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Get On Up — Chadwick Boseman, who was impressive as the dignified Jackie Robinson in 42, is electrifying as James Brown in Tate Taylor’s new biopic. And just as Brown, in life, upstaged pretty much everyone — including his bandmates, the Famous Flames — Boseman does that here. Tate and talented screenwriters Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth jump around in time, ditching chronology for a thematic approach. It can get confusing, but it keeps us on our toes. In the end, we have a portrait that is not uniformly positive — Brown was too complicated for that — yet falls mostly on the kinder side. With Dan Akyroyd, Viola Davis and Nelsan Ellis. Rated PG-13, 138 minutes. — The Associated Press

Guardians of the Galaxy — This 3-D space opera is Marvel’s most irreverent film yet, and has a welcome, slightly self-mocking tone. The problem with Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn (Super), is the weakness of the comedy it wears so proudly. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is a Han Solo-like scavenger who stumbles across a silver orb also sought by some evil forces: Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and his boss, Thanos (Josh Brolin). The resulting scrum for the orb introduces several more seekers: the green-skinned Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the hulking Drax (Dave Bautista), a bitterly sardonic raccoon named Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and his sidekick, a talking tree called Groot (Vin Diesel). The warm spirit of Guardians owes much to Pratt, the guileless, formerly doughy Parks and Recreation star; his casting in inspired. But the film is terribly overstuffed and many of the jokes get drowned out by the special effects. Rated PG-13, 121 minutes. — AP


And So It Goes — Two old pros show the kids how chemistry works in a romantic comedy in And So It Goes, a love-the-last-time-around romp that’ll give its target audience the warm fuzzies. Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas fight, flirt, annoy and court like it’s 1979. This Rob Reiner comedy has the Oscar winners in grandparent mode, just a couple of spry old-timers forced together when the grandkid he never knew moves in, and prefers the company of the neighbor lady who cannot stand him. Rated PG-13, 93 minutes. — McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Begin Again — In writer-director John Carney’s shallow follow-up to his similar 2006 Once, Mark Ruffalo stars as Dan, a newly fired, dysfunctional record executive who meets Greta (Keira Knightley) and immediately begins the process of making an album with her — even if he has to do it on the streets guerrilla-style. Hailee Stanfield plays Dan’s daughter and Catherine Keener his ex-wife, while Adam Levine appears as Greta’s erratic boyfriend. — Boo Allen

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes — Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) delivers a thematically and textually dark follow-up to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Outside a bleak and barely recognizable San Francisco, apes thrive, led by Caesar (Andy Serkis). Humans (including Jason Clarke and Keri Russell) encroach, setting off the inevitable conflict. Good mix of effects, imaging and atmospherics. Rated PG-13, 130 minutes. — B.A.

Hercules — The mythical Greek hero Hercules leads a band of mercenaries to help end a bloody civil war in the land of Thrace and return the rightful king to his throne. With Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell and Joseph Fiennes. Directed by Brett Ratner. Rated PG-13, 98 minutes. — Los Angeles Times

How to Train Your Dragon 2 — The follow-up to the much-admired animated How to Train Your Dragon doesn’t play it safe, and that’s why it’s the rare sequel that doesn’t feel somewhat stale. 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

Lucy — Lucy, a student of some sort living in Taiwan, and a few other unfortunates are forced to become drug mules, doomed to fly to Europe with packages implanted in their stomachs. Roughed up by thugs, Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) suffers blows to the abdomen, and the drug starts leaking into her system — enhancing her brain capacity and leaving her with only 24 hours to live. She heads to Paris to meet Professor Norman, an expert on cerebral capacity (Morgan Freeman), and simultaneously, she’s trying to recover all the drug packets, with the help of a police detective (Amr Waked). And this is where it gets really weird. At a certain point, the best strategy may be to just sit back, listen to the pounding music, admire those bright colors, and just shut that brain down entirely. Director Luc Besson knows his way around a camera, and you can argue about the merits of the storyline. But the dialogue often sounds hammy and clunky. — AP

Maleficent — It takes talent to walk around in a black leather-horned cap and not look silly. 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. As is, the film is fun but not memorable. Rated PG, 97 minutes. — The Fresno Bee

A Most Wanted Man — In one of his last film appearances, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a German intelligence official out to trap a possible terrorist. Anton Corbijn directs, from Andrew Bovell’s script of a John Le Carre novel, slowly building a portrait of a dedicated and determined man at work. Rachel McAdams plays a dedicated human rights lawyer, and Willem Dafoe appears as a corrupt banker. — B.A.

Planes: Fire & Rescue — In this animated movie set in a world of anthropomorphic aircraft, a famous air racer learns that his engine is damaged and shifts gears into the world of aerial firefighting. With the voices of Dane Cook and Julie Bowen. Directed by Bobs Gannaway. Rated PG, 83 minutes. — LAT

The Purge: Anarchy — A new group of individuals fights to survive the annual night on which all crime is legal for 12 hours in this sequel to the 2013 film The Purge. With Frank Grillo, Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez. Written and directed by James DeMonaco. Rated R, 103 minutes. — LAT

Sex Tape — To spice up their love life, a couple of 10 years makes a marathon sex tape and then scrambles to erase it from existence after they accidentally send it to friends and family members. With Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper. Directed by Jake Kasdan. Rated R, 95 minutes. — LAT

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 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. — B.A.

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. — LAT