QUEEN OF KATWE
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 09/30/2016
Running Time: 124
Rated: PG
Cast: David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong'o and introducing: Madina Nalwanga.
Crew: Director: Mira Nair. Producers: John B. Carls and Lydia Dean Pilcher. Executive Producers: Connor Schell, Dan Silver and Will Weiske. Screenwriters: William Wheeler, Tim Crothers (Based on the 1999 ESPN Magazine Article And Book By Tim Crothers). Cinematographer:Sean Bobbitt.
REVIEW: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

It might seem like a tall order to get audiences excited about a movie celebrating and honoring a teenage, Ugandan world-class chess champion.

However, Disney should be commended for adapting Tim Crothers ESPN article and 2012 book, “The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster,” to the bring screen.

“Queen of Katwe," from director Mira Nair, (“Monsoon Wedding” and “Mississippi Masala”) is a fascinating and inspirational sports movie.

It chronicles the life of Phiona Mutesi, (played magnificently by newcomer Madina Nalwanga), a poor, Ugandan girl who defied all odds and miraculously under the tutelage of a war refugee and missionary named Robert Katende (an outstanding, David Oyelowo, “Selma” and “Interstellar”), taught Phiona how to win in chess and most importantly in life.

Phiona (Nalwanga) grew up in Katwe, a large and impoverished district in Uganda’s capital, Kampala. Phiona lives with her widowed mother, Nakku Harriet (Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”) and two young brothers and older teen sister. They don’t have much, but they have each other.

Robert, (Oyelowo) works as an engineer and is an avid soccer player. He also grew up an orphan in Katwe.

Robert knows first-hand how limited opportunities are for these poor kids. So he decides to give back by creating a church sponsored sports program and chess club which would provide the kids a much needed outlet and keep them off the streets and hopefully out of trouble.

They listen to Robert, because his story is much like theirs and he understands the importance of having someone around that cares.

Phiona latches on too because she doesn’t want to follow in the footsteps of her older sister Night (Taryn Kyaze) who has fallen for some seedy looking guy named Theo (Maurice Kirya). Even she sees the relationship is going nowhere fast.

It doesn’t take long before Robert discovers that Phiona has a skillset and talent at chess unlike anything he’s ever seen. This girl can see eight moves ahead of her opponent. Phiona is so tough; she beats the boys and makes them leave the game crying in disgust.

Still, convincing Phiona’s mother to let her daughter work at improving her chess skills each day is really a tough sell. Phiona needs to help out with chores around the house, like cooking and cleaning and trying to get money for food.

Unless playing chess can put food in her brother’s mouths and clothes on their backs, Nakku (Nyong’o) doesn’t see the benefits of her taking time out for it.

Robert digs in and works hard to explain to Nakku just what Phiona’s chess playing talents could bring not only to their family, but she could also make them the pride of Katwe and the world.

Nakku gives in and soon Phiona is off and running competing in several matches.

There are class, race and other social and political themes that run throughout “Queen of Katwe,” yet Nair and screenwriter William Wheeler (TV’s “Ray Donovan”) don’t allow them to overshadow the core of this heart-warming story.

What’s even more impressive is how exciting and compelling Wheeler and Nair have made watching the film’s various chess matches particularly when Phiona is at the World Chess Olympiads.

I can’t say enough about the entire cast of this movie. They are astounding. If we're starting the Oscar conversation, let's not forget Oyelowo this time around.

Overall, this has been an incredible year for young kids and pre-teen actors across the board. “Queen of Katwe” is further proof. It's an exceptionally fine, film.

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....
 

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 09/30/2016
Masterminds

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 09/23/2016
The Magnificent Seven

Rated: R
Opens: 09/16/2016
Bridget Jones's Baby

Rated: R
Opens: 09/16/2016
Snowden

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 09/09/2016
Sully

Rated: R
Opens: 08/19/2016
Hell Or High Water


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

Central Intelligence <b>(Sept. 27)</b> Title: Central Intelligence (Sept. 27)
Year Released: 2016
Running Time: 107
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE"

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart make a formidable and very funny duo in the new comedy “Central Intelligence” from director Rawson Marshall Thurber. (The upcoming “We’re the Millers 2”).

Johnson, the former University of Miami football star and pro wrestler, has flexed his massive muscles before in movies like “Furious 7” and “San Andreas.” He’s even sported a Tutu and tights in the family comedies “The Game Plan” and “Tooth Fairy.”

In “Central Intelligence,” he nearly steals the show from the pint-sized Hart.

“Central Intelligence” opens with a prologue set in 1996 which shows what high school was like for Robert Whierdicht (Johnson), a fat, friendless, kid who was repeatedly bullied. Then there’s the school’s all-around loveable, football jock, Calvin “The Golden Jet” Joyner (Hart).

When you talk about the big man on campus, Calvin is definitely it.
Robert, on the other hand, wishes he could be as cool as Calvin.

But Robert is picked on constantly. He suffers one of the most humiliating school pranks probably in the history of high school pranks. It’s orchestrated by a snotty nosed kid (Jason Bateman, “Zootopia”).

Fortunately, a sympathetic Calvin offers his letter jacket to Robert so he can cover up some of the embarrassment that takes place during a school assembly.

But the scars from that ordeal haunt Robert.

Now, 20 years later, Robert is no longer that chunky kid with braces who lets people walk all over him. He’s changed his name to Bob Stone and is a ripped C.I.A. agent coming back home to Baltimore for his high school reunion.

Why he’d want to after all the cruelty he endured from some of his lame classmates is surprising, but like they say success is always the best revenge.
Meanwhile, Calvin has changed too. He’s an accountant who married his high school sweetheart, Maggie (Danielle Nicolet, TV’s “Born Again Virgin”).

Life is good. Well, it’s kind of good. It’s just not as exciting as Calvin had envisioned.

That changes though, when Bob reaches out to Calvin via Facebook and the two decide to get together and catch up on old times. But Calvin has no idea what he’s getting into with Bob.

When they meet over drinks, Calvin can’t believe what a stud Bob has turned into although the fanny pack, Unicorn T-shirt and jean shorts are puzzling.

Bob is just thrilled that someone as cool as Calvin is spending time with him and truly considers him a friend. Bob tells Calvin how grateful he was that he loaned him his jacket on that horrible high school day.

Bob really wants Calvin to be his friend. There’s more to Bob than meets the nerdy eye. Bob’s involvement with the C.I.A. raises a few red flags for Calvin. When he recruits Calvin to help him crack some secret forensic codes, it results in much more drama than Calvin ever imagined.

Now, he can’t escape. He gets caught up in an international espionage ring and is being pursued by C.I.A. agents Pamela Harris (Amy Ryan, “Bridge of Spies”), Stan Mitchell (Tim Griffin, TV’s “Wayward Pines” and “Aquarius”), Nick Cooper (Timothy John Smith, “The Equalizer” and TV’s “The Blacklist”) and even Calvin’s former partner Phil (Aaron Paul, TV’s “Bojack Horseman” and “The Path”).

Hart’s manic expressions are priceless. He’s terrific as the scary, little guy and complements Johnson’s brash machismo. Johnson—who quotes lines from sappy movies like “Sixteen Candles”-- really pours on the dorkiness and charm.

A little Hart and a big Johnson go a long way in “Central Intelligence. It’s pretty hilarious.
(Highly Recommended).

The Shallows <b>(Sept. 27)</b> Title: The Shallows (Sept. 27)
Year Released: 2016
Running Time: 87
Production Company: Columbia Pictures
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"THE SHALLOWS"

What a pleasant summer surprise “The Shallows” turned out to be.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, (“Orphan” and Liam Neeson’s, “Non-Stop,” “Unknown” and “Run all Night”), this small budget flick serves up big time thrills.

Blake Lively stars as Nancy Adams, a veteran surfer who dropped out of medical school after her mother died of cancer. Her father (Brett Cullen, TV’s “Person of Interest”) has tried to convince Nancy she should continue to pursue her dream, but Nancy’s heart just isn’t in it anymore.

Hoping to clear her mind from everything, she decides to take a break and head for Mexico to a secret and stunningly beautiful beach called "Paradise" that her mother always talked about.

Nancy plans to hook up with her best friend and catch up on old times and catch some waves.
She meets a friendly resident named Carlos (Oscar Jaenada) and he offers to take her to the secluded beach in his truck.

They strike up a friendly conversation on the ride over and before arriving, Nancy gets a call from her friend. She’s been partying a lot and isn’t feeling well and tells Nancy she won’t be able to hang out with her.

Nancy isn’t about to let all this paradise go to waste. She decides to take it all in on her own. She waxes her surf board, slips into her snug bikini and makes her way into the water. If only she had brought her younger sister Chloe (Sedona Legge) with her, things might have turned out differently.

Granted, Nancy is a professional surfer and all, but there’s no one around and she just jumps in and does her thing.
She does come across a couple of other surfers who speak very little English. They’re surprised to learn she’s from Houston, Texas and not California.

They are also enjoying beach and have Go Pro cameras with them which literally become a life saver for Nancy.

When the guys decide to leave, it’s just Nancy in the middle of the pristine, blue water. Or so it seems.

Within minutes, a hungry, great white shark is looking for dinner and Nancy is it. The vicious shark knocks Nancy off her board and takes a huge bite out of her leg, leaving her writhing in pain and clinging to a rock protruding from the water.

It’s hardly a safe haven because the tide will come in and Nancy’s options of escape become slimmer by the minute even though she’s a mere 200 yards from the shore.

The only thing keeping Nancy from losing it is her talking aloud about what her next moves will be and a seagull with a broken wing that stays by her side.

“The Shallows” ramps up the drama when the two surfers reappear and Nancy tries to tell them to get out of the water. Of course they don’t quite understand her. They attempt to make their way over to her, but it doesn’t end well for them at all.

Collet-Serra really puts the audience front and center of the action and does a fabulous job at capturing the desperation and peril.
(Highly Recommended).

Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates </b>(Sept. 27)</b> Title: Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates (Sept. 27)
Year Released: 2016
Running Time: 98
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Director: Jake Szymanski
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES"

Zac Efron has blossomed into a versatile, dramatic and comedic actor.

He's anchored movies like Nicholas Sparks’ weepy, drama “The Lucky One” and generated lots of laughs alongside Seth Rogen in both “Neighbors” movies.

It’s probably safe to say his song and dance “High School Musical” movie days are behind him.

In his latest buddy comedy, “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” Efron really hits his comedic stride.

It’s hard to believe that this movie is loosely based on a true story about two brothers from New York named Mike and Dave who decided to place an ad on Craigslist seeking dates to go with them to Hawaii for their cousin’s wedding.

The brothers exploits are documented in their 2015 memoir “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates: and A Thousand Cocktails” and now plays out hilariously in this “R” rated rom-com.

In “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” from director Jake Szymanksi (“7 Days in Hell”), Efron stars as Dave and Mike is played by the very funny Adam Devine (“Pitch Perfect 2” and TV’s “Modern Family”).

Mike and Dave are stuck in a state of arrested development. They refuse to grow up even though Mike runs a tequila business and Dave has his sights set on being an artist, life to them is just one big play day.

Their father Burt (an excellent Stephen Root, TV’s “Idiotsitter”) is totally embarrassed and disgusted with Mike and Dave’s childish ways. So is their mom, Rosie (Stephanie Faracy, TV’s “Devious Maids”). It seems every family gathering these guys attend; they manage to ruin it with some disastrous prank.

And now that their sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard, “Aloha”) is getting married in Hawaii to a black dude named Eric (Sam Richardson of “Veep,” “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” and the upcoming “Ghostbusters” movie), their parents want to ensure Mike and Dave don’t mess up the wedding and stay on their best behavior.

Their mom and dad insist that in order to attend the wedding, they have to bring respectable dates with them so they won’t be crushing on every girl they see and act a fool.

Naturally, the idea doesn’t sit well with Mike and Dave. They don’t even know any “respectable” girls.

Yet, sensing their parents really mean business this time, they come up with a plan to find two “nice” girls. They place an ad on social media and it takes off like wildfire especially after Mike and Dave appear on "The Wendy Williams Show." Soon dozens of young women are clamoring to be Mike and Dave’s ideal date.

After interviewing several of the women, they agree that Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza, “Dirty Grandpa” and TV’s “Castle”) and Alice (Anna Kendrick, “Pitch Perfect 2”) are the “nice” girls they’ve been looking for.

But are they really?

Tatiana and Alice are best friends and work as waitresses. They also love to drink and party hard. They intend to run a game on Mike and Dave just so they can get their tropical vacation on.

As you might expect this dream wedding soon becomes a nightmare for everyone. It takes a minute, but Dave and Mike discover that Alice and Tatiana aren’t who they claimed to be and that’s when the fireworks begin.

The movie’s outrageousness involves scenes with Sugar Lyn Beard and a naked, oily masseuse played to perfection by Kumail Nanjiani who stars in TV’s “Silicon Valley” and also had a small, but very funny role Kevin Hart’s comedy, “Central Intelligence.”

While “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” incorporates the raunchiness of “The Wedding Crashers,” "The Hangover," "Bridesmaids” and even "Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” there’s a surprisingly charming aspect to the movie which somehow makes it feel fresh.
(Highly Recommended).

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising <b>(Sept. 20)</b> Title: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (Sept. 20)
Year Released: 2016
Running Time: 92
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“NEIGHBORS 2: SORORITY RISING”

With “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, director Nicholas Stoller decided to strike again with a ramped up and raunchy comedy. It’s not as consistently funny as the 2014 original “Neighbors” which I like a lot. Yet, “Sorority Rising” have its zany moments along with the buffed, blue-eyed, Zack Efron.

In “Sorority Rising,” Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Bryne) are trying to sell their house because they are expecting their second child and want a bit more space.
They’re worried if they are actually good parents. You have to wonder since they seem OK with their little Stella (Elise Vargas) dressing up Kelly’s pink dildo like a little princess and playing around with Mac’s bong.

Their house is in a 30-Day escrow. And even though their realtor has repeatedly explained to them what that means, they seem oblivious to the entire concept. That real estate gag will be especially funny to new home buyers.

Once Mac and Kelly finally understand that the new owners have 30 days to decide whether they really want the house or not, they start to panic.

They have even more reason to worry when a sorority, led by Shelby (Chloë Grace Moretz, “The 5th Wave” and “The Equalizer”) and her best friends, Beth (Kiersey Clemons, “Dope” and TV’s “New Girl”) and Nora (Beanie Feldstein, “Fan Girl”) decide they want their own digs.
The girls are tired of having to attend parties at the frat houses with the boys because they are “super rapey.”

They want to shake things up by changing the campus rule which states that frats can throw parties, but sororities can’t. This emboldens the young women to make a statement about the sexist rule. The problem is they have to come up with a ton of money to even lease the house. They don’t have it.

This is where Teddy (Efron) comes in. Teddy’s still quite the hottie, but he’s older now and has discovered that the real work world is nothing like college. He’s been working at Foot Locker ever since leaving campus and is pretty miserable.

How the mighty have fallen.

Everything seems to be passing Teddy by. Even his best friend Pete (Dave Franco, “Zeroville”) has moved on and he’s about to get married to some dude and wants to push Teddy out of the house.

I guess that “brothers for life” frat stuff is just noise. With really nowhere to turn, Teddy winds up meeting Shelby. He tells her and the girls he knows a few things about frats and sororities. He offers to help them raise money to get the house.

And the process they go through has Mac and Kelly fuming all over again because their prospective buyer surely won’t want to live next door to all this madness.

When Mac and Kelly’s rational pleading with the sorority girls doesn’t work, they bring in Shelby’s father (Kelsey Grammer, TV’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) to try and talk to her about waiting to start the sorority until after Mac and Kelly sell the house.
No deal. And so it’s on once again.

Mac and Kelly have to find ways to keep the girls from staying in the house.
Some of the pranks are laugh out loud funny along with scenes involving Lisa Kudrow as the college chancellor and Hannibal Burress as the campus cop schooling his partner Garf (Jerrod Carmichael, TV’s “The Carmichael Show”).

While “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” doesn’t rise to the level of its predecessor, it’s still pretty fun.
(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
FENCES By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

DENZEL WASHINGTON BRINGS "FENCES" TO THE BIG SCREEN

This is shaping up to be some kind of year for Denzel Washington.

The two time Oscar-winning actor is currently starring in the remake of “The Magnificent Seven” which opened atop the box office with $35 million.

Now, there’s an even bigger buzz surrounding Washington’s upcoming movie, “Fences” which arrives in theatres December 25, 2016.

Washington directed, co-produced and stars in “Fences” alongside Academy Award nominee, Viola Davis (“Suicide Squad” and TV’s “How to Get Away with Murder”) and Mykelti Williamson (“The Purge: Election Year” and TV’s “Underground”).

“Fences” is adapted from August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play. and in addition to Washington is produced by Todd Black and Scott Rudin.

Check Out This Explosive Trailer Of "FENCES"

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


deepwater horizon By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

“DEEPWATER HORIZON: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE” OPENS SEPT. 29 AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE

“Deepwater Horizon” is based on the true events that occurred on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010.

“Deepwater Horizon: The IMAX Experience” opens at 7:00 p.m. on Sept. 29 at The Esquire IMAX Theatre.

The story chronicles the courage of those who worked on the Deepwater Horizon and the extreme moments of bravery and survival in the face of what would become one of the biggest man-made disasters in world history.

“Deepwater Horizon: The IMAX Experience” will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of An IMAX Experiencewith 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.

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 IMAX Theatre publicity department.


FRED WILLIAMSON By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

FRED WILLIAMSON CELEBRATES "STAR TREK'S 50TH ANNIVERSARY

If you’re a fan of “Star Trek,” then you know that the show is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this September. The space drama debuted on NBC September 8, 1966 and ran until June 1969.

“Star Trek” followed the galactic adventures of James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the crew of the starship Enterprise, an exploration vessel of a 23rd-century interstellar "United Federation of Planets.”

"Star Trek" remains a cultural phenomenon.

For all my trekkie fans and to those who love “blaxploitation” movies, here is a blast from the past at just how ahead of its time the Gene Roddenberry produced “Star Trek” series was.

The guy you see with the blue bandana and long hair is none other than Fred “The Hammer” Williamson” who starred in the “Star Trek” Season 3, episode 21 show titled “The Cloud Minders.” It aired on February 28, 1966.

And you thought Williamson was just a “Blaxploitation” movie star. Actually, Williamson has done many movies, TV shows and commercials throughout his impressive career. And at 78-years old he is still a prominent fixture on the movie and TV circuit today.

N2Entertainment.net recently spoke with Williamson and he stated that he was cast for the “Cloud Minders” “Star Trek” episode show right after he was traded from the Oakland Raiders to the Kansas City Chiefs. He said he had a blast working alongside William Shatner.

Lately, Williamson has been all over the small screen with many of his movies such as “Black Eye” and “Three the Hard Way” airing on stations such as the Turner Classic Movies channel.

If you’re new to “The Hammer’s” flicks, it’s never too late to get on board. “Black Caesar,” “Three the Hard Way” and “Hell up in Harlem” remain my all-time favorite Fred Williamson movies and were truly ahead of the times with their messages of social, political and racial injustice.

Williamson has plenty of movies, including several spaghetti westerns. Without a doubt Williamson is truly one of cinema’s most esteemed pioneers.

Editor’s Note: Photo Provided By: Fred “The Hammer” Williamson.