Movies

Opening This Week

These movies open Friday unless noted.

The Flying Scotsman This drama is based on the life of Scottish cycling champion Graeme Obree, who broke a world speed record on a bike he built from washing machine parts.

Lucky You Eric Bana (Hulk) stars as a hotshot poker player who tries to win a world championship while coping with personal issues. Drew Barrymore and Robert Duvall also star.

Offside Six Iranian girls dress as boys and try to sneak into a Tehran stadium to watch a soccer match in a country where women are barred from sporting events. Farsi with subtitles.

Spider-Man 3 Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire), finds that his spider suit has mysteriously turned black - and with the new color comes a new, darker attitude. Will Spidey give in to this dark side or remain champion of all that is good?

The Wind That Shakes the Barley In early 20th-century Ireland, two brothers fight first against the British, then against each other as civil war breaks out.

Excellent (****)

Reviewed by critics Carrie Rickey (C.R.) and Steven Rea (S.R.). W.S. is a wire-service review.

The Lives of Others Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's astonishing debut feature, a duet for a bohemian and a bureaucrat who never meet, but whose lives decisively intersect in 1984 East Berlin, is illuminated by Ulrich Mühe's performance as the functionary. 2 hrs. 17 R (sex, violence, profanity) - C.R.

Very Good (***1/2)

After the Wedding

Susanne Bier's poignant and potent melodrama about a Danish do-gooder in India and an industrialist in Copenhagen, a lonesome polecat and a convivial fat cat unknown to each other but who have a bond that's thicker than blood and stronger than steel. 2 hrs.

R

(sexuality, profanity, mature themes) -

C.R.

Bamako Writer-director Abderrahmane Sissako's impassioned meditation on the plight of modern Africa is set in the courtyard of a building in Mali, where a mock trial pits pro-Western lawyers against Malians and others intent on claiming control of their own national and cultural destinies. Never mind Hollywood's big-star, big-budget hand-wringing about Africa - this is the real thing. 1 hr. 50 No MPAA rating (violence, adult themes) - S.R.

The Host A wonderful, witty mix of horror and social satire, Bong Joon-ho's monster-from-the-deep pic takes its simple, time-tested premise and runs with it. Talk about wrestling with your personal demons! Korean with subtitles. 1 hr. 59 R (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

The Hoax Richard Gere stars in this smart, witty tale based on a stranger-than-fiction yarn that really, truly occurred: Clifford Irving's legendary 1971 scam in which he persuaded a publisher to pay him almost $1 million for the exclusive, authorized biography of billionaire recluse Howard Hughes. 1 hr. 56 R (profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Into Great Silence A transcendental film that takes the stoical, observational approach of Frederick Wiseman and adds a painterly visual aesthetic, Philip Gröning's documentary zooms in on a French monastery, and the shaven-headed monks who go about their days working, praying and living a life devoted to God. 2 hrs. 49 No MPAA rating - S.R.

Meet the Robinsons A wonderful, whiz-bang digital 'toon inspired by children's book author/illustrator William Joyce's A Day With Wilbur Robinson and presented in many theaters in 3-D. Its hero is a 12-year-old orphan inventor who travels to the future, where he encounters a wild and wacky family - and a dinosaur, an octopus, a robot, and some talking (and singing) frogs. 1 hr. 32 G (mildly scary images) - S.R.

The Namesake Mira Nair's adaptation of the Jhumpa Lahiri novel follows two generations of a Bengali family living in America: the parents who brought their culture and traditions from India, and the children who rebel against them. Bollywood stars Irrfan Khan and Tabu and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle's Kal Penn are all terrific in this rich, revelatory drama. 2 hrs. 02 PG-13 (sex, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Also on Screens

Blades of Glory **1/2 Will Ferrell and Jon Heder star as arch figure-skating rivals forced to train, and compete, together in this goofball farce. It's

Zoolander

with a Zamboni. 1 hr. 33 PG-13 (comic violence, mayhem, profanity, adult themes) -

S.R.

The Condemned * Cynical Internet entrepreneur conceives a lethal version of "Survivor": Take 10 death-row prisoners, put them on island, and offer the last one standing his freedom. A vehicle customized to the specs of World Wrestling Entertainment star Steve Austin, who deserves better. So do we. 1 hr. 53 R (extreme violence, torture. profanity) - C.R.

Disturbia *** Rear Window gets YouTubed in this mostly clever jump-and-scream thriller about voyeurism, murder, and stuff going on behind closed (garage) doors. Shia LaBoeuf stars as a teen under house arrest who starts spying on his neighbors - one of whom he suspects is a serial killer. Sarah Roemer, David Morse and Carrie-Ann Moss costar. 1 hr. 44 PG-13 (violence, sex, profanity, adult themes) -S.R.

Fracture *** A stylish courtroom thriller so highly strung it zings. Anthony Hopkins, at the top of his game, is the businessman on trial for attempted murder. Ryan Gosling, who is a good match for Hopkins, is the prosecutor who imagines this will be an open-and-shut case. 1 hr. 38 R (profanity, discreet sex, violence) - C.R.

Next *** Nicolas Cage stars as a Vegas magician who can see into the future - two minutes into the future, to be exact. He's just the guy the FBI needs to save the world form Euro-terrorists with a nuclear weapon in this wildly ridiculous, thoroughly entertaining action thriller. With Julianne Moore and Jessica Biel. 1 hr. 31 PG-13 (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Vacancy ** Kate Beckinsale and Luke Wilson are the unhappy couple checking into a creepy motel. The videos, available to guests at no extra charge, appear to be especially nasty slasher pics - and appear to have been shot in the same room where the ill-fated stars have just gone to bed. A slick, sick-o exploitation pic. 1 hr. 20 R (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Theater

Reviewed by critics Wendy Rosenfield (W.R.), Howard Shapiro (H.S.), and Toby Zinman (T.Z.).

Opening This Week

In Orson's Shadow (Philadelphia Theatre Company) Backstage historio-gossipo-drama whose characters include Orson Welles, Laurence Olivier, Joan Plowright and Vivien Leigh. Adding to the hullabaloo is famous critic Kenneth Tynan. Previews start Friday; opens May 9.

Oklahoma (Media Theatre) The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is irresistible, hummable Americana, so hop into your surrey (fringe on top optional) and clip-clop out to the burbs. Previews Wednesday and Thursday, opens Friday.

Out of Sight (Shubin Theatre) Sara Felder reprises her one-woman show about her mother, family loyalty, and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, using puppets, circus tricks, and "a Jewish queer sensibility." Previews start Thursday; opens May 10.

Romeo and Juliet (Aquila Theatre Company at Rutgers University, Camden). This notable troupe is on tour with Shakespeare's tragedy. One night only, Friday.

U.S. Drag (Flashpoint Theatre Company at the Adrienne). Gina Gionfriddo's play about violence and the media. See what happens when bratty Gen Xers try to capture a lunatic on the loose to collect the reward. Previews Wednesday, opens Thursday.

Continuing

The Bomb-itty of Errors (11th Hour at Spirit Wind Internal Arts Center; 213 New St., between Second & Third) This funny and fast rap adaptation of Shakespeare's

Comedy of Errors

was a huge hit Off-Broadway. A good time. Word up. Ends today.

- T.Z.

Boy Gets Girl (Montgomery Theater) Souderton's Montgomery Theater tackles this troubling, demanding thriller that pits an accomplished female writer (the excellent Theresa Dolan) against a male stalker. Through May 12. - W.R.

Enchanted April (Walnut Street Theatre) The play about four women who share an Italian villa in 1922 is full of holes, but it's acted with polish on Paul Wonsek's beautiful Italianate set. Ends today. - H.S.

The Exonerated ((The Drama Group at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown) Actors read real-life stories of death-row prisoners who were exonerated. Through May 12.

The Fantasticks (Mum Puppettheatre) The tried-and-true sweet and tuneful musical about young love is given a new spin with puppets, ultimately distracting us from the excellent voices of the cast. Through next Sunday. - T.Z.

Ferdinand the Bull (Arden) The favorite children's book adapted for the stage in a sweet, if tame, flamenco musical. Through May 13. - T.Z.

Forever Plaid (Bristol Riverside Theatre) The four guys who play a doo-wop quartet overcome the show's far-fetched premise by delivering a concert-level revue. Through May 13. - H.S.

The Giver (People's Light & Theatre) Adaptation of a prize-winning children's book, a spiritual story of a boy named Jonas.

Glengarry Glen Ross (Theatre Exile at Christ Church Neighborhood House) A terrific revival of Mamet's great guy play about real estate salesmen who prove that everybody's a sucker and that nobody ever gets an even break. Through May 13. - T.Z.

Henry V (Delaware Theatre Company, Wilmington) The Brits and the French go to battle in this scrappy, inventive rendition, with a tireless cast who deliver Shakespeare impeccably. Through May 6. - H.S.

Hung on a Blonde Ponytail (Bckseet at Society Hill Playhouse) An original rock musical about two friends and a girl (with, probably, a blonde ponytail). Through Saturday.

Incoming (Philadelphia Theatre Workshop at Walnut Studio5) An absurdist fantasy about an expectant mother. Ends today.

The Life of Galileo (Wilma) Brecht's masterwork about the political collision of science and the church in a handsome and provocative production directed by Blanka Zizka. Through May 19. - T.Z.

Menopause: The Musical (Society Hill Playhouse) New cast in this long-running, popular show about The Change. Open-ended run.

Othello (Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival) It may be plodding at first, but when this production gets out of Venice and into Cyprus, it pipes along. Brian Anthony Wilson is an imposing Othello, Karl Hanover a properly despicable Iago. Through May 19. - H.S.

Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (Villanova) Frank McGuinness' play about three men held captive in Lebanon, based on the true story of an Irish hostage. Ends today.

Taking Steps (Hedgerow) Hedgerow Theatre delivers an uninspired production of Alan Ayckbourn's farcical examination of love and marriage in the British upper-middle-class suburbs. Ends today. - W.R.

The Taming of the Shrew (Lantern) An all-male cast performs Shakespeare's notoriously sexist comedy by camping it up and opting for easy laughs. Ends today. - T.Z.

The Taming of the Shrew (Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival) Shakespeare gets a fabulous makeover as director Domenick Scudera guides the bard deftly through a '40s-era version of the comedy about love and marriage. Through May 20. - W.R.

Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding (Innovation Studio at the Kimmel Center) Tony and Tina keep on tying the knot. Crashers, family and friends are all invited to this faux wedding with audience participation. Through May 19.

When Something Wonderful Ends (InterAct) This production of Sherry Kramer's one-woman play about Barbie, Midwestern Jewish life, and the U.S. oil addiction tends toward the didactic and never quite reaches an emotional connection. Through next Sunday. - W.R.

Video

Little Children *** Shattering satire about playground politics among parents in a leafy New England hamlet boasts terrific performances by Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson, and Jackie Earle Haley as a pedophile who might be the town's most solid citizen. 2 hrs. 10 R (profanity, nudity, sex) -

C.R.