New Movies: ‘Source Code,' ‘Win Win'

Herewith, a brief round-up of this weekend's opening flicks, and the conventional wisdom surrounding them. In descending order of rottentomatoes.com awesomeness.

Bill Cunningham New York
The Story: A documentary about the venerable New York Times fashion photographer who has been documenting the fashion world and its myriad of trends for decades.
The Skinny: Richard Press' film certainly has a fascinating -- if not enigmatic -- subject at its core: Cunningham is an obsessively peculiar fellow who more or less lives like a NYC monk, traveling on his old, battered bicycle to high-gloss fashion shoots and effortlessly hobnobbing with fashion icons such as Anna Wintour and Brooke Astor. For some critics, though, such as Sam Adams over at the City Paper, despite the amiable subject matter the filmmaker "fails to pierce his subject's genial shell" and thus produces "an engaging portrait, but a thoroughly superficial one."
Full Review: Bill Cunningham New York
Now Playing: Ritz at the Bourse
Complete the Experience: In you're interested in runways, be sure to take in the PIFA Fashion Show at the Kimmel Center Plaza next Friday.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Win Win
The Story: A financially struggling lawyer and high school wrestling coach takes in a foster kid who happens to be a former state champion, but morally grapples with the results.
The Skinny: Yes, it's another star vehicle for Paul Giamatti (is there another kind?) but he's not the only stand out in this winning drama from Thomas McCarthy (The Station Agent), who shows yet again he's got a deft touch with his fellow actors. Amy Ryan plays Giamatti's wife and shows a whole other side to her standard sweet and easy screen persona, and the kid, played by newbie Alex Shaffer is either a brilliant actor or came to McCarthy already perfectly deadpan. Scott Ross at Popcorn Biz calls the film "funny and thoughtful, brilliantly acted, and totally accessible and relatable to most everyone."
Full Review: Win Win
Now Playing: Ritz Five
Complete the Experience: Set (and shot) in North Jersey, you could just cross a bridge and see the place for yourself, but if you want to experience a bit of Jersey closer to home, look no further than the Cherry Hill Mall.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Certified Copy
The Story: A gallery owner in Tuscany attends a lecture about fakery and deception, then invites the lecturer to travel the countryside with her, where they are mistaken for a husband and wife.
The Skinny: A sensation at Cannes (where co-star Juliette Binoche won the Best Actress prize), Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostam's engaging puzzle of a film concerns the idea of authenticity in art and life. Stephen Rea at the Inky writes "That this purposefully twisting exercise takes place amid the sun-burnished cypresses and towns of Tuscany -- where ancient statuary is as commonplace as pasta and wine -- only makes this playfully enigmatic meditation the more pleasing."
Full Review: Certified Copy
Now Playing: Ritz Five
Complete the Experience: Part of the film's appeal stems from the gorgeous countryside in which its set. To best appreciate the Tuscan charm in Philly, settle into the warm climes of Melograno.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Source Code
The Story: In an experimental military procedure, the consciousness of a young fighter pilot is placed again and again into the body of a passenger on a Chicago commuter rail eight minutes before a terrorist bomb destroys the train and kills everyone on board.
The Skinny: Duncan Jones' follow-up to the surprisingly effective Moon finds him utilizing many of the same tropes as his previous effort: a man in isolation trapped in a scientific experiment that goes terribly awry. Still, the film has a lot going for it, including a genuine leading-man performance from star Jake Gyllenhaal and enough humor and sensibility to keep it from taking itself entirely too seriously. In a half-enthusiastic review, Scott Ross at Popcorn Biz enjoyed the film but found it patchy in the way it "moves forward in fits and starts" and, in the end found "it comes up short of being the truly great entertainment it strives to be."
Full Review: Source Code
Now Playing: The Rave
Complete the Experience: Experience the future of the Asian cocktail bar at Stephen Starr's Pod.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

The Music Never Stopped
The Story: A father rushes to comfort his estranged son who has suffered a cerebral trauma that has left his brain unable to process new memories, leaving him stuck in his hippie past.
The Skinny: Based on the true case study written by Dr. Oliver Sacks, the drama stars J.K. Simmons as the father whose straight-laced life gets rocked and and Lou Taylor Pucci as the son who responds best to '60s rock music in the wake of his accident. As with much of Dr. Sacks' work, there is a thread of the miraculous at work here. Nathan Rabin at the avclub.com writes "the film emerges as a powerful, even shattering look as music’s power to unite where it once divided."
Full Review: The Music Never Stopped
Now Playing: Ritz at the Bourse
Complete the Experience: There aren't a lot of surviving hippie bars in the city, but perhaps Doobie's comes the closest.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

Insidious
The Story: Upon moving into a new house, a family is haunted by the spirit world, and the oldest son falls into a coma for which doctors have no explanation.
The Skinny: James Wan and Leigh Whannell, the bright and cheery Aussie boys who brought us the Saw franchise, have taken a large step away from their torture porn roots to put out a far more PG-flavored haunted house film, more along the lines of Poltergeist than Inside, but the result is a kind of unfocussed affair that spoils a more intriguing first third with a potpourri of stale clichés in its final act, and more dry ice fog than a Salem show.
Full Review: Insidious
Now Playing: The Pearl
Complete the Experience: Nothing against haunted houses, but if you want to go that route, you're better off with proper literary scares at the Edgar Allen Poe House.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

Hop
The Story: The slacker son of the Easter Bunny heads out to Hollywood to make his fame and fortune as a rock drummer. There, he's taken in by an equally laid-back dude after he accidentally gets hit by his car.
The Skinny: On the plus side, you have Russell Brand -- who's fashioning quite a career for himself these days -- voicing the rabbit, E.B. On the negative side, there is, pretty much, everything else, from a plethora of jelly-beans-as-poop jokes to an unlikely James Marsden playing the straight man. Believe it or not, it's rated PG, which makes us wonder who the audience is actually intended to be. Furthering the confusion, Scott Ross at Popcorn Biz writes "it’s not very funny, which is not to say it’s full of unfunny jokes, but rather that it’s largely without humor. It instead focuses too earnestly on E.B. and Fred’s struggles with their parents."
Full Review: Hop
Now Playing: UA Riverview
Complete the Experience: Can't do much for the Easter Bunny, but if candy's your thing, stop in to The Little Candy Shoppe in NoLibs and fill up a bag or two.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 23%

Miral
The Story: A Palestinian orphan girl gets drawn into the Arab-Israeli conflict over the course of her battered childhood.
The Skinny: Not surprisingly, given the subject matter, the film has proven to be fairly divisive for filmmaker/artist Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and The Butterfly). For Popcorn Biz critic Sasha Perl-Raver, the film was an uneven experience: "While each shot of the film unfolds with panache, the film's throughline feels like a broken bone improperly set. Jagged and ungainly, performances range from stiff and awkward … to heartbreakingly human."
Full Review: Miral
Now Playing: Ritz at the Bourse
Complete the Experience: Conflict aside, the cuisine of the Middle East can be exquisite. For the best falafel in the city, we suggest hitting up Mama's.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 19%

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