MAGIC MIKE XXL
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 07/01/2015
Running Time: 130
Rated: R
Cast: Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Michael Straham, Kevin Nash, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Adam Rodriguez and Gabriel Iglesias.
Crew: Director: Gregory Jacob. Producers: Channing Tatum, Reid Carolin, Gregory Jacobs, Elaine Mongeon and Nick Wechsler. Executive Producer: Steven Soderbergh. Screenwriter: Reid Carolin. Cinematographer: Steven Sodergergh.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

There sure is a lot of bumping and grinding going on in “Magic Mike XXL” more than I remember seeing in the original 2012 surprise hit movie.

Not that it’s a bad thing by any means, especially for those who have been waiting for this sexy sequel.

And make no mistake about it; “Magic Mike XXL” is this summer’s hot, guilty pleasure. While the movie, takes a bit to build up to the good stuff, it’s worth the wait.

The hunky and chiseled Channing Tatum (“Jupiter Ascending” and “Foxcatcher”) is back along with his fellow strip club buddies, Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello, TV’s “True Blood”), Tito (Adam Rodriguez, TV’s “The Night Shift”), Ken (Matt Bomer, TV’s “American Horror Story”) and Tarzan (Kevin Nash, “John Wick”).

And while I thought I would really miss Xquisite strip club owner Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) from the first movie, seeing Michael Strahan (TV’s “Live with Kelly and Michael”) getting his strip on changed that immediately.

Strahan doesn’t have a big role in “Magic Mike XXL,” but it’s arguably one of the sexiest and most erotic scenes in the movie. Strahan looks as if he didn’t need any directing whatsoever and that he completely enjoyed every minute of it.

A couple of other new faces in the mix include: Jada Pinkett Smith in a sultry role as a club owner named Rome, a funny Donald Glover (“The Lazarus Effect”) and the talented Stephen “tWitch” Boss (“TV’s “So You Think You Can Dance”).

More on them shortly.

“Magic Mike XXL” picks up three years later with Mike (Tatum) now doing pretty good for himself as a furniture maker. Yet, he’s always wondered what his former friends, have been up to especially when he’s working in his shop and Ginuwine’s song “Pony” comes on the radio. Mike can’t resist the groove and breaks out some of his old school moves.

Once a stripper always a stripper it seems. The guys decide to reunite for a Fourth of July stripper convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C. organized by Elizabeth Banks (“Pitch Perfect 2”) . They want to see if they’ve still got it and if the throngs of women attending, still want it.

Their road trip is filled with funny stories about their lives since they broke up and more importantly how much they missed each other.

Along the way, Mike drops by on an old friend (Pinkett Smith) who used to be his love interest.

Rome now owns an upscale and exotic mega home that caters to predominately well-heeled African-American women looking for a little more spark in their lives.

Pinkett Smith is terrific here. She plays the role to perfection. Rome invites Magic Mike to show her standing room only crowd why she referred to him back in the day as delicious, white chocolate. And when Mike does, well, the bills come raining down.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on Agustus (Strahan) as he lays down some magical moves of his own with a woman eager to show her appreciation in return.

The guy’s next stop involves a visit to the home of Nancy Davidson, (Andie MacDowell, TV’s “Cedar Cove”), a true southern Belle, who along with her divorced, cougar girlfriends show the fellas some southern hospitality while at her mansion. Mike just can’t get over Nancy’s daughter Zoe (Amber Heard, “3 Days to Kill”).

By the time the finale strippers contest rolls around, the guys have had such a great time with all the women they’ve met, that they are ready to roll.

It’s a stripper’s finale like no other. The music is on point and the choreography is tight and polished. The guys crush it.

If you’re looking for something different, try “Magic Mike XXL” on for size. It’s a pleasant surprise that measures up to its predecessor.

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...
 

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 07/01/2015
Terminator Genisys

Rated: PG
Opens: 06/26/2015
Max

Rated: R
Opens: 06/26/2015
Ted 2

Rated: PG
Opens: 06/19/2015
Inside Out

Rated: R
Opens: 06/19/2015
Dope

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 06/12/2015
Jurassic World


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

The Gunman <b> (June 30)</b> Title: The Gunman (June 30)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 115
Production Company: Open Road Films
Director: Pierre Morel
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"THE GUNMAN"

With “The Gunman,” Sean Penn borrows a page from Liam Neeson’s action hero playbook.

The 54-year-old Penn, who won an Oscar for his role “Milk," buffed up and is pretty convincing in “The Gunman,” which he co-wrote and produced.

Directed by Pierre Morel (“Taken” series), “The Gunman” is a thriller to boot. Penn stars as mercenary and ex-special forces operative Jim Terrier. He’s working for hire as a hitman in the Republic of the Congo.

He’s there with a couple of other trained assassins: Felix (Javier Bardem, “The Counselor”) and Cox (Mark Rylance, “Days and Nights”).

Jim’s been tasked with taking out the Congo’s Minister of Mining which he does with a sniper shot to his head.
Before leaving the scene and into seclusion, he asks Felix to take care of his girlfriend Annie (Jasmine Trinca) who is a very attractive doctor. Needless to say, Felix obliges Jim’s request a bit more than he should.

Fast forward eight years and Jim is back in Africa hoping to make peace with himself and the locals by doing some humanitarian work.

But while trying to provide a fresh water well system to the area, Jim is ambushed by a group of men. Luckily, one of his young assistants acts fast enough to save his life.

Now, Jim has to find out who is trying to kill him and why. He heads to London to visit his old friend Stanley (Ray Winstone, “Noah”) who always seems to have his pulse on just about everything of relevance.

Jim also touches base with Cox who seems awfully nervous when he asks him questions about his near death experience. Jim suspects Cox knows more than he’s telling him.

When Jim travels to Barcelona to meet Felix, things become even more problematic and not just because Felix and Annie are married.

It turns out that the only one that Jim can trust is an Interpol Agent (an underused Idris Elba, “No Good Deed” and TV’s “Luther”).

Once Jim starts to connect the dots, the picture becomes clearer as to who is gunning for him. It all culminates with a violent and exciting showdown set against the backdrop of a bull-fighting match.

“The Gunman” is a slick, gritty drama and a perfect vehicle for Penn to flex his special set of skills and muscles.

While the supporting cast in “The Gunman”--especially Rylance--is solid too, it’s Penn and Barden who aim and deliver electrifying performances.
(Recommended).

Wild Tales <b>(June 16)</b> Title: Wild Tales (June 16)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 122
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Damian Szifrom
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"WILD TALES"

Now is the chance to check out “Wild Tales” which earned a “Best Foreign Film” Oscar nomination at the 87th Annual Academy Awards. In the poignant, dark and even humorous drama, director /screenwriter Damian Szifron explores the human psyche and finds what makes people snap when pushed too far.

The Argentinian movie “Wild Tales” is a collection of six stand-alone shorts about people who are driven to extreme behavior when involved with confrontational situations.

“The Strongest,” which is my personal favorite and probably one that most everyone can relate to, involves road rage. This isn’t just a mild case of someone getting cut off, flipped off or cursed out. This is something like you’ve never seen before and hopefully never experience.

It all starts when Diego (Leonardo Sbaraglia) is rolling along at a nice clip in his Audi on a long stretch of highway. A guy named Mario (Walter Donado) comes along in a beat-up Peugeot and he’s driving much too slow for Diego’s taste.

So Diego cuts around him and flips him off as he goes by. Not a smart thing to do especially when Diego gets a flat tire and soon sees Mario’s car heading toward him. At first it looks like Mario is going to keep going, but how boring would that be?

Mario gets out his car with Diego inside his and he jumps on Diego’s hood, hits his window and urinates and defecates on his car.

Diego drives away and tries to forget the episode, but grows angrier by the second. He turns around and finds Mario and pushes his car over an embankment. The guys continue to duke it out as they are sinking into the river. They ultimately pay a heavy price--that’s almost humorous--for their ego driven road rage.

In “Little Bomb,” demolitions expert Simon (Ricardo Darin) gets even with his city government by blowing up an empty building after his car is towed on multiple occasions.

And in “The Rats,” a lowly waitress (Julieta Zylbergerg) has a perfect opportunity to kill a gangster (Cesar Bordon) that has tormented her family for years. But she can’t bring herself to put rat poison in his food. However, the diner’s cook, (Rita Cortese) has no problem doing it. But things go horribly wrong when the gangster’s son joins him and starts eating some of his father’s food.

All the shorts in “Wild Tales” are so good and wildly entertaining you’ll wish they were full length feature films.
(Recommended).

Chappie <b>(June 16)</b> Title: Chappie (June 16)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 120
Production Company: Columbia Pictures
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"CHAPPIE"

After South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp released the phenomenal 2009 sci-fi movie, “District 9” and the impressive “Elysium”—which I liked more than most critics—I had such high hopes that Blomkamp’s latest outing, “Chappie” would be another crowning achievement in his movie making career. Not so fast.

The concept of “Chappie” is a good one, but it fails to launch despite its credible cast of Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver and Dev Patel.

The futuristic “Chappie,” centers on an engineer named Deon (Patel) who has designed a scout robot that the city of Johannesburg wants to have several of to use as their police force.

With the addition of these highly intelligent, super robots violent crime has significantly decreased. However, not everyone is thrilled about Deon’s newfound claim to fame. Vincent Moore (Jackman) feels his invention, a humongous, military type; human operated machine is far better and should have been chosen instead.

His boss (Sigourney Weaver) disagrees and believes Vincent’s creation is too much. She isn’t keen about Deon wanting to take the next step with his robot and place artificial intelligence in it.

But she soon has no choice when Scout 22 is decommissioned. Deon sees a prime opportunity and steals it. But before he begins his work on the robot, he’s kidnapped by a bunch of thugs (Jose Pablo Cantillo and rappers Ninja and Yo-Landi). They want him to program the robot to commit crimes and overthrow the police department.

When Deon does, it results in the creation of “Chappie,” (voiced by Sharlto Copley), a very smart and sensitive robot who gets used by just about everyone involved with him.

The whole rap thing with Chappie and Rave rappers Die Antwoord gets a bit silly at times and that element of suspense and fascination that Blomkamp brought to “District 9” and “Elysium” isn’t present in “Chappie” which is unfortunate.

Nevertheless, kids seemed to love “Chappie” during my first screening of the movie. Perhaps Blomkamp was looking to lighten things up this time around and not be so serious. If so, he succeeded.
(Recommended).

Run All Night <b>(June 16)</b> Title: Run All Night (June 16)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 114
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"RUN ALL NIGHT"

Not much can slow down Liam Neeson. The 65-year-old action star always delivers clever and wickedly entertaining thrillers like ”Run All Night.”

In “Run all Night,” Neeson reunites with director Jaume Collet-Serra (“Non-Stop” and “Unknown”) and this collaboration is arguably their best yet.

Neeson stars as a former hitman named Jimmy “The Gravedigger” Conlon. He’s had a hard knock life. Jimmy drinks a lot to try and forget much of his checkered past.

Although Jimmy would prefer to ignore his hitman days, there’s a pesky, detective named John Harding (a superb Vincent D’Onofrio, “The Judge” and “Jurassic World”), who won’t let him. Det. Harding has wanted to bring Jimmy down for years but never could because he was so mobbed up.

Jimmy destroyed a lot of people’s lives when he worked as an enforcer for his boss, Shawn Maguire (an outstanding Ed Harris, “Snowpiercer”). Even after all the history between Jimmy and Shawn, they are “close friends.”

But boy does that all change quickly. Shawn’s new-to-the-game son Danny (Boyd Holbrook, “Gone Girl,” “A Walk among the Tombstones” and TV’s “Narcos”) gets in way over his head with a couple of Albanian heroin dealers who come to his house to collect their money.

However, the deal goes south. Danny kills them and the dealer’s hired limo driver Mike, (Joel Kinnaman, “RoboCop” and “Safe House”) who is Jimmy’s son, walks in on the bloody mess. He quickly sees Danny and flees the scene, but drops his wallet. Danny hunts Mike and his family down and is about to kill him, but Jimmy shows up in the nick of time and blows Danny away.

Now Jimmy has to explain to Shawn why he killed his son. Shawn’s not hearing it and lets Jimmy know that he’s ordered a hit on Mike and that his days are numbered.

Mike foolishly calls the police only to discover that they are working in cahoots with Shawn. Now Jimmy has to use his special set of skills again to keep him and Mike from being killed.

Everyone’s gunning for them. Shawn’s highly skilled and relentless hitman, Mr. Price (a terrific Common, “Selma”) wants to kill Jimmy so badly that he offers to do the job for free.

Common, who along with John Legend won the “Best Original Song” Oscar for “Glory” from the movie “Selma,” is a formidable foe for Jimmy. He goes toe-to-toe with him in some deliriously exciting and well-staged fight sequences including one that takes place in a tenement house.

Collet-Serra’s deft directing, Neeson and the fine supporting cast of Harris, D’Onofrio, Common, Kinnaman and Holbrook, elevates “Run all Night” from being just another predictable crime.
(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
TERMINATOR G By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

"TERMINATOR GENISYS: AN IMAX 3D EXPERIENCE" OPENS JUNE 30 AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE

The highly anticipated next chapter in the Terminator franchise, "Terminator Genisys: An IMAX 3D Experience" opens at the Esquire IMAX Theatre on June 30 at 7 p.m.

When John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance, sends Sgt. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and safeguard the future, an unexpected turn of events creates a fractured timeline.

Now, Sgt. Reese finds himself in a new and unfamiliar version of the past, where he is faced with unlikely allies, including the Guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger), dangerous new enemies, and an unexpected new mission: To reset the future.

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

"Terminator Genisys: An IMAX 3D Experience" 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, 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, 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 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 IMAX publicity department.


MOTION PICTURE MUSEUM By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL APPROVES ACADEMY MUSEUM OF MOTION PICTURES PROJECT

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that the Los Angeles City Council, in a unanimous vote, approved plans for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

Construction will begin this summer, and ceremonial groundbreaking festivities will occur this fall.

“I am thrilled that Los Angeles is gaining another architectural and cultural icon," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "My office of economic development has worked directly with the museum's development team to ensure that the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will create jobs, support tourism, and pay homage to the industry that helped define our identity as the creative capital of the world.”

“We are grateful to our incredible community of supporters who have helped make this museum a reality,” said Dawn Hudson, the Academy’s CEO. “Building this museum has been an Academy goal for many years and we wouldn’t be here today without our neighbors on Museum Row, our Board of Governors, our current and past Academy Presidents, members, and of course, our generous donors.”

“I couldn’t think of a better home for the Academy Museum than Museum Row. The museum will be an iconic addition to our city and will inspire generations to come,” said Councilmember Tom LaBonge, during the final days of his 14 years representing Council District 4, which includes the Academy Museum site on the Miracle Mile.

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the Academy Museum will restore and revitalize the historic Wilshire May Company building at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue.

The Academy Museum will feature six floors of exhibition spaces, a movie theater, education studios, special event spaces, conservation areas, and a café and store. A new spherical addition will connect to the May Company building with glass bridges and will feature a state-of-the-art 1,000-seat theater and a rooftop terrace.

“Renzo’s design embodies the museum’s mission: Just as it links the past and present by connecting the May Company building with the new sphere, our exhibitions and programs will explore the history and future of cinema,” said Kerry Brougher, the Academy Museum’s director. “Our museum will, for the first time, open up the western edge of the campus to the surrounding community, inviting our neighbors onto an open public piazza. Renzo’s sensitivity to location and urbanism will transform this site and make it a gathering place in Los Angeles.”

The main lobby level of the museum will feature public areas including a free introductory gallery. The lobby will connect to the outdoor public piazza and a new pedestrian walkway.

The museum also will have a main entrance on Wilshire Boulevard, facilitating easy access for pedestrians and mass transit riders.

“The museum will be the year-round public face of the Academy,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “We will draw on the immense talents of our members to tell the story of motion pictures from a global perspective, for a global audience.”

The Academy Museum’s architectural team is composed of Renzo Piano Building Workshop, design architect, in collaboration with Gensler as executive architect. Morley Builders and Taslimi Construction Company are the general contractors, and the building developer is Paratus Group. The museum is scheduled to open in late 2017.

The Academy Museum will feature a core historical exhibition and rotating temporary exhibitions, complemented by special projects, publications, digital initiatives and a slate of public programs that will include screenings, premieres, panel discussions, gallery talks and K–12 education initiatives.

The Museum’s exhibitions and programs will convey the magic of cinema and offer a glimpse behind the screen, illuminating the creative, collaborative process of filmmaking.

The Academy launched the Museum’s $300 million capital campaign in 2012, chaired by Bob Iger and co-chaired by Annette Bening and Tom Hanks. The Academy has already secured more than $250 million in pledges from more than 1,300 individual donors globally.

FOLLOW THE ACADEMY:

www.oscars.org

www.facebook.com/TheAcademy

www.youtube.com/Oscars

www.twitter.com/TheAcademy.

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


FOX SEARCHLIGHT'S WILSON By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

CRAIG JOHNSON DIRECTS “WILSON” STARRING WOODY HARRELSON,LAURA DERN, JUDY GREER, AND CHERYL HINES

Fox Searchlight Pictures President of Production Claudia Lewis announced that the new movie "Wilson" has begun principal photography in Minnesota.

Craig Johnson (“The Skeleton Twins”) will direct “Wilson” starring Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson (“True Detective” and “The Hunger Games”), Oscar Nominee Laura Dern (“Wild,” and “Enlightened”), Judy Greer (“The Descendants,” “Jurassic World”) and Cheryl Hines (“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Suburgatory”).

The screenplay is by Oscar nominee Daniel Clowes (“Ghost World”) based on his graphic novel of the same name. Mary Jane Skalski and Jared Ian Goldman are producing. The film is shooting on location in the St. Paul area.

“I've been a fan of Dan Clowes' cartoons and writing for years,” says Johnson. “I own all of his comic books and graphic novels, including Wilson, so when I got the script, I couldn't quite believe it. It's a privilege to be working on a project of this pedigree-- a project written by Dan Clowes, starring Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern and brought to life by Fox Searchlight. I'm honored to be part of it.”

"Dan Clowes' script embraces elements that are funny, touching, charming and sweet. This film has everything, including Craig who is one of the most precise and smart directors around. It will be a joy to bring Wilson to the big screen," said producers Skalski and Goldman.

"Woody Harrelson as “Wilson" is casting nirvana, and we are thrilled to be working again with Laura Dern, Judy Greer and Cheryl Hines. We're especially excited about the pairing of Craig Johnson's cinematic style with Dan Clowes’ sharp and distinctive voice,” said Lewis.

Harrelson stars as Wilson, a lonely, neurotic and hilariously honest middle-aged misanthrope who reunites with his estranged wife (Laura Dern) and gets a shot at happiness when he learns he has a teenage daughter (Isabelle Amara) he has never met. In his uniquely outrageous and slightly twisted way, he sets out to connect with her.

Fox Searchlight Pictures Senior Vice President of Production David Greenbaum and Director of Production Richard Gold are overseeing the project.

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 publicity department.