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
"127 Hours" R, 2:14, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Kate Bosworth learns “The Warrior’s Way” in a martial arts saga set in the old West.
Rogue Media photophot
Riding the crest of the announcement that he will co-host this year's Oscars with Anne Hathaway, James Franco delivers what's reported to be an Oscar-worthy performance of his own as adventurer Aron Ralston. Directed by Danny Boyle, still savoring his own Oscars for "Slumdog Millionaire, the title refers to the time period Aron spent pinned under a bolder and the extraordinary measure he had to take to free himself. (It's unofficially known as "the arm movie" -be warned, it's not for the squeamish.) Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn, Sean Bott, Koeman Stinger and Treat Williams co-star.
"The Warrior's Way" R, 1:55, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
East meets West in this stylized Western that brings a ninja assassin to the rustic town of Lode, which happens to be full of circus performers. The fantastical setting reportedly invites comparisons to Sergio Leone Westerns and Akira Kurosawa samurai epics. Don-gun Jang plays the action figure, Kate Bosworth plays the sassy gal who has to learn some of his techniques, with Danny Huston as the dastardly villain and scene-stealing Geoffrey Rush co-starring. Sngmoo Lee writes and directs this production from New Zealand.
Times in the movie ads are subject to change on the weekend. For up-to-date movie time changes visit www.mauigate way.com/~rw/movie/.
Two Legendary Films: "Windsurfing Movie II" and "Revolver" double feature in Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets $16 plus applicable fees, available at the MACC box office, 242-7469 or www.mauiarts.org.
Poor Boyz Productions presents this adrenalized double bill. "Revolver" is both a retrospective and forward-looking examination of what's pushing the limits of skiing today, starring Simon Dumont, Tim Durtschi, Dane Tudor, Jossi Wells and more. "The Windsurfing Movie II" also offers visions of what's coming next in this ever-changing way of recycling adrenaline. It stars Levi Silver and Kai Lenny, who will attend the screening, along with Mark Angulo, Robby Naish and more. A raffle and prize giveaways are also on tap.
"Burlesque" PG-13, 2:14, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Big-voiced Christina Aguilera shines in her debut as an actress, playing a small-town girl who heads for Hollywood to wow the world with talents in this splashy, brassy musical for the holidays. It doesn't hurt to have Cher starring as the resident diva in the "Showgirls"-style goings-on. Stanley Tucci, Kristin Bell, Eric Dane and Cam Gigandet co-star, working something like a story in amidst the mirror-ball, bump-and-grind musical numbers. Steven Antin writes and directs. Rated PG-13 (go figure), it's an entertaining product of a mind-set where naughty is a more potent concept than explicit, teasing is the point, and melodrama is as subtle as it gets That's more than enough, when you've got screen-filling talents like Aguilara and Cher in front of lots of long-legged ladies doing their thing. Recommended. (See review on Page 2.)
"Due Date" R, 1:50, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at 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.
"Faster" R, 1:38, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Dwayne Johnson is a furious ex-con on a mission of vengeance in this adrenalized action adventure. Billy Bob Thornton is the cop on his trail as he carries out a series of executions of the gang members who killed his buds and sent him to jail in the first place. George Tillman Jr. directs the nonstop carnage co-starring Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Carla Gugino and Maggie Grace.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," PG-13, 2:23, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 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 into the final conflict 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.
"Hereafter" PG-13, 2:24, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
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.
"Love and Other Drugs" R, 2:07, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway take their clothes off a lot in this romantic comedy set in the '90s. He plays a charming pharmaceutical salesman of a new drug called Viagra, and she portrays the free spirit who makes him wonder if there might be better things in life than his wayward ways. Oliver Platt, Hank Aaria, Gabriel Macht, Judy Greer, George Segal and the late Jill Clayburgh co-star; Edward Zwick co-writes and directs. It's breezy if slight, entertainment, diluting the story with unnecessary sidetrips, but still leaving plenty of room for the stars to share their lovable chemistry. (See the review on Page 2.)
"Megamind" PG, 1:51, 3-D, Kaahumanu 6 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
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 after offing 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 co-stars and steals whatever scene she's in, and 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 lightweight 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 a pompous, once legendary newsman, never breaks out of his scowl at 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.
"Red" PG-13, 2:06, Maui Mall Megaplex.
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
"Secretariat" PG, 2:18, ends tonight at 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.
"Stone" R, 1:45, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Edward Norton as a crafty jailed criminal plays cat-and-mouse with Robert De Niro as a straight-arrow parole officer, using his wife, Milla Jovovich, as bait in this tense drama directed by John Curran. A parole hearing provides the setting, and the fireworks, as these two great actors move into uncharted psychological territory, with the possibility of a big explosion never far away. "Stone" is one of those movies that doesn't evaporate once you leave the theater. Instead it stays with you in nagging, haunting, troubling ways more or less the same effect Norton, not to mention Jovovich, have on buttoned-down De Niro. Frances Conroy makes it a quartet of superb performances of uncomfortably familiar human realities in a movie that's got more on its mind than you might expect. Recommended. (See the review on Page 2.)
"Tangled" PG, 1:55,Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D and 2-D) and Front Street Theaters (2-D).
"Repunzel" gets the Disney treatment in this family-friendly animated musical comedy. Mandy Moore gives voice to the heroine, stolen away as a baby and locked in a tower by evil Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) until her hair grows long enough for a rogue in the vicinity (Zachary Levi) to come up and see her sometime. Once on solid ground, they set off on a series of adventures that give new meaning to the term "big hair." Byron Howard and Nathan Greno direct, with Disney stalwart Alen Menken providing the tunes.
"The Next Three Days" PG-13, 2:02, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
The mild-mannered married lives of Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks are upended when she is accused of murder, and then is convicted in court, loses her appeals and is sent to the state penitentiary. Although his career as a Prius-driving community college English professor wouldn't seem to prepare him for the task, Crowe sets about devising a plan to break her out, enlisting guidance from hardened-criminal-turned-author Liam Neeson. "Crash" Oscar winner Paul Haggis directs.
"Unstoppable" PG-13, 1:38, Kaahumanu 6 and Kukui Mall 4; ends tonight at 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 this 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 in this literal race against time directed by action master Tony Scott.