These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
"Country Strong" PG-13, 1:51. Maui Mall Megaplex.
Warren Miller’s “Wintervention” will provide action on the slopes Saturday in Castle Theater.
"Season of the Witch" PG-13, 1:50. Maui Mall Megaplex and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Nicolas Cage plays a disillusioned knight in not-so-shining armor in this 14th-century action adventure. His mission is to transport a suspected witch to a remote abbey where the resident monks suspect her of causing the Black Plague devastating the land and its people. Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore, Stephen Graham, Ulrich Thomsen, Claire Foy and Christopher Lee co-star; Dominic Sena directs.
Warren Miller's "Wintervention" 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
Skiing icon Jonny Moseley narrates and takes part in the extreme winter sports action from master of that cinematic domain, Warren Miller. Chris Davenport, Lindsey Vonn and Moseley himself show off their skiing and snowboarding feats in breathtaking locales including Alaska, Norway, Canada, Antarctica and beyond, accompanied by Miller's usual adrenaline-fueled soundtrack. Tickets are $12 adults, $10 for kids 12 and younger as well as MACC members (plus applicable fees).
"Black Swan" R, 1:48. Kaahumanu 6.
Golden Globe nominee Natalie Portman plays a technically brilliant but still childlike ballerina forced to go to the dark side after she is cast in the lead role of "Swan Lake." Playing the White Swan is no problem; it's playing her sinister nemesis that pushes her in way over her head in this disturbing look at what goes into creating all that ethereal beauty onstage. Fellow Globe nominee Mila Kunis plays her more worldly rival for the role, with Barbara Hershey cast as the stage mother from hell. Director Darren Aronoksky gets his own nomination, as does the movie itself for best drama, despite the creep-out effect it has on audience members, who can never be completely certain what's going on - and what's only happening in poor Natalie's head.
"The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" PG, 2:08, Maui Mall Megaplex (in 3-D) and Front Street Theaters.
The youngest of the Pevense siblings, Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund (Skandar Keynes), return to the magical, allegorical land of Narnia accompanied by their annoying cousin Eustace (Will Poulter) in this third adaptation of books in the beloved series by C.S. Lewis. The title stems from the sailing ship that carries them back, where they grapple with dangers and temptations in this realm presided over the noble lion Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson). Anna Popplewell, William Moseley, Ben Barnes and Tilda Swinton co-star. Michael Apted directs.
"The Fighter" R, 1:55, Maui Mall Megaplex and Kukui Mall 4.
Inspired by a true story of two boxing Boston brothers, this hard-hitting drama has won Golden Globe nominations for star Mark Wahlberg, supporting actors Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo, director David O. Russell and for itself as best drama. It's Wahlberg's character's last shot at being a contender, if he can overcome the "help" of his older brother-manager (Bale), a great boxer himself once upon a time. For all the blood, sweat and tears attending the boxing-movie genre, what sets this one apart are its great performances of wonderfully drawn characters with all their often volatile, sometimes funny and ultimately lovable flaws. Recommended.
"Gulliver's Travels" PG, 128, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
Jack Black moves Jonathan Swift's 300-year-old masterpiece to present times and lets the special effects take over from there in this family-friendly comedy. He plays a wannabe travel writer who vists the Bermuda Triangle, where he winds up in a land where everyone else is 6-inches tall. While the comedy does bring new meaning to "the little people," the gags mostly involve Black trying avoid trampling things, literally and otherwise. Emily Blunt, Jason Segal, Amanda Peet, Chris O'Dowd, Billy Connolly and Catherine Tate co-star; Rob Letterman directs.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," PG-13, 2:23, Kaahumanu 6.
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, new cast addition Bill Nighy and Michael Gambon in flashbacks.
"How Do You Know?" PG-13, 2:16, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
"As Good As It Gets" writer-director James L. Brooks tries to tap into romantic-comedy gold with this mismatched pairing of Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd. She plays a professional softball player cut from the team, trying to decide what comes next - and whether to chase after it with Rudd's harried corporate executive or a ditzy ball player played by Owen Wilson. Jack Nicholson co-stars as Rudd's short-tempered father.
"The King's Speech" R, 1:58. Kaahumanu 6.
No wonder that this wonderful historical drama is a leader in the Golden Globe field. It tells of England's future King George VI (Colin Firth), blocked from assuming the throne by a debilitating speech impediment, and the treatment he receives from an unconventional speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush). Superb performances laced with great humor save the film from dreary Masterpiece Theatre territory, even with the menace of Herr Hitlet preparing for war on England's doorstep reminding us of the grave matters at hand. Nominations for Firth, Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, director Tom Hooper and the film itself are all richly deserved. It's the rare case of a feel-good movie that makes you feel smarter, too. Recommended.
"Little Fockers" PG-13, 1:30, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Everyone's back for another Focker family reunion in the third installment of this comedy franchise starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro, with Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Owen Wilson, Blythe Danner, Teri Polo and Jessica Alba providing support. The family has grown to include a pair of twins, but their cute presence has done little to assuage DeNiro's gruff ex-CIA agent's conviction that Stiller's male nurse is still unworthy of his daughter. Like a real family reunion that goes on way too long, the Paul Weitz-directed antics take the low road trying to find the humor in vomit, enemas, erectile dysfunction and the like. It beats all the Golden Globe contenders to the top of the box-office charts, but raises real questions about the appropriateness of its PG-13 rating, not to mention its questionable sense of humor.
"The Social Network" PG-13, 2:15, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Returning to theaters to savor its many Golden Globe nominations, including best picture, best actor (Jesse Eisenberg), best screenplay (Aaron Sorkin) and best director (David Fincher), this brilliant drama 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. Eisenberg stars as 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" 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 Fincher's skilled direction. Mixing breaking news headlines (the real Zuckerberg is Time Magazine's person of the year) with Shakespearean scope, it tops many reviewers' lists -including this one's -as the best movie of 2010. Recommended.
"Tangled" PG, 1:55,Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D and 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 Tourist" PG-13, 1:45, Kaahumanu 6.
In Venice, Midwestern math teacher Johnny Depp is trying to mend his broken heart, but runs into the unbelievably gorgeous Angelina Jolie instead. That would be workout enough for his tattered emotions, even if she didn't have some serious secrets that soon have guys with guns chasing them through the canals. In the supporting ranks behind the A-List romantic chemistry are Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff and Rufus Sewell. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck directs. Despite what critics may have said, the film won Golden Globe nods for its stars and itself in the comedy field. The story is light and fluffy, true, but Johnny and Angelina know a thing or two about chemistry - and there are lots of worse ways to spend two hours at the movies than just getting lost in their close-ups, or Venice in the background.
"Tron: Legacy" PG, 2:21, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Oscar or not, Jeff Bridges is upstaged by the special-effects in this sequel to the original foray that takes him back onto the Grid. The original 1982 story explored the then-new interface between humans and the cyber-worlds they were creating on computers. This one deals with the consequences as young Garrett Hedlund goes seeking his missing computer-engineer father (Bridges) in the virtual world he created. The Zen-quoting Bridges co-stars with a computer-generated younger version of himself as his villainous adversary, but it's the amazing vehicles, lighting and other nonstop effects that star. Olivia Wilde co-stars; Joseph Kosinski directs.
"True Grit" PG-13, 1:50, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters. Neither brothers Ethan and Joel Coen nor the actor they transformed into The Dude (Jeff Bridges) are intimidated at the prospect of walking into the Old West territory that won John Wayne his only Oscar as cantankerous one-eyed sheriff Rooster Cogburn. Instead, they make the place their own, stamped with their trademark irony, the gorgeous cinematography of Roger Deakins and the distinctive speech cadences of the times. Newcomer Hailee Steinfeld plays the flinty 14-year-old who enlists Mr. Cogburn to trackdown the sidewinder (Josh Brolin) who killed her father, with Matt Damon along for the ride as a Texas Ranger rival trying to beat them to the ransom. Gritty, funny, punctuated with brief, unexpected violence, it's a new twist on the Old West, featuring fine work from all involved -especially young newcomer Steinfeld, who has no problem carrying the story or holding her side of the screen, even with all those big guns around. Recommended.
"Yogi Bear 3-D" PG, 1:55, Maui Mall Megaplex (in 3-D and 2-D); ends tonight at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Dan Aykroyd provides the smarter-than-average voice of the title character and Justin Timberlake gives voice to trusty sidekick Boo Boo in this computer-generated update on the old TV series. Their mission is to save Jellystone Park from the mayor's plan to close it. There's even a computer-generated documentary film crew on hand to cover the proceedings. Anna Faris and Tom Cavanaugh co-star; Eric Breviq directs.