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Rondeau's Reviews: 'Solo' and 'That Summer'

Solo: A Star Wars Story


There's good news and bad news for Star Wars fans. The good news? The franchise's latest spin-off is a heck of a lot of fun. The bad news? We're going to have to wait a year or more for the next one. "Solo", of course, tells the origin story of Han Solo, tracing his rocky journey from common street hood to the galaxy's most dashing and clever smuggler. There was a lot of buzz that "Solo" was going to bomb after the studio fired the film's original directors mid-shoot and replaced them with Ron Howard. To make matters worse, rumors swirled that leading man Alden Ehrenreich wasn't cutting it. But whatever trouble happened behind the scenes, the finished product is slick, engaging, and a wild Disney ride of a film. Ehrenreich fills the massive shoes of Harrison Ford perfectly - even down to the smirk. Someone should call a cop on Donald Glover too, because he steals almost every scene he's in and makes you wonder why there's not a Lando spin-off. Trust me, it's probably on its way. Woody Harrelson shines as one of Han's underhanded mentors and Paul Bettany seems to savor every vicious moment as one of the Universe's wickedest bad guy. Oh, and did I mention there's a love interest too?

That Summer

The film made up of lost footage from 1972 tells the bizarre but true story of former socialites Edith Beale (big Edie) and her daughter (little Edie) and the fight to evict them from their decaying critter-infested east Hampton mansion. If this story sounds familiar, it's because big Edie is the aunt of former first lady Jaqueline Kennedy and the movie is essentially a prequel to the 1975 documentary, "Grey Gardens". So if you liked that film, you're going to love this. There's a voyeuristic aspect to "That Summer", like watching someone else's home movies, or discovering a once grand ocean liner rotting on the ocean floor. The story of the daughter who longs to see the world but is banished to live as her aging mother's caretaker is practically Shakespearean in its tragedy. At the center of it all is the younger sister of Jackie Kennedy, Lee Radziwell, who compassionately and delicately attempts to help reclusive aunt and cousin while trying to make sense of a situation sanity abandoned years ago.