The Waiting Room This documentary examines the goings-on at an urban public hospital emergency room, as well as the struggles faced by its largely uninsured patients.
Reviewed by critics Steven Rea (S.R.), Carrie Rickey (C.R.), and David Hiltbrand (D.H.). W.S. denotes a wire service review.
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. This sad and beautiful, and occasionally frightening, masterpiece won the Oscar for best foreign-language film. 2 hrs. 07 PG-13 (adult themes) - S.R.
Barbara Nina Hoss gives an amazingly controlled, nuanced performance as a doctor exiled to the provinces in the cold, gray East Germany of 1980. Mistrust hangs in the air in this hushed, suspenseful character study. A gem from filmmaker Christian Petzold. PG-13 (sex, 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.
The Gatekeepers Dror Moreh's Oscar-nominated documentary finds six former heads of Israel's counterterorism agency speaking with striking candor, and with no little regret, about the decisions that backfired, the iron-fisted policies that brought about more violence, more bloodshed, not less. If there's a way out of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, these men may have the answer. 1 hr. 37 PG-13 (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, best actress Oscar-winner 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. The best-picture Oscar winner has Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, and crackling humor amid the white-knuckle suspense. 2 hrs. R (violence, profanity, 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 Best actor Oscar-winner 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.
A Place at the Table A powerful and alarming documentary about hunger in America - and right here in Philadelphia. Advocacy journalism at its best, lining up its facts, illustrating the widespread problem with a few trenchant, compelling cases, and offering solutions, too. 1 hr. 24 PG (adult themes) - S.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.
Dead Man Down * Colin Farrell stars in this unwitting gangland noir parody, about a hit man, his boss, a moody moll, and a mess of badness and betrayal. Noomi Rapace is the emotionally and physically scarred femme fatale, and Terrence Howard, Dominic Cooper and F. Murray Abraham also star. 1 hr. 50 R (violence, profanity, sex, adult themes) - S.R.
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 (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.
Jack the Giant Slayer **1/2 Bryan ( X-Men) 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 advisor who turns out to be, well, villainous and vile. 1 hr. 54 PG-13 (slobbering ogres, violence, scares, adult themes) - S.R.
The Last Exorcism: Part II * In this predictable sequel, Nell (Ashley Bell) is again stalked by an evil force. 1 hr. 28 PG-13 (horror violence, terror and brief language) - W.S.
Oz the Great and Powerful ** James Franco, awake and even kind of animated, is the title character - a carnival magician who gets in over his head when he finds himself in a strange and trippy land populated by Munchkins, Tinkers, Quadlings and a trio of criminally overdressed and over-made-up witches, played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams. 2 hrs. 10 PG (flying, fanged baboons, intense scares) - S.R.
21 and Over **1/2 A young man celebrates his 21st birthday, leaving him in less-than-perfect shape for his big medical school exam the next morning. 1 hr. 30 R (crude and sexual content, profanity, graphic nudity, drugs and drinking) - W.S.
Theater Reviewed by Wendy Rosenfield (W.R.), Jim Rutter (J.R.), David Patrick Stearns (D.P.S.), and Toby Zinman (T.Z.)
. A Raisin in the Sun
(Arden Theatre) With this Lorraine Hansberry classic, the Arden returns to the Chicago neighborhood it illuminated in last season's Clybourne Park
. In previews, opens Wednesday.
The Bends (Flashpoint Theatre Company) Old friends from college reunite, drink, catch up, drink, drink, etc., in this world premiere by Megan Mostyn-Brown. Previews Wednesday-Friday, opens Saturday.
Good People (Walnut Street Theatre) A tough South Boston single mother with money troubles seeks help from a high school boyfriend who made good. Previews Tuesday-March 19, opens March 20.
Henry V (Lantern Theatre Company) Prince Harry now is king - and what a king. Previews Thursday-March 19, opens March 20.
Othello (Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre) The Bard's great tragedy of envy, jealousy, and ambition. In previews, opens Wednesday.
Seminar (Philadelphia Theatre Company) Novelist wannabes hear brutal truths from a celebrity teacher in Teresa Rebeck's comedy. Previews Friday-March 19, opens March 30.
The Trip to Bountiful (People's Light and Theatre Company)
Under the Whaleback (Wilma Theatre) The North American premiere of a sea play by Richard Bean ( One Man, Two Guvnors). In previews, opens Wednesday.
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 next Sunday. - J.R.
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.
Diary of a Madman (Quintessence Theatre Group) Excellent production of Gogol updated to the age of Google. Ends Sunday. - W.R.
Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (Theatre Confetti) A tribe of three young people make - and defend - their own world. Preview Thursday, opens Friday.
Endgame (Arden Theatre) Purists will cringe as Ed Sobel tosses out Samuel Beckett's famous stage instructions and goes for grim. Ends Sunday.
Forever Plaid (Media Theatre) Four guys, close harmony, old tunes, and a dream deferred. Through March 31.
Hurlyburly (New City Stage) Drugs, alcohol, and Hollywood disconnection tangle in David Rabe's 1984 drama. Through March 24.
Video Hitchcock ***
Surprisingly entertaining show-biz biopic about the corpulent and crabby master of suspense and his decision to make a "horror picture" - Psycho
. Taking a shower would never be the same again. With Anthony Hopkins as Hitch, Helen Mirren as his faithful wife, and Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh. 1 hr. 44 PG-13
(sex, violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.