These are Maui Scene Editor Rick Chatenever's mini-reviews, excerpts of wire service reviews and previews provided by studios and other sources.
New this week
"Clash of the Titans" PG-13 2:01, sneak preview tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex; opens Friday at Maui Mall Megaplex (in 3-D with a ticket surcharge and 2-D), Kukui Mall 4 and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
"Avatar's" Sam Worthington stars as Perseus in this remake of a 1981 cult classic about the mythical gods on Mount Olympus. Basically sharing the characters and storyline of the currently running "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief," this clash claims it's not that much fun being a god, especially when the humans get uppity. Liam Neeson is Zeus, sending his brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) to destroy the city of Argos to remind the humans who's in charge. Louis Leterrier directs.
"The Last Song" PG, 2:02, opened Wednesday at Maui Mall Megaplex and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Following on the heels of Nicholas Sparks' "Dear John," this one walks the same path, littered with Kleenex, as Miley Cyrus tries to grow out of Hannah Montana territory and into more sullen teendom. She plays a girl still smoldering about her parents' divorce who spends the summer with her dad (Greg Kinnear) at his Georgia beach house where she makes the acquaintance of the just-about-perfect Liam Hemsworth. While Liam finds ways of heating up her cold heart, this being a Nicholas Sparks story, you know better than to expect a happy ending. Bobby Coleman co-stars; Julie Ann Robinson directs.
"Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too" PG-13, 2:16, opens Friday at Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
Tyler I'd-Rather-Do-It-Myself Perry returns as writer, director, producer and actor in this second look at the challenges and temptations facing married couples, even when they're beautiful, rich and successful. Cast in the Bahamas where four couples have come for their once-a-year reunion, it co-stars Janet Jackson, Jill Scott, Sharon Leal, Malik Yoba, Richard T. Jones, Tasha Smith, Lamman Rucker, Michael Jai White, Louis Gossett Jr. and Cicely Tyson.
More Fish in the Sea Festival
"Sharks - Stewards of the Reef," "Sharks in Deep Trouble," "Requiem," "Surfrider's New Cycle of Insanity," "The End of the Line," "30 Years on the Front Line Sea Shepherd," "Oasis of the Pacific" and more will screen from noon to 2 p.m. and from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday on the Cary & Eddie's Hideaway Lawn in Kahului.
Film screenings are part of this free ocean awareness fair featuring entertainment, information booths and presentations by numerous community groups dedicated to ecological awareness and protection. (For more details, see the Special Events calendar on Page 12.)
"Harvey" G, 1:44, screens at 7 p.m. Friday at the Historic Iao Theater as part of the 4 Funny Films series.
Just in time for Easter comes this classic 1950 Jimmy Stewart comedy that casts him as eccentric Elwood P. Dowd, co-starring with a 6-foot rabbit that's invisible to everyone else. Adapted from Mary Chase's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, it has been designated a classic by the American Film Institute and the Library of Congress. The fun-filled evening will also include a panel discussion and an Easter Egg hunt with prizes.
"Alice in Wonderland" PG, 1:49, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4; ends tonight at Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Whimsical visionary Tim Burton gives a modern and darker spin to Lewis Carroll's beloved Alice, making her a 19-year-old on the brink of marriage. Lured back to Wonderland, with lots also borrowed from "Through the Looking Glass," Alice (nicely done by Mia Wasikowska) is less a confused child than a girl-powered heroine, matching wits with the familiar menagerie of weirdos - led by Burton favorites Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter - while entertaining doubts about what she's doing there and whether she might be the wrong Alice. Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover and the voices of Michael Sheen, Alan Rickman and Stephen Fry co-star. While Burton sometimes seems to have Alice confused with Joan of Arc and throws in one big monster as though the Red Queen weren't menacing enough, his "Alice" still strikes a nice balance between whimsy and more tender stuff. His stars all shine, especially Depp who turns the Hatter into a hero with a tender heart, guiding the comedy to almost $300 million already. Despite what other critics might say, it's recommended by this one.
"Avatar" PG-13, 2:57, Maui Mall Megaplex.
With three Oscars to add to its Golden Globes for best picture and best director, genius filmmaker and cinematic dictator James Cameron can lay claim to "king of the cosmos" with this dazzling and provocative $300 million sci-fi epic that's already topped $2 billion internationally. It's set on a distant moon of a faraway planet where the humans - or, rather, their avatar surrogates - interact with the locals, a graceful race of 12-foot-tall blue-skinned beings. Under the dazzling visuals and special effects is an allegory about the things technological societies do to indigenous cultures in the name of greed and progress. Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana lead the mixed-species cast, along with Sigourney Weaver (no stranger to outer space), Stephen Lang and Giovanni Ribisi. Upping state-of-the-art to the next level with its amazing creatures and equally amazing 3-D effects, Cameron never lets his technology trump his storytelling, which is touching, instructive and inspiring, all at once. Recommended.
"The Bounty Hunter" PG-13, 2:06, Kaahumanu 6, Kukui Mall 4 and Front Street Theaters.
Jennifer Aniston plays the journalistic ex-wife of down-on-his-luck bounty hunter Gerard Butler in this action comedy directed by Andy Tennant. How convenient when he gets assigned to bring her in for jumping bail. How inconvenient when she keeps outfoxing him, raising the eternal question, who wears the handcuffs in this family? Christine Baranski co-stars, but the results fall flat, letting the contrived screenplay squander whatever chemistry the two appealing stars brought to the project.
"Cop Out" R, 1:53, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Bruce Willis has graduated to the place where he can leave the toupee at home and riff on roles he used to take seriously. This retro '80s-style buddy-cop comedy casts him as the cranky half of the team of detectives on the trail of a powerful gang leader. Tracy Morgan is the other half. Directed by Kevin Smith - in the headlines recently for being too large to fit into a standard airplane seat - the script left room for lots of improvising. Willis' character fumes over a stolen valuable baseball card while Morgan obsesses about whether or not his wife is cheating on him. Adam Brody and Kevin Pollak co-star along with Sean William Scott, who steals whatever scene he's in.
"Diary of a Wimpy Kid" PG, 1:48, Kaahumanu 6 and Front Street Theaters.
Middle school is a major challenge for even well-adjusted kids; for nerds, it's torture 24/7. Zachary Gordon stars in this live-action adaptation of Jeff Kinney's illustrated novel as the wisecracking protagonist who turns his geeky misfortunes into a journal, sharing observations, advice and triumphs, even if they're figments of his imagination. Robert Capron, Rachael Harris and Steve Zahn co-star; Thor Freudenthal directs.
"The Ghost Writer" PG-13, 2:08, Maui Mall Megaplex.
When Ewan McGregor signs on to ghost write the memoir of a Tony Blair-like former British prime minister (Pierce Brosnan), he soon finds himself fearing for his life. Exiled suspense master Roman Polanski directs the tense thriller, full of ominous atmosphere and even more treacherous human behavior. Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Hutton, James Belushi and Eli Wallach co-star. Recommended.
"Green Zone" R, 2:10, Kaahumanu 6; ends tonight at Kukui Mall 4.
Matt Damon reteams with his "Bourne" director, Paul Greengrass, for this ripped-from-the-headlines Iraq war drama that revisits the old issue of weapons of mass destruction, even if movie audiences don't want to think about it. Damon is up to his usual standard as the officer who realizes something's not right in the official "intelligence" justifying U.S. military action in Iraq; Greg Kinnear plays against type as the embassy official behind the deception. Amy Ryan is the reporter trying to cover the story in this hard-hitting look at recent history that gives a ground-level view of fighting in Iraq, even as it questions what it's all about.
"Hot Tub Time Machine" R, 1:54, Maui Mall Megaplex and Front Street Theaters.
John Cusack and his dorky pals Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson happen onto an escape from their midlife blues with the device named in the title. Bringing Cusack's dweeby nephews (Clark Duke) along, they set their destination finder on the 1980s in hopes they might make better choices the second time around. Steve Pink directs. Even with Cusack bringing his patented cool to this basically raunchy project, the title is as funny as it gets, and shorter to sit through.
"How to Train Your Dragon" PG, 1:53, Maui Mall Megaplex (3-D, with additional charge, and 2-D) and Lahaina Wharf Cinemas.
Set in Viking days of yore, Jay Baruchel gives voice to a youth named Hiccup, a major disappointment to his dragon-slaying dad, Viking chief Stoick the Vast (voiced by Gerard Butler). Setting out to gain some respect by slaying a fierce Night Fury dragon, he finds he can't finish that job, either, but instead nurses the wounded creature back to health, names it "Toothless," and figures out how to fly on its back. Like "Avatar" for kids, it features spectacular flying action above the mythical Norse scenery below. Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig and Christopher Mintz-Plasse add their voices to the the smart-aleck script, written and directed by "Lilo and Stitch's" Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois.
"Our Family Wedding" PG-13, 1:41, Maui Mall Megaplex.
Despite the potential for cliches and stereotypes in comedies about interracial marriages, this one reportedly is charming rather than cheesy. America Ferrera and Lance Gross play the couple; Carlos Mencia and Forest Whitaker play their soon-to-be-feuding fathers. The strong supporting cast also features Regina King, Lupe Ontiveros, Anjela Johnson, Diana Maria Riva, Charlie Murphy, Taye Diggs and a goat who happens onto some Viagra. Rick Famuyiwa directs.
"Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" PG, 2:14, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
Harry Potter's not looking over his shoulder, but Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) is the new kid in a similar line of work. Rick Riordan's novel resets ancient Greek mythology in modern Manhattan, where Percy (short for Perseus) is a typical teen who happens to be the demigod son of human mom Catherine Keener and god of the sea Poseidon (Kevin McKidd). Also along for the mythological ride are Steve Coogan as Hades, Pierce Brosnan as the centaur and Uma Thurman as the snake-haired Medusa. Veteran Chris Columbus directs the high-minded family fun; Alexandra Daddario, Brandon T. Jackson, Ray Winstone, Rosaria Dawson and Jake Abel co-star. Sneaking in lessons in classic mythology, it gets points for respecting its young viewers intead of dumbing them down. Recommended.
"Repo Men" R, 2:06, Kaahumanu 6; ends tonight at Front Street Theaters.
A bunch of A-list actors -Jude Law, Forest Whitaker and Liev Schreiber - sign on for this B-movie sci-fi thriller set in the future when organ transplants can be reversed if the patient doesn't pay his medical bill in a timely fashion. Miguel Sapechnik directs the highly stylized violence that tries to borrow from the best, from Stanley Kubrick to "The Matrix." Alice Braga co-stars.
"She's Out of My League" R, 2:00, ends tonight at Maui Mall Megaplex.
This latest comedy in the raunchy princess-and-the-nerd mode stars Jay Baruchel as an airport security agent who seriously falls for event planner Alice Eve, despite the warning in the film's title. For all the predictability in the material, the two stars reportedly deliver breakout performances under the direction of Jim Field Smith. Mike Vogel, Nate Torrence, Krysten Ritter, Geoff Stults and Lindsay Sloane co-star.
"Shutter Island" PG-13, 2:33, ends tonight at Kaahumanu 6.
Oscar-winning grand master of cinema Martin Scorsese reteams with his current favorite superstar, Leonardo DiCaprio, for this supernatural gothic suspense thriller. Adapted from Dennis Lehane's novel, it's set in the 1950s in a mental institution on a remote New England island. Federal agent DiCaprio and his partner Mark Ruffalo are here to investigate the disappearance of a delusional and murderous patient who drowned her three children before being committed. At least that's what seems to be going on. As though the sinister forebodings and a big surprise at the end weren't enough, there's a hurricane going on, too. Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow and Michelle Williams co-star in this moody but ultimately unsatisfying creep-out that leaves you scratching your head for days after seeing it.