HERCULES
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 07/25/2014
Running Time: 98
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan and John Hurt.
Crew: Director: Brett Ratner. Producers: Brett Ratner, Sarah Aubrey, Beau Flynn, James M. Freitag, Hiram Garcia and Barry Levine. Executive Producers: Peter Berg, Jesse Berger, Ross Fanger and Stephen Jones. Screenwriters: Ryan Condal, Evan Spillotopoulous and Steve Moore (Comic, "Hercules"). Cinematographers:
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

It’s sort of funny to hear Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson talk about having to bulk up and get in shape to play the title character for his new movie “Hercules.”

I mean, he’s never been a flabby, out shape guy. He's always been ripped. But my, oh my, in “Hercules” he’s in pure beast mode, rocking only a loincloth and sandals.

While that’s one of the reasons to see “Hercules,” the other is simply because it’s a lot of fun.

While there have been countless movies made over the years about The Son of Zeus, including the most recent “The Legend of Hercules” starring Kellan Lutz (“Twilight”), this updated version directed by Brett Ratner (“Horrible Bosses 2”) takes a much more light-hearted approach to “Hercules” and the story behind the legendary hero.

Hercules (Johnson) has completed his mandatory “12 Labors” with flying colors. This is a process to test his skills and manhood. Although he still, is carrying around the pain from the deaths of his wife and children he hopes he can acquire enough gold to enjoy a relaxing life style near the Black Sea.

But his skills and leadership are needed by the King of Thrace (John Hurt) to help him defeat an evil warlord and his powerful army.

The clowning moments that are sprinkled throughout “Hercules” come mainly from Amphiaraus (Ian McShane, “Jack the Giant Slayer”) and Autolycus (Rufus Sewell, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”) as well as the giant muscle man himself.

The film also benefits from solid performances from Aksel Hennie (“Headhunters”), Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (“Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”), Joseph Fiennes (“Running with Scissors”) and, (Reece Ritchie: “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”), who plays Iolaus, Hercule’s nephew and his number one PR guy.

“Hercules” serves up plenty of bloody action in spectacular 3-D fashion. Most scenes are exceptionally well done including those with Hercules fighting a vicious lion and a three-headed beast.

Johnson has also stated in interviews that he’s always wanted to play Hercules ever since he became an actor.
He pulls it off rather convincingly and once again shows his versatility and why he’s one of Hollywood’s biggest action stars.

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.

Watch this trailer for "HERCULES."
 

Rated: R
Opens: 07/25/2014
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Rated: PG-13
Opens: 07/25/2014
And So It Goes

Rated: R
Opens: 07/25/2014
Lucy

Rated: R
Opens: 07/25/2014
A Most Wanted Man


OLD SCHOOL VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH

The Five Heartbeats Title: The Five Heartbeats
Year Released: 1991
Running Time: 121
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Director: Robert Townsend
Director of Photography: Bill Dill
Screenwriter: Robert Townsend/Keenen Ivory Wayans
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: If you love musical dramas as much as I do, then you're probably a fan of director Robert Townsend's ambitious, 1991 movie "The Five Heartbeats."



Townsend co-wrote "The Five Heartbeats" with Keenan Ivory Wayans. The film is loosely based on the lives of legendary artists and groups such as Jackie Wilson, The Four Tops, The Temptations,...
NEW ON DVD

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

“HEAVEN IS FOR REAL”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“SABOTAGE”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“DOM HEMINGWAY”

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

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

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

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

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

"BAD WORDS"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bateman goes all out here. He's Borat and Bad Santa multiplied by four. The humor is cruel, but it's also pretty h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s. That's hilarious.
(Recommended).
  MOVIE TRIVIA
 
WHICH ACTOR FROM "THE FIVE HEARTBEATS" ALSO PLAYED DAVID RUFFIN IN THE 1998 NBC HIT TV MINI-SERIES "THE TEMPTATIONS?"
HAWTHORNE JAMES
TICO WELLS
HARRY LENNIX
LEON
 
  "REEL" MOVIE NEWS
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

"GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE" AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE JULY 31

“Guardians of the Galaxy: An IMAX 3D Experience” opens July 31 at the Esquire IMAX Theatre. Advance tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and at www.imax.com/sacramento.

“Guardians of the Galaxy: An IMAX 3D Experience” is an action-packed, epic space adventure that expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan (Lee Pace), a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan , Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a gun-toting raccoon, Groot (Vin Diesel), a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and the revenge-driven Drax (Dave Bautista) the Destroyer.

But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy's fate in the balance.

The film has been digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images on Esquire IMAX Theatre’s 6 story high and 80 feet wide screen, coupled with IMAX's customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie. Join the mission to save the galaxy and get your tickets today.

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


Reese Witherspoon in Wild By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

REESE WITHERSPOON TO STAR IN NICK HORNBY’S ADAPTATION OF “WILD” FOR FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights to Oscar nominated writer Nick Hornby’s (“An Education,”) adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s NY Times #1 best-seller “Wild,” the book that re-launched Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.

The film will star Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line,” and “Mud”) and will be produced by Pacific Standard’s Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea (“Warm Bodies,” “All Good Things”) with River Road Entertainment’s Oscar nominated Bill Pohlad (“12 Years A Slave”).

“Wild” will start production in late fall once a director is in place. It will be overseen by Fox Searchlight Pictures President of Production Claudia Lewis and SVP of Production David Greenbaum.

“We are so excited to be working with Fox Searchlight to bring “Wild” to the screen,” said Witherspoon. “It is an extraordinary company that continually strives to bring original, inspirational films to the marketplace. We are thrilled to collaborate with them on “Wild.”

“We have long been huge fans of this visceral, inspirational and moving personal story with such a strong female perspective,” says Utley and Gilula. “It has been a dream of the studio to work with Reese Witherspoon and we are thrilled to be partnered with her, Bruna Papandrea, Bill Pohlad and Nick Hornby.”

ABOUT “WILD”: With the dissolution of her marriage and the death of her mother, Cheryl Strayed (Witherspoon) has lost all hope. After years of reckless, destructive behavior, she makes a rash decision.

With absolutely no experience, driven only by sheer determination, Cheryl hikes more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. “Wild” powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her.

Since its launch last year Pacific Standard has acquired the bestselling book “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn which David Fincher will direct this fall. They recently set up Mitch Larson’s fantasy book series “Pennyroyal’s Bootcamp” at Summit/Lionsgate. Their development slate includes: “Who Invited Her” at Dreamworks and “The Engagements” at Fox 2000.

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


STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

"STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON" BIOPIC HITS THEATRES AUGUST, 14, 2015

In the mid-1980s, the streets of Compton, California, were some of the most dangerous in the country.

When five young men translated their experiences growing up into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation.

Following the meteoric rise and fall of N.W.A., “Straight Outta Compton” tells the astonishing story of how these youngsters revolutionized music and pop culture forever the moment they told the world the truth about life in the hood and ignited a cultural war.

The Universal Pictures drama will star O’Shea Jackson Jr., (Ice Cube’s son), Corey Hawkins (“Non-Stop”) and Jason Mitchell (“Broken City”) as Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E.

“Straight Outta Compton” is directed by F. Gary Gray (“Friday,” “Set It Off,” “The Italian Job”). The movie is produced by original N.W.A. members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, who are joined by fellow producers Matt Alvarez and Tomica Woods-Wright. Will Packer is the executive producer.

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