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 BFG: A gentle giant and a spunky young girl join forces.
The Legend of Tarzan: The jungle king must return to his country on a rescue mission.
Our Kind of Traitor: Couple get caught up in international espionage.
The Purge: Election Year: Politicians decided the annual day when nothing is illegal must stop.
Swiss Army Man: Castaway uses a dead body as a means of escaping from the island and his loneliness.
Barbershop: The Next Cut (☆☆☆): Workers at the shop arrange a weekend cease-fire among local gangs. The script by Tracy Oliver and Kenya Barris is a strong balance of serious and funny that is accented by all of the comedians who love to improvise. It’s not a matter of the comedians trying to save the story, it’s just adding comedy accents along the way. Cedric the Entertainer continues to shine as the shop’s veteran employee, Eddie. Rated PG-13 (language, sexual situations). 112 minutes.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (☆☆): Batman takes on Superman. Holy bloated muddled mess! The first 45 minutes of director Zack Snyder’s film is such a confusing menagerie of worn-out and worthless story points that only a well-staged battle and the appearance of a female savior keep this latest comic-book-inspired film from being the biggest failure in the genre. Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot star. Rated PG-13 (language, violence). 151 minutes.
Captain America: Civil War (☆☆☆ 1/2 ): Superheroes are divided by new rulings from the United Nations. The challenge Marvel Studios faced was releasing another movie after the nearly flawless “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and hero-packed “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” In the ever-expanding universe of comic book-inspired films, “Winter Soldier” had just the right amount of chaos and control to make it an unrelenting movie thrill ride. Anything following that would have to be bigger, louder and more exciting. Rated PG-13 (action, violence). 156 minutes.
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.
The Conjuring 2 (☆☆☆ 1/2 ): The Warrens go to London to help a single mother dealing with evil spirits. Vera Farmiga stars. Although he made his first mark with “Saw” – a film that launched one of the goriest franchises in film history – director James Wan demonstrated with the 2013 release “The Conjuring” that he didn’t need blood and guts to scare. In “The Conjuring,” he masterfully used things that go bump in the night to create hair-raising tension. He’s done it again with the sequel, “The Conjuring 2.” Rated R (scary images). 133 minutes.
The Darkness: Family brings home a supernatural force they picked up while on vacation. Kevin Bacon stars. Not reviewed.
Finding Dory (☆☆☆1/2): The blue fish who helped Nemo goes on a trek to find her parents. The long-awaited follow-up to the 2003 release “Finding Nemo” has all the fun and charm of the original movie. In some ways – especially dealing with themes of friends and family – the sequel trumps the original. Rated PG (mild thematic elements).
Free State of Jones: Southern farmer leads rebellion against the Confederacy. Matthew McConaughey stars. Not reviewed.
Independence Day Resurgence: Aliens take another shot at Earth. Not reviewed.
Kung Fu Panda 3 (☆☆☆): It is time for the student to become the teacher. Much of the appeal of the “Panda” films is the starry cast of voices. Rated PG (martial arts action, mild rude humor). 95 minutes. (Jocelyn Noveck, AP)
Me Before You (☆☆☆ 1/2 ) : A young woman (Emilia Clarke) falls for the paralyzed man she’s been hired to accompany. The emotional energy that Clarke (“Games of Thrones”) brings to “Me Before You,” coupled with Sam Claflin’s charm, makes this new movie a love story that’s easy to believe. Rated PG-13 (thematic elements, suggestive material).
Miracles From Heaven (☆☆☆): 10-year-old is cured of a chronic illness after surviving an accident. Rated PG (thematic material). 109 minutes.
Money Monster (☆☆☆): Irate investor takes over a cable money show and threatens to set off a massive explosion. George Clooney and Julia Roberts star. There’s always the possibility that the audience will lose interest in a movie where the plot is deeply entangled in money matters. But director Jodie Foster cashes in on the superb work of Clooney and Jack O’Connell to make sure there are never any monetary dull spots in “Money Monster.” Rated R (language, sexuality, violence). 90 minutes.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (☆): It’s wedding bells again in the sequel to the romantic comedy hit. Rated PG-13. 94 minutes. (Nick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle)
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (☆1/2): Plans to sell a home are threatened when a sorority moves in next door. Rose Byrne stars. Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien’s lazy script for the 2014 comedy “Neighbors” fell apart because there were plot holes big enough to sink a university. They appeared to have remedied that gaff with the sequel, “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” only to return to their lazy tendencies, making the project flunk out. Rated R (drug use, language, graphic nudity). 92 minutes.
The Nice Guys (☆☆): Two detectives investigate a mystery that takes them into the middle of the porn industry in 1977. Russell Crowe stars. Shane Black writes and directs. Ryan Gosling and Crowe play mismatched partners. Gosling is just not the right match for role. Rated R (language, violence, nudity, drug use). 116 minutes.
Now You See Me 2 (☆☆☆): Notorious magicians are forced into one more spectacular stunt. The sequel is much stronger than the first film. It starts out with another magical concept, but instead of the story droning to a lackluster end, the big reveal is both fun and full of original twists. It does not have nearly as many problems as the first movie. Rated PG-13 (language, violence). 129 minutes.
Sardaarji 2: Punjabi family film starring Diljit Dosanjh. Not reviewed.
The Shallows (☆☆1/2): Surfer is stuck on a rock a short distance from shore but a shark is in the way. Blake Lively stars. The film is a splash of fresh seawater in the face of a rather dismal summer movie season. Rated PG-13 (bloody images, peril, language). 87 minutes. (Katie Walsh, Tribune)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows: The Turtles must once again save the world. Megan Fox stars. Not reviewed.
Udta Punjab: Four very different people are connected. Not reviewed.
Zootopia (☆☆☆): Fox and rabbit must work together to uncover a kidnapping conspiracy. When the new animated movie focuses on the critters, it’s a funny trip through the animal kingdom. What slows the ark (oops, make that arc) of the film is a crime story that’s in need of a few more jokes. Rated PG (rude humor, scary images). 108 minutes.
NEXT WEEK’S OPENINGS
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates: A pair of hard-partying brothers use the internet to find dates. Zac Efron stars.
The Secret Life of Pets: The way your pet acts when you are away is very different than when you are home.