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At the Movies

For Friday, July 30, 2010


POSTED:



Opening Friday, July 30

'Blades of Blood'
From famed Korean director Lee Joon-ik, this historical drama is about men in the lower class who fight for social equality during the Chosun era. (NR, 111 mins.)

'Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore' * * *
Nearly a decade after the original, the 3-D spy spoof sequel has the two sides forming an unlikely alliance against a common enemy: a demented hairless cat trying to take out dogs and humans alike. Review on Page 21. (PG, 87 mins.)

'Charlie St. Cloud' * *
Zac Efron plays an accomplished young sailor who must find the courage to let go of the past when tragedy strikes his family. Feature on Page 26 and review on Page 20. (PG-13, 100 mins.)

'Dinner for Schmucks' * * *
Steve Carell and Paul Rudd -- who previously worked together on "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Anchorman" -- collaborate again in this comedy about an ambitious finance executive who fights for a promotion on the condition that he invite a megadork to a dinner contest, where the one who brings the biggest imbecile wins. Review on Page 19. (PG-13, 114 mins.)

'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work' * * *
A documentary that exposes the private dramas of veteran comedian and pop culture icon Joan Rivers, as well as a unique look inside America's obsession with fame and celebrity. Review on Page 25. (R, 84 mins.)

 

The Top 10 Movies

The top grossing movies of the past week, courtesy Hollywood.com

'Inception' * * * *
Leonardo DiCaprio stars in Christopher Nolan's sci-fi thriller as the leader of a group of skilled thieves who steal people's ideas for corporate gain by inserting themselves into strangers' subconscious while they are sleeping. It's a stunningly gorgeous, technically flawless symphony of images and ideas. In its sheer enormity, it's every inch a blockbuster, but in the good sense of the word. (PG-13, 147 mins.)

'Salt' * *
Angelina Jolie stars as a CIA agent who's accused of being a Russian sleeper spy. She goes on the run while trying to clear her name, using all her skills as a covert operative to stay one step ahead of the agency's pursuits. No actress working today is as convincing an action star as Jolie, and she does tear it up in the visceral fight scenes, but the movie doesn't help us care for her character, as Salt's motives and her fate aren't sufficiently fleshed out. (PG-13, 93 mins.)

'Despicable Me' * * 1/2
A master villain planning the world's biggest heist meets his greatest challenge in three orphaned girls who see him as a potential dad. The animated movie has some clever moments and colorful characters, but it isn't particularly memorable. It's actually darker and odder than most family-friendly animated fare, but it goes predictably soft and gooey at the end. (PG, 95 mins.)

'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' * * 1/2
Nicolas Cage plays a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan, who finds a reluctant protege (Jay Baruchel) in his eternal fight against the forces of darkness. "National Treasure" alumni Cage, director Jon Turteltaub and producer Jerry Bruckheimer stir up a pleasant-enough potion whose effects, action and comedy should send parents and kids home happy. (PG, 110 mins.)

'Toy Story 3' * * *
Eleven years have passed since the last "Toy Story" movie, and Buzz and Woody's owner is leaving for college. His toys are shipped to a day care center where they meet an uncertain future. It's a gorgeous film -- funny, sweet and clever in the tradition of the best Pixar movies -- even though this third installment doesn't feel quite as fresh as the first two. (G, 102 mins.)

'Ramona and Beezus' * * *
Like the beloved Beverly Cleary books that inspired it, this sunny and captivating movie starring Selena Gomez and Joey King shows what the world looks like from the perspective of a scrappy 9-year-old who is neither as fearless as she thinks she is nor as hopeless as others peg her. Director Elizabeth Allen elicits remarkably honest performances from her younger stars. (G, 104 mins.)

'Grown Ups' *
A group of childhood buddies get together after 30 years for the funeral of the basketball coach who led them to a championship. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider are the depressing waste of talent here. The movie is shockingly inept and nothing much happens, aside from pratfalls in the woods, plenty of public urination and an eventual moment of confession that is nothing short of cringe-worthy. (PG-13, 102 mins.)

'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' * *
In the third part of the franchise, a string of mysterious killings grips the city of Seattle, and Bella, whose high school graduation is fast approaching, is forced to choose between her love for vampire Edward and her friendship with werewolf Jacob. Director David Slade and his collaborators lighten up on the relentless gloom of the first two movies by making fun of some of the franchise's silliness. Still, it wallows in what fans love most, that whiny romantic triangle among a schoolgirl and her two beastie boys. (PG-13, 124 mins.)

'The Last Airbender' *
The hit Nickelodeon animated adventure series comes to life, courtesy of director M. Night Shyamalan, as a powerful young warrior learns he is key to restoring balance to his war-torn world. Even though it has epic scope and soaring ambitions, exotic locations and a cast of thousands, it manages to get everything wrong, on every level. (PG, 94 mins.)

'Predators' * 1/2
A group of elite warriors realize they've been brought together on a distant planet to be systematically hunted by alien predators. The movie produced by maverick Robert Rodriguez stays close to the more hallucinogenic 1987 original, but the action isn't enough to cover the plot holes. (R, 107 mins.)

 

Arthouse

DORIS DUKE THEATRE
Honolulu Academy of Arts, 900 S. Beretania St. (532-8768); $8.50 general; $7.50 seniors, students and military; $5 academy members (tickets also available online at www.tix.com):

Third Annual Surf Film Festival: 'Gum for My Boat' with 'Fiberglass and Megapixels'
1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. today
Documentaries on the Bangladesh Surf Club and professional photographers who gather every year for the Triple Crown of Surfing on the North Shore. (33 and 48 mins.)

'Wake Unto Blue'
1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. tomorrow
The daughter of surf legend Buzzy Trent uses archival footage from her father's friend and surf-film pioneer Bud Browne to create a poetic film about early 1950s and '60s surfing. (This ends the festival.) (45 mins.)

'The Secret of Kells'
1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday
Adventure, action and danger await a 12-year-old who must fight Vikings and a serpent god to find a crystal and complete the legendary Book of Kells in this Oscar-nominated animated film. (2009; 75 mins.)

MOVIE MUSEUM
3566 Harding Ave. (735-8771); $5 general, $4 members; reservations recommended:

'Moscow, Belgium'
12:30, 2:30, 4:30, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. today and Monday
A love affair blossoms between a middle-age mother of three and a younger truck driver in Belgium. (2008; 102 mins.)

'The Japanese Wife'
12:30, 2:30, 4:30, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. tomorrow
The romance between a Bengali village schoolteacher and his pen friend who lives in Japan results in a marriage through written vows in this Indian film directed by Aparna Sen. (2010; 105 mins.)

'Sita Sings the Blues'
12:30, 2:30, 4:30, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Sunday
Director Nina Paley mixes in her own romantic mishaps and adds the music of 1920s pop icon Annette Hanshaw to her colorful animated film about the Indian epic tale Ramayana and the noble and faithful woman Sita who is betrayed by the man she loves. (2009; 82 mins.)

'The Ghost Writer'
12:15, 2:30, 4:45, 7 and 9:15 p.m. Thursday
Roman Polanski's latest film is a drama about a writer, hired to complete the memoirs of a former British prime minister, uncovering secrets that put his own life in jeopardy. Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan star. (128 mins.)






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