Movies

Opening This Week

Beginners

See Steven Rea's preview on H2.

The Green Lantern See Steven Rea's preview on H2.

The Last Mountain Documentary on the environmental consequences of the fight over the fate of a West Virginia mountain between corporate coal interests and a citizens' group.

Mr. Popper's Penguins Jim Carrey stars in this comedy about a man whose life is turned upside down by six penguins.

Submarine A scheming 15-year-old (Craig Roberts) goes to great lengths to achieve his two goals: save his parents' marriage and lose his virginity before he turns 16.

The Trip See Steven Rea's preview on H2.

Excellent (****)

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.

The Tree of Life Terrence Malick contemplates the universe and nature, grace and grief and love - and the lives of a family in 1950s Texas - in his beautiful, kind of nutty masterpiece. With Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Sean Penn, and yes, CG dinosaurs, too. PG-13 (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) -

S.R.

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. It is 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.

Also on Screens

Bridesmaids ***

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

R

(sex, potty mouths, and potty humor) -

C.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.

Super 8 *** A model of recycling, this adolescent romantic thriller from JJ Abrams salvages the best parts from Steven Spielberg blockbusters. Because Abrams likes his melancholy characters and lets them be awestruck and aw-shucks, it works. With newcomer Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning. 1 hr. 52 PG-13 (intense action sequences, drug references) - C.R.

X-Men: First Class **1/2 The truth behind the Cuban missile crisis is revealed - finally! - in this elaborate origins story, which also explains how the mutant superheroes of the Marvel Comics franchise came to be. For a time, director Matthew (Kick-Ass) Vaughn keeps everything going, but the then the inevitable nosedive into meaningless action and save-the-world histrionics sets in. With James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Laurence, January Jones, and Kevin Bacon as a very, very evil German. Lots of cool, James Bond-ian '60s clothes and props. 2 hrs. 12 PG-13 (action, violence, adult themes) - S.R.

Theater

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

New This Week

Antony and Cleopatra

(The Missoula Oblongata and Puppet Uprising) This renegade, Montana-based traveling show pops up all over, this time meeting those who want to see its secret-location Shakespeare at the Girard station on the Market-Frankford Line. Ends Sunday.

Continuing

Art

(Act II Playhouse) Three-way dysfunctional bromance. Art purchase, talk ensues. Fun cast and swift direction keep you listening. Ends Sunday.

- W.R.

The Belle of Amherst (Hedgerow Theatre) Penelope Reed returns as Emily Dickinson. Through June 25.

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. Ends 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 next Sunday.

- 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 next Sunday. - T.Z.

Lost in Yonkers (Plays & Players) Textured, moving production of Neil Simon's family drama about a bitter, ironclad grandma and the children she damaged. Some funny lines, but that's not the point at all. Through next Sunday. - T.Z.

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. Extended through July 24. - 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 next Sunday. - H.S.

'Night, Mother (New City Stage Company) What does a mother do when her daughter calmly announces she's going to kill herself? Through July 3.

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. Ends 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 watch Vigil is to watch a dying play that takes two hours to finally end. Ends Sunday. - T.Z.

Video

Red Riding Hood **

The quavery, saucer-eyed Amanda Seyfried stars in

Twilight

director Catherine Hardwicke's

Twilight-

ian take on the fairy tale about a girl, a wolf, and a grandma (Julie Christie, of all people!). A trippy tweenage bodice- ripper that's funny and sexy and ridiculous.

PG-13

(violence, gore, sex, adult themes) -

S.R.