These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
"Green Zone" R, 2:10, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
"Our Family Wedding" PG-13, 1:41, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Despite the potential for cliches and stereotypes in comedies about weddings between partners from different ethnic backgrounds, this one reportedly is charming rather than cheesy. America Ferrera and Lance Gross play the couple; Carlos Mencia and Forest Whitaker play their soon-to-be-feuding fathers. The strong supporting cast also features Regina King, Lupe Ontiveros, Anjela Johnson, Diana Maria Riva, Charlie Murphy, Taye Diggs and a goat who happens onto some Viagra. Rick Famuyiwa directs.
"Remember Me" PG-13, 2:07, Maui Mall Megaplex and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
"Twilight" heartthrob Robert Pattinson plays an actual human in the style of James Dean or a young Marlon Brando in this brooding romantic drama. He's a rebellious type student when he meets fellow NYU student Emilie de Ravin, putting him on a collison course with her cop-dad (Chris Cooper). He's also got issues with his own attorney-dad (Pierce Brosnan, sporting a Brooklyn accent) in this latest bit of dark celluloid catnip for Pattinson's legions of teenage fans. Allen Coulter directs.
"She's Out of My League" R, 2:00, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
This latest comedy in the raunchy princess-and-the-nerd mode stars Jay Baruchel as airport security agent who seriously falls for event planner Alice Eve, despite the warning in the film's title. Despite the predictability in the material, the two stars reportedly deliver breakout performances under the direction of Jim Field Smith. Mike Vogel, Nate Torrence, Krysten Ritter, Geoff Stults and Lindsay Sloane co-star.
"Alice in Wonderland" PG, 1:49, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
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. While Burton sometimes seems to have Alice confused with Joan of Arc and throws in one big monster as though the Red Queen weren't menacing enough, his "Alice" still strikes a nice balance between whimsy and more tender stuff. His stars all shine, especially Depp who turns the Hatter into a hero with a tender heart, guiding the comedy to $115 million at the box office in its opening week. Despite what other critics might say, it's recommended.
"A Single Man" R, 1:41, ends tonight at 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 very cinematic 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.
"Avatar" PG-13, 2:57, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D, $3 surcharge per ticket).
With three Oscars to add to its 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.
"The Book of Eli" R, 2:13, ends tonight at 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.
"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.
"Cop Out" R, 1:53, Maui Mall Megaplex, ends tonight at 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; opens Friday at Front Street Theaters.
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 Olyphant 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, Kukui Mall 4.
Jeff Bridges richly deserved the best-actor Oscar after winning the Golden Globe for his portrayal of has-been country singer "Bad" Blake. Maggie Gyllenhaal landed 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 (the film also picked up the Best Song Oscar) 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.
"Dear John" PG-13, 2:03, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at 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.
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.
Oscar night's big winner with prizes for best picture, best director (Kathryn Bigelow), best original screenplay (Mark Boal) and three more, 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. Oscar nominee Jeremy 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. (See commentary on Page 2.)
"Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" PG, 2:14, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at 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; ends tonight at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas, opens Friday at Front Street Theaters.
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 definite creep-out, that leaves you scratching your head for days after seeing it.
"The Tooth Fairy" PG, 1:55, ends tonight 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, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Boasting more A-list stars per frame than any romantic comedy since "Love Actually," this one interweaves couples of all ages through overlapping story lines. This celluloid equivalent of a Hallmark card features Ashton Kutcher, Jessica 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 would 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, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
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.