The rating system: ☆☆☆☆, excellent; ☆☆☆, good; ☆☆, so-so; ☆, poor; Zero stars, terrible. Unless noted otherwise, reviews are by Bee critic Rick Bentley. Check movie times: http://calendar.fresnobee.com/
Gueros: Mexican coming-of-age drama. This month’s presentation by Fresno Filmworks.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: An American and Russian spy must work together.
Straight Outta Compton: Five young men escape from Compton through their music.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (☆☆☆): The heroes reunite to stop a creation with artificial intelligence out to destroy the world. All of this makes for a good summer action movie. It just falls short of the first “Avengers” movie. Rated PG-13 (sci-fi action, suggestive comments, violence). 150 minutes.
The Fantastic Four: Story of how four people gain super powers. Latest big-screen version of the Marvel comic.
The Gift (☆☆☆): A couple’s new life is disrupted by a mysterious person from their past. “The Gift” is old-fashioned in the way it conjures up scares. It’s filled with creepy characters who are one emotional jolt from going over the edge, scares that come more through psychological twists and more curveballs than in a Major League Baseball game.
Home (☆): Young girl and alien go on a quest to find her mother. Jim Parsons stars. The combination of a feeble script, unnecessary music montages, unlikable characters and so-so animation leave “Home” a close encounter of the dull kind. Rated PG (mild thematic elements). 93 minutes.
Inside Out (☆☆☆1/2) The emotions that run an 11-year-old come to life. Lewis Black stars. The Pixar team has created amazing worlds for the characters. Smart writing and the deeper elements fill “Inside Out” with numerous emotional moments. Rated PG (mild language). 102 minutes.
Irrational Man: Philosophy professor finds a new will to live.
Jurassic World (☆☆☆1/2): The new dinosaur park soon runs into familiar problems. “Jurassic World” serves as a reminder that it wasn’t just the dazzling CGI work in “Jurassic Park” that made it such a masterpiece. It was also the combination of that imagery with a solid story, interesting characters and pacing that bounces between terror and humor with ease. Rated PG-13 (violence, language). 123 minutes.
Mad Max: Fury Road (☆☆1/2): Max is forced into helping a driver who is trying to rescue a group of women. Tom Hardy stars. Rated R (violence, disturbing images). 120 minutes.
Max (☆☆1/2): Military dog returns to the United States where he’s adopted by his handler’s family. The combination of the bond between a boy and his dog, the salute to the military, a grieving family and the emotional upheavals of a father and son are the cornerstones of this tearjerker. Rated PG (language, Violence). 111 minutes.
Minions (☆☆1/2): The pill-shaped, yellow characters introduced in the “Despicable Me” movie, as the subordinates to the villainous Gru, have now taken center stage. The charm and humor they brought in tiny doses in the previous films now comes in a massive blast that wears thin quickly. Rated PG (rude humor, action). 91 minutes.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (1/2): Tom Cruise wants to have it both ways, feeding the Hollywood blockbuster machine while trying to squeeze in respectability. A better, bolder choice would have been to see this sleek, often thrilling entertainment through to a crazy, overblown finale. Instead, “Rogue Nation” becomes flat and self-important, demanding that we take it at face value. It’s like trying to treat a Road Runner cartoon as a nature documentary: Mission impossible, indeed. (By Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald)
Paper Towns: A young woman loves mysteries so much, she becomes one. Based on the novel by John Green. This film has not been reviewed.
Pixels (☆☆): An alien race uses ’80s video games to attack Earth. Adam Sandler stars. Sloppy writing, bad performances and uneven pacing mean it’s “game over” for the film before it gets started. You probably will get a cramp in your arm trying to hit the reset button to get this movie back on track.
Ricki and the Flash: Meryl Streep stars in this story of a rocker looking to make up for mistakes in her life.
San Andreas (☆☆1/2): Helicopter pilot races to save his daughter after massive earthquake. Dwayne Johnson stars. You will believe the ground is rippling under Los Angeles. Rated PG-13 (action, mayhem, language). 114 minutes.
Self/Less (☆): A dying man takes over the body of a healthy young man. But, the transfer leads to big problems. Ryan Reynolds stars. “Self/less” is built around the idea that one person’s thoughts and memories can be transplanted into a better body. It would have been nice to have had a better plot transplanted into this film. Rated PG-13 (language, violence). 117 minutes.
Shaun the Sheep: Animated tale of what happens when a flock tries to take the day off.
Southpaw (☆☆1/2): Jake Gyllenhaal stars in the story of Billy “The Great” Hope. Does it succeed? Sort of. Rated R (language, violence). 124 minutes. (Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune)
Spy (☆☆☆1/2): Desk-bound CIA analyst volunteers for an undercover mission. Melissa McCarthy stars. Director Paul Feig demonstrates with “Spy,” his latest collaboration with McCarthy, that “Heat” wasn’t a fluke. McCarthy turns in one of the funniest performances of her career in this espionage spoof. It’s one of the funniest films of the year. Rated R (language, violence, nudity). 120 minutes.
Ted 2 (☆1/2): Ted must prove in court he’s alive in order to become a father. Mark Wahlberg stars. Seth MacFarlane has taken all of the hilarity of the first film and drained more laughs out of the same comedy bits. Rated R (language, drug use, sexual content). 115 minutes.
Terminator Genisys (☆☆☆1/2): Another attempt is made to stop Sarah Connor. The Terminator – as promised – is back and it is a fun, exciting thrill ride that makes it one of the best action movies of the year. All you have to do is forget trying to decipher the time-traveling elements because, as always, the very familiar sci-fi gimmick always creates more questions than answers. Rated PG-13 (violence, brief nudity, language). 119 minutes.
Tomorrowland (☆☆): Teen and former boy genius look for a place that exists somewhere in time and space. George Clooney stars. Rated PG (action scenes, language). 130 minutes.
Trainwreck (☆☆☆): Amy Schumer plays a young woman who lives life at its fullest. The biggest surprise is how conventional Amy’s arc actually is. Rated R (strong sexual content, nudity, language, drug use). 125 minutes. (Lindsey Bahr, AP)
Vacation (1/2): Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) tries to give his family a fun trip to Wally World. If there was a 10th circle in Dante’s vision of Hell it would be reserved for movies like “Vacation.” Not only does the film feature a script that has less life than roadkill, a pacing that makes Los Angeles traffic look like the Indy 500 and as much humor as the mass funeral of orphans, nuns and kittens, it smears the good name of the 1983 Chevy Chase comedy, “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” Rated R (language, graphic nudity, drug use). 99 minutes.
NEXT WEEK’S OPENINGS
American Ultra: Stoner has his life turned upside down.
Hitman: Agent 47: Assassin is genetically engineered to be the perfect killing machine.