In this week’s new releases -- new movies are out early for the Fourth of July box office --  “Tammy” stars Melissa McCarthy in a role that mirrors many of her past characters, but the film is a letdown. Eric Bana stars in the also-disappointing horror film “Deliver Us From Evil.” And if “Earth to Echo” seems strangely familiar, it should: The film clearly borrows elements from some of its predecessors, including “E.T.”

Susan Sarandon (left) and Melissa McCarthy hit the road in New Line Cinema's comedy "Tammy."

★★★ “Life Itself” (R) “‘Life Itself’ is a tribute to those ever-opening worlds, and opens up a world itself — the mind of a daily journalist who was arguably the late 20th century’s most influential humanist. You may not have agreed with (Roger) Ebert’s reviews — you may not have thought he was such a nice guy. But if you aren’t moved by ‘Life Itself,’ you ought to have your heart examined.” – Ann Hornaday

0 "Tammy" (R) “‘Tammy’ is a bummer, not least because (Melissa) McCarthy’s fans know she’s better than this. We all miss Sookie, but we miss Melissa even more." – Ann Hornaday

★½ "Deliver Us From Evil" (R) "The question at the heart of 'Deliver Us From Evil,' a garden-variety serial-killer thriller tarted up as an exorcism drama, is not whether good will triumph over evil. Rather, it’s this: What in God’s name possesses good actors to make dreck like this?" – Michael O'Sullivan

★★½ “Earth to Echo” (PG) “Any movie about kids and aliens inevitably will draw comparisons to ‘E.T.,’ but ‘Earth to Echo’ also includes the friendship adventure of ‘The Goonies’ and ‘Stand By Me’ combined with the sci-fi thrill of ‘Super 8’ and ‘Chronicle.’ Yes, it’s plainly derivative, but Dave Green’s debut feature is heartfelt and fun, particularly for children craving live-action films beyond big-budget superhero reboots and animated sequels — all in nearly half the time it takes to watch the latest ‘Transformers’ installment.” – Sandie Angulo Chen

★★½ “Begin Again” (R) “A film about the transcendent powers of music should at least have good music, but even the catalogue choices in ‘Begin Again’ are weirdly lifeless, including the cuts that Dan plays for Gretta during a painfully forced interlude while they traipse through Times Square listening to ‘Luck Be a Lady.’” – Ann Hornaday

★½ “America: Imagine the World Without Her” (PG-13) The polemical documentary is a companion piece to the author’s new book, which bears the same title. The movie version was written and directed by (Dinesh) D’Souza and John Sullivan, who previously collaborated on ‘2016: Obama’s America,’ an under-the-radar box-office hit two years ago. This follow-up should also sell tickets, but it’s unlikely to convert any D’Souza skeptics to his viewpoint.” – Mark Jenkins

★★½ “Snowpiercer” (R) “Adapted from a French graphic novel about global warming, a new Ice Age and an arklike train that carries survivors on an endless loop like a circumnavigating monorail, ‘Snowpiercer’ also is an Orwellian allegory about wealth disparity and political inequality that, in post-Occupy times, occasionally lights up with torch-and-pitchfork verve.” – Ann Hornaday

★★½ “Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case” (Unrated) “Andreas Johnsen’s follow-up, ‘Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case,’ picks up the story upon Ai’s release from his 81-day detention. But the film is hampered by the fact that Ai, on the occasion of his parole, seems a chastened, well-behaved shadow of his former, unrepentant self.” – Michael O’Sullivan

★★½ “La Bare” (R) “Joe Manganiello’s directorial debut, ‘La Bare,’ is a documentary about a Dallas club of the same name. And in a jovial, if superficial way, he offers some perspective on the men behind the banana hammocks. It turns out guys get into stripping for a variety of reasons but stay in the business for two: money and women.” – Stephanie Merry