POLTERGEIST
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 05/22/2015
Running Time: 93
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris and Jane Adams.
Crew: Director: Gil Kenan. Producers: Sam Raimi, Robert G. Tapert, Roy Lee and Nathan Kahane. Executive Producers: Audrey Chon, Becki Cross Trujillo, John Powers Middleton and J.R. Young. Screenwriters: Steven Spielberg and David Lindsay-Abaire. Cinematographer: Javier Aguirresarobe.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

I’m always game for a scary movie. Even a semi scary movie. So I was surprised that the new “Poltergeist” reboot wasn’t stirring up a lot of interest among horror fans.

Seriously, this “Poltergeist” is a very pleasant surprise. Of course it pales in comparison to the original 1982 movie. But, director Gil Kenan (“Monster House”) and Sam Raimi, who produced the original “Poltergeist” as well as this one, deliver a thoroughly satisfying, funny, creepy, clever and scary remake.

It’s worth mentioning too, that Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, David Lindsay-Abaire (“The Rabbit Hole”) co-wrote this “Poltergeist” along with Steven Spielberg. That might explain why it’s smart in so many ways.

As someone who is in the process of buying a new house, I would be a little ticked off too if my realtor failed to mention some important things to me about my new home. I think I’d want to know if it was built on an old cemetery. I just might think twice about that location.

In hindsight, I’m sure that if Eric and Amy Bowen (Sam Rockwell, “The Way Way Back”) and Rosemarie DeWitt, “Kill the Messenger“) had that little nugget of information, it could have spared them and their adorable kids--six-year-old Madison (a terrific Kennedi Clements from TV’s “Wayward Pines” and taking on the late, Heather O'Rourke‘s role), their son Griffin (Kyle Catlett TV‘s “The Following“) and teen daughter Kendra (Saxon Sharbino, TV‘s “Touch“)--the hellish nightmare they edured in their new haunted house.

Then again, it was all they could afford. Eric (Rockwell) lost his job and Amy (DeWitt), a published author, is now their main source of income.

For me, it would have only taken one time to get shocked inside the house on the staircase like Amy does, or hear all the strange noises at night. And as soon as I saw the closet filled with creepy clowns I would have been on the phone with my realtor.

But the Bowens stick it out for as long as they can until Madison starts acting all weird. She’s talking to the closet door and staring into a static filled, big screen TV. And before you can say, “they’re here,” she gets sucked into it.

Now, finally everyone is starting to listen to Griffin who wanted to move from this house since day one.

Who do you call in a situation like this? You need more than Ghostbusters. As one of the paranormal experts tells the Bowens, these aren’t just ghosts. They are Poltergeist. They’re more menacing, angrier and evil than ghosts.

Ridding these spirits and getting Madison back requires the expertise of Irish exorcist, Carrigan Burke (a fabulous Jared Harris from the upcoming “The Man From U.N.C.L.E“).

Carrigan is a big time celebrity thanks to his reality show called “This House Is Clean.” True “Poltergeist” fans will appreciate that punch line.

Casting is everything and “Poltergeist” gets it right. Rockwell and DeWitt bring a perfect balance of humor and seriousness to their roles.

And just when you think, "Poltergeist" is going to wimp out with some stupid and predictable ending, it doesn’t. It thrills until the very end.

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.

Don't Be Scared. Watch This Trailer For "POLTERGEIST."
 

Rated: PG
Opens: 05/22/2015
Tomorrowland

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 05/15/2015
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Rated: R
Opens: 05/10/2015
Mad Max: Fury Road

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 05/08/2015
Hot Pursuit

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 05/01/2015
Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 04/24/2015
The Age Of Adaline


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

American Sniper <b>(May 19)</b> Title: American Sniper (May 19)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 134
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Clint Eastwood
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"AMERICAN SNIPER"

Although director Clint Eastwood’s heroic war movie, “American Sniper” was pretty much snubbed at the 87th Annual Academy Awards, winning only one Oscar for “Best Sound Editing,” audiences didn’t ignore it at the box office.

“American Sniper” debuted with $105.3 million making it the second-highest opening ever for an R-rated movie, behind “The Matrix: Reloaded.” And it’s also Eastwood’s biggest box office directorial debut besting his "Gran Torino," which opened to $29.4 million in 2009.

Based on the true story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and adapted from his 2012 autobiography “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History,” the movie stars Bradley Cooper as Kyle and Sienna Miller (“Foxcatcher”) as his wife Tara.

“American Sniper” shows the horror of war, but it’s really more of psychological study of the impact Kyle’s four tours of duty in Iraq had on him.

The movie chronicles Kyle’s life growing up in Texas, what led him to enlist in the military, his desire to be the best of the best, the constant struggle of being torn between his wife and family and his commitment to protect and serve with his band of brothers and how he became the most lethal sniper in U.S. Military history who tallied 160 confirmed killings.

All of these issues converge—even the widespread adulation he’d rather downplay—and they become an emotional rollercoaster for Kyle to contend with.
Cooper packed on 35 pounds for the role and it’s his meatiest one to date. He conveys Chris Kyle with an authentic and patriotic flare.

While there are many gripping moments throughout “American Sniper,” one of the most touching involves Kyle spending time mentoring veterans after his tour of duty. He found that doing so was as cathartic for him as it was for them.

That Kyle’s life was cut short by a Marine Veteran, who he was mentoring and who suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), makes Kyle’s story tragic, but also a remarkable and inspiring one as well.
(Highly Recommended).

Blackhat <b>(May 12)</b> Title: Blackhat (May 12)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 133
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Director: Michael Mann
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"BLACKHAT"

“Blackhat” seemed to have all the right ingredients going for it when it arrived in theatres.

It’s a timely message movie about cyber-crime and an intriguing action thriller to boot. Yet even with Michael Mann as director and the handsome Chris Hemsworth in a different starring role, it failed to connect with audiences.

The real surprise about “Blackhat” was not only its early January release, or that Mann’s violent and ultra-cool “Miami Vice” stylistic touches are sprinkled throughout it, but that it’s a solidly entertaining movie.

“Blackhat” is worth the time and will make my list for one of the most underrated movies this year.

Hemsworth (“Avengers: Age of Ultron”) plays Nick Hathaway, a cyber-mastermind who has been wasting away in prison on some computer crime charges. He can get out on furlough if he agrees to cooperate and work with the CIA/FBI and their top agent Carol Barrett (Viola Davis, TV's "How to Get Away with Murder"))and the Chinese government to track down an international ring of criminals.

These global terrorists have hacked into a nuclear power plant in Hong Kong and the Mercantile Trade Exchange in Chicago too all by a Remote Access Tool (RAT).

Captain Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang, “Chinese Zodiac”) is one of the best military officers in China’s cyber warfare unit, but he can’t find or trace the hackers by himself even though the code in the RAT was written by him and his old college roommate Nick (Hemsworth).

Chen calls on his sister Lien (Wei Tang, “Dragon”) who is a cyber-geek as well and he winds up meeting with FBI Agent Barrett (Davis) in Los Angeles to find out how best to proceed.

Sensing that he can milk the moment for what it’s worth, Hathaway doesn’t just want to be furloughed, but rather have his sentence commuted. If he fails to catch the criminals he’s agreed he’ll go back to prison. Even so, a US Marshal is keeping a keen eye on this guy.

The authorities soon discover that the men involved in the attacks are still in Hong Kong. They soon follow up on some leads that take them to where the money is flowing from. It’s some guy named Kassar (Ritchie Coster , “American Gangster”). And he and his crew are not about to go out quietly.

Generally, these high-tech movies that often show a bunch of computer screens with coding zipping across it that only techies can decipher are rather boring.

All the techno-speak and gibberish in "Blackhat" actually enhances the story rather than detracts from it and just takes the concept of cyber-crime to a cool, new level.
(Recommended).

Still Alice <b>(May 12)</b> Title: Still Alice (May 12)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 103
Production Company: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Richard Glatzer And Wash Westmoreland
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"STILL ALICE"

Julianne Moore won “Best Actress” at the 87th Annual Academy Awards for her stirring performance in “Still Alice” where she played a prominent and successful Columbia University linguistics professor who discovers she has early onset Alzheimer’s.

“Still Alice” could have easily played out like a Lifetime Network special, but it doesn’t. Instead, the movie, which is based on the novel by Lisa Genova and written/directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmorland, reaches beyond the typical tug-of-the-heartstrings sentimentality to tell a profound and honest story.

Alice Howland (Moore) is celebrating her 50th birthday at a swanky restaurant with her surgeon husband (Alec Baldwin), daughter Anna (Kate Bosworth) who is married and attending law school and her med school son Tom (Hunter Parrish).

The only one absent from this festive gathering is her daughter Lydia (Kristen Stewart). Lydia is a free spirit and doesn’t want to follow in the footsteps of the rest of her family. She’s moved to Hollywood with hopes of becoming an actress.

Alice isn’t happy with Lydia’s career choice and would like to see her go to college as a back-up plan. She always reminds Lydia too much to her dismay.

The first time Alice notices something isn’t quite right with her is when she’s giving a lecture to students at UCLA on--of all things--how to communicate. While giving her presentation, she forgets part of her sentence.

She plays it off pretty good, but later that day when she is meeting with Lydia, she thinks about what happened and why. And when Alice arrives back in New York and later goes for a jog but gets lost and can’t remember her way home, she gets scared.

She calls her neurologist, Dr. Benjamin (Stephen, Kunker, TV’s “The Affair”). He tells her the devastating news and informs her that it’s possible the Alzheimer’s could be a genetic disorder that her kids could get it too.

Alice becomes more frustrated because she can’t remember basic things like where the bathroom is in her house.
She’s also annoyed because of the burden she’s placing on her family and becomes withdrawn and depressed.

In addition to Moore, the supporting cast in “Still Alice”--particularly Baldwin and Stewart-- turn in fine performances too. What makes the film so riveting is its honest look at this disease and how it affects people. Moore doesn’t over dramatize Alice’s plight, but brings a sense of realism to her character.
(Recommended).

Selma <b>(May 5)</b> Title: Selma (May 5)
Year Released: 2014
Running Time: 127
Production Company: Paramount Pictures
Director: Ava DuVernay
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"SELMA"

There weren’t many films that moved me quite like director Ava DuVernay’s explosive and triumphant historical drama, “Selma.”

“Selma” received critical acclaim and garnered a “Best Picture” Oscar nomination at the 87th Annual Academy Awards.

It won for “Best Original Song” (“Glory” Performed by Common and John Legend).

There are powerful and transformative performances throughout “Selma,” especially from the film’s leading star David Oyelowo whose work includes: “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Lincoln” “The Last King of Scotland,” “Default” and “The Middle of Nowhere.”

Oyelowo doesn’t simply mimic Dr. King, but truly embodies the late, Civil Rights leader’s essence from his appearance down to his fiery speeches.

“Selma” chronicles Dr. King’s struggle during a tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when he tried to convince President Lyndon Baines Johnson (a terrific Tom Wilkinson “Belle”) to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The film has recently come under fire by some who claim DuVernay took dramatic license portraying LBJ as an obstructionist and that it minimized his impact as a champion of the Voting Rights Act.

However, there’s much more in “Selma” that DuVernay gets right than wrong. The movie doesn’t gloss over King’s life and shines a bright spotlight on the allegations of his adulterous affairs that plagued his marriage to his wife Coretta.(Carmen Ejogo).

For the record, Carmen Ejogo, who dazzled audiences in the “Sparkle" remake, is sensational here. Talk about looking and acting the part. Ejogo and Oyelowo are a formidable pair.

Some of the most explosive and chilling scenes in “Selma” center around the protest marches which King led from Selma to Montgomery with Andrew Young (Andre Holland), Reverend Hosea Williams, (Wendall Pierce, TV’s “Suits”) James Forman (Trai Byers, TV’s “Empire”), John Lewis (Stephan James “Black or White”), Ralph Abernathy (Coleman Domingo, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”) and James Beval (Common, TV’s “Hell on Wheels”).

These demonstrations were also sparked by the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson, an unarmed civil rights protestor who was shot and killed by an Alabama State Trooper.

Equally gut-wrenching is the famous “Bloody Sunday” demonstration on March 7, 1965 when armed police attacked peaceful protesters as they marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

“Selma” benefits from a solid supporting cast too. Oprah Winfrey, one of the film’s producers is dynamic as Annie Lee Cooper, a woman who literally fought for her right to vote.

Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Fred Gray the civil rights attorney who worked closely with King. Martin Sheen is federal judge Frank Minis Johnson. Giovanni Ribisi is convincing as Lee C. White, the presidential adviser for the Kennedy and Johnson administration and Tim Roth as Governor George Wallace all add depth to the film.

Timing is everything. That “Selma’s” arrival coincides with the civil unrest we’re seeing today in Ferguson Missouri, New York and most recently Baltimore, it’s all a vivid reminder that we’ve come a long way, but still have so very far to go.
(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
AVENGERS AGE OF ULTRON By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

"AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON" AN IMAX EXPERIENCE 3D OPENS APRIL 30 AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE

Marvel Studios presents "Avengers: Age of Ultron" An IMAX 3D Experience, the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time.

Based on the ever--popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1963, Marvels "Avengers: Age of Ultron" An IMAX 3D Experience reunites the worlds favorite Super Hero characters as they return to the big screen for the first time since the catastrophic events of the Battle of New York in Marvels "The Avengers."

"Avengers: Age of Ultron" An IMAX 3D Experience opens April 30 at the Esquire IMAX Theatre at 7 p.m.

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, Ruhstaller, 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 fixings.

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 obtained from publicity department press releases.


imax beer and wine By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

IMAX THEARE IS FIRST IN SACRAMENTO COUNTY TO SERVE BEER AND WINE

Just in time for the summer blockbusters, the Esquire IMAX Theatre now serves beer and wine. In addition to the tasty spirits, the theatre has also added several new items to the food menu including: pizza, giant pretzels, soup, salad, chicken tenders and locally made Morants’ sausages with all the fixins’.

Movie-goers can now enjoy the total IMAX Experience with good food, great seats and a cold beer or glass of wine.

Esquire IMAX is serving Ruhstaller 1881, Coors Light, Racer 5 and Blue Moon beer on tap and Woodbridge cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay for our wine enthusiasts. Drafts are $9.50 for a premium 16oz beer and $8.50 for domestic beer and wine.

Audiences can enjoy these delicious beers and wines while watching the latest movies at the Esquire IMAX Theatre such as “Furious 7” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” opening on April 30.

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

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

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


NATE PARKER CONCERNED BLACK MEN By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

ACTIVIST AND FILMMAKER, NATE PARKER, JOINS CBM TO HELP INCREASE POSITIVE ROLE MODELS IN UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES.

The Los Angeles satellite office of Concerned Black Men - a President Obama supported program to increase mentorship in various underserved communities, announced that Activist, Filmmaker, Writer, and Entrepreneur, Nate Parker, (pictured) will serve as the face and ambassador of its Reach Back Campaign.

The Reach Back Campaign is an initiative created to increase the number of skilled and professional mentors to an underserved demographic of youth who participate in CBM's educational workshops. "We are excited to have Nate onboard to help draw attention to the need of professional and skilled mentors within our communities," said Jason McCuller, President of the LA satellite office."

The Reach Back Campaign and Nate Parker partnership will run now through August 15, 2015. During which time, CBM will host several events with Parker in efforts to increase the number of adult professionals to mentor CBM's youth while stimulating funding.

As a man whose life has been shaped by the wisdom and guidance of many mentors, I am proud to be a part of an organization that promotes and facilitates ‘reaching back' in an effort to support and cultivate our youth," Parker said.

This partnership was brought together by Succor - a multi-platform consulting company that serves to highlight social and topical issues. "There is nothing better than sowing into the minds and hearts of young people who are capable of changing the world," said D'Kwon Stackhouse, President of Succor. "Nate's partnership with CBM is the perfect example of what 'Reach Back' consists of," he added.

For more information about how you can become a mentor or to donate to the Reach Back Campaign, please visit www.cbmla.org. For Reach Back Campaign event sponsorship opportunities please contact Succor.

ABOUT NATE PARKER:

Nate Parker is a globally recognizable activist, filmmaker, writer, and entrepreneur who has starred in films “Non-Stop,” the outstanding, “Beyond the Lights,” “Red Tails,” “The Great Debaters,” “Arbitrage” and “The Secret Life of Bees.”

You can follow Nate Parker on Twitter at @NateParker.

ABOUT SUCCOR:

Succor is a multi-platform consulting company that proactively builds campaign and topical awareness by incorporating entertainment. Succor's President, D'Kwon Stackhouse, is a tenured industry professional.

ABOUT CONCERNED BLACK MEN:

Concerned Black Men (CBM) was founded in 1975 when several Philadelphia police officers sponsored social events for kids at risk to gang violence. Their vision was to fill the void of positive Black male role models in many communities by providing mentors and programs that affirmed the care and discipline that all youth need, while providing opportunities for academic and career enrichment. The philosophy of men offering themselves as positive role models to children has remained our mission for more than a quarter of a century.

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