Philadelphia Film Festival: Today’s top picks

Tiger Hu Chen and Keanu Reeves know martial arts in “Man of Tai Chi.”
Credit: RADiUS-TWC

“Man of Tai-Chi”
2 Globes
Keanu Reeves hasn’t headlined a major blockbuster since 2008’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still” redux, an absence that can be partly explained by him working on curious passion projects. First there was the more or less solid film versus digital documentary “Side by Side,” and now the somewhat rickety martial arts extravaganza, “Man of Tai Chi.” Apart from a climactic mano-a-mano, the one-time Neo sticks to a non-fighting role as baddie Donaka Mark, a mysterious Svengali who runs an underground fighting ring. Tiger Chen, a stuntman from the “Matrix” sequels, gets the main role: A messenger by day and student of Tai Chi by night, who decides to use his traditionally peaceful style to make money beating the crap out of people.

Reeves’ performance is the main liability here. A limited actor, Reeves surprisingly excels at playing psychotic — as in “The Gift” and “Street Kings” — but is decidedly less than sinister as a puppetmaster who growls all his lines while doing an imitation of the “Clockwork Orange” stare. (A scream he lets out late has to be one of the corniest things ever committed to film — or digital.) Reeves is a bit more accomplished as a filmmaker. He cuts too much, but he respects the fighters’ abilities and the viewers’ desire to see them. As far as obvious lifelong-dream films made by Bruce Lee junkies, this lacks the insanity of RZA’s “The Man With the Iron Fists,” but it’s endearingly goofy all the same. 9:30 p.m., Ritz East

“Remote Area Medical”
3 Globes
It almost plays like sick sketch comedy: For four days, a truck plants itself in the NASCAR speedway in Bristol, Tenn., offering free medical, dental and vision care to the area’s low-income residents. But it’s no joke, and directors Jeff Reichert (“Gerrymandering”) and Farihah Zaman calmly observe, and bro down with, the many who show up, seeking that which their country promises to one day fund themselves. Even more than a political thumb in the eye, what emerges is a strong sense of community, even as some struggle to score the despairingly too-few appointments. 12:30 p.m. Ritz East

Also playing
“Stranger by the Lake”
Quasi-experimental filmmaker Alain Guiraudie’s latest is a study of desire at a popular gay cruising site that becomes overrun by a murder case. 7:10 p.m., Ritz East

“The Immigrant”
Marion Cotillard plays a Polish woman used by a low-level pimp (Joaquin Phoenix) upon crashing 1920s New York City. Director James Gray (“We Own the Night,” “Two Lovers”) makes wonderful, heavy films seemingly indebted to an era of films that never existed. 5 p.m., Ritz East


East Village woman fights off rape attempt from…

An East Village woman fought off an attempted rapist that she woke to find standing on her bed over the weekend, police said.


Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.


Police look for man suspected of threatening Muslim…

Police seek man suspected of calling a teen Muslim girl a "terrorist" and spitting on her multiple times while on a Queens bus.


Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…


'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Accomplice Tour: New York (Spoiler Alert)

When I signed up for the Accomplice show tour, I had no idea what I was in for. But every grimy job comes with a great reward.


TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…


'Orphan Black' is back with 'crazy clone shenanigans'

“Orphan Black” is the little show that could. It had a few things working against it: a sci-fi premise, attracting an audience who had never…


Nets miss chance to clinch No. 5 seed…

Nets head coach Jason Kidd expressed little concern after a 109-98 loss to the Knicks, but others seemed to disagree.


Jets confident despite Chris Johnson leaving with no…

Jets fans clamored for a playmaker on offense all offseason. It looked like they were going to land that player on Tuesday when Chris Johnson…


Knicks, Nets rivalry never materialized despite national attention

When the NBA schedule was released, the league anticipated an intense rivalry between the Nets and Knicks with all four games slated for national TV.


NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?


Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…


How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…


Personalize your massage at a private practice

CityTouch customizes spa treatments to meet client's needs.


Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.