At The Movies
The audience award winner at the 2005 Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival comes back to town for a limited theatrical run. It's a romantic comedy about a Chinese woman approaching her 50s who starts dating a younger Hispanic man, much to the horror of her mother. Review on Page 13. (PG-13)
The formidable trio of director Ridley Scott and Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe combine to present the true story of Frank Lucas, a powerful and charming Harlem drug kingpin-turned-informant of the 1970s. Review and feature on Pages 4 and 5. (R)
Bee Movie 1/2
The persona that is Jerry Seinfeld transforms into a bee in this animated movie he co-produced and co-wrote. He voices Barry B. Benson, a honeybee who decides to sue the human race for making money off the bees' honey. Review and feature on Pages 14 and 15. (PG)
John Cusack plays a recently widowed science fiction writer who forms an unlikely family with a close friend and a boy he adopts, who claims to be from Mars. Review on Page 16. (PG)
Mr. Bean's Holiday
Rowan Atkinson reprises his popular comic character, and this time he's 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 latest Pixar film from Brad Bird ("The Incredibles") 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 and intricately detailed that it seems to have been tailored more to grown-up tastes and sensibilities.
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 movie is the cinematic equivalent of a family-friendly half-time show.
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. The movie remains a postmodern three-ring circus of morbid humor, eye-popping puppet animation and show-stopping songs.
A lab accident gives a bumbling watchdog amazing superpowers that he uses 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.
Across the Universe
A romantic musical set in the tumultuous 1960s told mainly through "reimagined" Beatles songs performed by the characters. Director Julie Taymor brings a blinding 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 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 the 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.
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. The movie's low aspirations are depressing because its best gags are agreeably demented.
Dan in Real Life
A strait-laced advice columnist and widower's strict rules for behavior are tested when he falls for the girlfriend of his younger brother. Considering all the talent behind and in front of the camera (a strong cast led by Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche), this is a surprisingly plain, sappy, even insipid, 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.
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 imagination and whimsy to keep an adult audience engaged.
Part fairy tale, part college comedy, totally unoriginal and a tad offensive, this stars Amanda Bynes as a new student who starts a rebellion against the school's oppressive Greek establishment with the help of seven dorks. Bynes delivers a bright performance, but she's hindered by a weak script.
Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?
Perry's latest African-American melodrama 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. 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 winter brings a month of darkness. While the flick is a huge cut above most gorefests that have been released lately, the premise and repetitive gimmicks gradually grow as monotonous as, well, 30 days of night.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford 1/2
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. It's a magnificently mounted elegy to the American past and recalls the great, daring and introspective Western genre films of the 1970s.
The Darjeeling Limited
In Wes Anderson's sweetly inviting film, three American brothers take a train trip across India to find themselves and bond on this "spiritual quest." Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman make for an amusing trio whose passive-aggressive deadpan is relieved by fits of brotherly scrapping.
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, a beautiful if accident-prone penguin specialist.
Into the Wild 1/2
In Sean Penn's adaptation of the best-seller, Emile Hirsch plays to perfection the doomed young 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, gruesome details and a bit of slick, slam-bang action.
Lars and the Real Girl 1/2
It might sound like a contradiction in terms to say that a movie about a guy in love with a sex doll is bursting with humanity, but that's really the most apt way to describe this warm and wonderful movie that's filled with deadpan and slyly absurd humor. Ryan Gosling is respectful of both his awkward, fiercely antisocial character and his manufactured and anatomically correct co-star.
George Clooney stars as a shadowy fixer with a legal New York 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 an overall contrived tone of bravery to it.
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. This latest sequel is more disturbing that compelling, with material already seen in the prior installments.
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.
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):
At 1 and 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox
At 1 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, and 1 p.m. Nov. 8.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771):
Talk to Me
Review on Page 22. (R) At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Friday and Monday.
When Do the Girls Show Up? (Ma Quando Arrivano le Ragazze?)
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Sunday.
Age of Consent
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Nov. 8.
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.
Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul
At 7 p.m. Nov. 8.