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May 27, 2010
The Maui News
These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever’s mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources. New this week “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” PG-13, 1:43, opens Friday at Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters. Imagine “Aladdin” recast as a videogame and you get the concept of this 6th-century action comedy. Jake Gyllenhaal stretches into the action-hero game, playing the resourceful swashbuckling Dastan who gets in and out of danger quicker than you can say, “shazam!” Gemma Arterton co-stars as Princess Tamina, sharing the adventures, romance and snappy banter. Heavyweights Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina co-star; Mike Newell directs. “Sex and the City 2” R, 2:26, opens today at Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters. Just the ticket for girls’-night-out parties, this sequel reunites Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall and Cynthia Nixon on a junket to Abu Dhabi. The desert and the occasional camel ride are only slight impediments to the ladies’ fondness for fashion and the high life. Now that their single days are mostly over, their focus has shifted to the joys — or not —of marriage and motherhood, but those, too, are minor distractions from life in the fashion lane. Chris Noth co-stars; Michael Patrick King directs. Special screening “Taylor Camp” NR (but contains nudity, language and drug use not suitable for all ages), 1:30, screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. This locally produced documentary tells of a hippie commune that sprang up on Kauai in 1969. Directed by Robert Stone and produced by John Werheim with help from Tom Vendetti (the team behind the recent Emmy winner “Bhutan: Taking the Middle Path to Happiness”), “Taylor Camp” explores the various sociological forces that came together in the islands in the early days of statehood when the revolutions of the ‘60s made their way to Hawaii’s shores. Director Stone will lead a question-and-answer session following the screening. Still playing The Back Up Plan” PG-13, 1:59, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex. 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 sense of the action. “Furry Vengeance” PG, 1:32, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex. 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 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). Set in Viking days of yore, Jay Baruchel gives voice to a youth named Hiccup, a major disappointment to his dragon-slaying dad, 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. 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 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4. 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, almost matching the first “Iron Man” for originality and fun. Recommended. “Just Wright” PG, 1:51, Maui Mall Megaplex. 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, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters; opens Friday at Maui Mall Megaplex. Amanda Seyfried travels around scenic Italy trying to help a recently widowed Vanessa Redgrave locate the man of her dreams from many decades ago. The film’s title stems from a wall in Verona — Romeo and Juliet’s hometown — 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. “MacGruber” R, 1:45, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters. Will Forte’s “Saturday Night Live” skits about an ’80s-style action hero who keeps accidentally blowing himself up grows up to be a big-screen movie. “Grows up” is probably a bad word choice since the humor fixates on a juvenile level of bodily function jokes that can’t be repeated here. Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer and Ryan Phillippe co-star under the raunchy, crowd-pleasing direction of Jorma Tacone. “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. “Princess Kaiulani” PG, 1:52, Front Street Theaters; ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6; opens Friday at Maui Mall Megaplex and Kukui Mall 4. It’s hard to fully appreciate Gabriel Beristain’s gorgeous cinematography because of the mist in your eye from this painful history lesson well known in the islands.“The New World’s” Q’orianka Kilcher is luminous in the title role, playing 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 for the reinstatement of the kingdom after its overthrow by American business interests. Marc Forby writes and directs this period costume romance in sumptuously cinematic fashion. While the film sparks debate about historic details and its treatment of its subject, it wins points for making this chapter in Hawaii’s history understandable to viewers not previously familiar with it. 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. Recommended. “Robin Hood” PG-13, 2:35, Maui Mall Megaple and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4 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 giving the subject a new spin. Max Von Sydow, Mark Strong, Kevin Durand, Danny Huston, Max von Sydow and William Hurt co-star. “Shrek Forever After” PG, 1:48, Kaahumanu 6 (in 3-D and 2-D), Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas. Shrek’s not the ogre he once was in this fourth installment of the comedy franchise. Married to Fiona with 1-year-old triplets, he’s going through a midlife crisis that makes him long to get his groove back. Under the influence of the truly obnoxious Rumpelstiltskin, he sets out for Far Far Away … but gets stuck in a parallel universe instead. Mike Myers once again heads the cast with Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas giving voice to Fiona, Donkey and Puss in Boots one more time. Mike Mitchell directs. With Fiona getting centerstage this time, the formula isn’t as fresh and original as it used to be, but its wacky, whimsical approach to fairy tales still brings smiles.

Article Photos

Walt Disney Studios photo via AP
Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton are up for adventure in 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.'



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