Our critics recommend...
By Steven Rea
3 Days to Kill Kevin Costner is back! (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, the soon-coming NFL drama Draft Day.) In this action caper, from French producer Luc Besson, Costner is a Secret Service agent with a terminal illness, who takes on a case and tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Hailee Steinfeld). Amber Heard and Connie Nielsen costar. PG-13
Omar The foreign language Oscar nominee from Palestine's Hany Abu-Assad, teeming with the tensions, violence, and paranoia of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No MPAA rating
Also Opening This Week
Angels in Stardust A teen with a vivid imagination struggles to break free from the dangerous world she was born into.
In Secret A young 19th century Frenchwoman (Elizabeth Olsen) locked in a loveless marriage embarks on an affair.
Visitors This documentary examines the relationship between human beings and technology and its effects.
Reviewed by critics Steven Rea (S.R.), Tirdad Derakhshani (T.D.), and David Hiltbrand (D.H.). W.S. denotes a wire-service review.
American Hustle David O. Russell's wild, woolly take on the late-'70s FBI sting operation Abscam is also a wild, woolly love story: Christian Bale and Amy Adams as con artists recruited by the feds, and fated for each other. Throw Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence into the mix and something goes kaboom in just about every scene, brilliantly. R (sex, nudity, profanity, drugs, violence, adult themes) - S.R.
Gravity A transcendent, zero-g tale of survival, with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as orbiting astronauts caught in a debris storm, quite literally at the end of their tether. A technological marvel, and an emotional, spiritual, and physical voyage of stratospheric suspense. 1 hr. 30 PG-13 (violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Her Joaquin Phoenix stars as a lonely Los Angeleno who may have found true love at last - in the disembodied voice, and consciousness, of his computer's new operating system. A near-future meditation on intimacy and isolation, connection and the disconnect of new technology, from writer/director Spike Jonze. With Scarlett Johansson's voice, and Amy Adams, Olivia Wilde, and Chris Pratt. 2 hrs. 06 R (sex, nudity, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Inside Llewyn Davis Oscar Isaac is a hard-luck troubadour on the folk scene of early '60s Greenwich Village in the Coen brothers' sublime odyssey to nowhere. It's a story of artistic struggle, and of the crushing beauty that can be wrested from a song. With Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, and John Goodman - and with many a dark laugh along the way? 1 hr. 45 R (profanity, violence, drugs, adult themes) - S.R.
The Lego Movie It took 65 years, but finally those little Danish construction toys get their own movie. If the Smurfs can do it, why not these interlocking little bits of plastic? The computer-animated feature is voiced by Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, and the three Wills (Arnett, Ferrell, and Forte). 1 hr. 40 PG (mild action, rude humor) - W.S.
Like Father, Like Son Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Hirokazu Koreeda's new film explores the bonds between parent and child - and what happens when a well-to-do couple discover their six-year-old son is not, in fact, theirs. Full of gentle humor and piercing insight, an exploration of themes essential to us all. 2 hrs. 01 No MPAA rating (adult themes) - S.R.
Nebraska Bruce Dern in a career-defining performance as an ornery coot who believes he's won a $1 million prize, and heads from Montana to Nebraska to claim it. His son (Will Forte) reluctantly tags along in Alexander Payne's funny, sad, poignant, absurd road movie. In black-and-white. It's a gem. 1 hr. 55 R (profanity, violence, adult themes) - S.R.
12 Years a Slave The remarkable, essential story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was abducted and sold into slavery in the pre-Civil War South. British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor gives body and soul in the lead, and Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, and Brad Pitt are part of a superb supporting cast. 2 hrs. 13 R (violence, nudity, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Very Good (***1/2)
The Attorney A hustler-attorney's life changes when he takes on a case involving a student who was arrested and tortured by the South Korean government in this true story. 2 hrs. 07 No MPAA rating (profanity, mild violence, scenes of torture, smoking) - T.D.
Dallas Buyers Club The "inspired by true events" tale of a party-hearty Texas cowboy and self-employed electrician who, in 1985, contracted the AIDS virus. Matthew McConaughey gives a literally transformative performance as this homophobic hellraiser who won't accept the doctors' diagnosis that he has 30 days to live. He proves them wrong, becoming a cash-rich drug dispenser and patients' rights advocate in the process in this wild, colorful, compassionate film. 1 hr. 57 R (sex, nudity, drugs, profanity, violence, adult themes) - S.R.
Kids For Cash A no-nonsense, no-stone-unturned documentary about the scandal that rocked Luzerne County in 2009, in which a pair of judges pocketed $2.6 million after they helped facilitate the opening of a privately owned juvenile detention center. A center where one of the judges proceeded to send literally thousands of youths who stood before his bench - some of them charged with no more than classroom pranks. Chilling, powerful stuff. 1 hr. 42 PG-13 (profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Philomena A surprisingly tough and tender tale from director Stephen Frears, adapted from the true story of a 70-something Irish woman (Judi Dench) looking to find the son she was forced to give up for adoption when she was an unwed teen, and of the cynical veteran journalist (Steve Coogan) who tags along on her quest. 1 hr. 38 R (profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
Also on Screens
Frozen *** A plucky princess (voiced by Kristen Bell) is joined by a slapstick snowman (Josh Gad) in a delightful animated film that is part fairy tale, part farce. 1 hr. 48 PG - D.H.
Lone Survivor *** Mark Wahlberg stars in this full-force combat film, based on the true story of four Navy SEALs on a botched mission in 2005 Afghanistan. Harrowing, visceral. With Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, and Taylor Kitsch. 2 hrs. 01 R (extreme violence, profanity, adult themes) - S.R.
The Monuments Men ** George Clooney, in epaulets and Clark Gable mustache, leads a gang of art experts, tasked with retrieving troves of artwork stolen by the Nazis in this throwback to Hollywood's war movies of yore. Alas, it's a throwback that's thrown its back out - limping along, trailed by battalions of stereotypes and ammo rounds of cliche. With Matt Damon, John Goodman, and Cate Blanchett. 1 hr. 58 PG-13 (violence, adult themes) - S.R.
Ride Along *1/2 Kevin Hart and Ice Cube star in this facile action comedy about a tough Atlanta police detective and his chippy civilian partner-for-a-day. This vehicle won't pass inspection. 1 hr. 40 PG-13 (violence, adult themes, profanity) - D.H.
That Awkward Moment ** Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, and Miles Teller are a trio of commitment-wary guys in this indie rom-com from first-time director Tom Gormican. 1 hr. 34 R (sexual content, profanity) - W.S.
Reviewed by Wendy Rosenfield (W.R.), Jim Rutter (J.R.), David Patrick Stearns (D.P.S.), Toby Zinman (T.Z.) and Jim Rutter (J.R.).
New This Week
Beautiful Boy (Walnut Street Theatre's Independence Studio) A young man searches for identity after his adoptive parents die. Previews Tuesday and Wednesday, opens Thursday.
Circle Mirror Transformation (Theatre Horizon) A small-town drama class becomes the stage for some classic Annie Baker comedy. Previews Wednesday- Feb. 26, opens Feb. 27.
Dancing at Lughnasa (Curio Theatre Company) The five unmarried Mundy sisters face poverty and dimming hopes for happiness in 1936 Donegal. Previews Thursday-Feb. 20, opens Feb. 21.
The Exonerated (Delaware Theatre Company) The stories of six death-row inmates whose sentences were overturned. Previews Wednesday-Friday, opens Saturday.
Hotel Suite (Act II Playhouse) A comic medley of one-act Neil Simon plays. Previews Tuesday-Thursday, opens Friday.
Lady From the Sea (EgoPo Theatre Company) A lighthouse-keeper's daughter, now married in the mountains, faces a choice. Previews Wednesday, Thursday, opens Friday.
Porgy and Bess (Academy of Music) A new version of the Gershwins' great American opera. Tuesday through Sunday.
4000 Miles (Montgomery Theater) An unhappy young man finds a haven with his spunky grandmother in this bumpy but still satisfying production. Through next Sunday. - W.R.
Julius Caesar (Lantern Theater) Forrest McClendon heads the cast of this great Shakespeare tragedy. Through March 16.
Ondine (Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium) The natural world clashes with the world of man in this Giraudoux classic - an enchanting play about enchantment. Through March 2. - T.Z.
Other Desert Cities (Walnut Street Theatre) Spot-on set, great costumes, and a terrific cast keeps this family cauldron boiling. Through March 2. -W.R.
Tribes (Philadelphia Theatre Company/Suzanne Roberts Theatre) This exemplary production of Nina Raine's play about a deaf young man who stands up to his noisy family features a knockout performance by Tad Coolely. Through next Sunday. - D.P.S.
Trousers (Inis Nua) Two guys, happy-go-lucky Dublin roommates in 1989, are less so in Manhattan in 2006. More laughter would benefit the proceedings. Through next Sunday. - J.R.
True West (Theatre Exile / Plays & Players Theatre) Sam Shepard's play about a bitter sibling rivalry that surfaces when two brothers reunite in their mother's house in the desert. Through next Sunday.
Tuesdays With Morrie (Bristol Riverside Theatre) The story of a mentor's conversations with author Mitch Albom, adapted from his best-selling book. Ends Sunday.
Water By the Spoonful (Arden Theatre Company) Quiara Alegría Hudes draws on her Philadelphia roots for this story about people seeking connection. Through March 16.
Philadelphia Orchestra on the Radio
Sunday at 1 p.m., WRTI (90.1 FM) offers an archival broadcast from November 2002 celebrating the legacy of the Philadelphia Orchestra's late conductor laureate, Wolfgang Sawallisch, and featuring Norwegian cellist Truls Mork. Mork, in Schumann's Cello Concerto in A Minor, highlights an all-Schumann program that includes the Manfred Overture and the Symphony No. 4.