These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
"Just Wright" PG, 1:51, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Roadside Attractions photo
History comes to the screen in two new films opening this weekend. Q’orianka Kilcher stars as “Princess Kaiulani,” winner of the Hawaii International Film Festival’s audience award, set against the last years of the Hawaiian kingdom leading up to its overthrow in 1893.
Universal Pictures photo
Cate Blanchett and Russell Crowe retell the story of “Robin Hood” in a sweeping 12th-century epic adventure directed by action master Ridley Scott.
Queen Latifah, who also produces, stars in this romantic sports comedy as a physical therapist and huge New Jersey Nets fan. Despite how naturally likable she is, she has never bothered to become romantically lovable before but this is bound to change after making the acquaintance of the Nets star player (played by hip-hop star Common), recently injured and in need of - big surprise - physical therapy. Pam Grier and Paula Patton co-star; Sanaa Hamri directs.
"Letters to Juliet" PG, 2:00, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Amanda Seyfried travels around scenic Italy trying to help a recently widowed Vanessa Redgrave locate the man of her dreams many decades ago.The film's title stems from a wall in Verona - Romeo and Juliet's home town - where women leave letters asking for Juliet's advice in matters of the heart, which are read and answered by Italy's answer to a team of Dear Abbys. It's not long before Amanda has a romantic dilemma of her own, trying to choose between fiance Gael Garcia Bernal and Vanessa's skeptical grandson, Christopher Eagan. Gary Winick directs.
"Princess Kaiulani" PG, 1:52, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
A painful history lesson well known in the islands comes to the screen in this cinematic production starring "The New World's" Q'orianka Kilcher in the title role. She plays the mixed-race niece of childless King Kalakaua, sent by her Scottish father to Great Britain at age 13 to escape the political upheavals in the Kingdom of Hawaii while furthering her Victorian education. The overthrow of the monarchy in 1893 sends her to the U.S. to plead before President Cleveland and the Congress for the reinstatement of the kingdom after its overthrow by American business interests. Winner of the audience award at the Hawaii International Film Festival, it co-stars Barry Pepper, Shaun Evans, Jimmy Yuill, Julian Glover, Will Patton and Ocean Kaowili. Marc Forby writes and directs.
"Robin Hood" PG-13, 2:35, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Sherwood Forest's favorite outlaw, and one of the silver screen's most durable heroes, gets the Russell Crowe-Ridley Scott treatment, with Oscar winner Cate Blanchett thrown in for good measure as Maid Marion. Brian Helgeland's screenplay fills in lots of the historical details of this 12th-century tale, with the stars' chemistry and Scott's masterful way with action reportedly producing superb results. Max Von Sydow, Mark Strong, Kevin Durand, Danny Huston, Max von Sydow and William Hurt co-star.
"Alice in Wonderland" (3-D) PG, 1:49, Kaahumanu 6.
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. She matches 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 here 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 $300 million already. Despite what other critics might say, it's recommended by this one.
"A Nightmare on Elm Street" R, 1:51, Kaahumanu 6; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
As though the long nails weren't bad enough, Freddy Krueger does worse things to people when they sleep. This "re-imagined" version of the horror classic casts Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy, who wears gloves with spikes for fingers, and sets off nightmares that turn real for his screaming victims. Kyle Gallner, Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, Thomas Dekker, Kellen Lutz and Clancy Brown co-star; Samuel Baver directs.
"The Back Up Plan" PG-13, 1:59, Maui Mall Megaplex and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Jennifer Lopez plays a woman whose biological clock prompts her to be artificially inseminated, only to meet her perfect match (Alex O'Loughlin) a little later. Alan Poul directs in a sitcomy manner, getting lots of mileage out of pregnancy support groups, breast-feeling challenges, stroller shopping and other situations familiar to those who find themselves with child, one way or the other. Tom Bosley and Linda Lavin co-star.
"Clash of the Titans" PG-13 2:01, Maui Mall Megaplex (in 3-D with a ticket surcharge).
"Avatar's" Sam Worthington stars as Perseus in this remake of a 1981 cult classic about the mythical gods on Mount Olympus. Basically sharing the characters and storyline of the recent "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief," this clash claims it's not that much fun being a god, especially when the humans get uppity. Liam Neeson is Zeus, sending his brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) to destroy the city of Argos to remind the humans who's in charge. Louis Leterrier directs, but the results are thoroughly disappointing, not bothering to explain the mythological references or even make any sense of the action.
"Date Night" PG-13, 1:27, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Steve Carrel and Tina Fey take the leap from TV, where they top NBC's funny scale, to the big screen for this madcap comedy. They play a New Jersey couple trying to escape the blahs of their relationship with a night on the town in Manhattan. Trying to put a spark in their lives, they get more of an explosion when they are mistaken for blackmailers by a gangster and his goons. Showing up as friends, foes and strange distractions as they flee across the Big Apple are Mark Wahlberg, Ray Liotta, Taraji P. Henson, James Franco and Mila Kunis. Shawn Levy directs. Story is predictable, but the likable stars generate plenty of chemistry and some great laughs.
"Death at a Funeral" R, 1:47, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence and Tracy Morgan head the cast in director Neil Labute's remake of the recent black comedy from England. Revolving around the funeral of the patriarch of an extended family, this version moves the story to Los Angeles. It turns out to be an occasion where everything that can possibly go wrong does go wrong, from the wrong body in the casket to misadventures with prescription drugs to a little guest with a big secret. The laughs head for the dark, raunchy side, delivered by an all-star cast who thrive in that territory. Peter Dinklage, Regina Hall, Zoe Saldana, scene-stealing James Marsden and a wheelchair-ridden, order-barking Danny Glover co-star.
"Diary of a Wimpy Kid" PG, 1:48, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6.
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.
"Furry Vengeance" PG, 1:32, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Like a cartoon that grew up to be a real-life movie, this family comedy stars Brendan Fraser as an ambitious real estate developer who moves his family to Oregon to build a subdivision in the woods. The animals in the 'hood, led by a wily raccoon, don't take too well to his plans, setting off wacky slapstick battles suggesting that two-legged animals are no match for the four-footed sort. Brooke Shields co-stars and Roger Kumble directs, making the cute critters in his cast messengers for environmental protection when they're not getting laughs.
"How to Train Your Dragon" PG, 1:53, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D, with additional charge) and Front Street Theaters.
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, names it "Toothless," and figures out how to fly on its back. Like "Avatar" for kids, the sweeping cinematography features 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 smart-aleck but touching script, written and directed by "Lilo and Stitch's" Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois.
"Iron Man 2" PG-13, 2:20, Maui Mall Megaplex. Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
He's back. After restarting his career as the most clever and interesting action hero in decades, Robert Downey Jr. returns as billionaire inventor-industrialist Tony Stark, here to save the world one more time if he doesn't go bonkers first. Gwyneth Paltrow, the real secret weapon of the first "Iron Man," returns as his faithful assistant with Don Cheadle on board as his new sidekick. Stark's nasty adversaries include Mickey Rourke as a cruel and unusual rival Russian inventor, Sam Rockwell as a business competitor and Garry Shandling as an unpleasant senator. Scarlett Johansson is here, too, for some va-va-voom distractions, but it's not initially clear whose side she's on; Samuel L. Jackson in an eye patch plays her boss. Jon Favreau directs. (See review on Page 2.)
"Kick-Ass" R, 2:13, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Taking aim on movie audiences' obsessions with superheroes and comic-book-style violence, this over-the-top satire features normal but weird characters putting on the capes and getting into the action-hero business. Young Chloe Grace Moretz reportedly shines as an 11-year-old masked vigilante with Nicolas Cage as her wacky dad and Aaron Johnson as the bumbling teen who puts on a wetsuit as the third leg of their trio. Matthew Vaughn directs, heaping on the blood, violence, questionable taste and over-the-top stunts that target family values with reckless abandon.
"The Losers" PG-13, 1:52, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
Adapted from a comic book, the title refers to a good-hearted black-ops team on a secret mission in Bolivia who get in trouble with their CIA boss when they save a bunch of innocent kids. This puts them on his hit list, and they spend the rest of the action-packed adventure - joined by the lovely Zoe Saldana - trying to avoid getting killed while setting matters right back at the agency. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Oscar Jaenada and Jason Patric co-star; Sulvain White directs the action.
"Oceans" G, 1:26, Maui Mall Megaplex.
This undersea documentary from "Winged Migration" filmmakers Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzard shares the same mix of dazzling, how'd-they-get-that? shots with a powerful emotional message about the amazing sea creatures who share our planet. Pierce Brosnan, who's been doing a lot of good work at the movies lately, narrates this new production from the Disneynature label. The narration is lyrical and spare, leaving it to the dazzling images to remind us of our fellow passengers on planet earth and the interconnectedness of all forms of life. It's rated G, but has much to say to everyone in the family as well as the human family. It's movie magic, dedicated to showing us the world as it is. Recommended.
"The Unbroken" NR, 3:22, Kukui Mall 4.
Kukui Mall 4's "Spotlight Asia" series continues with this epic winner of the top prizes in Japan's version of the Academy Awards. Based on a 1985 plane crash that claimed 520 lives, it stars Ken Watanabe as a crusading airline employee whose investigation leads to discoveries of faulty maintenance procedures, and corporate complicity covering them up. Setsuro Wakamatsu directs this powerful drama also known as "Shizumanu taiyo" and "The Sun That Doesn't Set."
"The Warlords" R, 1:50, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6.
Based on a historical tale from the Qing Dynasty, this heroic epic stars Jet Li as a general thrust into a power struggle with three blood brothers. Jinglei Xu, Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro co-star. Peter Chan and Wai Man Yip co-direct the costumed period drama and bloody battlefield action.