These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
Warner Bros. photo
Sandra Bullock stars as a strong-minded woman in the uplifting sports comedy-drama “The Blind Side.”
Columbia Pictures photo
It’s up to John Cusack to save his daughter (Morgan Lily) and the world, in this week’s box-office winner, “2012.”
"The Blind Side" PG-13, 2:24, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Although she's probably sick of the word "plucky," Sandra Bullock keeps up her irresistible ways in this redemptive sports comedy-drama based on a true story. She plays a wealthy, strong-willed Memphis wife who adopts a very large, homeless African-American teen and makes him part of her family. She also introduces him to the sport of football -a match made in heaven. John Lee Hancock writes and directs, showcasing newcomer Quinton Aaron, but mostly letting Bullock do her thing. You'll laugh, you'll cry -and that's just from the trailer.
"Planet 51" PG, 1:46, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
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.con solidatedtheatres.com.
For showtimes at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas, Front Street Theatres and Maui Mall Megaplex call 249-2222 or check www.gohollywood.com.
A monster from outer space invades a suburban neighborhood in this family-targeted animated sci-fi comedy. Only, the monster this time is an astronaut and the homebodies are little green aliens, taking their cues from "Ozzie and Harriet." Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Biel, Justin Long, John Cleese and Gary Oldman provide the voices for this retrofitted return to the '50s, mostly to make fun of what passed for humor then. Jorge Blanco graduates from creating video games to write and direct.
"A Serious Man" R, 1:45, Kaahumanu 6.
The cynical, brilliant, Oscar-winning Coen brothers are back with this serious comedy. Delving into their own Jewish Minnesota roots, it recasts the Book of Job as a contemporary tale of a physics professor (Michael Stuhlbarg) whose efforts to live a moral life and do the right thing keep running into random acts of destruction. The point is that the universe is random, providing insurmountable challenges in which concepts of justice and karma are irrelevant.
"The Twilight Saga: New Moon" PG-13, 2:25, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
It's the second chapter of love with the proper vampire in this second screen adaptation of Stephanie Meyer's wildly successful book series. Young Bella Swan (Kristin Stewart) is once again willing to sacrifice everything to be with the vamp she loves, Edward Cullin (Robert Pattison) -but of course, things can never be that simple when it comes to romance. Taylor Lautner makes it a triangle as Bella's old friend who tries to help her, despite the presence of large wolves and other unsavory influences. Ashley Greene, Rachelle Lefevre, Billy Burke, Michael Sheen and Dakota Fanning co-star; Chris Weitz directs.
REVERSE ORIGAMI FILM FESTIVAL
Maui filmmakers including Sean Fleck, Matthew Robinson, Nancy Skrimstad and more will present short films at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Seabury Hall Performing Arts Building. Tickets are $4. For more information, visit. www.reverseorigami. com.
"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; ends tonight at 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.
"Coco Before Chanel" PG-13, 1:45, ends tonight 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, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
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) and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
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; ends tonight at 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, ends tonight at 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, ends tonight at 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. Recommended.
"Michael Jackson's This Is It" PG, 1:51, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4; ends tonight at 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 and 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.
"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. Recommended. (See review on Page 2.)
"2012" PG-13, 2:38, Maui Mall Megaplex. Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Audiences flocked to theaters to watch director Roland Emmerich destroy the world one more time in this epic vision of a modern apocalypse inspired by a supposed Mayan prediction. John Cusack heads a cast also featuring Amanda Peet, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tom McCarthy, Oliver Platt and Woody Harrelson, but the real stars are the special effects, which can destroy California, Las Vegas, and Washington, D.C. with a single keystroke. Tops at the box office, the grand-scale destruction brings new meaning to the word disaster, as the audiences in the theater don't seem to notice it's their own destruction that's providing their entertainment. (See review on Page 2.)
"Where the Wild Things Are'' PG, 1:41, Kaahumanu 6; ends tonight at 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.