These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
"Big Miracle" PG, 1:47, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Drew Barrymore heads the cast in this big-hearted tale inspired by the true story of a band of folks in Alaska who came together - along with a couple of superpowers and corporate giants - to save a group of whales on the brink of being lethally trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle. Barrymore plays the Greenpeace activist, naturally; John Krasinski co-stars as the journalist who first uncovers the story in a cast also featuring Ted Danson, Vinessa Shaw, Kristen Bell, and Dermot Mulroney. While there's the inevitable feel-good message about loving the whales, under Ken Kwapis' direction, the film reportedly doesn't overlook the less noble motivations, or the humor, in the assorted interests it brings together for this fine cause.
"Chronicle" PG-13, 1:39, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
The "Spider-Man" template gets updated in this new supernatural teen horror thriller. Dane DeHaan heads the cast as a lonely high-schooler who retreats from his abusive father and nowhere social life by picking up a camera and trying to turn his life into a movie. Things get interesting when he and a friend examine a hole in the ground and emerge from it with newfound supernatural powers. Josh Trank directs in the "found-footage" faux-documentary mode; Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Ashley Hinshaw, Alex Russell and Luke Tyler co-star.
"The Woman in Black" PG-13, 1:51, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
Proving that there is life after Harry Potter, Daniel Ratcliffe stars in this moody English ghost story as a young attorney dealing with the sale of a house in a remote village. It's there that he meets the title figure, who's reportedly capable of disconcerting even the bravest audience member. James Watkins adapts the novel and stage play for the screen in a menacing gothic mode full of an hour and a half's worth of fright. Ciaran Hinds and Janet McTeer co-star.
"The Adventures of Tintin" PG, 2:02, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D).
Steven Spielberg won the Best Animation Golden Globe prize for this motion-capture adaptation of the popular children's book series. It features "Billy Elliott's" Jamie Bell giving voice to investigative reporter Tintin, who's always accompanied by his faithful dog, Snowy. After he buys a model ship, Tintin finds himself on the path to adventure after the dog breaks the model and they find a hidden clue inside. Daniel Craig, Andy Serkis, Nik Frost, Simon Pegg and Toby Jones provide voices for the comic action in various transportation devices over all sorts of exotic locales.
"Albert Nobbs" R, 1:53, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Glenn Close tosses her (or his) bowler in the ring for the Oscar that has thus far eluded her in her stellar career for portraying a woman masquerading as a male waiter in a hotel in19th-century Ireland in this film adaptation of the role she first played on the stage almost two decades ago. The amazing Janet McTier also gets a nomination in the supporting actress category playing another woman going through the same ruse but doing it in an entirely different way. Close shares the writing credit; Rodrigo Garcia directs.
"Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chip-Wrecked" G, 1:45, Kaahumanu 6.
From a place between Bollywood and animated rodents comes this third installment in the franchise. Rated G, it's set in a parallel universe where the Chipmunks and the Chipettes are musical superstars who wind up stuck on the proverbial desert island. Laced with puns and clever pop references in words and music, director Mike Mitchell tries to provide a few laughs for the parents as well as the kids. Jason Lee, Justin Long, David Cross and Jenny Slate star.
"The Artist" PG-13, 1:40, Maui Mall Megaplex; opens Friday at Kukui Mall 4
Leading the Oscar pack in delightful fashion comes this Golden Globe winner for best comedy, best comic actor Jean Dujardin and best musical score. The awards are all richly deserved and are just the tip of the iceberg in this brand-new, old-fashioned silent film. Written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius and co-starring his wife, Berenice Bejo, the melodramatic over-the-top romance traces the crossing paths of a fading matinee idol and an up-and-coming ingenue. Brimming with cinematic ingenuity, the film matches it with wonderful emotions, right down to the Jack Russell terrier who steals every scene he's in. Recommended!
"Beauty and the Beast" G, 1:24, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D and 2-D).
It may be 20 years old, but this 1991 Disney project remains state-of-the-art when it comes to classic animated storytelling. Now it's back for a new generation and to take advantage of 3-D ticket prices. Packed with great songs to accompany its romantic tale of the most mismatched couple in history, it features the voices of Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers and Angela Lansbury. Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise lead the animation team to create one of Disney's all-time greatest hits.
"Contraband" R, 2:05, Kaahumanu 6.
Mark Wahlberg gets back into action in this gritty thriller that moves from New Orleans to Panama in a scheme to reroute millions of dollars in counterfeit bills. He plays a former smuggler trying to go straight who gets drawn back onto the wrong side of the law after getting on the wrong side of crime boss Giovanni Ribisi. Kate Beckinsale plays his wife in a cast also featuring Ben Foster, J.K. Simmons and Diego Luna. Baltasar Kormakur directs.
"The Descendants" R, 1:55, Maui Mall Megaplex and Kukui Mall 4.
Hawaii audiences will recognize everything in Alexander Payne's brilliant, Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe-winning adaptation of Kaui Hart Hemmings' novel. Star George Clooney is the Oscar frontrunner, with young supporting actress Shailene Woodley also making an impressive debut in the contemporary story that casts Clooney as a land-rich descendant of Yankee haole ancestors in Hawaii, now struggling with the responsibilities of fatherhood as his wife lies in a coma following a boating accident. "Sideways' " Payne finds just the right note of bathos in the tale, devastating and tragic in one moment, uproariously funny in the next. The film's brilliance and compassion come clothed in a surprisingly authentic sense of island life, beginning with the Oscar-deserving soundtrack featuring Gabby Pahinui, Jeff Peterson and other masters of Hawaiian music. Recommended.
"The Devil Inside" R, 1:23, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
More lurid than the Amanda Knox trial comes this tale of possession and exorcism set in an Italian hospital for the criminally insane. Suzan Crowley plays the daughter of a woman (Fernanda Andrade) who was committed after confessing to brutally killing three people 20 years earlier. The daughter enlists young exorcists Simon Quarterman and Evan Helmuth to mix science and religion to find out what really happened, but soon they're all staring evil itself right in the face. William Brent Bell directs.
"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" PG-13, 1:55, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock co-star in this Oscar-nominated contemporary drama set in the shadow, and the aftermath, of the 9/11 attack. Young Thomas Horn stars as a son with special needs who loses his father in the falling towers, then sets out on a mission to reconnect with him through a special key his dad left behind. If only the boy can find the lock it opens somewhere in the city of New York, all will be revealed. Viola Davis, Jeffrey Wright, Zoe Caldwell, Dennis Hearn, John Goodman and Oscar nominee Max von Sydow are among the co-stars; Stephen Daldry directs.
"The Grey" R, 2:00, Kaahumanu 6 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Liam Neeson is in full-action mode in this thriller about a group of plane crash survivors in the frozen north who have a lot on their plates just trying to survive and then the wolves arrive. Dermot Mulroney and Frank Grillo co-star; Joe Carnahan directs, with Neeson and company clawing their way to the top of the box-office charts.
"Haywire" R, 1:33, Maui Mall Megaplex; ends tonight at Front Street Theaters.
Mixed martial arts champ Gina Carano stars in director Steven Soderbergh's action-thriller answer to "Mission Impossible" and "The Gril with the Dragon Tattoo." She plays a highly trained, highly lethal black ops agent looking for revenge after she is double-crossed in one of those secret job that no one in charge will even admit ever happened. Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender co-star in a cast also featuring Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas.
"Hugo" PG, 2:07, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D).
Back by virtue of its richly deserved Golden Globe for director Martin Scorsese-followed by richly deserved Oscar nominations galore - comes this altogether magical film experience. Scorsese tones down his fondness for gangster violence and rock icons, and reveals in their place a huge heart in this lavish PG-rated fantasy for his young daughter - and the young at heart everywhere. In this first foray into 3-D, he embraces the medium to adapt Brian Selznick's children's book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" to the screen. It is set in a train station in 1930s Paris, which assumes magical dimensions around the title character, a wide-eyed orphan played by Asa Butterfield, who secretly lives in a hidden apartment and keeps all the station's clocks running on time. Chloe Grace Moretz plays the young girl who becomes his ally in unlocking the mystery of the mean old man who runs the train station toy shop (Ben Kingsley). For all its fantastical elements, it is, in fact, based on a true character, an almost lost figure in the history of cinema. Sacha Baron Cohen leads the supporting cast in this truly magical movie. Recommended.
"The Iron Lady" PG-13, 1:45, Kaahumanu 6.
Meryl Streep follows her Golden Globe win with an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of England's once mighty and controversial prime minster, Margaret Thatcher, as she now struggles with fading memories and the onset of dementia. Jim Broadbent plays her always supportive husband with her "Momma Mia" director Phyllida Lloyd guiding her moves in this historical drama that examines the price she paid in her personal life to score public victories for her gender, even as she was polarizing England and the rest of the world in the process.
"Joyful Noise" PG-13, 2:13, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton trade snappy one-liners and fingernail scratches as dueling directors of a choir in a depressed Southern town trying to get to the national finals, even though it always loses. Like "Glee" for grownups with Southern accents, Todd Graff directs the musical comedy with plenty of show-stopping numbers whenever Dolly and Queen Latifah pause for a breath. Keke Palmer, Kris Kristofferson, Jeremy Jordan and Courtney B. Vance co-star.
"Man on a Ledge" PG-13, 1:42, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks and Jamie Bell head the cast in this psychological action thriller that has a police psychologist trying to talk a suicidal man off a ledge on a Manhattan high-rise which distracts everyone from the huge diamond heist going on street-level. Asger Leth directs.
"Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol" PG-13, 2:28, Kaahumanu 6.
Tom Cruise regains his box-office stride after he and his team (Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton and Simon Pegg) are forced to go rogue after being wrongly blamed for bombing the Kremlin. The action is fast and furious, including scaling the world's tallest building, a 130-story Dubai high-rise, guaranteed to induce vertigo for those in the audience. Brad Bird makes an impressive leap from animation ("The Incredibles"), translating his physics-defying tricks into live action, inspiring questions like, "How did they film that?"
"One for the Money" PG-13, 1:44, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
How does Katherine Heigl keep getting herself into these situations? This time she plays a recently divorced and unemployed woman who winds up working in her cousin's bail-bond business. With her unerring comic sense that opposites attract, she winds up on the trail of a former love interest. He's a cop who somehow got on the wrong side of the law, and they're off and running. Jason O'Mara, Daniel Sunjata, John Leguizamo and Debbie Reynolds co-star; Julie Anne Robinson directs.
"Red Tails" PG-13, 2:20, Kaahumanu 6 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Cuba Gooding Jr., Gerald McRaney and David Oyelowo head the cast in this War War II airborne adventure about a squadron of African-American pilots being trained at the Tuskegee air base who face segregation and racism when they have to come back to earth. Bryan Cranston, Daniele Ruah, Terrence Howard and Michael B. Jordan co-star; Anthony Hemingway directs.
"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" PG-13, 2:09, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Remember when Sherlock Holmes was all about brilliant deductions clothed in Victorian propriety? Probably not, thanks to Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes, Jude Law as everpresent Dr. Watson and director Guy Ritchie, who turned the early prototype for "CSI London" into a comic romp. They're back in this equally clever, fast-moving sequel that pits them against dastardly Dr. Moriarty (Jared Harris), intent on starting World War I years before the real thing happened. While the action goes heavy on noise and confusing editing, Downey and Law still have great chemistry together, never losing their wit amidst the gunfights and explosions.
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" R, 2:07, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Gary Oldman finesses his way into the best-actor Oscar race for his amazingly unflappable portrait of British spy George Smiley in this new adaptation of the John le Carre classic. Set in the Cold War, everyone is a suspect in the taut chess game, where the enemies on the other side of the Iron Curtain aren't as dangerous as your fellow agent at the next desk. Colin Firth, John Hurt, Toby Jones and Ciaran Hinds co-star under Tomas Alfredson's direction. While the thriller is pitch-perfect in its period details, it may take repeated viewings to figure out just what happened.
"Underworld: Awakening" R, 1:44, Kaahumanu 6; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Kate Beckinsale plays the vampire warrioress Selene in this knock-down, drag-out between the Vampire and Lycan clans to eradicate each other. Michael Ealy and India Eisley co-star; Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein share the directing duties.
"War Horse" PG-13, 2:22, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
The majestic horse Joey comes into the lives of a struggling British family just before World War I. The father (Peter Mullan) buys him at auction, even though he knows he cannot afford him; the mother (Emily Watson) insists he return him and get the family's money back. But plucky teenager Albert (Jeremy Irvine) begs to keep him and promises to train him in this new, Oscar-nominated historical epic from Steven Spielberg. Originally a children's book and then an innovative stage production utilizing lifesize horse puppets, Spielberg adds sweeping action on an epic scale and sentiments reminiscent of old-fashioned World War I storytelling, although has trouble finding the heart to breathe real life into the tale.
"We Bought a Zoo" PG, 2:21, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Matt Damon plays a newly widowed dad struggling with the loss of his wife who goes to some extreme lengths. He quits his job as a newspaper columnist and buys 18 acres away from the city, which happens to include an animal park that has seen better days. Scarlett Johansson co-stars as an available zookeeper - how convenient! - and veteran Cameron Crowe directs. Thanks to Damon's reliable onscreen honesty, Johansson's pluckiness and a fine supporting cast, the film avoids easy animal-poop jokes and goes instead for sentiments more heartfelt, sincere and satisfying. Recommended.
* Movie listings are subject to last-minute changes. Visit www.mauigateway.com/~rw/ movie/ for updates.