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On the Subtle Appeal of the 5th Fast and the Furious Movie

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Plus, the Love Actually of high-school movies, and an Italian comic adaptation about a supernatural detective.

Fast Five

Director: Justin Lin
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster

I'm actually kind of psyched for the latest Fast and Furious sequel, in all its bootylicious car-porn glory. This time around, Vin Diesel and the gang are in Rio for some kind of heist, and Dwayne "Don't Call Me The Rock" Johnson is on hand for macho fisticuffs as a federal agent who gets to bark the line, "We find 'em, we take 'em back, and above all else we don't ever, ever let them get into cars." Yeah, good luck with that, Agent Hobbs. Because, see, director Justin Lin (who's been directing the series since Tokyo Drift) is in the business of high-speed auto carnage. And based on the trailer, business is good, with souped-up junkers crashing into police vans, speeding trains, and bank vaults, all apparently without the aid of CGI. Even Diesel's bland, pretty-boy co-star Paul Walker has grown on me over the course of countless road races, and Jordana Brewster still looks great working a stick shift. So I'm willing to forgive the series for killing off Michelle Rodriguez's snarly bad-ass last time around, and hereby declare Fast Five my Top One Movie… unless one of this week's other contenders wins out.

Prom

Director: Joe Nussbaum
Cast: Aimee Teegarden, Thomas McDonnell, Danielle Campbell

Sadly, that movie won't be Prom, even though the trailer actually looks fairly charming and relatively multicultural by Hollywood's low standards. Since most teen movies eventually wind up at the big dance anyway, I suppose it makes sense to center an entire adolescent Love Actually-type episodic ensemble comedy around the generally underwhelming rite of passage. And since director Joe Nussbaum made his bones with the clever internet hit "George Lucas In Love," I'm perfectly willing to forgive him for American Pie Presents The Naked Mile — I mean, hey, USC student loans don't re-pay themselves. But, as with domestic, non-Pixar animated films, I'm just out of demo for all but the most buzzy, Juno-y type teen comedies. If I were still in Prom's target audience, I'm sure I'd finish my homework, borrow Mom's car, and go check out Disney's latest with all my pals from band camp (or maybe even the cute sophomore from my trig class).

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

Director: Kevin Munroe
Cast: Brandon Routh, Sam Huntington, Peter Stormare

Which brings us to Dylan Dog, the cinematic adaptation of a long-running international comic about a human detective who investigates crime in the shadowy underworld of vampires, werewolves, and other beasties. That's a clever premise, and it might have a clever execution too;  the trailer includes a cute bit with a recently deceased character attending an A.A.-style zombie support group. But the low-wattage cast and meh production values just make the whole thing seem like an ad for some Showtime series unlikely to knock the new season of True Blood (or even old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) from my Tivo queue. Great buzz could reverse my decision on this one, but considering director Kevin Munroe's only previous feature credit is the 2007 Ninja Turtles sequel TMNT, I think I'll keep the pedal to the metal for Fast Five.

The One Movie You Should See This Week: Fast Five