Movies

Opening This Week

Gulliver's Travels

See Steven Rea's preview on this page.

Opens Saturday

Little Fockers See Steven Rea's preview on this page. Opens Wednesday

Made in Dagenham True story of a group of British women who go out on strike from the Ford plant where they work to protest the sexual discrimination they face there. Starring Sally Hawkins. Opens Saturday

Rabbit Hole Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart star as a married couple struggling to return to a sense of normality less than a year after the unexpected death of their son. Opens Saturday

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale An archaeological dig in Finland unearths Santa. But he isn't the jolly old St. Nick of legend. English and Finnish with subtitles. Opens Wednesday

True Grit See Steven Rea's preview on this page. Opens Wednesday

Excellent (****)

Reviewed by critics Carrie Rickey (C.R.) and Steven Rea (S.R.).

W.S. denotes a wire-service review.

Black Swan Natalie Portman in the performance of her career as a fiercely disciplined prima ballerina struggling with the dual roles of Swan Lake and with a newly recruited dancer (Mila Kunis) threatening to steal her part. Vincent Cassell, Barbara Hershey, and Winona Ryder are on board for this thrilling, nutty psychodrama, from The Wrestler's Darren Aronofsky. 1 hr. 43 R (sex, nudity, drugs, physical torment, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

The King's Speech Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush star in this rousing Odd Couple comedy, drawn from real life, about King George VI, a stutterer, and his speech therapist. 1 hr. 51 R (profanity, but otherwise family-friendly for those 12 and older) - C.R.

The Social Network An enthralling, near-perfect comedy of manners from director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin about the exhilarating creation and contested consolidation of Facebook. With Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Justin Timberlake. 2 hrs. 01 PG-13 (profanity, sexual suggestiveness, drugs and alcohol) - C.R.

White Material Isabelle Huppert owns the character of a steel-willed French African in filmmaker Claire Denis' study of a woman trying to hold her plantation business and her family together in the throes of violence and political upheaval. A mournful, frightening, beautiful film. 1 hr. 45 No MPAA rating (violence, nudity, adult themes) - S.R.

Very Good (***1/2)

The Fighter

Based on the real-life career, and comeback, of welterweight champ "Irish" Micky Ward and the relationship with his wacko half-brother, erstwhile prizefighter Dicky Eklund, this roiling, colorful film is great in the ring, and great outside the ring, too. Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale are the pugilist sibs, Melissa Leo their mom, Amy Adams is Micky's bareknuckle barkeep girlfriend. 1 hr. 5

R

(violence, profanity, drugs, sex, adult themes) -

S.R.

127 Hours Gripping true story of a mountain climber (James Franco) who is trapped for five days under a boulder in a Utah canyon before taking drastic steps to survive. 1 hr. 37 R (profanity, disturbing violent content, bloody images) - C.R.

Tiny Furniture Writer/director/star Lena Dunham's fiercely witty, self-lacerating study of a college grad's aimless return to the family nest (in artsy downtown New York). Bad sex and identity crises ensue. A tiny indie with big, bold ideas - and a big prize from the South By Southwest Film Festival. 1 hr. 38 No MPAA rating (sex, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.

Waiting for "Superman" Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim's devastating diagnosis of what's wrong with American public schools and what it would take to heal them. With Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee, and Randi Weingarten. 1 hr. 42 PG (incidental smoking) - C.R.

Also on Screens

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader **1/2

Maybe it's the postproduction 3-D enhancements, but in this effects-laden

Odyssey

for tweens, sometimes humans and beasts seem more wax-and-paint than flesh-and-blood. Director Michael Apted deftly handles the elements of Christian allegory; it's the infernal digital effects that prove to be beyond his capacity. 1 hr. 55

PG

(violence) -

C.R.

How Do You Know *** Enjoyable, if uneven, comic romance more of the prickly-pear than love-apple variety. Reese Witherspoon is a softball player courted by baseball star Owen Wilson and out-of-work businessman Paul Rudd. 2 hrs. PG-13 (profanity, sexual candor) - C.R.

Tangled *** A fractured fairy tale in the spirit of Enchanted, Tangled is a boy-friendly version of Rapunzel, more of a hair-raising adventure than a yearning romance. 1 hr. 32 PG (mild violence) - C.R.

The Tourist ** Alarmingly charmless, pace-challenged stab at Cary Grant-Grace Kelly international intrigue and romance, with Johnny Depp (as a clueless decoy) and Angelina Jolie (as a sophisticated Brit). Notable for nice shots of Venice and for the total absence of the movie-star heat that movie stars are paid to radiate. 1 hr. 44 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) - S.R.

TRON: Legacy ** With its Zen jargon, martial-arts moves, and neon glow, the sequel to the 1982 cult picture that explored the inner life of video games demonstrates that you can teach an old dog new Matrix. But for the hipster ravings of Jeff Bridges, the sequel would otherwise be merely a gaudy Nintendo prototype. 2 hrs. 06 PG (lots of flashing lights and loud noise) - C.R.

Yogi Bear 3D * A computer-animated Yogi and Boo Boo inhabit a real-world Jellystone Park in this weak big-screen adaptation of the animated children's character. Dan Aykroyd provides the voice of Yogi, and Justin Timberlake is Boo-Boo Bear. 1 hr. 15 PG (mild rude humor) - W.S.

Theater

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

New This Week

Blue Man Group

(Merriam Theater) Funny, strange and - blue, they open Wednesday.

Dralion (Liacouras Center, Temple) Cirque du Soleil fuses East and West, aerial acts and acrobatics. Opens Tuesday.

A Jew Grows in Brooklyn (Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center) One boy's quest for the American Dream. Opens Thursday.

Continuing

Annie

(Media Theatre) Mary Martello takes over from Wanda Sykes (who returns Jan. 12) as Miss Hannigan, and sweet Tori Heinlein is Annie in a pleasant production whose orphan girls are the cutest. Through Jan. 23.

- H.S.

Around the World in 80 Days (Delaware Theatre Company) This adaptation of the Jules Verne novel sparks the imagination with a simple set and more than capable cast. Ends Sunday. - W.R.

Black Nativity (Theatre Double) A mixture of Langston Hughes' words, traditional carols, and gospel songs with a cast of joyful voices led by Mattilyn Rochester and director Michael LeLand at St. Mary's Chapel in Center City. Through Dec. 31. - H.S.

The Borrowers (Arden Theatre Company) Based on the old-fashioned books about a very tiny family, this show has plenty of charm and enough adventure to keep kids and parents happy. Through Jan. 30. - T.Z.

Caesar's Palace O' Fun (Walnut Street Theatre, Studio 3) Frank Ferrante's impresario alter ego leads this - yes, fun - blend of circus, burlesque, and cornball weirdness. Through Jan. 2. - W.R.

Dublin Carol (Amaryllis Theatre) A dreary play, drearily performed, drearily directed. Conor McPherson's self-important, self-pitying drunk rambles on for what feels like a week. Bah humbug. Ends Sunday. - T.Z.

The Great Divorce (Lantern Theatre Company) Anthony Lawton's reprise of his one-man show full of passionate acting and riveting storytelling, about the moral choices people face. Ends Sunday. - T.Z.

Miss Witherspoon (New City Stage at Adrienne) Christopher Durang's dark, funny tale of a dead woman sent back to Earth to try again is performed with brio in a top-notch production. Through Jan. 9. - H.S.

Nuncrackers (Hedgerow Theatre) This Christmastime version of Nunsense brings back those musical nuns, but in this show - and this production - they're merely amusing and never really zany. Through Jan. 9. - H.S.

Parenting 101 (Kimmel Center's Innovation Studio) This fun musical revue fully covers parenting, through the traumas and joys, with clever lyrics put to pop and show tunes. Through March 6. - H.S.

The Santaland Diaries 2010 (Flashpoint Theatre Company) Crumpet the elf, played once again by Derick Loafmann, tells David Sedaris' funny, anguished story about working the holiday season at Macy's, in this Flashpoint perennial. Ends Sunday. - H.S.

The Tempest (Act II Playhouse) Nothing new in this production, but Dan Kern's Prospero is an able magician-in-chief. Ends Sunday.

- W.R.

This Is the Week That Is (1812 Productions) The funniest yet of the comedy company's annual roundups of all the news that gives you fits - a hoot, and with the best multimedia, too. Through Dec. 31 - H.S.

The Three Musketeers (The Later Years) (People's Light & Theatre) The seventh annual totally original holiday panto has fights, tights, catchy songs, and, as always, actor Mark Lazar in a dress - plus a ton of silliness combined with a ton of laughs. Through Jan. 9. - H.S.

The Very Merry Xmas Carol Holiday Adventure Show (Theatre Horizon) Three actors accept a dare to create a holiday classic in this comedy of strange events. Through Dec. 31.

White Christmas (Walnut Street Theatre) Based on the 1954 Bing Crosby/Danny Kaye film, this musical is as light, fluffy, and pretty as its namesake. Through Jan. 9. - W.R.

Video

Salt **1/2

Commendably swift and progressively inane, this slam-bang thriller stars Angelina Jolie as a Bourne-like CIA gal accused of being a Russian mole. It's an action vehicle for Jolie but not much more - moving fast but thinking slow. 1 hr. 40

PG-13

(action, violence, profanity, adult themes) -

S.R.