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/
The Birth of a Nation Nat Turner orchestrates an uprising after seeing multiple atrocities.
The Dressmaker Talented dressmaker (Kate Winslet) returns to her Australian outback home to reconcile with her mother.
The Girl on a Train Woman who watches an ideal family during her commute becomes involved in a murder investigation.
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life Young boy uses his wits to deal with his principal and bullies.
Mirzya Story of star-crossed lovers told in parallel worlds.
Bad Moms Mothers decide to put themselves first. Mila Kunis stars. The problem with “Bad Moms” isn’t the concept, or the message about the struggle to raise good people in the world – it’s the execution. (Katie Walsh, TNS)
Bridget Jones’s Baby (☆☆☆) British publishing executive (Renee Zellweger) is in her 40s. Zellweger is charming as ever. Rated R (language, sex refrences, nudity). 122 minutes. (Lindsey Bahr, AP)
Central Intelligence (☆☆☆1/2): Reuniting with an old friend pulls a man into the spy world. Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart star. The combination of the muscle and mirth Johnson brings to “Central Intelligence” with Hart’s controlled energy makes the spy film a sure summer hit. Rated PG-13 (crude humor, nudity, language). 114 minutes.
Deepwater Horizon (☆☆☆) Disaster on an oil rig puts crew in a fight for survival. Kurt Russell stars. Director Peter Berg gets past the familiarity problem of the film being based on a real story with his “Deepwater Horizon” by playing up the human element of the major players. By the time the explosion on the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico unfolds in massively grand style, there is real reason to be concerned about the people facing a hell on Earth. Rated PG-13 (thematic material, danger). 99 minutes.
Don’t Breathe Attempts to rob a blind man go horribly wrong. Not reviewed.
Ghostbusters (1/2): Team is formed to stop the host of ghosts in the city. There’s something strange in the neighborhood and it’s the way director-writer Paul Feig handled the reboot. Instead of taking the classic franchise and making it a unique product, he settles for a story that lacks originality. The only sparks of interest are the endless cameo appearances and references to the original film. Rated PG-13 (crude humor, action scenes). 105 minutes.
Lights Out (☆☆☆1/2): An older sister tries to stop an entity that once haunted her from harming her brother. Sell all your stocks immediately and invest in companies that make candles, flashlights, lightbulbs or anything else that creates illumination. There’s going to be a run on those items with the release of “Lights Out.” Director David F. Sandberg has teamed with writer Eric Heisserer to create a film that proves it is possible to generate long-lasting scares without resorting to gore. Rated R (violence, scary scenes). 81 minutes.
The Magnificent Seven (☆☆☆) Seven gunmen come to the aid of a small village. Denzel Washington stars in this remake. Living up to the original is an almost impossible task. The remake tries to match the star power with Washington and Chris Pratt, but the overall lineup eventually pales in comparison. Washington brings the controlled swagger that makes his character believable as the leader of this group. It helps that the screenwriter is Richard Wenk, who understands how to write for Washington. Rated PG-13 (violence, language, smoking). 132 minutes.
Masterminds Man who steals $17 million must track down criminals who double-crossed him.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (☆☆) Young boy discovers a refuge for children with special abilities. Thew first half of the film is fun because of director Tim Burton’s whimsical style of making movies. Once the story begins, the plot gets more peculiar than any of the children. The casting seems slightly off and Samuel L. Jackson goes so far over the top he needs a parachute. Rated PG-13 (intense scenes of fantasy). 127 minutes.
Nerve (1/2): High school senior gets involved with an online game that features more and more dangerous truth-or-dares. Emma Roberts stars. Rated PG-13 (brief nudity, language, drinking). 96 minutes.
Nikka Zaildar Sonam Bajwa stars in this film directed by Simerjit Singh. Not reviewed.
Nine Lives: Business man finds himself stuck inside the body of a cat. Kevin Spacey stars. Not reviewed.
Queen of Katwe Young Uganda woman trains to be chess champion. Not reviewed.
Snowden (☆☆1/2) Whistleblower steals and releases millions of bits of classified material. Just like the world, filmmaking doesn’t have to be black and white. But when it comes to Oliver Stone, who has always been very clear about his points of view, the lines just aren’t sharp enough. Rated R (language, sexual situations). 133 minutes.
Star Trek Beyond (☆☆☆1/2): The Enterprise faces a new threat at the edges of the uncharted space. Rated PG-13 (violence, action scenes). 120 minutes.
Storks (☆☆☆☆) After years of being out of the baby-delivery business, one stork must make a very important delivery. The film manages to deliver on many levels, from broad comedy to a sweet family story. There’s a lot going on in this tale of a world where storks have been made to deliver packages from a superstore. But directors Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland layer the elements in such a way that one just makes the other stronger. Rated PG (mild violence). 92 minutes.
Suicide Squad (☆☆): A group of villains that include the Joker (Jared Leto) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) go on a mission. “Suicide Squad,” the latest fumbled movie offering based on a DC Comics franchise, has only two things going for it. The most noteworthy is Robbie, who brings a wonderful crazy energy to her role. The character has been immensely popular since debuting in “Batman: The Animated Series” in 1992, and Robbie is flawless. Rated PG-13 (violence, sexual situations) 126 minutes.
Sully (☆☆☆) Pilot becomes a hero when he is forced to make a water landing in the Hudson River. Tom Hanks stars. You would have had to be living in a cave not to know how this story ends. But the film delivers a compelling story of what it means to make monumental decisions without time to think, the real difference between a hero and someone doing his or her job and how even the strongest people in a crisis can eventually doubt themselves. Rated PG-13 (languague, peril). 96 minutes.
War Dogs (☆☆) Two young men find that war can be profitable. Jonah Hill stars. “War Dogs” suffers the same problems as other movies about arms dealers: No matter how good the writing or performances, there is a dark cloud hanging overhead. Marginal writing and so-so performances mean movies like “War Dogs” never provide enough bang for the buck. Rated R (language, drug use, sexual references). 114 minutes.
The Wild Life: Animated tale of Robinson Crusoe who teams up with some weird animals to battle two cats. Not reviewed.
Opening next week
The Accountant Ben Affleck plays a math savant who gets involved with a criminal element.
Desierto Vigilante chases unarmed men and women at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Kevin Hart: What Now? Kevin Hart performs in front of 50,000 people at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.
Miss Sharon Jones! Documentary on the life and music of the singer. This month’s presentation by Fresno Filmworks.