At The Movies
Horror specialists After Dark Films present a tale of a kidnapped fashion model (Elisha Cuthbert) and her chauffeur who are held hostage, chained to each other in a cellar, and terrorized by a serial killer. (R)
You Kill Me 1/2
An East Coast hit man messes up an assignment due to his drinking, so he's sent to San Francisco to clean up his act. But when an outside gang threatens his mob family, he has to go back, and gets an unexpected assist from a new love he met in S.F. while working in a mortuary. Ben Kingsley and Téa Leoni star. Review on Page 27. (R)
The latest Pixar film directed by Brad Bird ("The Incredibles") is a visual feast for the eyes. Children will probably enjoy watching the adventures of a plucky Parisian rat who leaves the colony to pursue his dream of becoming a gourmet chef. But the animation is so lush and intricately detailed that it seems to have been tailored more to grown-up tastes and sensibilities.
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 to the Oregon countryside and have an adventure rebuilding their dream house. No cleverness was exerted on this movie, as it's more of an endurance test than a comedy.
Evan Almighty 1/2
Steve Carell stars in the tale of a workaholic politician chosen by God (a returning Morgan Freeman from "Bruce Almighty") to build a flood-proof ark, simply because He likes Evan's "change the world" ethos. Despite shoddy special effects, the movie's surprisingly likable, with something for both kids and adults.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
The sequel finds the lovably dysfunctional quartet battling an alien foe who assists a planet-eating entity called Galactus. Compared to its predecessor, this latest installment, although not as silly, isn't particularly thrilling. The visual effects are decent and the action sequences are just adequate.
In this animated movie, a documentary crew follows Cody Maverick, a young penguin with a gift and passion for surfing, as he enters his first pro competition. The faux-documentary angle and animation are pretty nifty, and the voice acting is more nuanced than in most animated films, with much of the charm deriving from the relationship between Cody and his mentor, voiced by Shia LaBeouf and Jeff Bridges, respectively.
John Cusack stars as a jaded ghost-hunting author who stays the night in a haunted New York hotel room. Adapted from a Stephen King short story, this movie is good and scary during its first hour, but then director Mikael Hafstrom fails to reconcile reality and delusion. But Cusack delivers a credible portrayal of a descent into madness.
Blades of Glory
Will Ferrell and Jon Heder star as rival figure skaters, banned 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 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.
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 thriller is far smarter than most big studio flicks with teen protagonists, and while predictable, LaBeouf comes off as a sturdy leading man.
A highly esteemed group of actresses come together for a pretentious, maudlin pile of goo in this adaptation of Susan Minot's bestseller. The story revolves around a woman lying on her deathbed, recalling the one who got away one weekend 50 years ago.
Harry Potter andthe Order of the Phoenix
The many fans of the series can take some satisfaction in a sleek, swift and exciting adaptation of J.K. Rowling's longest novel to date, playing like a tense and twisty political thriller. The movie depicts a wizard world riven by factionalism and threatened by inflexible authoritarianism. Devotees of fine British acting can savor the addition of Imelda Staunton to the roster of first-rate thespians moonlighting at Hogwarts.
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. This decently crafted teen B-movie is plenty preposterous but alive to the vibrant miseries of being young and misunderstood.
La Vie en Rose
The story of Edith Piaf, French diva and national symbol, is told here in a sometimes overly complicated style -- and the facts of her tragic life don't need the extra help. But Marion Cotillard gives a breakthrough performance as "the little sparrow," and the soundtrack -- which uses Piaf's original recordings -- is like a voyage back to another world.
License to Wed 1/2
Holy matrimony turns into an unholy mess in this comedy about a young couple (Mandy Moore and John Krasinski) who go through a wacky minister's (Robin Williams) accelerated marriage-prep course. Williams' free-associate one-liners come without benefit of a decent script or logical plot.
Live Free or Die Hard
Rapid-fire, stunt-stuffed and yet still character-driven enough to maintain a healthy human pulse, this movie is a fire-breathing throwback to the action spectaculars of the '80s and '90s and a worthy successor for the "Die Hard" franchise. Bruce Willis returns after more than a decade as New York City detective John McClane. This time around, the enemy is a group that shuts down all U.S. communications systems. Timothy Olyphant, Justin Long and Maggie Q join in the action-packed fun.
The third roll of the dice for George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and their merry band of casino crooks is a break-even deal for audiences. The movie tries to give all of its players something meaningful to do. But too many cutthroats in the casino wind up watering down whatever's stewing in the pot. Clooney, Pitt and the sparkling casino are the real stars here.
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 quest to free him. But first, the trio must forge their way to exotic Singapore and confront a cunning Chinese pirate. Generous as the movie may be with action and spectacle, there's still a ponderousness that counterweights the good booty.
This documentary about the ills of America's health care system is quintessential Michael Moore: expertly crafted, eminently entertaining, one-sided, overly simplistic and incredibly persuasive. Moore allows regular folk to tell their stories of frustration, pain and loss. But although he tickles the funny bone and tugs at the heart, Moore never suggests that he tried to reach any insurance executives for a response.
This latest installment of the hugely successful franchise 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 supervillains, but he also goes to the dark side when a black goop from outer space attaches to him. And he juggles two love interests as well. As people and threats come and go, the movie's narrative feels scattered.
Michael Bay's feature about the popular line of 1980s toy action figures is a screeching-metal, smash-and-crash, extreme-action movie lover's dream come true. It's also a wildly absurd fantasy and far more fun than it ought to be. The constantly morphing robots are grandeur in motion, created with computer animation so impressive it's hard not to believe in them.
When a waitress in a cheery Southern diner discovers she's pregnant with her immature husband's baby, her dreams for a better life are squashed until a sympathetic doctor arrives in town. With the help of the late director-actress Adrienne Shelly, Keri Russell gives one of the best on-screen performances of the year.
Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy play a group of middle-aged friends who decide to rev up their routine suburban lives with a freewheeling motorcycle trip. Too bad the guys are not all that wild nor, more importantly, all that funny, as the humor and hijinks are tame and tranquil.
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 drifter turns paranoiac when he reveals that there are bugs crawling under his skin. Whatever acting ability Judd shows early in this thriller goes utterly to waste as the movie spirals out of control.
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. They present an homage while tweaking the conventions and making jolly fun of the genre's clichés. The movie is the tale of a hotshot London cop (Pegg) adjusting to life in a seemingly tranquil country town.
From Judd Apatow, the man behind "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," is a new comedy is more consistently hilarious than its predecessor, and with even greater heart. A goofball of a slacker-stoner (Seth Rogen) enjoys a drunken romp with an up-and-coming reporter (Katherine Heigl) who's way out of his league. When the reporter realizes she's gotten pregnant from the one-night stand, she decides to keep the baby, and major life changes ensue.
Art House | Revival
Doris Duke Theatre, Honolulu Academy of Arts
900 S. Beretania St.; $7 general; $6 seniors, students, military; $5 Academy members (532-8768):
Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams
At 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Monday, and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
At 1 and 7:30 p.m. July 19.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
The Last Mimzy
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Friday.
Days of Glory (Indigenes)
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Monday.
The Astronaut Farmer
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Sunday.
Au Petit Marguery
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. July 19.
The Lizard Loft
The ARTS at Marks Garage, 1159 Nuuanu Ave.; $8 (954-5519 or 349-4195):
The 5' Giants Misfit Movie Madness
At 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.