At The Movies
Across the Universe
A romantic musical set in the tumultuous 1960s told mainly through "reimagined" Beatles songs performed by the characters. Two young lovers travel from prewar innocence to hippie radicalism, as the movie mixes theatricality, surrealism and over-the-top fantasy. (PG-13)
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Actors Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and director Shekhar Kapur reunite for their follow-up to their 1998 art-house crossover hit "Elizabeth." The indomitable 16th-century queen is now in her middle years, and is in the thick of it, with her rule challenged by Spanish King Philip II, her being the target of an assassination plot, and involved in a complicated relationship with explorer Sir Walter Raleigh and the lady-in-waiting he is married to. Review on Page 26. (R)
George Clooney stars as a burned-out "fixer" at a Manhattan law firm assigned to reel in the firm's chief litigator (Tom Wilkinson), who's suffered either a psychotic meltdown or a moment of clarity when he tries to sabotage a multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuit. Review on Page 18. (R)
Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?
Perry's new comedy is about a group of married college friends who, when they reunite for their annual retreat in the snowcapped mountains of Colorado, find themselves instead re-examining their marriages. Janet Jackson and Jill Scott star. (PG-13)
We Own the Night
Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg star as two brothers -- one's a nightclub manage, the other a cop -- who take on the Russian mob to protect their father, the chief of police. Eva Mendes and Robert Duvall co-star. Review on Page 27. (R)
Queen Latifah narrates this kid-friendly mash-up of a production that veers between "March of the Penguins" and "An Inconvenient Truth." The beautifully photographed stories of a polar bear cub and walrus serves as a warning about global warming.
The latest Pixar film from Brad Bird ("The Incredibles") is a visual feast for the eyes. Children will 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 intricately detailed that it seems to have been tailored more to grown-up tastes and sensibilities.
Four teen girls from different backgrounds empower themselves by rejecting their respective high school cliques. Based on the popular doll series, this movie is vapid and shrill, playing out more like an extended commercial.
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 7-year-old daughter he never knew existed shows up at his door.
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 1960s Baltimore. Director and choreographer Adam Shankman keeps the tone light, the hair high and the pacing snappy.
In the Shadow of the Moon
Between 1968 and 1972, nine American spacecraft voyaged to the moon, and this morale booster of a documentary brings together the surviving crew members from every Apollo mission that flew there, allowing them to tell their stories in their own words.
The Seeker: The Dark is Rising
Based on the lesser-known fantasy novel series by Susan Cooper, the producers have tried to gin up the story for multiplex audiences, and succeeded in making a movie for no audience at all. An American teenager, living with his family in rural England, discovers he's the long-awaited savior in the endless battle between the Dark and the Light. The battle is depicted as one frenetic sequence to the next, so much so that it plays out like a highlight reel.
Balls of Fury
This movie serves up a surprising amount of sports thrills and 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 winning sight gags and punch lines.
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, as Jason Bourne confronts the truth about who he was before the government brainwashed him into being an assassin.
Dragon Wars 1/2
A beautiful woman holds the ancient secret of giant dragons wreaking havoc and destruction on Los Angeles. It's a laughable fantasy all the way until the final battle sequence, when the movie becomes fun to watch.
Feel the Noise
After a run-in with local thugs, a talented Harlem rapper is forced to hide in Puerto Rico, but finds his salvation in reggaetón beats. Produced by Jennifer Lopez, the movie huffs and puffs to work up dramatic steam, and ends up being an acceptable if resolutely average low-budget drama.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
The many fans of the series can take satisfaction in a sleek and exciting adaptation of J.K. Rowling's novel, playing like a twisty political thriller. The movie depicts a wizard world riven by factionalism and threatened by authoritarianism. Devotees of fine British acting can savor the addition of Imelda Staunton to the roster of first-rate thespians moonlighting at Hogwarts.
The Jane Austen Book Club
In modern-day California, six women find their lives and romances reflected in the six novels of 18th-century English author Jane Austen. A highly predictable chick flick is made better with performances, in particular that of Emily Blunt as a French teacher who fancies herself more intellectual than others in the club.
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 true. Kudos to actors Billy Bob Thornton, Seann William Scott and Susan Sarandon.
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.
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 while he tickles the funny bone and tugs at the heart, Moore never suggests that he tried to reach any insurance executives for a response.
The Simpsons Movie 1/2
The movie about America's favorite TV cartoon dysfunctional family works hard and hilariously to include all thing 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 graphic 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 definitely has enough 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.
2 Days in Paris
The metabolism of Julie Delpy's biting romantic comedy runs full tilt when a New York couple takes a European vacation in an attempt to reinfuse their relationship with romance. Her examination of modern love is bracingly hard-headed.
3:10 to Yuma 1/2
This remake of a famous Western 50 years ago brings together two of today's most compelling actors, Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. The duo star in this intense stand-off between law and disorder set after the Civil War. It addresses the sacrifices of soldiers and the ruthlessness of greed, with its center being the relationship between a rancher, who believes in doing what's right, and the outlaw, who believes in doing what's right for him.
The Brave One
Jodie Foster is 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 as someone torn up by self-doubt. She lifts the movie over its problematic humps.
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). The film is both brutally violent and breathtakingly human,.
Feast of Love 1/2
Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear and Radha Mitchell star in this overstuffed melodrama about the intertwining life, love and attraction that take place in and around a coffeehouse.
Good Luck Chuck
Jessica Alba and Dane Cook star in this obnoxious and ugly-looking movie 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.
The Heartbreak Kid 1/2
Ben Stiller and the Farrelly brothers combine forces again for this knockout with wall-to-wall laughs. A middle-aged bachelor succumbs to pressure from friends and family and rushes into marriage, only to fall in love with another woman while on his honeymoon. The movie carries a wily edge and boldness, trampling on good taste and political correctness in the chase for laughs.
In the Valley of Elah 1/2
A former MP sets out in search of his missing son, reported AWOL on his first weekend back after serving in Iraq. "Crash's" Mike Haggis helms this powerful drama, featuring terrific performances from Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon.
The Kingdom 1/2
An elite U.S. counter-terrorism team investigates a deadly attack on an American housing compound in Saudi Arabia. Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner star in this "CSI"-type movie that offers basic characters, simple messages, gruesome details and slick action.
Resident Evil: Extinction 1/2
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. Not exactly dull but never interesting either, the movie has no weight because there's nothing but slick mayhem.
Memories of Tomorrow
In this award-winning Japanese film, Western audiences more familiar with Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe playing a samurai will be surprised with his extraordinary performance as a man with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
Art House | Revival
Doris Duke Theatre, Honolulu Academy of Arts
900 S. Beretania St.; $7 general; $6 seniors, students and military; $5 Academy members (532-8768):
The Shutka Book of Records / Preacher With an Unknown God
At 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Sunday, and 1 p.m. Saturday.
Hawaii Pacific University Shorts on the Rocks International Student Film Festival
At 7:30 p.m. Saturday ($6 general and $4 students and Academy members).
Postmen in the Mountains
At 1 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, and 1 p.m. Oct. 18.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Friday.
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Sunday.
The Page Turner
Hawaii premiere. At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Monday.
12:08 East of Bucharest
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Oct. 18.
World Music Film Series
Spalding Hall Auditorium,
University of Hawaii-Manoa; $5 general and $3 UH students, staff and faculty (223-0130):
At 5 p.m. Sunday.
At 7 p.m. Oct. 18.