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Thrilling and inspiring 'Thirteen Lives' is Ron Howard's best movie in years

'Thirteen Lives'
Raise your hands if you thought Ron Howard still had a good movie left in him. Actually, "Thirteen Lives" is great in its matter-of-fact, day-by-day account of the 2018 efforts to rescue 12 kids and their soccer coach, trapped in a Thai cave because of a freak flood. Howard avoids the sentiment that can mar his films, leaning into complexity (one rescue diver, played by Viggo Mortensen, hates kids and is confident the boys are going to die), which makes it even more inspiring and moving. Friday, Amazon Prime
CHRIS HEWITT

'Luck'
Great looking but scattershot, "Luck" is akin to Pixar's "Inside Out" and "Soul" in that it marries a human story with an animated look behind the scenes of an ephemeral process. In this case, it's the netherworld where good and bad luck originate. The myth-making is too complicated (although Jane Fonda's vocal presence as a bad-luck dragon is welcome) and doesn't connect well with the story of a young woman (Eva Noblezada) trying to help a fellow orphan find adoptive parents. Friday, Apple TV Plus
C.H.

'Trainwreck: Woodstock '99'
HBO's "Woodstock '99: Peace, Love and Rage" came out less than a year ago, but the music festival was such a monumental disaster that it's worth another look. Both documentaries do an equally powerful job of showing how a combination of wild hormones and sloppy planning can lead to disharmony. Watching Anthony Kiedis literally and figuratively stoke the flames of discontent may make you want burn your Red Hot Chili Peppers CDs. Fatboy Slim and Jewel are among the few artists willing to share their reflections. Netflix
NEAL JUSTIN

'Lightyear'
A full-on action adventure that purports to be the movie that made "Toy Story" boy Andy fall in love with Buzz Lightyear, it's not the animated film expected by audiences who cherish the "Toy Story" blend of heart and humor. But it's an exciting movie nonetheless, with a sweet friendship between maverick astronaut Buzz (voiced by Chris Evans) and a couple of colleagues who help him get in touch with his emotions. Disney Plus
C.H.

'Star Trek'
No episode of the original "Star Trek" focused squarely on Nichelle Nichols, who died Saturday at age 89. But her character, Lt. Nyota Uhura, became an icon simply by manning her post. She had her most memorable moments in "Mirror, Mirror," seducing an evil version of Sulu, and "Plato's Stepchildren," participating in what's considered TV's first interracial kiss. Both scenes rely more on her sexuality than her smarts but they made it possible for future Black actresses to live long and prosper. Paramount Plus
N.J.

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