Movies

Opening This Week

These movies open Friday unless noted.

Away From Her A couple who have been married for 40 years (Julie Christie, Gordon Pinsent) find themselves having to deal with the reality of Alzheimer's disease.

Delta Farce Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Engvall and D.J. Qualls star as three inept Iraq-bound National Guardsmen who are mistakenly dropped off in Mexico.

The Ex A 30-year-old slacker (Zach Braff) is forced to take a job working for his father-in-law when his pregnant wife (Amanda Peet) quits her high-paying job. To make matters worse, one of his new colleagues used to date his wife.

The Flock A federal agent (Richard Gere) and the woman he is training as his replacement (Claire Danes) try to track down a missing girl they believe to be connected to a sex offender they are investigating.

Georgia Rule Three generations of women from the same family come to grips with themselves and each other when the youngest (Lindsay Lohan) is taken by her mother (Felicity Huffman) from her San Francisco home to live under her grandmother's (Jane Fonda) strict rules on her Idaho farm.

The Hip-Hop Project This documentary examines a group of New York City teens who use hip-hop as a vehicle to get their lives in order.

Killer of Sheep Rerelease of the 1977 drama set in the Watts section of Los Angeles, where a slaughterhouse worker finds himself growing numb to his surroundings because of the brutality of his job. Henry G. Sanders stars.

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.

The Salon Vivica A. Fox stars in this comedy about a beauty shop owner who is pressured to sell her business and has to fight city government to hang on to it.

28 Weeks Later . . . The American military tries to repopulate London 28 weeks after a deadly virus wipes out the city's inhabitants. Does that sound like a good idea?

The Valet A French businessman trying to hide an affair from his wife persuades a humble car valet to pose as his mistress' lover. French with subtitles.

Waitress A small-town waitress (Keri Russell) with an overbearing husband and a talent for creating unusual pies finds inner strength after discovering she is pregnant.

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)

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.

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 3D. 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.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley Cillian Murphy stars as a young Irishman who sacrifices a promising medical career and joins with friends and family to fight occupying British forces in Ken Loach's close-up look at the Irish revolt of 1920. Powerful, heartbreaking stuff. 2 hrs. 04 No MPAA rating (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Also on Screens

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.

The Invisible *1/2 A brutal attack on a high school senior (Justin Chatwin) with a bright future leaves him poised between life and death, his only chance for survival being to figure out what happened to him before it's too late. 1 hr. 37 PG-13 (violence, sensuality, profanity) - W.S.

Lucky You ** Eric Bana as a compulsive gambler in this unfocused account of a Vegas poker stud who's lucky at cards and unlucky in love until he meets Drew Barrymore. 2 hrs. 15 PG-13 (profanity, sexual candor)

- 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.

Spider-Man 3 **1/2 Peter Parker, a.k.a. that Spidey guy, wrestles with evil, romance, his own exploding ego, and the burden of coming up with new stuff to satisfy millions of fans. Kirsten Dunst returns as sweetheart Mary Jane in this overstuffed third installment of the mega-movie franchise, and Thomas Haden Church, James Franco, and Topher Grace are the super-freaky bad dudes. 2 hrs. 20 PG-13 (violence, mayhem, 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 today and Tuesday, opens Wednesday.

Lookingglass Alice (Arden) This adaptation of Lewis Carroll's novel brings Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre back to Philly; the company specializes in theatrical effects and acrobatics. Previews begin Thursday, opens May 16.

Mrs. Packard (McCarter Theatre, Princeton) Emily Mann directs this world premiere of her new play about a 19th-century minister who commits his wife to an insane asylum. 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 today and Wednesday, opens Thursday.

Splittin' the Raft (People's Light & Theatre, Malvern) Based on Twain's "Huckleberry Finn," this family show dramatizes Huck's struggles with his conscience. Previews Wednesday and Thursday, opens Friday.

True West (Luna Theatre) Sam Shepard's frequently performed play about two brothers, one a screenwriter and one a drifter, is funny and violent. Previews begin Wednesday, opens Saturday.

Continuing

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 Saturday.

- W.R.

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 Saturday.

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. Ends today. - T.Z.

Ferdinand the Bull (Arden) The favorite children's book adapted for the stage in a sweet, if tame, flamenco musical. Through May 27. - 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 next Sunday. - H.S.

The Giver (People's Light & Theatre) Adaptation of a prize-winning children's book, a spiritual story of a boy named Jonas. Through May 20.

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 next Sunday. - 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. Ends today. - H.S.

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.

Oklahoma (Media) The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical is irresistible, hummable Americana, so hop in your surrey (fringe on top optional) and clip-clop out to the burbs. Through May 27.

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.

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.

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. Through May 19. - T.Z.

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. Ends today.

- W.R.

Video

The Painted Veil

Edward Norton and Naomi Watts star as a mismatched British couple in 1920s China in this quiet but roiling melodrama, where marital infidelity and a cholera epidemic collide with profound results. Rich with history and heartbreak, it's stirring stuff. 2 hrs. 05

PG-13

(violence, sex, adult themes) -

S.R.