Film and theater this week

Posted: June 08, 2012


Opening This Week

Lola Versus After being dumped by her fiance just weeks before their wedding, a woman (Greta Gerwig) enlists her friends to help her find her place in the world as a single woman about to turn 30.

Rock of Ages A romance is played out in 1980s Los Angeles with rock music setting the mood. Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Julianne Hough, and Catherine Zeta-Jones star.

Safety Not Guaranteed Three journalists set out to interview a man who placed an ad for a time-travel companion.

That's My Boy Comedy with Adam Sandler as a failed father who shows up unwanted on the eve of his son's wedding and tries to reconnect with him.

Whores' Glory A documentary looking at the lives of prostitutes around the world.

The Woman in the Fifth An American writer (Ethan Hawke) moves to Paris where he becomes involved with a woman (Kristin Scott Thomas) he begins to suspect is involved in a series of murders. English and French with subtitles.

Excellent ( ssss)

Bernie Jack Black is a bighearted, buoyant East Texas mortician on trial for killing an elderly widow the whole town hated in Richard Linklater's cheerfully twisted true-crime comedy. With Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey, and real-life Lone Star citizens with a lot to say. 1 hr. 43 PG-13 (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 émigré inherits a classroom of Montreal preteens after a terrible tragedy. The learning process will have to go both ways. 1 hr. 34 PG-13 (adult themes) — S.R.

Also on Screens

Battleship sssd A fleet of warships goes to battle against an alien force. 2 hrs. 13 PG-13 (profanity, violence, destruction) — G.T.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted sssd The gang's efforts to get back to New York City continue, this time taking them through Europe. 1hr.25 PG (some mild action, rude humor) — W.S.

Marvel's The Avengers ssfd Captain America, the Hulk, Iron Man, and Thor team up with Black Widow and Hawkeye to do battle with a demonic, demented Norse god (Thor's bad-seed brother) in Joss Whedon's effects-driven Marvel superheroes smashup. With Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, and Samuel L. Jackson as their boss, Shield agent Nick Fury. 2 hrs. 23 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) — S.R

Men in Black 3 sfdAgent J (Will Smith) travels back in time to prevent agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) from being killed. 1 hr. 43 PG-13 (violence, suggestive content) — G.T.

Prometheus ssfd An extraordinary visualist, if not visionary, Ridley Scott revisits Alien territory in his late-21st-century space thriller, in which an exploratory mission to a far-off world uncovers things profound and profoundly icky. Lots of phallic symbolism, lots of tentacles, and weighty ruminations about evolution, religion, artificial intelligence. Weighty, but maddeningly weightless, too. With Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron. 2hrs.04 R (violence, intergalactic ick, adult themes) — S.R.

Snow White and the HuntsmansssdKristen Stewart is the Grimms' heroine, but she's borrowed Joan of Arc's armor, and Frodo's and Odysseus' story arcs, in this dark, fantastic, surprisingly entertaining rethink of the fairy tale classic. With Charlize Theron enjoyably sinister and sexy as the evil queen, and Chris Hemsworth as the titular dude. 2hrs.07 PG-13 (violence, sorcery, adult themes) — S.R.


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

New This Week

Sweeney Todd (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival) Sondheim's demon barber, mad as ever. Previews Wednesday, Thursday, opens Friday.


A Grand Night for Singing (Walnut Street Theatre's Independence Studio) A fine quartet powers, cabaret-style, through nearly 40 Rodgers and Hammerstein gems. A class act from start to finish. Through July 1. — W.R.

A Dybbuk (Ego Po Classic Theater) Tony Kushner adaptation of the tale of a bride whose body is inhabited by the spirit of a man who died for love of her is staged and performed with great style. Through next Sunday. — H.S.

Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches (Wilma Theater) An electrifying revival of Tony Kushner's masterpiece. Through July 1. — T.Z.

Any Wednesday (Montgomery Theater) Two-timing corporate big gets his. Through June 30.

Art (Hedgerow Theatre) This lighter take on Yasmina Reza's drama about three men and a painting plays mostly for laughs. Through next Sunday. — W.R.

Asymmetric (New City Stage Company) Several strong performances keep this spy thriller humming, but playwright Mac Rogers doesn't give us enough reason to care about these characters. Ends Sunday. — W.R.

Automatic Fault Isolation (Hella Fresh at Papermill Theatre). A girl, a guy, and an aerospace-engineer inhabit a new, talky play that revs up only toward the end. Through June 24. — H.S.

Beautiful Boy (People's Light & Theatre) Actor/director Peter Pryor's new play about life with an autistic child. Through June 24.

Beauty and the Beast (Academy of Music) A big, loud slightly stripped-down facsimile of the B'way production. More Disney ride than theater, but that's the point, isn't it? Ends Sunday. — W.R.

Buddy — The Buddy Holly Story (Walnut Street Theatre) The Walnut's superb production about the man whose pivotal music shaped rock-and-roll features a cast that plays its own instruments — great springtime fun. Through July 22. — H.S.

The End of Civilization/Featuring Loretta (Walking Fish Theatre) Two from George F. Walker's "Suburban Motel" cycle in repertory. Through June 30. .

Etched in Skin on a Sunlit Night (InterAct Theatre Company). Hot mess in which Sigur Rós singer Jónsi spirit-guides a violent interracial couple, minus any fun. — W.R.

The Island (Lantern Theater Company) Strong acting and a strong message in an anti-apartheid play set on Robben Island, the notorious South African prison. Ends Sunday . — T.Z.

The Marvelous Wonderettes (11th Hour Theatre Company). Prom night, Springfield High, 1958. Rock out with four excellent performers who play the gal group in a lame first act, then shift 10 years in the second sizzling half. Through June 24. — H.S.

My Fair Lady (Act II Playhouse) The cast performs the songs with style, but this downsized production backed by a piano doesn't do the grand musical justice. Extended through July 1. — H.S.

Reasons to Be Pretty (Philadelphia Theatre Company) Epithets fly swiftly in this dynamic rendition of Neil LaBute's spitfire play about the way we define what's pretty and what's not. Through June 24. — H.S.

Robin Hood (Arden Theatre Co.) An easygoing adaptation aimed at kids is highly physical and lots of fun. Through June 24. — H.S.

Topdog Underdog (GoKash Productions). Suzan-Lori Parks' Pulitzer-winning tale of two brothers, in a beautifully acted rendering by its two players. Through next Sunday. — H.S.

Travesties (Plays & Players) People you've heard of put on a play in 1917 Zurich. Through June 23.

Tulipomania (Arden Theatre) Accent on the mania; after 6 years' development, Michael Ogborn's musical gets a far better production than it deserves. Through July 1. — W.R.

With a Song in My Heart (Society Hill Playhouse) Beautiful songs from classic shows. Through next Sunday.


Thin Ice3 sssf Greg Kinnear stars as a sleazeball insurance agent trying to scam an absent-minded old farmer (Alan Arkin) out of a prized violin. Larceny and murder ensue in this nicely turned, increasingly dark morality tale. With Billy Crudup, Lea Thompson. 1hr.33 R (profanity, violence, sex, adult themes) — S.R.

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