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At the Movies

For Friday, August 20, 2010


Opening Friday, August 20

'Hubble 3D' ***
An IMAX 3-D camera chronicles the effort of astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. Review on Page 25. (G, 45 mins.)

'Lottery Ticket' **1/2
A young man (Bow Wow) in Atlanta's housing projects tries to keep his winning lottery ticket a secret from his nosy neighbors over a long Fourth of July weekend. (PG-13, 95 mins.)

'Mao's Last Dancer'
The dramatization of the true story of Li Cunxin and his extraordinary journey from a poor upbringing in rural China to international stardom as a world-class ballet dancer. (PG, 127 mins.)

'Nanny McPhee Returns' **1/2
Emma Thompson returns as the magical nanny who this time appears at the door of a harried young mother trying to run the family farm while her husband is away at war, all while struggling to keep the peace between her children and two spoiled city cousins who refuse to leave. Review on Page 21. (PG, 100 mins.)

'Piranha 3D'
After a sudden underwater tremor unleashes a prehistoric strain of flesh-eating fish during a busy spring break season, an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop everyone from being literally torn apart by this new razor-toothed terror. (R, 89 mins.)

'The Switch' *
Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman star in this comedy about a man who doesn't understand why his best friend decides to be artificially inseminated by someone other than himself, so he drunkenly switches her chosen donor's sperm with his own. Review on Page 20. (PG-13, 100 mins.)

'Wild Grass' **
Alain Resnais, one of the towering figures of the French New Wave, offers up the offbeat story of a man's obsession with a woman after finding photos of her family life in her lost wallet. Review on Page 27. (PG, 104 mins.)


The Top 10 Movies

The top-grossing movies of the past week, courtesy

'The Expendables' **
Sylvester Stallone's all-star mercenary movie is a deliriously retro ride into Reagan-era blockbusters. The macho men still deliver, but it's not much of an ensemble piece, and despite the high body count, the whole thing feels forgettably disposable. (R, 103 mins.)

'Eat Pray Love' ***
Julia Roberts stars in the adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's best-selling memoir about a woman's yearlong, globe-trotting search for sustenance and serenity after a wrenching divorce. Roberts is radiant as ever, and the movie satisfies its core audience by providing a gorgeous escape, exquisitely photographed and full of female wish fulfillment. (PG-13, 133 mins.)

'The Other Guys' ***
Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay join comedic forces with Mark Wahlberg to tell the story of a pair of sidelined police detectives who finally get their chance to crack a big-time financial fraud case. This is a surprisingly fresh take on the usually rehashed mismatched-buddy-cop setup — self-aware but not tongue-in-cheek — and helped in part by action sequences played totally straight. (PG-13, 107 mins.)

'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.)

'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World' ***
Based on a popular graphic novel series, Michael Cera stars as an indie-rock bassist who must face off against a nefarious rogues' gallery of seven exes to be with the girl of his dreams. There's an infectious energy to this movie — the comic book and video game flourishes grab your attention — and the appealing, eclectic cast members offer up lively performances. (PG-13, 112 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.)

'Step Up 3D' **
In the series' third film, a tight-knit group of street dancers find themselves pitted against the world's best dancers in a high-stakes hip-hop showdown. While the synchronized camera and body movement literally stands out, the story is cliched and the acrobatic cast doesn't display anything even closely approximating charisma. (PG-13, 97 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.)

'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. The movie's tone is more naughty than raunchy, and the little character turns by everyone in the cast are an embarrassment of comic riches. (PG-13, 114 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. There's enough here in this movie to keep everyone watching — grown-ups, kids, dogs, cats — entertained. (PG, 87 mins.)



Doris Duke Theatre

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

'Mid-August Lunch'
1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. today and tomorrow
Gianni Di Gregorio's directorial debut is a charming tale of good food, feisty ladies and unlikely friendships as a middle-aged man looks after a group of elderly women during a Roman holiday. (75 mins.)

'Here and There'
1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday
A jaded, middle-aged New Yorker and unemployed musician goes to Serbia to make quick cash by marrying his acquaintance's girlfriend so she can get her U.S. immigration papers. Review on Page 27. (85 mins.)


Movie Museum

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

'Hunting & Gathering (Ensemble, C'est Tout)'
12:15, 2, 3:45, 5:30, 7:15 and 9 p.m. today and Sunday
Audrey Tautou and Guillaume Canet star in the charming tale of four loners, from different walks of life, who will eventually live together and become friends. (2007, 93 mins.)

'A Prophet'
12:15, 3, 5:45 and 8:30 p.m. tomorrow
In this hard-hitting Oscar nominee, a young Frenchman of Arab descent is sent to prison a naive and unformed outsider and becomes, while incarcerated, a fully hardened and professional criminal. (2009, 155 mins.)

'The Fascist'
12:30, 2:30, 4:30, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Monday
A rarely screened gem from the golden age of Italian film comedy, it's about the odd friendship that grows between an ambitious provincial party secretary and an anti-fascist activist during the time of Mussolini. (1961, 97 mins.)

12:30, 2:30, 4:30, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Thursday
Isabelle Huppert and Olivier Gourmet star in this claustrophobic drama about a family living on the edge of an abandoned highway. (2008, 98 mins.)

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