New and noteworthy films, plays, videos

Judi Dench (left), Tom Wilkinson, and Tena Desae at the Monday premiere of “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York. DAVE ALLOCCA / Starpix
Judi Dench (left), Tom Wilkinson, and Tena Desae at the Monday premiere of “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York. DAVE ALLOCCA / Starpix
Posted: April 29, 2012

Movies

Opening This Week

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel A group of British retirees are lured to move to India by exotic advertising. Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Tom Wilkinson star.

Darling Companion Diane Keaton stars as a woman whose attachment to her newfound dog takes on new dimensions when her self-absorbed husband (Kevin Kline) loses the poor pooch.

Headhunters Norway’s most successful headhunter moonlights as an art thief. Norwegian and Danish with subtitles.

A Little Bit of Heaven A terminally ill woman (Kate Hudson) starts a relationship with the doctor (Gael Garcia Bernal) who broke the bad news to her.

Marvel’s The Avengers

See Steven Rea’s preview on H2

Meeting Evil A man with family troubles (Luke Wilson) sees life anew thanks to the machinations of a mysterious stranger (Samuel L. Jackson).

The Sound of My Voice

See Steven Rea’s preview on H2

We Have a Pope

See Steven Rea’s preview on H2

Excellent (ssss)

Reviewed by critics Carrie Rickey (C.R.), Steven Rea (S.R.), and Gary Thompson (G.T.) W.S. denotes a wire service review.

FootnoteThe rivalry between father and son Talmudic scholars spins into a moral and ethical whirlwind when one is honored with a huge prize, in this brilliant tragicomedy from Israeli filmmaker Joseph Cedar. Nominated for the foreign-language Academy Award. 1hr. 43PG(adult themes) — S.R

Very Good (sssf)

The Cabin in the WoodsFive friends pick the wrong cabin for rest and relaxation in this excellent horror film. 1hr.35 R (strong, bloody horror, violence and gore, profanity, drug use, and some sexuality/nudity) —G.T.

The Deep Blue SeaShot in a gauze of melancholy, Terence Davies’ crushing adaptation of the 1952 Terrence Rattigan play is a meditation on self-destruction and desire, with Rachel Weisz as the London magistrate’s wife who tosses her life away for a lover she knows doesn’t love her back. 1hr.38R(sex, nudity, adult themes)— S.R.

Dr. Seuss’ The LoraxAnimated family feature that intertwines the story of a boy out to impress the girl of his dreams with a pro-environmental message. Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Betty White, and Danny DeVito provide their voices. 1hr. 34PG(brief mild profanity)— W.S.

Friends With KidsJennifer Westfeldt (Kissing Jessica Stein), who also writes and directs, and Adam Scott star as longtime friends who decide to beat “the system” by having a baby without the pitfalls of being in a relationship. 1hr. 46 R (sexual content and profanity)— W.S.

The HunterWillem Dafoe stars as a mercenary who is sent to the Tasmanian wilderness in search of a rare animal. 1hr.41 R (sex, nudity, adult themes) — W.S.

The Kid With a Bike A fiercely determined 11-year-old goes looking for the father who abandoned him — and finds a guardian angel of sorts in the form of a village hairdresser, in Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s bracing, resonant film. 1hr.27 No MPAA rating (violence, profanity, adult themes) — S.R.

Monsieur Lazhar The French Canadian foreign-language Oscar nominee is a beautifully observed study of the relationship between a teacher and his students, as a gentle, tradition-bound Algerian emigre inherits a classroom of Montreal preteens in the wake of a terrible tragedy. The learning process will have to go both ways. 1hr.34 PG-13(adult themes)— S.R.

Monty Python and the Holy GrailArthurian legend will never be the same, as the trailblazing British comedy troupe send up all things Camelot, and use coconuts, and herring, and the knights who say “Ni,” to do so. 1hr.44 PG (comic violence, adult themes)— S.R.

Also on Screens

The Five-Year Engagement sssd Emily Blunt and Jason Segel are happily living together and happily engaged, and then careers and commitment issues and comedic predicaments get in the way. From the folks responsible for Forgetting Sarah Marshall, with a little bit more of a grown-up sensibility, but still with plenty of sex and potty jokes. 2hrs.04 R (sex, profanity, adult themes) — S.R.

The Hunger GamesssfdJennifer Lawrence stars as the bow-and-arrow-toting, brow-furrowed heroine of Suzanne Collins’ young-adult novel about a dystopian society’s televised spectacle, in which 12 boys and 12 girls battle to the death, until just one remains. The big-budget, tonally odd adaptation opts for a Vegas-meets-Wizard of Oz production design, as Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen and the other “tributes” prep for their lethal showdown amidst the extravagant glitz of the Capitol. And then they go into the woods, and start the killing.PG-13(violence, adult themes)— S.R.

The Lucky One ssfdZac Efron is an Iraq war veteran who finds a photo in the bombed-out rubble — a photo of a radiant woman — and decides to track her down when he returns stateside. Fate, destiny, and sage cliches whorl together in this glossy, sun-dappled adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks.— S.R.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits ssfd A pirate captain (voice of Hugh Grant) wants nothing more than to beat out his archrivals for the coveted Pirate of the Year award in this animated family feature. 1hr.25 PG (rude humor) — G.T.

The Raven ssdd Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) matches wits with a serial killer who takes care of his victims using methods from Poe’s stories. 1hr.51 R (profanity, violence, grisly images) — G.T.

Think Like a MansssdIn this disarming and entertaining comedy inspired by Steve Harvey’s self-help book, marriage-minded women and relationship-phobic men both win. The sparkling ensemble cast includes Taraji P. Henson, Michael Ealy, Meagan Good, and Romany Malco. Directed by Tim Story. 2hrs.02 PG-13 (sexual situations, profanity, drug use) — C.R.

Theater

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

New This Week

A Grand Night for Singing(Walnut Street Theatre’s Independence Studio) Four voices and 30 songs celebrate the artistry of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Previews Tuesday and Wednesday, opens Thursday,

Are You There, McPhee?(McCarter Theatre) This McCarter commission from John Guare features an 11-pound lobster. Previews Friday-May 10, opens May 11.

Boston Marriage (1812 Productions) Unlikely Mamet, with two Victorian-era lesbians leading complicated lives. In previews, opens Wednesday.

Miss Julie(InVersion Theatre) Strindberg’s exploration of class and power, staged in a Queen Village townhouse. Preview Wednesday, opens Thursday.

Philadelphia, Here I Come!(Irish Heritage Theatre at the Walnut 5) Fed up with Ballybeg, a conflicted Irish lad heads out into the world. Preview Friday, opens Saturday.

Souvenir(Center City Theatre Works) The story of society dowager Florence Foster Jenkins, who loved to sing and didn’t know she couldn’t. Opens Friday.

Continuing

A Behanding in Spokane (Theatre Exile) More bloody doings from Martin McDonagh. Through May 13.

A Wrinkle in Time(People’s Light and Theatre) Madeleine L’Engle’s classic science-fiction adventure is 50 this year. Through May 20.

The Black Monk (Simpatico Theatre Project) David Rabe’s adaptation is a welcome addition to Chekhov’s stage canon; this production shows why. Ends Sunday . — W.R.

Defending the Caveman (Prince Music Theater) Who’s on first, men or women? Through May 13.

Girls Night: The Musical (Kimmel Center’s Innovation Theatre) The precursor to the insipid Girl Talk, its game cast makes this production somewhat better, but in many ways it’s just as bad. Through May 13. — W.R.

God of Carnage (Walnut Street Theatre) Two sets of parents exhibit terrible playground behavior in Yasmina Reza’s funny/nasty play, in an aptly over-the-top production. Ends Sunday. — H.S.

How I Learned to Drive (Theatre Horizon) Uncle Peck is teaching Li’l Bit to drive. And then some. Ends Sunday.

Motherhood the Musical (Society Hill Playhouse) Twenty great songs and a lively four-woman cast make this a fun outing for moms (dads, too). Extended to May 20. — H.S.

My Fair Lady (Act II Playhouse) Why can’t all musicals be more like this one? Through June 3.

Night of the Iguana (South Camden Theatre Company) A good night — sultry, sweaty and funny, even if it reaches the end of its rope a little early. Through next Sunday. — W.R.

Slip/Shot (Flashpoint Theatre Company) A beautifully crafted and intensely moving drama about the legacy of racist fear is served by a powerful cast and an imaginative and skilled director. Through Saturday. — T.Z.

Spring Awakening (Media Theatre) Despite its magnetic leads, with awkward choreography and a sloppy ensemble, this Spring won’t see a blossoming of new fans. Through May 20. — W.R.

The Temperamentals (Mauckingbird Theatre Company) A disjointed history of the first gay rights society in the United States; neither the plot nor the characters fully emerge. Ends Sunday.— T.Z.

The Tempest (Curio Theatre Company) On his magical isle, Prospero casts spells, exacts revenge, and enables love. Through May 19.

Titus Andronicus (Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre) Puppets and actors combine to make this gory, gruesome tragedy a madly entertaining production, directed by the inventive, talented Aaron Cromie. Through May 19. — T.Z.

Twelfth Night (Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre) The design’s the thing in this lyrical production of the Bard’s comedy. Through May 20. — J.R.

Video

Haywire sssdMixed martial arts champ Gina Carano makes her big-screen debut in Steven Soderbergh’s sleek, sophisticated action thriller, about a hit woman on the run from a bunch of double- and triple-crossing guys (Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum). Cool stuff. 1hr.32R (violence, adult themes) — S.R.

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