KEANU
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 04/29/2016
Running Time: 98
Rated: R
Cast: Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Method Man, Luis Guzman, Nia Long and Will Forte.
Crew: Director: Peter Atencio. Producers: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Peter Principato, Paul Young and Zoel Zadak. Executive Producers: Richard Brener and Ben Ormand. Screenwriters: Jordan Peele and Alex Rubens. Cinematographer: Jas Shelton.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele” sketch comedy show have taken their act to the big screen with their latest movie, “Keanu.”

In this action comedy they play a couple of suburban cousins. Clarence Goobril (Key) is happily married to Hannah (Nia Long, “The Best Man Holiday”), but Rell Williams (Peele) has had the blues ever since his girlfriend dumped him.

But when a kitten mysteriously arrives on his doorstep, Rell decides to take him in and even names him Keanu (voice of Keanu Reeves). Rell can’t believe how much he adores this cat. Keanu, by the way, may be the cutest kitten in the history of cinema.

Keanu sure has made a difference in Rell’s life. Even Clarence is happy that the cat has brought him out of his funk.

So when Keanu is stolen from Rell’s house by gangsters during a botched home invasion, the guys have to pose as hardcore drug dealers and thugs to try and retrieve Keanu. The kitten has found a home with Cheddar (Method Man), a major drug dealer who has turned Keanu into his gangsta pet.

Of course half the fun of watching “Keanu” is seeing Clarence and Rell attempting to go from playing these soft suburban guys to hardened criminals since they are so far removed from a gangsta lifestyle.

They wind up in some very dangerous situations yet somehow manage to get out of the tight spots especially those involving Cheddar’s crew. There’s a very funny, extended sequence with Clarence trying to explain to Cheddar’s boys why he rolls in a mini-van and listens to George Michael’s greatest hits. Before long, he has the hardened crew believing Michael is a black dude and has them singing along to “Father Figure” and “Faith” songs.

I was a bit worried that “Keanu” would feel like one long Comedy Central sketch, but despite dragging slightly in the middle, the movie works more than it should.

“Keanu” earns its laughs through Key and Peele’s physical comedy and witty repartee. Even Will Forte brings a little something to the mix as the hip-hop neighborhood druggie.

With the film’s rather happy ending, one can only wonder if there’s a “Keanu” sequel in the works.

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.

Here's The Trailer For "KEANU"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards....
 

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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

Ride Along 2 <b>(April 26)</b> Title: Ride Along 2 (April 26)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 101
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Director: Tim Story
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“RIDE ALONG 2”

In “Ride Along 2,” Ice Cube and Kevin Hart team up once again in this sequel to director Tim Story’s 2014 buddy cop comedy, “Ride Along.”

Story continues his winning, yet predictable formula that serves up almost as many zany antics as the original movie.

Veteran police detective James Payton (Ice Cube, “Straight Outta Compton”) stays in full scowl mode because he has to deal with his bumbling, future brother-in-law Ben (Hart, “Get Hard”).

Now that Ben has graduated from the Police Academy he believes he’s ready to partner with James as an official Atlanta cop.

As much as James would like to, he can’t always say no to Ben mainly because he’ll bug him to no end until he gets his way. Plus, Ben is about to tie the knot with James’ gorgeous sister, Angela (Tika Sumpter, TV’s “The Haves and The Have Nots”). Angela really does adore the little guy. And James isn’t about to stand in the way of true love.

So when James gets an assignment from his boss, Lt. Brooks (Bruce McGill, TV’s “Rizzoli & Isles”) that will take him from Atlanta to Miami, Ben wants in.

After much back and forth and mainly to keep his sister happy, James agrees to take Ben to Miami.

They're on the hunt for a hacker named A.J. (Ken Jeong, “Norm of the North” and TV’s “Community”) who is working with Antonio Pope, (Bratt) a major Miami drug dealer who fronts as a philanthropist.

Antonio is involved in many illegal enterprises and is so well connected that he has several police and politicians in his back pocket. When A.J. gives Ben and James more info on Antonio, it kicks the investigation into high gear and brings homicide detective Maya (Olivia Munn, TV’s “Miles from Tomorrowland” and the upcoming movie, “Zoolander 2”) into the mix.

Hart and Cube have terrific chemistry and play well off each other. Jeong’s manic geekiness and Munn’s tough girl sexiness is a welcome addition to “Ride Along 2.”

But much like he did in the first movie, “Hart” steals the show here. His over the top, physical comedy involves everything from being attacked by an alligator, posing as an African dignitary, chastising his persnickety wedding planner (Sherri Shepherd, “TV’s “The Soul Man”) to utilizing his video game skills during a big-time car chase.

These scenes generate the biggest laughs and make for a pretty fun “Ride” too.
(Recommended).

The Revenant <b>(April 19)</b> Title: The Revenant (April 19)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 156
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

”THE REVENANT”

After being nominated six times for an Academy Award, Leonardo DiCaprio finally walked away with an Oscar at the 88th Academy Awards for his extraordinary performance in director Alejandro González Ińárritu’s “The Revenant.”

The gritty, revenge Western earned a “Best Director,” win for Ińárritu. He was also honored for the same category last year for “Birdman.” And Emmanuel Lubezki took home the coveted golden statue for “Best Cinematography” for “The Revenant” making him the first person ever to claim the prize three years in a row.

“The Revenant” is a magnificent movie. It’s loosely based on author Michael Punke’s, “The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge” and is a chilling survivalist story set in 1823 about legendary fur trapper and hunter Hugh Glass who is played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Glass, (DiCaprio), his son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) and fellow hunters, Jim Bridger (Will Poulter, “The Maze Runner”) and John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy, “Legend”) are led by Captain Andrew Henry (Domhall Gleeson, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Brooklyn”).

While hunting for pelts, they are attacked by a group of Native American Arikara Indians along the Upper Missouri River.

As they flee for their lives, Glass becomes separated from the group and is savagely attacked by a ferocious grizzly bear.

The bear mauling is incredibly realistic and is truly one of the film’s most jaw-dropping highlights.

Glass has been mauled so badly that he can hardly speak or move. The rest of his fellow trappers are worried that he will slow them down and get all of them killed. But someone has to stay and watch over him. Fitzgerald suggests they kill Glass and make their move.

And when Captain Henry can’t bring himself to do it, he offers to pay Hawk and Jim to look after Glass and if he dies to give him a proper burial.

But loyalty only goes so far before self-preservation and greed take hold. Fitzgerald has ulterior motives. They come to light when he tries to smother Glass, but later discovers you can’t keep a good hunter down.

Glass, far from dead, sets out on his revenge mission to find Fitzgerald and it becomes one cold-blooded showdown.

DiCaprio’s performance interestingly, is one of few words, but it’s such an emotional and physical journey that captivates you and leaves a lasting impression.

Editor’s Note: The Blu-ray DVD of “The Revenant” includes the documentary “A World Unseen,” which takes viewers into the world of a 19th century America and uncovers the vision behind “The Revenant” and the parallels found in our world today through the film’s visionary director and DiCaprio.
(Highly Recommended).

It Follows <b>(April 12)</b> Title: It Follows (April 12)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 120
Production Company: Radius TWC
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“IT FOLLOWS”

The very opening scene of “It Follows” hooked me. It shows a frightened woman in high heels running out of her house. We don’t see what’s chasing her and more importantly she doesn’t fall down. That’s the first clue that “It Follows” isn’t your typical, teen horror movie.

Director Robert Mitchell (“The Myth of the American Sleepover”) brings such a creepy and chilling eeriness to this coming-of-age drama that it will have you guessing what comes next.

“It Follows” then introduces us to a young woman named Jay (Maika Monroe, “The Guest”). She’s enjoying a carefree afternoon in her backyard swimming pool, spending time with her sister Kelly (Lili Sepe) and her friends Yara (Olivia Luccardi, TV’s “House of Cards”) and Paul (Keir Gilchrist, “It’s Kind of A Funny Story”).

Jay is loving life. She just started dating the handsome hunky, Hugh/Jeff (Jake Weary, TV’s “Pretty Little Liars”) and is going out on their first dinner date.

After dinner, they enjoy each other’s company in the back of his car which is parked in an empty parking lot. While Hugh steps out to get some fresh air, Jay is relishing her special moment. But it doesn’t last long.

Hugh startles Jay from behind and drugs her, then ties her to a wheelchair and takes her to another location.

Jay isn’t sure if this is a bad dream or what because when she wakes up, Hugh tells her what’s going to happen to her. And it isn’t pretty.

Hugh explains that she’ll start seeing all kinds of weird people like an old woman, and a naked girl and they will be following her.

Oh, and the only way Jay can only rid herself of these menacing threats is to have sex with someone. That’s how Hugh got “It” and was the reason why he wanted to hook up with Jay.

“It Follows” isn’t one of those blood-splattering slasher movies, although there are a couple of quick shocking scenes.

What makes “It” work so well, is its unpredictability and the characters aren’t one dimensional. While it may move a bit slowly at times, the ending is satisfying.
(Recommended).

The Forest <b>(April 12)</b> Title: The Forest (April 12)
Year Released: 2016
Running Time: 95
Production Company: Tri-Star Pictures
Director: Jason Zada
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“THE FOREST”

I gave “The Forest” a “two reels” rating prior to its theatrical release. With the exception of the bonus features included on the Blu-ray DVD, which are entertaining, not much has changed my overall viewpoint since recently re-watching it.

I’m marginally recommending it simply because there really was an exciting and thrilling movie to be had here.

However, under the direction of Jason Zada, whose other blockbuster films include: “Take this Lollipop” and “The Houses October Built," the haphazard and unimaginative final act turns “The Forest” into an average horror film.

I still believe that in the hands of the great, late horror master Wes Craven, “The Forest” could have possibly become a cult classic like Craven’s “The Hills have Eyes” or “Swamp Thing.”

For starters, “The Forest” has a juicy premise, the cast is solid and they give it their all. But in the end the film’s screenwriters, Nick Antosca, Sarah Cornwell and Ben Katai rely on silly and predictable jump scares and most every horror cliché under the sun.

The Aokigahara Forest in Japan is near Mount Fuji. It’s a real place that’s known as the “Suicide Forest” where people go—as crazy as it sounds--to commit suicide.

The story behind the Aokigahara Forest was also the subject of a 2015 movie called “The Sea of Trees” directed by Gus Van Sant and starred Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe.

Anyway, this “Suicide Forest” is filled with evil spirits that prey upon unsuspecting people who stumble into it. It’s huge and creepy during the day and even more frightening at night.

So when Sara Price (Natalie Dormer from “Rush” and TV’s “Game of Thrones”) is informed that her twin sister Jess, who lives in Japan and teaches English to kids, has disappeared into the forest, she leaves her husband Rob (Eoin Macken, TV’s “The Night Shift”) behind and flies off to Japan hoping to find her.

Although Sara has been informed that Jess is probably dead, Sara’s keen twin intuition tells her she’s alive. As you might have figured out, Dormer plays both roles.

When Sara arrives in Japan, she doesn’t get much help from the locals, but an administrator at Jess’ school tells Sara why she shouldn’t go to the forest to find her. The biggest reason is because it’s haunted and the dead people’s ghosts/spirits are angry. They can also sense when someone is sad and these spirits go to great lengths to get in people’s heads.

Still, Sara isn’t hearing any of this and plans to go anyway. Before making the trek, she meets a hunky Australian travel writer named Aiden (Taylor Kinney, TV’s “Chicago Fire”) who turns out to be a trusting friend until he’s not.

There really was so much potential for “The Forest” and throughout the first half it looks as if it will surprisingly go the distance. Instead, it comes up short. But you be the judge.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Blu-ray, DVD And Digital HD Bonus Features Include: Exploring “The Forest.” The cast And filmmakers discuss their initial attraction to the project and the history behind the Aokigahara Forest; and dive into the characterizations, the visual effects, and the lore of the infamous Yurei in this behind-the-scenes featurette. There’s also commentary with director Jason Zada.
(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
THE JUNGLE BOOK By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

“THE JUNGLE BOOK: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE” OPENS APRIL 14 AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE

Directed by Jon Favreau (“Chef,” “Iron Man,” “Elf”), and based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book: An IMAX 3D Experience” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who has been raised by a family of wolves.

Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat.

Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray).

“The Jungle Book: An IMAX 3D Experience” seamlessly blends live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments, using up-to-the-minute technology and storytelling techniques to immerse audiences in an enchanting and lush world. “The Jungle Book: An IMAX 3D Experience” opens at 7:00 p.m. on April 14 at The Esquire IMAX Theatre.

Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento.

“The Jungle Book: An IMAX 3D Experience” will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of An IMAX 3D Experience with proprietary IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) technology.

The crystal-clear images, coupled with the Esquire IMAX Theatre’s six story high and 80 feet wide screen, customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.

The Esquire IMAX Theatre is located at 1211 K Street in downtown Sacramento, CA. For information on tickets and show times, please call 916-443-IMAX (4629) or visit the website at www.imax.com/sacramento.

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


KEN HOWARD By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

IN MEMORY OF KEN HOWARD

Kenneth Joseph “Ken” Howard, Jr., a Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor and president of the performers union SAG-AFTRA died March 23, 2016 from Myocardial infarction/heart attack at his home near Los Angeles. He was 71.

Howard was born March 28, 1944 in El Centro, California, to Kenneth Joseph and Martha Carey Howard.

He had a younger brother, Donald Howard, also an actor. All are deceased. He is survived by his beloved wife of 25 years Linda Fetters Howard, a prominent stuntwoman and former president of the Stuntwomen’s Association of Motion Pictures, and three adult stepchildren from a previous marriage.

Over a long career rich with great performances, the Yale-trained Howard parlayed his classic blond, blue-eyed handsomeness into a string of enduring characters on stage and screen, later becoming the first president of the 160,000-member performers union SAG-AFTRA.

Howard was elected president of Screen Actors Guild in 2009 and reelected in 2011 on a pledge to unite Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The merger effort, which often dominated attention in the entertainment and media industries, was overwhelmingly approved by members in 2012. As the last president of the legendary Screen Actors Guild and the first elected president of post-merger SAG-AFTRA, Howard made history by leading the merged performers from a period of conflict to a stable, unified path toward the future.

An actor for nearly 50 years, Howard came to union leadership late in his career led by friends who asked him in 2008 to help them stabilize the then-troubled Screen Actors Guild. Thinking he might serve one two-year term on SAG’s board, Howard met destiny and committed himself body and soul to the job. Standing for election as SAG president a year later, he believed he had found the work he was meant to do.

In a 2014 SAG-AFTRA Magazine message, Howard wrote to members that serving them as president of the union was “the most important thing I have ever done.”

Tall at 6’6 ˝,” Howard was dashing, debonair and athletic. A high-school basketball star in Manhasset, NY, he turned down several athletic scholarship offers to focus on academics. He was also drawn to the arts, performing in high school musicals and singing in the Congregational Church of Manhasset choir with whom he played Carnegie Hall.

At Amherst College he was a featured soloist with the choral group the Zumbyes, touring Europe and recording two albums. During his college years, Howard spent summers as a Key Page for NBC working on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.”

Howard’s interest in performing intensified and he was awarded a fellowship to the Yale School of Drama, which he attended after graduating from Amherst. Two years into his MFA program, he took an unplanned break to make his Broadway debut in the 1968 production of Neil Simon’s “Promises, Promises.”

With good notices for his performance in the show and firmly fixed on a career as an actor, Howard left Yale and never looked back. In 1969, he appeared as Thomas Jefferson in the musical “1776” for which he won a Theater World Award. He returned to Broadway the next year in “Child’s Play,” earning a Tony Award for his role as Paul Reese. His later Broadway credits included “Seesaw,” “The Norman Conquests,” “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” and the critically acclaimed one-man play “According to Tip” in which he played the iconic Speaker of the House Thomas P. 'Tip' O’Neill.

From Broadway, Howard was lured to Hollywood by legendary theater and film director Otto Preminger and made his feature motion picture debut opposite Liza Minnelli in Preminger’s “Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon.” He would go on to standout performances in dozens of movies including the feature film version of “1776,” “Clear and Present Danger,” “At First Sight,” “Rambo IV,” “Dreamer,” “In Her Shoes,” “Michael Clayton,” “J. Edgar,” “Better Living Through Chemistry,” “The Judge,” “The Wedding Ringer,” and “Joy” among others.

But it was in American living rooms and on the television screen where Howard deeply connected with audiences and realized his most compelling and memorable performances.

In 1978, Howard originated the role of Coach Ken Reeves on the groundbreaking television series “The White Shadow” which starred Kevin Hooks (TV’s “Lincoln Heights” and “Backstrom”) and Thomas Carter (“Coach Carter” and “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story”). The show was based on his own experiences as the only white player on his high school basketball team and featured Howard as the coach of a diverse basketball team at an inner-city high school. Over the course of three seasons, “The White Shadow” served as a proving ground for some of television’s most prominent producers and directors including Bruce Paltrow, Kevin Hooks, Thomas Carter and Tim Van Patten among others.

Innovative and even daring for its time, the show was recognized for its diverse casting and socially relevant themes. Even decades after the show ended, Howard was frequently recognized on the street by fans who greeted him with a handshake and a “Hey, Coach.”

Over several decades on television, Howard would appear in numerous series including starring roles on “The Manhunter,” “Crossing Jordan,” “The Colbys” and “Dynasty” among others. His frequent guest star appearances included work on “Boston Legal,” “Dirty Sexy Money,” “Eli Stone,” “Cold Case,” “Brothers & Sisters,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “The West Wing,” “Blue Bloods,” and “Cane.” Howard broke new ground in 2012 as the hilariously clueless Kabletown honcho Hank Hooper on “30 Rock.”

He starred in several television miniseries including “The Thorn Birds,” “Rage of Angels,” “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town,” and in 2009 earned his second Primetime Emmy Award for the role of Phelan Beale in HBO’s “Grey Gardens.”

A lifelong devotee of theater and especially Broadway musicals, Howard deeply missed live performance as his career trended toward Hollywood. However, he again put his compelling voice to work first in his Emmy-winning on-camera narration of "Facts for Boys: The Body Human” and later narrating more than 30 best-selling audio books.

He taught master classes at the American Repertory Theatre Institute and was an instructor at Harvard University, Harvard Law School and Amherst College. His teaching experience helped form the basis for his book, "Act Natural: How to Speak to Any Audience," published by Random House in 2003.

He was a brilliant and energetic performer, conversant with long passages of Shakespearean dialogue and thousands of lines from classic musicals and dramatic plays. His 2015 induction into the exclusive New York performing arts social club The Lambs was an enduring example of extemporaneous performance cum speechifying, with Howard delivering an unrehearsed 30-minute career retrospective that was both comedic and captivating.

Howard served on the board of directors of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, the Actors Fund, the Los Angeles Alzheimer's Committee, and was the national spokesperson and an executive board member for the Onyx and Breezy Foundation for the Welfare of Animals.

As a kidney transplant recipient, he was eternally grateful to his transplant donor, family friend and well-known stuntwoman Jeannie Epper. He served as Chancellor of the National Kidney Foundation and faithfully worked to encourage organ donation.

Howard was a hardworking actor, a wry and witty observer, and a fierce union leader. In addition to leading Screen Actors Guild through the years-long process of merger with AFTRA, he chaired numerous successful contract negotiations both before and after merger. He also represented SAG-AFTRA members as a vice-president of the AFL-CIO and sat on its Executive Council.

But it was his direct outreach to fellow members that meant the most to him. During the merger process, Howard traveled extensively to hear input from members across the country. His unwavering desire to connect with members was later reflected in his founding of the SAG-AFTRA President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement.

He will be remembered not only as the final president of Screen Actors Guild and the man who led it successfully to unite with AFTRA, but also as the first president to be elected by the members of SAG-AFTRA. He was proud and honored to embody that continuity.

Above all, Howard will be remembered for strengthening the working lives of the actors, broadcasters and recording artists to whom he devoted his time and effort as union president, and in whom he recognized the same passion for performing and service that ultimately defined his own life and work.

SAG-AFTRA FOUNDATION STATEMENT ON PASSING OF BOARD MEMBER AND SAG-AFTRA PRESIDENT KEN HOWARD

The following statement is from SAG-AFTRA Foundation President JoBeth Williams and is released on behalf of SAG-AFTRA Foundation:

Having known Ken Howard for over 30 years and worked with him as an actor and as a member of our Foundation Board, I would like to express how deeply we will feel his loss.

Ken did great work all his life - as an actor, as the president of our union, and for our Foundation.

For more than four years, Ken served on our Board as an outspoken advocate for the emergency assistance, catastrophic health fund and scholarship programs for union members and their families in need of a leg up. He was also an ardent supporter of the Foundation’s free professional programs which help union members build their careers and develop their craft.

Ken attended many Foundation fundraisers, events and meetings in order to support the mission and work of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. He did all of this on his own time, without compensation or fanfare, to be of service to his fellow union members.

On behalf of our entire Board, staff, and the union performers we serve every day, our hearts go out to Ken’s wife Linda and his entire family from all of us at the Foundation.

In lieu of flowers, remembrance contributions may be made to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and the Onyx and Breezy Foundation for the Welfare of Animals.

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


Smurfs By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

SONY PICTURES ANIMATION ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL CAST FOR "SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE."

Sony Pictures Animation recently announced the addition of three new cast for the lineup of talent in the next Smurf adventure Smurfs: The Lost Village.

Joining the already announced Demi Lovato as Smurfette, Rainn Wilson as Gargamel and Mandy Patinkin as Papa Smurf will be: triple Emmy nominee Jack McBrayer (“30 Rock” and “Wreck-It Ralph”) as the sweet, awkward and honest-to-a-fault Clumsy, who's forever trying his best and missing the mark; Danny Pudi (“Community”) as book smart and geek proud Brainy, who's long on knowledge, but short on inter-Smurf-onal skills; and Joe Manganiello (“True Blood,” “Magic Mike”) as the strong and super-positive Hefty, a loyal dynamo struggling with his hero complex.

The newest entry in the Columbia Pictures movie franchise that has grossed more than $900 million globally, Smurfs: The Lost Village is set for a worldwide release on March 31, 2017.

The fully-animated return to the tone and style of the beloved comic book creations of Peyo is directed by Kelly Asbury (“Shrek 2,” “Gnomeo & Juliet”), produced by Jordan Kerner (“Charlotte's Web,” “The Smurfs”), co-produced by Mary Ellen Bauder (“Hotel Transylvania”), and executive produced by Raja Gosnell and Ben Waisbren.

It seems to Smurfette that everyone else in the Village has a purpose - Papa Smurf (leading), Baker Smurf (baking), even Grouchy Smurf (grouching) - except for her. So what's the only girl in the village to do? Go in search of hers, of course.

When she accidentally crosses paths with a mysterious creature that takes off into the Enchanted Forest, she follows, and sets off into the uncharted and strictly forbidden woods.

Joined by her brothers Brainy, Hefty and Clumsy - and with the evil wizard Gargamel shadowing their every step - Team Smurf undertakes a wild journey full of action, danger and discovery, setting them on a course that leads to the biggest mystery in Smurf history.