At The Movies
An Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature Film, it's the coming-of-age story of a precocious and outspoken Iranian girl who lives with her family during the Islamic Revolution. Review on Page 30. (PG-13)
Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert
Originally scheduled for a one-week run, this specially-priced concert movie, screened in digital 3D, will now remain in theaters until EVERY tween girl in the U.S. has seen it at least once. The insanely talented and likable Cyrus plays herself and her TV teenaged blond alter ego on stage.
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Brothers Alvin, Simon and Theodore are back, making music and mischief in this CGI/live-action adventure. The movie engages for about a half-hour, or about 10 minutes longer than you might expect. Still, the animated chipmunks are quite cute.
National Treasure: Book of Secrets 1/2
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Nicolas Cage team up again for this sequel. This time, treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates, in order to exonerate his great-great grandfather, must track down a top secret tome passed down from president to president -- plus kidnap the current commander-in-chief. It's more mediocre action spiced with American lore.
The Spiderwick Chronicles
Based on the children's fantasy series about children who uncover the truth about their new home -- a secluded old house owned by their great-great uncle -- and the fantastic creatures that inhabit it.
This movie is so chock full of romantic comedy clichs, it almost plays like a parody. Katherine Heigl stars as a perennial bridesmaid whose own happy ending is nowhere in sight ... that is, until her younger sister (Malin Akerman) captures the heart of her boss (Ed Burns), with whom she is secretly in love. Heigl maintains a down-to-earth likability, despite the fluffiness of the dialogue and situations.
The Bucket List 1/2
Director Rob Reiner's comic drama puts him back in commercial, if not artistic form. The movie's easily accessible, with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, as a couple of mismatched, terminally ill men who become buddies, who elevate a story overloaded with clichd life lessons and self-help slogans into a relatively painless way to go.
Five young New Yorkers throw their friend a party the night that a giant monster descends upon the city. Told from the POV of their video camera, the movie is a document of their attempt to survive the event. The characters remain indistinguishable, the storytelling confusing, and any truly interesting subtext -- such as our preference for recording reality, rather than experiencing it -- willfully ignored. What we're left with are shaky camerawork and a few good monsters.
A soon-to-be divorced dad answers some hard questions from his daughter about his past relationships with three very different women. Review on Page 27.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
An astonishingly beautiful film about the editor of the French Elle magazine who, after becoming paralyzed due to a stroke, writes about his new life while pondering the survival of the human spirit. Nominated for two Oscars, including Julian Schnabel for Best Director and Ronald Harwood for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The Eye 1/2
The latest homely Hollywood remake of an Asian horror film finds Jessica Alba starring as the unfortunate woman who sees unexplainable and frightening images after her sight is restored -- courtesy of her haunted donor -- through double corneal transplant surgery.
Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan play bumbling petty criminals who come up with a crazy scheme to rob their neighborhood church. The movie sometimes feels more like a script read-through, but its warmth makes bearable the clichs and tedium.
Fool's Gold 1/2
Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson star as a former couple who meet again when he, a good-natured surf bum-turned-treasure hunter, convinces her boss, a millionaire, to take his mega-yacht on a search for a missing treasure. This romantic comedy has a certain buoyancy that manages to keep it afloat, making it an entertainingly breezy outing.
How She Move
A gifted student-step dancer is forced to leave her private school and return to her rundown neighborhood when her parents can no longer afford to pay her tuition. She plans to get back to her school by winning the cash prize at a fierce dance competition. The movie surrounds its flashy moves with interesting, well-developed characters and a realistic story that should resonate with teens and adults alike.
A young man with the ability to teleport anywhere in the world finds himself in a war between "jumpers" and those who have sworn to kill them.
A whip-smart teen, confronted with an unplanned pregnancy by her classmate, tries to find a "perfect" set of parents for her unborn child in an affluent suburban couple. It's a smart and hip comedy, filled with dialogue like a sugar rush and performances -- particularly Ellen Page's in the title role -- like grace notes. (Nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture, Page for Best Actress, Jason Reitman for Best Director, and Diablo Cody for Best Original Screenplay.)
Meet the Spartans
From the guys who saw "300" and made "Epic Movie" comes an equally epic satire where the mighty warriors fall victim to parody. Celebrity not-so-lookalikes and unfunny reality-show takeoffs vie for our attention and gag reflex.
Step Up 2: The Streets 1/2
In this sequel to the 2006 hit, a rebellious street dancer finds herself fighting to fit in at an elite dance school while also trying to hold onto her old life.
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins 1/2
Martin Lawrence stars as a Hollywood self-help guru who returns home to his crazy but lovable Southern family to help celebrate his parents' 50th wedding anniversary. The comedy's not as broad as in Lawrence's "Big Momma's House" movies, but it's nearly as gross in its physical humor and innuendo. The movie is as predictable as they come.
Adapted from Ian McEwen's book, a servant's son falls in love with a upper-class woman in 1935 Britain, just as her teenage sister falsely accuses him of sexual assault. It's a gripping film, with fine performances by Keira Knightley, James McAvoy and Saoirse Ronan. Even the occasional artiness can't detract from the painful events at this story's heart-rending core. (Nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Ronan for Best Supporting Actress, plus for adapted screenplay, art direction, cinematography, original score and costume.)
George Clooney stars as a shadowy fixer with a legal New York empire. The Oscar-nominated 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, all Oscar nominees -- operate at full thrusters in tautly realized, mature performances. (Tony Gilroy is also up for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay Oscars, and the film is also nominated for original score.)
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. It's vintage stuff for the writing-directing team and their best work in a while. (Nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Javier Bardem for Best Supporting Actor, the Coen brothers for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, plus for cinematography, sound mixing and editing, and film editing.)
Sylvester Stallone returns as the iconic action hero who ventures into a brutal Burmese war zone to rescue captured aid workers. The movie is, for most of its fairly brief running time, a bloodbath punctuated by occasional bouts of clumsy dialogue. But it does have its own kind of blockheaded poetry.
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Oscar nominee Laura Linney play siblings -- he's a neurotic college professor and she's a struggling playwright -- who put their already arrested lives on hold when they have to help their father (Philip Bosco), who is slowly being consumed by dementia. Despite its dark humor, the film tackles the tough topics of aging, frailty, humiliation and death with a delicate and relatable touch. (Director Tamara Jenkins is also an Oscar nominee for Best Original Screenplay.)
There Will Be Blood 1/2
Director Paul Thomas Anderson's latest offering is a masterfully told epic tale of family, faith, power and oil set on the incendiary frontier of California's turn-of-the-century petroleum boom. (Nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor, Anderson for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, plus for art direction, cinematography, sound editing, and film editing.)
Diane Lane plays a FBI special agent in a race against the clock to track down a tech-savvy serial killer who shows his graphic murders on the Internet. Solid performances by Lane, Colin Hanks and Billy Burke disguise some of the script's flaws, where the story becomes rote, and the ending is obvious.
Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show
The popular actor hosted a cross-country comedy tour -- 30 shows in 30 days -- in the fall of 2005, and the film shows both the hilarious on-stage performances and telling behind-the-scenes action. It's a potent portrait of performers driven to pursue their craft.
A musical prodigy, who has grown up in orphanages, holds fast to the belief that his parents are alive and he will find them. (Oscar nominee for Best Song for "Raise It Up.") (PG)
Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba star in this thriller about a man who finds himself conscious yet totally paralyzed during heart surgery. (R)
Robert Zemeckis ("The Polar Express") presents another motion-capture animated film, this time the epic fantasy about the legendary Viking warrior and his battle with the demon Grendel. (PG-13)
Charlie Wilson's War 1/2
Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Oscar nominee Philip Seymour Hoffman star in this comedy, based on a true story, about an alcoholic womanizer of a congressman who teams up with a semirogue CIA spook and a Houston socialite in the 1980s to arm the Afghan mujahadeen against Soviet invaders. (R)
A wide-eyed, would-be animated princess becomes human when she is banished by a wicked queen to real-life New York City. (Three-time Oscar nominee for Best Song.) (PG)
The Golden Compass 1/2
A girl finds herself on an epic quest to save an alternative world where people's souls manifest themselves as animals. (PG-13)
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
A once simple man sets out to find his kidnapped wife and avenge the death of his son, amid the backdrop of war in the kingdom of Ehb. (PG-13)
P.S. I Love You
Hilary Swank stars in this comedy about a young widow who gets over her grief with the help of motivational letters left behind by her dead husband. (PG-13)
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)
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
An extremely sweet tale about loyalty and friendship as a lonely Scottish boy discovers an enchanted egg which eventually hatches and grows up to be the Loch Ness monster. (PG)
Art House | Revival
The Doris Duke Theatre
Honolulu Academy of Arts, 900 S. Beretania St.; $7 general; $6 seniors, students and military; $5 members (532-8768).
2007 Academy Award Nominated Short Films
Review on Page 28. At 1 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Viva Brazil: O Cheiro do Ralo (Drained)
At 7:30 p.m. Monday and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Noel Poeta da Vila (The Samba Poet)
At 1and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Feb. 21.
3566 Harding Ave.; $5, $4 members; reservations recommended due to limited seating (735-8771).
At 12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Friday and Sunday.
Ira and Abby
At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Monday.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Nominated for two Oscars, including Casey Affleck for Best Supporting Actor, and Best Cinematography. At 1, 4 and 7 p.m. Monday.
Away from Her
Nominated for two Oscars, including Julie Christie for Best Actress, and director Sarah Polley for Best Adapted Screenplay. At 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. Feb. 21.