The rating system: A, excellent; B, good; C, so-so; D, poor; F, terrible. Unless noted otherwise, reviews are by Bee critic Rick Bentley.
Cinderella: A young woman gets help from her Fairy Godmother to attend a royal ball. Lily James stars.
Run All Night: Former hit man (Liam Neeson) must go to extreme measures to protect his son.
Two Days, One Night: Woman races against time to save her job. Marion Cotillard stars. This month’s presentation by Fresno Filmworks.
A La Mala: An actress trying to help a friend falls in love. This film has not been reviewed.
American Sniper (A-): Navy SEAL finds he can’t leave the war behind when he returns home. Rated R (war violence, language). 134 minutes.
Big Hero Six (A-): In the Oscar winner, a young genius uses a robot to solve a mystery in this animated tale. Never has East met West in such a visually stunning way as in the animated feature film “Big Hero 6.” From the blending of the architecture of Tokyo and San Francisco (to create San Fransokyo) to the collision of traditional animation with anime, the film is “manga-nificent.” Rated PG (violence). 108 minutes
Chappie: A robot with artificial intelligence becomes a new life form. This film has not been reviewed.
The DUFF (B): High school senior is crushed to learn she is the Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Mae Whitman stars. Rated PG-13 (crude and sexual material). 101 minutes. (David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle)
Fifty Shades of Grey (F): Young woman (Dakota Johnson) turns over control to a mysterious man (Jamie Dornan). No one said the masochism part of the story in “Fifty Shades of Grey” had to do with what the audience would be put through. There has never been a film so painful to watch, both because of how poorly it’s written, acted and shot and for its disgustingly vulgar treatment of women. The movie would be painfully laughable if it wasn’t so horribly offensive. Rated R (strong sexual content, unusual behavior, graphic nudity, language). 110 minutes.
Focus (B): High stakes con man (Will Smith) breaks a major rule when he falls in love. It would have made for a tighter tale of sneaky larceny had the story been one long scam. In this case, two cons don’t equal one major flim flam. The good thing is that it’s not quite so noticeable because Smith and Margot Robbie bring so much to the film. Rated R (violence, language, sexual content). 105 minutes.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (B): Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) struggles to find her place in the revolution that is brewing. In a film that cranks up the action even more than the first two movies, Lawrence’s work grows even stronger as she commands attention with each word, phrase and breath. Rated PG-13 (violence, disturbing images). 125 minutes.
The Imitation Game (B): Group of Brits rush to defeat German code machine during World War II. Benedict Cumberbatch stars. At the core, this is a story about how one man can be both a hero and an outcast. It is depicted through the mesmerizing performance of Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, the genius who helped bring World War II to an end two years early.
Kingsman: The Secret Service (B-): A young man is recruited to be part of an elite spy force. Colin Firth stars. Matthew Vaughn, writer and director of “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” has created a spy thriller that falls somewhere between James Bond and Austin Powers. The source material, Mark Millar’s snarky comic book “Secret Service,” calls for a degree of fun and frivolity with the story. Rated R (violence, nudity, language) 100 minutes.
The Lazarus Effect (D+): Efforts to bring back the dead lead to an evil result. Mark Duplass stars. First-time feature director David Gelb tries to create lively scares out of the bringing-back-the-dead film genre with “The Lazarus Effect.” The best he gets are a few nervous twitches. Rated PG-13 (violence, sexual references). 83 minutes.
McFarland, USA (B+): Coach (Kevin Costner) builds a winning cross-country team of farmworkers. The real strength comes from the film’s deep look at the beauty of diverse cultures and the importance of family and following a dream. Then “McFarland, USA” becomes a story of the determination, devotion and desire of seven young men to rise above the back-breaking lives of field hands and the man who helps them accomplish what always seemed like a pipe dream. Rated PG (mild action). 129 minutes.
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (D+): This time the weird antics in the museum take place outside the United States. Ben Stiller stars.
Project Almanac (C-): Time machine results in a group of teens changing the world. The first hour of the film is so relentlessly paced, it feels like it’s on fast-forward. Rated PG-13 (language, sexual content). 106 minutes. (Lindsay Bahr, AP).
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (B+): Efforts to open a new hotel are thwarted and interfere with wedding plans. Maggie Smith stars. Though the sequel lacks a touch of the magic that came with the grand discovery of the quirky characters and exotic settings in the original production, it uses the same phenomenal cast, sweet writing and beautiful appreciation of the Indian culture to create a film that may be “second best” but is still a winner. PG (language, suggestive comments). 122 minutes.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (B+): SpongeBob and the gang go on a quest to find a stolen formula. Glenn Berger and Jonathan Aibel faced the challenge of writing a script for “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water” that was funny enough to captivate youngsters and their parents (or grandparents). They succeeded by using fun sight gags, corny puns and uninhibited joy. Rated PG (mild action). 100 minutes.
Strange Magic (D): An animated musical fairy tale inspired by "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and centered around goblin, elf, fairy and imp characters. Rated PG (Scary images). 99 minutes. (Michael Ordona, San Francisco Chronicle)
Taken 3: Ex-government operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is accused of a ruthless murder. This film has not been reviewed.
Unbroken: Olympic athlete must face the ordeal of being held in a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War II.
Unfinished Business (D): Routine business trip goes comically bad. Vince Vaughn stars. Rated R (violence, language). 91 minutes. (Jon Frosch, AP)
The Wedding Ringer (C+): Socially awkward groom turns to a professional best man. Kevin Hart stars. A
bromantic comedy that feels like a romantic comedy. Rated R (language). 101 minutes. (Roger Moore,
NEXT WEEK’S OPENINGS
Do You Believe?: A series of events bring a group of people together and tests their faith. Mia Sorvino stars.
The Divergent Series: Insurgent: Tris continues to search for allies while being hunted. Shailene Woodley stars.
The Gunman: Former military contractor (Sean Penn) tries to reconnect with a long time love while fighting to stay alive.