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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Where are you now, Wes Anderson?

Not sure I'm ready to head back to the theaters after last week, though I'll admit that “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” went a long way toward washing the waste that is “300: Rise of an Empire” out of my soul.

(Note to the “Rise of an Empire” producers: Next time, crack a history book. The actual events of the past often make a far better story than anything you can dream up in your fanboy fantasies.)

The big news this week is what ISN'T opening in the Spokane area, namely Wes Anderson's “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and Jason Bateman's “Bad Words.” Both are in limited release, though word is that Anderson's movie is doing well, and could show up unexpectedly.

Anyway, here is what supposedly IS opening on Friday:

“Need for Speed”: Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) plays a former street racer, set up for a prison rap, now free and looking for revenge. He think he can get it by entering a cross-country race, which offers a number of dangerous challenges. Vroom, vroom.

“Veronica Mars”: Kristen Bell reprises the role that she played on the cable television show of the same name, which ran from 2004-07. Here, just in time for her high school reunion, she gets involved investigating a murder.

“The Single Moms Club”: Written and directed by Tyler Perry. Enough said.

And at the Magic Lantern:

“The Past” (“Le passé”): Iranian-born director Asghar Farhadi follows up his Oscar-winning “A Separation” by telling the story of an even more complicated relationship: A man, returning to Paris to sign divorce papers, becomes embroiled in his soon-to-be-ex-wife's domestic crisis. Powerful and emotionally wrenching, this is just the kind of foreign-language (French and Persian) movie that the Lantern specializes in screening.

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