Opening This Week
The Great Gatsby
See Steven Rea's preview on H2.
Harvest of Empire This documentary attempts to draw a connection between past U.S. expansionist policy in Latin-America and the current immigration problems.
Hava Negila: The Movie A documentary on the meaning and history of the popular Jewish song.
Kiss of the Damned See Steven Rea's preview on H2.
Midnight's Children See Steven Rea's preview on H2.
Tyler Perry Presents We the Peeples Nothing goes as planned when a young man (Craig Robinson) crashes his girlfriend's (Kerry Washington) family reunion in an effort to convince her to marry him.
Reviewed by critics Steven Rea (S.R.) and Tirdad Derakhshani (T.D.). W.S. denotes a wire-service review.
Blancanieves Inspiring and intoxicating mix of the old and the new, a Spanish black-and-white silent that takes the Brothers Grimm's Snow White fable and flips it and spins it, wondrously - and throws in a whole bullfighting angle to go along with the dwarfs. Set in 1920s Seville, with a rapturous musical score. If you loved "The Artist," you'll love this even more. 1 hr. 49 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) - S.R.
Mud Matthew McConaughey has the title role, as a mysterious fugitive discovered by two boys on an island in the Arkansas Delta, in Jeff Nichols' scary, surprising, magical, and downright remarkable film. An instant American classic. 2 hrs. 10 PG-13 (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Very Good (***1/2)
The Angels' Share
Veteran director Ken Loach delivers a playful but powerful heist pic, in which a motley crew of Glaswegian ne'er-do-wells plot to liberate a rare and valuable cask of whisky about to go up for auction. A lot of fun, but also a lot of heart. 1 hr. 46
No MPAA rating
(profanity, violence, adult themes) -
Koch A documentary about New York City's famously combative, confident, controversial three-term mayor, Ed Koch, a man whose energy, and ego, knew no bounds. His legacies - good, bad, and ugly - loom large over the city he governed. 1 hr. 40 No MPAA rating (profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
The Place Beyond the Pines Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper star in this roaring drama about a motorcycle stunt rider bank robber and the cop who chases him down. Riveting and electric, and boldly ambitious, with great performances from Eva Mendes, Ben Mendelsohn, Harris Yulin, and Ray Liotta. 2 hrs. 20 R (violence, profanity, drugs, sex, adult themes) - S.R.
No Gael Garcia Bernal stars as a hot young ad exec in 1988 Chile who joins the media campaign to oust military dictator Augusto Pinochet in this fictionalized piece of reeling, ricocheting history. 2 hr. R (violence, adult themes) - S.R.
Upstream Color Dense, richly textured, and emotionally fraught, Primer director and actor Shane Carruth's masterful second film is a surreal, elusive love story that's more tone poem than narrative. Amy Seimetz and Carruth are devastating as emotionally scarred lovers whose psychological baggage colors their courtship. A sublime puzzle without answers. 1 hr. 36 No MPAA rating (adult themes, profanity, sexual candor, mild scares, existential terror, angst) - T.D.
Also on Screens
The Big Wedding **
Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton are a long-divorced couple pretending they're still together so as to not offend their adopted son's conservative biological mom, coming from Colombia for his wedding. Susan Sarandon, who lives with De Niro's randy coot, is not happy about the ruse. A sedated ensemble farce, with Ben Barnes, Topher Grace, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried - and Robin Williams as the priest overseeing the ceremony. 1 hr. 29
(sex, nudity, profanity, adult themes) -
42 *** Inspirational, old-fashioned Hollywood account of Jackie Robinson's historic demolition of the color barrier in Major League Baseball, and his relationship with Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn Dodgers exec who gave Robinson a uniform. Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford star. 2 hrs. 08 PG-13 (profanity, racial epithets, adult themes) - S.R.
The Croods **1/2 DreamWorks' latest animated blockbuster is a visually dazzling, if a little empty-headed, 3D feast for the eyes. Nicolas Cage stars as the patriarch of a prehistoric caveman family who are forced to go on a road trip when their cave is destroyed. Emma Stone plays his adventurous daughter and Ryan Reynolds her love interest, a more evolved man who introduces the family to fire, cooking, and tool-making. The flick is breezy, diverting, and fun, though it lacks the inspired wit that made Shrek a classic. 1 hr. 38 PG (some scary action) - T.D.
Iron Man 3 **1/2 Robert Downey Jr. climbs back into the alloy-plated suit - actually, a bunch of 'em - and has to reckon with a nemesis who wreaks havoc on his home, and his homelife. With Gwyneth Paltrow as live-in girlfriend Pepper Potts, and Ben Kingsley as a bin Laden-like villain. Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, and Don Cheadle also show up in this overlong, overblown sequel. 2 hrs. 10 PG-13 (violence, aduklt themes) - S.R.
Oblivion **1/2 Tom Cruise stars as a maintenance man stuck on post-apocalyptic Earth with only his drones, his Jetsons-meets-
Zaha Hadid house, and his leggy British girlfriend (Andrea Riseborough). Everybody else has left - everybody but a ragtag band of rebels, led by a cigar-chomping Morgan Freeman. Olga Kurylenko also stars, as a NASA pilot who shows up and turns Cruise's hero into a love-addled mess. Polished-to-a-sheen sci-fi. 2 hrs. 06 PG-13 (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Pain & Gain ** Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson star as Florida lugheads on a doomed crime spree in this comedy that turns wrenchingly grisly. 2 hrs. 09 R (graphic violence, nudity, sex, profanity, drugs, adult themes) - D.H.
Reviewed by Wendy Rosenfield (W.R.), Jim Rutter (J.R.), David Patrick Stearns (D.P.S.), and Toby Zinman (T.Z.)
New This Week
Failure: A Love Story
(Azuka Theatre) A whimsical musical fable of one family, time, love and mortality. Previews Wednesday-Friday, opens Saturday.
The Hound of the Baskervilles (Curio Theatre Company) A "deliberately tatty" makeover of the Sherlock Holmes classic is out to amuse. Previews Wednesday-Friday, opens Saturday.
Into the Woods (McCarter Theatre) Stephan Sondheim's enchanting tangle of fairy tales spins them further. Previews Friday-May 9, opens May 10.
Lend Me a Tenor (Act II Playhouse) "Il Stupendo" can't go on as the star of Othello, and turmoil ensues in the search for a replacement. Previews Tuesday-Friday, opens Saturday.
Pride and Prejudice (Hedgerow Theatre)The romantic trials of the Misses Bennet, adapted for the stage. Preview Thursday, opens Friday.
Cooking With the Calamari Sisters
(Society Hill Playhouse) Mamma Mia! Two guys portray behavior-challenged Italian sisters in a spoof of cooking shows. Through May 19.
Dino! (Walnut Street Theatre Independence Studio) Bad weather maroons his band, so Dean Martin turns a Latin Casino appearance into an intimate one-man show. Through June 23.
I Am (Not) My Mother (The Red Room at Society Hill Playhouse) A celebration of mothers and daughters. Through May 11.
It's My Party: The Women and Comedy Project (1812 Productions) After two years of interviews, workshops and research, Jen Childs brings forth this original piece on the role of comedy in women's lives. Through May 19.
Mame (Media Theatre) Andrea McArdle is everybody's favorite madcap aunt. Through May 19.
The Misanthrope (Quintessence Theatre Group) Moliere's satire about a man who practices scathing honesty and demands perfection from an imperfect world. Updated by Martin Crimp from 17th-century Paris to 21st-century London. In repertory with Shaw's Arms and the Man. Through May 19.
Much Ado About Nothing (Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre) Domenick Scudera's brilliant direction elucidates the duality between earnestness and fear, tenderness and the urge for self-preservation in a fresh, exuberant production. Through May 19. - J.R.
North of the Boulevard (Theatre Exile) Bruce Graham's courageous new play about a decaying garage in a declining neighborhood is funny, gritty, and deeply troubling. Through May 19. - T.Z.
Othello (Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre) This production lasers in on what motivates its fine Iago's malicious actions. Through May 31. - W.R.
Permanent Collection (InterAct Theatre) Tom Gibbons' fine drama is loosely based on the Barnes Foundation saga, pre-move. Ends Sunday. - D.P.S.
South Pacific (Delaware Theatre Company) There is nuthin' like a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, and this is a splendid example. Ends Sunday. - J.R.
Jack the Giant Slayer **1/2
) Singer tackles the old fairy tale about a land of human-eating giants and the beanstalk that gets the young hero up there. In this case, to rescue a beautiful princess. Nicholas Hoult and Eleanor Tomlinson are the teenage heroes, Ewan McGregor is a valiant knight, and Stanley Tucci is the trusted royal adviser who turns out to be, well, villainous and vile. 1 hr. 54
(slobbering ogres, violence, scares, adult themes) -