Apollo 13 (Ron Howard)

Rating: ***½

First-rate Hollywood entertainment...if only all summer blockbusters were this good. It's a rare film that manages to generate tension and suspense despite the fact that there's no doubt about the outcome, but this one pulls it off, and then some. A few hokey moments--this is a Ron Howard film, after all--but generally superb, with fine performances all around (especially Ed Harris and Gary Sinise back on Earth). Nice to see engineers touted as heroes, and a summer movie that celebrates ingenuity and perseverance rather than testosterone and pyrotechnics.