These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
"A Single Man" R, 1:41, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Sony Screen Gems photo via AP
Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried discover what love really means in the romantic drama “Dear John.”
Colin Firth's Best Actor nomination makes this drama mandatory viewing for all serious Oscar handicappers. He plays the gay English professor at the center of Tom Ford's adaptation of a novel by Christopher Isherwood. Now living in California in a state of quiet grief since his lover died, he hides his feelings and his loneliness under his perfect demeanor. Julianne Moore, Nicholas Hoult and Matthew Goode co-star.
"Dear John" PG-13, 2:03, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Bring hankies for this romantic weeper from "The Notebook's" Nicholas Sparks. Channing Tatum stars as a soldier who meets his soul mate (Amanda Seyfried) while he's on leave. Despite how perfect they are for each other, real life interferes, in the form of his distant father (Richard Jenkins) and the other man in her life (Henry Thomas). The title refers to the way her letters to him begin over all the years that test and prove the meaning of true love. Lasse Hallstrom directs.
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.
"From Paris with Love" R, 1:50, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
"Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" PG, 1:44, Kaahumanu 6.
Picking up where their first animated 2007 comedy hit left off, this one sends its rodent stars to high school. They get into cute naughty trouble involving passing gas and shots to the crotch before having their little hearts stolen by their girl-group rivals in the school talent show, The Chipettes. Veteran Betty Thomas directs in a squeaky clean direction.
"Avatar" PG-13, 2:57, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D, $3 surcharge per ticket); Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
With nine Oscar nominations after winning Golden Globes for best picture and best director, genius filmmaker and cinematic dictator James Cameron can lay claim to "king of the cosmos" with this dazzling and provocative $300 million sci-fi epic that's already topped $1 billion internationally. It's set on a distant moon of a faraway planet where the story revolves around the contact between humans - or, rather, their avatar surrogates - with the locals, a graceful race of 12-foot-tall blue-skinned beings. Under the dazzling visuals and special effects is an allegory about the things technological societies do to indigenous cultures in the name of greed and progress. Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana lead the mixed-species cast, along with Sigourney Weaver (no stranger to outer space), Stephen Lang and Giovanni Ribisi. Upping state of the art to the next level with its amazing creatures and equally amazing 3-D effects, Cameron never lets his technology trump his storytelling, which is touching, instructive and inspiring, all at once. Recommended.
"The Book of Eli" R, 2:13, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
Denzel Washington is the latest superstar to go roaming across a post-apocalyptic landscape in this action-adventure directed by the horror-show brother team of Albert and Allen Hughes. He plays an avenger with the last Bible on earth in his backpack, but who finds his shotgun and knife more handy to deal with the cannibalizing bandits now ruling things after a meteor strike and subsequent war 30 years earlier. Trouble ensues when Denzel wanders into a western town run by a ruthless Gary Oldman, who has aspirations of being a dictator and wants that Bible. Mila Kunis co-stars.
"Daybreakers" R, 1:53, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex
In a world the vampires took over a decade earlier, Ethan Hawke plays a sharp-toothed researcher trying to develop a substitute for human blood to feed them. Willem Dafoe, the go-to guy for vampire movies, co-stars with Claudia Karvan as leaders of a group post-vamps who have gone back to being human. Sam Neill is along as the corporate vampire championing the bloodsucking lifestyle. Brothers Peter and Michael Spierig share the writing and directing duties.
"Edge of Darkness" R, 2:12, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
"You have to decide if you're up on the cross or driving in the nails," says Mel Gibson in this new cop thriller. He plays a Boston detective on the trail of the murderers of his 24-year-old daughter (Bojana Novakovic) in this gritty saga that leads him into realms of corporate and political corruption. Ray Winstone and Danny Huston co-star and Martin Campbell directs the controversial superstar's bloody return to the front of the cameras. Looking and acting his age, Gibson's "Lethal Weapon" volatility has given way to weariness -but he still finds moments of charisma to keep things interesting.
"Extraordinary Measures" PG, 2:01, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell star as parents of two young children suffering from the very rare Pompe disease. Harrison Ford plays the cranky, unorthodox medical researcher who's the parents' last hope for saving the kids in this drama inspired by real events. Meredith Droeger and Diego Velazquez play the kids and Sam Hall is their more active brother in this heart-pounding, tear-jerking story that has as much to do with healthcare funding, policies and politics as it does with coming up with a cure. Tom Vaughan directs.
"The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus" PG, 2:02, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Unstuck in time, Dr. Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) drives his horse-drawn traveling show through modern London, offering the techno crowd a seedy, Victorian-era escape. Those stepping through the show's mirror enter the surreal world of writer-director Terry Gilliam's imagination, with satanic Tom Waits on the sidelines offering a choice between heaven and hell. Gilliom had to practice his own form of alchemy when his star Heath Ledger died during production; Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell stepped in to fill in the gaps in a cast also featuring Lily Cole, Verne Troyer and Andrew Garfield. An uneven but glorious mess of a movie, it scored Oscar nomination for art direction and costumes.
"It's Complicated" R, 2:15, Maui Mall Megaplex.
The always perfect-for-the-role Meryl Streep stars in this light romantic comedy, playing the object of affection for ex-husband Alec Baldwin and new suitor Steve Martin. Writer-director Nancy Meyers, a specialist in comedies for grown-ups, tries to make life after divorce look like a whole lot of fun, with her A-list stars not taking themselves too seriously. Lake Bell, John Krasinski, Mary Kay Place and Rita Wilson co-star, but the results disappoint, squandering the talents of her stars and never living up to the title.
"Leap Year" PG, 1:55, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Amy Adams stars in this frothy romantic comedy, playing a headstrong interior decorator whose plans to observe an old Irish tradition of proposing to her boyfriend on Feb. 29 runs into some problems with the weather, and other things. Adam Scott plays the boyfriend and Matthew Goode shows up as a helpful Irishman perhaps too helpful. John Lithgow co-stars and Anand Tucker directs.
"Legion" R, 1:40, Kaahumanu 6; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
Paul Bettany plays the archangel Michael in this allegorical horror-thriller set in a remote diner. After God decides that humans have fallen short of His plans for them and decides to start over, it falls to the archangel and the strangers in the cafe - Dennis Quaid, Adrianne Palicki Charles S. Dutton, Tyrese Gibson and Lucas Black - to ward off a legion of supernatural dark angels intent on wiping out humankind. Scott Stewart directs.
"The Lovely Bones" PG-13, 2:30, Kaahumanu 6.
Young Saorise Ronan leads a cast also featuring Rose McIver, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci, who adds an Oscar nomination to his Golden Globe nod, in this adaptation of Alice Sebold's best-seller about a murdered girl looking back on her life from the afterlife. ''The Lord of the Rings' '' Peter Jackson directs, trying to balance the enchanting fantasy glow of her new realm with the truly harrowing events that put her there.
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" R, 1:50, Front Street Theaters.
Mo'Nique adds a sure-thing Oscar nomination to the Golden Globe she won as best supporting actress playing the abusive mother or a pregnant Harlem teen in this gritty, challenging and ultimately unforgettable drama. Young actress Gabourey Sidibe makes an auspicious screen debut in the title role, picking up her own Best Actress nomination to go with the film's well-earned other nominations including Best Picture and Best Director for Lee Daniels. Despite all the odds stacked against Precious, the movie sneaks in glimpses of humor, and hope. Paula Patton and Mariah Carey co-star. Recommended.
"The Princess and the Frog" G, 1:52, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Disney Studios return to Walt's original medium of hand-drawn animation to update the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Moving the story to a 1920s Louisiana bayou, it tells of a waitress (Anika Noni Rose) whose dreams of opening her own restaurant are interrupted by the arrival of a frog named Naveen (Bruno Campos), claiming that he's really a prince under the slimy green skin. Ron Clements and John Musker direct, surrounding Disney's first animated black heroine with cute dialogue, lovable characters and a Randy Newman soundtrack.
"Sherlock Holmes" PG-13, 2:23, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
"Iron Man," Robert Downey Jr. won a Golden Globe for reinventing another icon in this comedy-action update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's evergreen Victorian detective. With Jude Law as Dr. Watson and Guy Ritchie directing, Downey adds funny stuff to the brainy deductions, poking fun at Victorian propriety along the way. Rachel McAdams rounds out the merry band as the brilliant detective's elementary distraction. There's cleverness galore, especially in the testy relationship between eccentric Holmes and Watson, although it often gets lost under the bombastic action and unrelenting special effects.
"The Spy Next Door" PG, 1:47, Kaahumanu 6.
The spy is Jackie Chan, and his name is Bob Ho and that's probably as much as grown-ups need to know about this family comedy that has him trying to babysit his girlfriend's three challenging children for a few weeks. Considering that Bob is supposedly a mild-mannered pen importer, wouldn't you know that one of the kids would hack into his computer, uncovering his secret identity and setting off a crisis with his Russian counterpart of major slapstick proportions. George Lopez and Billy Ray Cyrus co-star, Brian Levant directs.
"The Tooth Fairy" PG, 1:55, Kaahumanu 6; ends tonight at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Dwayne Johnson is one action-hero secure enough to put on wings and a tutu, not to mention starring in a movie with "fairy" in the title. He plays an ice hockey player whose nickname stems from knocking opponents' teeth out. Imagine his surprise when he gets transported to Fairyland, a realm presided over by Julie Andrews, who presses him into service as an actual tooth fairy long enough to make a few deliveries and rekindle his own childhood dreams. Ashley Judd co-stars in this family-friendly comedy along with Stephen Merchant, Ryan Sheckler, Destiny Whittock and Chase Ellison. Michael Lembeck directs.
"Up in the Air" R, 2:04, Maui Mall Megaplex.
After winning a screenplay Golden Globe for writer-director Jason Reitman, this bittersweet blend of love, loneliness and hard times features George Clooney along with co-stars Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick in pitch-perfect performances. Now they've all got Oscar nominations, along with one for Best Picture and two more for writing and directing for Reitman for their efforts. Clooney plays a corporate terminator, logging hundreds of thousands of air miles a year to lay off white-collar workers whose bosses don't have the backbone to do it themselves. Filmmaker Reitman makes his own contribution, finding just the right tone in the bathos, mixing happy with sad and cynicism with compassion. Breaking the usual molds for romantic comedy, Clooney is great at playing guys who want to do the right thing, if they only had a clue what that is. Mixing in lots of interviews with laid-off white-collar workers, it's an insightful commentary on our uncertain economic and emotional times, brilliantly offering an occasional glimpse of a silver lining to all those clouds in Clooney's world. Recommended.
"When in Rome" PG-13, 1:45, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Kristen Bell steps into the role usually played by Katherine Heigl in this opposites-attract romantic comedy. She plays an ambitious New Yorker in Rome for her sister's wedding. Not believing in love herself, she still manages to ignite the interest of an eclectic bunch of suitors including Will Arnett, Jon Heder, Dax Shepard and Danny Devito and Josh Duhamel. You can pretty well guess which one is Mr. Right from the trailers, but that hasn't stopped the laughs from preview audiences. Anjelica Huston and Alexis Dziena co-star; Mart Steven Johnson directs.