See A Movie This Memorial Day

By Chris Narloch

With many folks getting three days off this weekend and a new “Star Wars” film in theaters, it seemed like the perfect time to run some new reviews, of “Solo” and several other titles you can see if you want to avoid the long lines for that Memorial weekend blockbuster.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

While we wait for the next real “Star Wars” movie to come out, there is “Solo” to enjoy, which is the latest “Star Wars” side project to reach theaters.


A young Han Solo is introduced this time out, and he is played by Alden Ehrenreich, who successfully channels Harrison Ford’s swagger and sarcasm without doing a cheap imitation.

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” doesn’t have an amazing story to tell, but neither is it the travesty that online trolls predicted after the movie’s original directors quit (or were fired?) and rumors began to surface that the movie was going to be a dud.

I enjoyed learning how Han and Chewbacca met for the first time, and Solo’s back-story is convincingly and cleverly drawn. Donald Glover isn’t as successful at suggesting the younger Lando, but he gets by on his looks and charm, as does the film itself.

Solo: A Star Wars Story at Sacramento’s Esquire IMAX Theatre, visit

Book Club

This is one of those audience-pleasing comedies, like “9 to 5” or “The First Wives Club,” that targets a segment of the movie-going public routinely ignored by Hollywood – older women.

Most big-screen blockbusters are aimed squarely at teenaged boys and young men – that’s why we have so many superhero movies – so it’s nice to see a film for mature females (and with older actresses in it) succeed at the box office.

“Book Club” opened in third place at the domestic box office recently, which is fairly impressive since its target demographic is so different than that of the films that anchored the top two spots, “Deadpool 2” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Thanks to an aggressive promotional campaign featuring its starry cast of women – Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen – “Book Club” is a hit, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.

Yes, the movie is formulaic and predictable, but the stars are clearly having a blast with their senior sisterhood, whose sex lives are jump started after they all read “50 Shades of Grey.”

I jokingly dismissed it as “The Horny Old Lady Movie” before I actually saw the film, but the four actresses in it are such pro’s that I have to admit I laughed a lot throughout “Book Club.”

Tower Movies

There are three highly acclaimed films currently playing at Sacramento’s Tower Theatre on Broadway, including two documentaries (“RBG” and “Pope Francis – A Man of His Word”) and a modern Western (“The Rider”).

“RBG” documents the life and career of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the esteemed Supreme Court Justice, while “Pope Francis…” is a documentary portrait of the current “People’s Pope,” helmed by the great German director, Wim Wenders.

Finally, “The Rider” is an extremely moving drama about a young cowboy searching for a new purpose in life after a riding accident leaves him unable to compete on the rodeo circuit.

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