These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
"Anonymous" PG-13, 2:09, Kaahumanu 6.
Rhys Ifans gives a showy, sexy performance as England's 16th- century Earl of Oxford, the nobleman who actually wrote all those works credited to someone named William Shakespeare, in this epic bit of historical revision. Director Roland Emmerich, better known for blockbusters like "Independence Day" and "2012," gets into a more literary space to tell of the earl who had to hide his true identity because his writings exposed very real scandals and foibles in the royal court. He borrowed the name that would live forever on stages and in English classrooms from an illiterate, hedonistic lout. Vanessa Redgrave and her daughter, Joely Richardson, play Queen Elizabeth I at different times in her life with John Orloff providing the witty if convoluted script featuring many of the Bard's greatest hits, from soliloquies to one-liners.
"A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas" R, 1:45, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
Forget eggnog. It's "winter wonderweed" that fuels Kal Penn and John Cho in this third installment of the Harold & Kuman franchise. "There's no place like stoned for the holidays" should be the carol sung by the boys, who begin the story by accidentally burning down a Christmas tree, and then getting more R-rated ridiculous as the plot takes one ludicrous turn after another. Neil Patrick Harris continues his scene-stealing ways in a cast also featuring Danny Trejo, Thomas Lennon, Elias Koteas, Patton Oswalt, Paula Garces and Dannell Ackles. Todd Strauss-Schulson directs.
"Margin Call" R, 1:49, Kukui Mall 4.
Right out of yesterday's headlines, and providing background history for the Occupy Wall Street protests, this star-laden drama is set against the collapse of an unnamed (read Lehman Brothers) investment firm. Kevin Space, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore and Stanley Tucci star in this fascinating study of some very smart men making very wrong decisions as they realized their holdings were worthless unless they could find clueless clients to foist them upon. J.C. Chandor writes and makes his directoral debut, making all the financial stuff understandable and even fascinating but still inexcusable.
"Tower Heist" PG-13, 2:08, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Failing financial fortunes also provide the starting point for this rollicking comedy featuring Ben Stiller leading an all-star cast trumped by Eddie Murphy returning to "48 Hrs" form. Stiller plays the manager of an upscale Manhattan high-rise where penthouse-dwelling Alan Alda bears a striking resemblance to Bernie Madoff. When the ponzi scheme is revealed, the victims turn out to include the other residents of the building, including Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck and Tea Leoni. Stiller's plan to steal their money back requires enlisting the services of petty criminal Murphy, who, of course is better at talking the talk than walking the walk. Brett Ratner directs.
"When the Mountain Calls" 7 p.m. Saturday in Castle Theater at the MACC. Tickets are $25 plus applicable fees, available from the MACC box office, 242-7469, mauiarts.org.
This new documentary by Maui filmmaker Tom Vendetti chronicles three decades of adventures and discoveries in the Himalaya countries of Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. Co-produced by Robert Stone, it features music by Paul Horn and Christopher Hedge and appearances by the Dalai Lama, Kris Kristofferson and others. The first half of the evening will feature a live concert of music and verse by Paul Horn and his wife (and the film's narrator) Ann Mortifee titled "In Love with the Mystery." (For more information, see Pages 2 and 12.)
"50/50" R, 1:55, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
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 and sometimes just witty, brimming with humanity, insight and compassion. Seth Rogen plays his usual potty-mouth sidekick role in a cast also featuring the movie-stealing Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Angelica Huston. Jonathan Levine directs. Recommended.
"Courageous" PG-13, 2:09, ends tonight at 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.
"Dolphin Tale" PG, 2:08, Kaahumanu 6; ends tonight at 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. 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.
"Footloose" PG-13, 2:08, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
Kenny Wormald steps into Kevin Bacon's dancing shoes to play the big-city high schooler who gets involved with a small-town Georgia preacher's daughter (Julianne Hough), putting him on a collision course with her dad (Dennis Quaid). The problem? He's gotta dance, but the town banned dancing after a tragedy it supposedly caused. "Hustle & Flow's" Craig Brewer directs this frequently scene-by-scene remake of the 1984 original, letting the dance moves tell the story as much as the words in the script. Miles Teller and Ray McKinnon co-star. Recommended.
"The Ides of March" R, 138, Maui Mall Megaplex.
George Clooney plays a presidential candidate in this topical drama he also directs and co-wrote. Ryan Gosling, in his third memorable role of the year, plays his idealistic press secretary surrounded by a dream cast featuring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Jennifer Ehle and Evan Rachel Wood as the intern who threatens all the spin-doctors' best-laid plans. The film is smart and captures the pot-boiling pressure and sexually charged chess game always going on behind the scenes in a political campaign. It also subconsciously registers frustration with the Obama administration from those who had such high hopes for it. But while almost all the film's performances are gems, the script could use a better third act to make up for the cynical aftertaste it leaves behind.
"In Time" PG-13, 2:04, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried and Maui Film Festival honoree Olivia Wilde star in this futuristic drama set in a time when time, not money, is the currency of the realm. Wilde plays his mother, but since no one ages past 25, it gets a bit confusing. The wealthy in this world can buy more time, or immortality if they've got enough, but the poor, like Timberlake have to scramble - especially when they get on the wrong side of the forces in control. Andrew Niccol directs a cast also featuring Johnny Galecki and Cillian Murphy.
"Johnny English Reborn" PG, 1:41, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Rowan Atkinson returns in this sequel to his 2003 British spy parody. Consider Mr. Bean tripping into James Bond territory, and you'll get the concept. Johnny returns to the secret service after a few years away after massively messing up his Mozambique assignment. His boss, Pegasus (Gillian Anderson), won't tolerate any more mistakes, which adds to the tension as he tries to crack a plot to assassinate the Chinese premier. Oliver Parker directs; Rosamund Pike and Dominic West co-star.
"Killer Elite" R, 2:10, Maui Mall Megaplex
Jason Statham plays a highly trained killing machine trying to get out of special-ops who is 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 to deal with first. Gary McKendry directs all the A-list talent engaging in head butts, pistol whippings, gut punches and other things they probably didn't learn in acting school.
"Paranormal Activity 3" R, 1:39, Kaahumanu 6 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
This third installment of the ultrasuccessful franchise once again lets the home furnishings and stationary security cameras do most of the "acting" to build the suspense. It's a formula that works well, turning minimal investments into maximum box office profits, without ever having to make much sense. This prequel features two teenage sisters who would grow up to be the hapless heroines of the earlier "Paranormal Activities"and the forces that sent them to the dark side. Katie Featherson and Sprague Graydon star with Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman sharing the directing duties. Based on the fundamental rule of suspense -what we can't see is scary indeed -the concept is showing its age and running out suspense in its third installment.
"Puss in Boots" PG, 1:45, Maui Mall Megaplex (2-D and 3-D), Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Mike Meyers' Shrek was always the least interesting thing about the "Shrek" franchise, so after Eddie Murphy's Donkey had his chance to shine, the greatest scene stealer of them all, Antonio Banderas' Puss, reigns atop the box office this week. This prequel reboots the series with energy, creativity and Banderas' charisma, flashing back from the kitty's life as a Spanish outlaw to his days growing up in an orphanage with his best friend, Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis). Joining forces with Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), Puss has his work cut out for him dealing with everyone from trailer-trash Jack and Jill to the goose that laid the golden egg. While Banderas' Puss is at the top of his game and the production is full of derivative refences that will fly right over the kids' heads, audiences may find themselves leaving the theater not having being able to remember what just happened in the movie.
"Real Steel" PG-13, 207, Kaahumanu 6 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4 .
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. Its formulaic script relies on the bots for the action, despite the fact that they've got neither brains nor hearts to make any of it make much sense.
"The Rum Diary" R, 2:00, Kaahumanu 6.
Johnny Depp once again channels gonzo journalist -and his late pal - Hunter S. Thompson in Bruce Robinson's adaptation of Hunter's autobiographical novel, written when Thompson was 22 in the early 1960s. It finds him in his pre-gonzo days, working for a dying newspaper in Puerto Rico run by exasperated editor Richard Jenkins. His "scoop" involves a sleazy, wealthy American developer (Aaron Eckhart), building a giant resort. Amber Heard nearly steals the show as the developer's fiancee, who, of course, becomes the object of the journalist's love and lust. Michael Rispoli and Giovanni Ribisi co-star.
"The Thing" R, 1:58, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6.
This new prequel to John Carpenter's 1982 monster classic provides the back story about an alien frozen in Antarctic ice that gets loose in a research station, killing the humans there and then replicating them. Who's real and who's not is at the core of the paranoid frenzy generated among the cast led by Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton under first-time director Matthijz van Heiningen.
"The Three Musketeers" PG-13, 2:05, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
It's Mortal Kombat with swords by men in plumed hats in this latest version of the cinematic staple directed by violent action master Paul W.S. Anderson. Logan Lerman, Matthew MacFadyen and Ray Stevenson head the cast, along with the director's wife and "Resident Evil" star Milla Jovovich in the story that has the musketeers down on their luck before being pressed back into service to stop a nefarious plot to engulf Europe in war.
Times in the movie ads are subject to change on the weekend. Visit www.mauigateway.com/~rw/movie for more details.