Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 07/18/2014
Running Time: 103
Rated: R
Cast: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez and Isaiah Pearce.
Crew: Director: Jason DeMonaco. Producers: Jason Blum, Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Bradley Fuller, Sebastian Lemercier and Philip Dawe. Executive Producer: Jeanette Brill. Screenwriter: James DeMonaco. Cinematographer: Jacques Jouffret.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Director James DeMonaco has followed up his 2013 sleeper hit movie “The Purge” with the futuristic thriller, “The Purge: Anarchy.”

Set in 2023, it builds upon the original movie’s fascinating, yet preposterous premise of our country having an annual, 12 hour government sanctioned night where all crime, including murder, theft and rape is completely legal. The police and hospitals are closed during The Purge and not available to help anyone.

The only rules that people must abide by during The Purge is to not harm government officials who are ranked “10 or higher” and weapons above “Class 4” are prohibited.

The longstanding belief is that this thrill kill night is cathartic for people, controls the population, notably among the poor and homeless.
So if someone has wronged you, or you simply hate them, well, you can set them on fire, slash their throat or beat them to death and then walk away from it all without any repercussions whatsoever.

In “The Purge: Anarchy” the killing and other mass destruction isn’t relegated to just one suburban home like in the first movie. Instead, everyone in Los Angeles is fair game be they rich or poor, black or white.

Of course being rich still has its many benefits. The wealthy can buy the finest protection, but even so their safety is always at stake. And there’s an interesting twist this time involving the rich. They view the Purge like a sporting event and even hold bidding parties so some can hunt down those less fortunate while they watch the killings in amazement.

Everyone has their reasons for taking part in the Purge or staying safe and avoiding it at all costs. Carmelo, (a terrific Michael K. Williams, “12 Years a Slave”) is a black revolutionary who is completely against The Purge and views it as a racist means for rich whites to control the minority population. Carmelo’s right hand man is “The Stranger” (Edwin Hodge) who set everything off in the original movie.

Leo Barnes/Sergeant (Frank Grillo,) has a special set of skills and also some reasons for his revenge that involve his young son and a drunk driver. We know he means business as soon as shows up in a tricked out Dodge Charger.

Eva (Carmen Ejogo, “Sparkle “and the upcoming, “Selma”) is a waitress with a spunky teen daughter named Cali (Zoe Soul, “Prisoners”) who is trying to get home to care for her sickly father (John Beasley, TV’s “The Soul Man”). He hates The Purge and even has a plan to literally cash in on it for the sake of his family.

Liz (Kiele Sanchez, TV’s “Kingdom”) and Shane (Zach Gilford, “Devil’s Due”) are close to having a “conscious uncoupling” for a variety of reasons. They foolishly get caught up while running errands the day of The Purge and are stalked by some menacing, machete wielding kids, who cause their car to break down and now these two are soon running for their lives.

Well, naturally this motley crew manages to cross paths with Leo (Grillo) as they attempt to find shelter and get through the night. But not everything goes according to plan. They soon discover the real reason why a group of armed men burst into Eva and Cali’s home and what’s at the heart of this whole purge thing.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the original movie, largely because of Ethan Hawke, I was just as riveted by “The Purge: Anarchy.” Yes, it’s silly at times, but it’s also a haunting, gruesome guilty pleasure.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my 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 "THE PURGE: ANARCHY."

Rated: PG
Opens: 07/18/2014
Planes: Fire & Rescue

Rated: R
Opens: 07/18/2014
Sex Tape

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 07/11/2014
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Rated: R
Opens: 07/02/2014
Begin Again


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,...

Heaven Is For Real <b>(July 22)</b> Title: Heaven Is For Real (July 22)
Year Released: 2014
Running Time: 99
Production Company: Screen Gems
Director: Randall Wallace
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


Hollywood seems to have found religion or just discovered that there's a huge audience eager to see religious themed movies.

“Heaven is For Real, from director Randall Wallace (“Secretariat”) and producer T.D. Jakes, (“Black Nativity”) follows in the successful footsteps of the box office hit movies “Noah,” God’s Not Dead” and “Son of God.”

“Heaven is for Real,” is based on the No. 1 New York Times best-selling book “Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back” by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent and stars Academy Award nominee Greg Kinnear (As Good as It Gets,” and “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”).

The movie tells the true story of Todd Burpo, a small-town businessman and weekend pastor from Nebraska whose young son, Colton (a superb debut from Connor Corum), miraculously recovers from a near-death experience.

When Colton awakens, he tells his father and mother (Kelly Reilly, “Flight”) that he saw the doctors operating on him and that he was transported to a beautiful place which had to be Heaven because angels sang to him and he even met a member of his deceased family.

Shocked by Colton’s convincing story, Todd considers psychological help for his son, yet when he does, he soon questions his own faith.

When the local media gets wind of Colton’s story, this once quiet Nebraska farming town takes on a circus like atmosphere. Close friends of Todd--including the town banker (Thomas Haden Church, “We Bought a Zoo”) and church member Nancy Rawling (Margo Martindale, TV’s “The Americans”)-- want to distance themselves from Todd.

But Todd's faith and family allows him to persevere through all the controversy.

“Heaven is For Real” inspires without cramming its message down viewers throats. And Greg Kinnear’s charm and nice guy persona makes him the perfect choice for the role. But it’s the bright, blue-eyed six-year-old kid, Connor Corum that will warm your heart.
(Highly Recommended).

Sabotage <b>(July 22)</b> Title: Sabotage (July 22)
Year Released: 2014
Running Time: 109
Production Company: Open Road Films
Director: David Ayer
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


I have absolutely no problem recommending Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie ”Sabotage.” It’s gritty and exciting and has a terrific cast.

Director David Ayer knows his way around really intense police dramas having produced and directed the movies “End of Watch” and “Training Day.”

With “Sabotage,” he pulls out all the stops here with Schwarzenegger leading the way.

In “Sabotage,” Schwarzenegger plays a no-nonsense DEA Agent named John “Breacher” Wharton. Breacher is well respected by the men and women who work for him. They include Terrence Howard, Joe Manganiello, Mireille Enos, Sam Worthington, Kevin Vance and Josh Holloway. They view him as a straight shooter.

But, Breacher has some personal, emotional baggage that is weighing him down and altered his perception of law enforcement.

What starts out as a routine drug bust for Breacher and his elite squad, turns out to be anything but that as we see the team stashing away a cool $10 million for their own personal use.
When they come back to retrieve the money, it’s gone.

And almost as quickly, members of Breacher’s team are being picked off one by one and killed in the most gruesome ways.

So, now Breacher must determine who the greedy, traitor is among his group while trying to “assist” a pesky detective (Olivia Williams) who tries to piece together all these killings and find out where some of the money from the bust has gone.

“Sabotage” is filled with plenty of clever, twisty and intense plot turns to keep you guessing and more than enough blood to keep you squirming.

This is one movie that wastes little time. It gets right on in with the action. It’s a tight and effective B-movie.

Dom Hemingway <b>(July 22)</b> Title: Dom Hemingway (July 22)
Year Released: 2014
Running Time: 93
Production Company: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director: Richard Shepard
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


The biggest reason to watch “Dom Hemingway” is for the wild performance by Jude Law. He’s lewd, obnoxious, dangerous and funny and plays a safe-cracker who has just been sprung from prison after a 12 year stint.

Now that he’s a free man and back on the streets of London, Dom is eager to find his former boss, a crime kingpin known as Mr. Fontaine (Demian Bichir, TV’s “The Bridge”). Dom believes his boss owes him big time because he didn’t rat him out and took the fall and went to jail for him.

Dom sets out with his friend Dickie (Richard E. Grant, TV’s “Downtown Abbey”) to find Mr. Fontaine who is in France. His trip becomes a lot more complicated than he imagines especially when he tries to make amends with his estranged daughter (Emilia Clarke, TV’s “Game of Thrones”).

Law’s character isn’t one you initially sympathize with, but it’s such a zany departure to see him pull off such a meaty role, that you kind of hope things can somehow turn around for this messed up guy.

Bad Words <b>(July 8)</b> Title: Bad Words (July 8)
Year Released: 2014
Running Time: 89
Production Company: Focus Features
Director: Jason Bateman
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


With “Bad Words,” Jason Bateman (“Horrible Bosses 2”) shows his talents as both actor and director. The raunchy, and quite funny R rated comedy is Bateman’s directorial debut.

In “Bad Words,” he’s at his best as a foul-mouthed, spoiled 40-year-old adult who can’t let go of an incident that happened when he was in eighth grade.

Bateman plays Guy Trilby, a proofreader who is bent on getting some payback. He could care less if it comes at the expense of mild-mannered school kids.

In fact, he can't stand kids. And he has little tolerance for most anyone else in authority. When Guy discovers a loophole in The Golden Quill national spelling bee, he plans to disrupt the entire process.

The rules state that no one who graduated from eighth grade by a certain date is eligible, but since Guy dropped out of school before then, he can't be disqualified. So now Guy wants in because there's a hefty check for the winner, and he also has some other ulterior motives too.

Guy is pretty smart. He's done his homework and knows how far he can take this. It's a good thing too, because the parents of many of the kids believe what he's doing is an absolute disgrace. They really want the school's officials (Allison Janney, TV’s “Masters of Sex”) to toss him out of the competition.

Guy even has a newspaper blogger named Jenny (Kathryn Hahn, "We're the Millers") traveling with him to do a feature story on his unique situation. Despite Guy being such a prick to everyone, including Jenny, the two have no problem hooking up every so often.

The big laughs in "Bad Words" come when Guy meets an adorable 10-year-old kid name Chaitanya (Rohan Chand). He wants to be Guy's friend. Naturally Guy wants no part of him and treats him terribly.

When Guy realizes they are staying at the same hotel, he goes out of his way to corrupt this poor kid in every way imaginable. He lets him drink alcohol, eat junk food and keeps him out way past his bedtime so he can meet a prostitute.

Near the end of the movie there's a twist involving Guy and the Golden Quill's founder (Philip Baker Hall)and we understand why Guy has been so angry all these years.

Bateman goes all out here. He's Borat and Bad Santa multiplied by four. The humor is cruel, but it's also pretty h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s. That's hilarious.


Celebrated director, writer and producer Alton Glass(pictured) is no stranger to the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), or the winner's circle for that matter.

At the 18th annual ABFF recently held in New York City, Glass and ensemble won awards for his engaging and heartfelt drama, “CRU,” making history by winning all nominated categories.

The award-winning film “CRU” tells the story of four high school best friends whose lives are dramatically changed after a near fatal accident, and when they reunite 18 years later they discover a set of past and present secrets that threaten to alter the course of their future.

The drama won the following awards in each nominated category:

Grand Jury Prize for Best Director - “CRU,” Directed by Alton Glass, award and $5,000 prize provided by Cadillac.

Grand Jury Prize for Best Screenplay - “CRU,” written by Alton Glass and Oliver W. Ottley III, award and $5,000 prize presented by the Time Warner Foundation.

Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature – “CRU,” Written by Alton Glass & Oliver W. Ottley III, Directed by Alton Glass, Executive Producer Courtney Triggs, Produced by Danny Green, Alton Glass, Matthew Hatchette and Oliver W. Ottley III, award presented by BET Networks.

Audience Award for Best Film – “CRU,” Written by Alton Glass & Oliver Ottley III, Directed by Alton Glass, Executive Producer Courtney Triggs, Produced by Danny Green, Alton Glass, Matthew Hatchette and Oliver W. Ottley III, award presented by Nielsen

Grand Jury Prize for Best Actor - Keith Robinson for his performance in “CRU,” award presented by UPTOWN Magazine.

CRU stars Keith Robinson, Richard T. Jones, Harry J. Lennix, Melissa DeSousa, Sammi Rotibi, Antwon Tanner, Alison Eastwood and Jermaine Crawford.

Glass was overwhelmed with excitement over the accomplishments. “I’d like to thank Jeff Friday, ABFF team, sponsors, my Mom who is my biggest supporter and film-lovers for supporting me and TeamCRU”, said Glass at the ABFF awards ceremony.

For more information on CRU or Alton Glass, visit


Alton Glass is an award-winning director, writer and producer who owns Glassrock Entertainment in Los Angeles, CA. His works includes “CRU,” “The Confidant,” “The Candy Shop” and “The Mannsfield 12” which received two of the highest honors by winning the Grand Jury “Best Director” and “Best Screenplay” Award in 2007 at the American Black Film Festival.

Follow Alton Glass on his social media platforms: Facebook: Alton Glass - Instagram: altonglasscru Twitter: @GlassrockStudio.


The ABFF is a four-day event dedicated to showcasing quality films by and about people of African descent. Committed to the belief that Black content creators and artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts, Jeff Friday conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to promote diversity in the film and television industry. Today it is widely recognized as an important pipeline bringing new Black talent to prominence both in front of and behind the camera, and is regarded as one of the leading film festivals in the world.

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

john williams composer By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


Composers John Williams, Gustavo Dudamel and Gustavo Santaolalla will gather at the Academy for “Behind the Score: The Art of the Film Composer,” July 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Bing Theater in Los Angeles.

Hosted by Tavis Smiley, the illustrious trio will discuss significant musical moments in film that have inspired their work as they examine the art and process of creating a film score as well as the director-composer collaboration.

Williams, whose career spans six decades, has written scores for more than 100 films, including “Lincoln,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” the first three “Harry Potter” films, the “Indiana Jones” films, and “The Book Thief,” and has won Academy Awards for five films: “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Jaws,” “Star Wars,” “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” and “Schindler’s List.” With 49 Oscar nominations, he holds the nominations record for any living person.

Dudamel, now entering his sixth season as music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, made his first foray into composing for motion pictures with “The Liberator (Libertador),” a biopic about Simón Bolívar that screened at the Los Angeles Film Festival earlier this month. The score for this film, as well as a CD on Deutsche Grammophon, was recorded with the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, of which Dudamel is music director.

Dudamel also appears as a guest conductor with many of the world’s greatest musical institutions.

A renowned singer, guitarist, music producer and composer, Santaolalla earned consecutive Oscars for Original Score for “Brokeback Mountain” and “Babel.” His other feature credits include “Amores Perros,” “21 Grams,” “The Motorcycle Diaries,” “North Country,” “Biutiful” and “On the Road.” Long before he won the first of his 16 Grammy Awards, Santaolalla was a creative force in the Argentine rock nacional movement in the early 1970s.

Smiley is currently the host of the late-night television talk show “Tavis Smiley” on PBS and the weekly radio broadcast “The Tavis Smiley Show” from Public Radio International. He also has authored or co-authored 16 books, including his forthcoming “Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year” to be published this September.

Behind the Score: The Art of the Film Composer is supported by The New York Times, a founding supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, scheduled to open in Los Angeles in 2017.

Tickets for Behind the Score are $5 for general admission and $3 for Academy members, LACMA Film Club members and students with a valid ID. Tickets may be purchased online at The Bing Theater is located at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit



The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently updated regulations for how companies and individuals may market movies and achievements eligible for the 87th Academy Awards to Academy members. The most significant changes affect the Music category.

Music Branch members may not contact other Music Branch members to promote the nomination of their own song in any way, including via mail, email, telephone or social media.

Additionally, Music Branch members may not attend any special live performances of eligible songs unless attached to a screening.

For the complete award campaign regulations, visit

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



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.