These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
"Alpha and Omega" PG, 1:28, Maui Mall Megaplex (in 3-D with a ticket surcharge).
Young wolves Humphrey (Justin Long) and Kate (Hayden Panettiere) might be a good match, if she weren't an alpha being groomed to lead the pack, and he weren't an amiable but unambitious omega. Things get complicated when they're rounded up and relocated to an Idaho national forest by park rangers who don't realize wolves from such different destinies aren't supposed to breed. The audience, of course, knows better in this animated comedy targeted at families. Dennis Hopper, Danny Glover and Christina Ricci are among the stars giving voice to the critters. Anthony Bell and Ben Gluck direct.
"Devil" PG-13, 1:35, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
M. Night Shyamalan provides the story for this thriller about a group of strangers trapped in an elevator. As though the premise isn't frightening enough, one of them happens to be the devil. Chris Messina, Logan Marshall Green, Jenny O'Hara, Bonny Novakovic, Bokeem Woodbine, Geoffrey Arend and Jacob Vargas star; Drew Dowdle and John Erick Dowdle share the directing credit.
"Easy A" PG-13, 1:47, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
"Zombieland's" terrific Emma Stone reportedly has found a star-vehicle worthy of her talents and charm in this high school comedy about a girl who starts that trashy rumor about herself, and reaps all sorts of unexpected benefits. It sounds like a cross between "Juno" and "Clueless," and has the potential to be the same kind of breakout hit. Amanda Bynes, Dan Byrd, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell, Aly Michalka and Stanley Tucci make up the amazing supporting cast; Will Gluck directs and Bert V. Royal provides the clever script.
"The Town" R, 2:20, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Ben Affleck is getting even higher marks as a director and co-writer than he did as an actor, but he does that too as part of this gritty crime drama set in Boston. He plays the leader of a gang of bank robbers. Reportedly giving the best performance of his career, his cool demeanor pulling off his heists gets tested by a bank manager (Rebecca Hall) taken hostage on the last job. Under the guise of befriending her, he starts a relationship to be sure she can't identify him but instead winds up falling in love. Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm and Chris Cooper make strong contributions in the supporting ranks.
"The American" R, 1:45, Maui Mall Megaplex and Kukui Mall 4.
Fresh from an honorary Emmy for his wide-ranging humanitarian work, George Clooney hits the big screen in this moody piece about an assassin on the lam in a picturesque Italian village. Hardly your typical action figure, Clooney brings "Michael Clayton" or "Up in the Air" resonance to the role of the man with secrets, even if he seems more articulate with weapons than with words. Anton Corbijn, continuing his evolution from famed photographer and music-video director to the big screen, surrounds Clooney's understated performance with all the trappings of an art film. Think "Blow Up" for a new millennium. As action movies go, it's slow, but as a meditation on loneliness, Clooney is in his element. Paulo Bonacelli and Violante Placido co-star.
"Avatar 3-D Special Edition" PG-13, 2:45, Maui Mall Megaplex
Writer-director-producer-cameraman James Cameron has added about nine minutes to the running time of this nouveau classic for audiences who need to get back to Pandora on the big screen one more time before the special edition DVD release. Setting cinematic and box-office history, Cameron's brilliant sci-fi epic rewrote the book on how to tell a story on-screen and made other 3-D technology look amateurish in the process. Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Long and Giovanni Ribisi star but you already knew that.
"Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore" PG, 1:40, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex (in 3-D with ticket surcharge).
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.
"Eat Pray Love" PG-13, 2:35, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at 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.
"The Expendables" R, 1:58, Kaahumanu 6; ends tonight at 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 in an endless series of tests to see who's got the most testosterone.
"Flipped" PG, 1:30, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Madeline Carroll and Callan McAuliffe play the teen couple at the center of this sweet bit of reminiscence and romance, co-written and directed by Rob Reiner. Set in 1959, the veteran director gets back into "Stand by Me" territory, reportedly recapturing the innocence, awkwardness, embarrassment and moments of pure joy of that age. The young stars are backed by strong supporting performances by Rebecca De Mornay, Anthony Edwards, John Mahoney, Penelope Ann Miller and Aidan Quin as their elders.
"Get Low" PG-13, 1:42, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Screen immortal Robert Duvall, boasting a shaggy beard out to here, plays rascal Felix Bush in this mystery-comedy-drama set in the 1930s. Also featuring the talents of Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek, the title refers to being buried, an idea that Felix realizes he will have to deal with after hearing about the death of a friend. How he goes about making his own funeral arrangements - Murray plays the undertaker -provides the heart, soul and laughs, under the direction of Aaron Schneider. A hillbilly parable nicely surrounded by '30s atmosphere and music, it doesn't break any new ground -but provides plenty of pleasure just watching Duvall, Spacek and Murray work together. Recommended.
"Going the Distance" R, 1:58, Kaahumanu 6 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4
Drew Barrymore and Justin Long translate their real-life on-again, off-again relationship to a romantic comedy, playing a long-distance couple trying to figure out how to maintain the passion from thousands of miles away. She plays a journalism student and he's a junior executive, and besides their geographical challenges, there are obstacles from friends and family (including Christina Applegate, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis) to overcome. Nanette Burstein directs.
"Inception" PG-13, 2:43, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
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 Last Exorcism" PG-13, 1:43, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Front Street Theaters.
Prompted by his conscience to stop performing fake exorcisms, charismatic evangelical minister Patrick Fabian agrees to let a documentary film crew accompany his on his last one to reveal the tricks of the trade. The victim is the teenage daughter (Ashley Bell) of a remote farm family, but things don't quite go as planned in this cross between a Christopher Guest-style mockumentary and "The Blair Witch Project" directed by Daniel Stamm. Scoring box-office gold despite its hand-held camera swings and its self-destructing final reel, those going to see it should heed the warning: Bring Dramamine!
"Lottery Ticket" PG-13, 1:39, ends tonight 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.
"Machete" R, 2:00, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Writer-director Robert Rodriguez gets back into "Mexploitation" mode with this ultra-violent '70s-style action fest set against current anti-immigration tensions on the Texas border. Danny Trejo stars, incorporating an actual machete among the many sharp items in his arsenal. A former federale now on the other side of things, his nemeses include a drug kingpin (Steven Seagal), a bigoted state senator (Robert DeNiro), a sleazy businessman (Jeff Fahey) and a nutso vigilante (Don Johnson). Cheech Marin and Jessica Alba are the cast members on his side. It's politically incorrect, raunchy, needlessly violent and great fun for those in the mood for such things.
"Mao's Last Dancer" PG, 1:57, Kukui Mall 4.
Based on a true story, this biography blends "The Company" with "White Knights," telling of the son of a Chinese peasant picked by authorities to attend the Beijing Dance Academy. His dedication to his art is set against U.S.-Sino relations leading him to well, you'll have to see the movie to find out. Directed by Oscar nominee Bruce Beresford, this elegant award-winning meeting of dance and politics stars Chi Cao with "Center Stage's" Amanda Schull, Bruce Greenwood and Kyle MacLachlin co-starring
"Nanny McPhee Returns" PG, 2:04, ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4; opens Friday at Kaahumanu 6.
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. 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 3-D" R, 1:44, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex (with 3-D ticket surcharge).
Like "Jaws," only smaller, this tongue-in-cheek 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 Arizona's sleepy Lake Victoria, but encountering some very determined man-eating prehistoric fish instead. Elizabeth Shue heads the cast as the town's sheriff with Jessica Szohr, Steven R. McQueen, Jerry O'Connell, Ving Rhames and Christopher Lloyd co-starring. "The Hills Have Eyes' " Alexandre Aja directs the raunchy mix of girls gone wild and fish gone wild with reckless abandon, and not much else.
"The Other Guys" PG-13, 2:02, Kaahumanu 6.
Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg star in this offbeat, 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.
"Resident Evil: Afterlife" R, 2:00, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Milla Jovovich reprises her role as Alice, the no-nonsense survivor of a global viral plague now battling the forces of the undead and the nasty Umbrella Corporation making life miserable on the planet. Ali Larter, Kim Coates, Shawn Roberts and Sergio Peris-Mencheta co-star. Paul W.S. Anderson writes and directs the action.
"Salt" PG-13, 1:55, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
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.
"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.
"The Switch" PG-13, 1:40, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Artificial insemination gives birth to laughs in this sitcom-y comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman. Following a now familiar Hollywood plotline, 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.
"Takers" PG-13, 2:02, Maui Mall Megaplex and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
This latest crime-caper adventure casts Paul Walker, Idris Elba, Hayden Christensen, Michael Ealy and Chris Brown as highly effective bank robbers who set their sights on an armored car heist. Matt Dillon and Jay Hernandez are the dogged cops on their tail. Featuring a foot chase through Los Angeles amidst its other action sequences, it reportedly livens up its formulaic plot with clever plot twists and interesting performances. John Luessenhop directs.
"Vampires Suck" PG-13, 1:37, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
With "Twilight's" glow still lingering, it was only a matter of time before the Team Edward and Team Jacob encountered 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.