Must see at The Philadelphia Film Festival

Bill Murray portrays FDR in “Hyde Park on Hudson.”

‘Hyde Park on Hudson’
Oct. 25,  Prince Music Theater
With a few small exceptions — and a giant, gaping, fascinating exception titled “Passion Play” — Bill Murray doesn’t usually lend his good name to subpar projects. Seemingly immune to even the most basic whims of human nature, this is the heartless bastard who killed any chance of a “Ghostbusters” reunion when the script didn’t measure up. And so we’re going to go ahead and bet on “Hyde Park on Hudson,” which tells the story of a visit between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Murray) and the King and Queen of England during the summer of 1939. The general grumpy badassery of Murray combined with that of FDR: America, you really are beautiful sometimes.

Oct. 27, Zellerbach Theater
Academy Award-winning director Robert Zemeckis (“Forest Gump,” “Back to the Future”) is behind this tense drama based on a true story. Denzel Washington stars as Whip Whitacker, a pilot who pulls off an impressive crash landing that saves nearly every passenger — even though he spent the previous night drinking heavily. As he gets his life together, it’s up to lengthy investigations to determine if he’s a hero, an addict or some murky combination of both. As for the Oscar bait, there’s plenty more where that came from: John Goodman, Don Cheadle and Melissa Leo round out the cast.

‘Silver Linings Playbook’
Thursday, Zellerbach Theater
Despite the fact that it initially sounds like fluffy airplane fare, “Silver Linings Playbook” has been quite the darling on the festival circuit. Based on Philly-native Matthew Quick’s novel and shot in the area, it stars Bradley Cooper as a high school teacher who is sent to a mental institution after catching his wife in the middle of an affair and, well, not handling things very gracefully. After his release, he attempts to settle back into the real world — into Philadelphia, no less — with the help of his neighbor (Jennifer Lawrence), who recruits him to be her partner in a dance competition.

If you go

The Philadelphia Film Festival kicks off Thursday with “Silver Linings Playbook” and wraps up Oct. 28. For tickets and showtime info for more than 100 feature-length and short films, visit


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