THE NOVEMBER MAN
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 08/27/2014
Running Time: 108
Rated: R
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Eliza Taylor, Caterina Scorsone, Bill Smitrovich and Will Patton.
Crew: Director: Roger Donaldson. Producers: Keith Arnold, Charles M. Barsamian, Sriram Das, Steve Shapiro, Beau St. Clair and Andjelija Vlaisavljevic. Executive Producers: Pierce Brosnan, Brandt Andersen, Remington Chase, Grant Cramer, Scott Fischer, Kevin Scott Frakes, Corey Large, Myles Nestel, Alan Pao, Ankur Rungta, Vishal Rungta, Raj Brinder Singh and Kevan Van Thompson. Screenwriters: Michael Finch, Karl Gajdusek and Bill Granger (Book: There Are No Spies"). Cinematographer: Romain Lacourbas.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Pierce Brosnan’s new movie, “The November Man” is opening during the traditionally slow, movie going Labor Day weekend, but it’s actually pretty good and definitely worth seeing either before or after that big barbecue.

Brosnan, 61, is fabulously fit. So him portraying a hard-nosed, former CIA agent who has to fiercely fight and run and gun his way throughout the movie, doesn’t seem like a stretch at all for the handsome actor.

After all, were talking about the same guy who played Bond. James Bond. Mr. 007 in “GoldenEye” (1995), “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997), “The World Is Not Enough” (1999) and “Die Another Day” (2002).

In “The November Man,” Brosnan is Peter Devereaux, a ruthless and cynical CIA operative. In terms of toughness, he puts Bond to shame.

When Peter is training young recruit David Mason (Luke Bracey, “Point Break”) for an assignment and David’s lack of focus causes a fatal accident, Peter decides that it’s time for him to get out of the game.

Fast forward five years and we see Peter living the life, enjoying his years of retirement in Lausanne, Switzerland. However, it all comes crashing down when he’s asked by an old boss and friend, Hanley (Bill Smitrovich, TV’s “The Last Ship”) to go to Moscow and get an important woman who has specifically asked for him.

In the process Peter has to protect a Belgrade social worker named Fournier (Olga Kurylenko, “Quantum of Solace”) who shelters sex traffickers. She’s become the worlds most wanted because she’s going to testify about the despicable acts committed in Chechnya by Arkady Federov (Lazar Ristovski); Russia’s slime-ball President-elect.

But Arkady is on to her and has sent his baddest assassin (Amila Terzimehic) to take her out. And wouldn’t you know, David, now a CIA hit man, pops up here too with ulterior motives.

There’s a lot going on in “The November Man.” It’s fun keeping up with it all especially as Peter and Alice desperately try to stay steps ahead of all their killers.

As this twisty and deliriously violent espionage thriller unfolds, new faces crop up around every corner it seems, including a New York Times reporter. He gets thisclose to busting the Russian corruption story wide open, but doesn’t quite make it long enough to get the scoop.

“The November Man” is based on Bill Granger’s best-selling book, “There are No Spies” and is directed by Roger Donaldson (“No Way Out”).

Brosnan, is rumored to be in Sylvester Stallone’s next “Expendables” movie. That could be good since Brosnan proves with “The November Man” that he has a very dark side and a license to thrill.

Editor's Note: I will be getting a jump on the Labor Day Weekend and won't be on the Kitty O'Neal Show (KFBK 931. FM and 1530 AM) Aug. 29 for my N2Entertainment.net movie review segment. I will return Sept. 5. In the meantime...

Check Out This Trailer for "THE NOVEMBER MAN."
 

Rated: PG
Opens: 08/22/2014
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Calvary


OLD SCHOOL VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH

The Five Heartbeats Title: The Five Heartbeats
Year Released: 1991
Running Time: 121
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Director: Robert Townsend
Director of Photography: Bill Dill
Screenwriter: Robert Townsend/Keenen Ivory Wayans
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: If you love musical dramas as much as I do, then you're probably a fan of director Robert Townsend's ambitious, 1991 movie "The Five Heartbeats."



Townsend co-wrote "The Five Heartbeats" with Keenan Ivory Wayans. The film is loosely based on the lives of legendary artists and groups such as Jackie Wilson, The Four Tops, The Temptations,...
NEW ON DVD

Belle <b>(Aug. 26)</b> Title: Belle (Aug. 26)
Year Released: 2014
Running Time: 104
Production Company: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director: Amma Asante
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"BELLE"

Director Amma Asante’s movie, “Belle” is a stirring, lavish historical drama featuring a breakout performance from up and coming actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Larry Crowne” and TV’s “Dr. Who”).

“Belle” is based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Mbatha-Raw), who was born the illegitimate child of an African slave woman named Maria Belle and Admiral Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode, TV’s “The Good Wife”).

After Maria Belle dies, Admiral Sir John Lindsay takes her young daughter (Lauren Julien-Box) to live with her aristocratic great uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson, the upcoming, “Selma”) and his wife (Emily Watson, “War Horse”) at Kenwood House in Hampstead.

As she grows up, with her cousin Elizabeth Murray (Sarah Gadon, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”), Belle soon discovers that her lineage affords her several privileges, but her ethnicity hinders her from truly being accepted by the noble society. And she’s also faced with more daunting issues, such as marrying for love or social standing and dealing with Lord Mansfield’s landmark legal decision involving an English slave ship and its crew.

Screenwriter Misan Sagay (TV movie, “Their Eyes Were Watching God”) wonderfully captures the essence of Belle’s journey of self-discovery with real authenticity.

“Belle” features impressive performances, notably from Miranda Richardson (“Muppets Most Wanted”) and Tom Felton (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and Penelope Wilton (“Downtown Abbey”), but Mbatha-Raw shines brightest and really anchors the film.

Editor’s Note: Some of the “Belle” Blu-ray Special Features Includes: Belle: The Story, Gugu Mbatha-Raw Breakout Role, The Power of Belle, From Painting to Screen, The History Behind the painting and a Stills Gallery.
(Highly Recommended).

Blended <b>(Aug. 26)</b> Title: Blended (Aug. 26)
Year Released: 2014
Running Time: 117
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Frank Coraci
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“BLENDED”

After starring in “50 First Dates” and “The Wedding Singer,” Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore have reunited in the wacky comedy, “Blended.”

Sandler plays a widower named Jim who has three daughters: 15-year-old tomboy Hilary, a.k.a. Larry (Bella Thorne, upcoming “Amityville”); the sensitive Espn (Emma Fuhrmann, TV’s “Home & Family”), and the cute and adorable Lou (Alyvia Alyn Lind, TV’s “The Young & the Restless”).

Lauren (Barrymore) is a divorcee with two boys. Brendan (Braxton Beckham, TV’s “NCIS”) is a rambunctious teen and Tyler (Kyle Red Silverstein, TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”) is a handful too.
Jim and Lauren go on a blind date and it turns out worse than either of them could ever imagine. They vow never to see each other again. But that promise is broken when Lauren’s best friend Jen (Wendi McLendon-Covey, “Think like a Man Too”) and Jim’s boss scrap their plans to take a South African vacation.

Lauren thinks the trip would be perfect for her kids and wants to go. Jim believes he would score major points with his kids too by surprising them with the trip.

Both wind up at the resort much to each other’s surprise. As expected it’s not long before these blended families are getting on each other’s nerves engaging in all sorts of hijinks.

Fortunately, it takes the pec-popping singing resort leader (a very funny Terry Crews, TV’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”) and his back up chorus to bring these families together in a good way.

“Blended” is all over the place. But, Sandler knows his audience. And while some jokes are hit the mark, others land with a big thud. Even so, there’s enough zaniness to make it all worthwhile.
(Recommended).

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 <b>(Aug. 19)</b> Title: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Aug. 19)
Year Released: 2014
Running Time: 136
Production Company: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Director: Marc Webb
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2"

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” kicked off the summer movie season in a big way hauling in more than $200 million during its theatrical run.

Directed by Marc Webb, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” serves up lots of action, laughs and terrific chemistry—although little romance-- between Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Then again, when you’re trying to battle crime on the streets of New York like Peter Parker, there’s not much time for all that lovey-dovey stuff.

In fact, Peter (Garfield) has quite a bit to juggle since graduating from high school. As much as he cares for Gwen (Stone) he wants to keep the vow he made to her dying father and not put her life in jeopardy with his heroic, crime fighting.

While Spider-Man’s intentions are good, the forces of evil drive him—and eventually Gwen—into the danger zone when his old childhood friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns to the scene. Then there’s Oscorp electrician Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) who is accidentally transformed into a powerful foe, Electro.

The stakes have never been higher for Spider-Man as he is faced with his biggest conflict yet.
(Recommended).

Editor’s Note: So many DVDs don’t offer a lot of extras, but there is plenty of good stuff here. Check out some of the special features on “Spider-Man 2” Blu-ray DVD.

Audio Commentary With Filmmakers:

(1.) Four All-New Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Marc Webb.

(2.) Alicia Keys "It's On Again" music video.

(3.) Nine Additional Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Marc Webb (Blu-ray exclusive).

(4.) "The Wages of Heroism: Making The Amazing Spider-Man 2," featuring revealing, in-depth segments including:

"Lessons Learned: Development and Direction" — Filmmakers and cast discuss their approach to the sequel and their efforts to make it the best Spider-Man yet. (Blu-ray exclusive).

"Heart of the City: Shooting in New York" — A behind-the-scenes look at the film's unprecedented access to 
New York City during production. (Blu-ray exclusive).

"Triple Threat: Attack of the Villains" — An inside look at the development of Spider-Man's fearsome foes, Electro, the Green Goblin and Rhino. (Blu-ray exclusive).

"A More Dangerous World: Transforming Electro and the Green Goblin"--From make-up to costuming, see what it took to transform Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan into their fearsome alter-egos. (Blu-ray exclusive).

"A Bolt From the Blue: Visual Effects" — Sony Pictures Imageworks artists and animators show how they created the gravity defying, web-slinging and pumped-up action in the new film. (Blu-ray exclusive).

"Spidey Gets His Groove Back: Music and Editing" — Learn how the film's soundtrack and score came together in this behind-the-scenes look at jam sessions with Composer Hans Zimmer and the team of master musicians he assembled, including: Pharrell Williams, Johnny Marr, Michael Einziger and more.(Blu-ray exclusive).

Divergent <b>Aug. 5</b> Title: Divergent Aug. 5
Year Released: 2014
Running Time: 139
Production Company: Summit Entertainment
Director: Neil Burger
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"DIVERGENT"

Shailene Woodley has become Hollywood’s newest “IT” girl. With starring roles in box office hits like “Divergent” and “The Fault in Our Stars,” Woodley has proven she’s just getting started.

“Divergent” takes place several years after a devastating war has destroyed much of the world. The residents are divided into five factions that represent what kind of people they are such as a “Warriors,” “Intelligent” or “Selfless.”

Tris Prior (Woodley), like others approaching adulthood, must choose a faction and stick with it for the rest of their lives. Tris surprises most everyone when she chooses the “Dauntless” faction. They are considered risk takers and are fearless; characteristics that most would never associate with Tris.

Her initiation is challenging as she must complete several dangerous stunts. She manages to complete them all, but in the process learns that she is a “Divergent,” someone who isn’t able to fit into just one faction.

Tris must now hide this little secret from others or risk her and her family’s life if people discover she is “Divergent.” But Tris is soon tested once again when she discovers that one of the factions is planning to take over the government and destroy the world.

Fortunately, she finds a “Dauntless” leader that she can trust, (Theo James, “Underworld: Awakening”) and together they make a formidable team to try and save humankind.

Editor’s Note: The Blu-ray combo pack has several special features including: “Bringing Divergent to Life” documentary, “Faction Before Blood” Featurette, deleted scenes, audio commentary with director Neil Burger and audio commentary with producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher.
(Recommended).
  MOVIE TRIVIA
 
WHICH ACTOR FROM "THE FIVE HEARTBEATS" ALSO PLAYED DAVID RUFFIN IN THE 1998 NBC HIT TV MINI-SERIES "THE TEMPTATIONS?"
HAWTHORNE JAMES
TICO WELLS
HARRY LENNIX
LEON
 
  "REEL" MOVIE NEWS
Ben Hur Remake By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

MARK BURNETT AND ROMA DOWNEY TO REMAKE “BEN-HUR”

Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (“Son of God”) (pictured) have joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Paramount Pictures’ to produce a remake of “Ben-Hur.”

Gary Barber, MGM’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and Paramount Pictures said the studios will co-produce the film, which is set for release on February 26, 2016. Burnett joins producers Sean Daniel (“The Mummy” Franchise) and Joni Levin (“The Way Back”), while Downey joins as an executive producer.

The film returns to the heart of Lew Wallace’s epic novel focusing on the nature of faith. The story follows a falsely accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him. Both must come to choose between retribution or forgiveness.

Together Downey and Burnett were executive producers of “The Bible” series, which became the number one cable show for The History Channel of 2013. In February 2014, 20th Century Fox released the feature film version “Son of God.” The project entailed extensive outreach to the faith communities and consultation with biblical experts, to strong effect.

ADL National Director Abraham Foxman declared “Son of God” is the most sensitive depiction of the story of Jesus that I have ever seen or probably will ever see.”

“We are thrilled to have Mark and Roma join the production team to bring such an indelible classic story to the big screen,” said Barber. “Their unrivaled passion, creativity and success in the faith based content space, will be a huge asset to the film and we look forward to working together.”

Making an epic drama like “Ben-Hur” requires visionary talents and Rob Moore, Vice Chairman Paramount Pictures believes Downey and Burnett are the perfect choices to recreate this classic tale.

“A timeless film of this scale and scope requires an incredibly dedicated team of filmmakers,” said Moore. “The opportunity to have such talents like Mark and Roma be a part of the making of the film, and knowing their incredible dedication to their own faith, made them the ideal partners to help bring this story authentically to life.”

"What an honor it will be to help bring this epic film back to the big screen" said Downey and Burnett. "When Gary Barber allowed us to read John Ridley's amazing script, we immediately knew we had to join this team. We are thrilled to be able work with Timur, Sean, John and the entire MGM and Paramount teams. General Lew Wallace’s "Ben-Hur" is one of the most important Christian works of fiction ever written and this script is astounding. It will be the most anticipated movie release of 2016."

Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted”) will direct “Ben-Hur. The screenplay, originally written by Keith Clarke (“The Way Back”), with revisions by Academy Award-winner John Ridley (“12 Years A Slave”), is based on Lew Wallace’s 1880 epic novel “Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ.” Downey (“The Bible”) and John Ridley will serve as executive producers along with Keith Clarke and Jason F. Brown.

In addition to “Ben-Hur,” MGM and Paramount partnered on “Hercules” starring Dwayne Johnson. The studio will also release the sequel to “Hot Tub Time Machine” on Christmas Day.

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


Reese Witherspoon in Wild By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

REESE WITHERSPOON TO STAR IN NICK HORNBY’S ADAPTATION OF “WILD” FOR FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights to Oscar nominated writer Nick Hornby’s (“An Education,”) adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s NY Times #1 best-seller “Wild,” the book that re-launched Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.

The film will star Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line,” and “Mud”) and will be produced by Pacific Standard’s Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea (“Warm Bodies,” “All Good Things”) with River Road Entertainment’s Oscar nominated Bill Pohlad (“12 Years A Slave”).

“Wild” will start production in late fall once a director is in place. It will be overseen by Fox Searchlight Pictures President of Production Claudia Lewis and SVP of Production David Greenbaum.

“We are so excited to be working with Fox Searchlight to bring “Wild” to the screen,” said Witherspoon. “It is an extraordinary company that continually strives to bring original, inspirational films to the marketplace. We are thrilled to collaborate with them on “Wild.”

“We have long been huge fans of this visceral, inspirational and moving personal story with such a strong female perspective,” says Utley and Gilula. “It has been a dream of the studio to work with Reese Witherspoon and we are thrilled to be partnered with her, Bruna Papandrea, Bill Pohlad and Nick Hornby.”

ABOUT “WILD”: With the dissolution of her marriage and the death of her mother, Cheryl Strayed (Witherspoon) has lost all hope. After years of reckless, destructive behavior, she makes a rash decision.

With absolutely no experience, driven only by sheer determination, Cheryl hikes more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. “Wild” powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her.

Since its launch last year Pacific Standard has acquired the bestselling book “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn which David Fincher will direct this fall. They recently set up Mitch Larson’s fantasy book series “Pennyroyal’s Bootcamp” at Summit/Lionsgate. Their development slate includes: “Who Invited Her” at Dreamworks and “The Engagements” at Fox 2000.

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


STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

"STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON" BIOPIC HITS THEATRES AUGUST, 14, 2015

In the mid-1980s, the streets of Compton, California, were some of the most dangerous in the country.

When five young men translated their experiences growing up into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation.

Following the meteoric rise and fall of N.W.A., “Straight Outta Compton” tells the astonishing story of how these youngsters revolutionized music and pop culture forever the moment they told the world the truth about life in the hood and ignited a cultural war.

The Universal Pictures drama will star O’Shea Jackson Jr., (Ice Cube’s son), Corey Hawkins (“Non-Stop”) and Jason Mitchell (“Broken City”) as Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E.

“Straight Outta Compton” is directed by F. Gary Gray (“Friday,” “Set It Off,” “The Italian Job”). The movie is produced by original N.W.A. members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, who are joined by fellow producers Matt Alvarez and Tomica Woods-Wright. Will Packer is the executive producer.

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