21 and Over A young man celebrates his 21st birthday, leaving him in less-than-perfect shape for his big medical school exam the next morning.
Reviewed by critics Steven Rea (S.R.) and Carrie Rickey (C.R.) and David Hiltbrand (D.H.). W.S. denotes a wire service review.
56 Up The eighth installment in the extraordinary doc series that began with Seven Up, profiling a group of British 7-year-olds, and has revisited them every seven years since. Although the respective stories are different, ultimately, what is so compelling is the universality of the experiences. We were all once children. And we all will die. And in between, there is everything else. 2 hrs. 24 No MPAA rating (adult themes) - S.R.
Amour Michael Haneke's remarkable and heartbreaking portrait of an elderly Parisian couple stars French New Wave icons Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva. When she falls ill, he must take care of her, throwing the quiet, comfortable lives of these two retired musicians into chaos. A sad and beautiful, and occasionally frightening, masterpiece. 2 hrs. 07 PG-13 (adult themes) - S.R.
Beasts of the Southern Wild Benh Zeitlin's intensely strange and wonderful film about a girl named Hushpuppy, her defiant but deathly ill father, and the ragged Louisiana delta community they inhabit is dreamlike and full of grand emotional swells. Moviemaking as outsider art. 1 hr. 31 PG-13 (intense imagery, violence, adult themes) - S.R.
Silver Linings Playbook A head-spinning wonder of a movie about love, pain, reinvention, rehabilitation, and the totemic power of an NFL franchise, with Bradley Cooper as a guy dealing with bipolar disorder and heartbreak, Jennifer Lawrence as a young widow with her own troubles, and an amazing supporting cast. From director David O. Russell, based on Matthew Quick's novel, and about as Philly-centric as you can get. 2 hrs. 02 R (profanity, sex, drugs, violence, adult themes) - S.R.
Zero Dark Thirty Kathryn Bigelow's slow-burning and brilliant account of the decade-long Osama bin Laden manhunt, with Jessica Chastain as the CIA officer determined to track down the al-Qaeda figure no matter what. With Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, Joel Edgerton, and Mark Strong. 2 hrs. 37 R (intense violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Argo Ben Affleck stars in and directs the far-fetched but factual tale of a CIA plot to extricate six U.S. Embassy workers from Tehran as the 1979 Iran hostage crisis unfolds. With Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, and crackling humor amid the white-knuckle suspense. 2 hrs. R (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga Four seasons in one of the remotest quadrants of the Siberean forest, where hunters, trappers, and fishermen function pretty much exactly as their forebears did hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Werner Herzog, reediting and adding his lyrical narration to what was a four-hour Russian TV program, is our guide. 1 hr. 34 No MPAA rating (adult themes) - S.R.
The Impossible A family caught in the unbelievable carnage of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami - unbelievable, but true - with Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, and remarkable young actor Tom Holland. A chilling but thrilling account of survival, visceral and inspiring. 1 hr. 54 PG-13 (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Lincoln Daniel Day-Lewis in an act of human alchemy, delivering an extraordinary performance as the 16th president, campaigning to end the Civil War and abolish slavery. A film about America's unique political process, and the leader trying to bend it to his will. 2 hrs. 29 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) - S.R.
Rise of the Guardians Enchanting animated adaptation of William Joyce's The Guardians of Childhood, featuring Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Sandman, and Jack Frost as the fantastic five who protect and serve children's imaginations. 1 hr. 29 PG (animated adventure, gloomy villain; for those 6 and older) - C.R.
Side Effects Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh's tightly coiled psychological thriller - with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo's Rooney Mara, 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. R (violence, profanity, sex, nudity, drugs, adult themes) - S.R.
Beautiful Creatures **1/2 A trippy, over-the-top, supernatural teen romance about a Goth-y witch girl (Alice Englert) and the mere mortal high school boy (Alden Ehrenreich) who falls for her. Diabolical curses and Civil War flashbacks ensue - and Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons talk up a dark magic storm. Adapted from the first book in the YA series Caster Chronicles. 2 hrs. 04 PG-13 (violence, scares, sex, adult themes) - S.R.
A Good Day to Die Hard ** Bruce Willis, smooth-pated and smirky, is back as John McClane, the wisecracking New York cop, who wings it to Russia to get his estranged son (Jai Courtney) out of a jam - only he doesn't know his son is a CIA spy. The duo bond over bullets and bombs, but this fifth in the series is, despite all the well-orchestrated mayhem, kind of a dud. 1 hr. 37 R (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters *1/2 Years after the gingerbread incident, the siblings are special bounty hunters who hunt witches the world over. 1 hr. 26 PG-13 (violence, profanity) - W.S.
Identity Thief **1/2 Jason Bateman is the mark whose identity, and credit line, are appropriated by a plus-size, potty-mouthed con artist, played with a (literal) punch by Melissa McCarthy, in this cheesy comedy. When he uncharacteristically goes after her, an odd-couple slapstick road movie ensues. 1 hr. 52 R (profanity, violence, sex, adult themes) - S.R.
Snitch **1/2 Dwayne Johnson stars as a father who goes undercover to expose a drug cartel - to save his college-bound son from serving a mandatory 10 years behind bars - in what is essentially a B-movie action version of an advocacy doc. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws must go! Just as soon as The Rock runs some bad guys over with his truck. PG-13 (violence, profanity, drugs, adult themes) - S.R.
Mama *** An intensely spooky ghost story, with two deeply traumatized young girls discovered in the woods and taken to live with their uncle and aunt (Jessica Chastain) - a move the wraithlike title character is hardly happy about. 1 hr. 40 PG-13 (intense scares, children in jeopardy, adult themes) - S.R.
Warm Bodies *** An enjoyably clever, appropriately gory rom-zom-com, about a sensitive walking-dead dude who saves a flesh-and-blood girl from being eaten, and finds himself falling for her. Jonathan ( 50/50) Levine directs, adapting the Isaac Marion novel. 1 hr. 37 PG-13 (violence, gore, profanity, adult themes) -S.R.
Theater Reviewed by Wendy Rosenfield (W.R.), Jim Rutter (J.R.), David Patrick Stearns (D.P.S.), and Toby Zinman (T.Z.)
. Priscilla Queen of the Desert
(Academy of Music) Three friends in a bus, with lots of feathers and a great jukebox score. Opens Tuesday.
Hurlyburly (New City Stage) Drugs, alcohol, and Hollywood disconnection tangle in David Rabe's 1984 drama. Previews Thursday and Friday, opens Saturday.
An Ideal Husband (Walnut Street Theatre) Not an ideal production of Oscar Wilde's play, but then the play's message is that nothing is perfect. Through next Sunday. - D.P.S.
Assassin (Act II Playhouse) This coproduction with InterAct is a rare and powerful look at moral consequences in sports, based on a real gridiron tragedy. Through March 17. - J.R.
Bad Dates (Montgomery Theater) Sarah Sanford is compelling as a single mother making a new life for herself (and her shoes). Ends Sunday.
Cooking With the Calamari Sisters (Society Hill Playhouse) Mamma Mia! Two guys portray behavior-challenged Italian sisters in a spoof of cooking shows that gets wilder as it progresses. Extended through May 19.
Deathtrap (Bristol Riverside Theatre) One-note direction misses the comedy in this comic thriller. Ends Sunday. - J.R.
Diary of a Madman (Quintessence Theatre Group) Excellent production of Gogol updated to the age of Google. Through March 10. - W.R.
Endgame (Arden Theatre) Purists will cringe as Ed Sobel tosses out Samuel Beckett's famous stage instructions and goes for grim. Through March 10. - W.R.
Forever Plaid (Media Theatre) Four guys, close harmony, old tunes, and a dream deferred. Through March 31.
My Romantic History (Inis Nua) An office rom-com with Scottish accents and an outstanding performance by Aubie Merrylees. Ends Sunday. - T.Z.
The North Plan (Theatre Exile) A funny/scary political satire with a great cast. Through March 3.
Paradise Park (Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium) Cloying and trite, this Charles Mee play gives us life as a theme park; a very long 85 minutes. Through next Sunday.
Strictly Platonic (Hedgerow Theatre) A thirtysomething male chauvinist finds love eye-opening in this sweet Valentine. Through next Sunday. - J.R.
To Fool the Eye (1812 Productions) 1812's less-than-frothy French comedy about love and identity. Through next Sunday. - T.Z.
Vincent in Brixton (Walnut Street Theatre Independence Studio) Young Vincent van Gogh falls for his London landlady. Through March 10.
Our critics recommend...
The Philadelphia Orchestra returns to the airwaves at 2 p.m. Sunday with the first of The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert weekly radio series on WRTI-FM (90.1). The live concert, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and recorded in November 2012, features Bernstein's Serenade, Brahms' Symphony No. 4, and Gabriela Lena Frank's Concertino Cusqueño, with violinist Joshua Bell.