ONLY THE BRAVE: Best fire-fighting movie ever -- and then some

It’s tempting to call “Only the Brave” the finest fire-fighting movie ever made -- but that’s not saying enough. After all, how many movies can you think of on that topic? “The Towering Inferno”? “Ladder 49”? “Hellfighters”? Yeah, the competition is slim -- and “Only the Brave” is much better than “Backdraft,” probably the strongest of the lot. So I’ll content myself with saying that this terrific movie jumps squarely in among the year’s 10 best; it’s an emotional powerhouse, fueled by seamless visuals and excellent performances. Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges and Miles Teller star in this true story of Arizona’s Granite Mountain Hotshots, who fought several forest fires in the Southwest, climax

BLADE RUNNER 2049: A reverent sequel -- and a work of art in its own right

“Blade Runner 2049” achieves something rare in a sequel: Paying reverent tribute to its beloved predecessor, the film also emerges as its own distinct and original work of art. In fact, were it not for a shockingly leaden pace -- which results in a near three-hour running time -- this would be a masterpiece. Even with that, it comes pretty close. Ridley Scott’s 1982 classic stars Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, whose unsavory job is to hunt and kill renegade androids in post-nuclear-holocaust Los Angeles. In the new film, Ryan Gosling plays a younger blade runner who is himself an android (known here as "replicants"); tidying up a few remaining hostiles from the earlier bad batch, he stumbles


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