THE CHOICE
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 02/05/2016
Running Time: 111
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Benjamin Walker, Tom Wilkinson, Teresa Palmer, Maggie Grace, Alexandra Daddario and Tom Welling.
Crew: Director: Ross Katz. Producers: Nicholas Sparks, Dan Clifton, Teresa Park and Peter Safran. Executive Producer: Hans Ritter. Screenwriters: Nicholas Sparks (Novel: "The Choice")and Bryan Sipe. Cinematographer: Alar Kivilo.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Full disclosure. I’m a big fan of Nicholas Sparks’ books/movies and have always fallen for his sappy, syrupy, “Kleenex required” love stories.

From “A Walk to Remember,” “Nights in Rodanthe,” “ Message in a Bottle,” to “The Best of Me,” “Dear John” and my all-time favorite, “The Notebook,” I’ve enjoyed them all mainly because of the movie’s lead stars.

Yet, in Sparks’ latest big screen adaptation, “The Choice,” which he co-produced, it took me a while to warm up to the film’s star-crossed lovers, Gabby Holland (Teresa Palmer, “Point Break”) and Travis Shaw (Benjamin Walker, “In the Heart of the Sea” and “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). They look great together on screen, but their chemistry doesn’t always click. And that’s the first time I’ve ever had to say that about any of Sparks’ movies.

Gabby (Palmer) is a medical intern engaged to a charming and personable doctor named Ryan (Tom Welling, “Draft Day”). They seem perfectly happy together. Then Gabby meets cute with her next door neighbor Travis (Walker), a veterinarian in the small picturesque town of Wilmington, North Carolina with his father (Tom Wilkinson).

At first Gabby gives Travis a thorough lashing for playing his music too loud while she’s trying to study and she even accuses Travis’ dog Moby of knocking up her furry friend, Molly. Travis and Gabby exchange some lively words, but you can tell they’re still kind of digging on each other despite their little dust-up.

However, Gabby’s hard to get routine is a bit exaggerated and even Travis’ lines seem rather contrived. It’s surprising too just how quickly Travis is willing to give up his single lifestyle for Gabby. He’s been reluctant to commit to his on and off girlfriend, Monica (Alexandra Daddario, “San Andreas”). But, as they say, love can make people do some crazy things.

What’s even more shocking is how blatant Gabby and Travis’ flirtation becomes while Ryan is still in town. When Ryan heads to Atlanta for a medical business trip, it doesn’t take long for the sparks to fly.
Even Travis’ sister Steph, (Maggie Grace, “Taken” and TV’s “Masters of Sex”) tells him “you’re in big trouble.”

Now Gabby and Travis have to make a “choice” as to how they plan to proceed with their newfound relationship. It becomes a tougher decision for Gabby because Ryan doubles down and asks her to marry him.

While this love triangle is complicated, it soon becomes the least of their worries when a tragedy occurs that rocks Gabby, Ryan’s and Travis’ world.

If you’re familiar with Sparks’ movies, you can pretty much see it coming.

“The Choice” isn’t Sparks’ most compelling love story, but as predictable as the movie is, it does manage to come around and put that lump in your throat and get you all teary eyed. It’s just that Nicholas Sparks mystique at play once again.

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 "THE CHOICE"
 

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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

99 Homes <b> (Feb. 9) </b> Title: 99 Homes (Feb. 9)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 112
Production Company: Broad Green Pictures
Director: Ramin Bahrani
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"99 HOMES"

Last year’s outstanding drama, “99 Homes” landed on several film critics' Top movie lists most notably; The Associated Press, The Hollywood Reporter, N2Entertainment.net and Film Comment among others.

The reason why so many critics loved this movie is because of Michael Shannon’s tour de force performance. Shannon even outshines his star turn in the 2008 movie “Revolutionary Road” which earned him a “Best Supporting Actor” Oscar.

Shannon received “Best Supporting Actor” nominations for his performance in “99 Homes” from The Golden Globes, The Critics’ Choice Awards, the Screen Actors Guild, the Independent Spirit Awards and Gotham Independent Film Awards.

In addition, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, San Francisco Film Critics Circle and Kansas City Film Critics Circle have endorsed the movie as well.

In “99 Homes," from director Ramin Bahrani (“Goodbye Solo” and “Chop Shop”), Shannon plays Rick Carver, a cold-blooded, resentful, selfish and downright evil real estate broker who specializes in home foreclosures.

Rick uses any means necessary to obtain additional money from his seized properties and the displaced owners, including defrauding banks and the government. He’s got the scam down pat and is living large thanks to the numerous people who got caught up in the subprime mortgage crisis and suffered through America’s bad economy from 2007 through 2010.

“99 Homes,” which is set in Orlando, Florida, opens with a horrific and bloody scene of a father about to lose his home. He can't bear the thought of it so he kills himself with a bullet to the head.

When Rick arrives on the scene, he’s rather nonchalant and more interested in getting the mess cleaned up so he can flip the house and move down his long list of people to kick to the curb.
Next in line is Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”).

Dennis is a construction worker, a single parent with an adorable preteen son named Connor (Noah Lomax, “Safe Haven”). Dennis shares the house with his mother, Lynn (an excellent Laura Dern, “Wild” and “When the Game Stands Tall”). It’s the same house Dennis grew up in.

But when the housing crisis hit Florida, it crippled the construction industry and suddenly Dennis was out of work and struggling to make ends meet. He got behind on his mortgage and tried to work out an agreement with the bank, but couldn’t. When Rick (Shannon) arrives at the Nash’s house with a “Notice To Vacate” letter and two burly sheriffs, it naturally throws them for a loop. Especially since Lynn and Dennis retained a lawyer who was supposed to buy them some time and get everything straightened out.

Now they have no money and nowhere to go.

But Rick is not one for sob stories. And as much as they beg and plead for his sympathy, he isn’t the least bit moved. He tells them they have two minutes to gather their most important belongings and get off the property or they’ll be arrested for trespassing.

This is a dynamic and gut-wrenching scene. Even more humiliating for Dennis, his son and mother, is having the neighbors watch this all play out and then driving away from the neighborhood. They manage to find a seedy motel filled with other desperate and broken people.

It’s not a safe environment and Dennis knows he has to get out of there fast. Despite his handyman skills, the work is just not there.

And when Dennis discovers that one of Rick’s goons stole some of his expensive tools, he goes ballistic.

Dennis storms down to Rick’s office, finds the guy and lights into him in the parking lot.

Rick intervenes and is actually surprised and impressed that Dennis is so gutsy and fearless. Plus, he realizes the guy could help him fix up some of his properties pretty quickly. So Rick offers Dennis a job working for him. He initially has him doing little stuff like stripping air conditioners and pool pumps from houses so he can get a government reimbursement for them.

Dennis is on to Rick’s game and can’t resist the easy money that he’s making and wants a bigger part of it.

Before long Dennis is uttering the same cruel and demeaning spiel to homeowners as he forces them from their homes. Dennis is making too much money to care and he’s not about to tell his family what he’s really doing.

It’s not long before Dennis’ conscience gets the best of him. A situation that he handles for Rick, leads to a tense stand-off between one of his former neighbors and the police. Now Dennis has to decide whether he should take the high road and come clean about what he’s been doing or continue down the lucrative, yet fraudulent path that Rick has exposed him to.

“99 Homes” is a modern day parable and Shannon’s villainous character is absolutely mesmerizing. Garfield and Dern also leave a lasting impression.

Their performances make “99 Homes” one thrilling drama.
(Highly Recommended).

Spectre <b>(Feb. 9)</b> Title: Spectre (Feb. 9)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 148
Production Company: Columbia Picture
Director: Sam Mendes
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"SPECTRE"

Daniel Craig is pretty spectacular in “Spectre.”

Directed by Sam Mendes (“Skyfall”), “Sprectre” features all things Bond from beautiful women, sexy, sleek cars to amazing, over-the-top special effects.

And let’s not forget the sophisticated coolness of Craig who rocks some mighty fine suits while scaling tall buildings and trying to elude the bad guys, notably the calculating and ruthless, Spectre leader, Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz, “Big Eyes”and “Django Unchained”).

007 (Craig) has a license to kill, but maybe not for long. With his MI6 leader M (Judi Dench) gone but not forgotten, the agency’s new commander is Mallory (Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”). He’s trying to convince the powers that be to not disband the entire double-0 program.

Don’t these people know that agents like 007-- are more valuable than drones and all the other high tech gadgetry that they want to use in place of people?

Apparently not. A British higher-up named “C” (Andrew Moriarty, “Pride” and the BBC’s “Sherlock”) believes the days of secret agents are pretty much over.

Meanwhile 007 does have someone he can trust. Moneypenny (Naomi Harris,“Southpaw”) gives him vital information that keeps him out of clear and present danger at least for a while anyway.

Bond has an assassin named Hinx (Dave Bautista, “Guardians of the Galaxy”) on his tail and he has to find a secret agent's daughter (Lea Seydoux, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”) before it’s too late.

When 007 gets in his tightest jams, “Spectre” lives up to being a pure gold action thriller. The stunts are dazzling and the film wastes little time getting pulses racing.

Bond has to stop some bombers from blowing up a packed stadium during Mexico City’s Day of the Dead celebration. He manages to avert major disaster by handling some baddies aboard a helicopter.

There’s a lot to absorb in “Spectre” which clocks in at a hefty 2 ½ hours long. It’s even longer if you count Sam Smith’s official movie opening theme song/video “Writing’s On the Wall.”
While I’m not a big Sam Smith fan, but I like this track a lot.

James Bond fans and especially those who loved the nearly perfect, “Skyfall” may find fault some fault with “Spectre,” but overall, it delivers and gets the job done.
(Highly Recommended).

Love The Coopers <b>(Feb. 9)</b> Title: Love The Coopers (Feb. 9)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 106
Production Company: CBS Films/Lionsgate
Director: Jessie Nelson
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"LOVE THE COOPERS"

“Love the Coopers” is a DVD you’ll want to add to your Christmas collection.

It’s quite funny and hits all the right notes about the crazy holiday season.

As much as we might want our Christmas gatherings to be picture perfect, that’s not always the case. Hopefully your family isn’t quite as bad as the Coopers. They're a dysfunctional lot for sure.

How they’ve managed to hold it together for the year, is a real mystery. Somehow they do. And despite their varied lifestyles, the clan finds its way home to celebrate Christmas.

It’s Christmas Eve and all is not calm or bright. Sam and Charlotte Cooper (John Goodman, “Trumbo” and Diane Keaton) have been married for 40 years and plan to call it quits after this last go around with the family. It seems that they’ve grown apart from each other and have other interests. They spend much of the movie arguing about how they became so old and uninteresting.

The kids are pretty messed up too. Their son Hank, (Ed Helms, “Vacation”) recently got divorced and has been lying about getting canned from his photographer job at Sears. Hank has some deep seated issues, but most annoying of all is this little snorting sound he makes. His wife could probably have dealt with him losing his job, but that snorting is what likely led her to the divorce court.

And unless Hank’s son Charlie (Timothée Chalamet, “Interstellar”) gets some instructions on how to date and kiss girls, he’s going to have a hard way to go too and wind up alone.

Meanwhile Eleanor, (Olivia Wilde, TV’s “Doll & Em”), Hank’s sister, is a beautiful mess. She isn’t big on commitment, but is attracted to married men and is carrying on with a doctor (Jon Tenny, TV’s “Hand of God” and “Scandal”). She knows he isn’t going to leave his wife for her.

While snowed in at the airport, Eleanor meets a handsome military dude name Joe (Jake Lacy, TV’s “Billy & Billy”). They’re so opposite each other and find silly ways to put each other down. But, they are also very attracted to each other that they can’t help themselves.

Eleanor believes she’s found the perfect guy to take home to her parents. So she asks Joe if he’ll pretend to be her temporary boyfriend, come home with her and convince her parents they are an item. Wilde and Lacy play off each other well and with biting humor.

That’s just one of many little storylines percolating in “Love the Coopers.” It’s a meandering movie, but one that’s surprisingly different than most Christmas rom-coms. It manages to wash over you and reels you in.

There are a bunch of other zany characters to keep up with and that’s what makes “Love the Coopers” so fun.

Charlotte’s sister Emma (Marisa Tomei, TV’s “Empire”) is messed up too and gets busted stealing at an upscale store. When she’s taken into custody by a cop (Anthony Mackie, “Our Brand is Crisis”), he opens up to her about his crazy life and “Love the Coopers” gets even more weirdly entertaining.

Meanwhile, Charlotte’s father, Bucky (Alan Arkin, “Grudge Match”), has a thing for a cute and sassy waitress (Amanda Seyfried, “Ted 2”). He comes by the restaurant every day just to see her, but is devastated when she tells him she’s moving on.

Aunt Fishy (June Squibb, TV's "Code Black"), is used primarily for comic relief and she delivers some pretty good zingers.

As you might imagine when everyone sits down for Christmas dinner tempers and egos flare. It’s not a pretty sight, but it’s a pretty funny one.
(Recommended).

Truth <b>(Feb.2)</b> Title: Truth (Feb.2)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 121
Production Company: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: James Vanderbilt
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"TRUTH"

What’s so shocking and unbelievable about director James Vanderbilt’s riveting journalism drama, "Truth,” is just how careless veteran CBS news anchor Dan Rather and his longtime producer Mary Mapes were when compiling information for their 2004 feature story on George W. Bush’s military service.

One of the first things you’re taught in journalism school is to always double and triple check the facts of a story. If the piece isn’t airtight and right, it’s not printed or broadcast. Period.

So, it’s really mind-boggling to see that this cardinal rule wasn’t applied by them of all people.

The broadcast story centered on documents CBS obtained They alleged that the elder Bush--a Congressman at the time--pulled some strings so George W. could serve in the Texas National Guard and avoid the Vietnam War.

“Truth” is based on Mapes’ 2005 book, “Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power.” Cate Blanchett plays Mapes, the highly esteemed “60 Minutes II” journalist who won a Peabody Award in 1999 for exposing the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Mapes also broke the story about former South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond’s biracial daughter.

Robert Redford stars as Rather. And while Redford looks and sounds pretty much like Redford for the first half of “Truth,” he does settle into the role midway and delivers Rather’s Texas folksiness that endeared him to so many people.

Initially, Bush’s story seemed like a delicious and juicy feature that would once again make Mapes, Rather and CBS shine.

Mapes had tracked down former Lt. Colonel Bill Burkett, (Stacy Keach, TV’s “Hot in Cleveland”) who had photo-copies of Bush’s military memos detailing his service or lack thereof, including his alleged “Absence Without Leave.

That Col. Burkett only had copies of the memo and he initially wasn’t even forthcoming about where he got those, should have a been a red flag for Mapes, Rather and her entire research team that included Lt. Col. Roger Charles (Dennis Quaid, TV’s “Amy Schumer”), journalism professor Lucy Scott (Elisabeth Moss, TV’s “Mad Men”) and Mike Smith (Topher Grace, “Interstellar”) a hot-shot free-lance reporter.

While some document analysts believed the memos were written by George W’s commander Col. Jerry B. Killian and were authentic, others, including those at CBS expressed concern about them.
Still, that didn’t seem to deter Mapes’ mission to report the story before it was thoroughly checked for accuracy.

And once it ran, it didn’t take long before other stations and even her sources began to discredit it.

CBS head honcho, Andrew Heyward (Bruce Greenwood, “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp”), news managers, Betsy West (Rachel Blake, “Sleeping Beauty”) and Josh Howard (David Lyons, “Safe Haven”) were left running for cover while trying to do damage control on an embarrassing and ugly situation that was irreparably damaged.

Mapes was fired and Rather was forced to resign.

With “Truth,” Blanchett turns in another fantastic performance going from a revered journalist to a disgraced one.

It’s a shame to see Mapes and Rather’s world come tumbling down, but it's also a fascinating look into the politics surrounding broadcast news.
(Highly 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
michael clarke duncan By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

MICHAEL CLARK DUNCAN’S LAST MOVIE “THE CHALLENGER” OUT ON DVD AND VOD FEB. 2.

Freestyle Digital Media will release the uplifting boxing drama “The Challenger” on VOD and DVD Feb. 2. Written and directed by Kent Moran, (“Listen to your Heart”) , the film also stars S. Epatha Merkerson, Justin Hartley and the late and talented Michael Clarke Duncan (Oscar nominee, “The Green Mile”) .

The movie was produced by Adam Hawkey and Ellyette Eleni. Duncan co-executive produced “The Challenger” along with Charles Cook, Robert Derose, Susan Derose and Frank Carbone.

The film had its theatrical debut on September 11, 2015.

“The Challenger” follows the life and struggles of a young, Bronx auto mechanic named Jaden Miller (Moran). When Jaden and his mother (Merkerson) are evicted from their home, he will do everything in his power to stop them from living on the streets. With the help of legendary trainer, Duane Taylor (Duncan), Miller soon finds that Boxing may be their ticket to a better life. Earning the title 'Bronx Boy,' Jaden becomes a local hero and wins a big fight. His victory captures the attention of a cable network, and soon the producers decide to create a reality show around him and his goal to fight his way to the Light-Heavyweight Title.

“The Challenger” won a number of festival awards including the “Audience Choice Award” at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in 2015, which is where Freestyle discovered the film.

Other awards include: The Viola M. Marshall “Audience Choice Award” for “Best Feature Film” at the Rhode Island International Film festival, the Nashville Film Festival Audience Award, New Directors Competition for 2015 and the 2015 Palm Beach International Film Festival Audience Award.

ABOUT FREESTYLE DIGITAL MEDIA:

Freestyle Digital Media supplies quality commercial film and TV content directly to all US VOD/SVOD rental DVD/Kiosks and theaters using the latest cloud-based technologies to automate digital workflow. Freestyle Digital Media provides our content audience a positive digital viewing experience on every device everywhere.


nate parker's Birth of a Nation By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES ACQUIRES SUNDANCE HIT “BIRTH OF A NATION”

Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula recently announced that the company has acquired worldwide rights to writer/ director/ producer and star Nate Parker’s (pictured front) powerful slave drama, “The Birth Of A Nation” which received a standing ovation following its Sundance Film Festival debut.

The Sundance Film Festival was held Jan. 21-31 in Park City, Utah. The movie, which received the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, stars Parker, Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller, Jackie Earle Haley, Mark Boone Jr., Colman Domingo, Aunjanue Ellis, Dwight Henry, Aja Naomi King, Esther Scott, Roger Guenveur Smith and Gabrielle Union.

Set against the antebellum South, “The Birth of a Nation” follows Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher, whose financially strained owner, Samuel Turner, accepts an offer to use Nat’s preaching to subdue unruly slaves. As he witnesses countless atrocities - against himself and his fellow slaves - Nat orchestrates an uprising in the hopes of leading his people to freedom.

“Birth of a Nation,” is a Bron Studios, Phantom Four, Mandalay Pictures and Tiny Giant Productions production and produced by Parker, Kevin Turen, Jason Michael Berman, Aaron L. Gilbert and Preston L. Holmes with David S. Goyer, Michael Novogratz, Michael Finley, Tony Parker, Jason Cloth, Andy Pollack, Allan J. Stitt, Jane Oster, Barb Lee, Carl H. Lindner III, Derrick Brooks, Jill And Ryan Ahrens, Armin Tehrany, Edward Zwick and Mark Moran serving as executive producers. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and will be released wide later this year.

“From the moment we saw this film we knew we wanted to join Nate Parker in fulfilling his vision as the film’s portrayal of injustice is unfortunately still relevant today,” said Gilula and Utley. “His dedication and artistry in revitalizing Nat Turner's legacy and place in history has resulted in an extraordinarily compelling and moving film that delivers on every level. The ensemble cast, led by Nate Parker, is committed and exceptional.”

“It brings me immense joy and excitement to welcome the Searchlight team into our family, said Parker. “I embrace their shared passion for this film and its potential impact on our country and the world.”

“On behalf of the cast, producers, executive producers and all those who came together and supported Nate Parker’s vision, we’re beyond thrilled to have found a home with Fox Searchlight, whose incredible marketing and distribution teams will ensure that this important and powerful film reaches its widest audience,” said Phantom Four’s Kevin Turen, Mandalay Pictures’ Jason Michael Berman, Bron Studios’ Aaron L. Gilbert and Preston Holmes.

The deal for “The Birth of a Nation” was brokered by Fox Searchlight’s Executive Vice President of Business Affairs Megan O’Brien and Senior Vice President of Acquisitions & Co-Productions Ray Strache, with WME Global and Christian Simonds and Jared Bloch of Gray Krauss Stratford Sandler Des Rochers on behalf of the filmmakers.

Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures. It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox. Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of 21st Century Fox.

Editor's Note: Some information used in this report obtained from Fox Searchlight.


deadpool By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

“DEADPOOL: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE” OPENS FEB. 11 AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE IN SACRAMENTO

Based upon Marvel Comics’ most unconventional anti-hero, “Deadpool: The IMAX Experience” tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds). “Deadpool: The IMAX Experience” opens at 7 p.m. on February 11 at The Esquire IMAX Theatre. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at www.imax.com/Sacramento.

“Deadpool: The IMAX 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.

Movie-goers can now enjoy the IMAX Experience with good food and a cold beer or glass of wine. Options include: Coors Light, Blue Moon, Racer 5, Monkey Knife Fight, Woodbridge cabernet and chardonnay. The Esquire IMAX Theatre also has a new expanded menu which includes: pizza, giant pretzels, soup, salad, chicken tenders and locally made Morants’ sausages with all the fixins.’

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.

OTHER “REEL MOVIE” NEWS

ACADEMY TAKES HISTORIC ACTION TO INCREASE DIVERSITY

In a unanimous vote on Jan 21, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved a sweeping series of substantive changes designed to make the Academy’s membership, its governing bodies, and its voting members significantly more diverse.

The Board’s goal is to commit to doubling the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020.

“The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs(pictured). “These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”

Beginning later this year, each new member’s voting status will last 10 years, and will be renewed if that new member has been active in motion pictures during that decade.

In addition, members will receive lifetime voting rights after three ten-year terms; or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award. We will apply these same standards retroactively to current members.

In other words, if a current member has not been active in the last 10 years they can still qualify by meeting the other criteria. Those who do not qualify for active status will be moved to emeritus status. Emeritus members do not pay dues but enjoy all the privileges of membership, except voting. This will not affect voting for this year’s Oscars.

At the same time, the Academy will supplement the traditional process in which current members sponsor new members by launching an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity.

In order to immediately increase diversity on the Board of Governors, the Academy will establish three new governor seats that will be nominated by the President for three-year terms and confirmed by the Board.

The Academy will also take immediate action to increase diversity by adding new members who are not Governors to its executive and board committees where key decisions about membership and governance are made. This will allow new members an opportunity to become more active in Academy decision-making and help the organization identify and nurture future leaders.

Along with Boone Isaacs, the Board’s Membership and Administration Committee, chaired by Academy Governor Phil Robinson, led the efforts to enact these initiatives.

Editor’s Note: Information obtained in this report was obtained from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences.