“The Legend of Hercules”

(skip it)

This live-action Hercules movie is being universally panned by critics as boring and poorly acted. Director Renny Harlin has a reputation for making mediocre action movies, and this doesn’t seem to stray from that. Frankly, it looks like a straight-to-video knockoff of “300.” You probably shouldn’t see this.

“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” (see it)

It’s the fifth movie based on Tom Clancy’s popular Jack Ryan character, but just the first one that isn’t based on a book. Reviews indicate that this, while not as good as previous Jack Ryan movies like “The Hunt for Red October,” is still a decent political action thriller. It may not do anything radical or new, but fans of the character and the genre will have a good time.

“12 Years a Slave” (see it)

Originally released in November, this true story of a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841 is making the rounds again after winning the Golden Globes award for Best Motion Picture – Drama and being nominated for several Academy Awards. If you can handle seeing an accurate portrayal of the brutality that was present on American slave plantations, most critics agree this film is essential viewing.