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/
Eddie the Eagle: Eddie is an underdog in ski jumping but won’t back down. Hugh Jackman stars.
Gods of Egypt: Bek and Horus wage a battle to save Egypt.
Neerja: Extremists hijack a plane headed from Bombay to New York.
Triple 9: Russian mob blackmails dirty cops to execute a nearly impossible heist.
The 5th Wave: Young girl fights back from an alien invasion. Not reviewed.
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi: Six elite ex-military operators must protect members of the CIA. Not reviewed.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip: A misunderstanding leaves the Chipmunks worried about their future. Not reviewed.
The Big Short (☆☆☆): A group of men predict the collapse of the economy because of bad loans. Christian Bale stars. Director Adam McKay looks to put the financial collapse caused by the housing bubble that happened less than a decade ago into an understandable form. It's a valiant effort. Rated R (sexual content, language, nudity). 123 minutes.
The Boy: Woman hired to take care of a family’s child discovers the boy is actually a life-sized doll. Not reviewed.
Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer: Husband comes up with plan to get rid of his nagging wife. Not reviewed.
The Choice (☆☆1/2): Couple discovers that life is a series of big and small choices. The best thing to keep in mind is that movies based on a Nicholas Sparks book are going to embrace the gooey side of romance. There are always some variations, but the author doesn’t hide the fact he’s a pure romantic. Rated PG-13 (sexual content). 109 minutes.
Creed (☆☆1/2): Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) agrees to train the son of Apollo Creed. “Creed” is a reboot of the franchise and follows a very similar structure to the original movie. To that end, the movie repeatedly falls short. Rated PG-13 (violence, language, some sexuality). 133 minutes.
Daddy’s Home (☆ 1/2 ): Stepfather (Will Ferrell) battles with biological father (Mark Wahlberg) for the attention of two children. Will Ferrell again resorts to his over-the-top style. But there is no counterbalance from Wahlberg, who looks bored with the project. The result is a film that has a good heart but no strong humor. Rated PG (thematic elements). 96 minutes.
Deadpool (☆☆☆): Superhero with an attitude starring Ryan Reynolds. Deadpool is a foul-mouthed jerk who would rather put a bullet in a bad guy’s head than to take him off to jail. He loves to talk about sex, violence, sex, sex, sex and more sex. And, just like he does in the comics, Deadpool has no problem breaking the fourth wall. Rated R (violence, sexual content, language, drug use). 117 minutes.
Dirty Grandpa: Grandson and his grandfather go on a road trip. Not reviewed.
The Forest: Woman goes in search of her missing sister. Not reviewed.
Ghayal Once Again: While out on photography expedition, a murder is accidentally recorded. This movie has not been reviewed.
The Good Dinosaur (☆☆): In a world where dinosaurs have progressed more than humans, a young dinosaur must learn how to face his fears. It is weighed down by a flawed concept, unappealing characters and a soundtrack that lacks anything close to a memorable tune. The only aspect worthy of high praise is the background work, which is so stunning it keeps the movie from heading for a tar pit. Even Mother Nature can’t make a landscape this amazing. Rated PG (peril, action, thematic elements). 100 minutes.
Goosebumps (☆☆☆): A kid teams up with the niece of young adult horror author. Jack Black stars. An older audience may feel nostalgic for the books or get a smile out of the cornucopia of creatures that come to life. But the movie is aimed at the same youth market that embraces the books. Rated PG-13 (scary images, language). 113 minutes.
How To Be Single (☆☆☆): Four women deal with life in the dating world. Dakota Johnson stars. “How To Be Single” actually is a smart, fun and sweet movie. Despite an all-female starring cast, it delivers its comments about relationships in such a full and inclusive manner that men will be pulled into the intertwined stories. Rated R (sexual content, language).
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (☆☆ 1/2 ): Katniss Everdeen faces one last showdown with President Snow. Jennifer Lawrence stars. Splitting the final book in the popular series into two feature film parts created a bloated feeling to the story. Instead of the heart-pounding tempo that made the first two movies so entertaining, the slow grind of the finale is less compelling. It made financial sense – not artistic sense. Rated PG-13 (violence, action scenes). 136 minutes.
Kung Fu Panda 3 (☆☆☆): It is time for the student to become the teacher. Much of the appeal of the “Panda” films is he starry cast of voices. Rated PG (martial arts action, mild rude humor). 95 minutes. (Jocelyn Noveck, AP)
The Lady In the Van: Vagrant who lives in a vehicle forms a bond with a man. Not reviewed.
Norm of the North: Polar Bear heads to New York to stop construction in his backyard. Not reviewed.
Point Break (☆☆1/2): An FBI agent infiltrates a gang of extreme sports criminals. Luke Bracey stars. If you are an extreme sports junkie, “Point Break” is cocaine. If you are a fan of good writing, it’s a placebo. Rated PG-13 ( (peril, action, thematic elements, drug material). 113 minutes.
Race (☆☆☆): Jesse Owen travels to Germany for the 1936 Olympics to win four medals in front of Adolf Hitler. “Race” is as important a movie as “Selma” or “12 Years a Slave.” It presents some horrible truths about mankind with a power and grace. The film’s messages are beautifully conveyed. Rated PG-13 (thematic elements, language). 134 minutes.
Risen (☆☆1/2): Roman tribune (Joseph Fiennes) investigates events following the Crucifixion. “Risen” is more “The Last Temptation of Christ” than “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” It’s a film that comes wrapped in the theological teachings of the Bible but is really a procedural drama that looks to fill in the gaps left between the Crucifixion and the Ascension. Rated PG-13 (Biblical violence, disturbing images). 107 minutes.
The Ride Along 2 (☆☆1/2): Ice Cube and Kevin Hart hit the road to dish out their comedic style of justice. Watching the “Ride Along” films is an exercise in succumbing to Kevin Hart’s unique, manic charms. Rated PG-13 (violence, sexual content, language). 101 minutes. (Katie Walsh, Tribune)
Sisters (☆☆): Sisters throw one last party before selling the family home. Rated R (crude sexual content, language, drug use). 118 minutes. (Katie Walsh, Tribune).
Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens (☆☆☆☆): Han Solo and General Leia are pulled into a new battle between light and dark forces. The strengths George Lucas brought to his films were the examination of family, the importance of friendship, the fight between good and evil, and the necessity of finding your own place in the galaxy. Abrams took those elements and presented them through a structure that combined characters from the 1977 offering with an entertaining and engaging group of new players. Rated PG-13 (peril, action scenes). 136 minutes.
The Witch (☆☆☆): Family in 1630s New England torn apart by witchcraft. “The Witch” is the kind of movie that works more on the psychology of terror, which is why it will haunt you long after the film ends. Rated R (violence, graphic nudity). 92 minutes.
Zoolander 2: Male supermodels face danger from competing company. Ben Stiller stars. Not reviewed.
NEXT WEEK’S OPENINGS
London Has Fallen: Plot to kill all the world leaders is uncovered. Gerard Butler stars.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: Journalist adjusts to life as a war correspondent. Tina Fey stars.
Zootopia: Fox and rabbit must work together to uncover a conspiracy.