Movie News & Reviews

Movies playing at Valley theaters May 19-25

The xenomorphs are back in terrifying action in “Alien: Covenant.” Ridley Scott directed.
The xenomorphs are back in terrifying action in “Alien: Covenant.” Ridley Scott directed. Twentieth Century Fox

Movie list

The rating system: , excellent; , good; , so-so; , poor; zero stars, terrible. Check movie times: http://calendar.fresnobee.com/

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OPENING

Alien: Covenant (): The crew of a colony ship makes a terrifying discovery after landing on what seems to be an uncharted paradise on the far side of the galaxy. (Tribune News Service)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (): The family takes a road trip, and Greg schemes to become famous as a new cast takes over for the fourth installment based on Jeff Kinney’s comic youth novels. (Tribune News Service)

Everything, Everything (1/2): An 18-year-old woman, confined to her house in a protected environment because of an illness, forms an attachment to the boy next door and yearns to experience the outside world. (The Washington Post)

ONGOING

Beauty and the Beast (): Emma Watson stars in this love story that is a tale as old as time. (Rick Bentley) Rated PG (peril). 129 minutes.

The Boss Baby ( 1/2 ): Suit-wearing baby must work with his older brother to stop an evil plot by a CEO. (Rick Bentley) Rated PG (rude humor). 97 minutes.

CHiPs (1/2): Jon Baker and Frank Poncherello take to the mean streets of Los Angeles as part of the California Highway Patrol. (Rick Bentley) Rated R (graphic nudity, crude humor, violence, drug use). 101 minutes.

The Circle (): New employee discovers truth behind a powerful tech company. Tom Hanks and Emma Watson star. “The Circle” is very much a plea for the preservation and sanctification of privacy, but it’s nicely constructed in that no one character expresses the film’s distinct point of view. (San Francisco Chronicle) Rated PG-13 (sexual situation, brief strong language and some thematic elements including drug use). 110 minutes.

A Dog’s Purpose (1/2): The purpose of a dog, according to “A Dog’s Purpose,” is to be a tool for manipulating emotional responses through repeated cloying death scenes. What starts out as a celebration of canines ends up being one of the saddest and most contrived movies in decades. (Rick Bentley) Rated PG (thematic elements)

The Fate of the Furious (): Drivers face one more challenge to save the world. The latest installment of “The Fast and the Furious” franchise is anything but typical. The movies have grown from a simple tale of street racers into a battle royale with more carnage than a weekend at a Transformers bonding retreat. The characters have more foreign locations on their passports than James Bond. And the villains never do anything simple. (Rick Bentley) Rated PG-13 (action scenes, adult situations, language). 140 minutes.

Ghost in the Shell (1/2): Cyborg policewoman fights computer hacker. The live-action “The Ghost in the Shell, “ based on the manga series by Masamune Shirow, is a blend of extreme visual highs and writing lows. If you were to only watch the film for the art direction, it’s one of the most effective visually since the future world of “Blade Runner” was created in 1982. (Rick Bentley) Rated PG-13 (sci-fi violence). 106 minutes.

Gifted (): Mckenna Grace stars as a child math prodigy, and Chris Evans is her uncle who is trying to help give her a normal life. The adults are good. But all the credit for making this movie work goes to Mckenna, who is just as convincing as a bratty child defying authority as she is a typical youngster showing love for her one-eyed cat. Even when she’s being defiant, there’s something sweet and innocent about the performance that makes it easy to root for her. (Rick Bentley) Rated PG-13 (adult situations, language). 101 minutes.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (): Heroes must run for their lives while also finding time to save the universe again. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is all it can be despite having lost the element of surprise. (Rick Bentley) Rated PG-13 (sci-fi action, language, suggestive content). 137 minutes.

How To Be a Latin Lover: Kept man has to fend for himself after his older lover dumps him. Eugenio Derbez stars. Not reviewed.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (): It’s Guy Ritchie’s take on the King Arthur story, so naturally, this King Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) is really into bare-knuckle boxing, (see Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” and “Snatch”). “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” is unlike any other medieval warfare and sorcery movie ever committed to film, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good. This King Arthur superhero origin story is strange, invigorating, often outright bad, confusing, and totally wild. (Tribune News Service) Rated PG-13 (sequences of violence and action, some suggestive content, brief strong language). 126 minutes.

The Lego Batman Movie (): Caped crimefighter saves the city one brick at a time. (Rick Bentley) Rated PG (rude humor, action). 105 minutes.

Logan (1/2): An aging Wolverine is pushed into another battle. “Logan” is a reminder there’s a serious reason comic books have such a big following. Comics aren’t just a place for flashy drawings of characters with bulging muscles. They often feature stories with multiple emotional ebbs and flows. The writers give the superheroes depth and purpose. (Rick Bentley) Rated R (violence, language). 130 minutes.

Lowriders (): While “Lowriders” offers an interesting entree into this world, it’s unfortunately too formulaic and predictable to leave much of an impact. (Tribune News Service) Rated PG-13 (language, some violence, sensuality, thematic elements, brief drug use). 99 minutes.

Norman (): Richard Gere gives the most maddening, annoying performance of his career – all by design. (Philadelphia Inquirer) Rated R (some language). 117 minutes.

Power Rangers (): Five young people gain powers that they will need to save Earth. The latest incarnation in the ever-morphing “Power Rangers” franchise hits the big screen Like a prize fighter who wins the first two and last two rounds of a 10-round fight, it’s the beating in the middle that causes all the pain. (Rick Bentley) Rated PG-13 (sci-fi violence, language). 124 minutes.

The Promise (): A love triangle unfolds against the brutality of the Armenian genocide. Oscar Isaac stars. ‘The Promise” is the first major Hollywood production to show the horrors of the Armenian Genocide. It dons the mantle of such importance through a story and images that reflect the atrocities in the way “Schindler’s List” did. The movie serves as a heartrending memorial to a people who persevered even in the face of some of the most inhumane actions in history. (Rick Bentley) Rated PG-13 (mature thematic elements, violence, some sexuality). 134 minutes.

The Shack (1/2): Man gets a mysterious note inviting him to a meeting at a place that caused his faith to be shaken. There’s nothing subtle about “The Shack.” This is a faith-based movie that uses a heavy hand to pound viewers with its religious messages. That’s a shame because when the film isn’t preaching, the story of how someone deals with great loss is touching and moving. (Rick Bentley) Rated PG-13 (thematic material). 132 minutes.

Sleight: Street magician turns to illegal activities that lead to his sister being kidnapped. Not reviewed.

Smurfs: The Lost Village (): Mystery map sends the Smurfs on a trek through the Forbidden Forest. Anyone 6 or younger will find “Smurfs: The Lost Village” a fun romp through the forbidden forest accented by the mild kind of danger that only Gargamel can provide. There’s nothing wrong with aiming a film at the very young demographic but it does increase the odds the production will fall on its Smurf with those who accompany the youngsters. (Rick Bentley) Rated PG (mild action, rude humor). 81 minutes.

Snatched (1/2): Best-case scenario with “Snatched” is that you are kidnapped and taken from the theater during a screening. Worst case is you are kidnapped and forced to watch this total mess. (Rick Bentley) Rated R (mature thematic elements, brief nudity, crude sexual content, language). 101 minutes.

Split: Kidnapped women must fight to survive. Not reviewed.

Unforgettable (1/2): “Unforgettable” takes on a tone that tries to reach a “Fatal Attraction” in intensity. The bad acting and cheesy script never come close. (Rick Bentley) Rated R (sexual content, partial nudity, violence, language). 100 minutes.

The Wall (1/2): This is a fairly effective small-scale drama pitting two American soldiers against an Iraqi sniper in the middle of nowhere. It’s fairly effective, that is, until the moment when one of the characters says to another: “We are not so different, you and I.” (Chicago Tribune) Rated R (language throughout, some war violence). 90 minutes.

OPENING NEXT WEEK

Baywatch: Who can fill the surf shoes of David Hasselhoff? Probably anyone, but certainly Dwayne Johnson. He costars here with Zac Efron in a reboot of the old TV show. (May 24).

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley return; Javier Bardem is new. (May 26).

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