Speed Racer
, from the mysterious sibling filmmakers behind the Matrix trilogy, is opening to well-deserved critical derision. It’s a 135-minute insipid, soulless commodity that lifts some of the Japanese original’s storyline but absolutely none of the charm. The movie opens with a 34% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes; perhaps J. Hoberman’s pan gets it best: “Ideologically anti-corporate, previous Wachowski productions aspired to be something more than mind-less sensation; Speed Racer is thrilled to be less. It's the delusions minus the grandeur.

On the other side of the universe, Nick Broomfield – director of that juicy Kurt & Courtney conspiracy documentary – has dramatized the 2005 American massacre of civilians, including women and young children, in Haditha, Iraq. Shot in Jordan with former marines who fought in Iraq, Battle for Haditha takes a long, tense look at the build-up to that fateful incident. Manohla Dargis says “there is a kind of therapeutic quality to the entire enterprise, almost as if the marines, the Iraqis and Mr. Broomfield were collectively trying to work through a nightmare from which none have awakened.

2008_05_vegas.jpgDude, Iraq’s a downer – who’s up for the new Ashton Kutcher/Cameron Diaz “comedy,” What Happens in Vegas? Check out this plot, bro: Kutcher and Diaz play two strangers who get wasted, married and then win a $3 million jackpot in Vegas. But when they sober up and try to split the cash in a divorce, a judge sentences them to “six months’ hard marriage!” How punk'd is that? Don’t listen to egghead critics like Wesley Morris at the Globe, who says, “When it was over I felt vaguely embarrassed. I wasn't just leaving a movie theater. I was taking a walk of shame.”

There is also the classy Merchant Ivory period piece Before the Rains, set in 1937 colonial India. The story concerns an arrogant British landowner and the local fallout after his affair with one of the maids is discovered. Stephen Holden calls it a “sophisticated and dispassionate study of how power, when threatened, ruthlessly exercises its prerogatives.”

And in the absurd comedy Noise, Tim Robbins plays a man so maddened by New York City car alarms that he becomes a vigilante superhero called The Rectifier. Slate says it “bites off much more than it can chew but masticates that wad with admirable vigor.” If all else fails, Godard's irresistible A Woman is a Woman screens Sunday at Film Forum.