At The Movies
The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford
A contemplative art film starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck about a rival outlaw and his deadly fixation on one of America's most notorious badmen. Review in Friday's Today section. (R)
Dan in Real Life
A straight-laced advice columnist and widower's strict rules for behavior are tested when he falls for the girlfriend of his younger brother. Review on Page 26 . (PG-13)
The Darjeeling Limited
In Wes Anderson's latest film, three American brothers take a train trip across India to find themselves and bond on this "spiritual quest" of theirs. Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman star. Review on Page 27 . (R)
Lars and the Real Girl 1/2
A lonely introvert falls in love with the sex doll he bought on the Internet, which he intro-duces to his family as a real person. Ryan Gosling stars. Review in Friday's Today section.
Übervillain Jigsaw and his apprentice Amanda are dead. Still, SWAT commander Rigg, the last officer untouched by Jigsaw, finds himself suddenly abducted and thrust into the madman's harrowing and grizzly game. Can he overcome a series of interconnected traps in 90 minutes ... or face the deadly consequences?
The latest Pixar film 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 that it seems to have been tailored more to grown-up sensibilities.
Four teenage girls from different backgrounds empower themselves by rejecting their respective cliques. Based on the popular doll series, this movie is mind-numbingly vapid and shrill,.
The Game Plan
A pro quarterback (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) must learn to juggle his party-and-practice lifestyle with ballet and bedtime stories when the daughter he never knew he had shows up at his door. The movie is the cinematic equivalent of a halftime show.
The hit Broadway musical based on John Waters' 1988 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 the 1960s. Director and choreographer Adam Shankman keeps the tone light, the hair high and the pace snappy.
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). This romantic comedy offers up strictly comfort fare.
Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour 1/2
A 17-year-old girl has mysterious encounters with the strange, secret and supernatural in the small town of Pine Valley. The effort of actress Rissa Walters, unfortunately, is subordinated by the amateurish filmmaking.
The Seeker: The Dark is Rising
Basing the film on the lesser-known fantasy novel series by Susan Cooper, the producers have tried to gin up the story for multiplex audiences ended up with a movie for no audience at all. An American teenager, living in England, discovers he's the long-awaited savior in the endless battle between Dark and Light. The battle is depicted as one frenetic sequence to the next and plays out like a highlight reel for a film we never get to see.
The Ten Commandments
This new version of the story of Moses is a huge step backward for theatrical CG animation, or any animation, for that matter. Each character looks less like a person than an animated marionette. And Christian Slater doing the voice of Moses?? Elliott Gould as God?!?
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D
The classic 1993 stop-motion animated musical fantasy gets a digital 3-D makeover just in time for Halloween. The movie remains a postmodern three-ring circus of morbid humor, eye-popping puppet animation and show-stopping songs.
Across the Universe
A musical set in the tumultuous 1960s told mainly through "reimagined" Beatles songs performed by the characters. Director Julie Taymor brings a combination of artistic ambition, excess and plain old bad taste, making her latest extravaganza a potential camp masterpiece.
Balls of Fury 1/2
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 Comebacks 1/2
This slapdash and ultimately tedious parody follows a football coach (David Koechner), with the worst losing record in the history of the sport, as he goes for redemption with a ragtag college team.
Feel the Noise
After a run-in with local thugs, a 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 some satisfaction in a sleek, swift and exciting adaptation of J.K. Rowling's longest novel to date, playing like a tense political thriller. The movie depicts a wizard world 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 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. It also uses the big screen to stretch out 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 and encounters kings, pirates and evil witches, all of whom seek to retrieve a fallen star transformed into a striking girl. This movie definitely has enough imagination and whimsy to keep adults 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.
Tyler Perry'sWhy Did I Get Married?
Perry's latest black melodrama is about a group of married college friends who, when they reunite for their annual retreat in the mountains of Colorado, find themselves re-examining their marriages. The characters don't make consistent sense, the camera work and editing could be better, yet there's no denying Perry continues to make movies audiences love.
30 Days of Night
Based on the hit graphic novel about vampires who strike an Alaska town, where the winter days stay dark for a month. While the flick is a huge cut above most gorefests of late, the premise and its repetitive gimmicks grow as monotonous as, well, 30 days of night.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Shekhar Kapur's follow-up to his 1998 arthouse crossover hit "Elizabeth" is a big disappointment. The drama, which consists of heaving bosoms, romance-novel dialogue and historical inaccuracies, is undermined further by Kapur's penchant for cockeyed camera angles. Reprising the title role, Cate Blanchett comes across more as a petulant schoolgirl than a queen.
Gone Baby Gone
In Ben Affleck's directorial debut, two private investigators search Boston's seedy underbelly for a missing 4-year-old girl. The film presents a place oozing with atmosphere and rich, complicated characters.
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 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, trampling on good taste and political correctness in the chase for laughs.
Into the Wild 1/2
In Sean Penn's adaptation of the best-seller, Emile Hirsch plays to perfection the doomed man whose restless wanderings in search of nature, beauty and truth left him dead in the unforgiving Alaskan terrain. Penn presents this flawed figure in both his selflessness and selfishness without judging him or turning him into a martyr.
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 and a bit of slick, slam-bang action.
George Clooney stars as a shadowy fixer with a New York legal empire. The film is a fulsome exploration of the legal thriller genre. And the trio of actors at the movie's core -- Clooney, Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton -- operate at full thrusters in tautly realized, mature performances.
Reese Witherspoon stars as the wife of an Egyptian-born chemical engineer being held by the CIA as a terrorist. This movie has been made with an awful lot of volume and outrage, but it should've had some intellect and artistry as well. Witherspoon is typically plucky, but the movie has a contrived tone of bravery to it.
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 a zombie. Not exactly dull but never interesting either, the movie has no weight because there's no characterization or emotion, just slick mayhem.
Things We Lost in the Fire 1/2
Halle Berry stars as a widow trying to rebuild her life, forging an unlikely relationship with her husband's childhood best friend, a heroin addict played by Benicio Del Toro. While we applaud the colorblind casting and fine performances, characters are unrealized, and the movie itself is a noble attempt that never soars.
Action stars Jet Li and Jason Statham face off as an assassin sets off a crime war between Asian rival 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.
We Own the Night
Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg star as brothers on opposite sides of the law in this great gangster movie, full of loathsome criminals and proudly profane police officers, and possessing a coked-up energy that perfectly captures the drug-fueled world in which it's set.
Ang Lee follows "Brokeback Mountain" with this erotic espionage thriller set in World War II Shanghai. A radical student goes on a mission to seduce -- and kill -- a politician who has collaborated with the Japanese occupiers. The explicit sex scenes are the most memorable, because they break through the reserve of this stylish but emotionally removed film.
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. He plays a hard-charging, midlevel salaryman whose world crumbles along with his brain.
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):
Pierrepoint -- The Last Hangman
At 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Monday; and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
Hawaii premiere. At 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Friday.
Hawaii premiere. At 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday.
The Case of Howard Phillips Lovecraft / The Call of Cthulhu
At 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Sunday.
At 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Oct. 25.
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Nov. 1
World Music Film Series
Spalding Hall Auditorium, University of Hawaii-Manoa; $5 general and $3 UH students, staff and faculty (223-0130):
To You Sweetheart, Aloha / Waikiki: Riding the Waves of Change
At 7 p.m. Sunday.
At 7 p.m. Nov. 1.