These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
"The Ides of March" R, 138, Maui Mall Megaplex and Kukui Mall 4.
George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ryan Gosling plot political strategy in 'The Ides of March.'
Columbia Pictures photo via AP
George Clooney gets back into politics on the big screen playing a presidential candidate in this topical drama he also directs and co-wrote. Ryan Gosling, on a roll this year, plays his idealistic press secretary surrounded by a dream cast featuring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Jennifer Ehle and Evan Rachel Wood as an intern who threatens all the spin-doctors' best-laid plans. Not only does Clooney have the right stuff to look electable onscreen, the last time he mixed politics and cinema directing, co-writing and co-starring in "Good Night and Good Luck," he walked away with Oscar nominations and other prizes.
"Real Steel" PG-13, 207, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Hugh Jackman co-stars with a bunch of hardware as a former fighter who has turned manager now that robots have climbed into the ring to do the actual boxing. Learning to be a good dad to his troubled son (Dakota Goyo) proves as challenging as getting his pile-of-junk 'bot transformed into a title contender. Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Hope Davis and Kevin Durand co-star. Shawn Levy directs.
"50/50" R, 1:55, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in comedy writer Will Reiser's autobiographical script about being diagnosed in his 20s with a rare form of spinal cancer with a 50 percent chance of survival. Despite the daunting premise, the film is sometimes uproariously funny, brimming with humanity, insight and compassion. Seth Rogen plays his usual potty-mouth sidekick role in a cast also featuring Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Angelica Huston. Jonathan Levine directs.
"Abduction" PG-13, 1:46, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
"Twilight" heartthrob Taylor Lautner stars in this thriller, playing a young man whose life gets turned around after he finds a baby photo of himself on a missing persons website and sets out to discover who he really is. Oriah Acima Andrews, Ken Arnold and Maria Bello co-star under the direction of veteran John Singleton.
"Conan the Barbarian" R, 1:57, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Despite his 6-foot-5 physique, no one is confusing 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 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; ends tonight at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Oscar winners Matt Damon, Gwenyth Paltrow, Kate Winslet and Marion Cotillard head the cast in Steven Soderbergh's thriller. 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 and health administrators try to stop it before it stops them.
"Courageous" PG-13, 2:09, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Alex Kendrick heads the cast, directs and co-wrote the screenplay with Stephen Kendrick for this Christian-themed cop drama from Sherwood Baptist Church's film ministry. The story has to do with four police officers discovering that their roles as fathers require more courage and character than their daily duty putting their lives on the line. Renee Jewell, Rusty Martin Jr., Ken Bevel, Eleanor Brown, Robert Amaya, Angelita Nelson, Kevin Downes and Ben Davies co-star.
"Crazy Stupid Love" PG-13, 1:57, Maui Mall Megaplex.
When straight-laced Carl Weaver (Steve Carell) discovers that his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), cheated on him and is seeking a divorce, his "perfect" life unravels. Rusty in the single world, Carl spends his nights being pathetic 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 quirky lovability of their great cast. Recommended.
"Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame" PG-13, 1:59, ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
Veteran Chinese director Hark Tsui directs this intriguing mystery set against a grand-scale epic fantasy backdrop. Andy Lau plays Tang Dynasty forensic detective De Renjie examining a conspiracy to kill evil Empress Wu (Carina Lau.) With smart plotting, political undertones and the riveting mystery at the film's core, Tsui makes his scenery and spectacular sets co-stars in the lavish tale.
"Dolphin Tale" PG, 2:08, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Maui's Kris Kristofferson is part of the all-star ensemble in this heart-warming, tear-jerking, feel-good story directed at every member of the family. Jumping to the top of the box-office charts after opening in third place just adds to its inspirational quality that goes through lots of tears en route to an ending that makes audience members more than glad they came. Young Nathan Gamble plays a school failure with no friends who accidentally gets involved with a dolphin trapped in a crab net. Freeing the creature entails removing its tale - leading a wonderful cast including Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman -to put the animal back together again. Charles Martin Smith leaves his iconic film credits as an actor behind to direct this heart-friendly fable based on a true story. Recommended.
"Dream House" PG-13, 1:45, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Daniel Craig, Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz head the cast in this week's horror thriller straight out of the real estate multiple listings. Jim Sheridan directs the scary tale of a successful New York publisher who leaves the New York rat race to relocate his wife and daughters to a quaint New England village. The seller apparently didn't disclose that their dream house was the site of several gruesome murders and the perpetrator apparently isn't done yet.
"Drive" R, 1:40, Maui Mall Megaplex.
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 Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman and a scene-stealing Albert Brooks, playing against type, but the results are senselessly violent, and senseless, period.
"The Help" PG-13, 2:17, Kaahumanu 6.
A huge box-office hit 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 debate about its political correctness. Set in Jackson, Miss., in the 1960s, it follows three 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.
"Killer Elite" R, 2:10, Maui Mall Megaplex and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Jason Statham plays a highly trained killing machine trying to get out of the special-ops profession who gets drawn back in for one last job after his mentor (Robert De Niro) is kidnapped by an Omani sheik. He has to exact revenge on the men who kidnapped the sheik's sons to secure De Niro's release, but he's got sinister Clive Owen on his tail. Gary McKendry directs this showcase of A-list talent engaging in head butts, pistol whippings, gut punches and other things they probably didn't learn in acting school.
"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 and, once again, of the box office.
"Moneyball" PG-13, 2:06, Kaahumanu 6 and Kukui Mall 4.
Brad Pitt wins raves starring in this ripped-from-the-headlines tale about how a luckless general manager and stat geek changed the way baseball teams assess and acquire players. With the Oakland A's providing the color, Oscar winners Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian wrote the script, directed by Bennett Miller. Pitt plays the GM, with Jonah Hill stealing scenes as his unlikely but brainy sidekick and Phillip Seymour Hoffman reliably great as the team manager. Steeped in baseball and the culture surrounding it, the stars are at the top of their own game, hitting home runs with their teamwork. Recommended.
"Our Idiot Brother" R, 1:45, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Paul Rudd hops from one sofa to another to another as the title character, and that's sort of what the film does, too. He plays an amiable, ambling slacker dude named Ned who 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.
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.
"Spy Kids: All the Time in the World" PG, 1:44, Maui Mall Megaplex.
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.
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.
"What's Your Number" R, 2:01, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Anna Faris has to be way smarter than the roles she picks. How else to explain how she makes all those ditzes as lovable as they are cute? This time around, co-starring with Chris Evans under the direction of Mark Mylod, she goes through her little black book of the 19 guys she has slept with to pick a husband before she hits No. 20, which, apparently will qualify her as a slut in her own mind. Evans plays her neighbor who helps her find the guys on the list, apparently not noticing he's a far more appealing candidate for the job.
* 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/.