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New movies in theaters this week include an “Independence Day” sequel, Matthew McConaughey in “Free State of Jones,” and Blake Lively battling a shark in “The Shallows.” Let’s take a closer look at the new movies in theaters this week.

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and destruction, and for some language | In Theaters 6/24 (2D, 3D, IMAX 3D) | 20th Century Fox | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

After 1996’s “Independence Day” redefined the event movie genre, this next epic chapter continues the sci-fi thrills. Taking place 20 years after the events of the first film, the international community has recovered and the United Nations has created the Earth Space Defense (ESD), a united global defense program that serves as Earth’s early warning system.

It’s also our main defense force, using technology salvaged from remains of the alien forces. However, the aliens were able to send a distress signal to their other battalions before their final defeat, while others went into hiding elsewhere around the world. The aliens in deep space received the signal and sent a larger battle fleet, threatening the human race yet again. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.

Directed by the king of the blockbusters Roland Emmerich, this movie stars Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch and Vivica A. Fox.

FREE STATE OF JONES

Rated R for brutal battle scenes and disturbing graphic images | In Theaters 6/24 | STX Entertainment | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

Directed by four-time Oscar nominee Gary Ross (“The Hunger Games”) and starring Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, this action-drama is set during the Civil War and tells the story of defiant Southern farmer, Newt Knight, and his extraordinary armed rebellion against the Confederacy.

Banding together with other small farmers and local slaves, Knight launched an uprising that led Jones County, Mississippi to secede from the Confederacy, creating a Free State of Jones. Knight continued his struggle into Reconstruction, distinguishing him as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War. This movie also stars Keri Russell, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mahershala Ali.

THE SHALLOWS

Rated PG-13 for bloody images, intense sequences of peril, and brief strong language | In Theaters 6/24 | Sony | Reel Preview: 4 of 5 Reels

This taut thriller stars Blake Lively as Nancy, a woman who’s surfing alone on a secluded beach when she’s attacked by a great white shark and stranded just a short distance from shore. Though she’s only 200 yards from her survival, getting there proves the ultimate contest of wills. “The Shallows” is “Jaws” for a new generation. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, this movie also stars Oscar Jaenada.

JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Images in this feature used courtesy of the studios and distributors.

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