At the Movies
Kevin Bacon plays a mild-mannered executive and family man who takes justice into his own hands after his son is murdered and the rest of his family is threatened. James Wan of "Saw" infamy is the director. (R)
Rob Zombie re-imagines the 1978 horror slasher classic, with Tyler Mane starring as masked serial killer Michael Myers. (R)
No End in Sight
This documentary offers a dispassionate examination of the Bush administration's conduct of the Iraqi war and occupation. The film chronicles the manner in which the principle errors of U.S. policy largely created the insurgency and chaos that engulf Iraq today. Review on Page 27. (NR)
Mr. Bean's Holiday
Rowan Atkinson reprises his popular comic character, this time on vacation in the south of France during the Cannes Film Festival. Through a series of mishaps and coincidences, Mr. Bean is wrongly thought to be both a kidnapper and an acclaimed filmmaker. Atkinson exuberantly goofs his way through sight gags that are cute and clever but not terribly amusing.
The 11th Hour
An unnerving, surprisingly affecting documentary narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio about our environmental calamity that makes for essential viewing. It also attempts to stave off helplessness, and the nihilism that often follows it, mostly by appealing to our reason.
Anne Hathaway plays Jane Austen as a feisty 20-year-old who, as an emerging writer, already sees a world beyond class and commerce 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.
Evan Almighty 1/2
Steve Carell and Morgan Freeman return in this sort-of sequel to "Bruce Almighty." Carell's bumbling TV weatherman has transformed into a workaholic politician, and this time God wants him to build an ark.
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. Director and choreographer Adam Shankman keeps the tone light, the hair high and the pacing snappy, even while delivering the film's segregation-is-bad message, which seems archaic and obvious 45 years after the movie's setting.
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.
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, then director Mikael Hafstrom fails to reconcile reality and delusion. But Cusack delivers a credible portrayal of a descent into madness.
Balls of Fury 1/2
This movie serves up a surprising amount of sports thrills and a good amount of laughter as it chronicles the fable of a disgraced pingpong champ taking a second shot at greatness. It ridicules '80s music, Asian cinema and "Rocky" stories with some winning sight gags and punch lines. "Best- pingpong- movie-ever!"
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. Devotees of fine British acting can savor the addition of Imelda Staunton to the roster of first-rate thespians moonlighting at Hogwarts.
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 Last Legion H
An action spectacle with bloodless swordplay and pedantic speeches, this movie is like "300" minus the visual panache. The generic adventure, a somersault of clumsy politcal sloganeering, follows a group of soldiers still loyal to Rome after the empire has fallen. It would be offensive were it not so boring.
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.
The Nanny Diaries
Based on the best-selling book, Scarlett Johansson stars as a New York University graduate from a working-class New Jersey family who chooses to work as a nanny for a wealthy and difficult family on the Upper East Side. While the movie vividly depicts a glossy Big Apple, it doesn't provide any fresh or nuanced insights into the existing class disparities.
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. 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. The sparkling casino are the real stars here.
Pirates of the 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 Chinese pirate. Generous as the movie may be with action and spectacle, there's still a ponderousness that counterweights the good booty.
Resurrecting the Champ 1/2
A struggling sports writer (Josh Hartnett) encounters a homeless man (Samuel L. Jackson) who might be a once-great boxing champ. Solid performances all 'round.
Rush Hour 3 1/2
Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker re-team 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.
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.
Based on Neil Gaiman's best-selling novel, a young man, trying to win the heart of the beautiful but cold object of his desire, 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 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.
Death at a Funeral
A comedy about dying, especially a British farce about a supposedly proper funeral at a country estate, requires a specifically light, deft touch, which director Frank Oz achieves only half the time. He's crafted a film that's either riotously funny or painfully draggy and nothing in between.
Illegal Tender 1/2
After years of life on the run with his mother from dangerous thugs, a Latino college student returns to Puerto Rico to take action to unveil the dark secrets from his family's past. This genre picture is a loving homage to gangster movies of the 1980s like "Scarface."
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 a 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.
Co-stars Jonah Hill and Michael Cera are pretty irresistable together as high school best friends on a quest for alcohol, which they hope will help them hook up with girls at a big party before they graduate. The sweetness and awkwardness of their freakishly co-dependent relationship is totally believable, and their personalities and comic styles complement each other beautifully.
Action stars Jet Li and Jason Statham face off as an infamous assassin sets off a crime war between rival Asian bosses, only to battle an obsessed FBI agent determined to bring him down after his partner is murdered. Barely utilizing the strengths of the actors, the movie never quite lives up to its title. "Spat" or "Tiff" might be more accurate.
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 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
At 1 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sept. 6.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
Carmen Comes Home
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Friday and Monday.
Security Unlimited (Mo Deng Bao Biao)
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
Don Camillo in Moscow
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Sunday.
After the Wedding
Hawaii premiere. Review on Page 26. At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Sept. 6.