Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 01/13/2017
Running Time: 96
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Faye Dunaway, Cressida Bonas, Doug Jones and Carrie-Anne Moss.
Crew: Director: Stacy Title. Producers: Simon Horsman, Nancy Kirhoffer, Trevor Macy, Melinda Nishioka and Jeffrey Soros. Executive Producers: Oren Aviv, Marc D. Evans, Adam Fogelson, Seth Wiliam Meier, Patrick Murray, Jonathan Penner, Robert Simonds and Donald Tang. Screenwriters: Jonathan Penner and Robert Damon Schneck (Author of book: "The Bridge to Body Island"). "Cinematographer: James Kniest.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Don't say it. Don't think it. Don't say it. Don't think it. Don't say it.

With a haunting tagline like that, I simply couldn’t resist seeing “The Bye Bye Man,” which is the first horror film of 2017.

I was a bit skeptical at first, because it’s a January release which is traditionally the month for third string Hollywood holdovers. But every so often a movie can surprise and rise from the dumping ground and “The Bye Bye Man” does just that.

The movie’s title alone is intriguing and is actually based on the chapter "The Bridge to Body Island" in author Robert Damon Schneck's book “The President's Vampire.”

Directed and written by the husband and wife team of Stacy Title and Jonathan Penner (“Let the Devil Wear Black” and “The Last Supper”), “The Bye Bye Man” at first blush seems like all the other haunted house movies involving drunken college kids.

But Title and Penner have a few spooky tricks up their sleeves which generate plenty of clever, well-earned scares and overall creepiness in “The Bye Bye Man” which literally opens with a bang.

What in the world has made a suburban husband pull up in his driveway, frantically, burst into his house and repeatedly ask his wife if she said anything to anyone? What is he referring to? And why does he suddenly go on a neighborhood killing spree?

Well that’s the secret that is slowly revealed in tensely layered “The Bye Bye Man.”

Flash forward a few years and we meet college sweethearts Elliot (Douglas Smith, TV’s “Miss Sloane” and TV’s “Motive” and “Vinyl”) and Sasha (Cressida Bonas, TV’s “Dr. Thorne”).

Elliot, Sasha and their friend John (Lucien Laviscount, TV’s “Snatch”) are looking for a house to rent near campus. They settle on a big, old fixer upper that even HGTV reality show stars Chip and Joanna Gaines would probably have passed by.

That the grungy place is dirt cheap should have been their first clue that something might be amiss with the place. But they sign a lease and within minutes it seems are able to transform the house into a pretty neat looking place. It helped that the former residents left a bunch of old furniture behind in the basement.

And when they start putting it in the various rooms, things soon start going bump in the night. Surprisingly, they simply shrug it all off at first.

But when they throw a housewarming party and Elliot’s older brother Virgil (Nick Trucco, TV’s “Grandfathered”) arrives with his cute as a button daughter, Alice--who is the sister of the cute and adorable Jacob Tremblay from “Room”—even weirder things begin to occur including silver coins falling from a drawer scrawled with the cryptic message: “Don’t say it. Don’t think it” and the words: “Bye Bye Man.”

Sasha and Elliot agree to let their friend Kim (Jenna Kannell (TV’s “The Vampire Diaries”) conduct a séance with hopes of finding out if there are evils spirits lurking among them. All those noises apparently weren’t big enough clues.

They soon discover something is indeed living among them. It’s not long before this demonic spirit starts to literally get in their heads causing them to become delusional, get sick and slowly lose their minds.

Elliot is the last one to become possessed and before he does he attempts to research this phenomenon. He gets assistance from a knowledgeable librarian named Mrs. Watkins (a terrific Cleo King, TV’s “Fresh off the Boat” and “A Series of Unfortunate Events”).

They slowly unravel the horrific story surrounding the Bye Bye Man (Doug Jones, upcoming “Hellboy 3”), but it comes with a price for both of them and leads Elliot to one of the Bye Bye Man’s surviving family members who is played by the legendary and still fabulous looking, 75-year-old Faye Dunaway. (TV’s “Hand of God”).

“The Bye Bye Man” piles on the plot twists which turn into some genuinely thrilling and downright...

Rated: R
Opens: 01/13/2017
Patriots Day

Rated: R
Opens: 01/13/2017

Rated: R
Opens: 01/13/2017
Live By Night

Rated: PG
Opens: 01/06/2017
Hidden Figures

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 12/25/2016

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 12/16/2016
La La Land


Lady Sings The Blues Title: Lady Sings The Blues
Year Released: 1972
Running Time: 144
Production Company: Paramount Pictures
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Director of Photography: John A. Alonzo
Screenwriter: Suzanne De Passe
Author: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: When you’ve watched a movie so many times that you basically know the dialogue verbatim, that movie really means something and resonates with you.

The 1972 autobiographical drama, “Lady Sings the Blues” is the one for me. No matter how many times I see it, it never gets old.

Directed by Sidney J. Furie (“Iron Eagle” and “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace”), “Lady Sings the...

The Accountant <b> (Jan. 10) </b> Title: The Accountant (Jan. 10)
Year Released: 2016
Running Time: 128
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Gavin O' Connor
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


There’s much more than meets the eye in the “The Accountant” and that’s what makes it so good.

Directed by Gavin O’Connor (“Jane Got a Gun” and “Warrior”) and written by Bill Dubuque (“The Judge”), “The Accountant” is a multi-layered smart drama filled with unsuspecting twists and turns.

It also features a fine cast that includes Academy Award winners Ben Affleck (“Argo” and “Good Will Hunting”) and J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”) along with Oscar nominees Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”) and John Lithgow (“The World According to Garp” and “Terms of Endearment”).

Christian Wolff (Seth Lee, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) had a difficult childhood. He was born with Asperger’s Syndrome which caused him to be withdrawn from other kids and become a bit of an outcast.

Christian’s mother (Mary Kraft, “Magic Mike XXL” and TV’s “Atlanta”) and father (Robert C. Treveiler, “Sully” and TV’s “House of Cards” ) tried to provide as much as they possibly could for him.

Yet, Christian’s outbursts and the around the clock care he needed took a toll on the family, particularly his mother. She winds up leaving Christian and his slightly older brother (Jake Presley)—who doesn’t have Asperger’s-- so his father could raise both of them.
Their dad, a military man, seems better suited to handle Christian.

Despite offers of help by psychiatrists and other doctors, Christian’s father turns them down and tells them the world is not a friendly place and Christian needs to learn how to survive in it.

Consequently, he teaches Christian and his brother how to fight along with some other special skills so they can defend themselves from bullies.

At first it seems like tough love, but their dad’s firm hand and disciplinary tactics go a long way into helping Christian control his outbursts and cope in society.

In addition, as Christian gets older, his cognitive skills become more advanced. Years later, thanks to the support from his father, brother and prescribed meds, Christian has grown into a fairly well socialized young man. Well, kind of.

Christian, now played by Ben Affleck (“Suicide Squad”), is a self-employed CPA and works out of a small, office located in a strip mall in Plainfield, Illinois.

It’s a perfect job for the math whiz whose ease with numbers and other complex tasks is startling.

Considering the modest lifestyle that Christian leads, you’d have no idea that his little tax shop is merely a cover for him to cook the books for some of the world’s most notorious arms/drug dealers and other wealthy white collar/seedy criminals like Francis Silverberg (SF State Alum, Jeffrey Tambor, “Trolls” and TV’s “Transparent”).

Still, as good as Christian is at his “side gig,” his wheeling and dealing finally catches the attention of Treasury Department agent, Ray King (J.K. Simmons, “La La Land”) and his newly hired assistant Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robinson, TV’s “Arrow” and “Chicago Med”) who is carrying around some criminal baggage of her own.

To take some of the heat off of him, Christian smartly decides to go legit for a minute. He’s begins working on a case for a company called Living Robotics that’s owned by billionaire, tech guru, Lamar Black (John Lithgow, “Interstellar”). His sister, Rita Blackburn (Jean Smart, TV’s “Bad Internet”) wants Christian to find out how $70 million suddenly disappeared from their books.

It’s here at Robotics Living that Christian meets Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick, “Trolls”), a perky office clerk who is fascinated by Christian’s brilliant mind.
The more Dana hangs with Christian, the more she learns about his dark side. Christian lives in an Airstream trailer that’s filled with numerous weapons, tons of money, gold and original paintings by Renoir.

Christian’s various assignments are relayed to him by a mysterious caller. Sometimes they are bloody and messy and other times they simply involve crunching numbers, but there’s always a huge payoff.
Yet, what Christian unveils at Living Robotics, sets off a world of trouble for him and Dana and requires Christian to use many of the special skills that his father taught him.

“Affleck really shines in “The Accountant.” This movie flew under the radar during its theatrical run, but it is by far one of the best movies of 2016 and worth your time.
(Highly Recommended).

Deepwater Horizon <b> (Jan. 10) </b> Title: Deepwater Horizon (Jan. 10)
Year Released: 2016
Running Time: 107
Production Company: Summit Entertainment
Director: Peter Berg
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


Mark Wahlberg reunites with director Peter Berg (“Lone Survivor”) for their latest movie, “Deepwater Horizon.”

The riveting drama is based on the true story of the British Petroleum leased and Transocean owned, Deepwater Horizon drilling rig which exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010.
The fiery incident killed 11 people, spewed more than 3 million barrels of crude oil, took 86 days to contain and remains the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

While there was certainly plenty of blame to go around as to who was responsible for the tragedy, ultimately the buck stopped with BP. The company was charged with gross negligence and forced to pay billions of dollars to families and companies.

“Deepwater Horizon” however, begins with the calm-before-the-storm and the routine events leading up to the horrific day. The rig’s chief electronics technician, Mike Williams (Wahlberg) and Officer Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez, TV’s “Jane the Virgin”) are preparing for the day like any other.

Williams is quite the family man. He hates leaving his fun-loving wife Felicia (Kate Hudson, “Mother’s Day”) and adorable daughter Sydney (Stella Allen, “Free State of Jones”) for the 21-day mission.

Sydney wants her dad to bring her something back from this trip like a dinosaur fossil that she can show off in class.

Meanwhile the muscle car loving Andrea (Rodriguez) can’t get her classic Mustang to start and her housemate (Henri Esteve) suggests she should sell it and buy a Ducati motorcycle for them instead.

It’s not long before both Mike and Andrea are hopping aboard a helicopter and arrive at work with their crew supervisor Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell, “The Hateful Eight” and “Furious 7”).

His job is to ensure the safety of his team and keep everything in tip-top shape. Harrell isn’t happy when he learns about some major shortcomings on the rig from BP honchos Bob Kaluza (Brad Leland, TV’s “Veep”) and Don Vidrine (a cocky John Malkovich, “Zoolander 2”) that the job is $53 million and 43 days over budget.

And when Harrell also discovers BP execs may have cut corners on a major drill pipe that turns out to be the root cause of the calamity, Jimmy really goes ballistic.

“Deepwater Horizon” has some techno jargon scenes, but they don’t weigh the film down. Walberg, Russell and Rodriguez see to it as they carry the film with their repartee and heroic actions when things heat up and go boom.

Snowden <b>(Dec. 27)</b> Title: Snowden (Dec. 27)
Year Released: 2016
Running Time: 134
Production Company: Open Road Films
Director: Oliver Stone
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


Whether or not you believe former United States CIA employee and National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden is a traitor to his country or a hero for leaking to the media egregious surveillance tactics used by the NSA, isn’t likely to change your viewpoint after seeing director Oliver Stone’s movie, “Snowden.”

While Stone skillfully and measuredly allows Snowden’s story to unfold, viewers are left to draw their own conclusions. And most everyone has an opinion about Snowden. It varies from outright hatred of the guy to flat out respect for him. There’s even a camp that’s on the fence.

Stone’s compelling movie “Snowden” is based on the books “The Snowden Files: The inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man” by Luke Harding and “Time of the Octopus” by Anatoly Kucherena.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“The Walk”) gives what is arguably his best performance to date capturing “Snowden’s brilliance and cyber-geekiness.

The movie opens with Snowden meeting on May 20, 2013 in a Hong Kong hotel with The Guardian British national newspaper journalists Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto, “Star Trek Beyond”), Ewen Macaskill (Tom Wilkinson, “Selma”) and documentary filmmaker, Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo, TV’s “BoJack Horseman”).

They’re poring over all the classified information that Snowden has given them about the NSA and are preparing to publish their story that will blow the lid off of the agency. However, their editor is slowing down the process as she claims to need final approval to print it.

She gets it. And the in-depth series detailing how the NSA used surveillance techniques to spy on American citizens is awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

“Snowden” effectively uses flashbacks to lay the foundation and shows how Edward Snowden went from being a loyal patriot wanting to serve his country, to a whistle-blower.

Snowden joined the Army Reserves and went through Special Forces training until a freak accident broke both his legs and forced him to be discharged. He also suffered from epilepsy.

Yet Snowden was determined to make a difference in other ways for his country. The 29-year-old whiz kid turned to intelligence work. Snowden made a splash at the CIA in Virginia.

It’s here he meets Hank Forrester (a terrific and batty Nicolas Cage, “Dog eat Dog”), a contractor who ran his mouth a bit too much back in the day and is paying for it by being tucked away in a small basement teaching cocky, youngsters like Snowden.

But Hank likes Snowden’s ambition and drive. Snowden reminds him a lot of him when he was younger.

Snowden also impresses intelligence honcho Corbin O'Brian (Rhys Ifans, “Alice through the Looking Glass”), who also sees Snowden’s potential, but is concerned that the youngster might get drunk off the special clearance privileges and power and that he will be difficult to rein in.

Sure enough, the more “private” information Snowden becomes privy to here and abroad, it truly opens his eyes. He begins to question everything.

More than anything, Snowden is shocked by how easy and accessible it is to obtain information on some of the wealthiest people on the planet as well as just average working class folks.

Adding to Snowden’s fast and furious world of cyber madness is Lindsey Mills (Shailene Woodley, “Allegiant”), a pretty, young naïve and liberal leaning photographer who becomes the apple of Snowden’s eye and somewhat grounds him.
But there’s a major turning point when Snowden decides that he can no longer sit and watch the NSA trample on the rights of American citizens. He decides to gather as much information as he can about them and make their actions known.

Despite the Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International’s recent request to seek a presidential pardon for Snowden who is facing espionage charges among other crimes, President Barack Obama has since denied Snowden’s request.

With “Snowden,” three-time Oscar-winner Oliver Stone (“Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July”) has crafted a fine film that is a bit more nuanced than most of his previous endeavors.
(Highly Recommended).

The Magnificent Seven <b>(Dec. 20)</b> Title: The Magnificent Seven (Dec. 20)
Year Released: 2016
Running Time: 132
Production Company: MGM/Columbia
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


The month of December offers a double dose of Denzel Washington. The Oscar winning actor rides onto the screen in the remake of “The Magnificent Seven.”

And on Christmas Day, Denzel directs and stars in “Fences,” the big screen adaptation of August Wilson’s critically acclaimed play.

Both “The Magnificent Seven” and “Fences” are outstanding.

“The Magnificent Seven” is directed this time around by Antoine Fuqua who also helmed the movie, “Training Day” which earned Washington a “Best Actor” Academy Award in 2001. Fuqua also directed Washington in the gritty drama, “The Equalizer (2014).

In “The Magnificent Seven,” Washington rides tall in the saddle as the fierce, gunslinger and bounty hunter, Sam Chisolm.

Set in 1867, this incarnation of “The Magnificent Seven” stays fairly true to the original minus a few variations. For starters, the film’s villain isn’t a sombrero wearing Mexican (Eli Wallach in the original), but rather a greedy, crazed white guy named Bartholomew Bogue (a terrific Peter Sarsgaard, the upcoming “Jackie”).

Bogue is one, big ornery SOB. He and his henchmen are about to run out all the hardworking folk in the fictional small town of Rose Creek, New Mexico so he can seize their land and mine it for gold.

While most everyone in town is cowering in fear and hoping God will find a way, Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett, “The Equalizer”), a feisty, widow, doesn’t mind Godly intervention, but she wants her prayers answered much more quickly. So Emma reaches out to Chisolm and offers him her family’s life savings in return for his help to stop Bogue and his boys.

Washington accepts the dangerous mission. He even recruits a mighty fine group of outcasts to assist him.

There’s Faraday (Chris Pratt, “Jurassic World”), a booze swigging fighter through and through with a love of explosives and magic tricks and the sharp-shooting former confederate sniper, Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”).

Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee, “Terminator Genisys”) truly rocks when it comes to slinging knives. Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, TV’s “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series”) is one sly bandit and he gets more than just loyalty from mountain tracker, Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio, TV’s “Daredevil”). No one can handle a bow and arrow better than Comanche Indian, Red-Harvest (Martin Sensmeier, TV’s “Westworld”).

They are a motley crew and screenwriters Nic Pizzolatto (“True Detective”) and Richard Wenk, (“The Equalizer”) humorously flesh out their colorful personalities which add to the film’s sheer entertainment value.

And as fun and funny as Pratt and the rest of the cast is, it’s Washington who is truly magnificent here. He steals the show as the ultra-cool, calculating and quick on the draw, Chisolm and sets the stage for the film’s sensational and climatic shoot ‘em up scene.

While “The Magnificent Seven” is Washington’s first leap into the Wild, Wild West, hopefully it won’t be his last.
(Highly Recommended).

Editor’s Note: “The Magnificent Seven” Blu-ray DVD features the following extras:

Vengeance Mode-- Director Antoine Fuqua and cast break down key scenes and discuss the making of the film.

Six Featurettes--
"The Taking of Rose Creek"
"Magnificent Music"
"Directing the Seven"
"The Seven"
"Rogue Bogue"


By: Richard Prince, “Journal-isms”

“This was supposed to be the awards season when Hollywood, having been scorched by consecutive #OscarsSoWhite years, avoided tumult over race,” Brooks Barnes reported Wednesday for the New York Times.

“Not so.

“In heated conversations in Hollywood in recent weeks, prompted by articles on websites like The Daily Beast, Mic and ThinkProgress, producers, publicists, studio executives and other movie insiders have been grappling with whether there is a double standard at play involving race, power or both in the treatment of Nate Parker, a relatively unknown artist who has been sidelined as an Academy Award candidate and Casey Affleck, the brother of moviedom royalty who is being feted as the leading contender for best actor.

More than two dozen critics’ groups and festivals have named Affleck “Best Actor” for his “Manchester by the Sea” performance. He is also up for a Screen Actors Guild award on Jan. 29.

(Editor’s Note:) Casey Affleck won the “Best Actor” Golden Globe Award for “Manchester by the Sea” on Sunday night. He beat out Denzel Washington (“Fences”), Joel Edgerton (“Loving”) Andrew Garfield (“Hacksaw Ridge”) and Viggo Mortensen (“Captain Fantastic”).

“Parker, the force behind the slave-revolt film “The Birth of a Nation,” faced intense scrutiny in August, including from The New York Times, when new details surfaced concerning a case in which he was accused — and later acquitted — of raping a fellow student while at Penn State nearly two decades ago.

“The media storm, made worse by several contentious interviews given by Parker, 37, resulted in a poor performance at the box office for his film and its shunning on the seasonal awards circuit. While heralded at festivals, the film received mixed reviews upon release.

“Affleck, 41, has not received similar scrutiny over two sexual harassment suits that were filed against him by two women in 2010 in civil court. At the time, a lawyer for Mr. Affleck, who plays a sorrowful New England handyman in the celebrated drama “Manchester by the Sea,” denied the accusations as ‘desperate, fabricated claims’ and called them an ‘extortion tactic.’ Nothing was proved. Ultimately, he settled for undisclosed sums.

“Affleck’s performance has continued to rack up accolades, despite fresh attention on the 2010 lawsuits by the news media. (Asked about them by The Times for an article in November, he responded: ‘It was settled to the satisfaction of all. I was hurt and upset — I am sure all were — but I am over it.’)

“Why do the two men find themselves in much different circumstances?

“Perhaps people think Affleck’s performance, and the movie in which he stars, is better. Maybe it’s because, as an Oscar nominee and the brother of the box-office star Ben Affleck, Affleck has attained a privileged status in Hollywood; the power surrounding him may make people reluctant to openly criticize him.

Certainly a factor is the fact that there was unsettling new information revealed about Mr. Parker’s rape case in August — that his accuser later committed suicide — while there have been no new disclosures regarding Mr. Affleck’s cases.

“Or maybe, say those mindful of Hollywood’s checkered racial history, it is because Mr. Affleck is white and Mr. Parker is black. . . .”

Editor’s Note: This article reprinted with permission from renowned journalist Richard Prince who occasionally submits his column “Journal-isms" to

Prince's "Journal-isms" originates from Washington, D.C. To check out Prince's complete columns log on to:

Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival.



Award-winning producer, writer and director J.J. Abrams has been selected by the Board of Directors of American Cinema Editors (ACE) to be honored with the organization’s prestigious ACE Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award.

The award will be presented at the 67th Annual ACE Eddie Awards black-tie ceremony on Jan. 27 in the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

"J.J. Abrams is a once-in-a-generation artist who has been making his mark in cinema and television for over twenty years,” stated the ACE Board of Directors.

“Through his production company, Bad Robot, J.J. has engaged and delighted audiences around the world with his innovative brand of storytelling. Whether he’s reinventing a beloved franchise or creating something entirely new and groundbreaking — be it Star Trek, Star Wars, Westworld, Lost, Alias and many others — his name is synonymous with nothing less than spectacular entertainment. He is one of the most exciting voices working in our industry, and we’re thrilled to celebrate his body of work thus far.”

Abrams joins a distinguished group of past ACE Golden Eddie honorees including: Frank Marshall, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Norman Jewison, Alexander Payne, James Cameron, Nancy Meyers, Clint Eastwood, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Kathleen Kennedy, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Saul Zaentz, Paul Greengrass and Stanley Donen, among others.

ACE, the entertainment industry’s honorary society of film editors, is comprised of over 850 accomplished editors working in film and television. The ACE Eddie Awards recognize outstanding editing in ten categories of film, television and documentaries. Nominees for the 67th Annual ACE Eddie Awards will be announced on January 3, 2017.


J.J. Abrams is the founder and President of Bad Robot Productions. Formed in 2001, Bad Robot is partnered with Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Studios, and has produced films and television series such as “Cloverfield,” “Star Trek,” “Super 8,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” ABC’s “Alias” and “Lost,” Fox’s “Fringe,” CBS’s “Person of Interest,” and HBO’s “Westworld.”

Born in New York and raised in Los Angeles, Abrams attended Sarah Lawrence College. In 1998, Abrams co-created his first television series “Felicity” with collaborator and long-time friend Matt Reeves. Abrams served as Executive Producer for the series’ four-season run on The WB.

Additionally, Abrams created and executive produced “Alias” for ABC, and co-created and executive produced ABC’s “Lost” with Damon Lindelof.

In 2005, Abrams received Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for the “Lost” pilot as well as Outstanding Drama Series for “Lost.” He also received Emmy nominations for his “Alias” and “Lost” pilot scripts. In addition, Abrams composed the theme music for “Alias,” “Fringe,” “Lost,” and “Person of Interest,” and he co-wrote the theme song for “Felicity.”

Abrams directed his first feature film, “Mission: Impossible 3” in 2006. His second feature directorial effort “Star Trek” was released in May 2009.

“Super 8,” written and directed by Abrams, and produced by Abrams and Steven Spielberg, was released in June 2011.

Abrams also directed “Star Trek Into Darkness,” which was released in May 2013. Abrams most recently directed and produced “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which he also co-wrote with Lawrence Kasdan.

Abrams also produced “Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol,” with Tom Cruise and Bryan Burk, which was released in December 2011, and “Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation,” released in July 2015. He also produced “10 Cloverfield Lane” and “Star Trek Beyond,” which were both released earlier this year.

In October 2013, Abrams’ first foray into publishing, "S", a novel conceived by Abrams and written by Doug Dorst, became a New York Times Best Seller.

Abrams and his wife, Katie McGrath, live in Los Angeles with their three children.

Editor’s Note: Photo Courtesy Of The 67th Annual ACE Eddie Awards.

TOP 20 MOVIES OF 2016 By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


The Movie Awards Season kicked off with the 22nd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards on Dec. 11 in Santa Monica.

The star-studded event aired on the A&E Network and was hosted by T.J. Miller of TV’s “Silicon Valley.”

Next up are the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards hosted byJimmy Fallon and airing Jan. 8 at 8 ET/5 PT on NBC.

Then it’s on to the 89th Academy Awards which Jimmy Kimmel will host live from the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood and which will air on ABC Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

Audiences had a wide variety of movies to choose from in 2016. Animated movies such as “Trolls” and “Moana” delighted viewers as did the extraordinary dramas, “Hell or High Water,” “Fences” (pictured) and “Hacksaw Ridge.”

Moviegoers were also dazzled by the sensational musical, “La La Land.”

Choosing 20 of the best movies from 2016 wasn’t easy, but was up to the challenge.

While some movies on our list are already clear-cut awards winners (“Critics’ Choice Awards") and major contenders at the Globes and Oscars; others simply are movies that flew under the radar or were overlooked and shunned for various reasons. However, we still loved them and believe they are worthy, exceptionally well made and entertaining.

So without further ado, presents its “Top 20 Movies Of 2016.”








8. "SULLY”


10. “LOVING”



13. “LION”








2016 women's alliance awards By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


The Alliance of Women Film Journalists recently announced the winners of the 10th annual AWFJ EDA Awards.

This year AWFJ presents EDA Awards in 25 categories, divided into three sections: the standard “Best Of” section, the “Female Focus” awards and the irreverent “EDA Special Mention” awards—including “Actress Most in Need of a New Agent” and the “AWFJ Hall of Shame Award.”

In the “Best Of” section, this year’s big winner is "Moonlight,” garnering EDA Awards in seven categories, including: “Best Film,” “Best Director” for Barry Jenkins, Best Screenplay (Adapted) for Jenkins, “Best Actor/ Supporting Role” for Mahershala Ali, “Best Ensemble Cast,” “Best Cinematography” and “Best Editing.”

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay won three EDAs for Best Documentary for "13th," as well as “Best Female Director” for "13th" and “Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in the Film Industry” for 13th and for raising awareness about the need for diversity and gender equality in Hollywood.

"Manchester By the Sea" won two EDA Awards for Best Actor for Casey Affleck and Best Screenplay (Original) for Kenneth Longergan. In the EDA Special Mention Categories, Annette Bening and Isabelle Huppert tied for the “Actress Defying Age and Ageism Award,” while Huppert was honored the “Bravest Performance Award” for "Elle."

Jennifer Aniston won the Actress Most in Need of a New Agent for "Mother’s Day" and "Office Christmas Party."

“This year has brought heightened awareness of the impact movies and cinema culture have on setting our social norms,” states EDA AWARDS and AWFJ founder and film critic Jennifer Merin. “The need for gender parity and greater diversity in the movie industry is patently clear. These goals are fundamental to AWFJ’s mission and core values. I'm thrilled that in our 10th anniversary awards season AWFJ members voted to honor such a diverse array of talent representing such a broad spectrum of perspectives, making the 2016 EDA Awards particularly relevant at a time when art -- and film, in particular -- must be the vanguard of social progress.”


Best Film: “MOONLIGHT”

Best Director: BARRY JENKINS – “Moonlight”

Best Screenplay, Original: “MANCHESTER BY THE SEA” – Kenneth Lonergan

Best Screenplay, Adapted: “MOONLIGHT” – Barry Jenkins

Best Documentary: “13th” – Ava DuVernay

Best Animated Film: “ZOOTOPIA” – Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush

Best Actress: RUTH NEGGA – “Loving”

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: VIOLA DAVIS – “Fences”

Best Actor: CASEY AFFLECK – “Manchester By The Sea”

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: MAHERSHALA ALI – “Moonlight”

Best Ensemble Cast – Casting Director: “Moonlight” – YESI RAMIREZ

Best Cinematography: “MOONLIGHT” – James Laxton Best Editing: “Moonlight” – JOI MCMILLON AND NAT SANDERS

Best Non-English-Language Film: “THE HANDMAIDEN” – Park Chan-Wook


Note: These awards honor WOMEN only.

Best Woman Director: AVA DUVERNAY –“13TH”

Best Woman Screenwriter: KELLY REINHARDT – “CERTAIN WOMEN”

Best Animated Female (tie): Judy in “ZOOTOPIA” – GINNIFER GOODWIN and Moana in “MOANA” – AULI’I CRAVALHO

Best Breakthrough Performance: Ruth Negga –“LOVING”

Outstanding Achievement by A Woman in The Film Industry:

AVA DUVERNAY – For “13th” and raising awareness about the need for diversity and gender equality in Hollywood.



Most Egregious Age Difference Between The Lead and The Love Interest Award: “RULES DON’T APPLY,” (WARREN BEATTY (B. 1937) AND LILY COLLINS (B. 1989).


Bravest Performance: ISABELLE HUPPERT – “ELLE”

Remake or Sequel That Shouldn’t have been Made: “BEN-HUR”



The Alliance of Women Film Journalists is a not-for-profit corporation, comprised of an international association of professional female movie critics, reporters and feature writers working in print, broadcast and online media.

They are dedicated to raising the volume on women's voices in the film community by broadening opportunities for women who write about film and supporting films by and about women – both in front of and behind the cameras – through intra-group promotional activities, outreach programs and by presenting EDA awards in recognition of outstanding accomplishments (the best and worst) by and about women in the movies.


In addition to the annual end of the year awards, AWFJ presents EDA Awards for Best Female-Directed Films at select film festivals, including IDFA, Whistler Film Festival, DOXA. Edinburgh Film Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival and others.

The EDAs are named in honor of AWFJ founder Jennifer Merin's mother, Eda Reiss Merin, a stage, film and screen actress whose career spanned more than 60 years. A dedicated foot soldier in the industry, Eda was one of the founders of AFTRA and a long standing member of AMPAS.

Editor’s Note: Information used in this report obtained from The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists.