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

Friday’s openings: X-Men, vampires and Sandler

The term "embarrassment of riches" dates back to to the 18th century. But the central idea pertains more than ever to the coming week in Spokane theaters when more intriguing movies open than any rational person could see in any such abbreviated period. From the obligatory blockbusters to the atmospheric indies, the week has it all.

Following is the film-by-film rundown:

"X-Men: Days of Future Past": Bryan Singer continues his exploration of Marvel's X-Men phenomenon with this alternate history, one that sends Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) into the past in an attempt to ward off a war that threatens both mutants and humans. Balls of adamantium.

"Chef": Jon Favreau directs himself in a return to his independent-film origins about a chef, newly jobless, who starts over with his own food van. Notice I did not use the term "roach coach."

"Blended": Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore try to recapture their former magic as a mismatched couple who, while on an African vacation, find their soul-mateness. Think I'll sit through "50 First Dates" again.

"The Immigrant": James Gray ("Little Odessa," "The Yards") cowrote and directed this noir about a young woman (Marion Cotillard) who finds herself manipulated into prostitution by a brutal stranger (Joaquin Phoenix). Is this what they mean by immigration reform?

"Only Lovers Left Alive": Jim Jarmusch ("Mystery Train," "Night on Earth") was late in making a vampire flick, but expect the best from this reunion of blocs-sucking lovers played by Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton. Where are you now, Bram Stoker?

"Belle": When a mixed-race girl is raised in an upper-class English family, issues of race and class abound. Not that such things still happen in America.

"Locke": Tom Hardy plays a guy who, over the course of the film's 85-minute running time, is seen driving a car and carrying on one conversation after the next as he struggles to save his marriage, his career and maybe his very life. To quote New Yorker critic Anthony Lane, "The movie’s greatest asset by far is Hardy, whose rich, unflappable tones, even in times of high emotional pressure, bear a distinct echo of Richard Burton."

And at the Magic Lantern:

"Fed Up": Think you're fat because of how much you eat? Think again. According to this documentary, what you eat is even more important than how much.

"Under the Skin": Already having played at both the AMC and the Lantern, this intriguing little film continues. Nathan Weinbender just might include it one his year-end list, so check it out while you can.