These are Maui Scene's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
New this week
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," PG-13, 2:23, sneak previews at midnight tonight at Kaahumanu 6 and Kukui Mall 4 before opening Friday at those theaters and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
As actors Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint have grown into the roles of Harry, Hermione and Ron, the tone of their adventures has gotten darker. This first of the two-part conclusion to the series brings Harry face-to-face with his unspeakable nemesis, Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) in a fight to the finish. David Yates directs this epic, if frightening, latest installment, which backs the young stars with performances by superb series regulars Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Imelda Staunton, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Brendan Gleeson, newcomer Bill Nighy and Michael Gambon in flashbacks.
"The Next Three Days" PG-13, 2:02, opens Friday at Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
"Waiting for Superman" PG, 1:42, opens Friday at Maui Mall Megaplex, and screens Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Castle Theater.
See synopsis review.
"Race to Nowhere" PG-13, 1:25, screens at 7 p.m. Friday at St. Anthony Church in Wailuku. Tickets are $10.
Vicki Abeles channeled her concerns as a mother into a powerful documentary exploring the pressures placed in children in today's schools. The film not only examines the added stresses in the lives of today's children, but the underlying goal-orientation of America's educational system and the society in general. The screening is a benefit with virtually all of the independent schools of Maui taking part.
"Due Date" R, 1:50, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis are the odd couple stuck together for the road trip from hell in this screwball comedy from "The Hangover" director Todd Phillips. Downey plays the high-strung, uptight one trying to get home from Atlanta to L.A. in time for the birth of his first child. Galifianakis is the loose cannon who thinks he's going to be a star once he gets to Hollywood. There's also a dog, and a can with Zach's father's ashes in the back seat, all adding to the mayhem. Michelle Monaghan, Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis, Danny McBride, RZA and Matt Walsh co-star.
"For Colored Girls" R, 2:14, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Janet Jackson, Phylicia Rashad, Kerry Washington, Loretta Devine, Thandie Newton and Whoopi Goldberg head the all-star cast in Tyler Perry's screen adaptation of Ntozake Shange's classic stage work, "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf." Built around a string of interconnected poems, the action is set in six blocks of Harlem, as the women's life/poems touch on themes that will be universally recognizable for people of all colors. Besides directing and adapting the script, Tyler co-stars along with Michael Ealy, Hill Harper, Khalil Kain, Omari Hardwick and Richard Lawson.
"Hereafter" PG-13, 2:24, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Following a harrowing tsunami sequence filmed (with help from the special effects department) on Lahaina's Front Street last January, this Clint Eastwood-directed drama takes a more meditative tone. It intertwines the lives of a French TV journalist (Cecile de France), a San Francisco man trying to hide from his psychic powers (Matt Damon) and a young London schoolboy (Frankie McLaren), deeply scarred by a brush with death. Peter Morgan's screenplay is less concerned with supernatural answers than with death's effect on the living, and Eastwood's elegant direction adds just the right tone. The performances are brilliant, with the cinematography and music (composed by Eastwood) adding nuance and subtlety. While the subject matter is painful and frightening and the film's pacing deliberate, it pays off with a grace note at the end both hopeful and liberating. Recommended.
"Jackass 3D" R, 1:49, (in 3-D with a ticket surcharge), Maui Mall Megaplex.
Johnny Knoxville and company once again push the limits of taste, safety and sanity in a decidedly obnoxious direction in this latest round of arrested-development stunts. Like an OSHA training film played for laughs, it's a politically incorrect primer of things not to do with power tools, large animals and high-voltage wires. Blood and vomit are the gauge of success in this realm, now enhanced by 3-D. Morons Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Jason Acuna, Ryan Dunn, Preston Lacy, Dave England, Ehren McGhehey and John Taylor, all listed in the credits as "Himself," get into the spirit of seeing who can make the other cry, soil their underwear and/or throw up first. Jeff Tremaine directs. Don't try this at home is fair warning, not just for the stunts, but for the behavior in general.
"Megamind" PG, 1:51, Kaahumanu 6 (in 3-D), ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas (in 3-D).
After the megasuccess of "Despicable Me," here comes another animated comedy starring the villain. Will Ferrell gives voice to the brainy bad guy who finds life is boring since he offed his nemesis Metro Man (Brad Pitt). Concocting new adversary, Tighten (Jonah Hill), he experiences a fresh challenge when his creation turns out to be worse than he is, forcing him to become the hero after all. Tina Fey, David Cross, Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller and his kids are among those providing voices, along with the film's director, Tom McGrath, who guided the project to two weeks atop the box-office charts.
"Morning Glory" PG-13, 1:42, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Rachel McAdams stars in this charming if slight sendup of the world of morning network TV shows. She plays the endlessly optimistic young producer of "Daybreak," a show stuck in fourth place in the ratings due to numerous problems including ridiculously wrong chemistry between its anchors played by Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford. Diane is fine for the light-news beat, but Ford, as pompous once legendary newsman, never breaks out of his scowl as finding himself in this position. The writing is witty, the tone light and there's romance with fellow producer Patrick Wilson to keep McAdams preoccupied. "Notting Hill's Roger Michell directs, and Jeff Goldblum co-stars, peeling the covers off "happy news," but making the film's audience happy in the process.
"Paranormal Activity 2" R, 1:46, Maui Mall Megaplex.
After the original film made $100 million on a miniscule budget, could a sequel be far behind? A prequel, actually. Katie Featherston returns as a member of the family at the center of the strange happenings in this creepy mystery set in the months before the first film. This time, the problem seems to be break-ins, prompting them to install a series of security cameras around the house. As in the first one, those things that go bump in the night turn out to be a lot more worrisome than you might expect. Tod Williams directs, with writers Oren Pell contributing the characters and Michael R. Perry providing the screenplay. With a minimum of special effects and the trappings of suburban life to work with, the movie ingeniously taps into modern fears in an unexpectedly entertaining way. Recommended.
"Red" PG-13, 2:06, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Front Street Theaters.
Actors more used to snagging prestigious film awards like Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Richard Dreyfuss join Bruce Willis in "Die Hard" territory for this action-comedy that casts them as former CIA agents now on the agency's hit list. With Mirren and Freeman adding class and Malkovich pushing things in a wiggy direction, Willis dispenses his trademark cool-under-fire wisecracks as the bullets fly. Amidst all that star power, Mary-Louise Parker turns out to be the movie's secret weapon, with Karl Urban and 93-year-old Ernest Borgnine co-starring under the direction of Robert Schwentke.
"Saw 3D" R, 1:30, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex (in 3-D with a ticket surcharge).
Tobin Bell returns as Jigsaw/ John, in spirit at least, still casting his spell over his survivors, who turn to a self-help guru and fellow survivor (Sean Patrick Flanery) to help them make it through the nights. With its grotesque effects seemingly made for 3-D, the movie's trailer featured giant spinning blades flying right out of the screen and into the audience. Hopefully that won't actually happen. Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Dean Armstrong, Chad Donella, Gina Holden and Chester Bennington co-star; Kevin Greutert directs.
"Secretariat" PG, 2:18, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Historical facts are the spoilers in the unlikely but true story of the horse that gained the nation's attention as a Triple Crown contender in 1973. This Disney production pulls out all the stops when it comes to excitement and sentimentality. Five horses take turns playing the title character, but Diane Lane and John Malkovich add the human dimensions that give the film character. She plays a Denver housewife who becomes a Virginia stable owner after her father is taken ill. Malkovich plays the flashy dressing and eccentric but effective trainer she hires to make a contender out of the horse they call "Big Red" in order to save the stable. James Cromwell, Margo Martindale, Nelson Ellis and Otto Thorwarth co-star; Randall Wallace directs.
"Skyline" PG-13, 1:40, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Whatever you do: Don't look up. You risk catching the eerie light beaming through the window, the same other-worldly force that awoke a group of friends in the dead of night to notice people being drawn outside - right before vanishing into thin air. The group soon discovers that the otherworldly force is threatening to swallow the entire human population, luring each one off the face of the planet. Soon, the survivors are forced to fight for their lives as the known world unravels around them. Directed and produced by the brothers Colin and Greg Strause ("Alien vs. Predator: Requiem"), the sci-fi thriller "Skyline" stars Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, Brittany Daniel, David Zayas and Donald Faison. So just remember: You've been warned.
"The Social Network" PG-13, 2:15, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Competing with the latest headlines, this tense tale tells us how Facebook -that essential fact of modern life that millions of people are addicted to but no one understands or quite trusts - was born. Jesse Eisenberg shines in the troubling role of 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg, a not very big man on the Harvard campus who came up with the social-networking concept more or less by accident. "The West Wing's" Aaron Sorkin contributes the brilliant script, not only about Facebook's birth, but about all the litigation that followed. Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Josh Pence, Rooney Mara and Justin Timberlake co-star under the skilled direction of David Fincher, who makes computer hacking and filing legal depositions the stuff of high drama, troubling ramifications and box-office rewards. Recommended.
"Unstoppable" PG-13, 1:38, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
One million tons of steel. 100,000 lives at risk. 100 minutes to impact. And only two men have any chance of stopping the looming disaster. Denzel Washington and Chris Pine star in "Unstoppable," an adrenaline-fueled drama inspired by true events. Frank, a veteran train engineer, and a young conductor named Will race the clock to thwart an unmanned runaway train carrying toxic chemicals as it barrels toward a densely populated area where a spill could decimate the town. Strap in for high-speed action that makes you look differently at locomotives and the power that's packed in the missile-looking machine. Rosario Dawson, Jessy Schram, Kevin Dunn and Elizabeth Mathis co-star. Action master Tony Scott directs.