Currently browsing the "Ron Howard" tag.

Quickie Review: Pavarotti (documentary)

Don’t get me wrong. My appreciation for Pavarotti does not mean I appreciate having been subjected as a kid to live radio broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera every Saturday afternoon. That was strictly my parents’ thing. Sure, I survived the likes of Madame Butterfly, Carmen and La bohème. But I didn’t have a clue what anyone was singing, and didn’t much care. So how do I know of Luciano Pavarotti? He was all over the place in my youth, opera’s ambassador to the world at large. He was on morning shows and late night television, the Muppets and Sesame Street, and featured in commercials for Shower to Shower and American Express. He had a larger than life personality, an infectious smile, and yes – a really big voice.

Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story doesn’t exactly break new ground. But it does offer up a pleasant enough excuse for a journey back to a galaxy far, far away. It’s a prequel and a sequel and an origin story designed to shed light on the beloved scoundrel who – several years later – delivered Luke, Leia, C-3PO and R2-D2 to the Rebel Alliance and helped them attack the Death Star (or something like that). It’s hard to picture anyone other than Harrison Ford as sarcastic pilot-extraordinaire Han Solo, but Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) creates a believable precursor, with a cockiness and swagger that cloaks a deep desire for family, connection and doing the right thing.

In the Heart of the Sea

They should have had a bigger boat.

In the Heart of the Sea is sort of like The Perfect Storm meets Jaws – in the year 1820. It’s an epic ‘big fish’ tale with a title nearly as long as the tail of the whale that inspired Herman Melville’s literary classic, “Moby-Dick” (which I have yet to read). The best thing the movie has going for it is Chris Hemsworth (Thor). If not for him, I would likely have skipped this cinematic voyage altogether, despite its being helmed by one of my favorite directors, Ron Howard. The pair worked together on the excellent, under-appreciated 2013 movie Rush, in which Hemsworth proved that he’s got a lot more to offer than Nordic-god good looks and proficiency with a hammer. Turns out, he’s quite handy with a harpoon too!

Rush

Opie – oops, I mean Ron Howard – doesn’t make bad movies. At least, that’s what I told myself as I dragged myself into Rush, a film about Formula 1 racecar driving – a topic I know less than nothing about. Well, now I’m a fan. Sort of. Because Ron Howard’s movies tend to do that to – and for – the mainstream audience. It all boils down to good characters, good storytelling, and good directing. So yes, I got a rush out of Rush, and left the theater wanting to know more about the true story it’s based on. And yes – the eye candy didn’t hurt. Chris Hemsworth (Thor) is a cutie. But he showed more than his taut backside in this flick. He showed some real acting chops as well. And so did his co-star, Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds).