These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
"Alice in Wonderland" PG, 1:49, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Disney Enterprises, Inc. photo via AP
Johnny Depp makes the Mad Hatter his own in director Tim Burton’s new “Alice in Wonderland”
Overture Films photo via AP
Jesse Williams (left) and Richard Gere are two of 'Brooklyn’s Finest'
Paramount Pictures photo via AP
Leonardo DiCaprio looks for clues in “Shutter Island.”
Whimsical visionary Tim Burton gives a modern and darker spin to Lewis Carroll's beloved Alice, making her a 19-year-old on the brink of marriage, for openers. Lured back to Wonderland, with lots borrowed from "Through the Looking Glass" as well, Alice is less a confused child than a girl-powered heroine, matching wits with the familiar menagerie of weirdos - led by Burton favorites Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter -while entertaining doubts about what she's doing there and whether she might be the wrong Alice. Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover and the voices of Michael Sheen, Alan Rickman and Stephen Fry are additions to the cast in what promises to be slightly darker, not to mention, wiggier, than even Lewis Carroll could have imagined.
"A Single Man" R, 1:41, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Colin Firth's Best Actor Oscar nomination - and recent win in the British equivalent of the awards - makes this drama mandatory viewing for all serious Oscar handicappers. He plays a gay English professor at the center of Tom Ford's stylistic adaptation of a novel by Christopher Isherwood set in the early '60s. Living in California in a state of quiet grief since his lover died, he hides his feelings and his loneliness under perfect demeanor while plotting his own suicide. Julianne Moore, Nicholas Hoult and Matthew Goode co-star, with Firth's great performance still haunting long after the film ends. Recommended.
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.
"Brooklyn's Finest" R, 2:20, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Several of Hollywood's finest - Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Wesley Snipes and Ethan Hawke - play the cops who make the title ironic in this gritty action drama directed by "Training Day's Antoine Fuqua. Gere is the worn-down one counting the days until retirement, Hawke is the narc shaking down dealers to make a down payment on a bigger house for his family and Cheadle is an undercover detective ready to crack from his constant close proximity to drug kingpin Snipes. The domestic and pyschological strain makes these characters more interesting than typical action figures, but that can only go so far once the bullets start flying and the body count starts rising.
"Avatar" PG-13, 2:57, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D, $3 surcharge per ticket).
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 humans - or, rather, their avatar surrogates - interact 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.
"Cop Out" R, 1:53, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Bruce Willis has graduated to the place where he can leave the toupee at home and riff on roles he used to take seriously, and this retro '80s-style buddy-cop comedy is tailor-made for him. He plays the cranky half of the team of detectives on the trail of a powerful gang leader. Tracy Morgan is the other half. Directed by Kevin Smith - in the headlines recently for being too large to fit into a standard airplane seat - the script left room for lots of improvising. Willis' character fumes over a stolen valuable baseball card while Morgan obsesses about whether or not his wife is cheating on him. Adam Brody and Kevin Pollak co-star along with Sean William Scott, who steals whatever scene he's in.
"The Crazies" R, 1:41, Maui Mall Megaplex.
A mysterious toxin contaminates the water supply for a small Iowa town, driving everyone crazy before they die a painful death. Don't you hate it when that happens? Timothy Olypant and Radha Mitchell head the cast in this sci-fi horror show also feauring Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker, Christie Lynn Smith and Brett Rickaby. Breck Eisner directs.
"Crazy Heart" R, 1:51, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6; opens Friday at Kukui Mall 4.
Jeff Bridges is the front-runner for the best-actor Oscar after winning the Golden Globe for his portrayal of has-been country singer "Bad" Blake. Maggie Gyllenhaal lands her own supporting-actress nomination as the small town interviewer who gives Blake a last shot at redemption. Bridges does his own singin' and guitar playing (with another nomination for best song) in this wonderful performance that channels Kris Kristofferson, making its hero lovable despite his flaws and has everyone in the theater cheering him on. Robert Duvall and Colin Farrell co-star; Scott Cooper directs. Recommended.
"The Book of Eli" R, 2:13, Maui Mall Megaplex.
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 world war. Trouble ensues when Denzel wanders into a western town run by a ruthless Gary Oldman, who wants that Bible. Mila Kunis co-stars.
"Dear John" PG-13, 2:03, Maui Mall Megaplex 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 story revolves around their letters over the years that test and prove the meaning of true love. Lasse Hallstrom directs.
"From Paris with Love" R, 1:50, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Front Street Theaters.
John Travolta returns to his old "Pulp Fiction" stomping grounds playing a wisecracking CIA agent mentoring the more dapper Jonathan Rhys Meyers through a bloody campaign to save politicians from ruthless terrorists. "Taken's" Pierre Morel directs the action-packed carnage through the City of Light.
"The Hurt Locker" R, 2:01, Kukui Mall 4.
Co-leading the Oscar field with nine nominations including Best Picture, Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow) and Best Actor (Jeremy Renner), this taut Iraq War drama follows a unit of highly trained bomb-defusing experts in the streets of Baghdad. War is a drug for these latter-day cowboys with ice and adrenaline running in their veins. Renner's portrayal and Bigelow's assured direction bring this misunderstood military engagement home in unsparing terms. Anthony Mackie, Brian Garaghty, Guy Pearce and Ralph Fiennes co-star in this knuckle-biter. It's gritty, but recommended.
"I Love You Goodbye" NR, running time N/A, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Winner of seven awards at the recent Manila Film Festival, this domestic drama from the Philippines revolves around a complicated romantic triangle. Laurice Guillen writes and directs a cast featuring Angelica Panganiban, Gabby Concepcion, Liza Lorena, Kim Chiu and Derek Ramsay, showing how misunderstandings can make love even more complicated than it normally is. In Filipino, Tagalog and English.
"Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" PG, 2:14, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
Harry Potter's probably not looking over his shoulder, but Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is the new kid in a similar line of work. Rick Riordan's novel resets ancient Greek mythology in modern Manhattan, where Percy (short for Perseus) is a typical teen who happens to be the demigod son of human mom Catherine Keener and god of the sea Poseidon (Kevin McKidd). Also along for the mythological ride are Steve Coogan as Hades, Pierce Brosnan as the centaur and Uma Thurman as the snake-haired Medusa. Veteran Chris Columbus directs the high-minded family fun; Ray Winstone, Rosaria Dawson, Jake Abel, Serinda Swan, Joe Pantoliano and Melina Karakaredes co-star.
"Shutter Island" PG-13, 2:33, Kaahumanu 6 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Oscar-winning grand master of cinema Martin Scorsese reteams with his current favorite superstar, Leonardo DiCaprio, for this supernatural gothic suspense thriller. Adapted from Dennis Lehane's novel, it's set in the 1950s in a mental institution on a remote New England island. Federal agent DiCaprio and his partner Mark Ruffalo are here to investigate the disappearance of a delusional and murderous patient who drowned her three children before being committed. At least that's what seems to be going on. As though the sinister forebodings and a big surprise at the end weren't enough, there's a hurricane going on, too. Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow and Michelle Williams co-star in this week's box-office winner and definite creep-out, that leaves you scratching your head for days after seeing it.
"The Tooth Fairy" PG, 1:55, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6, opens Friday at Kukui Mall 4.
Dwayne Johnson is one action-hero secure enough to put on wings and a tutu and star 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. Ashley Judd co-stars in this family-friendly comedy directed by Michael Lembeck that showcases Johnson's easy way with light comedy.
"Valentine's Day" PG-13, 2:20, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
Boasting more A-list stars per frame than any romantic comedy since "Love Actually," this one interweaves couples of all ages through overlapping storylines. Arriving just in time for the Hallmark holiday are Ashton Kutcher, Jessical Alba, Jennifer Garner, Patrick Dempsey, Anne Hathaway, Topher Grace, Emma Roberts, Carter Jenkins, Taylor Swift, Shirley MacLaine, Hector Elizondo, Bryce Robinson, Jamie Foxx, Kathy Bates, Eric Dane, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Biel, George Lopez, Bradley Cooper and Julia Roberts. Talent, not to mention egos, like that, call for a master director - namely Garry Marshall, who made many of them stars in the first place. It might have helped to have a writer up to the stars' level to give them more to work with than lame lines, sitcom situations and surprises you can see coming from a mile away.
"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. Guess which one's Mr. Right? Anjelica Huston and Alexis Dziena co-star; Mart Steven Johnson directs.
"The Wolfman" R, 1:57, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Trying to get back on more equal footing with all the vampires on screen these days, Benicio Del Toro, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt inject some new blood into werewolf lore. Taking inspiration from Lon Chaney Jr.'s original horror film, Del Toro plays a wayward aristocrat turned into a hairy, fanged beast by an unfortunate encounter. Joe Johnston directs.