These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
"Happy Feet 2" PG, 1:58, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
As though the dancing, singing penguins weren't adorable enough, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon -their voices, at least) -join the fun in this animated musical. They play krill, trying to figure out where they fit into the circle of life. Elijah Wood and Robin Williams return at the head of the vocal cast, with Wood's penguin having grown up to be a dad dealing with a misfit, runaway son embarrassed over his own lack of rhythm. Director and co-writer George Miller, who helmed the 2006 Academy Award-winning first film, once again directs, balancing the singing and dancing with an environmental message and reportedly some of the best 3-D effects to date.
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" PG-13, 2:12, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
As any teenage fan can tell you, Bella (Kristin Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattison) are now married and expecting trouble, between the wolf pack and vampire coven. Taylor Lautner is also back to round out the triangle the romantic mix of vampires and young love that has found a place in the hearts of young women and their mothers everywhere. Bill Condon directs; Billy Burke, Sarah Clarke, Ty Olsson and Ashley Greene co-star.
"Anonymous" PG-13, 2:09, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6.
Rhys Ifans plays 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 Joely Richardson, co-star as Queen Elizabeth I at different times in her life.
"A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas" R, 1:45, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Front Street Theaters.
Forget eggnog. It's "winter wonderweed" that fuels Kal Penn and John Cho in this third installment of the Harold & Kumar 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, getting maximum mileage out of the 3-D effects.
"Dolphin Tale" PG, 2:08, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6..
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 tail - 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.
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 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. It's dated but, thanks to the appealing performances and enduring themes of parents and their children, still touching. Recommended.
"Immortals" R, 2:05, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D and 2-D), Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
The gods may have won their mythic struggle against the Titans eons ago, but King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) has still declared war against humanity in this mythical Greek epic from the production team behind "300." It falls to the mortal Theseus (Henry Cavill) to beat Hyperion to the legendary Epirus Bow, a weapon of unimaginable power forged in the heavens, to unleash the Titans and put the cosmos in order again. Tarsem Singh directs, the grand-scale action co-starring Stephen Dorff, Freida Pinto, Luke Evans and John Hurt that topped the box office charts despite all its wretched excesses. (See review on Page 2.)
"In Time" PG-13, 2:04, Maui Mall Megaplex 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 Justin's 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 cash, 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.
"Jack and Jill" PG, 1:46, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Adam Sandler plays both characters in the title of this family-friendly comedy. Jack is the normal, successful family guy Jill is his needy, passive-aggressive twin sister who makes her annual appearance for Thanksgiving dinner, then decides not to leave. Dennis Dugan, who directed Sandler and company when they filmed "Just Go With It" on Maui, once again directs a cast featuring Katie Holmes, Al Pacino and Regis Philbin as themselves with Sandler's buds David Spade, Nick Swardson, Norm MacDonald and Dana Carvey sprinkled among the supporting cast. (See review on Page 2.)
"J. Edgar" R, 2:17, Kaahumanu 6.
Leonardo DiCaprio's portayal of controversial FBI icon J. Edgar Hoover achieves Shakespearean dimensions under the impeccable direction of Clint Eastwood. Surrounded by superb supporting performances by Armie Hammer, Judi Dench and Naomi Watts, DiCaprio's Oscar-worthy portrayal casts Hoover as a stuttering mama's boy and closeted homosexual with an encyclopedic memory and a powerful, if twisted, sense of patriotism. His arrival in government service coincided with new advances in criminology, ultimately making him a figure who inspired fear in the most powerful leaders of our land for decades. He is a perfect storm of twisted psychology, paranoia and political power-mongering in this haunting work that continues Eastwood's remarkable career, still going strong at 81. Recommended. (See review on Page 2.)
"Margin Call" R, 1:49, Kaahumanu 6.
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.
"Paranormal Activity 3" R, 1:39, Kaahumanu 6.
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 in the cash-cow franchise that's 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), and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
Mike Meyers' Shrek was always the least interesting thing about the "Shrek" franchise, so after Eddie Murphy's Donkey had his chance to shine, it's time for the greatest scene stealer of them all, Antonio Banderas' Puss. 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 deals 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 quite able to remember what just happened in the movie.
"Real Steel" PG-13, 207, Kaahumanu 6; ends tonight at 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 in this box office hit directed by Shawn Levy. 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, ends tonight at 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 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 Three Musketeers" PG-13, 2:05, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
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.
"Tower Heist" PG-13, 2:08, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
Failing financial fortunes 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 his ponzi scheme is revealed and he is put under house arrest in his penthouse, the victims turn out to include the staff of the building. Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck and Tea Leoni co-star in the far-fetched plot that follows Stiller's "Oceans 11"-style plan to steal their money back. Murphy, as the petty criminal enlisted to lead the rag-tag amateur criminals, is of course better at talking the talk than walking the walk. Brett Ratner directs.
* Times in the movie ads are subject to change on the weekend. Visit www.mauigateway.com/~rw/movie/ for more details.