Opening This Week
See Steven Rea's preview on H2
Blank City Documentary on New York City's groundbreaking independent film movement of the late 1970s.
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer Young Judy's summer takes a turn for the better when her eccentric aunt (Heather Graham) arrives.
Super 8 See Steven Rea's preview on H2.
The Tree of Life See Steven Rea's preview on H2.
Reviewed by critics Carrie Rickey (C.R.), Steven Rea (S.R.),
and David Hiltbrand (D.H.).
The Double Hour A beautiful, head-spinning mystery set in Turin, Italy, where a Slovenian hotel maid falls for an ex-cop and trouble ensues. Leads Ksenia Rappoport and Filippo Timi won the top acting prizes at the Venice Film Festival for their efforts. Tricky, in all the best ways. 1 hr. 42 No MPAA rating (violence, sex, nudity, adult themes) - S.R.
13 Assassins Takashi Miike's sublime swordfest, set in feudal Japan, is, like so many samurai stories (and American westerns), about brotherhood, justice, and sacrifice. By turns thrilling and funny, visually exquisite and emotionally charged. 2 hrs. 06 No MPAA rating (violence, adult themes) - S.R.
Very Good (***1/2)
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Werner Herzog ventures into southern France's Chauvet caves, sealed for eons by a rockfall and discovered only in 1994, where the glistening rock faces turn out to house humankind's first art gallery: paintings of horses and mammoths, lions and reindeer, put there 32,000 years ago by a budding Picasso or two. Amazing. 1 hr. 30
No MPAA rating
(adult themes) -
City of Life and Death Unsettlingly beautiful, black-and-white, wide-screen account of the Nanking massacre, the nightmare six weeks in late 1937 when Japanese soldiers raped and killed thousands of Chinese. At once allusive and lucid, mixing cinematic impressionism with documentary-like detail, director Lu Chuan has made a chilling and powerful antiwar war movie. 2 hrs. 13 R (extreme violence, sexual violence, nudity, adult themes) - S.R.
Everything Must Go Will Ferrell gives an unexpectedly poignant performance as an Arizona ad exec who loses his job, his wife, and his house all on the same day - you can feel the guy's pain, but there's humor here, too. A first film by writer-director Dan Rush, adapted from a Raymond Carver short story. With Rebecca Hall, Laura Dern, and a beautifully unself-conscious turn by a young actor, Christopher Jordan Wallace. 1 hr. 36 R (profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Incendies A powerful meditation on how the past reverberates in the future, how family secrets come back to haunt the living. Switching between modern-day Montreal and a Middle Eastern state not unlike Lebanon now and 30 years ago, the film jolts like Greek tragedy. A 2011 foreign-language Oscar nominee. 2 hrs. 10 R (violence, adult themes) - S.R.
Midnight in Paris A lark, a soufflé, a delightful shaggy-dog story with Owen Wilson as its shaggy hero. What's he doing in a Woody Allen movie about a B-list screenwriter who time travels from the present to the Jazz Age? Disarming the audience with his wistful joie de vivre, that's what. With Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, and Michael Sheen. 1 hr. 34 PG-13 (sexual references) - C.R.
The Robber An exhilarating and ultimately haunting thriller, based on a true story, about a champion Austrian marathon runner compelled to rob banks. Run, moola, run. 1 hr. 37 No MPAA rating (violence, nudity, sex, adult themes) - S.R.
Also on Screens
A hybrid. Part female friendship flick, part gross-out gagfest, this comedy of terrors cowritten by and starring Kristen Wiig is about a singleton afraid of losing her best friend (Maya Rudolph) to a rival bride attendant (Rose Byrne). With Chris O'Dowd and Jon Hamm. 2 hrs. 05
(sex, potty mouths, and potty humor) -
Fast Five *** Defying laws of physics, laws of acting, and the law of diminishing returns, the fourth sequel in the Fast and Furious franchise delivers a ridiculously fun mix of motorized macho mayhem and multicultural bonding. With vintage muscle cars and special-purpose monster trucks, over-the-top stunts, heist jobs, and rescue missions, all set in colorful Rio de Janeiro. 2 hrs. 10 PG-13 (violence, intense action, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
The Hangover, Part II ** Todd Phillips' overfamiliar sequel to his unexpected 2009 hit is a Bangkok-and-bull story, virtually a scene-for-scene clone of the first - this time in Thailand. With Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper, and Zach Galifianakis. 1 hr. 41 R (frontal nudity, sexual candor, profanity, drugs, general raunch) - C.R.
Kung Fu Panda 2 *** There's an ancient Chinese saying: The sequel is never as good as the original. Still, the further adventures of Po are fast and a little furious, combining tumbling chopsocky with witty wisecracks and kernels of koan. 1 hr. 30 PG (intense images, cartoon violence) - S.R.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides **1/2 Somewhat more buoyant than its two immediate predecessors, the fourth installment in Disney's billions-o'-doubloons franchise finds Johnny Depp teamed with Penélope Cruz in a quest for the Fountain of Youth. Geoffrey Rush is back as Jack Sparrow's rival, and a school of CG mermaids bring Pre-Raphaelite Victoria's Secret action to the proceedings. 2 hrs. 07 PG-13 (violence, intense action, scares, adult themes) - S.R.
Thor ** Chris Hemsworth stars as the Norse god of comic-book fame in this handsome but vacuous action film. With Anthony Hopkins and the ubiquitous Natalie Portman. 1 hr. 54 PG-13 (intense action and violence) - D.H.
Reviewed by critics Wendy Rosenfield (W.R.), Howard Shapiro (H.S.), and Toby Zinman (T.Z.).
New This Week
(New City Stage Company) What does a mother do when her daughter calmly announces she's going to kill herself? Previews Thursday and Friday, opens Saturday.
A Prometheus Bound: A Folk Musical
(Society Hill Playhouse Red Room) This modern-day retelling, in song and chant, about the Titan whom Zeus chained to a rock for eternity is a sincere effort, fraught with misfires. Through Saturday.
Art (Act II Playhouse) Three-way dysfunctional bromance. Art purchase, talk ensues. Fun cast and swift direction keep you listening. Through next Sunday. - W.R.
The Belle of Amherst (Hedgerow Theatre) Penelope Reed returns as Emily Dickinson. Through June 25.
Dividing the Estate (People's Light & Theatre Company) Horton Foote's drama about a dysfunctional family facing financial ruin despite owning 5,000 acres of Texas. Excellent cast. Through Sunday. - T.Z.
The Flea and the Professor (Arden Theatre) Hans Christian Andersen's wisp of a weird final tale is refashioned into this colorful, fun world-premiere musical for kids. Through next Sunday. - W.R.
The Great American Trailer Park Musical (11th Hour Theatre Company) A rollicking coproduction with Montgomery Theater features mayhem and music in Armadillo Acres. Great fun, on a stage at the Arden. Through June 19. - H.S.
In a Daughter's Eyes (InterAct Theatre Company) InterAct revisits the "Free Mumia" issue by fictionalizing the daughters of a murdered policeman and the black revolutionary who has been on death row for the crime. Engrossing plot, good cast. Through June 19. - T.Z.
Lost in Yonkers (Plays & Players) Neil Simon won a Pulitzer for this play about two young brothers. Through June 19.
Miss Saigon (Walnut Street Theatre) An engrossing if sometimes schlocky production of this long-running musical tragedy about betrayal - political and personal - during the Vietnam War. Through July 17. - T.Z.
My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra (Walnut Street Theatre Independence Studio on 3) More nightclub show than theater, it's two hours of pure entertainment, showcasing 53 Sinatra songs. Four appealing singers make it happen. Through June 26. - T.Z.
My Wonderful Day (Wilma Theater) Alan Ayckbourn's comedy shines in this production led by the perfect Lavita Shaurice as a little girl who sees more than she should in a posh London home. Through June 19.
Peter Pan (Village Productions, Pottstown) A recasting of a musical version by the creators of Mary Poppins. Through June 19.
Playing Leni (Madhouse Theater Company) Was Hitler's fave filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl, also his political ally, or was she using him to seal her fame? A smart world premiere, and well acted. Through Saturday
Ruined (Philadelphia Theatre Company) Lynn Nottage's powerful Pulitzer-winning play about what war does to women, delivered inside a tavern/brothel by a superb cast. Through next Sunday. - H.S.
Two Into One (Hedgerow Theatre) This year's Ray Cooney summer farce puts MPs and the PM through their paces. Through Aug. 7.
Vigil (Lantern Theater Company) A man waits for an old woman to finally die. He waits and waits; months go by, the seasons change, and still he waits. I know how he feels. To watching Vigil is to watch a dying play that takes two hours to finally end. Through next Sunday. - T.Z.
True Grit ***1/2
The Coen Brothers adapt Charles Portis' novel about a plucky girl who hires a bounty hunter to collect her father's killer and rides on the hunt herself, determined to see things right. With Jeff Bridges as the one-eyed, boozy gunslinger Rooster Cogburn, Matt Damon as a comically fussy Texas Ranger, Josh Brolin as the villain, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld as the impossibly composed and gumptious 14-year-old heroine. 1 hr. 5-
(violence, cussing, adult themes) -