These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
"Drive" R, 1:40, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Ryan Gosling has no name other than "the Driver" in this taut thriller, flipping cop cars as a Hollywood stunt driver by day, then evading cop cars as a robbery getaway driver by night. Gosling is as compelling as he is enigmatic, inviting comparisons to Clint Eastwood in a film that pays homage to Michael Mann's elevation of crime action to cool urban choreography. Denmark's Nicolas Winding Refn directs a cast featuring Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman and a scene-stealing Albert Brooks, playing against type.
"I Don't Know How She Does It" PG-13, 1:46, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Sarah Jessica Parker brings her "Sex and the City" perkiness to domestic life, playing a working wife and mother juggling all those balls in the air to convince everyone, first of all herself, how perfect she is. Douglas McGrath directs this sitcomy adaptation of the best-selling novel that should seem awfully familiar to a lot of the women in the audience. Greg Kinnear co-stars as her architect husband, and Pierce Brosnan plays her dapper boss.
* 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/
"The Lion King 3D" G, 1:37, Kaahumanu 6.
Sure it's been available in DVD for more than a decade and had a triumphant run on Broadway, but the Disney folks are bringing the family classic out of retirement to take advantage of 3-D on the big screen and to remind us that animation hasn't improved much from this landmark achievement. Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons and Whoopi Goldberg provide some of the voices to the music-laced fable about the cub who would be king of the jungle.
"Straw Dogs" R, 1:50, Maui Mall Megaplex.
James Marsden and Kate Bosworth are backed by a great supporting cast including Alexander Skarsgard and James Woods in this remake of the 1971 classic Sam Peckinpah-Dustin Hoffman vehicle about what can happen when clever intellectuals move to rural redneck enclaves. Rod Lurie directs the thriller, whose location has been moved from England to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where the screenwriter and his wife have relocated to be closer to her family roots. While the original upped the ante for onscreen violence, it was just as effective at building excruciating tension en route to the inevitable final showdown.
"Apollo 18" PG-13, 1:41, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Not to be confused with the Oscar-winning "Apollo 13," this sci-fi horror thriller is supposedly based on lost NASA footage showing the real reason mankind never returned to take any more footsteps or leaps on the moon. Warren Christie and Lloyd Owen star; Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego directs.
"Captain America: The First Avenger" PG-13, 2:06, Kaahumanu 6.
This Marvel Comics adaptation stars Chris Evans as the World War II fighting hero. He brings an earnest dignity and intelligence to the role of Steve Rogers, a scrawny kid from Brooklyn with dreams of military glory. Scientist Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) sees something special in him and enlists him for a daring experiment, administering high-tech injections to transform him into a supersoldier. Hugo Weaving plays the foe, former Nazi leader Johann Schmidt, aka Red Skull, who's formed his own splinter group and built some intimidating weapons. Tommy Lee Jones and Dominic Cooper co-star. Joe Johnston directs.
"Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star" R, 1:36, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Co-written and produced by Adam Sandler, this raunchy comedy features his "Just Go With It" co-star Nick Swardson in the title role. He plays a Midwestern grocery store worker who discovers his conservative parents were once porn stars and heads for Hollywood to follow in their footsteps. Christina Ricci, Don Johnson, Stephen Dorff, Ido Mosseri, Kevin Nealon and Sandler himself co-star; Tom Brady directs.
"Colombiana" PG-13, 2:04, Maui Mall Megaplex and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Zoe Saldana stars in this action-thriller co-written and produced by Luc Besson, who pioneered a new genre - damsels who cause distress -in such films as "La Femme Nikita." "Avatar" star Saldana plays Cataleya, who launched her quest for revenge after seeing her parents killed when she was a 9-year-old schoolgirl in the slums of Bogota. Now that she's become a crack assassin, watch out! Amandia Stenberg, Cliff Curtis and Jorda Molla co-star; Olivier Megaton directs.
"Conan the Barbarian" R, 1:57, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Despite his 6-foot-5 physique, no one is going to mistake the arrival of Hawaii's Jason Momoa with the cultural game-changer represented by someone named Ah-nuld in the 1982 original. Under the direction of Marcus Nispel, this epic relies mostly on sword fights, using the script for little more than filling the space between them. Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lang and an over-the-top Rose McGowan co-star.
"Contagion" PG-13, 1:43, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Oscar winners Matt Damon, Gwenyth Paltrow, Kate Winslet and Marion Cotillard head the cast in Steven Soderbergh's thriller that's inviting comparisons to his Oscar-winning "Traffic." The title tells the story, as an epidemic spreads with lightning speed around the planet, driving the death toll into the millions and pulling society apart at the seams as intrepid doctors, scientists amd health administrators try to stop it before it stops them. (See review on Page 2.)
"Cowboys & Aliens" PG-13, 1:58, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
2011 Maui Film Festival honoree Olivia Wilde stars alongside Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford in this sci-fi Western. A stranger (Craig), with no memory of his past and a very strange bracelet attached to his wrist, stumbles into a New Mexico Territory desert town in 1875. He finds that the residents aren't welcoming and the streets are controlled by iron-fisted Col. Dolarhyde (Ford) and his reprobate son (Paul Dano). Under Jon Favreau's direction, it starts as "High Noon" until the studio marketing department takes over and introduces visitors from outer space. Why? Hard to tell. Wilde is a scene stealer with those big wide eyes in a cast co-starring Sam Rockwell, Clancy Brown and Keith Carradine, but in this mismatch of genres, the final score is Cowboys 1, Aliens zero.
"Crazy Stupid Love" PG-13, 1:57, Maui Mall Megaplex.
When straight-laced 40-something Carl Weaver (Steve Carell) discovers that his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), cheated on him and is seeking a divorce, his "perfect" life unravels. Carl is more than a little rusty in the single world, spending his nights sulking solo at a local bar until he is taken on as the wingman to handsome player Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon co-star. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa direct, concocting impossible twists in the story, but compensating for them with the likability of all the principals in the cast. Recommended.
"Creature" R, 1:32, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6.
This week's creepy thing from the swamp is a half-man, half-beast encountered by a bunch of fun-loving young hedonists (Mehcad Brooks, Serinda Swan, Dillon Casey, Lauren Schneider, Aaron Hill and Amanda Fuller) when they detour into Lousiana bayou country and decide to spend the night in the most haunted house in the neighborhood. Fred Andrews directs the mayhem that comes with warnings about everything in it, from bloody violence and grisly images to sexual content, nudity and drug use.
"The Debt" R, 1:53, Kaahumanu 6.
A remake of the 2007 Israeli original, this taut, brainy thriller jumps back and forth from the present to the 1960s when a group of three Israeli Mossad agents venture into East Berlin to kidnap a former Nazi death doctor and bring him to trial. Under the direction of "Shakespeare in Love's" John Madden, the roles are double-cast to account for the changing times: Helen Mirren and this year's breakout star Jessica Chastain play Rachel and Ciaran Hinds and Sam Worthington play David in a cast also featuring Tom Wilkinson, Jesper Christensen and Martin Csokas.
"Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" R, 1:58, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6.
The monsters are tiny, yet savage and ugly, in this remake of a 1973 TV horror movie. Unfortunately, they're not as frightening as the filmmakers would have you believe, nor that interesting. Producer and co-writer Guillermo del Toro and director Troy Nixey manage a lot of creepy atmosphere in their story of a couple (Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes) and a young girl (Bailee Madison) menaced by nasty little things that swarm up from beneath the mansion they're restoring. With the girl at the heart of the tale and del Toro's name the big selling point, the filmmakers want you thinking of the movie as a cousin to his masterful "Pan's Labyrinth," but it comes up a distant second in the comparison.
"Fright Night" R, 2:01, ends st Maui Mall Megaplex.
The life-sucking suburban sprawl of Las Vegas makes the possibility that new next-door neighbor Colin Farrell really is a vampire vaguely plausible in this remake of the 1985 horror comedy. Anton Yelchin is the nerdy teen harboring the suspicion; his even nerdier pal Christopher Mintz-Plasse is the only one who believes him. Toni Collette heads the strong supporting cast that also features David Tennant. Craig Gillespie directs, maintaining his sense of humor amidst the bloody gore.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" PG-13, 2:10 Maui Mall Megaplex.
Just as Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) grow up, the audience is forced to grow up, too, and say a sobering yet satisfying goodbye to the well-loved stars in the final adventure of the Harry Potter film series. In the epic finale, the battle between the good and evil forces of the wizarding world escalates into an all-out war. The stakes have never been higher and no one is safe, but it is Harry Potter who is called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort. Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Michael Gambon, Helena Bonham Carter, Maggie Smith and many more familiar faces co-star, brilliantly as usual. Under David Yates' direction, the film is a satisfying yet provocative blend of fine acting, taut screencraft and metaphysical musings that linger after the final frame. Recommended.
"The Help" PG-13, 2:17, Kaahumanu 6; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4; opens Friday at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
A huge hit at the box office with its old-fashioned blend of unforgettable characters, heart-stirring emotions and a righteous cause, this is the rare case of a quality film hitting mainstream popularity, even while sparking lots of debate about its political correctness. Set in Jackson, Miss., in the 1960s, it follows three very different, extraordinary women as they build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From the improbable alliance of Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny, a remarkable sisterhood emerges to touch and inspire the audience. The dream cast includes Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen and Cicely Tyson, ably directed by Tate Taylor. Recommended.
"One Day" PG-13, 1:44, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
This romantic drama might have been retitled "When Em Met Dex," or "When Anne Hathaway Met Jim Sturgess," since they're the ones playing the parts. The day, or night, in question was a post-college graduation party in 1988, and the story keeps time traveling back to it through all the actual career and relationship changes occurring in its protagonists' lives en route to the inevitable night when they'll be together again. Lone Scherfig directs.
"Our Idiot Brother" R, 1:45, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
Paul Rudd hops from one sofa to another to another as the title character, and that's sort of what the film does, too. Rudd stars as an amiable, ambling slacker dude named Ned whose guilelessness consistently gets him into trouble, both with his family and with the law. He has a knack for being way too honest, and a little dim, despite his big trusting, open heart. Director Jesse Peretz follows him as he bumbles his way from one situation to the next with no great momentum or sense of character evolution. Ned grows increasingly irritating to his hippie farmer ex-girlfriend (Kathryn Hahn), the three sisters he mooches off of (Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks and Zooey Deschanel). Trying to blend contemporary hipness with an old-fashioned parable, the film never quite finds its pacing although it does come to life whenever Steve Coogan shows up, playing Mortimer's world-saving, politically correct but oh-so-smarmy husband.
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" PG-13, 1:05, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
Silly humans. We're so arrogant. We see a cute, cuddly baby chimp, assign all kinds of familiar characteristics to it and raise it with the loving playfulness we'd give our own children, only to find that the creature's unpredictable and ferocious animal nature wins out in the end. This blockbuster is sort of a prequel and sort of a sequel and sort of a reboot. Mainly, it's a spectacle that might be trying to teach us a lesson about hubris but mostly is about angry, 'roided-up chimps taking over and wreaking havoc. James Franco and Andy Serkis star with Freida Pinto and John Lithgow co-staring under the direction of Rupert Wyatt.
"Shark Night" PG-13, 1:46, Kaahumanu 6; ends tonight at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Yes, you've had this nightmare before -only the bikinis and the particular body of water have changed. In this case it's the Louisiana Gulf where the young cast members see their plans for a girls-gone-wild weekend spoiled by the appearance of fresh-water sharks. Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Chris Carmack and Katharine McPhee head the cast; David R. Ellis directs. (Fresh-water sharks - who knew? One more thing to fear from Mother Nature.)
"The Smurfs" PG, 1:42, Kaahumanu 6 (3-D and 2-D).
The 1980s NBC cartoon series, affectionately known for its flat animation, simple illustration and good-versus- evil tales, is given 21st century life, thanks to Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures Animation. When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the Smurfs out of their village and into the middle of New York's Central Park. they must get back to their home before Gargamel finds them. Neil Patrick Harris, George Lopez and Katy Perry provide vocals. Raja Gosnell directs, adding the phrase "who smurfed?" to our vocabulary.
"Spy Kids: All the Time in the World" PG, 1:44, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D and 2-D) and Front Street Theaters.
Being a stepmom is the toughest challenge yet for former spy Marissa Cortez Wilson (Jessica Alba). To make matters worse, she's married to a famous spy-hunting TV reporter. When Marissa is called back into action, she sees it as an opportunity to bond with her new step-children (Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook). They set out to stop the evil Timekeeper (Jeremy Piven) from taking over the world with some help from former Spy Kids Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara. Along with saving the world, maybe they can bring their family together while they're at it. Robert Rodriguez once again directs.
"Warrior" PG-13, 2:19, Maui Mall Megaplex and Kukui Mall 4.
The rough-edged brotherly love and dysfunctional family dynamics of "The Fighter" get moved into the mixed-martial-arts arena in this gritty drama. Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton play the two estranged brothers whose paths lead into the arena to fight for the championship. Nick Nolte plays their very flawed dad, who doesn't have to act very hard to look right for the role. Jennifer Morrison, Kevin Dunn and Frank Grillo co-star; Gavin O'Connor directs.