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MOVIES

June 17, 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. Opening Friday “Jonah Hex” PG-13, 1:36, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters. Josh Brolin gets an ugly brand horribly disfiguring his face and putting him on a path of eternal vengeance in this supernatural Western adapted from DC Comics. His Jonah is a bounty hunter with a price on his head who gets an offer of freedom when the military enlists him to track down his arch nemesis (John Malkovich). Megan Fox plays the prostitute in his life, and Jimmy Hayward directs the action, which throws in an otherwordly dimension to go along with the more usual sorts of action. “Toy Story 3” G, 2:04, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D, with ticket surcharge), Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas. Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and cowgirl (Joan Cusack) return in the third installment of this franchise — the first in 3-D — that put Pixar and computer animation on the map. Once again the toys confront their own mortality as their boy grows up and heads for college, leaving them with the options of being boxed in the attic or put out for the garbage man. They get a new lease on life when they wind up in a day care center, but that also turns dangerous when they get placed in the toddler room. Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Don Rickles, Estelle Harris and new addition Ned Beatty add their voices to the mix under Lee Unkrich’s direction. Still playing “The A-Team” PG-13, 2:12, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters. Chomping a cigar, Liam Neeson continues his action-hero career playing Col. Hannibal Smith, leader of a band of Iraq War Rangers on a righteous rampage after being sent on a military mission that turned out to be a trap. Spun off from the ’80s TV series, the team includes Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Sharlto Copley, Quinton Jackson and Patrick Wilson in colorful roles that aren’t too keen on military discipline or following the laws of physics in the noisy action that winds up trashing a container ship. Joe Carnahan directs. (See brief review on Page 2.) “Get Him to the Greek” R, 1:47, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters. Russell Brand and Jonah Hill strike the same comic gold they mined in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” in this raunchy but lovable new comedy from the Judd Apatow brain trust. Brand plays an out-of-control British rocker suffering from every form of abuse available. Hill plays the recording company intern trying to get him to a concert in Los Angeles’ famed Greek Theater to resurrect his career. “Sarah Marshall” director Nicholas Stoller directs and co-wrote the screenplay with Jason Siegel. Rose Byrne co-stars with Pink, Kurt Loder and Meredith Viera showing up in cameos. Results are clever, outrageous — and surprisingly endearing. “How to Train Your Dragon” PG, 1:53, ends tonight at 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, Hiccup 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 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. “The Karate Kid” PG, 2:35, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters. Jaden Smith — Will and Jada Pinkett’s kid — leaps into the starring role in this update of the heartwarming 1984 action-drama about a boy who has to learn martial arts from an unexpected master to ward off bullies’ attacks. In this version, he is forced to move from Detroit to China after his single mom (Taraji P. Henson) is assigned to a new job there. He gets a big boost when his school’s janitor turns out to be Jackie Chan. Harald Zwart directs, right to the top of the box-office charts. “Killers” PG-13, 1:55, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas. Ashton Kutcher looked like the perfect match for Katherine Heigl when she met him in a romantic Mediterranean resort. So she married him. Imagine her surprise three years later to discover that in his previous life he was an undercover government-sponsored assassin. Now there’s a multimillion-dollar contract for his life, forcing her to get into the same line of work in this madcap romp. Tom Selleck and Catherine O’Hara co-star; Robert Luketic directs. “Letters to Juliet” PG, 2:00, ends tonight 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. “Marmaduke” PG, 1:43, Kaahumanu 6; ends tonight at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas. Owen Wilson gives voice to the great Great Dane as he makes the big rollover from comic strip canine to star of family-friendly films. Maramaduke’s size, always a challenge, becomes a bigger one as his family relocates to Orange County. There Marmaduke does what he can to fit in, and even find romance. Emma Stone, Keifer Sutherland, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Steve Coogan, Marlon and Damon Wayans Jr. and Sam Elliott add their voices to the mix. Tom Dey directs. “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” PG-13, 1:43, Kaahumanu 6 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4. Imagine “Aladdin” recast as a video game and you get the concept of this sixth-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. “Princess Kaiulani” PG, 1:52, Maui Mall Megaplex. 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, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex. 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, adding enough new touches to make the familiar tale feel new. “Sex and the City 2” R, 2:26, Kaahumanu 6. 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. “Shrek Forever After” PG, 1:48, Kaahumanu 6 (in 3-D and 2-D), ends tonight at Front Street Theaters. 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. “Splice” R, 1:59, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Front Street Theaters. Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody star as a pair of rebellious researchers who do the ultimate no-no when it comes to genetic engineering: they splice together human and animal DNA. The result is a new organism they name “Dren,” who may have been a hideous looking infant, but grows into an enticing winged human with dangerous tendencies. Vincenzo Natali writes and directs this thriller that made quite an impression at Sundance.

Article Photos

Disney/Pixar photo via AP
Cowgirl (Joan Cusack), Buzz (Tim Allen) and Woody (Tom Hanks) return in “Toy Story 3”

 
 
 

 

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