Our critics recommend...
Also Opening This WeekThe Butler Forest Whitaker stars as Cecil Gaines, who served as White House butler for eight presidents and had a first-hand look at many of the changes that impacted the country during that period.
Drug War The leader of a Chinese drug cartel is faced with the choice of being executed or becoming a turncoat after he is arrested. Mandarin and Cantonese with subtitles.
I Give It a Year A newly married couple's family and friends are convinced their relationship is not meant to last in this romantic comedy.
In a World ... A female voice coach tries to hit the big time in the sexist world of entertainment voiceovers.
The Patience Stone A young woman unburdens her tortured mind by speaking to her comatose husband. Persian with subtitles.
When Comedy Went to School This documentary looks at the Jewish roots of modern comedy.
Excellent (****)Reviewed by critics Steven Rea (S.R.), Tirdad Derakhshani (T.D.), David Hiltbrand (D.H.), and Dan DeLuca (D.D). W.S. denotes a wire-service review.
Fruitvale Station Michael B. Jordan gives a deeply nuanced performance as Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old Oakland, Calif., man shot and killed by a transit cop in the early hours of New Year's Day 2009. Ryan Coogler's film reconstructs - and in some instances reimagines - the events of the day and night leading up to that tragic episode. 1 hr. 25 R (violence, profanity, drugs, adult themes) - S.R.
Very Good (***1/2)
Blackfish This excellent documentary looks at the deadly consequences of keeping orcas in captivity for human entertainment. 1 hr. 23 PG-13 (disturbing subject matter, some violence, animals in peril) - T.D.
Still Mine A fiercely independent octogenarian farmer, wonderfully played by James Cromwell, fights the local bureaucracy as he tries to build a new house for him and his faltering wife (Geneviève Bujold) to live in. A heart-stirring, sunset-years drama, based on a true story. 1 hr. 42 PG-13 (adult themes) - S.R.
20 Feet From Stardom A rocking doc about the unsung singers standing just to the right and left of Mick Jagger, Bette Midler, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, and other music superstars. Backup vocalists finally get their due. 1 hr. 30 PG-13 (profanity) - D.D.
Also on Screens
The Conjuring *** Husband-and-wife paranormal investigators are thrown for a loop by the most terrifying case they've ever dealt with in this unexpectedly fresh, alive, and vibrant haunted house thriller. 1 hr. 52 R (profanity, violence, demonic horror, filicide) - T.D.
Despicable Me 2 **1/2 The Anti-Villain League recruits Gru when a powerful new criminal emerges in this animated family sequel. 1 hr. 38 PG (mild scares, rude humor, use of flatulence guns) - T.D.
Elysium *** Matt Damon is a 22d-century factory worker on a "diseased, polluted, and vastly over-populated" Earth, trying to crash the gated community in the sky where the rich live in smug splendor. A rabble-rousing sci-fi allegory from the director of District 9. R (intense action, violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
The Smurfs 2 *1/2 Filled with Smurf wholesomeness, Smurf puns, and posi-Smurf messages about never giving up "on family," The Smurfs 2 still sucks Smurfberries. 1 hr. 35 PG (rude humor) - W.S.
2 Guns **1/2 Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington team up in this slam-bang adaptation of the comic book about dueling undercover agents dealing with a crazed Mexican drug lord and their own crooked bosses. The two stars riff, wrestle, and crack wise as if they genuinely enjoy each other's company, but their chemistry experiment is tainted by pointlessly nasty violence. 2 hrs. R (violence, sex, nudity, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
The Wolverine *** Hugh Jackman stars in this dark and stormy - and ragingly fun - X-Men thriller, in which Logan, the brooding mutant with the retractable adamantium claws, finds himself in the thick of whooshing ninjas, tattooed yakuza, and all the anime cool of 21st-century Japan. 2 hrs. 06 PG-13 (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
TheaterReviewed by Wendy Rosenfield (W.R.), David Patrick Stearns (D.P.S.), and Toby Zinman (T.Z.).
New This WeekThe Tale of the Allergist's Wife (Bucks County Playhouse) A culture-devouring Manhattanite finds her life, and herself, wanting. Hysteria ensues. Preview Thursday, opens Friday.
ContinuingThe Importance of Being Earnest (Mauckingbird Theatre Company) Jack and Algernon love Gwendolen and Cecily but they both love Ernest - and, by the way, they're guys. Through Aug. 25.
Macbeth (Commonwealth Classic Theatre Company) Commonwealth comes in from the heat and offers an air-conditioned production of the Scottish play at Drexel. Through Aug. 27.
Run for Your Wife (Hedgerow Theatre) In this iteration of the annual summer Ray Cooney farce, Joel Guerrero's chubby marriage maestro John Smith and Andrew Parcell as co-conspirator and neighbor Stanley Gardener work their way through this script's pitfalls with plenty of physical humor and finesse. Through next Sunday. - W.R.
Summer of '42 (Bucks County Playhouse) A sweet, nostalgic look at romance on the sidelines of World War II, with beautifully crafted music, an atmospheric production, and a winning cast. Ends Sunday. - D.P.S.
The Two Noble Kinsmen (Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre) This delightful - and free - production of a seldom-performed Shakespeare-Fletcher collaboration walks a smart, fine line between rigorous classicism and contemporary fun. Through next Sunday. - T.Z.
Our critics recommend...
Sunday's WRTI (90.1 FM) Philadelphia Orchestra rebroadcast features virtuosic soloists from the orchestra in five sparkling and propulsive works by J.S. Bach, conducted by Bach specialist Nicholas McGegan. Tune in at 2 p.m. to hear Brandenburg Concerti Numbers 1, 3, and 4; Concerto for Two Violins (Double Concerto); and Orchestral Suite Number 3.