Opening This Week
These movies open Friday unless noted.
Civic Duty An American accountant (Peter Krause) who lost his job becomes obsessed with the possibility that his new Arab neighbor may be a terrorist, and takes matters into his own hands when he can't move the FBI to act.
Jindabyne The marriage of an Irish couple living in Australia is strained when the husband fails to immediately tell authorities that he and his fishing buddies found the body of a murdered girl. Starring Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney.
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.
Provoked: A True Story An Indian woman living in London (Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai) is charged with murder after she kills her abusive husband following one of his bouts of violence.
Shrek the Third The big green guy is back. When his father-in-law, King Harold, falls ill, Shrek has to find a suitable heir to the throne to avoid having to take the job himself, and give up his beloved swamp. With the usual celebrity voices - Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas - plus Justin Timberlake.
Reviewed by critics Carrie Rickey (C.R.) and Steven Rea (S.R.). W.S. is a wire-service review.
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. 1 hr. 23 No MPAA rating - C.R.
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)
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. 1 hr. 50
(sexual references, adult situations) -
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)
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.
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
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
(violence, sex, profanity, adult themes) -
The Ex **1/2 Zach Braff, Amanda Peet and Jason Bateman star in this uneven comedy about a jealous guy trying to sabotage a marriage, steal the girl, and destroy her husband in the process. The tasteless and un-p.c. gags are also the funniest, but much of it plays like uninspired TV sitcom. 1 hr. 30 PG-13 (profanity, comic violence, 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.
Georgia Rule **1/2 Jane Fonda as the Idaho grandma who prays and does good works; Felicity Huffman and Lindsay Lohan as her estranged California daughter and granddaughter who live, love and drink hard. The actresses are super, but filmmaker Garry Marshall so sugarcoats the tragic elements of the plot that his sweetness and light left a bad taste in the mouth. 1 hr. 53 R (profanity, extreme sexual candor) - C.R.
Spider-Man 3 **1/2 Peter Parker, also known as 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.
28 Weeks Later . . . *** Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's sequel to Danny Boyle's 2003 sleeper hit is a bloody, button-pushing shot of adrenaline. 1 hr. 39 R (extreme violence, gore, profanity ) - C.R.
Reviewed by critics Wendy Rosenfield (W.R.), Howard Shapiro (H.S.), and Toby Zinman (T.Z.).
Opening This Week
The Adventures of a Boy and His Dog on the High Seas
(Mum Puppettheatre) A family show featuring puppets by Robert Smythe. Opens Saturday.
Carousel (Walnut Street Theatre) The glorious Rodgers and Hammerstein musical love story includes the favorite songs "You'll Never Walk Alone," "If I Loved You," and "June Is Bustin' Out All Over." Previews begin Tuesday, opens May 23.
Doubt (Merriam) John Patrick Shanley's play won the 2005 Tony for best play; the splendid Cherry Jones starred in it then and stars in it now. Ambiguous drama about a formidable nun and a questionable priest. Opens Tuesday.
The Four of Us (1812 Productions at St. Stephen's Theatre) Itamar Moses' complicated comedy about success and friendship. Previews start Friday, opens May 23.
I Sent a Letter to My Love (Act II Playhouse) A musical by Jeffrey Sweet and Melissa Manchester. Opens Saturday.
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. Opens Wednesday.
Riverdance (Academy of Music) The touring company of 70 performers returns in the wildly popular Irish spectacle of music, song and dance. Opens Tuesday.
(New Candlelight Theatre in Ardentown, Del.) A new dinner-theater production of Roxy and Velma's sensational musical throwdown. Now you can have your singing and dancing and a buffet, too. Through July 15.
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. Ends today.
The Giver (People's Light & Theatre) A solid, though dark, adaptation of Lois Lowry's science fiction novel about a boy's awakening to the dystopia behind the utopia he's always known. Through May 20. - W.R.
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. Ends today. - T.Z.
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. Through June 3. - T.Z.
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. Ends Saturday. - T.Z.
Menopause: The Musical (Society Hill Playhouse) New cast in this long-running, popular show about The Change. Open-ended run.
Mrs. Packard (McCarter Theatre, Princeton) Emily Mann directs this world premiere of her play about a 19th-century minister who commits his wife to an insane asylum. Through June 10.
Oklahoma (Media) A well-costumed, fleet-footed cast honors Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1943 show with fine performances. 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. Ends Saturday.
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." Through May 27.
Splittin' the Raft (People's Light & Theatre, Malvern) Based on Twain's Huckleberry Finn, this family show dramatizes Huck's struggles with his conscience. Through June 10.
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 next Sunday. - 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 Saturday.
True West (Luna Theatre) Sam Shepard's frequently performed play about two brothers, one a screenwriter and one a drifter, is funny and violent. Through June 3.
U.S. Drag (Flashpoint Theatre Company at the Adrienne). Gina Gionfriddo's overlong po-mo sitcom about neurotic twentysomethings and urban violence in a darkly funny production. Through Saturday. - T.Z.
**** Against the repressive backdrop of Franco's post-civil-war Spain, a young girl delves into a fantasy world. Spanish with subtitles. 1 hr. 59
(fairytale grotesquerie, war violence and torture)