Hologram for the King a Bit Hollow

A Hologram for the King is a bit of a hologram for the audience. It’s impressive on first blush, but you soon realize it’s imagery with little substance.

So it goes for Tom Hanks’ dramedy, a film that’s stunningly shot, finely acted, but resting on a narrative that’s a bit of mirage.

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Trumbo Cannily Underscores a Bygone Hollywood

Trumbo may be the mildest R-rated film of the year. Set against a 1950’s backdrop, the film has nary a hint of sexuality nor a drop of blood.

Yet, the film earns its adult rating with gentle profanities, uttered by screenwriters venting an almost polite frustration with a Hollywood blacklist that ruined careers and shattered lives. Fitting that the movie is an homage to one of Hollywood’s finest scribes and most well-known victim of Hollywood’s Cold War communist hunt in Dalton Trumbo, played with understated elegance by Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad).

Beautifully acted yet mildly detached, Trumbo is a surprising achievement by director Jay Roach, better known for his over-the-top franchises including Austin Powers and Meet the Parents.

Here, though, Roach does a canny job of capturing post World War II Hollywood, which was brimming with big screen war heroes — and Cold War paranoia. Without feeling outdated, Trumbo feels like a film that could have been made in the mid-50’s.

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'Glass Chin' Packs Powerful Dramatic Punch

Had Rocky Balboa chosen to remain a thug thumb-breaker instead of stepping back into the ring, he may have made Glass Chin. If he were lucky.

Surprisingly deft with dialogue and agile with anti-heroes, Glass Chin may be the best boxing film since 2010’s The Fighter — and the only in, well, ever, to tackle the exhausted genre without showing a single on-screen punch.

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'Chef' melds ingredients for fine family comedy

Don't fill up on concessions if you catch Chef. You're going to want to eat afterward, even with a belly full of popcorn.

Even die-hard vegans may have a hard time resisting this meaty comedy that pretends to be about food, but really is about finding time — for kids, friends, meals and family. In the heat of Hollywood's summer blockbuster bake-off, Chef (***½ out of four; rated R; opens Friday in select cities) is a nuanced side dish, a slow-cooked film that's one of the most heartwarming of the young year.

Jon Favreau plays Carl Casper, a talented but burned-out chef in a trendy Los Angeles eatery run by restaurateur Riva (Dustin Hoffman). Riva recognizes his chef's creative talents and frustrations, but when he learns food blogger Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) plans to write a review, he demands Carl stick to his stand-by favorites.

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Thrills are extinct in dull 'Transformers' installment

Transformers: Age of Extinction begins with a hint of hope as dinosaurs screech and clatter over a nascent Earth abundant with life.

Alas, moments later, prehistoric robots wipe out the reptiles — and any whiff of life in Michael Bay's latest temple of excess and ego.

Deafening, deadening and about two hours too long, Extinction (*½ out of four; rated PG-13; opens in select cities Thursday and nationwide Friday) would mark the weakest installment yet of the 7-year-old Hasbro franchise — if the previous three movies were discernible from one another.

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