A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 09/19/2014
Running Time: 113
Rated: R
Cast: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, Boyd Holbrook and Sebastian Roché.
Crew: Director: Scott Frank. Producers: Tobin Armbrust, Danny DeVito, Christopher Goode, Jillian Longnecker, Brian Oliver, Steven Chester Prince, Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher. Executive Producers: Kate Bacon, Guy East, John W. Hyde, Tracy Krohn, Mark Mallouk, Peter Mallouk, Kerry Orent, Lauren Selig, Adi Shankar, Spencer Silna, Nigel Sinclair, Tyler Thompson and Richard Toussaint. Screenwriters: Lawrence Block (Novel: "A Walk Among The Tombstones") and Scott Frank. Cinematographer: Mihai Malaimare Jr.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

One of the best things about Liam Neeson’s new, nail-biting thriller, “A Walk among the Tombstones” is that it’s not just another extended version of his hit movie “Taken” or its sequel.

Neeson still has that particular set of skills that made him such a feared guy in the aforementioned movies. They definitely come in handy in “A Walk among the Tombstones,” but this time around he relies more on his smarts and intuition to get the bad guys rather than his gun.

It’s a really good vehicle for Neeson, but then again, he’s such a talented actor who can do no wrong.

“A Walk among the Tombstones” is directed and written by Scott Frank (“The Wolverine”) and based on Lawrence Block’s best-selling novel of the same name.

We first meet detective Matt Scudder (Neeson) seated in a back booth at his favorite New York diner enjoying a couple of shots of whiskey with his morning coffee. Within minutes, a group of armed men come in and blow away the bartender.

Scudder chases them down and kills them all. He later learns that he also killed a young girl in the crossfire.

Nine years pass, and Scudder is retired. He now works when he wants as an unlicensed private investigator. He spends a lot of his time at AA meetings. While there, he’s asked by a fellow member if he can help his friend Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens, “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb”), a prominent Brooklyn drug trafficker.

Kenny wants to hire detective Scudder to find the men who abducted and killed his wife. Even though Kenny paid the kidnappers the ransom they asked, they still cut his wife to pieces and stuffed her in the truck of a car.

Kenny doesn’t want detective Scudder to just go out and kill these guys, he wants him to bring them directly to him so he can dole out his own revenge.
The killers, Ray and Albert (David Harbour, “The Equalizer”) and Adam David Thompson (TV’s “Unforgettable”), have a lot of people afraid that they or someone they know will become victims.

When detective Scudder finally agrees to help Kenny he soon uncovers some shocking information about the killers. They’ve been abducting and killing drug dealers wives for years. They change up their game and decide to kidnap the young daughter (Danielle Rose Russell) of a Russian gangster. (Sebastian Roche, TV’s “Scandal”).

Taking these guys down requires, patience, lots of footwork and interviews with people who have witnessed their brazen tactics. One of the most intriguing characters is a cemetery groundskeeper named Loogan (Olafur Darri Olafsson) who is creepy as hell.

Neeson makes “A Walk Among the Tombstones” completely worthwhile. His tough guy persona is believable and he really anchors this intense, dark thrill ride.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:40 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.

Watch this trailer for "A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES."
 

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 09/19/2014
The Maze Runner

Rated: R
Opens: 09/19/2014
This Is Where I Leave You

Rated: PG
Opens: 09/12/2014
Dolphin Tale 2

Rated: R
Opens: 09/12/2014
The Drop


OLD SCHOOL VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH

Brian's Song Title: Brian's Song
Year Released: 1971
Running Time: 90
Production Company: Sony (Screen Gems)
Director: Buzz Kulik
Director of Photography: Joseph F. Biroc
Screenwriter: William Blinn
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: Now with summer behind us, the arrival of fall means weekends attending and watching plenty of football games. Whether they’re college, pro or high school, I’m all over them. I’m looking forward to attending a few games at the San Francisco 49ers new Levi’s Stadium.

On the college front, my husband Rickey is a former UC Davis player/alum and...
NEW ON DVD

Neighbors <b>(Sept. 23)</b> Title: Neighbors (Sept. 23)
Year Released: 2014
Running Time: 97
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"NEIGHBORS"

In director Nicholas Stoller’s comedy “Neighbors,” Seth Rogen (upcoming “The Interview”) and Rose Bryne (“This Is Where I Leave You”) play a newly married couple with a newborn daughter.

As much as Mac (Rogen) and Kelly Radner ( Byrne) enjoy their quiet, suburban lifestyle, parenthood has also made it difficult for them to socialize with their old friends. Mac and Kelly are either too busy or too tired to do anything at the end of the day.

But when the Delta Psi fraternity led by President Teddy (Zac Efron, “That Awkward Moment”) and his partner Pete (Dave Franco,”22 Jump Street”) move in to the house next door to them, their patience and nerves are fully tested.

At first, Mac believes he can reach Teddy and his obnoxiously loud party crew. He tries to be cool when he approaches them and even works out an agreement to get the guys to quiet down so they don’t wake up their baby.

And for minute things seem fine and then they’re not. When Mac goes to the police and gets them involved along with the school’s Dean (Lisa Kudrow), Teddy and his boys wage holy war on the poor couple by pulling every prank imaginable. Most are pretty funny too.

“Neighbors” really shifts into full hilarious mode when Mac decides to get even and fight back.

There are some bonus features on the Blu-ray that includes a gag reel, deleted/alternate scenes, featurettes and even an alternate opening that you just have to see to believe.
(Recommended).

Godzilla <b>(Sept. 15)</b> Title: Godzilla (Sept. 15)
Year Released: 2014
Running Time: 123
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Gareth Edwards
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“GODZILLA”

With director Gareth Edwards’ visually stunning reboot, “Godzilla,” the monstrous lizard is almost better than ever.

Fans of the classic “Godzilla” movies will love that Edwards respected the original and pays homage to them throughout this remake. The black and white documentary style news footage during the opening of the film is just a brilliant touch.

My only complaint against “Godzilla” is that you don’t get to see the 350 foot tall behemoth until the last hour or so of the movie. But trust me; you won’t be bored leading up to his well-worth-the-wait appearance.

It’s 1999 and Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”) and his wife, Sandra (Juliette Binoche) are scientists working at the Janjira nuclear power plant in Japan. When a catastrophic tremor hits the facility, it leaves Joe grieving and accusing the government of a major cover up involving a terrestrial organism known as the MUTO. The creature feasts on nuclear energy for its power and is headed to Las Vegas, San Francisco and New York to satisfy its hunger.

It takes a military force led by Navy Admiral William Stenz (David Straitharn) and even Joe’s son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson)-- who is a bomb disarmament specialist--to try and take down the MUTO.

The special effects in “Godzilla” are absolutely superb. And when Godzilla does roar onto the scene, it is something special to see.
(Highly Recommended).

EDITOR’S NOTE: The “Godzilla” Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and 2-Disc Standard Definition DVD Special Edition contain the following special features:

MONARCH: DECLASSIFIED--Discover explosive new evidence not contained in the film that unravels the massive cover-up to keep Godzilla’s existence a secret:
Operation: Lucky Dragon. Monarch: The M.U.T.O. File and The Godzilla Revelation.

“THE LEGENDARY GODZILLA--Go behind the scenes with filmmakers and cast for an even deeper look at the larger than life monsters in the film.

GODZILLA: FORCE OF NATURE--
A Whole New Level Of Destruction
Into The Void: The H.A.L.O. Jump
Ancient Enemy: The M.U.T.O.s.

The Fault In Our Stars <b>(Sept. 15)</b> Title: The Fault In Our Stars (Sept. 15)
Year Released: 2014
Running Time: 120
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Director: Josh Boone
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“THE FAULT IN OUR STARS”

The weepy, teen drama “The Fault in Our Stars” is adapted from John Green's 2012 best-selling novel, of the same name.

Talk about a perfect pairing. In “The Fault in Our Stars” Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort are outstanding as two teens who meet each other under the most unfortunate and trying circumstances. Hazel (Woodley) is an 18-year-old terminal cancer patient whose severely damaged lungs require her to lug around an oxygen tank.

Although Hazel is loved and shown support from her mother Frannie (Laura Dern, "The Master") and father Michael (Sam Trammell, TV's "True Blood"), she also realizes that no matter how optimistic she is, death is still lurking nearby.

When Hazel is asked by her doctors to attend a support group, she reluctantly agrees. It's here that she meets Gus (Elgort), a tall, engaging and cute young guy who lost his leg to cancer, but you wouldn't know it by his jovial and self-assured spirit.

Gus flirts like crazy with Hazel and she coyly flirts back. They fall madly in love and together attempt to fight through all their medical setbacks.

Director Josh Boone ("Stuck in Love") also shows a deft hand at balancing the film's dark and sad scenes with humorous ones. Yet, "The Fault in Our Stars," from screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber ("500 Days of Summer") never feels exploitative. Sure it has its share of corniness and predictability, but I have yet to see a teen movie that doesn't.
(Highly Recommended).

Words And Pictures <b>(Sept. 9)</b> Title: Words And Pictures (Sept. 9)
Year Released: 2014
Running Time: 111
Production Company: Roadside Attractions
Director: Fred Schepisi
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"WORDS AND PICTURES"

Are words more powerful than pictures? That question forms the premise of the romantic comedy, “Words and Pictures.

Directed by Fred Schepisi (“Six Degrees of Separation”) and written by Gerald di Pego (“Instinct” and “Message in a Bottle”), “Words and Pictures” is an intriguing drama thanks to winning performances from its lead stars Clive Owen (“Killer Elite”) and Juliette Bionche (“Godzilla”).

Owen plays Jack Marcus, an English teacher at a prep school which is located in a beautiful coastal town near Maine. He loves words/literature, vodka and teaching his students, although not necessarily in that order.

Jack is a bit scruffy, dresses not impress and generally annoys most of the teachers he works with. Oh, and he has a tendency to be late to class which isn’t lost on his students or the school principal (Navid Negahban, TV’s “The Mentalist”) who is running out of patience with Jack.

However, when Dina Delsanto (Binoche), a new art teacher arrives at the school, she manages to shake things up personally and professionally with Jack. Jack’s war of words with Dina soon spills over into their classrooms.

Now the literature students are determined to prove to the art students that words are more powerful than pictures.

“Words and Pictures” isn’t a flashy and splashy movie, but it does have an old school and grown up charm about it that’s surprisingly refreshing to see.
(Recommended).
  MOVIE TRIVIA
 
THE THEME FOR THE MOVIE "BRIAN'S SONG" "THE HANDS OF TIME" WAS ORIGINALLY COMPOSED BY WHICH ONE OF THE FOLLOWING MUSICIANS?
HENRY MANCINI
MICHEL LEGRAND
JOHNNY MATHIS
FLOYD CRAMER
 
  "REEL" MOVIE NEWS
REGINALD HUDLIN By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

REGINALD HUDLIN TO PRODUCE ACADEMY'S 2014 GOVERNORS AWARDS

Reginald Hudlin (pictured) will produce the 6th Annual Governors Awards for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced on Sept. 15.

The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award will be presented to Harry Belafonte, and Honorary Awards will be presented to Jean-Claude Carrière, Hayao Miyazaki and Maureen O’Hara, on Nov. 8, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center.

“With Reggie’s experience, unique vision and immense creativity, the evening celebrating those who have given so much to our industry is certain to be a memorable one,” said Boone Isaacs.

"I’m honored to be working with the Academy again,” said Hudlin. “The collective impact of this year’s Governors Awards recipients on the evolution of cinema is immeasurable. I’m a fan of all four of these legends, so producing a celebration of Ms. O’Hara’s performances, Mr. Carrière’s storytelling, Mr. Belafonte’s dedication and Mr. Miyazaki’s magic is a pleasure."

A writer, director, producer and pioneering entertainment executive, Hudlin received a Best Picture Oscar nomination as a producer of “Django Unchained.” His feature directing credits include “The Great White Hype,” “Boomerang,” and “House Party,” which he also wrote; he also has directed episodes of such popular television series as “Psych,” “Modern Family,” “The Office” and “The Bernie Mac Show.”

Hudlin recently produced “The Academy Celebrates the Black Movie Soundtrack” concert at the Hollywood Bowl and has executive produced the NAACP Image Awards show for the past two years. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Directors Guild of America, Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild, and serves on the executive board of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.


HARRY BELAFONTE OSCAR HUMANITARIAN AWARD By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

HARRY BELAFONTE TO RECEIVE THE JEAN HERSHOLT HUMANITARIAN AWARD

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted Aug. 26 to present Harry Belafonte with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and Honorary Awards to Jean-Claude Carrière, Hayao Miyazaki and Maureen O’Hara.

All four awards will be presented at the Academy’s 6th Annual Governors Awards on Nov. 8, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood.

“The Governors Awards allow us to reflect upon not the year in film, but the achievements of a lifetime,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “We’re absolutely thrilled to honor these outstanding members of our global filmmaking community and look forward to celebrating with them in November.”

An actor, producer, singer and lifelong activist, Belafonte began performing in theaters and nightclubs in and around Harlem, where he was born. From the beginning of his film career, he chose projects that shed needed light on racism and inequality, including “Carmen Jones,” “Odds against Tomorrow” and “The World, the Flesh and the Devil.”

He was an early supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, marching and organizing alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. and often funding initiatives with his entertainment income.

Belafonte was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1987 and currently serves on the boards of the Advancement Project and the Institute for Policy Studies. His work on behalf of children, education, famine relief, AIDS awareness and civil rights has taken him all over the world.

The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”

The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, also an Oscar statuette, is given “to an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”

CARRIERE-- Began his career as a novelist, was introduced to screenwriting by French comedian and filmmaker Pierre Étaix, with whom he shared an Oscar for the live action short subject “Heureux Anniversaire (Happy Anniversary)” in 1962. He received two more nominations during his nearly two-decade collaboration with director Luis Buñuel, for the screenplays for “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” and “That Obscure Object of Desire.” Carrière also has collaborated notably with such directors as Volker Schlöndorff (“The Tin Drum”), Jean-Luc Godard (“Every Man for Himself”) and Andrzej Wajda (“Danton”). He earned a fourth Oscar nomination for “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” with director Philip Kaufman.

MIYAZAKI-- Is an artist, writer, director, producer and three-time Oscar nominee in the Animated Feature Film category, winning in 2002 for “Spirited Away.” His other nominations were for “Howl’s Moving Castle” in 2005 and “The Wind Rises” last year. Miyazaki gained an enormous following in his native Japan for such features as “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind,” “Laputa: Castle in the Sky,” “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service” before breaking out internationally in the late 1990s with “Princess Mononoke.” He is the co-founder of Studio Ghibli, a renowned animation studio based in Tokyo.

O'HARA-- A native of Dublin, Ireland, came to Hollywood in 1939 to star opposite Charles Laughton in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” She went on to appear in a wide range of feature films, including the swashbucklers “The Black Swan” and “Sinbad the Sailor,” the dramas “This Land Is Mine” and “A Woman’s Secret,” the family classics “Miracle on 34th Street” and “The Parent Trap,” the spy comedy “Our Man in Havana” and numerous Westerns. She was a favorite of director John Ford, who cast her in five of his films, including “How Green Was My Valley,” “Rio Grande” and “The Quiet Man.”

ABOUT THE ACADEMY: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema.

In addition to the annual Academy Awards—in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners — the Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history.

Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.

Editor’s Note: Some information used in this report obtained from publicity department press releases.


SAG NAMES SYD By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

SAG FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES CYD WILSON AS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The Screen Actors Guild Foundation has appointed media marketing expert Cyd Wilson (pictured) as its new executive director.

Wilson, founder and president of Cyd Wilson Entertainment Marketing and long-time creative director of Time Inc’s. Style and Entertainment group of magazines, has forged philanthropic partnerships between the entertainment industry and leading corporations for more than 25 years, producing invaluable awareness and revenue for her clients and several Hollywood supported charities.

SAG Foundation President JoBeth Williams spoke for the Foundation’s Board stating, “Cyd is one of the powerhouses in the industry. She has vision, passion and a drive to create a successful merging of corporate goals with humanitarian needs. We look forward to working together to further the goals of the SAG Foundation.”

During her 20 year tenure at Time Inc., Wilson created and managed such high profile and press worthy annual events as the PEOPLE – Entertainment Industry Foundation SAG Awards Gala as well as InStyle’s Golden Globes, Grammy Fashion and L.A. Film Fest parties to name a few.

A former hospital administrator, Wilson began her career in philanthropy in 1989, spending five years helping to establish the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation where she created the “A Time for Heroes” fundraiser, helping to put that organization on the map.

Of her new role, Wilson says, “My career in nonprofits began in Hollywood and coming to the SAG Foundation gives me an opportunity to return full circle and focus solely on the act of giving back to performing artists. It is at once a challenge and a privilege to take the helm of an expanding philanthropic organization that is committed to providing an unrivaled level of career-enhancing programming and emergency assistance for working performers as well as advancing the cause of children’s literacy.

Wilson succeeds nonprofit veteran Jill Seltzer who served as Executive Director since 2011 and leaves the Foundation ready for its next chapter.

“I've very much enjoyed [my time at the SAG Foundation] and taken great pride in opening a new office and building the Actors Center in New York, taking the Performers Programs on the road to actors throughout the country, increasing the amount of online programming, stewarding the first-ever million dollar grant and putting an organizational structure in place. All of these accomplishments are the basis for the SAG Foundation to flourish as the national organization that it now is,” says Seltzer. “Having achieved these goals, the timing seems right to return to the broader philanthropic agenda that has been the focus of my work in the past.”

Williams commended Seltzer’s contribution stating, “Jill has worked hard over these last three years to bring the SAG Foundation to a news level on many fronts. We are so grateful for what she has done for us, and wish her well in her future endeavors.”

ADDITIONAL SAG NEWS:

SAG-AFTRA Statement on AB 1839

On behalf of California’s 80,000 SAG-AFTRA members, we applaud Gov. Jerry Brown, Assemblymembers Mike Gatto and Raul Bocanegra, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, Senate President pro Tem-elect Kevin de León, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway and Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff for recognizing the impact film and television production has on the state of California, and the importance of AB1839.

We also thank our dedicated members who have worked tirelessly in support of this legislation and spoke out at events. This bill will enhance and expand California’s film and television tax incentive program and we look forward to AB1839 passing the state legislature and being signed by the Governor in the days ahead.

ABOUT SAG-AFTRA-- SAG-AFTRA represents more than 165,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that entertain and inform America and the world.

With national offices in Los Angeles and New York and local offices nationwide, SAG-AFTRA members work together to secure the strongest protections for media artists into the 21st century and beyond. Visit SAG-AFTRA online at SAGAFTRA.org.

SAG-AFTRA MEMBERS VOTE TO APPROVE 2014 TV/THEATRICAL CONTRACTS

In recent national voting, members of SAG-AFTRA voted overwhelmingly to approve the 2014 TV/Theatrical Contracts.

Members approved new, three-year contracts covering theatrical, primetime, and basic cable television production under the 2014 SAG-AFTRA Codified Basic Agreement and the 2014 SAG-AFTRA Television Agreement by a vote of 92.12 percent to 7.88 percent.

The new television contract establishes the first industrywide agreement covering performers in both primetime television and basic cable productions.

SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers reached a tentative agreement in July on the deal that provides:

Gains of $200 million in wages; An 8.5-percent wage increase compounding to 8.7 percent; 2.5 percent in the first year, 3 percent in the second year and 3 percent in the third year.

Advances in Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) coverage, including a brand-new residual for on-demand viewing.

Reduction of unpaid online streaming windows for most shows; and

An increased contribution rate percentage to our benefits plans and a mechanism to facilitate the merger of the health plans.

The agreement covers film and digital television programs, motion pictures and new media productions.

SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard (TV’s “The White Shadow”) said, “Once again, we have made history. With the approval of the first-ever SAG-AFTRA Television Agreement, we have reached yet another of the goals we set when we merged. I am thankful to all members who participated throughout this process and the dedicated staff of SAG-AFTRA who worked to insure our new contract would usher us into the next generation of entertainment and new media production.”

The agreement becomes effective retroactive to July 1, 2014 and will remain in force through June 30, 2017.

For more information on the new contract, including a summary of the agreement, go to SAGAFTRA.org.

Editor’s Note: Some information used in this report obtained from publicity department press releases.