by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
FIRST LOOKS:  Dunkirk epic; Valerian f/x Eye Candy; Detroit looks promising

Stepping back to "epic" as opposed to "tentpole," Chris ("Dark Knight") Nolan has amassed unanimous raves for his historical masterpiece, "Dunkirk," which few dare portray as simply a war movie.

Unlike the foot patrol intimacies of "Saving Private Ryan" and "Platoon," which also meant R-rated, war-is-hell butchery, "Dunkirk" has a "Tora Tora Tora" bombs away feel, multitasking segues which gracefully integrate editing, sound, music, cinematography and nail biting suspense despite a known outcome.

Gut-wrenching thrills amplified by a ticking clock weave these intertwined tales. Entertainment Weekly has called the film "visceral, big budget filmmaking that can be called art." Perspectives shift from different characters and various chronological points (think "Sully")

One review speaks of how Nolan "reinvented" the superhero concept with "Batman Begins;" reshaped outer space expectations through "Interstellar;" and now immerses the audience with scenes inside the cockpit of spitfires shooting as troopshoping to be rescued attempt to reach home... something they see, but usually perish if they move too fast.

The vastness of the beach scene and the airborne scenes demands a viewing on the largest, most intense screen available. Trust me, "Dunkirk" will lose its awestruck zeal when reduced to smaller platforms.

Outcome does not rely on war machines or politicians, rather, a rag tag array of fisherman and citizens crossing the channel attempting to rescue the men. Too, these are allied troops - British, French, Polish - and Nolan succinctly steers the film to echo the value of friendships forged in blood.

Meanwhile, the gorgeous "Valerian" has you hooked in five minutes on (as one critic put it) "wall-to-wall eye candy" that is "irretrievably drunk on the power of image-making."

The main characters Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are 28th-Century space cops, armed with the expertise and tools to jump from one dimension to another. They spout an uneven chemistry, although their airheaded interactions goad the audience.

But the story has large gaps and relationships do not bond well. Luc Besson ("Lucy," "Fifth Element") directed "City of a Thousand Planets" from a French graphic novel. Aspects of "Avatar" abound more than militaristic "Star Wars" opera, but it's the CGI that stars, folks.

Unlike 2016 where August brought the surprising "Suicide Squad," this year's closest spectacle has Matthew McConaughey as a gunslinger searching to defend a fabled "Dark Tower," which may bring hope to a dying world.

On a more reality-inspired theme, the simmering protests in the streets makes "Detroit" a good fit. It's set back in the 1970s when three African American men were murdered at the Algiers Motel with the city under curfew and national guard patrolling the streets.