Maui fest is place to
catch up on movies

If you want to unplug from your 24/7 lifestyle and vow to head into 2005 with the notion of making time for yourself and getting lost in the arts, the Maui Film Festival's FirstLight Academy Screenings is your prescription for well-being.

The festival highlights the best of 2004, with films most likely to be contenders in the upcoming awards season. Catch them all in one place.

All films will be screened at the Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. There also will be live music, dinner, dessert and complimentary massages at the CandleLight Cafe between 5 and 7:30 p.m. screenings.

The cost is $10 per film ($5 for kids under 12 for PG and PG-13 films), or pick up a FirstLight 4-Film VIP FastPass for $40 at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center box office and Borders Kahului. For more information, call 808-572-3456. Here's the lineup:


» "Alexander": Oliver Stone directs Colin Farrell, Anthony Hopkins, Rosario Dawson, Angelina Jolie and Val Kilmer in and epic that recounts the life of Alexander the Great, who led armies of Greeks and Macedonians to build an empire that spanned 90 percent of the then-known world (rated R); 2 p.m.

» "Spanglish": This heartwarming dramedy from James L. Brooks explores a forbidden romance between the "best chef in America" (played by Adam Sandler) and the beautiful Latina woman (Paz Vega) that his hypercritical wife (Tea Leoni) hires to work in their Bel Air home (PG-13); 5 p.m.

» "The Motorcycle Diaries": This gorgeous road movie shot in South America gives a glimpse of the transcendent 8,000-mile journey of a young Che Guevara, played by Gael Garcia Bernal. In Spanish with English subtitles (R); 7:30 p.m.


» "I Heart Huckabees": Jason Schwartzman, Dustin Hoffman, Isabelle Huppert, Jude Law, Lily Tomlin, Mark Wahlberg and Naomi Watts make up the ensemble cast in this tale of how a man's unexamined life becomes more interesting when he enlists rival existential detectives to help make sense of it (R); 2 p.m.

» "We Don't Live Here Anymore": Mark Ruffalo, Laura Dern, Peter Krause and Naomi Watts play couples forced to face hard truths about their marriages and themselves (R); 5 p.m.

» "Beyond the Sea": Kevin Spacey stars, directs and does all his own singing and dancing in this biopic of singer Bobby Darin. Kate Bosworth, John Goodman, Bob Hoskins, Brenda Blethyn and Greta Scacchi co-star (PG-13); 7:30 p.m.


» "Kontroll": This thriller is Hungary's submission for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In Hungarian with English subtitles (R); 2 p.m.

» "Vera Drake": Imelda Staunton gives a bravura performance as a respected working-class woman who secretly helps women induce miscarriages to end unwanted pregnancies (R); 5 p.m.

» "Million Dollar Baby": Clint Eastwood directs and co-stars with Hillary Swank and Morgan Freeman in this tale of a retired prizefighter who agrees to coach a female boxer (PG-13); 7:30 p.m.


» "Maria Full of Grace": This edge-of-your-seat Sundance Film Festival award-winner follows a young woman (Catalina Sandino Moreno) on a life-threatening drug smuggling odyssey. In Spanish with English subtitles (R); 2 p.m.

» "The Chorus (Les Choristes)": France's Academy Award submission for Best Foreign Language Film tells of a teacher who brings hope to a gang of juvenile delinquents by introducing them to classical music. In French with English subtitles (PG); 5 p.m.

» "In Good Company": Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Scarlett Johannson and Marg Helgenberger star in a story about an ad salesman whose daughter falls in love with his young boss (PG-13); 7:30 p.m.

» "The Woodsman": Kevin Bacon is harrowing as a pedophile trying to re-enter society after 12 years in jail. Also stars Kyra Sedgwick, Benjamin Bratt, Mos Def, Eve and David Alan Grier (R); 9:30 p.m.

Jan. 1

» "P.S.": Laura Linney plays a college admissions officer and Topher Grace is a confident New York art-school applicant in a dramedy about a thirtysomething given a second chance at first love (R); 2 p.m.

» "Stage Beauty": Favorably compared with "Shakespeare in Love," this film explores an era when women were not allowed to act and men played female roles. It stars Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Rupert Everett, Tom Wilkinson and Ben Chaplin (R); 5 p.m.

» "Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera": British actor Gerard Butler plays the title role in this lavish adaptation of the Broadway sensation. Also stars Emmy Rossum and Minnie Driver (PG-13); 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 2

» "Born into Brothels": This winner of the 2004 Sundance Film Festival Documentary Audience Award explores the lives of prostitutes' children in Calcutta (unrated); 2 p.m.

» "Tell Them Who You Are": Julia Roberts, Michael Douglas, Jane Fonda, Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Billy Crystal, Dennis Hopper, Martin Sheen, George Lucas and others talk about working with acclaimed cinematographer Haskell Wexler in this documentary (unrated); 5 p.m.

» "The Assassination of Richard Nixon": Sean Penn delivers a quietly explosive performance in this exploration of the dark side of the American Dream set against the backdrop of the Watergate scandal (R); 7:30 p.m.

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