At The Movies
The Game Plan
A pro quarterback (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) must learn to juggle his party-and- practice lifestyle with ballet, bedtime stories and dolls when the 8-year-old daughter he never knew existed shows up at his door. (PG)
2 Days in Paris
Actress Julie Delpy wrote, co-produced, directed and stars in this film about a New York couple who take a European vacation in an attempt to re-infuse their relationship with romance. Review on Page 26. (R)
In David Cronenberg's latest film, Naomi Watts plays a London midwife who looks into the death of a patient, putting her in the sights of a ruthless Russian mobster (Viggo Mortensen). Review on Page 16. (R)
Good Luck Chuck
Jessica Alba and Dane Cook star in a story about a guy stuck in a pattern of cursed relationships -- all the women he sleeps with marry the next guy they date. He develops a reputation as a good luck charm, as women line up for a quickie. But he tries to change things when he meets the girl of his dreams, a beautiful if accident-prone penguin specialist. (R)
In the Valley of Elah 1/2
A former military MP sets out in search of his missing son, reported AWOL on his first weekend back after serving in Iraq. "Crash" director Mike Haggis works with a cast led by Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon. Review on Page 27. (R)
Resident Evil: Extinction
Milla Jovovich returns as the superhuman Alice who, along with old allies and new survivors, goes on a mission to eliminate the deadly virus that threatens to make every human being a zombie. (R)
Amanda Bynes stars in a retelling of Snow White, as a freshman tries to transform her school's misguided social hierarchy with the help of seven very socially challenged guys. Review on Page 17. (PG-13)
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 gags that are cute and clever but not terribly amusing.
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.
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. It even has some scattered laughs and, for grown-up nostalgia hounds, a few memories of the original 1960s TV cartoon.
Balls of Fury
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 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.
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.
Dragon Wars 1/2
A beautiful young woman holds the ancient secret of giant dragons wreaking havoc and destruction on modern-day Los Angeles. It's a laughable fantasy all the way until the final battle sequence, when the movie becomes preposterously fun to watch.
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.
"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 Invasion 1/2
The latest version of the sci-fi classic "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" feels truncated, rushed, unfocused and -- worst of all -- not a bit scary. A top notch cast led by Nicole Kidman goes to waste as the last citizens who manage to remain uninfected when a gloopy substance from outer space takes over the population.
The Last Legion
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.
The movie is often as juvenile and predictable as its title suggests. Yet this dark comedy about a self-help author plotting revenge on his sadistic former gym coach gets honest laughs because of performances that ring universally true. Kudos to actors Billy Bob Thornton, Seann William Scott and Susan Sarandon.
My Best Friend 1/2
An arrogant and self-centered antiques dealer is blindsided by the revelation that no one actually likes him. His business partner bets him that if he can produce a friend, he can keep a Greek vase he bought on the company tab. That "friend" turns out to be a lowbrow cab driver. Daniel Auteuil stars in this droll and touchingly sage French comedy.
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.
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 cunning Chinese pirate. Generous as the movie may be with action and spectacle, there's still a ponderousness to this sequel that counterweights the good booty.
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 movie about America's favorite TV 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 ("Spider-Pig! Spider-Pig! ..."). 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.
3:10 to Yuma
This remake of a famous Western 50 years ago brings together two of today's most compelling actors, Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. The two star in this intense stand-off between law and disorder set after the Civil War. The movie addresses the sacrifices of soldiers and the ruthlessness of greed, with its center being the relationship between the rancher, who believes in doing what's right, and the outlaw, who believes in doing what is right for him.
The Brave One
Jodie Foster is pretty amazing as the woman who becomes a gun-toting vigilante in pursuit of the thugs who murdered her fiancé. She plays the role with a fierce conviction, even when playing someone torn up by self-doubt, and she absolutely lifts the movie over its problematic humps.
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.
Veteran director Milos Forman tells the biographical tale through the eyes of the celebrated Spanish painter. The drama unfolds as Brother Lorenzo (Javier Bardem), an enigmatic member of the powerful Spanish clergy during the Inquisition, becomes infatuated with Goya's muse, Inés (Natalie Portman). The film, however, is a melo-dramatic folly whose ambitions consistently curdle into camp.
Halloween 1/2 star
Revamping the influential 1978 shocker for a new generation of viewers, director Rob Zombie offers a film with more sex, more violence, no humor and zero scares. Trying to humanize Michael Myers is a mistake, especially since all Zombie offers is a cliché rewind to a miserable childhood.
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.
Shoot 'Em Up 1/2
In this ramped-up action movie, Clive Owen stars as a mysterious loner who protects a woman and her newborn baby from a hit man (Paul Giamatti) who was hired to kill her. Inspired by Hong Kong action movies, its stunts are spectacular, car chases excessive and dialogue absurdly over the top. It makes for good, stupid fun.
Co-stars Jonah Hill and Michael Cera are 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. 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 might be more aptly titled "Spat" or "Tiff."
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.
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):
The Black Book
At 1 p.m. Friday; 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Monday; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
Cinema Paradiso Festival: The Golden Door
At 8 p.m. Sept. 27.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
Hawaii premiere. At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Friday and Monday.
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
36 Quai des Orfèvres
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Sunday.
Unrated version. At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Sept. 27.
World Music Film Series
Spalding Hall Auditorium, University of Hawaii-Manoa; $5 general and $3 UH students, staff and faculty (223-0130):
Let's Get Lost
At 5 p.m. Sunday.
Dances of Ecstasy
At 7 p.m. Sept. 27.