These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
"Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son" PG-13, 2:02, Kaahumanu 6 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Liam Neeson and January Jones arrive in Berlin before things start getting complicated in “Unknown.”
Warner Bros. photo
Martin Lawrence once again puts that red dress on -that very large red dress -reprising the role of FBI agent Malcolm Turner. This time he's got his stepson, Trent (Brandon T. Jackson), with him as they go into drag and into hiding in an all-girls performing arts school after Trent witnesses a murder. Jessica Lucas, Michelle Ang and Portia Doubleday co-star; John Whitesell directs.
"I Am Number Four" PG-13, 2:05, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Adapted from Pittacus Lore's best-selling sci-fi novel, the story follows a teen alien (Alex Pettyfer) trying to blend into high-school anonymity to evade pursuers trying to destroy him and his fellow visitors from another planet. Having super powers helps. The title refers to where he falls on the hit list. Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, Dianna Agron and Callan McAuliffe co-star; D.J. Caruso directs.
"Unknown" PG-13, 2:08, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Although he is one of the most noble movie stars of our time, Liam Neeson is more fun as the greatest action hero since Matt Damon wandered into Bourne territory. Neeson is back in "Taken" mode as an American biologist in Berlin for a conference who barely escapes a harrowing car accident, spends four days in a coma in a hospital, then returns to find his wife (January Jones) pretending she's not his wife and Aidan Quinn claiming to be him. Once again Neeson reportedly shows he's not the kind of guy to mess with, mixing his intelligence and nuance as an actor with a no-nonsense, no-regrets, no-prisoners approach to evening the score with whoever does him wrong. Diane Krueger, Frank Langella, Bruno Ganz and Sebastian Koch co-star; Spain's Jaume Sollett-Serra directs.
"Another Year" PG-13, 2:09, ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
Brilliant British director Mike Leigh once again reveals a singular talent for turning everyday realities into profound realizations. Lesley Manville, Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen and Imela Staunton lead the cast in the real-life-like series of intertwined events and relationships unfolding over a year on the calendar.
"Black Swan" R, 1:48, ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
Golden Globe winner Natalie Portman is the front-runner for an Oscar playing 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 got his own Oscar nomination, as did the movie for best picture, 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.
"Blue Valentine" R, 1:34, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Michelle Williams absolutely wins her best actress Oscar nomination; Ryan Gosling was robbed of his in this brilliant look at a marriage imploding. She plays a nurse and young mother; he plays her house-painter husband who loves his family with more heart and humor than ambition to improve their lives. Director and co-writer Derek Cianfrance charts their relationship over a span of years, bouncing back and forth through time to show the array of factors that bring them together and drive them apart. Gut-wrenchingly honest, pushing the limits of its R-rating with its sensuality, it's both heartbreaking and instructive, full of truths about relationships that will be intimately recognizable to anyone who's ever been in one. Recommended.
"The Eagle" PG-13, 1:54, Kaahumanu 6.
Channing Tatum plays a young Roman centurion in 140 A.D. in this bit of ancient action. Traveling across Hadrian's wall accompanied only by his faithful slave (Jamie Bell), his mission is to solve the mystery of a legion that disappeared 20 years earlier, and restore the reputation of his father (Donald Sutherland). But first he must deal with all those savage tribes in the highlands of Caledonia to retrieve the eagle emblem of the lost legion. Kevin Macdonald directs.
"The Fighter" R, 1:55, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Inspired by a true story of two boxing brothers from blue-collar Boston, this hard-hitting drama won well-deserved Oscar nominations for Golden Globe winners Christian Bale and Melissa Leo in the supporting ranks, as well as supporting actress Amy Adams, director David O. Russell and for itself as best picture. Star Mark Wahlberg didn't get a nomination - he should have - but produced the film and made room for everyone else to shine. 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.
"Gnomeo & Juliet" G, 1:39, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D and 2-D) and Front Street Theaters.
Taking its cues - not to mention various plot devices, characters and even lines from Shakespeare -this animated comedy avoids any sign of tragedy as it updates the Bard's most famous love story. The hero is a broken gnome (voiced by James McAvoy) glued back together who finds the love of his life (voiced by Emily Blunt). Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham and Ozzie Osbourne add voices to the mix with soon-to-arrive Maui guest Elton John providing the music. Kelly Asbury directs, sharing the writing credit with the Bard.
"The Green Hornet" PG-13, 1:58, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6.
In a leap of casting faith, Seth Rogen steps into the title role of this screen adaptation of a 1930s radio show. He plays a playboy whose sudden inheritance of the family fortune turns his life around, transforming him into an action figure with a conscience, determined to make the world a better place. He does this in a series of very cool vehicles, the work of his mechanic and sidekick (Jay Chou). There are hints of humor in their peculiar partnership, with Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson and Christoph Waltz co-starring under the direction of Michel Gondry.
"Gulliver's Travels" PG, 128, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D).
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.
"Just Go With It" PG-13, 2:12, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Filmed at the Grand Wailea last spring, this romantic comedy stars Adam Sandler as a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who pretends to be married to avoid making real commitments with the women he dates. Finally finding Miss Right (Brooklyn Decker), his ruse backfires, forcing him to enlist his office assistant (Jennifer Aniston) to pretend to be his soon-to-be-divorced wife after he takes her and her kids on a Maui vacation. Some 500 Mauians show up in supporting roles and as extras, with the Valley Isle providing backdrops sure to be familiar to local audiences. Nicole Kidman, Nick Swardson and Dave Matthews co-star, with musical artists Hapa and Led Ka'apana in the background. Dennis Dugan directs. (See review on Page 2.)
"Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" (3-D), G, 2:00, Kaahumanu 6 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Go on tour with the young music sensation in this 3-D concert tour filmed at performances in 2010. You'll be surrounded in the audience by the tween-age fans of the boyish sex symbol, whose co-stars include Boys II Men, Miley Cyrus, Sean Kingston, Ludacris, Jaden Smith, Usher and more. Directed by Jon Chu, there's also behind-the-scenes humor and old photos and home movies illuminating Justin's path to the top.
"The King's Speech" R, 1:58, Kukui Mall 4, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6.
Cheers for Colin Firth's Golden Globe in this wonderful historical drama that now leads the Academy Awards field with 12 nominations. It tells of England's future King George VI (Colin Firth), whose path to the throne is detoured by personal demons and debilitating speech impediment, and the treatment he receives from an unconventional speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush). Superb performances laced with great humor make the film both inspiring and fun, even with the menace of Herr Hitlet preparing for war on England's doorstep reminding us of the grave matters at hand. Nominations for 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!
"The Mechanic" R, 1:48, Maui Mall Megaplex.
No-nonsense English action star Jason Statham reinvents the methodical assassin role first played by Charles Bronson in 1972 and makes the role his own. Moving the action to New Orleans, he plays the professional killer who makes his work look like accidents. Despite his difficulties forming relationships, he gets drawn into a few amidst all the razor-sharp murders and random explosions going on periodically in the background. Donald Sutherland, Ben Foster and Tony Goldwyn co-star; Simon West directs.
"No Strings Attached" R, 2:03, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Front Street Theaters.
Fresh from her Golden Globe victory and Oscar nomination. Natalie Portman lightens up considerably for this romantic comedy in the age of "friends with benefits." She plays a young doctor who gets back in touch with Ashton Kutcher, a friend from childhood and college days who's now an aspiring TV writer. The title refers to their sexual agreement; the novelty is that it's her idea and he's the one who goes all mushy on her. Veteran Ivan Reitman directs a cast featuring Kevin Kline, Lake Bell, Greta Garwig, Ludacris and Jake M. Johnson. Despite so-so reviews, film is actually full of charm and wit, with Portman shining in the role usually reserved for Anne Hathaway or Katherine Heigl, and Kutcher displaying a good heart and nice comedic touch.
"The Rite" PG-13, 2:09, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6.
Sir Anthony Hopkins stars as a priest in the exorcism business, literally, in this supernatural thriller directed by "Evil" auteur Mikael Hafstrom. As Father Lucas, he mentors a young former mortician (Colin O'Donoghue) who has become a priest but is bedeviled with doubts. The film does what it can to frighten and confuse its audience, leaving them to wonder what's genuine evil and what's special effects, not to mention, just which side Father Lucas is on. Rutger Hauer, Toby Jones and Alice Braga co-star, doing their parts to win the week's box-office race.
"The Roommate" PG-13, 1:46, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Leighton Meester, who seemed so sweet and innocent in the recent "Country Strong," shows a different side of herself in this thriller. She plays the roommate who turns into a nightmare for college coed Minka Kelly. Showing strong similarities to "Single White Female," Christian E. Christiansen directs the escalating suspense, with Cam Gogandet, Alyson Michalka, Danneel Harris, Frances Fisher and Tomas Arana co-starring and riding the film to the top of the box-office charts.
"Sanctum" R, 1:48, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D); ends tonight at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas (2-D).
An expedition mapping vast, mile-deep caves in Papua New Guinea encounters freak conditions that add to the dangers in this genre adventure piece directed by Australian Alister Grierson and produced by "Avatar" auteur James Cameron. Richard Boxburgh plays the cold-fish expedition leader, Rhys Wakefield plays his kinder-hearted son with Ioan Gruffudd and Alice Parkinson co-starring. Cameron, a fan of subterranean action ever since "The Abyss," tries out his 3-D techniques in this new realm, keeping the audience guessing who's next to go in the endless fight with the forces of nature.
"Tangled" PG, 1:55, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
"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.
"True Grit" PG-13, 1:50, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex, Front Street Theaters and Kukui Mall 4.
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. The understated but always great Matt Damon is along for the ride as a Texas Ranger rival trying to beat them to the ransom. The industry's first big hit of the year, it's gritty, funny, punctuated with brief, unexpected violence, 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. After being snubbed at the Golden Globes, it's in second place with 10 well-deserved Oscar nominations -including best actor, supporting actress, director and picture. Recommended.
"Yogi Bear 3-D" PG, 1:55, Maui Mall Megaplex (in 3-D).
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. Anna Faris and Tom Cavanaugh co-star; Eric Breviq directs.