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GIFTED THE FATE OF THE FU­RI­OUS

In the crew of his star­ship En­ter­prise, Star Trek cre­ator Gene Rod­den­berry sought to rep­re­sent the var­ied peo­ples of planet Earth, along with a few other life forms. A new mi­cro­cosm of hu­man diver­sity showed up in 2001 with The Fast

and the Fu­ri­ous, about a multi-cul­tural band of broth­ers and sis­ters united by their sin­gu­lar in­abil­ity to drive fifty-five. The

Fast se­ries’ cast­ing depart­ment struck gold, par­tic­u­larly with the easy rap­port be­tween leads Vin Diesel and Michelle Ro­driguez, but the films’ scope has ex­panded to such an ex­tent that the last few en­tries min­i­mize street rac­ing in fa­vor of cocka­mamie clap­trap about in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ists and sav­ing the world. The trend is par­tic­u­larly galling in this movie, which opens with an en­joy­able romp in Cuba’s clas­sic-car scene and then swerves with zero ex­pla­na­tion into a na­tional-se­cu­rity-re­lated heist in Ber­lin. Did the pro­jec­tion­ist skip a reel? By the time we’ve reached the fi­nale, in­volv­ing ve­hic­u­lar com­bat be­tween cars and a sub­ma­rine, it’s clear that the fran­chise has rel­e­gated its lik­able char­ac­ters to the back seat. What mat­ters isn’t what’s un­der the hood, it’s who’s be­hind the wheel, or so goes the wis­dom of Do­minic Toretto (Diesel). The Fast movies should take that sen­ti­ment to heart and fo­cus more on peo­ple and less on things that go boom. Rated PG-13. 136 min­utes. Regal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown; DreamCatcher. (Jeff Acker)

FRANTZ

Rated PG-13. 113 min­utes. In French and Ger­man with sub­ti­tles. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts. See re­view, Page 39. In this brief break be­tween Mar­vel movies, Chris Evans puts down Cap­tain Amer­ica’s shield to play Frank Adler, a man tasked with rais­ing his niece (Mckenna Grace), who is a child prodigy. He’s han­dling the re­spon­si­bil­ity as best he can, but when his mother (Lind­say Dun­can) shows up at his door, she feels she could do a bet­ter job, so a cus­tody bat­tle en­sues. Marc Webb (who also dab­bled in su­per­heroes with the Amaz­ing

Spi­der-Man films) di­rects, and Jenny Slate plays Frank’s love in­ter­est. Rated PG-13. 101 min­utes. Regal Sta­dium 14; Vi­o­let Crown. (Not re­viewed)

THE LURE

Those who re­mem­ber the grab-bag of weird­ness that was USA Net­work’s Night Flight film show­case in the 1980s (with se­lec­tions that in­cluded I Was a Zom­bie for the FBI and Fan­tas­tic Planet) might feel as though they’ve stum­bled upon a long-lost episode in The Lure. Mer­maid sis­ters Golden (Michalina Ol­szan­ska) and Sil­ver (Marta Mazurek) join a trio who per­form Blondie-es­que New Wave on­stage at a War­saw strip club that seems lost in its own sparkly-sleazy dreamspace. The mer-girls are a hit with the land­lub­bers, singing, par­ty­ing, and ro­manc­ing the hu­mans while de­bat­ing whether or not to eat them. Direc­tor Ag­nieszka Smock­zyn­ska and writer Robert Bolesto pack one WTF mo­ment after another into the story, and the mu­sic is fun, with Rocky Hor­ror-style sin­ga­long po­ten­tial for re­peat view­ers. But for most folks, one go-round will be plenty. Not rated. 92 min­utes. In Pol­ish with sub­ti­tles. Jean Cocteau Cinema. (Jeff Acker)

QUEEN OF THE DESERT

Rated PG-13. 128 min­utes. In English, Ara­bic, and Turk­ish with sub­ti­tles. The Screen. See re­view, Page 37.

SPARK: A SPACE TAIL

This an­i­mated ad­ven­ture takes place on a planet named Bana, which is pop­u­lated by apes. One day, it is taken over by a war­lord named Zhong (voiced by A.C. Peter­son) and the chimps are forced to live un­der his tyranny — un­til Spark, the cho­sen one (Jace Nor­man) who is still an awk­ward teen, steps for­ward to save the world. Su­san Saran­don, Pa­trick Ste­wart, and Hi­lary Swank also lend their voices. Rated PG. 90 min­utes. Regal Sta­dium 14. (Not re­viewed)

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