These are Maui Scene's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
New this week
"Titanic 2012" PG-13, 3:14, opened Wednesday at Maui Mall Megaplex.
“Titanic” once again sets out for open waters, with filmmaker James Cameron at the helm of new 3-D technology
Paramount Pictures photo
After going deeper than any human to Mariana Trench at the bottom of the seafloor, filmmaking giant James Cameron is back on the surface to relaunch his 1997 blockbuster. Winner of 11 Academy Awards, earner of $1.84 billion in international box office sales, the new version once again plays out the star-crossed romance between Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio but adds a new co-star: 3-D technology. While everyone already knows the story and how it's going to turn out one more tearful time, this is one of those movies that needs to be seen on the really big screen. And with Cameron's perfectionistic genius at the helm, it's probably worth a fresh look, just for the new bells and whistles.
"American Reunion" R, 2:08, opens Friday at Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
It's been 12 years since Jason Biggs did things Betty Crocker could never have dreamed of with "American Pie." Now the gang - ranging from Alyson "Band Camp" Hannigan to Sean William "Stiffler" Scott are back for their high school reunion. They're older -but don't bet on them being any more mature yet. Eugene Levy is back as dad joining other no-longer so-young cast members including Mena Suvari, Chris Klein, Tara Reid, Eddie Kaye Thomas, John Cho and Jennifer Coolidge as Stiffler's Mom. Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg direct.
"21 Jump Street" R, 2:05, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
Picking up where Johnny Depp left off 25 years ago, Jonah Hill co-stars with Channing Tatum in this big-screen version of the TV series about a pair of young cops who go back to high school undercover to bust drug rings and cure other social ills. Hill, who also produced and co-wrote the script, finds just the right odd-couple chemistry with Tatum as the "brothers" - one a brain, one a jock -wind up switching class schedules by accident. Ice Cube plays their hot-headed chief in the crime-busting scheme that gets lots of laughs from its raunchy return to high school. Brie Larson, Dave Franco (James' kid brother), Rob Riggle, Jake Johnson, Nick Offerman and a certain celebrity to be named later co-star under the direction of Phil Ord and Christopher Miller.
"Act of Valor" R, 1:41, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Active-duty Navy SEALs star in a fictionalized account of an actual SEAL operation in "Act of Valor." Unprecedented in Hollywood, the movie melds real-life heroism and original filmmaking. When a mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent reveals an imminent global threat, an elite team of Navy SEALs must immediately embark on a secret operation - the outcome of which will determine the fate of us all. Never-before-seen military operation scenes are composited from events in the lives of the men appearing in the film and their comrades. The result is nearly two hours of adrenaline-fueled, high-octane combat sequences and heart-wrenching, jaw-dropping storylines. Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh direct.
"Dr. Seuss' The Lorax" PG, 1:41, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D and 2-D) and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Decades ago, a visionary cartoonist named Theodor Geisel - better known to the world as Dr. Seuss -imagined a world with no trees and no regard for the rest of the environment, either. Danny DeVito gives voice to the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming figure at the center of this strange new world in this animated family-oriented fantasy. Zac Efron voices the 12-year-old youth who sets out to find an actual tree to bring back to win the heart of his honey (Taylor Swift). Ed Helms rounds out the cast with Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda sharing the directing duties in this box-office hit that makes some good points in these times of thinking green.
"The Hunger Games" PG-13, 2:22, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Continuing its record-setting roll at the box-office in its second week, writer-director Gary Ross' adaptation of the first of Suzanne Collins' trio of best-sellers is a hit with critics and social observers as well as its target teen audience. "Winter's Bone" Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence seems born to play Katniss Everdeen, a bow-and-arrow warrior in a futuristic world where North America has become a post-apocalyptic tyranny. The annual "Games" choose a male and female teen from each of 12 districts to duel to the death on the ultimate in reality TV shows, providing entertainment for the masses in the process. With Josh Hutcherson as her soon-to-be ally, their battle plays out against natural surroundings as well as a satirically imagined society that bears a striking resemblance to today. Twinkly-eyed Woody Harrelson is the secret weapon in the strong, eccentric supporting cast also featuring Stanley Tucci, Liam Hems-worth, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz and Donald Sutherland. While the themes strike uncomfortably close to home, its's the performances by Lawrence and company that make the film resonate so powerfully. Recommended.
"Jeff Who Lives at Home" R, 1:23, Kaahumanu 6.
Jason Segel plays Jeff, a 30-year-oldslacker living in his mother's (Susan Sarandon) basement, smoking pot and looking for signs. What happens one eventful day in the company of his sleazy goateed, Porsche-driving brother (Ed Helms) makes for another wacky, whimsical comedy from the "Cyrus"-directing brother team of Jay and Mark Duplass. Judy Greer, Rae Dawn Chong and Steve Zissis co-star. While this offbeat odyssey seems initially to be going for snarky sneers at simple-minded Jeff's expense, it turns out to share his good heart and uniquely optimistic view of life. While its clever plot doesn't bother trying to be too believable, the performances wind up saving the day, and producing unexpected smiles by the final frame. Recommended. (See review.)
"Jiro Dreams of Sushi" PG, 1:21, Kaahumanu 6.
Filmed in Tokyo, this documentary focuses on 85-year-old sushi chef Jiro Ono. In his tiny restaurant next to a subway station, he demonstrates mastery of his ancient culinary craft in a film designed to delight foodies, point out the environmental dangers of overfishing and explore his relationship with his son, who will one day take over the business. Filmmaker David Gelb has the same sort of awe of his subject as the apprentices who have trained under Jiro, and the audience will come away feeling they have been in the presence of a spiritual master, too, (See review.)
"John Carter" PG-13, 2:27, Kaahumanu 6 (3-D ); ends tonight at Front Street Theaters.
Taylor Kitsch stars as the titular hero in this bit of historical sci-fi, playing a Civil War veteran transported to Mars where he encounters 12-foot, horned, four-armed beings and a princess (Lyn Collins) who needs to be saved from the leader of the shape-shifting villains, Dominic West. Andrew Stanton directs the special-effects-laden adaptation of the 1912 novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, better known as the creator of Tarzan. Full of eye-popping creatures and scenery, it co-stars Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton, Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong and Ciaran Hinds.
"Journey 2: Mysterious Island" PG, 1:44, Kaahumanu 6 (3-D).
Dwayne Johnson flexes his acting prowess, playing father figure to Josh Hutcherson on a mission to a strange realm of small elephants and other mind-boggling phenomena to try to find Josh's missing dad. Joining up with cute tour guide Vanessa Hudgens and her helicopter-piloting dad, Luis Guzman, they find out how the island got its name, which provides ample opportunities for the superhero formerly known as The Rock to demonstrate how lovable an action figure can be.Michael Caine co-stars; Brad Peyton directs.
"Mirror Mirror" PG, 2:01, Maui Mall Megaplex, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Julia Roberts as the evil queen gets top billing, and steals most of the thunder from Snow White (Lily Collins) in this comically skewed retelling of the fairy tale. Armie Hammer and Nathan Lane head the supporting cast, raising the obvious question, what happened to the dwarfs? Director Tarsem Singh uses the Brothers Grimm as a starting point before taking things in a more contemporary direction.
"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" PG-13, 1:47, Kaahumanu 6.
Ewan McGregor as a cranky Scottish fisheries expert co-stars with Emily Blunt as an upper-class English assistant to a crazy but obscenely wealthy Yemeni sheik (Amr Waked) in this strange comedy. They are brought together on a quixotic mission to fulfill the sheik's dream of being able to fish for salmon in his desert homeland. Kristin Scott-Thomas is reportedly the scene stealer as a snarky pro in the prime minister's office. Veteran Lasse Hallstrom directs.
"The Secret World of Arrietty" G, 1:35, Kaahumanu 6.
From Studio Ghibli, the creative team behind "Spirited Away" and "Ponyo," comes this animated Disney adventure based on Mary Norton's award-winning children's book series "The Borrowers." Fourteen-year-old Arrietty lives with her parents in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner. Like all little people, Arrietty remains hidden from view; but when 12-year-old Shawn discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. Bridgit Mendler, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Carol Burnett and others provide voices. Gary Rydstrom directs.
"This Means War" PG-13, 1:37, Kaahumanu 6.
All is never fair in love and war. Just ask the world's deadliest CIA operatives who happen to also be best buds, FDR Foster (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy). The two work together to bring down entire enemy nations, but the bond is thrown out the door when they fall for the same woman, Lauren (Reese Witherspoon). Soon, FDR and Tuck employ their spy skills and endless array of high-tech gagetry to take out their greatest threat yet - each other. Action scenes propel the sometimes violent and always hilarious rivalry in this romantic comedy. Til Schweiger, Angela Bassett, Rosemary Harris, Chelsea Handler and Abigail Leigh Spencer co-star. McG directs.
"Wrath of the Titans" PG-13, 1:54, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D and 2-D) Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Modern screen deities Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes play out the eternal battle between good and evil as Hollywood once again looks to Greek mythology for inspiration and the special effects department for action. Neeson is Zeus, who has been captured and is being held in the underworld where Hades (Fiennes) presides. Sam Worthington plays good son Perseus, taking on the treacherous challenge of rescuing his dad. Edgar Ramirez, Toby Kebbell, Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy and Danny Huston co-star; Jonathan Liebesman directs.
* Movie listings are subject to last-minute changes. Visit www.mauigateway.com/~rw/ movie/ for updates.