These are Maui Scene's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" PG-13, 2:10 opens Friday at Maui Mall Megaplex [3-D and 2-D], Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas, with a sneak preview today at Kukui and Maui malls.
The summer salve to overdone animated and action films is some time spent with Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Piglet, Owl, Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin in “Winnie the Pooh.”
Disney Enterprises Inc. photo via AP
See movie review.
"The Tree of Life" PG-13, 2:18, opens Friday at Kaahumanu 6.
Turn off the sound and it's exquisite, picturesque and artistically stunning. Turn on the sound and it's a poetic exploration of how nature and spiritual grace not only shape our lives as individuals and families, but all life. Known for his direction in "Badlands," "Days of Heaven" and "The Thin Red Line," director Terrence Malik employs his signature imagery to tell an impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950s with "The Tree of Life." The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. If you think the synopsis is deep, just wait till you're sitting in the theater.
"Winnie the Pooh" G, 1:08, opens Friday at Maui Mall Megaplex.
On the opposite end of complicated, "Winnie the Pooh" is simply 100 percent pure, honey-coated satisfaction. The soothing childhood favorite emerges amid the over-complicated wham-bam special effects of animated films, action movies and other summer wannabes. Pooh ambles unhurriedly through his days, enjoying his life and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood at his own pace, just as author A.A. Milne would've wanted it. "Winnie the Pooh" is naturally geared toward the little ones, with its cuddly characters and soft watercolor strokes, but not at the expense of adults' enjoyment. Grown-ups may find themselves even more engaged with the funny, zany adventures of Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and pals. Jim Cummings, Craig Ferguson and Bud Luckey provide vocals.
"Bad Teacher" R, 1:47, Kaahumanu 6; ends at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Cameron Diaz is terrific as the authority-defying, rule-breaking troublemaker in this classroom - not such a good thing since she's the teacher. That's the gag in this naughty but lovable comedy about a booze-swilling English teacher at a Chicago middle school, who's only in it for the money so she can get breast implants and land a rich husband. Not bothering to learn her students' names, her version of teaching requires nothing more than showing education-themed movies like ''Stand and Deliver.'' Jason Segel, Lucy Punch, Phyllis Smith and Justin Timberlake co-star, wonderfully, and Jake Kasdan directs from a smart, cynical script that makes audiences laugh, even if they try not to.
"Bridesmaids" R, 2:05, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Kristin Wiig brilliantly co-writes and leads the ensemble in this raunchy, neurotic but warmhearted comedy that proves the Judd Apatow formula works just as well for female characters as it does for guys -the gross-out jokes just involve different body parts. Wiig's character starts the movie by losing her Milwaukee bakery and her boyfriend. The invitation to be the maid of honor at her best friend's (Maya Rudolph's) wedding provides a distraction from her nervous breakdown, until she has to compete for the role with the bride's new best friend, Rose Byrne. Melissa McCarthy is a scene-stealer amidst the strong supporting cast directed by Paul Feig. Recommended.
"Cars 2" G, 2:07, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Owen Wilson once again returns to the driver's seat (well, actually he is the driver's seat and the rest of the vehicle) as Lightning McQueen, who leaves Route 66 behind to compete in an international grand prix. Larry the Cable Guy, Michael Caine, John Turturro and Emily Mortimer add their voices and John Lassiter directs, working in a spy spoof and a message about alternative fuel in this Pixar-Disney hybrid designed to sell both tickets and toys to its young audience.
"Green Lantern" PG-13, 2:09, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Ryan Reynolds is the latest hunk to morph his casual charisma into superpowers in this special-effects adventure based on character born in DC Comics. He starts the film as haphazard Hal, but after a spaceship crashes in his neighborhood, he winds up with a tight green suit and a ring with special powers. Blake Lively plays his sexy boss in peril and Peter Sarsgaard is his arch nemesis with Tim Robbins co-starring. Martin Campbell directs.
"Horrible Bosses" R, 1:53, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day play three guys who hate their bosses enough to want to kill them in this raunchy buddy comedy. Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston play the bosses, following the lead of "Bad Teacher" into gleeful, silly inappropriate silliness. The "perpetrators" aren't nearly as smart as they think they are as they pursue their murderous schemes, but their banter adds to the film's happy, irreverent tone and the direction of Seth Gordon.
"Kung Fu Panda 2" PG, 1:45, Kaahumanu 6.
Jack Black's portly panda Po has evolved from the under-bear of the first film to the Dragon Warrior in this colorful, cinematic animated 3-D sequel. His mission this time is to rescue his Chinese domain from the nasty, canon-wielding Peacock (Gary Oldman) and to discover his roots along the way. He's once again mentored by Dustin Hoffman and aided by Tigress (Angelina Jolie) and the rest of his celebrity-voiced posse of critters (Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu and David Cross), crossing paths with other animals voiced by Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Haysbert, Michelle Yeoh and others. Jennifer Yuh Nelson directs.
"Larry Crowne" PG-13, 1:54, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts team up again, banking on their likability (and the fact they must like working together) in this light-hearted comedy directed and co-written by Hanks with "My Big Fat Greek Wedding's'' Nia Vardalos. He plays a big-box store employee downsized into a midlife change that starts with signing up at the local community college where Julia Roberts is his professor. Gugu Mbatha-Raw co-stars.
"Midnight in Paris" PG-13, 1:34, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
Owen Wilson steps into Woody Allen's wardrobe, bringing his own more laid-back neuroses to the role of a writer in Paris with his fiancee Rachel McAdams. Allen stays behind the camera writing and directing, but sending Wilson into his own fantasy of going back to the City of Light in its golden age where he gets to hang out with folks like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Salvador Dali and Gertrude Stein. Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Corey Stoll and Tom Hiddleston co-star in this affable, brilliant crowd pleaser at the Cannes Festival that has its writer-director returning to peak form. Recommended!
"Monte Carlo" PG, 2:04, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
Selena Gomez, Katie Cassidy and Leighton Meester star in this teen-princess fairy tale comedy as three young Americans whose disappointing Paris vacation takes a turn for the better when one of them is mistaken for a spoiled British heiress. The next thing they know, it's welcome to Monte Carlo! Cory Monteith, Andie MacDowell, Brett Cullen and Amanda Fairbank-Hynes co-star in the teen-targeted tale directed and co-written by Thomas Bezucha.
"Mr. Popper's Penguins" PG-13, 1:52, Kaahumanu 6.
Jim Carrey plays a successful Manhattan real estate developer whose life changes when he receives boxes full of penguins from his late dad, whose travels included a visit to Antarctica just before his death. Along with the cute if uncouth table manners, you know they're going to teach him some things about reconnecting with his loved ones before they're through. Ophelia Loviband, Carla Gugino, Madeline Carroll and Maxwell Perry Cotton co-star along with the little birds; Mark Waters directs.
"Pirates of the Caribbean, On Stranger Tides" PG-13, 2:16, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Johnny Depp brings rascally Capt. Jack Sparrow back for the fourth installment of the fantastically successful film franchise inspired by a Disneyland ride. This time he's onboard with the always interesting Penelope Cruz as his old flame, Angelica. Ian McShane plays the buccaneer in charge, the dastardly Blackbeard, who's on a desperate mission to find the fountain of youth after a prophecy that he's going to die in two weeks. En route, out on the bounding main, they encounter zombies and mermaids, among other things. Geoffrey Rush co-stars as old foe-turned-ally Barbarosa. Rob Marshall directs.
"Super 8" PG-13, 2:07, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Modern action master J.J. Abrams directs this homage to the guy who invented the modern action blockbuster, Stephen Spielberg, in this sci-fi thriller. Spielberg serves as producer for the tale that reverts back to his own childhood, revolving around a group of small-town kids (Joel Courtney, Riley Griffiths and Elle Fanning) making their own Super 8 movie before an alien invasion makes things interesting in the old hometown. Reminiscent of "E.T.," it explores themes of youthful loneliness and attempts to touch reality with a camera but never loses the adrenaline rush of the action.
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" PG--13, 2:48, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D and 2-D), Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Eccentric A-listers Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Patrick Dempsey and the voice of Leonard Nimoy join Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro and Tyrese Gibson join the battle against those shape-shifting robots in this third installment of the franchise. Michael Bay once again directs the mayhem, er, action on a grand, noisy scale, using the 1960s moon race - complete with archival footage of JFK, Richard Nixon, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mr. Spock -as a backdrop. Rose Huntington-Whiteley is the new addition to the cast, replacing recent Maui Film Festival honoree Megan Fox, who got fired from the project but is still making headlines for what she did before she left. The film in its first two weeks made $261.1 million to become 2011's top domestic hit.
"X-Men: First Class" PG-13, 2:27, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
It's not easy being a mutant as this prequel to the hit movie series demonstrates. The bright young cast is led by James McAvoy as Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbinder as his best friend but eventual arch rival, soon to be named Magneto. Jennifer Lawrence, January Jones and Rose Byrne co-star as their superprodigies in a plot beginning in the '40s and culminating in the middle of the Cuban missile crisis. Kevin Bacon is along as the arch adversary, with Oliver Platt also co-starring. Matthew Vaughn directs, adding lots of '60s visual style and sly humor to the action, with Brian Singer, director of the first two "X-mens," producing.
"The Zookeeper" PG, 1:57, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Kevin James gets out of the mall cop business to become a zookeeper, with the same lovably inept results. This time, the animals in the zoo take matters in their own hands, er paws, to get his romantic life in order and keep him on the job. Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb, Ken Jeong and Donnie Wahlberg co-star; Frank Coraci directs.
* Times in the movie ads are subject to change on the weekend. For up-to-date movie time changes, visit www.mauigateway.com/ ~rw/movie/