Opening This Week
George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead See Steven Rea's preview on H2.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time See Steven Rea's preview on H2.
Sex and the City 2 See Steven Rea's preview on H2. Opens Thursday
Reviewed by critics Carrie Rickey (C.R.) Steven Rea (S.R.), and Tirdad Derakhshani (T.D.). W.S. denotes a wire-service review.
Exit Through the Gift Shop A beguiling and subversively funny entertainment directed by and featuring the pseudonymous street artist Banksy, considering art's worth from many angles. 1 hr. 27 R (profanity, illegal street-art provocations) - C.R.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Violent, exhilarating, and faithful adaptation of Stieg Larsson's international best-seller, with Swedish actress Noomi Rapace in the role of Lisbeth Salander, the punky, pierced, perturbed, cyber-hacking heroine. 2 hrs. 32 No MPAA rating (violence, sexual violence, nudity, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Kick-Ass A potty-mouthed middle schooler trained in weaponry and weird sidelong glances teams up with a teenage dork in a wet suit to fight crime in this popping, propulsive comic-book adaptation about wanting to be a superhero even if your only power is invisibility in front of hot girls. 1 hr. 57 R (extreme violence, cussing, adult themes) - S.R.
How to Train Your Dragon ***
DreamWorks' CG-animated tale about a wimpy Viking kid who befriends a big flying dragon, and the revelations that come from learning that fire-breathing mythical beasts have feelings, too. Lighthearted, rowdy fun, in both 2-D and 3-D formats. 1 hr. 38
(intense action sequences, scary mythical beasts) -
Iron Man 2 *** Shaggily enjoyable and enjoyably shaggy followup to the 2008 blockbuster based on the Marvel Comics superhero and starring the delightful, delirious Robert Downey Jr. as the self-made superhero who encounters five - Count 'em! Five! - new nemeses. With Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, and Mickey Rourke. 2 hrs. 04 PG-13 (language, sci-fi violence, sexual innuendo, Scarlett Johannson in a catsuit) - C.R.
Just Wright *** Queen Latifah and Common star in this smartly made, thoroughly likable Cinderella rom-com, about an NBA all-star and the physical therapist who comes into his life to fix his knee - and gets into a fix when she falls in love. 1 hr. 51 PG (profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Letters to Juliet *** Vanessa Redgrave and Amanda Seyfried costar in this quasi-romantic comedy about old love and new love in Verona, Italy. With Franco Nero, Gabriel García Bernal, and Christopher Egan. 1 hr. 45 PG (nothing unsuitable for romantics) - C.R.
Robin Hood *** Russell Crowe stars in this big, bloody reimagining of the legend of the Sherwood Forest outlaw. It's an origins story, in fact, directed by the always cinematic Ridley Scott, and while it's not your jaunty swashbuckler, it has Cate Blanchett, Max Von Sydow, rampant villainy, and majestic battle scenes. Not a bad thing. 2 hrs. 11 PG-13 (violence, sex, adult themes) - S.R.
Shrek Forever After **1/2 The third sequel in the behemoth DreamWorks Animation franchise opts for an "alternate reality" scenario that undoes most of the scenarios of the previous films, and introduces a mad Rumpelstiltskin and a band of witches into the proceedings. Mediogre at best. 1 hr. 33 PG (scary dragon, intense action, fairy tale flippancy) - S.R.
Reviewed by critics Wendy Rosenfield (W.R.), Howard Shapiro (H.S.), and Toby Zinman (T.Z.).
Black Pearl Sings
(InterAct Theatre Company) A white woman who collects rare songs and a female black prisoner who knows them do a complex dance. Previews Friday-June 1, opens June 2.
Fiddler on the Roof (Walnut Street Theatre) Tevya, Anatevka, sunrise, sunset. Previews Sunday and Tuesday, opens Wednesday.
Leaving (Wilma Theater) In Czech statesman/playwright Vaclav Havel's latest, a retired pol struggles. U.S. premiere. Previews Sunday and Tuesday, opens Wednesday.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Philadelphia Theatre Company) The second in August Wilson's cycle about 20th-century black life is this blues-drenched play set in the 1920s. Previews Sunday-Tuesday, opens Wednesday.
Sunday in the Park With George (Arden Theatre Company) Color and light, color and light, by Sondheim. Previews Thursday-June 1, opens June 2.
(Philadelphia Theatre Workshop) Professional term-paper writer and scheming grad student meet. Romance and revenge ensue. Through June 6.
Class (Cape May Stage) Veteran acting teacher meets mysterious young actress, and lives change. Through June 12.
Closer Than Ever (Bristol Riverside Theatre) Smart, sophisticated, and smoothly performed, this revue of songs about loving, dividing, and connecting brims with energy. Ends today. - H.S.
The Don (Hedgerow Theatre) Mafia don faces down narcs on the Mexican border in this world-premiere thriller. Through June 5.
Girls Night (Innovation Studio, Kimmel Center) Five friends, a raft of girl anthems, and sheer fun. Ends today. - T.Z.
Gossamer (People's Light and Theatre) A captivating play based on Lois Lowry's book about DreamGivers, nightmare-inflicting Sinisteeds, and the boy whose dreams are their battleground. Ends today. - W.R.
The Gravedigger: Plays by Mark Borkowski (Walking Fish Theatre) Three short works about unhealthy relationships by this Fishtown native have uneven success. Ends today. - W.R.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (Arden Theatre Company) A delightfully chaotic adaptation of the classic children's book about a very demanding little mouse. Extended through June 27. - W.R.
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Fever Dream Repertory) A lawyer files suit to spring history's most notorious sinner from hell. Through Saturday.
Measure for Measure (Quintessence Theatre Group) A somber take on Shakespeare's dark comedy bogs down despite some interesting directorial interpretation. Through next Sunday. - W.R.
The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) (Walnut Street Theatre's Independence Studio) In these five deliciously witty parodies of Big Broadway Musicals, a wildly talented cast shifts from style to style. Through June 27. - T.Z.
Rent (Media Theatre) The beloved La Boheme-on-the-Lower East Side gets a warm, heartfelt production. Through June 6. - W.R.
Respect (Society Hill Playhouse/Act II Playhouse) The progress of women, in popular song, is a successful crowd-pleaser that has a fine cast - but also an overblown narrative that demonizes men. Extended through June 27. - H.S. .Rodgers and Hammerstein Are Dead (Philadelphia Joke Initiative) An entirely improvised Rodgers and Hammerstein-style musical with piano. It's great - or at least it was the night I saw it. Ends today. - W.R.
The Screwtape Letters (Lantern Theatre) Tony Lawton's popular adaption of the C.S. Lewis epistolary classic, wherein a senior demon instructs a young tempter in how to corrupt a man and gain his soul.
The Story of My Life (Act II Playhouse) This intimate musical about friendship, as told through two buddies from boyhood, is a powerful gem in this staging, far different from its unsuccessful Broadway incarnation last season. Through next Sunday. - H.S.
Take Flight (McCarter Theatre) Whatever it is - a chamber musical? operatic vaudeville? - it's enthralling, tunefully exploring obsession through the interwoven stories of the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, and Amelia Earhart. Through June 6. - T.Z.
Dear John **
Moist, star-crossed romance from the Nicholas Sparks novel. It features the attractive and sensitive Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum as young lovers separated by war and duty. Lasse Hallstrom's movie opens promisingly, but fails to build, as though focused on the wrong end of the hourglass. 1 hr. 45
(sensuality, battle scenes) -