This is the moment of truth, everyone.
The only wide release movie new in theaters this weekend is the fourth installment of Shameless Marketing Tie-Ins: The Movie, fueled by Hollywood’s fervent hope that we’ve forgotten how terrible the last two sequels were. If audiences hand over money for this one we’ll prove them right, and consign ourselves to be tortured with yet another installment every few years until Michael Bay finally succumbs to madness.
Instead, fight this horrible fate by spending your money on one of the genuinely entertaining movies currently available for your viewing pleasure. Several are still in major theaters, and more can be found in the local dollar theater or on DVD. Even if you’ve seen them before, a good movie is always worth catching again.
Edge of Tomorrow (PG-13)
I present to you a sci-fi action movie complete with likeable, interesting characters, an engaging plot, an incredible (if slightly dark) sense of humor, and all the punching and explosions any little blockbuster-loving heart might desire. Tom Cruise actually acts (and does it well), Emily Blunt is a thousand times more mighty than he is, and Bill Paxton is a delight every time he’s onscreen. And if you really need hulking metal things hurting other hulking metal things, the movie even has that. Seriously, it’s almost perfect.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (PG-13)
If you need to watch mass destruction but insist on little things like good characterization and insightful social and psychological commentary, then “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is for you. The movie touches on everything from the nature of regret to the multiple facets of prejudice, and two-thirds of the main cast have enough acting chops that they’ve tackled Shakespeare and come out with their dignity intact.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (PG)
When it comes to imaginativeness, these dragons beat out enormous robots every time. More expansive and mature than the original, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” keeps the touching relationships from the original and drops them into a larger, more mature story that wrestles with the question of where responsibility begins and ends. It’s also visually exquisite, with flying sequences that will leave you more awed than most special effects.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (PG-13)
More political thriller than action movie, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is one of the most engaging, gripping movies of the summer. The acting is stellar all around Р if Anthony Mackie doesn’t get a ton of offers after this, I will be sorely disappointed in Hollywood Р and it makes you think even during the best fight scenes. I won’t spoil the plot details for you, but there will likely be more than once where you end up completely breathless.
The Lego Movie (PG) (also out on DVD)
On the surface, it looked exactly like the same kind of cheap marketing stunt as the Big Smashing Robots sequels. The big surprise is that the movie turned out to be an unmitigated delight, a humorous, imaginative romp that had plenty to offer both kids and adults (the movie’s helmed by the same guys that did “22 Jump Street,” but this one is 100 percent safe for kids). On top of that, the animation is so exquisite that you’ll find yourself mesmerized by something so simple as the ebb and flow of the Lego waves.