When summer hits the multiplex, it’s time to separate the men from the boys. And the women from the girls. And everybody else according to his or her places in the great marketing firmament, which just happens to get redistricted more narrowly all the time.
For instance, are you old enough to have substantive memories of the original, animated Speed Racer TV series? Then you’re obviously not being courted to worship at the altar of the CGI-drenched feature adaptation (arriving this week), which appears aimed at a modern generation that’s used to constant bombardment by all kinds of obnoxious stimuli – like full-track ringtones, pop-up surveys and, uh, Fergie. If the relentlessly frenetic promos are any indication, this thing looks the way energy drinks taste, which is why it’ll no doubt be best appreciated by people who have learned to respond to the prompt “Red Bull gives you … ” with the plural noun “wings,” as opposed to the singular condition “acid reflux.”
Are we curious to see Speed Racer, rapidly aging popcult slaves that we are? Yeah, kinda. But only with a fistful of Advil, and nowhere within 50 miles of an IMAX theater. And whoever sits next to us better be ready to spend a couple of hours listening to one easily irritated boomer killjoy shouting, “Hey, movie! Your brights are on!”


Opening Friday, May 9

Speed Racer From our comments above, you might think that we’re unduly prejudiced against this picture. To prove that’s not the case, we’ll make a bold prediction: Come what may, it’s bound to go down in history as the best damn film ever co-directed by a post-op transsexual. (Warner Bros.; PG)

Young @ Heart Now here’s something to make even the post–Speed Racer contingent feel spry in comparison: a documentary that shows a choir of certifiably ancient geezers and geezettes crooning ironically appropriate rock ditties like “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” Sure, it sounds potentially unfortunate, but initial notices maintain that the group portrait is self-aware, funny and touching. The top tune on our list of requests? “You’re Gonna Die Soon,” by Sarah Silverman. (Fox Searchlight; PG; at Enzian Theater, Maitland)

Redbelt  Acting as both writer and director, David Mamet drafted the blueprint for an ensemble cast to enact the plight of a ju-jitsu expert forced to enter the boxing ring. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Emily Mortimer, Rebecca Pidgeon and Tim Allen share the screen for the first time … in this or any other dimension. (Sony Classics; R)

What Happens in Vegas  Accidental newlyweds Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz are forced to stick together as they battle over a multimillion-dollar jackpot. Meanwhile, America’s less enlightened suckers stay married for the sake of the children. (Twentieth Century Fox; PG-13)

Available Tuesday, May 13
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (Special Collector’s Edition); Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Special Collector’s Edition); Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Special Collector’s Edition); Indiana Jones: The Adventure Collection  Sweet Christ, somebody make it stoooooooop!!! (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Youth Without Youth Unless you happened to live near one of 18 selected theaters, you missed the exhibition run of Francis Ford Coppola’s first feature in almost 10 years, which spins a tale of mystery and pursuit in the days leading up to World War II. “Meandering and often incomprehensible,” said the Seattle Times. See ya in 2018, Francis! (Sony Pictures)


Available Tuesday, May 13
Midnight Meat Train Originally set to open next week, the wonderfully named Clive Barker adaptation has met with an uncertain fate. Some reports have it pushed to August, while others say it’ll go straight to DVD. The shipping date for the soundtrack CD remains unaffected, but don’t be shocked if this train fails to pull into the station. (Lakeshore Records)

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Orchestral selections from the upcoming Christian fantasy rub up against songs by the likes of Jewish neo-folkie Regina Spektor. And you thought David Mamet movies made for strange bedfellows. (Walt Disney Pictures)


Available Tuesday, May 13
Invincible (Star Wars: Legacy of the Force, Book 9) Author Troy Denning helps us fill in that pesky four-second narrative gap between the events of the last two Star Wars novels. (Del Rey)

The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company The true-life underdog story of the studio that made computer animation the industry standard … and, more important to locals, helped get Michael Eisner tossed out on his keister. (Knopf)

Up Till Now: The Autobiography William Shatner reveals that everyone he’s ever worked with considers him an unmitigated asshole, which was quite the scoop when he dished it in his first autobiography back in 1993. The 368-pager details the captain’s start as a child actor.  (Thomas Dunne Books)

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