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
"Lottery Ticket" PG-13, 1:39, opens Friday at Maui Mall Megaplex.
The good news is that Kevin (a kid from the projects played by rapper-actor Bow Wow) just won the "Mondo Millions Lottery." The bad news is that it's the Fourth of July weekend, the lottery office is closed, and he's got to keep the ticket safe for four days. That's the recipe for this comedy-in-the-'hood co-starring Brandon T. Jackson, Naturi Naughton, Loretta Devine, Ice Cube, Keith David, Terry Crews and Mike Epps and directed by Erik White.
"Nanny McPhee Returns" PG, 2:04, opens Friday at Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Try as she might to make herself look hideous, everyone knows Emma Thompson's iron-willed English nanny is truly a saint under the snaggle tooth and moles. Scripting as well as starring in this sequel to the charming original, she plays the remedy for ill-behaved children everywhere, even though the movie is set in the English countryside in the 1940s, with the men away fighting World War II. Colin Firth, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Maggie Smith and Rhys Ifans co-star with a bunch of kids and Susanna White directs, but it's the many talents and charms of Emma Thompson that will make audiences cheer this return visit.
"Piranha 3D" R, 1:44, opens Friday at Maui Mall Megaplex and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Like "Jaws," only smaller, this horror-thriller reruns the scary fish routine, right down to having Richard Dreyfuss in the cast. It's your basic spring-break-gone-bad plot, with the college kids looking for a wild weekend in sleepy Lake Victoria encountering some very determined man-eating prehistoric fish instead. Jessica Szohr, Steven R. McQueen, Elizabeth Shue, Jerry O'Connell, Ving Rhames and Christopher Lloyd co-star under the direction of "The Hills Have Eyes'" Alexandre Aja.
"The Switch" PG-13, 1:40, opens Friday at Maui Mall Megaplex and Kukui Mall 4.
Artificial insemination gives birth to laughs in this sitcom-y comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman. Following a now familiar Hollywood plot line, she plays a successful career woman whose biological clock tells her she doesn't have any more time to wait for Mr. Right. Instead she throws a turkey-baster party, but somehow winds up with the contribution of the wrong guy, her uptight stock-broker pal Jason Bateman. Wait - do you feel like you've seen this all before? Juliette Lewis, Patrick Wilson and Jeff Goldblum co-star; Josh Gordon and Will Speck direct.
"Vampires Suck" PG-13, 1:37, opened Wednesday at Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
With "Twilight's" glow still lingering, it was only a matter of time before the Team Edward and Team Jacob encountered more formidable foes: the "Scary Movie" writing-directing team of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then parody is the most insincere, as this spoof takes aim on every detail of the vampy formula -the sharp teeth, the pale skin, the big moody woods, the animal chromosomes in the family tree Jenn Proske, Matt Lanter, Chris Riggi, Diedrich Bader, Kelsey Ford and Anneliese van der Pol star.
"Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore" PG, 1:40, Maui Mall Megaplex (in 3-D and 2-D.
Bette Midler gives voice to the villainous Kitty in this family-friendly animated comedy that has her masterminding a plan to enslave the canines and put the felines in charge. The satire in the script starts with a James Bond sendup, targeting other iconic images like "Silence of the Lambs" for the grownups, while distracting the kids with the cute talking critters. Neil Patrick Harris, Nick Nolte, James Marsden, Christina Applegate and Roger Moore provide voices; Brad Peyton directs.
"Charlie St. Cloud" PG-13, 1:54, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Fresh from his recent tribute at the Maui Film Festival, teen heartthrob Zac Efron ventures into supernatural drama territory, playing a young man plagued by visions of his younger brother who died in a car crash that should have taken his own life. Charlie Tahan, Amanda Crew, Augustus Prew, Donal Logue, Kim Basinger and Ray Liotta co-star; Burr Steers directs.
"Cyrus" R, 1:31, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
An audience-award winner at last June's Maui Film Festival, this Freudian comedy stars John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill and Catherine Keener. Reilly plays Tomei's new boyfriend, whose honorable but bumbling intentions are no match for the not-quite-innocent schemes of her grown son Hill, who still lives at home with her. The always great Keener co-stars as Reilly's first wife, the smart one. Brothers Mark and Jay Duplass co-write and direct.
"Despicable Me" PG, 1:35, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6.
Clever moments, colorful characters and a French-flavored sense of whimsey underlie this offbeat comedy featuring a bravura vocal performance by Steve Carell as Gru, a bad guy who eventually discovers he's got a good heart. The first animated 3-D movie from Universal follows the heavyset Gru, with his hunched carriage, indeterminate Eastern European accent and environmentally unfriendly vehicle, as he hatches a plan to steal the moon. He soon meets his match in three girls:?Edith (voiced by Dana Gaier); Agnes, (Elsie Fisher); and Margo, (Miranda Cosgrove). Gru's growing fondness for becoming a father figure adds heart to the wit, yielding a box-office hit in the process. Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud direct. Recommended.
"Dinner for Schmucks" PG-13, 2:09, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
Steve Carell and Paul Rudd star in this adaptation of a French comedy as an odd couple of doofuses invited to a dinner by wealthy businessmen secretly betting on who can take the prize as the biggest loser. Carell reveals his comic genius, playing a dork whose only talent is creating dioramas featuring stuffed mice wearing little costumes; Rudd plays a more cunning kind of striver who latches onto him. David Walliams, Zach Galifianakis and Jemaine Clement co-star in the mayhem under the direction of Jay Roach.
"Eat Pray Love" PG-13, 2:35, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Julia Roberts steps into the role of author Elizabeth Gilbert, whose chronicle of her round-the-world search for her soul became a huge best-seller. Director Ryan Murphy brings the odyssey to the screen with sumptuous visuals, both of the luminous Roberts and settings in Italy, India and Bali. The title explains the scope of her journey, mixing pleasures of the senses with deeper spiritual realizations and self-fulfillment. Richard Jenkins, Billy Crudup, James Franco and Javier Bardem co-star. (See review on Page 2.)
"The Expendables" R, 1:58, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Sylvester Stallone is an older, wiser "Rambo" on both sides of the camera, directing, co-writing and starring in this guerrilla-action thriller. Playing -what else? - the leader of a group of disenfranchised mercenaries, the story bounces from one battle to the next with other mercenaries who have a hard time keeping track of which side they're on. Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Robert, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, David Zayas, Giselle Itie, Charisma Carpenter, Gary Danields, Terry Crews and Mickey Rourke co-star. (See review on Page 2.)
"Inception" PG-13, 2:43, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4; ends tonight at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Writer-director Christopher Nolan's blockbuster mind trip has scored box-office gold by speaking the language and revealing the architecture of dreams. Viewers have no choice but to strap in for the ride through this stunningly gorgeous, technically flawless symphony of images and ideas. Leonardo DiCaprio is Dom Cobb, a master thief of the subconscious who enters the minds of sleeping victims to steal their secrets. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is his right-hand man, Arthur, and Ken Watanabe is one of their clients named Saito. Watanabe hires Dom to sneak into the subconscious of a competitor (Cillian Murphy) and implant an idea that will ruin his empire. In return, Saito will help Dom clear his name for a crime he didn't commit that has torn him from his wife and two young children and forced him to go on the run. A heist movie with a "Memento"-like way of telling the story in reverse, the unique film's awesomeness, ambition and scope inspire viewers to return time and again. Recommended.
"The Kids Are All Right" R, 1:44, ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
If they had waited until December to release this Sundance festival hit, there would have been Oscar nominations all around. The modern family is portrayed with comedy, vibrancy and emotional truth in this look at an L.A. clan led by two married moms, Nic and Jules (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore). Things take a surprising turn when kids, Joni (Mia Wasikowska), 18, and Laser (Josh Hutcherson), 15, conceived by artificial insemination, find their sperm donor. He's "bio-dad" Paul (Mark Ruffalo), an easygoing restauranteur. The kids are drawn to the bachelor's style, while Nic and Jules struggle with feelings of inadequacy. As Paul enters the lives of the forthright four, family ties are defined, redefined, then re-redefined. Lisa Cholodenko directs from the screenplay she wrote with Stuart Blumberg. Recommended!
"The Other Guys" PG-13, 2:02, Kaahumanu 6 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg knock "Inception" off the box-office thrown with this offeat, whimsical parody of the mismatched-cop-buddies formula. Wahlberg is the hot-headed one, like his Oscar-nominated role in "The Departed." The brilliant Ferrell is the earnest, goofy one. How they manage to outshine hotshot detectives Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson is one of the running gags, written and directed by Adam McKay. With the stars playing their roles deadpan and the film paying homage to great cop-action sequences, there are sly jokes everywhere you look. Co-stars include Michael Keaton, Rob Riggle and Eva Mendes. Recommended.
"The Last Airbender" PG-13, 1:58, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Suspense auteur M. Night Shyamalan tells this tale of 12-year-old Aang (Noah Ringer) who provides the last hope for restoring harmony to a land consumed by chaos. In a world balanced on the four nations of Water, Earth, Fire and Air, chaos ensues when the Fire Nation launches a brutal, centurylong war against the others. Aang discovers he is the lone avatar with the power to manipulate all four elements, teaming up with Katara (Nicola Peltz) and her brother, Sokka (Jackson Rathbone), to restore balance to their war-torn world.
"Salt" PG-13, 1:55, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Front Street Theatres.
Angelina Jolie is the kind of action hero who can do stunts that would break a normal person's back without breaking a nail. Better still, she looks gorgeous when she does it. The role of Evelyn Salt, a crack CIA agent accused of being a Russian spy is tailor-made for her in this action-thriller that cements her action-hero status, but doesn't go very deep to find the character underneath. Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Daniel Olbrychski co-star; Phillip Noyce directs.
"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" PG-13, 2:07, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Michael Cera stars in this comic adaptation of Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novel as low-ambition bass player in a Toronto garage band called to action to battle the "seven evil exes" to win the heart of new love Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Borrowing heavily from comic-book culture, video games and music videos, the film should attract Cera's legions of fans and other 20-somethings. Anna Kendrick, Kieran Culkin, Mark Webber, Alison Pill and Ellen Wong co-star; "Shaun of the Dead's" Edgar Wright writes and directs.
"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" PG, 2:05, Maui Mall Megaplex.
This pleasant-enough potion of action and comedy that will send some parents and kids home happy is a variation of the King Arthur Chosen One tale. Nicholas Cage stars as 1,500-year-old sorcerer Balthazar Blake who can claim Merlin the magician as mentor. Set in modern-day Manhattan, Blake and his hapless apprentice, Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), are swept into the ancient conflict between good and evil as they vie with arch nemesis Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Along the way, the sorcerer gives his unwilling accomplice a crash course in the art and science of magic, working together to stop the forces of darkness and helping the apprentice get the girl. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Jon Turteltaub, creators of the "National Treasure" franchise, concoct this family fantasy.
"Step Up 3-D" PG-13, 1:47, Kaahumanu 6.
This latest addition to the street-dancing franchise brings 3-D to the equation and moves the action to New York. There NYU freshman Adam G. Sevani breaks his promise to his parents to study, getting drawn instead into hip-hop nirvana with the House of Pirates crew. Alyson Stoner plays his on-again, off-again best friend. Jon M. Chu directs with Rick Malambri and Sharni Vinson co-starring, but the real stars are the choreographers, providing great moves for the film's cast on the sidewalks of New York.
"Toy Story 3" G, 1:43, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D, with ticket surcharge).
Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen) and cowgirl (Joan Cusack) return to 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 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.