teases viewers with the promise of great twists or revelations, making the unsatisfying conclusion and epilogue all the more annoying. It's a shame, because Bullock breathes far more soul into the role than her superficially written character merits.
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.
Not only does Peter Parker/Spider-Man battle human foes and their supervillainous alter egos, but he also goes to the dark side when a black goop from outer space attaches to him and juggles two love interests as well. As people and threats come and go, the movie's narrative feels scattered.
Year of the Dog
A single 40-something woman embarks on a journey of personal transformation after the unexpected death of her beloved pet dog. What could've been a predictable romantic comedy is instead refreshing, thanks to writer-director Mike White's complex character study and Molly Shannon's delicate and poignant lead performance.
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, and so full of itself, it's hard to take seriously. The CGI effects and inventive violence are extremely cool at first, but the gimmicks wear off quickly and ultimately become overbearing, including the pounding musical score and profuse use of voice-over narrative.
28 Weeks Later 1/2
In this woeful 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. It's a strained story with an empty message, stiff and shallow characters, and overflowing with a barrage of turgid action sequences that look like inferior outtakes from the first movie.
Black Book 1/2
Set in the fall of 1944, this thriller about the Dutch underground is 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. Director Paul Verhoeven is as brazen as his heroine, played by a feisty Carice van Houten. He's made an insanely entertaining World War II melodrama, filled with his particular mix of mockery, cynicism and sadism.
The Condemned 1/2
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.
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 in a movie full of dysfunctional family clichés, a hodgepodge of histrionics that veer between high physical comedy and dark family drama that's painful to endure.
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.
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 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 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.
Reign Over Me 1/2
Two former college teammates rekindle their friendship after one of them loses his family in the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center. 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.
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. It's like two hours of watching a man hit himself in the face while yelling how tough he is.
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).
Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival
Feature and schedule on Page 23.
Isn't This a Time?
At 1 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and May 31.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771).
Oahu premiere. At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Friday and Sunday.
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Sunday.
For the Moment
Hawaii premiere. At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. May 31.