These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
"2012" PG-13, 2:38, Maui Mall Megaplex. Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
"Pirate Radio" R, 1:29, Maui Mall Megaplex.
The British government's efforts to outlaw rock 'n' roll in the '60s led to the renegade radio station broadcasting off the English coast from "The Boat That Rocked" (the English tititle of this toe-tapping comedy.) Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Tom Sturridge, Rhys Ifans, January Jones, Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh hop aboard this satirical romp, written and directed by "Love Actually's" Richard Curtis. The stuffy English establishment is no match for the free spirits on board the boat, who bring not only the music, but the spirit, of those happy times to a brand-new audience.
Times in the movie ads are subject to change on the weekend. It's a good idea to call the theater, just to be sure. For showtimes at Kaahumanu 6 and Kukui Mall 4, call 1 (800) FANDANGO visit www.consolidatedtheatres.com.
For showtimes at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas, Front Street Theatres and Maui Mall Megaplex call 249-2222 or check www.gohollywood.com.
"Amelia" PG, 1:51, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Hilary Swank plays the pioneering flyer Amelia Earhart in this period adventure that flashes back and forth from the 1937 flight around the world that the audience knows will be her last. Her passion for flying, her crossings of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and her inspiration to women pilots are recalled, as is her marriage to her promoter (Richard Gere) and an affair with high-flying Ewan McGregor. "Monsoon Wedding's" Mira Nair directs, but Amelia's personality remains more mysterious than the outcome of her last flight in this gorgeous but shallow production.
"Astro Boy" PG, 1:49, Kaahumanu 6.
Young Freddie Highmore provides the voice of the animated sci-fi hero in this screen adaptation of a 1951 comic book. The son of a mad scientist (voiced by Nicolas Cage), the hero is brought back to life like a mechanical "Pinocchio." His adventures take him from glossy floating Metro City to a polluted earth. Kristen Bell, Bill Nighy and Nathan Lane lend their voices. David Bowers directs.
"The Box" PG-13, 2:11, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
Cameron Diaz and James Marsden play a typical couple in the '70s whose lives are forever changed when disfigured stranger Frank Langella appears at their door to make them an offer. If they accept the box he brings, they will receive $1 million but someone they don't know will lose his life. Richard Kelly writers and directs the troubling thriller.
"The Boys Are Back" PG-13, 1:44, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Clive Owen delivers the most touching and powerful performance in his interesting career as a newly widowed sportswriter learning to be a single father to a 6-year-old son. "Shine's" Scott Hicks directs this wonderful true-life drama against cinematic Australian backdrops. Dealing with real issues facing real families, the movie strikes a wise human balance before the arrival of Owen's other son from his first marriage, now a teenager who redefines the family unit one more time. "The Boys " is full of insights, realizations, laughs, tears and lots of love that will be recognizable to anyone who's ever been part of a family. Recommended.
"Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant" PG-13, 2:04, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6.
This latest entry into the crowded field of movies about not-exactly-human beings stars John C. Reilly as the vampire ringmaster of a freak show that features bearded lady Salma Hayek and very tall Ken Watanabe. Chris Massoglia and Josh Hutcherson play the high-school kids who stumble upon the menagerie and decide to join. Director Paul Weitz tries to straddle the line between funny, scary and gross with lines like "Vampires don't need cell phones!"
"Coco Before Chanel" PG-13, 1:45, ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4; opens Friday at Kaahumanu 6.
"Amelie's" beguiling Audrey Tatou plays resourceful orphan Gabrielle Chanel, who picks up her nickname as a singer in Parisian dance halls and her fashion sense as she makes her way upward, into the worlds of the rich and famous. Although the audience knows her eventual fate, establishing a fashion "house" and empire, Tatou's performance under Anne Fontaine's direction is more interested in the younger woman behind the label -a work of art that she makes up as she goes along. In French with English subtitles.
"Couples Retreat" PG-13, 2:09, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Front Street Theaters.
Stars (and co-writers) Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau head the cast in this comedy about four unhappily married couples who head for a paradise island retreat to patch things up. Along for the ride are Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis, Jason Bateman, Kristen Bell, Faizon Love and Kali Hawk. Despite erotic yoga lessons and lots of drinks with umbrellas in them, most of the married folks wish they were in the singles retreat on the other side of the lagoon - especially after the mandatory couples counseling begins. Peter Billingsley directs in a thoroughly predictable direction, with lots of product placement instead of humor, as the audience provides the automatic laugh track.
"Disney's A Christmas Carol" PG, 1:51, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D and 2-D), Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a role made in movie heaven for Jim Carrey, and techno-wiz director Robert Zemeckis adds motion capture and 3-D effects to jazz up Charles Dickens' evergreen holiday classic. The results are reportedly eye-popping, adding to the faithful adaptation of Dickens' original tale of the miser who comes to his senses after visits from several frightening ghosts one Christmas Eve. Gary Oldman and Colin Firth lead the supporting cast along with Cary Elwes, Robin Wright Penn, Bob Hoskins and Fionnula Flanagan, many in multiple roles is this week's box-office winner.
"The Fourth Kind" PG-13, 1:53, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Milla Jovovich plays a psychological researcher in a remote Alaskan village investigating peculiar disappearances and other strange behavior on the part of the locals. With help from Sheriff Will Patton and fellow researcher Elias Koteas, she comes to the only plausible explanation: alien abductions. Olatunde Osunsanmi writes and directs, going for crude "Paranormal Activities" production values to pretend this isn't a movie but a recording of actual -and bizarre - events.
"In My Life" NR, 2:00, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Multi-award-winning Filipino actress Vilma Santos stars in this drama, playing the cloying mother of a gay son who becomes an uninvited participant in his life. Her real-life son, Luis Manzano, co-stars along with Manila matinee idol John Lloyd Cruz in this production targeted at Maui's Filipino community; in Tagalog with English subtitles.
"Law Abiding Citizen" R, 2:04, Kaahumanu 6.
Channeling the spirit of the late Charles Bronson, Gerard Butler plays a man beaten by two crooks who also kill his wife and daughter. After the assailants make a deal with Assistant DA Jamie Foxx that lets one of them walk free, it falls to the victim to take the law in his own hands, even after he winds up behind bars. His evolution from hero to villain is aided by how much smarter he is than his pursuers. F. Gary Gray directs the taut thriller that's staying near the top at the box office; co-starring Bruce McGill, Leslie Bibb, Michael Irby and Gregory Itzin.
"The Men Who Stare at Goats" R, 1:50, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
The catchy title refers to one strange bunch of U.S. soldiers experimenting with psychic warfare, espionage and other tactics like staring goats to death or thinking they can reconstitute their molecules and walk through walls. George Clooney leads the merry band, with heavyweight co-stars including Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey and Ewan McGregor. Grant Heslov directs the "Catch-22"-like comedy for the Iraq era, but its origins, heart and literary sensibilities are in the '60s and '70s. With Clooney and Bridges portraying a couple of wiggy warriors, the surreal antics bring new meanings to making love, not war unless you happen to be a goat. Amazingly enough, it's based on a nonfiction book. (See review on Page 2.)
"Michael Jackson's This Is It" PG, 1:51, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Director-choreographer Kenny Ortega shot the rehearsals for Michael Jackson's comeback tour, thinking they would become part of the King of Pop's private library. Instead, they have taken the place of the concerts that never happened. Capturing Jackson's musical talents, still impressive at age 50, the film also shows the humanity that often got lost amidst his tabloid antics of recent years. A must-see for Jackson's fans, it broadens the audience for his legacy.
"Paranormal Activity" R, 1:36, Kaahumanu 6; opens Friday at Front Street Theaters.
Made for $11,000 and now approaching $100 million at the box office, this chilling thriller has drawn comparisons to "The Blair Witch Project" in pretending that it's not a movie at all, but a video record of actual events. Katie Featherston stars as an English lit grad student, who senses a strange presence in the San Diego house she has moved into with her boyfriend, Micha Sloat. His solution is to get a video camera and leave it running, even while they're asleep, to find out what's going on. As it turns out, plenty. Mark Fredrichs co-stars as "The Psychic," and Oren Peli is credited as the film's writer-director, even if it doesn't seem to have one. Less a great movie than an ingenious cinematic novelty, it definitely gets a rise out of audiences.
"Saw VI" R, 1:48, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Even though this ultraviolent series keeps killing off the special investigators on the trail of the sadistic Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), new ones keep showing up on the path to learn his lesson, and/or die trying. Costas Mandvlor plays Detective Hoffman, trying to assemble the various severed body parts into Jigsaw's ultimate message, which is that life is too valuable to waste in this way. Who knew? Kevin Greutert directs.
"Where the Wild Things Are'' PG, 1:41, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Director Spike Jonze and co-writer Dave Eggers connect the dots of Maurice Sendak's classic children's bedtime story to create a unique film as whimsical, wise and eccentric as it is fun to look at. Young Max (Max Records), in his animal pajamas with whiskers in the hood and a long tale, becomes king in the faraway land where the wild things are. Voiced by folks including James Gandolfini, Catherine O'Hara, Forest Whitaker and Chris Cooper, the wild things sometimes seem scary, but often act more like outpatients from group counseling. As Max discovers there's more to being king than just wearing the crown, the touching film is at its best in the crazy maze of Max's imagination, or subtly illustrating all the feelings he can't put into words. Recommended.
"Zombieland" R, 1:43, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Maui guy Woody Harrelson co-stars in this scary comedy, teaming up with the more timid Jesse Eisenberg traveling across a nation reeling from a zombie outbreak. Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin co-star as fellow-traveling survivors with Ruben Fleisher directing their cool performances surefootedly along the tightrope between big laughs and big scares. A box office hit and instant cult classic, this zombie jamboree balances its gross, campy stuff with nonstop wit, terrific performances and a surprising amount of heart. Recommended.