THE STRANGERS: CHAPTER 1
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 05/17/2024
Running Time: 91
Rated: R
Cast: Madelaine Petsch, Froy Gutierrez, Gabriel Basso, and Ema Horvath.
Crew: Director: Renny Harlin. Producers: Johanna Harlin, Rafaella Biscayn, Alberton Burgueno, Alastair Burlingham, Mark Canton, Charlie Domber, Juan Antonio Garcia Peredo, Rasto Kuril, Christopher Milburn, Gabriel Popescu, Gary Raskin, and Max Scott. Executive Producers: Andrei Boncea, Dorothy Canton, Anders Erden, Ken Halsband, Kia Jam, Roy Lee, Dennis L. Pelino, Blair Ward, and Paul Weinberg. Screenwriters: Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland. Cinematographer: Jose David Montero.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

When you're on a road trip and regardless of how hungry you are, never stop at that little secluded diner that's off the beaten path because chances are, bad things might happen to you like they do to the couple in the new horror movie, "The Strangers: Chapter 1."

Directed by Renny Harlin (“The Postcard Killer”), this installment marks the third entry in "The Strangers" saga and the inaugural chapter of a prequel trilogy that traces back to 2008's, "The Strangers" from director/writer Bryan Bertino.

Screenwriters Alan R. Cohen (TV's "Oishi: Demon Hunter") and Alan Freedland (TV's "Lopez") have crafted, a tight and frightening slasher flick that had me squirming in my seat when I first saw the extended trailer at CinemaCon.

At the heart of "The Strangers: Chapter 1" are Maya (Madelaine Petsch, TV's "Riverdale") and Ryan (Froy Gutierrez, "Hocus Pocus 2"), lovebirds on a journey from New York to Portland to toast to their five-year romance. Their celebration takes a detour into the eerie town of Venus, Oregon, where they pull over at a quaint diner.

The unwelcoming glares from the locals at a nearby auto shop should have been their first red flag. Even inside, the diner's staff give a flat-out creepy vibe. Plus, there is flyer posted in the place promising a reward for information on a missing man who was last seen at this very diner.

When Maya and Ryan finish eating and head out to their car, it suddenly won't start.

Are you kidding me?

When the greasy mechanic Rudy (Ben Cartwright, TV's "The Long Shadow") from across the way offers to take a look at it and tells them it's the alternator, Ryan isn't buying it. The car is fairly new and has worked just fine. He suspects Rudy is scamming them and likely tinkered with the car while they were inside.

Even so, they are stranded until the needed part arrives and are directed to a nearby cabin for the night—a decision they will soon regret.

As night falls, things begin to go bump in the night, there are ominous sounds, and a persistent knocking at the door. Ryan's desperate dash for his inhaler leaves Maya alone for a few minutes, but it's enough for all hell to break loose especially when he returns. Their frantic escape leads them to a basement, a trap set by unseen tormentors with intentions as dark as the woods surrounding them.

Despite the couple's questionable choices, the film's crescendo of jump scares—especially those set outdoors—delivers a on the suspense.

The cliffhanger conclusion of "The Strangers: Chapter 1" not only satisfies but also sets the stage for the next chapters in this killer saga that I can't wait to see.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 5:17 p.m. and 6:47 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.

Look At This Trailer For "THE STRANGERS: CHAPTER 1"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image...
 

Rated: R
Opens: 05/17/2024
Back To Black

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 05/10/2024
Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 05/03/2024
The Fall Guy

Rated: R
Opens: 05/02/2024
The Idea Of You

Rated: R
Opens: 04/26/2024
Challengers

Rated: R
Opens: 04/19/2024
Abigail


OLD SCHOOL VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH

<b>MAHOGANY</b> Title: MAHOGANY
Year Released: 1975
Running Time: 109
Production Company: Paramount Pictures
Director: Berry Gordy, Tony Richardson and Jack Wormser
Director of Photography: David Watkin
Screenwriter: John Byrum and Toni Amber
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: DIANA ROSS AND BILLY DEE WILLIAMS DAZZLE IN "MAHOGANY"

Do you know where you're going to?
Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to?
Do you know?
Do you get what you're hoping for? When you look behind you, there's no open doors. What are you hoping for? Do you know? "Theme from Mahogany...
NEW ON DVD

<B>POLAR RESCUE</B> Title: POLAR RESCUE
Year Released: 2023
Running Time: 102
Production Company: Well Go USA Entertainment
Director: Chi-Leung Law and Donnie Yen
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"POLAR RESCUE"

Set against the sprawling beauty of Northeast China’s snow-covered mountains, the icy thriller, "Polar Rescue"--a.k.a. "Come Back Home" (Sou jiu) --stars martial arts master Donnie Yen ("John Wick: Chapter 4") who finds his life quickly torn apart when a family outing turns tragic.

De, portrayed by Yen, has a seemingly picture-perfect family. He has a lovely wife named Xuan (Cecilia Han, "Flashover" and "The Golden Doll"). His daughter is sweet and adorable. His young son Lele (Yuan Jinhui) not so much.

In fact, this kid is a spoiled brat. De and Lele have had their share of spats, but on this trip, Lele is completely out of control and refuses to listen to his father. Lele and De have a huge argument about not being able to get to Lake Tian--an area Lele likes-- due to road closures.

Honestly, this kid needs more than a time out. I can't imagine any of my childhood friends calling their dad a Bastard and living to talk about it. Plus, Lele even pushes his mother down.

When they pull over, De decides he's going to finally teach Lele a lesson. So, he drives off with his wife and daughter to find a nearby restroom and leaves Lele. In less than 10 minutes they return to the area looking for him and Lele is nowhere to be found.

At first, De thinks the kid is just hiding out and messing with him because of their argument. But, after nearly an hour with no sign of Lele, De and Xuan are scared to death. How could this happen? And why would De be so foolish to do such a thing? Hours pass and now everyone is freaking out.

Even when De calls the police to report his missing son, their first question is “How did you lose him?” The Chief of Police, (Hou Tianlai, "Only the River Flows") is especially skeptical and surprised by De's actions. He organizes a huge search team to find Lele. As the weather worsens, it's looking grim that Lele is alive. The rescue is truly a race against time.

The anger and hostility between De and Xuan grow and things get worse when an avalanche strikes and nearly takes out half the first responders.

A major plot twist shifts the narrative, propelling “Polar Rescue” into an intense nailbiter.

The film’s breathtaking set pieces, from the treacherous frozen lake to the perilous mountain slopes, are a testament to the visionary direction of Chi-Leung Law ("Double Tap"/"The Bullet Vanishes") and Donnie Yen.

“Polar Rescue” is one of Yen's best movies and the ending is downright bone chilling.
(Highly Recommended).

"Polar Rescue” is in Mandarin with English subtitles. It debuts March 26 on Blu-ray and Digital.

Check Out This Trailer For "POLAR RESCUE"

<b> BORN TO FLY</b> Title: BORN TO FLY
Year Released: 2023
Running Time: 128
Production Company: Well Go USA Entertainment
Director: Liu Xiaoshi
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"BORN TO FLY"

The only thing missing from this "Top Gun: Maverick" knockoff, "Born to Fly" is Tom Cruise.

The Chinese drama from director Liu Xiaoshi and co-writer Guan Gui ("Silence of Smoke") debuts March 26 on DVD.

In “Born to Fly” Lei Yu (played by Wang Yibo) plays a young, hotshot air force pilot. His exceptional skills catch the attention of commanding officer Zhang Ting (portrayed by Jun Hu), who selects him for China’s air force stealth fighters test pilot program.

The movie follows Lei’s journey as he faces physical and emotional challenges.
Although it's a pretty basic film, there is a bit of drama that develops between rivals Lei and Deng Fang (Yosh Yu, "Creations of the Gods: Kingdom of Storms") and a mild, blossoming romance with Lei and base doctor, Dongyu Zhou ("Under the Light").

While the story occasionally sputters, the aerial action in "Born to Fly" soars. The CGI looks realistic, and the dogfights are stylishly choreographed. "Born to Fly" isn't as exciting as "Top Gun: Maverick," but it's still a solid, high-flying adventure.
(Recommended).

"Born to Fly” will be released March 26 on Blu-ray and Digital.

<B> RIDE ON</B> Title: RIDE ON
Year Released: 2023
Running Time: 90
Production Company: Well Go USA Entertainment
Director: Larry Yang
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"RIDE ON"

Look who is back. It's Jackie Chan. It's been a minute since we've seen the affable actor on screen.

I’m still waiting for the "official" word on "Rush Hour 4." Both Chan and Chris Tucker have said in recent interviews they are on board and want to make it happen. Hopefully soon.

Until then, you can check out Chan in "Ride On," a comical, sappy and heartwarming movie from director/writer Larry Yang ("Another Shot" and "Mountain Cry").

"Ride On" is really a sentimental ode to stuntmen and animal performers.

In "Ride On," Chan plays Lao Luo, a washed-up stuntman who used to be all the rage in the movie industry. No one could even think about doing some of the amazing stunts that Lao would perform on his trusted horse, Red Hare. They were quite a pair back in the day.

Now, he makes a meager living posing for tourists at the movie studio with Red Hare.

Lao still has that adventurous streak in him and Red Hare isn't ready to ride off into the sunset either. Here's the thing. The movie industry has changed, and Lao's financial situation is dire. He's deep in debt and the collectors want to seize Red Hare. Lao can't let that happen.

He's so embarrassed, but reaches out to his estranged daughter Luo Xiaobao (Haocun Liu, "One Second") to help him. She's still working her way through college and is tapped out for money, but her law school graduate boyfriend Lu Naihua (Kevin Guo, TV's "My Heroic Husband") is loaded and comes from a wealthy family. She suggests Lu can tell Lao what his options are.

Lao isn't too worried about his safety because he can easily handle all the goons that are foolish to try and fight him.

Chan may have lost a step, but he's still got some moves and is quite funny during the fights scenes and makes the baddies pay for trying to steal Red Hare. When Lao's brawl goes viral, everyone wants to know who this guy is.

That leads to him getting back in the game and doing some movies with Red Hare. It also allows his daughter to come around and appreciate what a legend her father was and really still is.

The daddy/daughter moments in "Ride On" are earned and touching. Chan is just so likeable in everything he does and "Ride On" further showcases his talents as a martial arts legend, comedian and all-around actor.

Not to be overlooked is the horse, Red Hare. He's always ready for his close-up and is a real scene-stealer. "Ride On" is a genuinely charming and feel-good, family movie.
(Highly Recommended).

Editor's Note: "Ride On" debuts on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 24. The bonus content includes two featurettes and an English dub.

Check Out This Trailer For "RIDE ON"

<b>GANGNAM ZOMBIE</B> Title: GANGNAM ZOMBIE
Year Released: 2023
Running Time: 82
Production Company: Well Go USA Entertainment
Director: Soo-sung Lee
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"GANGNAM ZOMBIE"

Full disclosure. I love zombie movies. So, naturally when asked to screen "Gangnam Zombie," I couldn't resist. The title alone piqued my interest.

Directed by Soo-sung Lee ("Memories" and "House With A View"), "Gangnam Zombie," is a low budget, fun and funny horror/comedy with just enough jump scares. It's currently available on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD.

"Gangnam Zombie" stars Il-Joo Ji ("Blades of Blood"), Park Ji-yeon ("Death Bell 2: Bloody Camp"), from the chart-topping girl group T-ara, and Cho Kyung-hoon ("North Korean Guys").

The movie centers around the recent COVID-19 outbreak. Despite it being Christmas Eve, many of the residents of Seoul Korea's Gangnam district are still nervous and on edge since other COVID variants are on the rise. That's certainly reason to be alarmed, but what is really taking shape in the area is even more frightening.

What starts off as a typical workday, turns into much more when several people start exhibiting odd symptoms and quickly get sick.

No one quite knows why, but it appears this sickness can be traced to a theif who was bitten by an infected cat. Suddenly this guy is aimlessly walking the streets and has developed an insatiable desire for raw meat and human flesh.

A group of young people have gathered to watch him stumble along. They aren't willing to try and help him and it's easy to see why. He's a bloody, scary-looking mess. Besides, they'd rather record all his shocking behavior on their cell phones and post it on social media.

Meanwhile, Hyeon-Seok (Il-Joo Ji) is a taekwondo champion struggling to make ends meet and pay the rent from his lame vlog job. That's because his silly boss has run out of ideas for their YouTube channel. So, they all have to lie when the mall's landlord (Jung Yi-joo) comes to collect.

That's the least of their problems because zombies have descended on the mall. Now it's up to Hyeon-Seok to put his martial arts skills to use and protect his love interest Min-jeong (Park Ji-yeon) and others while trying to escape from these vicious zombies.

The special effects in "Gangnam Zombie" are rather limited, but still pretty effective particularly the closeup, bloody shots of all the zombies.

This is one of those movies, that doesn't reinvent the genre in any way, but you'll have a good time watching it with a group of your closest horror film friends.
(Recommended).

Editor's Note: Take a look at the trailer for "Gangnam Zombie" which is currently available on Digital, Blu Ray, and DVD.
"GANGNAM ZOMBIE"
  MOVIE TRIVIA
 
The "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" was sung by Diana Ross in the 1975 movie "Mahogany." But, who initially recorded the song in 1973?
"Roberta Flack"
"Natalie Cole"
"Deniece Williams"
"Thelma Houston"
 
  "REEL" MOVIE NEWS
BEACH BOYS IMAX LIVE STREAM By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

"THE BEACH BOYS: IMAX LIVE EXPERIENCE" TAKES PLACE MAY 21 AND WILL STREAM TO 12 IMAX THEATERS

On May 21, Disney+ and IMAX will host "The Beach Boys: IMAX Live Experience" from Hollywood, a special once-in-a-lifetime event that will be live streamed to 12 IMAX theatres nationwide.

The exclusive fan-first opportunity will provide moviegoers and fans of The Beach Boys the chance to see an early screening of the all-new documentary film and watch a live Q&A with co-directors Frank Marshall and Thom Zimny and special guests, direct from the World Premiere at the TCL Chinese in Hollywood.

Tickets are complimentary, first come, first served, and all attendees will receive a commemorative poster. RSVP with Fandango at https://Fandango.com/TheBeachBoysIMAXExperience.

The exclusive screening and Q&A will be live streamed to the following IMAX theaters:

AMC Lincoln Square, NY

Regal Houston Marq*E, Houston

AMC Northpark, Dallas

AMC Boston Commons, Boston

AMC Metreon, San Francisco

AMC Tyson’s Corner, Washington DC

AMC Thoroughbred, Nashville

AMC Highlands, Denver

Regal City North, Chicago

AMC Mission Valley, San Diego

AMC Woodlands Square, Oldsmar, FL

AMC Rolling Hills, Torrance, CA.

NEW BEACH BOYS DOCUMENTARY STREAMING MAY 24 ON DISNEY+

Get ready for an endless summer of fun, fun, fun with "The Beach Boys," the all-new documentary streaming exclusively on Disney+ beginning May 24. "The Beach Boys" is a celebration of the legendary band that revolutionized pop music, and the iconic, harmonious sound they created that personified the California dream, captivating fans for generations and generations to come.

The documentary traces the band from humble family beginnings and features never-before-seen footage and all-new interviews with The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, David Marks, Bruce Johnston, plus other luminaries in the music business, including Lindsey Buckingham, Janelle Monae, Ryan Tedder, and Don Was. Viewers will also hear from the group's Carl and Dennis Wilson in their own words, plus view a new interview with Blondie Chaplin and hear audio from Ricky Fataar.

A Kennedy/Marshall and White Horse Pictures Production, "The Beach Boys" is directed by Frank Marshall and Thom Zimny and written by Mark Monroe. The film is produced by Marshall, Irving Azoff, Nicholas Ferrall, Jeanne Elfant Festa and Aly Parker. Nigel Sinclair, Mark Monroe, Tony Rosenthal, Cassidy Hartmann, Glen Zipper, Thom Zimny, Beth Collins, Jimmy Edwards, Susan Genco, Marc Cimino, Jody Gerson, Bruce Resnikoff, and Ben J. Murphy are the executive producers.

ABOUT THE BEACH BOYS:

For more than six decades, The Beach Boys' music has been an indelible part of American history. Their brilliant harmonies conveyed simple truths through sophisticated, pioneering musical arrangements. The Beach Boys transcended their music and have come to represent Californian culture. They provided fans around the world with a passport to experience love, youthful exuberance, and surf culture.

Founded in Hawthorne, California in 1961, The Beach Boys were originally comprised of the three teenaged Wilson brothers: Brian, Carl, and Dennis, their cousin Mike Love, and school friend Al Jardine.

In 1962, neighbor David Marks joined the group when Jardine left the group to go to college. The Beach Boys signed with Capitol Records in July 1962 and released their first album, Surfin’ Safari, that same year. Jardine returned to the group in summer 1963 and Marks departed. In 1965, Bruce Johnston joined the band when Brian Wilson retired from touring to focus on writing and producing for the group.

The Beach Boys are one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful bands of all time, with over 100 million records sold worldwide. Between the 1960s and today, the group had over 80 songs chart worldwide, 36 of them in the US Top 40 (the most by a US rock band), and four topping the Billboard Hot 100. Their influence on other artists spans musical genres and movements. Countless artists have cited "Pet Sounds" as their inspiration for creating their own musical masterpieces. Rolling Stone ranked "Pet Sounds" No. 2 on its list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time," and The Beach Boys No. 12 on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time."

Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and recipients of The Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, The Beach Boys are a beloved American institution that remains iconic around the world.

ABOUT IMAX CORPORATION:

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture, and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX systems to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, making IMAX's network among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe. IMAX is headquartered in New York, Toronto, and Los Angeles, with additional offices in London, Dublin, Tokyo, and Shanghai. As of December 31, 2023, there were 1,772 IMAX systems (1,693 commercial multiplexes, 12 commercial destinations, 67 institutional) operating in 90 countries and territories. For more information, visit www.imax.com. You may also connect with IMAX on Instagram (www.instagram.com/imax), Facebook (www.facebook.com/imax), LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/company/imax), X (www.twitter.com/imax), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/imaxmovies).

ABOUT FANDANGO:

Fandango digital network provides unrivaled, instant access to all things movies and TV, enhancing fan enjoyment across the entire entertainment journey. The portfolio serves more than 50 million unique visitors per month and includes leading online movie ticketer, Fandango, which tickets for 31,000 U.S. movie screens; world-renowned entertainment review site, Rotten Tomatoes; and Fandango at Home, the on-demand streaming service offering the industry’s best selection of 4K UHD titles and more than 250,000 new release and catalogue movies and next-day TV shows.


SHIRLEY MACLAINE BOOK By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

"THE WALL OF LIFE" BY SHIRLEY MACLAINE

Crown, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, will publish "The Wall of Life: Pictures and Stories from This Marvelous Lifetime" by Academy Award-winning actress and New York Times bestselling author Shirley MacLaine.

A dazzling memoir in photographs, "The Wall of Life" chronicles key moments from her extraordinary life through over 150 images from her personal archive, many of which have never been shared publicly.

Of the publication, Matt Inman, VP, Editorial Director shared: "I've been honored to work with Hollywood legend Shirley MacLaine on this celebration of her remarkable life and career. Told with gorgeous photos, and in Shirley's inimitable voice, "The Wall of Life" is a portrait of an artist honing her craft in Virginia ballet studios, on Broadway stages, and through Hollywood's cameras. It's also a love letter to family, good friends, and great stories. But more than anything it's a testament to a life driven by curiosity—one filled with travel, political awareness, metaphysical exploration, and the love of taking risks and asking good questions."

MacLaine stated "About forty-five years ago, I put ten or so framed photographs of friends and family and people I’ve worked with all grouped together on a living room wall in my Malibu home. Everyone who came over loved to look at this montage, and so "The Wall of Life" was born. It has long been a stage for asking questions, and not just for visitors to ask me things,but for me to ask myself to get at a deeper truth, and to question my visitors and understand them more. I’m pleased to share a selection of these photos—and some of the stories behind them—in this book."

With over seventy years on the silver screen, MacLaine has, as she says, "seen it all, done it all, been everywhere, and met everyone." In 1955, she debuted as the lead in "The Trouble with Harry," winning the first of many Golden Globes. From there, her popularity only grew as she amassed a stunning collection of awards, accolades, and experiences, taking her place as a Hollywood icon.

Now, at 90 years old, MacLaine is reflecting on some of her favorite life moments and sharing the pictures that bring them to vivid life. In "The Wall of Life," she shares both intimate family memories (her childhood with her brother Warren Beatty, her decision to leave for New York City at age sixteen, her early work on Broadway, and becoming a mother), as well as moments from a life lived in the public eye (starring in legendary film roles, meeting political luminaries, and developing an interest in spirituality).

Along the way, readers gain greater insight into figures such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Fosse, Bette Davis, Jack Nicholson, the Dalai Lama, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and many more. And whether she's sharing what advice Elvis Presley asked her for, how she consoled close friend Elizabeth Taylor after the death of her husband, or which prime minister she discussed UFOs with, MacLaine offers her most visual and candid book yet, giving readers an unprecedented glance into a life like no other.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR SHIRLEY MACLAINE:

Shirley MacLaine is an actress, author, and dancer. Known for her portrayals of quirky, strong-willed, and eccentric women, she has received numerous accolades over her seven-decade career, including an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, six Golden Globes, and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Apart from acting, MacLaine has written numerous books regarding the subjects of metaphysics, spirituality, and reincarnation, as well as a New York Times bestselling memoir, "Out on a Limb."

"The Wall of Life: Pictures and Stories from This Marvelous Lifetime" retails for $35 and is available October 22, 2024. It is also available as an audiobook and eBook.

Photo By: Bob Willoughby/ mptvimages.com.


CRUNCYROLL By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

CRUNCHYROLL REVEALS ENGLISH SUBTITLED TRAILER FOR "HAIKYU!! THE DUMPSTER BATTLE"

Based on the original Weekly Shonen Jump manga series from Haruichi Furudate, "HAIKYU!!" is a slice-of-life sports anime revolving around Shoyo Hinata's love of volleyball.

Inspired by a small-statured player known as the "Little Giant," Hinata creates a team in his last year of middle school. His team is unfortunately matched up against "King of the Court'' Tobio Kageyama's team in their first tournament. Their clashing styles turn into a surprising weapon, but can they beat their rival Nekoma High in the highly anticipated "Dumpster Battle," the long-awaited ultimate showdown between two opposing underdog teams?

""HAIKYU!!" will be released in North America on May 31. It is directed and written by Susumu Mitsunaka. Original story by Haruichi Furudate. Produced by Production I.G. Run time: 85 minutes.

The first four seasons of HAIKYU!! are currently available to stream on Crunchyroll.

Check Out This Trailer For "HAIKYU!!"