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A spoiler alert is necessary. It is, after all, what happens in the final scene of "Dunkirk," one of the most passionately awaited films of the summer. But then, it's also one of the landmark moments of modern history. In Winston Churchill's speech in Parliament on June 4, 1940, he called the Dunkirk Evacuation a "defeat" and, nevertheless, pledged in the future "we shall …

There is one reason to see “The Hero,” and that is star Sam Elliott. In the film, the character played by Elliott is described as standing out for “his unmistakable voice, [and] his iconic mustache.” Yes, that sounds a lot like Elliott. With his lanky frame, piercing eyes and knowing grin, the actor looks like a Western icon even when he’s not playing a Wester…

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. — This scene is a year old. But in Kevin Polowy’s world of Hollywood, where projects take (seemingly) forever to develop and then pass (seemingly) in an instant, it may as well have been yesterday. Here it is: Polowy is puttering around a sunlit conference room on the ground floor of an office building on Yahoo’s Southern California campus.…

Head over to Netflix where you'll find the listing for “Okja,” a new Netflix original film. Pictured is the title creature, a large, cuddly animal resembling a cross between a walrus, a hippo and an obese dog. Make no mistake, though, Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” is not a film for children. Instead it’s a brilliant, harsh, emotionally overwhelming story of corporate g…

It takes a half-hour to get started but once it does "War for the Planet of the Apes" is one of the truly great movies of the summer. And I use the "G" word advisedly. How on earth could THAT be, we might wonder? It's Part Three of a rebooted trio from a franchise that started 50--yes 50--years ago and has now already involved eight films and a decidedly mediocre TV ser…

Most of the first half hour of Bertrand Tavernier's "My Journey Through French Cinema" is about Jacques Becker, the director of the first film which made an impression on Tavernier but who is little known here by general film fans. When he shows us a scene from Becker's "Casque D'Or" (1952), our eyes practically pop out of our sockets for fleeting glimpses of an arrestingl…

"The Exception" is, simply put, an exceptional World War II thriller. The film, though historical fiction, joins a growing number of compelling pictures about resistance to the Third Reich. "The Exception" is set in May 1940 in the newly Nazi-occupied Holland countryside, using a movie script adapted by British stage director David Leveaux from Alan Judd's novel "The…

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy makes mistake. Girl dumps boy. While Michael Showalter’s “The Big Sick” sprinkles these familiar rom-com tropes with enough heart, humor and charm to make it a quality romantic comedy, it’s only when Showalter and husband-and-wife co-writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon turn the rom-com formula on its head th…

Is “Despicable Me 3” the funniest movie of the summer, or another ho-hum 2017 sequel? It depends on who you ask. Ask any kid between the ages of 5 and 10, and you’re almost guaranteed to hear the former. After all, the Steve Carell-voiced former villain-turned secret agent Gru, his three adopted daughters, and his legion of little, yellow minions are downright be…

Don Siegel's "The Beguiled" from 1971, is my favorite Clint Eastwood movie. That's, in part, because it's completely unlike every other one. Siegel always called it his favorite of all his movies which, when you consider that they include "Madigan," "Coogan's Bluff," "Dirty Harry," and one of the all-time greatest B-movies, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," that's sayin…

Great, it's not. Original? It's not that either. So Edgar Wright's surefire hit "Baby Driver" will have to settle for being close to perfect for what it is. If you were trying to concoct an ideal numbskull summer action bonanza for your favorite megaplex, you'd be lucky to brew up "Baby Driver." It's got: • A killer soundtrack on constant aural display. Those wh…

This is the curse of the start-up storyteller: It’s tough to tell a story uninterrupted. Late on a sun-dappled Friday afternoon in June, Mac Cappuccino was shuffling around a cluttered band rehearsal space a few stories up inside a nondescript brick building. The sounds of downtown Buffalo wafted into the room through an open window: A siren’s occasional wail. The i…

"Like Crazy" is a bipolar Italian film about two bipolar women who meet in a small exclusive, low-security mental hospital, escape and visit their traumatizing families. It's a dramatic comedy – a very entertaining and well-acted one – until the women's behavior and the plot both crash into depression and we're knee-deep in the truism that there's nothing funny abou…

When Beatriz, a Mexican immigrant and unlikely guest at a posh dinner party, is asked to refill a man's drink, it's obvious things are about to go south. The only question in "Beatriz at Dinner" is how far, and how fast. It's not far-fetched that Beatriz (Salma Hayek) would be considered part of the help. Dressed in denim and a work shirt, she's there only because he…

About 10 minutes and at least as many explosions into “Transformers: The Last Knight,” the fifth installment in director Michael Bay’s juggernaut franchise based on the Hasbro toys, a soldier cries above a chaotic battlefield, “This is what the end looks like!” If only the same could be said for this movie, which drags on for two more hours before Bay runs out…