"Belle": This historical drama about mixed-race beauty Dido Elizabeth Belle, played by an impressive Gugu Mbatha-Raw, has a great deal of conviction and is cut from the same emotional cloth as the groundbreaking "12 Years a Slave," though it lacks that film's coherence and intensity. * * -- (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times) PG, 1:44

"Chef": As actor, writer and director, Jon Favreau brings his A-game to this romp about a once-celebrated but later embattled Los Angeles chef now in a rut, who takes a road trip in a food truck to find his soul and his food again. The supporting cast is terrific. * * * -- (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune) R, 1:53

"Edge of Tomorrow": Tom Cruise has re-emerged to again carry a summer blockbuster with "Edge of Tomorrow" which takes a "Groundhog Day" scenario and applies it to a situation that's half "Alien" and half "War of the Worlds." There's humor, there's action, there's Emily Blunt. But mostly there's Cruise, a soldier who knows things no one else does and has to use hat knowledge to save the world. * * * -- (Tony Hicks, Staff) R, 1:53

"The Fault in Our Stars": The beloved young adult novel by John Green is turned into an equally emotionally profound film starring a sensational Shailene Woodley as a cancer-stricken 16-year-old who falls in love with another teen (a charming Ansel Elgort), who's lost his leg to the disease. While it's sad, this witty film is life-affirming and beautiful, too. * * * ½ -- (Randy Myers, Staff) PG-13, 2:05


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"Godzilla": This is the film Godzilla fans have waited decades for. Cities are destroyed, giant monsters battle and the humans can't stop them. Director Gareth Edwards shows respect for the back story while successfully bringing our giant lizard into the 21st century. * * * ½ -- (Tony Hicks, Staff) PG-13, 2:03

"How to Train Your Dragon 2": Viking teen Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his pet Night Fury dragon, Toothless, return in this DreamWorks animation sequel that looks great but just doesn't have enough laughs. * * ½ -- (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune) PG, 1:42

"The Immigrant": In this period piece from director James Gray, Marion Cotillard plays an immigrant who comes to our shores penniless and paperless, and soon falls prey to an unscrupulous man (Joaquin Phoenix). Co-starring an exceptional Jeremy Renner, Gray's film gets under your skin and leaves you unsettled long after. * * * -- (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times) R, 1:57

"Maleficent": Disney's latest take on the "Sleeping Beauty" villain has two things going for it: Angelina Jolie's wickedly good performance and its striking visuals. Other than that, this is ho-hum storytelling. * * ½ -- (Jocelyn Noveck, Associated Press) PG, 1:37

"Million Dollar Arm": This smart, character-based sports dramedy that swings high and juggles its ambitions nimbly stars Jon Hamm as a sports agent who travels to India and brings back two athletes he believes have baseball potential. It's sweetly entertaining. * * * -- (Colin Covert, Star Tribune, Minneapolis) PG, 2:04

"A Million Ways to Die in the West": Seth MacFarlane takes a shot at doing the rare Western comedy, and mostly shoots himself in the foot, with a lowbrow effort that's heavy on body functions, light on laughs. The "Family Guy" creator plays a sheep farmer who falls for the wife (Charlize Theron) of a notorious villain. * * ½ -- (Tony Hicks, Staff) R, 1:56

"Night Moves": What happens when a seemingly righteous operation goes wrong and anxiety threatens to overtake ideals? That is the question director Kelly Reichardt's provocative thriller revolving around three environmentalists and the action they take in Oregon asks and answers in chilling ways. Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard and the breathtaking beauty of rural Oregon star. * * * ½ -- (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times) R, 1:52

"Obvious Child": Filmmaker Gillian Robespierre's quirky dramedy stars the very funny Jenny Slate as a comedian who, within a span of weeks, undergoes an emotional journey that goes from romance to breakup to one-night stand to unexpected pregnancy to romance to abortion. * * * -- (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times) R, 1:25

"The Signal": A disappointing, highly expository finale spoils this beautifully strange sci-fi tale about three college students and their run-in with a hacker. * * -- (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune) PG-13, 1:35

"Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon": Director Mike Myers (yes, THAT Mike Myers) shines an admiring eye on the good-natured talent manager who represented Alice Cooper, Anne Murray, Groucho Marx and Emeril Lagasse. The film is most successful when it takes a peek behind the curtain. Less so when it tries to make us feel sorry for him. * * ½ -- (Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times) NR, 1:24

"22 Jump Street": The bromance between undercover cops Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) only heightens in this loose, hilarious sequel that pokes fun at itself at so many times it practically cracks ribs. The plot is recycled from its predecessor, with the duo this time out going to college to collar a drug supplier. * * * -- (Randy Myers, Staff) R, 1:50

"Words and Pictures": This "meet cute" academic romance about two feuding professors played by Clive Owen (the words part) and Juliette Binoche (the pictures part) is disappointingly cloying and lead-footed. * * -- (Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune) PG-13, 1:51

"X-Men: Days of Future Past": Bryan Singer returns to the director's chair to gives us the best installment in one of the best comic-book film series going. He, the screenwriter and his cast -- with standouts Evan Peters, James McAvoy and Hugh Jackman -- make the complicated time-travel tale that's dense with characters and back stories accessible for both fans and the casual watcher. * * * ½ -- (Randy Myers, Staff) PG-13, 2:11

Star guide
H ***Masterpiece
H ** Exceptional
H **Recommended
H * Uninspired
H *Disappointing
H Avoid
H Disaster