These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
"Hot Tub Time Machine" R, 1:54, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
Hiccup takes Toothless out for a spin in “How to Train Your Dragon.”
DreamWorks SKG photo via AP
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer photo via AP
Dorky Clark Duke (from left), Rob Corddry, Collette Wolfe, John Cusack and Craig Robinson go for a 'Hot Tub Time Machine' ride back to the ’80s.
John Cusack and his dorky pals Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson happen onto an escape from their midlife blues with the device named in the title. Bringing one of their equally dweeby nephews (Clark Duke) along, they set their destination finder on the 1980s in hopes they might make better choices the second time around. Steve Pink directs, with Cusack bringing his patented cool to the project that fills in the gaps around the gags with plenty of '80s kitsch, not to mention a terrific soundtrack.
"How to Train Your Dragon" PG, 1:53, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D, with additional charge, and 2-D) and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Set in Viking days of yore, Jay Baruchel gives voice to a youth named Hiccup, a major disappointment to his dragon-slaying dad, Viking chief Stoick the Vast (voiced by Gerard Butler). Setting out to gain some respect by slaying a fierce Night Fury dragon, he finds he can't finish that job, either, but instead nurses the wounded creature back to health and names it "Toothless." What follows is more adventure that goes easy on cute, and opts instead for spectacular flying action above the mythical Norse scenery below. Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig and Christopher Mintz-Plasse add their voices to the mix, written and directed by "Lilo and Stitch's" Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois.
"Shutter Island" PG-13, 2:33, reopens at Kaahumanu 6.
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 moody but ultimately unsatisfying creep-out that leaves you scratching your head for days after seeing it.
"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. Lured back to Wonderland, with lots also borrowed from "Through the Looking Glass," Alice (nicely done by Mia Wasikowska) 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 co-star. 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 more than $200 million already. Despite what other critics might say, it's recommended by this one.
"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 $2 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 Bounty Hunter" PG-13, 2:06, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Jennifer Aniston plays the journalistic ex-wife of down-on-hisluck bounty hunter Gerard Butler in this action comedy directed by Andy Tennant. How convenient when he gets assigned to bring her in for jumping bail. How inconvenient when she keeps outfoxing him, raising the eternal question, who wears the handcuffs in this family? Christine Baranski co-stars, but the results fall flat, letting the contrived screenplay squander whatever chemistry the two appealing stars brought to the project.
"Cop Out" R, 1:53, Maui Mall Megaplex.
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, ends tonight at 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 Olyphant and Radha Mitchell star in this sci-fi horror show also featuring Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker, Christie Lynn Smith and Brett Rickaby. Breck Eisner directs.
"Diary of a Wimpy Kid" PG, 1:48, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Middle school is a major challenge for even well-adjusted kids; for nerds, it's torture 24/7. Zachary Gordon stars in this live-action adaptation of Jeff Kinney's illustrated novel as the wisecracking protagonist who turns his geeky misfortunes into a journal, sharing observations, advice and triumphs, even if they're figments of his imagination. Robert Capron, Rachael Harris and Steve Zahn co-star; Thor Freudenthal directs.
"From Paris with Love" R, 1:50, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
John Travolta returns to his "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 Ghost Writer" PG-13, 2:08, Maui Mall Megaplex.
When Ewan McGregor signs on to ghost write the memoir of a Tony Blair-like former British prime minister (Pierce Brosnan), he soon finds himself fearing for his life. Exiled suspense master Roman Polanski directs the tense thriller, full of ominous atmosphere and even more treacherous human behavior. Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Hutton, James Belushi and Eli Wallach co-star. Recommended. (See review on Page 2.)
"Green Zone" R, 2:10, Kaahumanu 6 and Kukui Mall 4; ends tonight at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Matt Damon reteams with his "Bourne" director, Paul Greengrass, for this ripped-from-the-headlines Iraq war drama that revisits the old issue of weapons of mass destruction, even if movie audiences don't want to think about it. Damon is up to his usual standard as the officer who realizes something's not right in the official "intelligence" justifying U.S. military action in Iraq; Greg Kinnear plays against type as the embassy official behind the deception. Amy Ryan is the reporter trying to cover the story in this hard-hitting look at recent history that gives a ground-level view of fighting in Iraq, even as it questions what it's all about.
"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.
"Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" PG, 2:14, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Harry Potter's 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; Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Ray Winstone, Rosaria Dawson and Jake Abel co-star. Sneaking in lessons in classic mythology, it gets points for respecting its young viewers intead of trying to dumb them down. Recommended.
"Remember Me" PG-13, 2:07, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at 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 university rebel when he meets fellow NYU student Emilie de Ravin, putting him on a collision 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.
"Repo Men" R, 2:06, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
A bunch of A-list actors -Jude Law, Forest Whitaker and Liev Schreiber - sign on for this B-movie sci-fi thriller set in the future when organ transplants can be reversed if the patient doesn't pay his medical bill in a timely fashion. Miguel Sapechnik directs the highly stylized violence that tries to borrow from the best, from Stanley Kubrick to "The Matrix." Alice Braga co-stars.
"She's Out of My League" R, 2:00, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Front Street Theaters; opens Friday at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
This latest comedy in the raunchy princess-and-the-nerd mode stars Jay Baruchel as an airport security agent who seriously falls for event planner Alice Eve, despite the warning in the film's title. For all 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.
"To Save a Life" PG-13, 2:00, ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
High school shootings, teen suicide and pregnancy all find their way into this Christian-themed drama targeted at young audiences. Randy Wayne plays the star basketball player, Deja Kreutzberg is his cheerleader girlfriend, Robert Baily Jr. is his crippled best friend and Joshua Weigel is the hip pastor trying to guide everyone in the right direction. Brian Baugh directs.
"When in Rome" PG-13, 1:45, ends tonight at 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.