At the Movies: ‘Monsters University,’ ‘World War Z’ and more

Jun. 21, 2013 | 0 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition
Billy Crystal returns as the voice of Mike in 'Monsters University,' the prequel to 'Monsters, Inc.' --Disney Pixar

Billy Crystal returns as the voice of Mike in ‘Monsters University,’ the prequel to ‘Monsters, Inc.’ –Disney Pixar


‘Monsters University’ **1/2
Mike and Sulley return in this prequel to “Monsters, Inc.,” looking back on their college days when they weren’t necessarily the best of friends. Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprise their voice roles. (G, 110 minutes)

‘World War Z’ ***
A United Nations employee traverses the world in a race against time to stop the zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself. Brad Pitt stars in this big summer movie directed by Marc Forster. (PG-13, 116 minutes)


‘The Bling Ring’ ***
Sofia Coppola’s new film was inspired by actual events, as a group of fame-obsessed Los Angeles teenagers uses the Internet to track celebrities’ whereabouts in order to rob their homes. (R, 90 minutes)

‘Kon-Tiki’ **1/2
The story of legendary explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s epic crossing of the Pacific Ocean on a balsa-wood raft in 1945, in an effort to prove it was possible for South Americans to settle in Polynesia in pre-Columbian times. (PG-13 118 minutes)

‘Much Ado About Nothing’ ***
Joss Whedon directs a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s classic comedy about two pairs of lovers with different takes on romance and a way with words. (PG-13, 107 minutes)

A Bollywood production about a quintessential love triangle with both a rustic and urban side to it, with music by Oscar winner A.R. Rahman. (NR, 140 minutes)


‘After Earth’ *1/2
Will Smith and his teenage son, Jaden, star in this sci-fi adventure about a crash landing that leaves the two of them stranded on a future Earth, thousands of years after events forced humanity’s escape. With the father injured, the son must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help. This is a self-serious monotone of a movie built around a young actor who, though he tries valiantly, can’t yet carry a film on his slender shoulders. (Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram) (PG-13, 100 minutes)

‘Before Midnight’ ****
The third in a series of films by Richard Linklater starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. They play Jesse and Celine, who first met one romantic evening in Vienna, then again years later on the French leg of Jesse’s book tour. Now, nine years later (in real time), their characters are a married couple spending a vacation in Greece. The romantic ideal has given way to the routine as the conversation is sometimes strained and the love is more confined. The film’s more disgruntled edge reflects what creeps up on couples as years pass, regrets stack up, kids factor in, and real life intervenes. (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times) (R, 108 minutes)

‘Epic’ **1/2
In this animated feature, a teenager finds herself transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between the forces of good and evil is taking place. She bands together with a ragtag group of characters in order to save both their world and ours. Derivative as all get out and plainly concocted by a committee, this movie is more entertaining and emotional than it has any right to be. A strong story is worth more than any next-generation software. (Roger Moore, McClatchy Newspapers) (PG, 102 minutes)

‘Fast & Furious 6′ **1/2
The latest sequel of this high-energy action franchise finds Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) enlisting Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his team to bring down former special ops soldier Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), leader of a unit specializing in vehicular warfare. In terms of sheer action adrenaline, this may be the best movie of the franchise. It’s almost enough to distract from the fact that hardly anyone breaks a sweat, let alone bones, after being involved in multiple car wrecks, falls from great heights onto speeding metal and glass, and fights too numerous to count. (Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram) (PG-13, 130 minutes)

‘The Internship’ **1/2
The stars of “Wedding Crashers,” Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, reunite in this comedy about two salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the Digital Age, but who find their way into a coveted internship at Google, where they must compete with a group of young, tech-savvy geniuses for a shot at employment. This is an amiable, occasionally laugh-out-loud fish-out-of-water tale that gently mocks our modern technological age while simultaneously embracing it, while giving Google a big, sloppy kiss. (Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram) (PG-13, 119 minutes)

‘Iron Man 3′ **1/2
When Tony Stark’s world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution. Meticulously crafted to be a box-office juggernaut, the movie rises above its naked ambitions thanks to Robert Downey Jr.’s sly charm in the title role and Ben Kingsley’s too-short and ultimately hilarious turn as the villain. (Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram) (PG-13, 130 minutes)

‘Man of Steel’ **
Yet another retelling of the Superman story, this time by director Zack Snyder, with a cast starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and Michael Shannon. A young journalist is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race. The latest attempt to put the iconic superhero back into flight falls flat, as Snyder’s joyless film has nothing soaring about it. (Jake Coyle, Associated Press) (PG-13, 143 minutes)

‘Mud’ ****
Two teenage boys encounter a fugitive (Matthew McConaughey) and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his true love. One of the best films of the year, it has the feel of a novel that’s rooted deep in American soil. McConaughey brings depth to a character who at first seems merely brashly macho, and Reese Witherspoon is nearly unrecognizable as the fugitive’s troubled girlfriend who has made many bad decisions in her life. (Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram) (PG-13, 130 minutes)

‘Now You See Me’ **1/2
This is a slick and kind of smirky entertainment in which a quartet of street charlatans-turned-Las Vegas stars pull off an epic heist using the tricks of the magic trade. The movie wants to be “Ocean’s Eleven,” but the rapport between the principals — Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco — doesn’t come close to that earlier film’s cool. (Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer) (PG-13, 116 minutes)

‘Pieta’ ***
In this Korean drama, a loan shark is forced to reconsider his violent lifestyle after the arrival of a mysterious woman claiming to be his long-lost mother. Provocative director Kim Ki-duk’s new film is expectedly gruesome in some of its details, but it’s the explicitness about capitalism’s emotional wreckage that gives this microbudget drama a gut-punch heft. (Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times) (NR, 104 minutes)

‘The Purge’ ***
A family is held hostage for harboring the target of a murderous syndicate during the Purge, a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legalized. Despite the stupid concept, the movie shows what can happen when a pile of trash falls in the hands of a talented and resourceful artist, namely writer-director James DeMonaco. The film never approaches realism, but it’s rarely boring, allowing for a few sneaky moments of satire and social commentary lite. (Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle) (R, 85 minutes)

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ **
The anticipated sequel has the crew of the Enterprise finding an unstoppable force of terror from within its own organization, with Captain Kirk leading a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction. Director J.J. Abrams has sacrificed a lot of Trek’s idiosyncrasy and, worse, the large-spirited humanism that sustained the original, to put this movie squarely in the conventional revenge-driven action genre. (A.O. Scott, New York Times) (PG-13, 132 minutes)

‘Tai Chi Hero’ **
The sequel to Stephen Fung’s “Tai Chi Zero,” our hero is still trying to find his place in a village filled with martial arts masters, even though he helped save the town from a frightening steam-powered machine. The production quality is top-notch and there’s undeniably an entertainment value to it, albeit an empty one. (G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle) (NR, 144 minutes)

‘This Is the End’ ***
Six actor friends find themselves trapped in a house after a series of strange and catastrophic events devastate Los Angeles. James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson star in this often hilarious and generally irreverent comedy about the Biblical apocalypse as seen through the windows of a movie star’s mansion. (Roger Moore, McClatchy Newspapers) (R, 107 minutes)

‘The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawaii’
Ryan Kawamoto’s documentary about the little-known story of the Hawaii internees and the confinement sites located in the islands. (R, 100 minutes)

Michael Angarano, left, and Juno Temple discover a teapot that makes them money when they experience pain in 'The Brass Teapot.' --Magnolia Pictures

Michael Angarano, left, and Juno Temple discover a teapot that makes them money when they experience pain in ‘The Brass Teapot.’ –Magnolia Pictures


Keiki Film Hui: ‘Despicable Me’
10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; Kapolei 16, Koko Marina 8, Koolau Stadium 8, Mililani Stadium 14, Pearlridge West 16 and Ward Stadium 16, $1

Summer Movie Express: ‘Coraline’ and ‘ParaNorman’
10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Dole Cannery Stadium 18 and Windward Stadium 10, $1


Summer at La Scala: ‘Il Tritico’
2 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Kahala 8; $20
The last of three operas to be shown on the big screen, this production of the Puccini classic stars Juan Pons, Anna Maria Popescu and Leo Nucci, and is conducted by Luca Ronconi. (NR, 188 minutes plus one intermission, sung in Italian with English subtitles)

The Met: Live in HD Summer Encores: ‘Il Trovatore’
7 p.m. Wednesday, Dole Cannery Stadium 18, $12.50
This 2011 production features four of the world’s most celebrated interpreters in David McVicar’s critically acclaimed production, starring Marcelo Alvarez, Sondra Radnovsky, Dolora Zajick and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. (NR, 165 minutes)


Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 S. Beretania St., entry on Kinau Street (532-8768): $10, $8 museum members (tickets also available online at

The Sword and the Screen: A Summer Samurai Series: ‘Seven Samurai’
7:30 p.m. today (Friends of Film Friday event: $15, $12 museum members) and 1 p.m. Thursday
A series of classic and influential Japanese films kicks off with Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece about a group of swordsmen who defend a terrorized village. (1954, 207 minutes)

‘Samurai Rebellion’
4 p.m. Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
An aging swordsman rebels when local rulers demand that his son give up his bride and child. When ordered to kill themselves, father and son engage the feudal leaders in a fight to the death. Toshiro Mifune stars in Masaki Kobayashi’s film. (1967, 121 minutes)

7:30 p.m. Saturday and Thursday, and 1 p.m. Tuesday
A pair of down-on-their-luck ronin — an ex-samurai and an ex-farmer — get caught up in a local official’s complex game of murder and betrayal. (1968, 114 minutes)

‘The Hidden Fortress’
1 p.m. Sunday
Kurosawa’s film that inspired George Lucas to make “Star Wars,” as a general and a princess must dodge enemy clans while smuggling the royal treasure out of hostile territory with two bumbling, conniving peasants at their sides. (1958, 139 minutes)

7:30 p.m. Sunday
An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord’s home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. When he inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him, things take an unexpected turn. (1962, 133 minutes)

‘Sword of Doom’
1 p.m. Wednesday
Kihachi Okamoto’s brutal masterwork about a gifted swordsman who embarks on a series of vendettas that ultimately leads to his madness. (1966, 119 minutes)

7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Clint Eastwood’s iconic role of the “Man with No Name” was based on Mifune’s portrayal of an amoral swordsman who turns a village feud between two merchants to his own advantage. (1961, 110 minutes)


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

‘Be with You’
Noon and 6:30 p.m. today; 2, 4:15 and 6:30 p.m. Monday; and 1:45 and 5:45 p.m. Thursday
A year after his wife’s death, a man comes across a woman with no memory of herself who bears an uncanny resemblance to his late wife. (2004, Japan, 119 minutes)

2:15 and 6:30 p.m. today
In 1969 a Danish boy, influenced by the American civil rights movement, takes up a crusade against his dictatorial headmaster. (2006, Denmark, 109 minutes)

Noon, 1:45, 4:30 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday
At a home for retired musicians, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday is disrupted by a diva and former wife of one of the residents. Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins and Michael Gambon star in this film directed by Dustin Hoffman. (2012, U.K., 98 minutes)

‘The Brass Teapot’
6:30 p.m. Saturday, and noon and 8:45 p.m. Monday
When a couple discovers that an ornate teapot makes them money whenever they hurt themselves, they must come to terms with how far they are willing to go. (2012, U.S., 101 minutes)

‘Retreat, Hell!’
Noon and 6 p.m. Sunday
A war drama about a Marine battalion sent to Korea as part of the amphibious landing at the Battle of Inchon and fighting its way to the Chosin reservoir. (1952, U.S., 95 minutes)

‘Jack the Giant Slayer’
2, 4 and 8 p.m. Sunday
The ancient war between humans and a race of giants is reignited when a young farmhand, fighting for a kingdom and the love of a princess, opens a gateway between the two worlds. Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor and Stanley Tucci star in this movie directed by Bryan Singer. (U.S., 114 minutes)

‘Anthony Zimmer’
Noon, 4 and 8 p.m. Thursday
A romantic thriller about a highly intelligent criminal, pursued by international police and the Russian mafia, whose extensive plastic surgery makes him unrecognizable, even to his girlfriend, who sets up a stranger as a decoy to his pursuers. (2005, France, 89 minutes)


University of Hawaii-Manoa Art Auditorium, free

Of Land and Sea
3 p.m. Sunday
A project of the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, a showcase of three films appropriate for children ages 4 and up: “Sharks and Rays,” “Home Was the Sailor” and “Gus Outdoors: Lizard Town.” (62 minutes)


TheVenue, 1146 Bethel St. (436-4326); $10, $5 students

‘Genghis Blues’
7 p.m. Monday
A well-received documentary about blind bluesman Paul Pena, who became the first American ever to compete in and win a contest in the Tuvan art of multi-harmonic throat singing. (1999, 84 minutes)

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