At The Movies
Queen Latifah narrates this kid-friendly National Geographic documentary about a polar bear cub and walrus pup who grow up with the threat of global warming. Review on Page 18. (G)
Death at a Funeral
A dysfunctional British family gathers for the patriarch's funeral. Tensions rise, old conflicts are uncovered and, when an American man arrives, saying he's the dead man's gay lover, threatens blackmail. Frank Oz directs this comedy starring Matthew Macfayden, Peter Dinklage and Rupert Graves. Review on Page 27. (R)
The Invasion /2
Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig learn the truth about a shocking extraterrestrial epidemic in the latest remake of the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Kidman plays a psychiatrist who tries to stay awake long enough to find her young son, who could hold the key to stopping the devastating invasion. Mini-review on Page 19. (PG-13)
The Last Legion
As the Roman Empire crumbles, a young emperor embarks on a perilous voyage to track down the one legion still loyal to Rome. Colin Firth, Ben Kingsley and Aishwarya Rai star. (PG-13)
Two co-dependent high school friends (Jonah Hill and Michael Cera) want to "hook up" before they graduate and go off to different colleges. But after a calamitous night just trying to buy alcohol for a school party, overcoming their separation anxiety becomes a greater challenge than getting girls. Review on Page 16. (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.
The latest Pixar film directed by Brad Bird ("The Incredibles") is a visual feast for the eyes. On a fundamental level, 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.
Anne Hathaway plays Jane Austen as a feisty 20-year-old who, as an emerging writer, already sees a world beyond class and commerce, beyond pride and prejudice, and dreams of doing what was nearly unthinkable in the latter 1700s in Britain -- marrying for love. Hathaway is marvelous, playing a character both period perfect and recognizably human -- romantic, imperious and proud.
Four teenage girls from different backgrounds empower themselves by rejecting their respective high school cliques. Based on the popular doll series, this movie is mind-numbingly vapid and shrill, plus it plays out more like an extended commercial.
Daddy Day Camp
This slapdash sequel to "Daddy Day Care" finds Cuba Gooding Jr. taking over Eddie Murphy's role as Charlie Hinton. Hinton now finds himself running a ramshackle day camp he attended as a boy. Richard Gant plays his father, a Marine colonel, who helps toughen up the kids. Gant's charming characterization is syrup poured atop a heaping helping of warrior-jock worship.
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 floodproof ark.
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.
The hit Broadway musical based on John Waters' 1988 romp of a movie gets its own screen adaptation. A plus-size girl with a big heart and a passion for dancing dreams of appearing on a local TV dance party in Baltimore of the early 1960s.
The plucky girl sleuth from the Midwest visits La-La Land to try to solve the mystery surrounding a long-dead Hollywood actress. It's a clever updating of the classic character, and Emma Roberts is thoroughly delightful in the title role, playing someone who's both fearless and a fussbudget.
The perfectionist nature of a master chef (Catherine Zeta-Jones) at a trendy Manhattan eatery is put to the test when she "inherits" her 9-year-old niece (Abigail Breslin) while contending with a brash new sous-chef (Aaron Eckhart) who joins her staff. This romantic comedy offers up strictly comfort fare and the lead actors are appealing in their roles.
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. While it's visually more dazzling than ever, it lacks the zip of its predecessors.
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 the animation are both pretty nifty, and the voice acting is more nuanced than in most animated films.
A lab accident gives a bumbling watchdog amazing superpowers to protect the good citizens of Capital City against the evil Simon Barsinister. While the little hero isn't going to replace Lassie any time soon, the movie is a purely inoffensive bit of children's entertainment.
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, and insists upon going to a full-time care facility. The film is far from depressing because actress Julie Christie goes down like a luminous ship at sea. In the end, nothing's for keeps, not even matters of the heart.
The Bourne Ultimatum 1/2
Matt Damon returns as an amnesiac secret agent in this kinetic action sequel filled with political resonance. Director Paul Greengrass builds on the first two chapters with a story that is darker and more cynical, as Jason Bourne confronts the truth about who he was before the government brainwashed him into being an assassin.
Harry Potter and the 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.
"Saturday Night Live's" Andy Samberg stars as an amateur stuntman who stages the motorcycle jump of his life in order to save his ill stepfather. Samberg is an affable new star and the movie finds most of its comic success in the absurd, borrowing heavily from the sensibilities of "Napoleon Dynamite" by gawking at small-town ennui and socially awkward morons.
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Adam Sandler and Kevin James star as firefighter buddies who pose as a newlywed couple in order to receive pension benefits. Although the two stars make the movie bearable, this is just a middling screwball comedy that grows offensive with its double standards towards homosexuality.
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 at best for audiences.
Based on the true story of German-born Dieter Dengler, who made his way to America in pursuit of his obsession to become a test pilot. On his first mission to Vietnam, he is shot down and captured by the Viet Cong. Director Werner Herzog offers up a powerful drama of imprisonment, survival and perseverance, and the tenderness between actors Christian Bale and Steve Zahn, as fellow POWs, goes so far beyond the male-bonding cliché that it becomes a political statement.
Rush Hour 3 1/2
Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker reteam for more hi-jinks, this time in Paris, in the new installment of the hit buddy cop series. Third time's not the charm, however, as this is a lazy and formulaic action comedy that is neither thrilling nor particularly funny.
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.
The Simpsons Movie 1/2
The anticipated movie about America's favorite cartoon dysfunctional family works hard and hilariously to include all things that the TV series has come to mean -- celebrity guest stars, jabs at corporate parent Fox, and the continued foolishness of Homer Simpson. It also uses the big, wide screen to stretch out a bit jokewise, both literally and figuratively.
Two sects of werewolves battle one another for the destiny of a half-human/half-wolf child who has the power to end their curse. Review on Page 26.
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.
Based on Neil Gaiman's best-selling novel, the film follows a young man, trying to win the heart of the beautiful but cold object of his desire, who embarks on a quest encountering kings, pirates and evil witches, all of whom seek to retrieve a fallen star transformed into a striking girl. This movie is definitely has more than enough imagination and whimsy to keep an adult audience engaged.
Michael Bay's feature based on 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 movie's all about the sheer visceral charge of mechanics in motion.
Real-life couple Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony star in the biography of Hector Lavoe, the Puerto Rican singer and salsa pioneer of the 1970s. If it weren't for the infectious, wall-to-wall music, which Anthony performs with a clear, stirring voice and great passion, it would be easy to write this movie off entirely as a shameless vanity project for Lopez.
From Judd Apatow, the man behind "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," is a new comedy 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 TV entertainment 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 forces major life changes on the both of them.
A Mighty Heart
Based on Mariane Pearl's memoir on the search for her kidnapped husband-reporter in Pakistan of 2002, it features Angelina Jolie's quiet and strong performance as the pregnant wife who courageously transcends the political and religion-fueled conflicts that were behind the murder of Danny Pearl.
Mr. Brooks 1/2
Kevin Costner stars as a respected family man trying to hide a deep, dark secret: He's a cunning serial killer. There's not much beyond the character's image, so extra material is thrown into the mix, like a second serial killer, a relative who might be a killer as well, and a witness who turns out to want to help the next time Brooks kills. And don't forget the tough homicide detective and an imaginary friend. Really, it's just too much to make this movie work.
A modern day musical set on the streets of Dublin, Ireland. It tells the story of a busker and an immigrant during an eventful week as they write, rehearse and record songs that reveal their unique love story. Writer-director John Carney, with actors Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, reinvent the genre in this brilliantly simple film.
An intriguing but ultimately unsatisfying sci-fi tale from the director and screenwriter that made "28 Days Later," it recounts the bleak saga of a spaceship crew on a mission to recharge the sun, whose imminent death has cast Earth into a winter that will soon extinguish humanity.
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):
At noon and 7 p.m. Sunday, and Tuesday through Thursday.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
31 Quai Des Orfèvres
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Friday.
At 12:30, 3 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday and Monday.
Ace in the Hole
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Sunday.
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Aug. 23
CUISINE & SCREEN
Honolulu Design Center, 1250 Kapiolani Blvd.; $55 (237-5462):
At 7 p.m. Sunday (Spanish dinner served at 6)