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by INLANDER STAFF & r & & r & CARAMEL & r & & r & Five women gossip at the local beauty shop, then go out and enjoy sweet, sticky things: There's the beauty having an affair, the not-so-much-a-virgin about to be married, the responsible one who has cared for others and now has a love of her own, the repressed lesbian and the would-be movie star. If this weren't set in Beirut and shown with subtitles in Arabic, it'd be an Oprah-power chick-flick box office smash. What does that say about our viewing habits? (MB) Rated PG-13





SPEED RACER


The Wachowski brothers score again. After imagining an unworldly world in their Matrix series, they go back to their youth and reinvent the TV cartoon Speed Racer, which now exists as an impossible-to-make, great-fun-to-watch live-action film. Speed (Emile Hirsch) must put up with nasty villains galore and "some of the most dangerous drivers in the world" as he tries to win absurdly presented road races that fly up into the sky. These are sights and sounds you've never seen or heard before. In terms of visual style, it's a dandy follow-up to Tron and itself a groundbreaker. Buckle up, hang on and go for a ride. (ES) Rated PG





RED BELT


I should have known better than to question David Mamet. When I heard about Red Belt, I heard three things: David Mamet (the Tony and Oscar nominee), Tim Allen (yes, that Tim Allen) and mixed martial arts (like Ultimate Fighting Championship). Really weird. Then comes the trailer, in which Mamet seems, at face value, to have taken an of-the-moment sport and built in, with his patented potboiler technique, paranoid scrambling and philosophical reflection into the same film, all centered around the jujitsu-ish maxim "There is no situation you cannot escape. You know the escape." (LB) Rated R





WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS


Ashton and Cameron (I'm not using their last names because the trailers/marketing materials don't) go to Vegas separately and for different reasons. They get drunk, meet, presumably have sex and end up getting married. No prob, quick annulment time, everyone's happy. Except Ashton won three million bucks at slots with a quarter Cameron gave him, and now they need to stay together until a judge will let them part, each with his/her piece of the pie. (LB) Rated PG-13

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