Our critics recommend...
By Steven Rea
Non-Stop The team behind the identity-theft thriller Unknown - director Jaume Collet-Serra and sensitive big-guy action hero Liam Neeson - are back with a transatlantic hijacking suspenser. Neeson is a U.S. air marshal, Julianne Moore a passenger, and Lady Mary Crawley of Downton Abbey (Michelle Dockery) is walking the aisle asking who'd like a beverage, a snack, or a pillow. PG-13
Tim's Vermeer A documentary about inventor and tech millionaire Tim Jenison and his obsessive efforts to duplicate the photorealistic painting techniques of Dutch master Johannes Vermeers. Narrated by illusionist Penn Jillette, directed by his performance partner Teller. PG-13
The Wind Rises Japanese animation god Hayao Miyazaki's Oscar-nominated feature, inspired by the life and aeronautical innovations of Jirô Horikoshi, from his boyhood dreams of flight to the breakthrough designs that would end up being used for the planes that attacked Pearl Harbor. PG
Also Opening This Week
Odd Thomas A small-town California man with clairvoyant powers is plunged into a battle of good versus evil.
The Rocket A Laotian boy thought to carry bad luck attempts to break free from his reputation by leading his family on a journey of survival. In Lao with subtitles.
Son of God This biopic on Jesus stars Diogo Morgado.
Welcome to Yesterday A group of teens get much more than they bargained for when they build a time machine.
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. 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 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. 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)
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
About Last Night **1/2 The relationships of two new couples are put to the test in this romantic comedy starring Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, and Joy Bryant. 1 hr. 40 R (sexual content, language, brief drug use) - W.S.
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.
RoboCop *** A solid, gritty, B-movie reboot of the 1987 sci-fi hit, with Joel Kinnaman (The Killing) starring as the Detroit cop who is reborn as a cyborg crimefighter, raising moral issues, and raising heck, as he goes around town trying to catch the bad guys who did him wrong. With Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Michael K. Williams. 1 hr. 58 PG-13 (violence, profanity, intense action, adult themes) - S.R.
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
Circle Mirror Transformation (Theatre Horizon) A small-town drama class becomes the stage for some classic Annie Baker comedy. In previews, opens Thursday.
Mamma Mia (Academy of Music) It's ba-ack! Tuesday through next Sunday.
The Mystery of Irma Vep (Hedgerow Theatre Company) Charles Ludlam's ageless tribute to vampires and other horrific characters. Preview Thursday, opens Friday.
Pride and Prejudice (People's Light and Theatre) Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are at it again. Previews Wednesday and Thursday, opens Friday.
The Suit (Prince Music Theater) An unfaithful wife must endure her husband's imaginative punishment in this South African musical play. Opens Wednesday.
Why Do Fools Fall in Love? (Media Theatre) A bachelorette party occasions a '60s songfest. Previews Wednesday and Thursday, opens Friday.
4000 Miles (Montgomery Theater) An unhappy young man finds a haven with his spunky grandmother in this bumpy but still satisfying production. Ends Sunday. - W.R.
Beautiful Boy (Walnut Street Theatre's Independence Studio) A young man searches for identity after his adoptive parents die. Through March 9.
Dancing at Lughnasa (Curio Theatre Company) The five unmarried Mundy sisters face poverty and dimming hopes for happiness in 1936 Donegal. Through March 15.
The Exonerated (Delaware Theatre Company) The stories of six death-row inmates whose sentences were overturned. Through March 9.
Hotel Suite (Act II Playhouse) A comic medley of one-act Neil Simon plays. Through March 16.
Julius Caesar (Lantern Theater) Forrest McClendon heads the cast of this great Shakespeare tragedy. Set in medieval Japan, the production is both intriguing and frustrating. Through March 16. - T.Z.
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.
Ondine (Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium) The natural world clashes with the world of man in this Giraudoux classic - an enchanting play about enchantment. Through next Sunday. - T.Z.
Other Desert Cities (Walnut Street Theatre) Spot-on set, great costumes, and a terrific cast keeps this family cauldron boiling. Through next Sunday. -W.R.
The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess (Academy of Music) A new version of the great American folk opera. Ends Sunday.
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. Ends 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. Ends 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. 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 2 p.m., WRTI (90.1 FM) will broadcast the Philadelphia Orchestra live from Verizon Hall, playing Beethoven's monumental Symphony No. 3, "Eroica," which created a new architecture for the symphonic form and ignited the Romantic style. Also on the program are Strauss's Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings, and cellist Johannes Moser in Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1, written for Mstislav Rostropovich and given its U.S. premiere by him with the orchestra and Eugene Ormandy in 1959.