The rating system: ☆☆☆☆, excellent; ☆☆☆, good; ☆☆, so-so; ☆, poor; Zero stars, terrible. Unless noted otherwise, reviews are by Bee critic Rick Bentley. Check movie time: http://calendar.fresnobee.com/
Far From the Madding Crowd: Carey Mulligan stars in the latest big screen version of the Thomas Hardy literary classic.
Tomorrowland: Teen and former boy genius look for a place that exists somewhere in time and space. George Clooney stars.
Poltergeist: Family’s suburban home is haunted by an evil force. Sam Rockwell stars.
Age of Adaline (☆☆☆): Woman (Blake Lively) who has stopped aging faces a new and old love. It’s Lively who helps “Adaline” avoid major pitfalls. She does a wonderful job of playing the centenarian in a 20-something body. Although she looks young — from the way Adaline dresses to her manner of speaking — everything she does suggests an old soul. Rated PG-13 (suggestive comments). 109 minutes.
American Sniper (☆☆☆1/2): Navy SEAL finds he can’t leave the war behind when he returns home. Rated R (war violence, language). 134 minutes.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (☆☆☆): The heroes reunite to stop a creation with artificial intelligence out to destroy the world. Chris Evans, James Spader star. Director Joss Whedon amped up the story for “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” cast James Spader to bring wicked life to the robotic villain, added more characters from the Marvel universe and tossed in some massive action scenes. 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.
Chappie: A robot with artificial intelligence becomes a new life form. This film has not been reviewed. Rated R (violence, language, brief nudity). 120 minutes.
Do You Believe? (☆☆☆): A series of events bring a group of people together and test their faith. Mia Sorvino stars. In a spiritual version of “Crash,” 12 people come together — each with a different level of belief. The only common bond for them is a small wooden cross handed out to a congregation by a pastor (Ted McGinley) who realizes even he might not be living his life as a true believer. Rated PG-13 (thematic material, violence). 115 minutes.
Furious 7 (☆☆☆1/2): The fast-driving series starring Vin Diesel continues. The only fair way to judge the latest sequel in the fast-driving franchise is to look at the action scenes. The emotional moments are just speed bumps in the fast lane that is the “Fast and Furious” films. Using that guideline, “Furious 7” is the best one yet. Director James Wan (“Saw”) shows he can create more than just horror films by staging huge stunts that pull the viewer into the seat for the ride. He accomplishes this through clever filming, where the camera often tumbles and turns with the action. Rated PG-13 (violence, language). 140 minutes.
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. E.T. would use his call to phone the theater to get his money back. Even those who put the advertising together for this movie don’t have a clear idea of what is happening. Rated PG (mild thematic elements). 93 minutes.
Hot Pursuit (☆1/2): By-the-book cop (Reese Witherspoon) has to protect a mobster’s wife. The final measure of how bad this movie is comes in the closing credits. Even the string of bloopers can’t generate a single snicker. They should have shown clips of Witherspoon and Sophia Vergara cashing their checks at the bank. At least we would know someone got something out of this Code 13 (major disaster activation). Rated PG-13 (sexual content, language, dug use). 87 minutes.
It Follows (☆☆☆1/2): Young woman is followed by evil force passed to her through a sexual encounter. “It Follows” is a smart, disturbing and haunting tale that is truly, deeply scary. Director Robert Mitchell’s film follows no traditional horror film rules. The director lures you into a world where anyone and everyone can be the killer. A moody visual approach coupled with a chilling musical score creates a sense of paranoia in the viewer that builds with each moment. Rated R (violence, graphic sexual content, language). 94 minutes.
Kingsman: The Secret Service (☆☆1/2): A young man is recruited to be part of an elite spy force. Colin Firth stars. Matthew Vaughn, writer and director of “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” has created a spy thriller that falls somewhere between James Bond and Austin Powers. Rated R (violence, nudity, language) 100 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. If the only (and only should be in capital letters, underlined three times and followed by 37 exclamation points) thing you want in a movie are massive explosions, white knuckle driving sequences and a body count that rivals most video games, then “Mad Max: Fury Road” is insane. Those who require more than 25 lines of dialogue, at least a hint of plot and a smattering of character development will find the new movie drives you insane. Rated R (violence, disturbing images). 120 minutes.
McFarland, USA (☆☆☆1/2): Coach (Kevin Costner) builds a winning cross country team of farmworkers. Rated PG (mild action). 129 minutes.
Monkey Kingdom (☆☆☆): Nature documentary that follows a newborn monkey and its mother. An intriguing peek inside the social structure of macaque monkey society. Rated G. 81 minutes. (Roger Moore, Tribune)
Paddington (☆☆☆): Young bear makes his way to England to find a new home. It’s as sweet as orange marmalade. Rated PG (mild action, rude humor). 94 minutes. (Roger Moore, Tribune)
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2: Paul Blart (Kevin James) doesn’t stop his concerns about safety even while on vacation. This movie has not been reviewed.
Pitch Perfect 2 (☆☆1/2): The singers face a very tough international competition. Anna Kendrick stars. The Barden Bellas have found their harmony again to make “Pitch Perfect 2” nearly as much fun as the original. The tale of an all-female college a cappella group who finds national success is mindless entertainment that taps your funny bone while making your toes tap. It’s just a little more focused on your toes this time around. Rated PG-13 (adult situations, language). 114 minutes.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (☆☆☆1/2): SpongeBob and the gang go on a quest to find a stolen formula. Rated PG (mild action). 100 minutes.
Where Hope Grows (☆☆1/2): Former major league baseball player finds a friend in the local supermarket. What elevates the movie is the solid performances by Kristoffer Polaha and David DeSanctis. Polaha brings the kind of gravitas that comes with a veteran actor taking on a familiar role, while newcomer DeSanctis makes up for his lack of training with an enthusiasm that is infectious. Rated PG-13 (thematic elements, language). 95 minutes.
NEXT WEEK’S OPENINGS
Aloha: Military contractor re-connects with a love from his past. Bradley Cooper stars.
San Andreas: Pilot tries to save his daughter after major California earthquake. Dwayne Johnson stars.