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Movies Opening This Week Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay The renowned magician gets the documentary treatment.


Coming This WeekBy Steven Rea

The Hangover Part III The Wolfpack returns to Las Vegas and then ventures to the staid and sleepy town of Tijuana in the final installment of the guys-gone-wild trilogy. Lots of madness, lots of Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), and, if the trailers are to be believed, lots of giraffe body parts splattered across the interstate. (Opens Thursday) R

Epic Fairies and fierce little warriors, talking snails and a teensy-weensy queen (voiced by Beyoncé) live among us, hiding in the woods and doing battle with their own wee nemeses while unwitting humans go about their business. A CG-animated feature with lots of action and a feisty teenage heroine (Amanda Seyfried), from the director of Ice Age. PG

Frances Ha Greta Gerwig stars in this black-and-white indie from Noah (Greenberg) Baumbach, about a New Yorker struggling to find a job, a place to live, and some meaning in her life. R

Opening This Week

Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay The renowned magician gets the documentary treatment.

Epic See Steven Rea's preview above.

Fast & Furious 6 Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) assembles an elite team to take down a rival gang. Vin Diesel also stars.

Frances Ha See Steven Rea's preview above.

The Hangover Part III Opens Thursday. See Steven Rea's preview above.

Love Is All You Need A bitter widower (Pierce Brosnan) and a Danish hairdresser (Trine Dyrholm) whose husband has left her for another woman are brought together by the marriage of their children.

What Maisie Knew In an adaptation of the Henry James novel, a young girl becomes a pawn in her parents' bitter divorce. Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan star.

Excellent (****)

Reviewed by critics Steven Rea (S.R.) and Tirdad Derakhshani (T.D.). W.S. denotes a wire-service review.

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 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.

Something In the Air A French teen comes of age amid the social unrest of the '60s and '70s. French with subtitles. 2 hrs. 05 No MPAA rating (sex, nudity, street protests) - W.S.

Star Trek Into Darkness J.J. Abrams' reboot sequel is as good, if not better, as the 2009 Star Trek. James T. Kirk is in trouble with the admiralty, Spock and Uhura are having a lovers' spat, and a new bad guy (Benedict Cumberbatch) threatens to wreak havoc across the universe. Smart, fun, with exhilirating action and spectacular visual effects. Beam us up, Scotty. 1 hr. 52 PG-13 (violence, interspecies sex, adult themes) - S.R.

Also on Screens

At Any Price **1/2 Dennis Quaid is an Iowa farmer bent on expanding his acreage, and expanding sales of genetically engineered seeds, in this nicely observed but too obvious drama. "Grow or die" is Henry Whipple's motto, but in growing his (agri-)business, he's leaving his family and friends behind. 1 hr. 52 R (violence, profanity, sex, adult themes) - S.R.

The Great Gatsby ** "Less is more?" Not if Baz Luhrmann is around. The Australian auteur's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jazz Age tragedy is a dizzying display of excess, like Busby Berkeley on steroids, with a Jay-Z-produced soundtrack. But at the heart of it all, there is no heart - it's impossible to care. With Leonardo DiCaprio as the mysterious millionaire Gatsby, and a callow, shallow Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, our narrator. Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton are Daisy and Tom Buchanan, play-acting in glorious Roaring Twenties getups. 2 hrs. 23 PG-13 (sex, profanity, violence, adult themes) - S.R.

The Iceman *** Michael Shannon is cold and scary as Richard Kuklinski, a New Jersey native who spent more than 20 years killing people for a living, and getting away with it. A true-crime thriller directed with punch and grit, with Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta and Chris Evans along for the ride. 1 hr. 46 R (violence, profanity, drugs, nudity, adult themes) - S.R.

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, 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.

The Peeples **1/2 Craig Robinson stars in what could have been called Meet the Peeples, as in Meet the Parents, if the filmmakers wanted to attract some intellectual property litigation. He's a laid-back, lowly children's entertainer in a relationship with the daughter (Kerry Washington) of an uppercrust and snooty African-American clan. Her parents don't even know he exists, until he invites himself to their Hamptons manse, where mischief and misunderstandings ensue. 1 hr. 35 PG-13 (sex, drugs, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.


Reviewed by Wendy Rosenfield (W.R.), Jim Rutter (J.R.), David Patrick Stearns (D.P.S.), and Toby Zinman (T.Z.).

New This Week

A Little Night Music (Arden Theatre) Sondheim's waltz-time elegy to old love, new love, and, yes, even true love. Previews Thursday-May 28, opens May 29.

Bootycandy (Wilma Theater) Robert O'Hara's anthology of sketches about growing up gay and African American. In previews, opens Wednesday.

Grease (Walnut Street Theatre) It's the one that you want, and you know it. In previews, opens Wednesday.

Heroes (Lantern Theater) There's rebellion afoot at the old soldiers' home. In previews, opens Wednesday.

Inherit the Wind (Bristol Riverside Theatre) Evolution takes center stage at the 1925 Scopes monkey trial. Previews Tuesday and Wednesday, opens Thursday. Through June 9.

Spring Awakening (Theatre Horizon) This Tony-winning musical vibrates with teenage desire and exuberance in repressive 19th-century Germany. In previews, opens Thursday.

Venus in Fur (Philadelphia Theatre Company) Vanda wants the part and, in this extreme-audition David Ives sex comedy, she'll do anything to get it. Previews Friday-May 28, opens May 29.


Cooking With the Calamari Sisters (Society Hill Playhouse) Mamma Mia! Two guys portray behavior-challenged Italian sisters in a spoof of cooking shows. Ends Sunday.

Dino! (Walnut Street Theatre Independence Studio) Bad weather maroons his band, so Dean Martin turns a Latin Casino appearance into a solo in this low-maintenance, low-ambition cabaret show. Extended through June 30. - D.P.S.

Failure: A Love Story (Azuka Theatre) It's hard to imagine a better production of this lovely, bittersweet play. Splendid direction of a superb cast. Through next Sunday. - T.Z.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Curio Theatre Company) A "deliberately tatty" makeover of the Sherlock Holmes classic is out to amuse but does so rarely. Through June 1. - T.Z.

Into the Woods (McCarter Theatre) Stephan Sondheim's enchanting tangle of fairy tales spins them further in this pared-down, often brilliant production. Through June 2.

- D.P.S.

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. Ends Sunday.

Lend Me a Tenor (Act II Playhouse) Perfect casting in Act II's production elevates this oft-produced comedy into an evening of fantastical farce. Through June 8. - J.R.

The Lysistrata Project (Simpatico Theatre Project) This play updates Aristophanes' comedy about rebellious Athenian women bartering for their rights. Through June 2.

Mame (Media Theatre) Andrea McArdle is everybody's favorite madcap aunt. Ends Sunday.

The Misanthrope (Quintessence Theatre Group) A slick, sumptuous updating of Molière's satire about a man who practices scathing honesty and demands perfection from an imperfect world. In repertory with Shaw's Arms and the Man. Ends Sunday. - J.R.

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. Ends Sunday. - 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. Ends Sunday. - T.Z.

Othello (Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre) This production lasers in on what motivates its fine Iago's malicious actions. Through May 31. - W.R.

Pride and Prejudice (Hedgerow Theatre) The romantic trials of the Misses Bennet get a farcical treatment in this stage adaptation. Through June 16.

- W.R.


Side Effects ***1/2 Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh's tightly coiled psychological thriller - with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Rooney Mara, with Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones - would make James M. Cain proud. On one level, a dark take on the culture of pharmaceutical cure-alls, on another, a classic, twisting noir. 1 hr. 46 R (violence, profanity, sex, nudity, drugs, adult themes) - S.R.