At the Movies: ‘Journey 2,’ ‘Star Wars: Episode I 3D,’ ‘The Vow,’ more

Feb. 10, 2012 | 0 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition
Ryan Reynolds, left, and Denzel Washington star in the thriller "Safe House," opening in theaters today. --Courtesy Universal Pictures

Ryan Reynolds, left, and Denzel Washington star in the thriller "Safe House," opening in theaters today. --Courtesy Universal Pictures

OPENS TODAY

2012 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Animation and Live Action
Two separate programs showcasing this year’s Academy Award nominees.

‘Journey 2: The Mysterious Island’ **
In this sequel, the now-young man Sean Anderson partners with his mom’s boyfriend on a mission to find his grandfather, who is thought to be missing on a mythical island. Dwayne Johnson and Josh Hutcherson star. Review in today’s features section. (PG, 94 mins.)

‘Safe House’ ***
A young CIA agent (Ryan Reynolds) is tasked with looking after a fugitive (Denzel Washington) in a safe house. But when the house is attacked, he finds himself on the run with his charge. (R, 115 mins.)

‘Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace in 3D’

The 1999 movie comes back in 3-D. Two Jedi Knights uncover a wider conflict when they are sent as emissaries to the blockaded planet Naboo. (PG, 136 mins.)

‘The Vow’ ***
A car accident puts a woman in a coma, and when she wakes up with severe memory loss, her husband works to win her heart again. Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum star. (PG-13, 104 mins.)

NOW PLAYING

‘Albert Nobbs’ **
Some 30 years after a woman passes herself as a man in order to work and survive in 19th-century Ireland, she finds herself trapped in a prison of her own making. Glenn Close and Janet McTeer are Oscar nominees for their roles. Close’s performance is a marvel of precision, but because she immerses herself so completely in the emotional restraint of this odd little man she creates, feeling a connection with the character, despite the difficult life she’s lived, is difficult. (Christy Lemire, Associated Press) (R, 113 mins.)

‘The Artist’ ***
A multi-Oscar-nominated homage to Hollywood, 1927, as a silent movie star’s career is revitalized with the arrival of a young dancer set for a big break. It’s a gorgeously made curiosity that functions as a testament to its own obsession with other movies, specifically “Singin’ in the Rain” and “A Star Is Born.” (Christopher Kelly, McClatchy Newspapers) (PG-13, 100 mins.)

‘Beauty and the Beast 3D’ ****
The re-release of the 1991 Disney animated classic, now with 3-D effects. (G, 84 mins.)

‘Big Miracle’ ***
In small-town Alaska a news reporter recruits his ex-girlfriend, a Greenpeace volunteer, on a campaign to save a family of gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle. This is a delightful family movie, a slight film of simple, obvious charms, and every character learns to listen to everybody else. (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service) (PG, 107 mins.)

‘Chronicle’ ***
Three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery. But soon they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides. The young actors are charismatic, sympathetic and charming, making this semiserious sci-fi romp lighter and more fun than many of the comic-book movies that it steals from. (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service) (PG-13, 83 mins.)

‘Contraband’ ***
Mark Wahlberg delivers the goods as a former smuggler who, in order to protect his brother-in-law from a drug lord, heads to Panama to score millions of dollars in counterfeit bills. (R, 110 mins.)

‘A Dangerous Method’ ***1/2
A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gave birth to psychoanalysis. Viggo Mortensen, Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender star in the latest film from David Cronenberg. His confident directing style is essential in making this kind of intellectually stimulating cinema look easy, but the critical component in the film’s success is Christopher Hampton’s classically well-written script. (Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times) (R, 99 mins.)

‘The Descendants’ ***1/2
Oscar nominees George Clooney and Alexander Payne join forces in this adaptation of Kaui Hart Hemmings’ novel about a man from a longtime kamaaina family who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife slips into a coma after a boating accident and he has to reconnect with his two young daughters. (R, 115 mins.)

‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’ **
A boy searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who was killed in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. The Oscar-nominated movie has a thin and uninvolving story but does contain strong performances by Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. (Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle) (PG-13, 129 mins.)

‘The Grey’ **1/2
Liam Neeson pumps up the volume in this movie about an Alaska oil drilling team that survives a plane crash in the wild only to be hunted down by a pack of wolves. This is an occasionally suspenseful if credibility-stretching thriller with a strong, emotional performance from Neeson at its core. (Cary Darling, McClatchy Newspapers) (R, 117 mins.)

‘Haywire’ **
A highly trained covert ops specialist strikes back after being double-crossed and left for dead by someone close to her in the agency. It’s a sporadically entertaining if surprisingly inert movie with former MMA fighter Gina Carano in the lead role. (Cary Darling, McClatchy Newspapers) (R, 93 mins.)

‘The Iron Lady’ ***1/2
Oscar nominee Meryl Streep stars in this look into the life of Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister of the United Kingdom, with a focus on the price she paid for power. It’s an uncanny turn by the screen’s greatest actress, an acting job with towering bombast and marvelous subtlety. (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service) (PG-13, 105 mins.)

‘Joyful Noise’ *1/2
Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton star as two choir members who have differing opinions on how to win the national gospel choir competition. Very few of the movie’s scenes ring true, especially the musical numbers, which feel simultaneously overproduced and hollow. (Christy Lemire, Associated Press) (PG-13, 117 mins.)

‘Man on a Ledge’ **1/2
An ex-con attempts to distract the police from a diamond heist currently in motion by threatening to jump from a Manhattan hotel ledge. This is a heist picture, a thriller, and a not-that-thrilling one at that. But the folks who made it have enough of a sense of humor to get how silly it is and run with that on occasion. (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service) (PG-13, 102 mins.)

‘Midnight in Paris’ ***
The encore presentation of Woody Allen’s Oscar-nominated film. The romantic fantasy stars Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams as a young couple who travel to the City of Lights for business, only to have their lives profoundly transformed. (PG-13, 88 mins.)

‘Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol’ ***
The IMF is shut down when it’s implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin, causing Ethan Hunt and his new team to go rogue to clear the organization’s name. Tom Cruise, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner star in Brad Bird’s live-action debut, and he brings his animation experience to make the action movie exuberant, elastic and eye-popping. (Christopher Kelly, McClatchy Newspapers) (PG-13, 133 mins.)

‘One for the Money’ *
Katherine Heigl plays a neophyte bounty hunter whose first assignment puts her on the trail of a wanted local cop from her romantic past. It’s a malnourished exercise in star vanity, with bad screenplay structure, un-snappy “snappy” dialogue, bland characters blandly played and flat, tedious direction. (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service) (PG-13, 106 mins.)

‘Red Tails’ **
The true story of the African-American pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program, who took to the skies to fight during World War II. Despite stunning aerial scenes and good intentions, this George Lucas-produced movie is grounded by clumsy dialogue, a meandering plot and the occasional jarring anachronism. (Tish Wells, McClatchy Newspapers) (PG-13, 125 mins.)

‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ ***
In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semiretirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6′s echelons. Oscar nominee Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy star in the adaptation of the John le Carre novel, all of whom keep us guessing as to who the traitor might be among them. The film is a precisely detailed, retro-faded, well-acted mystery. (Christy Lemire, Associated Press) (R, 127 mins.)

‘Underworld: Awakening’ *
Kate Beckinsale returns as the vampire warrioress Selene, who escapes imprisonment to find herself in an all-out war by the humans to eradicate both Vampire and Lycan clans. It’s a humorless and perfunctory movie of chases and epic brawls. (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service) (R, 88 mins.)

‘War Horse’ ***
Steven Spielberg directs a tale of friendship between a boy and a horse whose fates intertwine over the course of World War I. There are enough extraordinary and beautiful things to make this episodic, Oscar-nominated movie a pleasure and a worthwhile experience, though not enough to trick the eye or get you believing it all hangs together. (Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle) (PG-13, 146 mins.)

‘We Bought a Zoo’ **1/2
A father moves his young family to the countryside to renovate and reopen a struggling zoo. Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson star in the latest film from Cameron Crowe, which is surprisingly charming and more emotionally understated than the material would suggest. (Christy Lemire, Associated Press) (PG, 124 mins.)

‘The Woman in Black’ ***
Daniel Radcliffe plays a young lawyer who travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals. Radcliffe acquits himself reasonably well in his first adult big-screen role. There’s a lot of spooky atmosphere but not a lot of urgency to this film. (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service) (PG-13, 95 mins.)

SPECIAL

The Met: Live in HD ‘Goetterdaemmerung’
12:55 p.m. Saturday, Regal Dole Cannery, $24 general, $22 seniors and $18 children:
Robert Lepage’s technologically advanced new staging of Wagner’s Ring cycle comes to an epic climax. Met principal conductor Fabio Luisi leads one of opera’s most thrilling dramas, starring Deborah Voigt, Jay Hunter Morris and Wendy Bryn Harmer. (NR, 385 mins.)

‘Leonardo Live’
7 p.m. Thursday, Regal Dole Cannery, $12.50:
A high-definition tour of the U.K.’s National Gallery’s sold-out exhibition “Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan.” (NR, 85 mins.)

ARTHOUSE
DORIS DUKE THEATRE

Honolulu Academy of Arts, 900 S. Beretania St., entry on Kinau Street. (532-8768); $10 general and $8 academy members (tickets also available online at www.honoluluacademy.org):

Dangerously Romantic: ‘Young Goethe in Love’
1 p.m. today; and 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
In 1772 Germany, an aspiring poet, after failing his law exams, is sent to a sleepy provincial town court to work as a clerk. It’s there that he falls for a young woman who is promised to another man. (2010, 102 mins.)

Friends of Film Friday: ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’
7:30 p.m. today ($15 general and $12 academy members)
A restored 35mm print of the 1961 Audrey Hepburn classic. A Southern runaway reinvents herself as a New York socialite and becomes interested in an aspiring writer who has moved into her apartment building. (1961, 115 mins.)

‘La Fee (The Fairy)’
1 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday
The life of a lonely night- shift hotel worker takes a turn for the magical when a woman arrives and tells him she’s a fairy who will grant him three wishes. (2011, 93 mins.)

‘Bonsai’
1 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Based on a hit Chilean novel, it wryly chronicles the relationship of a young writer who is trying to woo a woman with his skills as an aspiring novelist, and in turn recounts the romance he had years earlier with a past classmate who is the inspiration for the plot of his book. (2011, 95 mins.)

MOVIE MUSEUM

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

‘The Help’
12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. today; and 5:30 and 8 p.m. Sunday
A Southern town’s unspoken code of racial rules and behavior in the early 1960s is shattered by three women — a privileged young woman and a couple of maids — who strike up an unlikely friendship. (The movie is a multiple Oscar nominee.)(2011, 137 mins.)

‘Anonymous’
Noon, 2:15, 4:30, 6:45 and 9 p.m. Saturday
A political thriller advancing the theory that it was Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, who penned Shakespeare’s plays. (2011, 130 mins.)

‘The First Grader’
Noon, 1:45 and 3 p.m. Sunday
The true story of an 84-year-old Kenyan villager and ex-Mau Mau freedom fighter who fights for his right to go to school for the first time to get the education he could never afford. (2010, 103 mins.)

‘TGV Express’
12:30, 2:30, 4:30, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Monday
Titled for a bus that follows a route from Senegal to Guinea, it’s a political comedy that follows an odd assortment of characters on a trip that includes a pair of French tourists and a deposed government minister. (1998, 90 mins.)

‘Jane Eyre’
12:30, 3, 5:30 and 8 p.m. Thursday
Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender star in the latest, Gothic adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s novel. (2011, 120 mins.)

TURTLE BAY HAWAII FILMMAKERS SHOWCASE

Surfer, The Bar; Turtle Bay Resort (436-4326); $10 general, $8 kamaaina and $5 keiki under 16:

‘Mana I Ka Leo: Power of the Voice’
7 p.m. Sunday
The examination of oli, the Hawaiian tradition of chant, through the eyes of three contemporary practitioners.

MONDAY MOVIE CAFE

The Venue, 1146 Bethel St. (528-1144); $10:

‘Beauty Mark’
7 p.m. Monday
The film examines popular culture’s toxic emphasis on weight and looks through the eyes of psychotherapist and former world-class triathlete Diane Israel. (2011, 83 mins.)

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