MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE ROGUE NATION
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 07/31/2015
Running Time: 131
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris and Alec Baldwin.
Crew: Director: Christopher McQuarrie. Producers: Tom Cruise, J.J. Abrams, Zakaria Alaoui, Bryan Burk, David Ellison, Helen Medrano and Maricel Pagulayan. Executive Producers: Dana Goldberg, Don Granger and Jake Myers. Screenwriters: Christopher McQuarrie, Drew Pearce and Bruce Geller ("Mission Impossible" TV Show). Cinematographer: Robert Elswit.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Say what you want about Tom Cruise, but when it comes to action movies like his latest, “Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation,” this guy is still top gun.

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie (“Edge of Tomorrow” and “Jack Reacher”), “Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation” is the fifth movie from the multi-billion dollar franchise and arguably the best of the bunch.

It’s filled with unbelievable action sequences including the opening one which features Cruise desperately clinging by his fingernails to the side of an Airbus A400 military plane in Minsk, Belarus as it’s speeding down the runway and then takes flight.

“Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation” picks up pretty much where 2011’s “Ghost Protocol” left off. The Impossible Mission Force (IMF) has been shut down since it was implicated in the bombing of the Kremlin.

CIA Director Alan Hunley (a very cool Alec Baldwin, “Still Alice” and the upcoming “Concussion”) wants the IMF absorbed into the CIA. More than anything, he wants its leader Ethan Hunt (Cruise). Hunt is a man of many talents. If there’s one thing he’s exceptionally skilled at, it’s eluding capture.

Not only that, Hunt and his motley crew of Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg, “Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens”), Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames “Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol”), and William Brandt (Jeremy Renner, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Kill the Messenger”) all have their sights set on taking down a highly trained group of rogue spies known as The Syndicate whose leader, Solomon Lane (Sean Harris, “Prometheus”) is as calculating and ruthless as they come. Their goal is to take over the world. However, Hunt and his team aren’t having it.

Their globetrotting and seemingly impossible mission has them dashing through Vienna, London, Malaysia and even Morocco with Hunt speeding on a motorcycle through the twisty streets in pursuit of the bad guys.

Lending more than a helping hand to Hunt is disavowed British Agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson, “Hercules”). She’s a bad Mama Jama, a true weapon of mass destruction although her loyalty becomes questionable and it may jeopardize everything for Hunt.

Paramount Pictures has struck pure gold with this “Mission Impossible” franchise. They have Tom Cruise to thank for it too. He wears the action spy role well.

The 53-year-old actor obviously loves a good challenge and does much of the jaw-dropping stunt work himself in “Rogue Nation” like the thrilling water vault scene where Cruise has to hold his breath for six minutes.

Your mission—and you’d be crazy not to accept it—is to see “Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation.” It’s fun. It’s smart. It’s one of the best action movies this year.

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 "MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE ROGUE NATION."...
 

Rated: R
Opens: 07/29/2015
Vacation

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 07/24/2015
Pixels

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 07/24/2015
Paper Towns

Rated: R
Opens: 07/24/2015
Southpaw

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 07/17/2015
Ant-Man

Rated: R
Opens: 07/17/2015
Trainwreck


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

Home <b>(July 28)</b> Title: Home (July 28)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 90
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Director: Tim Johnson
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"HOME"

Based on the Adam Rex book, “The True Meaning of Smekday,” “Home” is a cute and whimsical movie that’s picture-perfect for kids. The film marks the DreamWorks animation debut of R&B singer Rihanna (“This is The End”) and Jim Parsons (TV’s “The Big Bang Theory”) .

“Home” centers on an alien race known as The Boov. They’re an interesting looking species with Minion shaped bodies, six legs, flat top heads, big eyes, weird ears, mood altering skin tones and a twisted command of the English language that would make rappers envious.

The Boov and their fearful leader, Captain Smek (Steve Martin) are notorious for running away to escape from their enemy the Gorg Commander (Brian Stepanek, “Pain & Gain”).

They relocate to Earth and as part of their routine, suck up all the people and transport them to Australia—of all places—or “Happy Humantown” as they call it.

But in their haste to call Earth home, the Boov leave behind Gratuity 'Tip' Tucci (Rihanna), an adorable, curly haired, green-eyed 12-year-old girl who is now separated from her mother Lucy (Jennifer Lopez, TV’s “American Idol”).

Tip only has her cat named Pig, to keep her company until she meets Oh (Parsons). He’s the misfit of the Boov bunch and is eager to try and fit in with the humans. Fortunately Tip befriends him.

But when Oh accidently sends an e-mail invitation out to the entire planet, including Gorg who knows exactly where they are now, everyone is at risk.

Tip and Oh make a mad dash in their flying car hoping to find Tip's mother and save the universe before Gorg destroys it.

“Home” is a light-hearted and engaging story with a touching message for kids about family, friends, loyalty and acceptance.

Kudos to DreamWorks. They continue to strive and promote diversity in film. Rihanna’s “Tip” is the first black lead character in a DreamWorks 3-D animated film.

And while Parsons and Rihanna are a dynamic duo in “Home,” Rihanna really shines. She sings the majority of the film’s songs including her hit “Dancing in the Dark.”
(Recommended).

The Water Diviner <b>(July 28)</b> Title: The Water Diviner (July 28)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 111
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Russell Crowe
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"THE WATER DIVINER"

Russell Crowe makes his directorial debut with “The Water Diviner.”
In the movie, Crowe plays an Australian farmer/rancher named Joshua Connor. He spends much of his time slowly walking through the desert with a couple of metal rods that detects where water might be. When he comes upon a spot, he starts digging away and soon water is oozing out of the ground.

It’s ironic that Joshua’s wife Eliza (Jacqueline McKenzie, TV’s “Love Child” and “Hiding”) commits suicide by drowning herself outside their farmhouse when their three sons never return home from the First World War.

With his sons missing and his wife dead, Joshua is devastated. He’s also determined to travel to Turkey, find the bodies of his boys and bring them back home for a proper burial.

But it’s not an easy mission. He’s informed by some aggressive British soldiers that he can’t go anywhere near Gallipoli and they demand he head back home. But our man Joshua is a pretty resourceful Aussie. Fortunately, he’s able to find some sympathy from a Turkish Major (Yilmaz Erdogan, “Words with God”) known by Australians as “Hasan the Assassin” and he helps Joshua sneak in.

Joshua also lucks out when he meets a young boy named Orhan, (Dylan Georgiades) who lures Joshua to his family’s newly opened hotel. He’s then introduced to Orhan’s mother Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko, “The November Man”) who is a tall and very beautiful Turkish woman.

They strike up a conversation and one of the lamest and clumsiest on screen romances around. Joshua, go big or go home.

To his credit, Crowe does capture a couple of intense battle sequences rather stylishly in “The Water Diviner.” They are effective and not gratuitously bloody and violent. However, his overuse of flashbacks hinders rather than enhances Crowe’s ambitious and patriotic war homage.
(Recommended).

The Divergent Series: Insurgent <b>(July 21)</b> Title: The Divergent Series: Insurgent (July 21)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 159
Production Company: Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment
Director: Robert Schwentke
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"THE DIVERGENT SERIES: INSURGENT:

The sci-fi action movie “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” arrives on Digital HD July 21 and on 3-D Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD), Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD (Digital) and On Demand August 4.

Tris, Shailene Woodley (“The Fault in Our Stars”) is one of the
“non-conformist “Divergents,” along with Tobias “Four” Eaton (Theo James), her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort, “The Fault in Our Stars”) and the untrustworthy Peter Hayes (Miles Teller, “Whiplash”). They’re on the run from Erudite leader Jeanine (Kate Winslet, “Labor Day”).

Since seizing the Dauntless warrior class, Jeanine now has complete reign over the city. Don’t be misled by her cutesy name. Jeanine is ruthless. She’ll do whatever it takes to get what she wants. And she desperately wants Tris. Apparently there’s a secret box that was found at Tris’ deceased mother’s (Ashley Judd, “Dolphin Tale 2”) house that contains an important and powerful message. But here’s the kicker. Only a Divergent like Tris can open it.

Tris, Four and Peter briefly find a safe haven at the Amity Faction Compound which is run by peaceful leader Johanna (Oscar winning actress Octavia Spencer, “The Help” and “Get on Up”).

It’s not long however, before they are discovered and taken back to the city by a Dauntless solider (Jai Courtney, “Unbroken”) and his mercenaries.

They are then forced to confront their past and future. The drama all plays out before Candor Faction leader Jack Kang (Daniel Dae Kim, TV’s “Hawaii Five-O”) and Faction-less rebel, Evelyn Johnson-Eaton (Naomi Watts, “St. Vincent”) who becomes Jeanine’s nemesis.

“Insurgent” is loaded with top shelf talent although some like Mekhi Phifer and Spencer don’t have a lot to do.

But then again, “Insurgent” is Woodley’s show through and through. She convincingly seizes the heroine role particularly during the eye-popping 3-D action sequences which are stylishly and effectively staged.

Author Veronica Roth’s novel “Allegiant” will complete the “Divergent” trilogy. The book is being adapted into two movies, “Allegiant Part 1” which arrives in 2016 and “Allegiant Part II” (2017).

For fans of this sci-fi series, it may seem like a bit of a stretch to try and make two movies out of the final story, but with the alluring Woodley and James at the forefront, it still should be exciting to see what comes next.
(Recommended).

Editor’s Note: The 3-D Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray (both featuring distinctive lenticular covers) and Digital HD release are packed with nearly four hours of entertaining bonus material including “Insurgent Unlocked: The Ultimate Behind-the-Scenes Access” documentary (a feature-length, in-depth look at all aspects of the movie – for the ultimate fan).

There's also audio commentary with producers and five exclusive featurettes:
“Diverging: Adapting Insurgent to the Screen,” “From Divergent to Insurgent,” “The Others: Cast and Characters,” “The Train Fight Unlocked” and “The Peter Hayes Story.”

The 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack and Blu-ray are encoded in Dolby TrueHD and feature a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, which delivers captivating sound that places and moves audio anywhere in the room, including overhead, to bring entertainment alive all around the audience.

It Follows <b>(July 14)</b> Title: It Follows (July 14)
Year Released: 2015
Running Time: 120
Production Company: Radius TWC
Director: Davis Robert Mitchell
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"IT FOLLOWS"

Director Robert Mitchell (“The Myth of the American Sleepover”) brings such a creepy and chilling eeriness to the coming-of-age drama “It Follows” that it will have you totally locked in and mesmerized.

In fact, the very opening scene “It Follows” shows a frightened woman in high heels running out of her house. We don’t see what’s chasing her and more importantly she doesn’t fall down. That’s the first clue this isn’t going to be your typical, teen horror movie.

Another attractive youngster named Jay (Maika Monroe, “The Guest”) is enjoying a carefree afternoon in her backyard swimming pool, spending time with her sister Kelly (Lili Sepe) and her friends Yara (Olivia Luccardi, TV’s “House of Cards”) and Paul (Keir Gilchrist, “It’s Kind of A Funny Story”).

Jay is loving life. She just started dating the handsome hunky, Hugh/Jeff (Jake Weary, TV’s “Pretty Little Liars”) and is going out on their first dinner date.

After dinner, they enjoy each other’s company in the back of his car which is parked in an empty parking lot. While Hugh steps out to get some fresh air, Jay is relishing her special moment. But it doesn’t last long.

Hugh startles Jay from behind and drugs her, then ties her to a wheelchair and takes her to another location.

Jay isn’t sure if this is a bad dream or what because when she wakes up, Hugh tells her what’s going to happen to her. And it isn’t pretty.

Hugh explains that she’ll start seeing all kinds of weird people like an old woman, and a naked girl and they will be following her.

Oh, and the only way Jay can only rid herself of these menacing threats is to have sex with someone. That’s how Hugh got “It” and was the reason why he wanted to hook up with Jay.

“It Follows” isn’t one of those blood splattering slasher movies, although there are a couple of quick shocking scenes of what “It” can do.

What makes “It Follows” work so well, is it doesn’t cop to all the tired clichés so prevalent in most teen horror flicks.

The cast, aren’t one dimensional characters either and the scenes are well executed. “It Follows” may move slowly, but the pay-off is quite satisfying.
(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
mission By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

“MISSION IMPOSSIBLE-ROGUE NATION: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE” OPENS JULY 30 AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE

With the IMF disbanded, and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) out in the cold, the team now faces off against a network of highly skilled special agents, the Syndicate.

These highly trained operatives are hell-bent on creating a new world order through an escalating series of terrorist attacks. Ethan gathers his team and joins forces with disavowed British agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson, “Hercules”), who may or may not be a member of this rogue nation, as the group faces their most impossible mission yet.

“Mission Impossible-Rogue Nation: The IMAX Experience” opens July 30 at the Esquire IMAX Theatre at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento.

“Mission Impossible-Rogue Nation: The IMAX 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 fixins.’

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.

OTHER "REEL MOVIE NEWS"

AARDMAN ANIMATIONS COMING TO THE ACADEMY AND SIGGRAPH

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrates the work of Aardman Animations with three programs featuring the studio’s Oscar-winning and nominated Wallace and Gromit shorts on August 7, and August 9.

WALLACE AND GROMIT RESTORED: THE MARC DAVIS CELEBRATION OF ANIMATION--August 7, 7:30 p.m. Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Beverly Hills. As part of the Academy’s Marc Davis Celebration of Animation series, Aardman Animations co-founder David Sproxton and Wallace and Gromit cinematographer Dave Alex Riddett will discuss the making of the studio’s Oscar-winning shorts “The Wrong Trousers” and “A Close Shave,” and the Oscar-nominated shorts “A Grand Day Out” and “A Matter of Loaf and Death.” The program also will include the world premiere screening of the restorations of all four films, the result of a collaborative effort between the Academy Film Archive and Aardman Animations.

CRACKING ANIMATION: BEHIND THE SCENES AT AARDMAN--August 9, 9 a.m. Los Angeles Convention Center, Downtown Los Angeles. The Academy returns to SIGGRAPH Conference with a panel featuring Sproxton and Riddett, who will trace the arc of Aardman’s voyage over the last three decades, present clips of the studio’s work, and discuss the evolving production techniques and future prospects of stop-motion animation.

A GRAND DAY OUT: WALLACE AND GROMIT FAMILY MATINEES--August 9, 1:00–5:30 p.m. At The Linwood Dunn Theater, Hollywood. The Academy presents matinee screenings of all four Wallace and Gromit shorts for families, as well as an animation workshop for children ages 8 to 13. The 90-minute hands-on workshop will offer a small group of participants the opportunity to learn some of Aardman Animations’ stop-motion techniques.

For tickets and more information call (310) 247-3000.

OTHER ACADEMY NEWS:

AWARDS RULES APPROVED FOR 88TH OSCARS:

The Academy’s Board of Governors approved Oscars rules and campaign regulations for the 88th Academy Awards during their most recent Board meeting on June 23.

In the “Best Picture” category, to qualify as a producer nominee for a nominated picture, the producer must have been determined eligible for a Producers Guild of America (PGA) Award for the picture, or must have appealed the PGA’s refusal of such eligibility. Final determination of the qualifying producer nominees for each nominated picture will be made by the Academy’s Producers Branch Executive Committee.

In the “Visual Effects” category, the number of eligible films that will be initially shortlisted for further consideration has increased to a maximum of 20 titles. The number of films that will be shortlisted for nominations voting remains at 10.

In the “Documentary Short Subject” category, the number of films that will be shortlisted for nominations voting has increased from 8 to 10 titles. Instead of a possible three, four or five nominees, the number is now set at five.

In the “Animated Short Film” and “Live Action Short Film” categories, a film qualifying via a theatrical release must now have a theater run in Los Angeles County for at least seven consecutive days with at least one screening per day. The film also must appear in the theater listings along with the appropriate dates and screening times. In both categories, the number of nominees is now set at five.

Other amendments to the rules include standard date changes and other “housekeeping” adjustments. Rules are reviewed annually by individual branch and category committees. The Awards Rules Committee then reviews all proposed changes before presenting its recommendations to the Board of Governors for approval.

Updated campaign regulations, which specify how companies and individuals may market to Academy members any movies and achievements eligible for the 88th Academy Awards, are also presented to the Board for approval.

The 88th Oscars will be held February 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC television at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

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


3D Animation By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

BLACK-OWNED FIRM PRODUCES LARGE SCALE ANIMATION VIA 3-D PROJECTION MAPPING

"Our problem is we sound too good to be true," says Maria Solomon, Head of EOS Studios in Cleveland, Ohio. EOS Studios is a woman-owned African American firm that produces large and small scale 3-D Animation. EOS specializes in the emerging field of 3-D Projection Mapping.

3-D Projection Mapping, also known as video mapping, urban projection, architectural mapping and spatial augmented reality, is a projection-based technology that merges animation, motion graphics and special effects. 3D Projection Mapping is being used by movie makers, entertainers, artists, architects, designers and event planners as well as advertisers and marketers of all types to provide memorable messages through jaw-dropping 3-D effects.

Solomon explains, "We’ve perfected a process where we can create 100 percent custom 3-D Projection Mapping for any purpose you can imagine and do it at a level which would ordinarily take at least a half dozen Animators or more, which keeps our costs very competitive in the industry." A full scale 3-D Projection Mapping project can run deep into six figure territory.

Michael Solomon, Maria’s husband, is Lead Animator and Creative Director. He says, "Our digital lighting partner is a well-established, industry leading firm--you want 3-D projections mapped across the Statue of Liberty or the Washington Monument? Done. You want 3-D projections mapped across a Football Stadium, Baseball Diamond, Basketball Court or Concert Venue? Done. You want 3-D projections coming out of your kids toy box at home? Done."

He continues, "In my opinion, not only is 3-D Projection Mapping the future of marketing and advertising, 3-D Projection Mapping is the future of entertainment as a whole. It’s like man’s discovery of fire all over again. Worldwide, we’ve only scratched the surface of what 3-D Projection Mapping can do as an art and a science."

For more information, visit www.eyeofsolomon.com or contact Maria Solomon at maria@eyeofsolomon.com.

Editor’s Note: Reprinted With Permission From BlackNews.Com. Photo: Courtesy of BlackNews.Com.


OMAR SHARIF By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

SAG FOUNDATION REMEMBERS OMAR SHARIF

The Screen Actors Guild Foundation mourns the loss of multi-faceted and legendary actor Omar Sharif who died July 10, 2015. To honor his life and extraordinary career, the SAG Foundation has digitized and released its 50-minute career retrospective with Sharif recorded in 2003.

“Conversations with Omar Sharif” was moderated by Todd Amorde and taped before an audience of fellow union actors. In the video, Sharif discusses a lifetime of unforgettable roles and career turning points, including his Academy Award nomination for “Lawrence of Arabia,” his Golden Globe win for the classic “Doctor Zhivago” and 2003’s “Monsieur Ibrahim,” the film that would garner him a César win the following year.

A master of playing intriguing characters, Sharif reveals himself as a lively, intelligent, and wide-ranging actor who took on any challenge he was given, not only on screen, but also in his everyday life.

The entire “Conversations with Omar Sharif” can be viewed on the SAG Foundation YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/pD8poHW9YcI

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