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America: Imagine the World Without Her — Dinesh D’Souza’s America sets itself up as a piece of documentary counter-history, opening with George Washington not surviving the 1777 defeat at the Battle of Brandywine, which causes Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty to dissolve. Where would the world be if America wasn’t here? But D’Souza abandons that as he posits his main thesis — that a conspiracy by academics and activists has created a culture of “shame” about American history. Rated PG-13, 100 minutes. — McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Deliver Us From Evil — A serial-killer mystery in which the culprit turns out to be one of Satan’s minions, Scott Derrickson’s Deliver Us From Evil adapts the detective genre to an exorcism tale that is very serious about the prospect of demonic possession. Though based on claims made by real-life NYPD officer-turned-paranormal investigator Ralph Sarchie (played here by Eric Bana), the picture is stolen by a fictional character — a composite religious figure played with a predictable level of smolder by Carlos star Edgar Ramirez. Catholics will find Evil very respectful of their faith, though its nods to religion are genre-appropriate and never preachy enough to alienate the average horror fan. With Joel McHale and Olivia Munn. Rated R, 118 minutes. — The Hollywood Reporter

Earth to Echo — Earth to Echo would love to be the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the 21st century. But the new movie is to E.T. what Reese’s Pieces is to lumps of sugar. They share an ingredient, but one is far more satisfying. The lack of interesting characters and a patchwork plot leave Earth to Echo more of a Cloverfield for kids. Alex (Teo Halm), Tuck (Astro) and Munch (Reese Hartwig) are three best friends being forced apart by a freeway being built through their neighborhood. They spend their last night together following some weird electronic signals that show up mysteriously on their cellphones. Their quest becomes a close encounter when they find a tiny robotic figure in the desert. Through what seems like an endless series of questions — and with the help of Emma (Ella Wahlestedt) — the group figure out the alien they have named Echo is trying to put together the ignition key for his spacecraft. Rated PG, 100 minutes. — The Fresno Bee

Tammy — When Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) loses her husband and job, she heads out on the road with her oversexed, drug-taking, alcoholic grandmother (Susan Sarandon). A succession of formulaic road-trip sequences follows. McCarthy fans will be pleased even if the script, written by her and her director-husband Ben Falcone, relies almost solely on her personality and unique delivery for laughs. With Kathy Bates, Sandra Oh and Gary Cole. Rated R, 96 minutes. — Boo Allen

Third Person — Writer-director Paul Haggis (Crash) again mixes up his story lines, this time flipping among Rome, Paris and New York to tell the stories of three couples facing various difficulties. The situations overflow with angst and pretentious dialogue, ending up looking contrived and, in one case, silly. The couples are played by Liam Neeson and Olivia Wilde, Adrien Brody and Moran Atias, James Franco, Loan Chabanol and, by extension, Mila Kunis. Rated R, 137 minutes. At the Angelika Dallas. — B.A.

Snowpiercer — Wild, non-stop craziness from Korean visionary Joon-ho Bong (The Host). Set 17 years after an icy apocalypse has engulfed the Earth, the only survivors live on a train constantly circling the globe. But those at the back of train rebel, heading to the front, car by car. Violent, creative and with an excellent, albeit often unrecognizable, cast: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer and Ed Harris. Rated R, 126 minutes. At regional theaters. — B.A.


Edge of Tomorrow — Military marketer Maj. William Cage (Tom Cruise) is thrown into battle against extraterrestrials by an unsympathetic general (the excellent Brendan Gleeson), and then finds himself stuck in a mysterious time loop. Cruise dies dozens of times over and over, often in comical ways. Dying again and again, Cruise has rarely been so likable. This is Groundhog Day with guns. Edge of Tomorrow entertains in its narrative playfulness — another entry in the burgeoning fad of puzzle-making sci-fi, as seen in Inception and Looper. Directed by Doug Liman. Rated R, 119 minutes. — The Associated Press

How to Train Your Dragon 2 — Written and directed by Dean DeBlois, How to Train Your Dragon 2 returns us to Berk, where our young Viking hero, Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), lives and frolics with his devoted dragon, Toothless. When Hiccup and his girlfriend Astrid (America Ferrera) discover a vicious villain (Djimon Hounsou) who’s building a dragon army, Hiccup resolves to stop him. Rated PG, 102 minutes. — AP

Jersey Boys — The Broadway musical about Frank Valli and the Four Seasons delivers a few good numbers, but overall director Clint Eastwood fails to energize a film that needs it. At its core, it’s the story of the loyalty of Valli (John Lloyd Young) and his friends, who stay together despite themselves. With Christopher Walken, Mike Doyle and Vincent Piazza. Rated R, 134 minutes. — B.A.

Maleficent — Angelina Jolie turns in a magnificent performance in Maleficent as the (now we are told) misunderstood villain of Sleeping Beauty. Jolie rules this film with a powerful acting grace accented by director Robert Stromberg’s film style that shifts from film noir to children’s comedy without a flinch. There’s just not enough fleshing out of the story to support these elements. Rated PG, 97 minutes. — The Fresno Bee

Think Like a Man Too — The great appeal of 2012’s Think Like a Man is that it took four beautiful black actresses (Regina Hall, Taraji P. Henson, Meagan Good and Gabrielle Union) and put them right at the center of a film. This time they’re all in Las Vegas to celebrate the wedding of Candace (Hall) and Michael (Terrence Jenkins). — San Francisco Chronicle

Transformers: Age of Extinction — Three years after an epic battle has forced the shape-shifting robots known as Transformers into hiding, a garage inventor makes a startling discovery and gets caught up in a battle for the fate of Earth. With Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer and Sophia Miles. Directed by Michael Bay. Rated PG-13. — Los Angeles Times

22 Jump Street — Undercover cops Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) are sent off to M.C. State University to track down a new designer drug that college kids are using to help them focus. A pack of writers, and the co-directors of the first film, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, conjure up good, quick-footed and foul-mouthed fun. Rated R, 112 minutes. — MCT