The directorial debut for ace cinematographer Wally Pfister is very watchable, but the narrative flaws and logical leaps sabotage sustained enjoyment. "Transcendence" looks and sounds like a Christopher Nolan film that got attacked by malware.
Scarlett Johansson as an extraterrestrial femme fatale cruising the streets of Glasgow in Jonathan Glazer's cerebral sci-fi horror fantasy "Under the Skin" is an indelible personification of predatory allure.
The current cultural directive to give the people what they want explains the existence of the "Veronica Mars" movie, a likable, unmemorable, feature-length footnote to the admired television series that was canceled in 2007.
AMC's "Mad Men" returns Sunday for the beginning of its swan song: The first seven episodes of season seven start airing this month (AMC calls it "The Beginning"), and the final seven episodes (aka "The End") will air in 2015.
"Draft Day" is a "ticking-clock" thriller built around the NFL draft, a movie that counts down to the fateful decision that one embattled general manager (Kevin Costner) makes with his team's first-round pick.
"Oculus" is about one adjustment away from being a superior thriller. The screenwriters spend most of the movie painting themselves into a corner, and the audience waits to see how they will get out … except they never do.
Donald Rumsfeld smiles, spins and passes the buck as he spars with Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris in "The Unknown Known." Rumsfeld has the certitude of a man who figures this film guy won't lay a glove on him.
"Unforgettable" is a well-made cop show on CBS that could have easily been a distant memory by now. Instead, it begins the second half of its second season on Friday night, a case study in how to give more chances to a decent show that didn't find its natural home immediately.
"Noah" is no silly action blockbuster with a Biblical pretext. Rather, it's the product of writer-director Darren Aronofsky's vigorous engagement with the biblical story and what it might mean in our time.
Diego Luna's heartfelt biographical drama, "Cesar Chavez," chronicles the five-year struggle of the United Farm Workers co-founder in the 1960s to get California grape growers to the negotiating table to hammer out agreements on fair wages and better conditions for exploited field laborers.
Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't strut through action films these days. And no amount of editing can hide that, no, grandpa can't kick doors down any more. Or fake it. Even his line-readings have a fatigue that suggests he's kind of over it.
It's a tough choice, but if I had to pick the most Wes Anderson moment in "The Grand Budapest Hotel," it would be the part when inmates escape from a prison using tiny sledgehammers and pickaxes that have been smuggled past the guards inside fancy frosted pastries.
Though Dr. Bunsen Honeydew (still the greatest name in showbiz, sorry Sidney Poitier) notes this is technically the Muppets' seventh sequel, they nevertheless sing: "And everyone knows the sequel's not quite as good."
"Need for Speed," inspired by the video game of the same name, runs 130 minutes, which is crazy long for an action movie — especially a formula entry in which every bend in the road can be seen from miles away. Here's a movie about fast cars, and yet the audience is ahead of it the whole time.
Realistic painting reached its golden age with the 17th-century Dutch Masters, painters whose mastery of detail and re-creation of faces and light were unmatched until the advent of photography hundreds of years later.
The boyishly handsome 63-year-old Kurt Russell stars in the con caper comedy "The Art of the Steal," which is on video on demand and opens in theaters Friday. The film also stars Matt Dillon and Jay Baruchel.
For "The Single Moms Club," Perry trades the over-the-top antics of Madea for a sometimes serious — and often funny — look at what it means to be a single mom as seen through the perspective of a variety of women.
Wouldn't Eva Green look awesome kissing the severed head of an insolent captive? "300: Rise of an Empire" puts the issue to rest (the answer: yes, but it'll never last) and strives to uphold the rah-rah style of visuals and rhetoric established by its popular predecessor, "300."
Created by George Lucas and directed by Dave Filoni, the 3-D CGI animated series was launched on the Cartoon Network in 2008 and, like the earlier 2-D series of the same name, "Clone Wars" is set in the years between the saga's prequel feature films, "Revenge of the Sith" and "Attack of the Clones."
More than many of Jay Ward's animation productions, the early 1960s cartoons present a high degree of difficulty to stretch into a full-length movie. They were just five minutes long. The wordplay-heavy humor was geared toward adults.
Out for the beads, a New Orleans tradition, or the scantily clad dancers, as championed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and London's Notting Hill district? Mardi Gras Carnaval has something for all in Honolulu's Chinatown tonight.
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is the second-most deadly cancer, but the majority of cases are preventable with the use of a common screening procedure called a colonoscopy.
Alexander Borodin's "Prince Igor" is the opera everyone can hum but few have seen. In part, that's because when the composer died in 1887, he had completed only fragments of his projected four-act epic.
OK, Liam Neeson, we get it. You're a 61-year-old guy who can bust heads and snap arms with the best of them. And, yes, it worked like a charm in "Taken" — which packed the punch of surprise because who knew the guy from "Schindler's List" was such a brawler?
Blame Mel Gibson for it if you like, but no Jesus movie these days is worth its salt without an utterly unflinching treatment of his torture and crucifixion. And "Son of God" has stretches where the agony we watch this poor man endure is avert-your-eyes awful.
A fit, energetic young man climbs a knotted rope to the top of Israel's 25-foot separation wall, the concrete curtain isolating West Bank Palestinians from Israelis. Hand over hand he makes his way to the top of the looming barrier. The long shot shows there's nothing to break his descent if he slips.
Such traumas produce a different kind of war movie, and so we get "Stalingrad," a huge hit in Russia and the first Russian film ever made in 3-D Imax. This film constitutes an Imax breakthrough, in that it's the first to use 3-D Imax for serious artistic ends.
"Pompeii" is half sword-and-sandal epic, half disaster movie and all guilty pleasure. Director Paul W.S. Anderson has a strong command of CGI technology and 3-D effects, and the movie is so grand in scale that you can't help but surrender to the spectacle.
Japan's Hayao Miyazaki has announced his retirement. If he holds to that, it's fitting that this final film, inspired by but not limited to the life of brilliant aircraft designer Jiro Horikoshi, is quintessentially his: stunningly beautiful and completely idiosyncratic.
The modest, run-down home at the center of "The Past" is filled with rooms that — much like the characters who are busily, sometimes leisurely passing through them — somehow feel cut off from one another.
Think of "Therese Raquin," the Emile Zola novel that is the inspiration for "In Secret," as the original film noir. It has an illicit love affair, a murder and the guilt and fear of discovery that comes with it.
At the very least, "Winter's Tale" is something different. It's a romance with fantastic elements, utterly lacking in cynicism, heading straight for the grandest emotions and deepest issues in life — love, death, time — without anybody worrying that the audience won't buy it or, worse, start laughing.
"Endless Love" is a remake of a passionate but horribly executed 1981 movie, best remembered for the ubiquitous wedding song that it spawned. The update is a different kind of failure, too much endless and not enough love.
WASHINGTON » Hawaii surfer Bethany Hamilton got a standing ovation and President Barack Obama reaffirmed that freedom of religion is a central tenet of U.S. diplomacy at the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday.
A roughly true/fictionally embellished account of the efforts of American arts scholars to preserve the artistic patrimony of Europe from the scourge of combat and theft by the Germans, it is a cute but clunky ensemble piece that director George Clooney rarely bestows with the gravitas and jauntiness this material demanded.
From the poster and the first half-hour, the film gives the impression that it's going to be a rather light tale of an up-by-his-bootstraps, money-hungry lawyer, Song Woo-seok (Song Kang-ho, "The Face Reader"), at odds with his more refined, elite legal colleagues.
ATLANTA » Target. Neiman Marcus. And now three other national retailers have reportedly lost customers' personal data. The Target breach alone compromised the data of as many as 110 million Americans (including as many as 121,000 Hawaii shoppers).
EVEN WHEN short films nominated for Academy Awards are accomplished on their own, they can be a strange buffet when bunched together. Like eating sushi, veal parmigiana and a bag of Oreos in one sitting.
In "Labor Day," a woman falls in love with the man who takes her hostage, but the movie goes out of its way to make that journey easy for her. He's an escaped convict, but wouldn't you want to escape prison, too?
LOS ANGELES » Daft Punk's electronic-funk grooves have won big at the Grammys. The French electronic duo's "Random Access Memories" won album of the year and their infectious hit, "Get Lucky," won record of the year at the awards show. The song features Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers.
TWO YEARS after he made his directorial debut with "Coriolanus," the terrific actor Ralph Fiennes arrives with his second effort, an exploration of an illicit liaison that Charles Dickens had with a young actress.
ORLANDO, Fla. » Aaron Eckhart has some advice for monster movie and Mary Shelley purists who might quibble with "I, Frankenstein," his futuristic movie version of the creature that features Eckhart as the monster almost 100 years in the future.
Vanessa Hudgens is running away from her G-rated, "High School Musical" past so quickly she might have Usain Bolt asking "What's the hurry?" But the problem with speed is that you always don't look where you're going.
PARK CITY, Utah >> Don’t worry, Anne Hathaway is OK. Recently paparazzi photos circulated of the Oscar winner on vacation in Hawaii with her husband and looking like she was having an emergency while in the ocean.
NEW YORK » Hollywood may be hoping for a little less drama in 2014. 2013 was a tale of two cinemas. Blockbusters like "The Lone Ranger" and "After Earth" flopped spectacularly while many in the industry (including Steven Spielberg) bemoaned the increasingly commercial trajectory of the studios.
On the face of it, Lifetime's "Flowers in the Attic" should have been a slam dunk. What doesn't V.C. Andrews' 1979 best-selling book have? It contains family strife, a wicked grandmother, plucky kids imprisoned in a mansion, whippings, a tarring, killer intentions, a greedy mom bent on getting herself written back into her wealthy father's will …
Not all rats look exactly alike, even animated ones. But there's a real resemblance between Buddy the rat (pictured) in "The Nut Job," the new film by Peter Lepeniotis, and Remy, the main character in "Ratatouille," that wonderful 2007 Pixar film.
"Ride Along" is such a formula effort that you might be able to get the same effect imagining it as watching it. Just lower the lights, get into a comfortable chair and contemplate Kevin Hart and Ice Cube riding together in a police car.
LOS ANGELES » As its name promises, "The Great Beauty" is drop-dead gorgeous, a film that is luxuriously, seductively, stunningly cinematic. But more than intoxicating imagery is on director Paolo Sorrentino's mind, a lot more.
Amy Poehler made out with Bono, Tina Fey mocked George Clooney's taste in women. But at the end of a madcap Golden Globes (Fey toasted it as "the beautiful mess we hoped it would be"), the major honors soberly ended up with the favorites.
"Breaking Bad" fans will get a kick of out of seeing Bryan Cranston in beard and sunglasses, slinging a Slavic accent. As a hit man/courier in "Cold Comes the Night," he sets the film's quiet, menacing tone with long silences broken by the occasional blood-curdling threat, delivered in venomous Vladimir Putin-ese.
A grim chapter in Navy SEALs history earns a heroic, no-punches-pulled accounting in "Lone Survivor," an above-average action outing for Mark Wahlberg & Co. Based on the true story of the ill-fated SEAL Team 10 and a mission that went messy in 2005, it is still very much a movie.
Another week, another South Korean thriller about a rogue North Korean agent on the run. "The Suspect" follows in the footsteps of the similarly plotted "Committee," which was released in the U.S. just a few weeks ago.
Sam Shepard kicks off the screen adaptation of "August: Osage County" with a foggy reference to T.S. Eliot and a succinct account of some of the family pathology that will occupy his kin (and the audience) for the next couple of hours.
LOS ANGELES » Where movie studios see trouble, Red Granite Pictures sees opportunities. The new finance and distribution company's business plan is both contrary and simple: Make the films the studios don't.
In surveying the year at the movies, the topography is rich. From the dusty, dying towns of "Nebraska" to the rooftop Roman parties in "The Great Beauty" to the sleek future Los Angeles of "Her," 2013 has been a trip. But has it been a great year?
Is there a Hans Gruber in the house? Can Hannibal Lecter come out and play? Darth Vader, please report to the principal's office. You know where I'm heading with this: It's our annual list of the most memorable movie villains of the year.
There are no apologies in Hollywood. There are no excuses in Hollywood. And there certainly are no refunds in Hollywood. They charge you the same ticket price for a bad movie as they do for a good movie.
NEW YORK » It was a year for pixie haircuts, chunky flat shoes, bangs on our first lady and bare skin … lots of it, on movie actresses and pop stars. Fashion always has its royalty, and this year Kerry Washington was a queen.
This year, Hollywood reminded us of one long Kanye West rant — somewhat intelligible yet completely nonsensical; intriguing but annoying; and something you wanted to ignore but just could not look away from.
Hard moral decisions weigh heavily. And in "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," Justin Chadwick's stately screen biography of the late Nelson Mandela, British actor Idris Elba conveys the agony as well as the nobility of Mandela's quest for South African racial equality.
'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" shouldn't be any good at all. It's a remake of a 1947 film that wasn't screaming to be remade, even if the idea of doing just that has been kicking around Hollywood since the mid-'90s.
The first thing we see in "American Hustle" is Christian Bale putting together his hair. He plays someone completely bald on top but with long hair on the sides, and with the aid of some glue, a forlorn hair piece and a comb-over, he arranges himself in the mirror and goes out to face the world.
Talking dinosaurs are almost never a good idea. Even the makers of "The Flintstones" figured that one out. The Cretaceous-period inhabitants never shut up in "Walking With Dinosaurs," a misguided 3-D dinosaur romp created by BBC Earth.
"If it was never new, and it never gets old, then it's a folk song," Llewyn Davis says, brandishing his guitar during a set at the Gaslight. That's a pretty good definition, one that certainly applies to "Hang Me, Oh Hang Me," the chestnut that opens "Inside Llewyn Davis," Joel and Ethan Coen's intoxicating ramble through Greenwich Village in 1961, before the neighborhood was annexed by New York University and Starbucks.
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UH Senior Fashion Show
The 48th annual University of Hawaii Senior Fashion Show is set for April 27 at Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, featuring the designs of seven senior and seven junior designers. Read More »
BRUNO MARS AND traveling party are in town, here after their final night in Japan and ready for three nights in Hawaii at the Blaisdell beginning Friday. Welcome home, Bruno! Read More »