At The Movies
Robert Zemeckis ("The Polar Express") presents another motion-capture animated film, this time the epic adventure about the legendary warrior and his battle with the monster Grendel. The movie captures the likenesses of actors Ray Winstone, Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins and Robin Wright Penn. (PG-13)
Ted Braun's documentary profiles how six people have responded to genocide in Darfur and brought relief to the millions suffering in the country. Among those lending a hand: a UCLA student who passed a state bill to stop money from going to Sudan, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the World Food Program's Pablo Recalde and actor Don Cheadle. Please see feature on Page 28.
Love in the Time of Cholera 1/2
Based on the Gabriel García Márquez novel, a man's passion waits and endures over 50 years for his one true love in the complex and sensual city of Cartagena, Colombia. Javier Bardem, Benjamin Bratt and Giovanna Mezzogiorno star. Review on Page 14. (R)
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium
Dustin Hoffman stars as the iconoclastic owner of a magic toy store in search of a successor. Instead of picking a responsible accountant (Jason Bateman), the 243-year-old Magorium opts instead for his young, insecure store manager (Natalie Portman) to continue running his emporium. Please see feature on Page 12. (G)
Freddie Highmore plays a musical prodigy who uses his extraordinary talents to reunite with his long-lost birth parents. Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Keri Russell and Robin Williams co-star. (PG)
A fairy tale princess is banished by an evil queen from her magical, musical animated land, and finds herself thrust into present-day Manhattan. Adrift in a chaotic world badly in need of enchantment, she begins to fall in love with a charmingly flawed divorce lawyer who comes to her aid. Amy Adams and Patrick Dempsey star. (PG)
Based on the hit video game series, a genetically engineered elite assassin finds unexpected stirrings of his conscience and unfamiliar emotions aroused in him by a mysterious Russian woman. (R)
No Country for Old Men
The Coen brothers' latest film is set in West Texas, as a man on the run with a suitcase full of money is pursued by a number of individuals. Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin star. (R)
Stephen King's The Mist
A small town community fights to survive when they come under vicious attack from creatures prowling in a thick, unnatural mist. (R)
Secrets are revealed and bonds tested when the Whitfield family comes together for Christmas for the first time in years. Idris Elba, Regina King and Chris Brown star. (PG)
Jerry Seinfeld's animation project has some pretty pictures and a few good jokes, but not nearly enough. And the story -- about a restless honeybee who sues the human race for making money off of the sweet stuff -- suffers from sitcom attention-deficit disorder. It picks up whenever there's a chase scene, but the rest of the time, it just bumbles along.
Fred Claus 1/2
Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti star in the family movie about the sibling rivalry between Old St. Nick and his fast-talking slacker of a brother. The comedy veers awkwardly from shrill, slapsticky humor to diabolical meanness to reheated, snuggly sentiments about the importance of love and family.
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.
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. While the melodramatic movie can squeeze out Hollywood sniffles, it's the gooey sort that'll be gone and forgotten by the time you reach the parking lot.
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.
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.
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 rampant 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.
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 universally true. Kudos to actors Billy Bob Thornton, Seann William Scott and Susan Sarandon.
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.
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 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 himself.
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 that have come out of late, the premise and its repetitive gimmicks gradually grow as monotonous as, well, 30 days of night.
The formidable trio of director Ridley Scott and Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe combine to present an exceptionally crafted and superbly directed movie about the true story of Frank Lucas, a powerful Harlem drug kingpin-turned-informant of the 1970s.
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 fiance. 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 bumps in the storyline.
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" of theirs. 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.
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.
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 anti-social character and his manufactured and anatomically correct co-star.
Lions for Lambs 1/2
A rumination on war, education and politics from the socially minded Robert Redford. Along with director Redford, it stars Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep. The movie's three interlocking stories are awkwardly scripted and, despite the star power, Redford's direction is weak.
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.
A businesswoman working late on Christmas Eve, finds herself trapped and alone, pursued by a psychotic security guard, inside a parking garage. A back-to-basics thriller that's well-executed with surprising restraint.
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.
Co-stars Jonah Hill and Michael Cera are pretty irresistible 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 co-dependent relationship is totally believable, and their comic styles complement each other beautifully.
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):
GiRL FeST Film Festival
Runs through Sunday. $6 admission. Go to girlfesthawaii.org for more info.
At 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):
Paris, je t'aime
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Friday and Monday.
The Story of Boys and Girls
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Saturday.
La Vie en Rose
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Sunday.
Chicken and Duck Talk (Gai Tung Aap Gong)
At 8 p.m. Nov. 22.
WORLD MUSIC FILM SERIES
Spalding Hall Auditorium, University of Hawaii-Manoa; $5 general and $3 UH students, staff and faculty (223-0130):
Bhutan: Taking the Middle Path to Happiness
See feature on Page 15. At 5 p.m. Sunday. $20 special admission.