THE HUNT
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 03/13/2020
Running Time: 90
Rated: R
Cast: Hilary Swank, Betty Gilpin, Ike Barinholtz and Emma Roberts.
Crew: Director: Craig Zobel. Producers: Jason Blum, Damon Lindelof and Jennifer Scudder Trent. Executive Producers: Craig Zobel, Nick Cuse and Steven R. Molen. Screenwriters: Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof. Cinematographer: Darren Tiernan.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Universal’s controversial movie “The Hunt” was scheduled for release last year on Sept. 27.

However, after the mass shootings in Dayton Ohio and El Paso, Texas and along with a wave of criticism surrounding it’s political messaging—some of the chatter even came from President Trump--the film was shelved.

Now, “The Hunt” is on again. This time it’s being marketed not just as a dark, political satire, but also a horror/thriller movie. It kind of works on both fronts which isn’t all that surprising since it’s from Blumhouse productions the creators of the socially conscious movies, “Us,” “Get Out” and “The Purge.”

With “The Hunt,” director Craig Zobel (TV’s “One Dollar”) and writers Damon Lindelof (TV’s “Lost” and Nick Cuse (TV’s “Watchmen”) build their story around America’s current cultural divide. “The Hunt” is meant to be offensive.

It’s meant to shock and awe. It takes aim at liberals, conservatives, vegans, Jews, blacks/African-Americans, rednecks and the rest of those “basket of deplorables.”

“The Hunt” is a loose update of Richard Connell’s classic 1924 short story, “The Most Dangerous Game” where humans prey on each other for sport.

The reason? Politics of course. Both the left and right hate each other.

“The Hunt” begins when a dozen people wind up in a remote facility called The Manor House. Among the group is Emma Roberts, (TV’s “American Horror Story”), Sturgill Simpson (“Queen & Slim”) and Ike Barinholtz (TV’s “The Twilight Zone”) and Justin Hartley (TV’s “This is Us”).

Their mouths are gagged, and they have no clue how they got there. There’s a giant, wooden crate nearby. They open it and find a ton of weapons and a live pig inside. No clue as to why the pig is there.

Within minutes, they’re being hunted by a group of elitists: (Steve Coulter, (“Just Mercy”), Vince Pisani, TV’s “Legacies”), Glenn Howerton, TV’s “A.P. Bio”) and Teri Wyble, (TV’s “The Resident”) among others. They’ve devised all sorts of ways to kill them from using a spike pit and piercing arrows, to a barrage of high-tech weaponry.

These elitists revel in this deadly, bloody game that’s orchestrated by their leader, Athena (a terrific Hilary Swank, TV’s “BoJack Horseman”).

The only person savvy enough to survive this onslaught is Crystal (a terrific Betty Gilpin, “The Grudge”). There’s a reason Crystal is so tough. As this crazy and insanely violent movie rolls along we see why especially during a thrilling fight scene between them.

“The Hunt” is the kind of movie that Quentin Tarantino would undoubtedly love for its gratuitous violence and political incorrectness.

Even so, while “The Hunt” has some exciting moments, it’s still just a solid B-movie and not quite the political juggernaut it was hyped up to be.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.

Check Out This Trailer For "THE HUNT"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.
 

Rated: PG
Opens: 03/13/2020
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Rated: PG
Opens: 03/06/2020
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Rated: R
Opens: 03/06/2020
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Rated: R
Opens: 02/28/2020
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Rated: PG
Opens: 02/21/2020
The Call Of The Wild

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 02/14/2020
The Photograph


OLD SCHOOL VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH

<b>“The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings.”</b> Title: “The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings.”
Year Released: 1977
Running Time: 110
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Director: John Badham
Director of Photography: Bill Butler
Screenwriter: William Brashler
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: It must have been my recent chance meeting with former Dodger legend Dusty Baker that turned my attention to the Dodgers and baseball in particular. Then again, baseball season is right around the corner, so this review was just meant to me.

The truth is, I realized I hadn’t reviewed any baseball movies in a long time. One of my favorite...
NEW ON DVD

Bombshell <b> (March 10)</b> Title: Bombshell (March 10)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 109
Production Company: Summit Inc/Lionsgate
Director: Jay Roach
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“BOMBSHELL”

In “Bombshell” director Jay Roach (“Trumbo”) doesn’t pull many punches and rips the skin right off to expose the Fox News organization for its alleged involvement in a shocking sexual harassment scandal in 2016 that nearly toppled the network and spawned the #MeToo movement.

Charlize Theron is spot on as newscaster Megyn Kelly. So is Nicole Kidman’s portrayal of Gretchen Carlson, Margot Robbie plays a fictional character and John Lithgow channels former Fox CEO Roger Ailes.

“Bombshell” earned three Oscar nominations at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards, “Best Actress” (Theron), “Best Supporting Actress” (Robbie) and it won for “Best Makeup and Hairstyling.”

The movie focuses on the women reporters and the sexist environment they stated they were subjected to. When Carlson (Kidman) is fired, she sues Ailes for sexual harassment and that sets this drama into motion.

While “Bombshell” is a film with an important message, it also feels rushed and limited and doesn’t go deep enough into the issues. Still, it shines a much-needed spotlight on women standing up, speaking up and refusing to be bullied and sexually harassed in the newsroom and beyond.
(Recommended).

Editor’s Note: Here are the “Bombshell” Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Special Features:

1. "No Easy Truths: The Making of Bombshell" 7-Part Documentary:
2. "Convergence: Genesis of the Film" Featurette
3. "Quid Pro Quo: Charlize, Nicole, Margot, John" Featurette
4. "Human Dynamics: The Ensemble Cast" Featurette
5. "Breaking the Fourth Wall: Visual Design" Featurette
6. "Layer by Layer: Makeup, Hair & Clothing" Featurette
7. "A Unique Skill Set: Jay Roach" Featurette
8. "Catalyst for Change: Parting Thoughts" Featurette.

Uncut Gems <b>(March 10) </b> Title: Uncut Gems (March 10)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 135
Production Company: A24 Productions
Director: Benny And Josh Safdie
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

UNCUT GEMS:

In “Uncut Gems,” Adam Sandler gets serious and ditches his goofball comedy routine for a serious and impressive, hard-core turn as a slick, New York City jeweler and compulsive gambler.

Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie (“Good Time”), “Uncut Gems” is set in 2012 in New York City’s Diamond District. It’s here that Howard Ratner (Sandler) has a popular jewelry store that’s frequented by regular folks but mostly high-end clientele; pro athletes like NBA star Kevin Garnett who loves that bling.

When Howard’s right-hand man, Demany (Lakeith Stanfield, “The Photograph”) convinces KG to come in and see a rare opal stone that Howard somehow managed to hide in a dead fish and smuggle from Ethiopia, Kevin accepts the invite.

Once Kevin sees the piece, he wants to hold on to it as a good luck charm for his upcoming game. He offers to give Howard his championship in return.
Talk about tit for tat. Howard is a gambler. So, his instincts kick in and he hocks the ring and bets on it hoping to use his winnings to purchase the ring back.

Nothing quite goes the way Howard plans. Not only is Howard a bad gambler, but a terrible liar too.
His sleazy lifestyle has taken a toll on his wife, Dinah (Idina Menzel, “Frozen II”) who has had enough of him and his side chick Julia (Julia Fox, “PVT Chat”). The loan sharks are circling too because Howard owes them tons of money.

These goons are only going to wait so long before they make him pay one way or the other. The smartest thing Howard ever did was bullet proof his office glass doors and hire some intimidating guards out front to keep out the riffraff. However, trouble, still manages to find Howard at most every turn. The guy just never learns.

You know it’s just a matter of time before Howard runs out of luck. But the buildup to how it’s all going to come crashing down on him and watching as he tries to weasel his way out of every predicament, is what makes “Uncut Gems” a real gem.
(Recommended).

The Lion King <b>(Oct. 22)</b> Title: The Lion King (Oct. 22)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 118
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Jon Favreau
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“THE LION KING”

Disney’s “The Lion King” is a stunning re-imagining of the 1994 original movie.

Directed and produced by Jon Favreau (“Spider-Man: Far from Home”) who also helmed 2016’s outstanding movie, “The Jungle Book.”

When it comes to a classic like the original “Lion King,” sentimentality among fans runs deep. But, for those experiencing “The Lion King” for the first time, there is plenty of magic and wonder to be found in this beautifully rendered version.

Aside from the live setting, Favreau didn’t change much from the original. Even the dialogue is pretty much word for word.

What makes “The Lion King” really roar is how spectacular it looks and how realistic the animals are. It’s as if while watching the film you’re transported to an African Savanna.

Favreau and his talented filmmaking crew utilized state of the art motion capture technology and it’s a seamless transition that makes it appear as if the lions: Mufasa (voiced by the legendary James Earl Jones, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”), young Simba, played by JD McCrary (“Little” and TV’s “American Soul”) and Donald Glover (TV’s “Atlanta,”), Nala (a terrific Beyoncé), Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave” ) really can talk.

“The Lion King” is just a fabulous story. You’d have to go to great lengths to mess this up which is why I appreciate the few subtle liberties the filmmakers did take with it.

I like its dark moments that play out especially among the hyenas which are led by Kamari (a terrific Keegan-Michael Key, “Toy Story 4”). Ejiofer is also outstanding as Scar, the low-down dirty brother of Mufasa and the uncle of Simba. Scar manipulates his way to become king of the Pride Lands.


Seth Rogan as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon the meerkat are hilarious and have scene stealing moments. Although I would have enjoyed seeing and hearing more from Sarabi (Alfre Woodard, TV’s “Luke Cage”).

Simba also reconnects with his childhood friend Nala first voiced by (Shahadi Wright Joseph, “Us”) and later as Beyoncé who shines. They all convince Simba of his rightful place and that he must retain control of the Kingdom which is everything the light touches.

The music of “The Lion King” is unforgettable this time around too. When Nala/Beyoncé and Simba/Glover belt out “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” it’s palpable.

Equally moving is McCrary and Wright Joseph’s snappy, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and McCrary holds nothing back on “Hakuna Matata.”

Elton John’s new track “Never too Late” is a winner too.

It really is possible to love the original “Lion King” and this one too. It stands on its own and is a classic for a new generation.
(Highly Recommended).

Editor’s Note: The Blu-ray and Digital DVDs of “The Lion King” offers viewers bonus features:

AUDIO COMMENTARY – By Director Jon Favreau.

PROTECT THE PRIDE – Director Jon Favreau, the Lion Recovery Fund and conservationists highlight efforts to protect the majestic lions and their home.

PERFECTING THE PRIDE – Join the filmmakers on their research trip to Africa as they immerse themselves in the real world of “The Lion King.” From the animals in the pride, to the smallest of insects and the grasslands in the savanna, experience the attention to detail that brought the film to life.

DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE-- Pride Lands Pedia —Dung beetle shares the importance of his “roll” in the African Savanna in a fun, bug’s eye view of the land and its inhabitants.

BLU-RAY & DIGITAL BONUS: The Journey to “The Lion King”

THE MUSIC-- Go inside the studio with the cast and crew as they work to honor and elevate The Lion King’s beloved music.

THE MAGIC– Discover how the filmmakers blended the traditional filmmaking techniques with virtual reality technology to create amazing movie magic.

The Timeless Tale– Filmmakers and cast reflect on the story that has moved generations and share how this Lion King carries a proud legacy forward.

MORE TO BE SCENE – Recording studio and layer-by-layer progressions of some of most iconic moments in “The Lion King.”

“CIRCLE OF LIFE”– Peel back the layers of effects and go behind the scenes of this iconic musical moment from the film.

“I JUST CAN’T WAIT TO BE KING”-- See all the effects, talent and fun that went into creating this vibrant version of “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” for the movie.

“HAKUNA MATATA”-- Join Donald Glover (Simba), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) and Billy Eichner (Timon) in the studio for the making of this memorable scene.

MUSIC VIDEOS: “Never Too Late” (lyric video) by Elton John and “Spirit” performed by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.

SONG SELECTION: “Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” “Be Prepared,” “Hakuna Matata,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Spirit” and “Never Too Late.”

Stuber <b> (Oct. 22)</b> Title: Stuber (Oct. 22)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 93
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Director: Michael Dowse
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“STUBER”

The outlandish dramedy“Stuber” is an over-the-top, violent, actioner that features a hilarious star turn from Kumail Nanjiani (TV’s “Silicon Valley”) and Dave Bautista (Drax The Destroyer, “Avengers: Endgame”/”Guardians of the Galaxy”).

Nanjiani plays a mild-mannered Uber driver named Stu. When you put Stu and Uber together you get “Stuber.”
By day, Stu works as a sales associate at a sporting goods store run by his jerk boss Richie Sandusky (Jimmy Tatro, TV’s “Modern Family”). Stu hates him and the lame job. He drives an Uber to make ends meet, but it’s really to try and get next to the girl of his dreams, Becca (Betty Gilpin, TV’s “GLOW”).

Although they had a one-night stand, their relationship hasn’t taken off and it’s driving Stu crazy. He loves Becca, wants more than a friendship and is willing to take things to the next level. So much so, he even invested a chunk of his money in a new “Spinster” cycling-class business Becca is launching.

However, Becca is kind of in a relationship with a pro basketball player who has agreed to be a spokesperson for her new company. Despite his best intentions, Stu is pretty much an afterthought for Becca.

Can life possibly get any worse for poor Stu?

Oh yes, it can.

What should have been just another routine day of driving customers around in his nice, leased Nissan Leaf, becomes a real nightmare.

That’s because LAPD police detective Victor "Vic" Manning, (Bautista) got a lead on a heroin dealer named Tedjo (Iko Uwais, “The Raid 2”). He’s been after this guy for years. Tedjo killed Vic’s partner Sarah Morris (Karen Gillan, “Avengers: Endgame”) so it’s payback time.

Here’s the thing. Vic just had Lasik eye surgery and can barely see. The doctor told him he can’t really do anything for a few days until his vision is fully restored.

Vic refuses to just sit around and let Tedjo get away again. Plus, he has a lot to prove to his boss Angie (Mia Sorvino, TV’s “The Code”). So, Vic hops in his car, all blurry eyed and runs over his neighbor’s yards and ultimately lands in a ditch. He finally realizes he can’t drive. He decides to call an Uber. It’s a good thing his art sculptor daughter Nicole (Natalie Morales, TV’s “Abby’s) set up the app on his phone.

When Stu gets the call, he picks up Vic not knowing the wild ride he’s about to take. Really all Stu is worried about is getting that coveted 5-Star Uber rating.

Vic and Stu are such opposites. They bicker back and forth about pursuing Tedjo, you expect they’ll kill each other before they catch him.

Yet, watching Vic’s brash, super masculine persona clash with Stu’s meek and calm demeanor as they get into one dangerous and crazy predicament after the other, is when the film really revs into high gear.
(Recommended).
  MOVIE TRIVIA
 
Which Of The Following Stars of "The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings" Won A Tony Award As "Best Supporting Actor In A Musical?"
"Ted Ross"
"Richard Pryor"
"Billy Dee Williams'"
" James Earl Jones"
 
  "REEL" MOVIE NEWS
Bloodshot By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

"BLOODSHOT: THE IMAX 2D EXPERIENCE" OPENS AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE ON MARCH 12

Based on the bestselling comic book, Vin Diesel stars as Ray Garrison, a soldier recently killed in action and brought back to life as the superhero Bloodshot by the RST corporation. With an army of nanotechnology in his veins, he’s an unstoppable force –stronger than ever and able to heal instantly.

But in controlling his body, the company has sway over his mind and memories, too. Now, Ray doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not – but he’s on a mission to find out.

“Bloodshot: The IMAX 2D Experience” opens at the Esquire IMAX Theatre on March 12 at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento.

The IMAX release of “Bloodshot: The IMAX 2D Experience” will be 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.

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.

About IMAX Corporation:

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you’ve never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX’s network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX, IMAX 3D, IMAX DMR, Experience It In IMAX, An IMAX 3D Experience, The IMAX Experience, IMAX Is Believing and IMAX nXos are trademarks of IMAX Corporation. More information about the Company can be found at www.imax.com. You may also connect with IMAX on Facebook (www.facebook.com/imax), Twitter (www.twitter.com/imax) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/imaxmovies).

Editor's Note: Information used in this report obtained from IMAX.


quiet 2 By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

"A QUIET PLACE II: THE IMAX 2D EXPERIENCE" OPENS AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE ON MARCH 19

Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.

“A Quiet Place II: The IMAX 2D Experience” opens at the Esquire IMAX Theatre March 19 at 7 p.m. 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 publicity department.


SHUT OUT DOC By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

WRAPPED PRODUCTIONS SWINGS FOR THE FENCES WITH “SHUT OUT: THE UNTOLD TRUTH ABOUT THE NEGRO BASEBALL LEAGUES”

It’s spring training for 30 Major League Baseball teams yet not long ago, players of African descent were shut out. Formed 100 years ago, the Negro National League played segregated ball until 1951.

With the blessings of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum board of directors, native Kansas City music promoter Larrie Durham and artist/entrepreneur John Rittenour invited music industry veteran Gary Ballen and producer Gregg Champion to tour the hallowed halls of the museum. The four left inspired to tell the untold stories of the amazing athletes and courageous entrepreneurs behind the league. Together, they formed Wrapped Productions to make a documentary film, “SHUT OUT: The Untold Truth About The Negro Baseball Leagues.”

The production company presently seeks funding to complete the project and recently enhanced the creative team producing the film in tandem with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

Wrapped Productions has added the muscle of Academy Awards and Emmy Awards winners to the squad in order to complete “SHUT OUT,” which will be narrated by Oscar and Emmy winner Louis Gossett Jr.

Joining the team to direct is Ed Bell, an award-winning filmmaker and animator who contributed to the black cinema classic “Bébé's Kids.”

Bell’s credits include the Emmy-nominated documentary “Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives” on which he collaborated with Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Whoopi Goldberg and Angela Bassett. He worked with Goldberg, Will Smith, Dave Chappelle and Samuel Jackson on the award-winning HBO series “Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child.”

Joining the lineup as a producer and film score composer is Pierce Freelon, the co-founder and host of the Emmy-winning PBS web series “Beat Making Lab.” Freelon is the founder of Blackspace, a digital makerspace for Afrofuturists, and Blackacademics, an online community of young black thinkers. The professor and musician fronts a jazz and hip-hop group.

Four-time Emmy winner Charlie Canfield brings his imaginative animation and design skills to the project. Emmy-winning documentary producer Robert Engelman (“Mister Warmth: The Don Rickles Project”) adds his experience to the team as does Emmy-winning editor and baseball diehard Rick Tuber (“ER”). Seattle Mariners utility player Dee Gordon and former MLB baseball player Juan Pierre are aboard as consultants.

With baseball experience that includes managing the Los Angeles Dodgers (one game) and creating television spots for Major League Baseball and ABC Television, veteran screenwriter Jill Baer is on the roster equipped with writing credits to more than 200 hours of hit primetime episodic television. She serves as a consultant for Warner Brothers, Disney and Universal Studios and has provided script notes for several major motion pictures, including the 2018 Academy Awards winner for Best Original Screenplay, “Get Out!”

Actor and entrepreneur Dale Godboldo joins having portrayed “Dream Team” attorney Carl Douglas in Ryan Murphy’s Emmy-, Golden Globes-, BAFTA-, Critic’s Choice- and NAACP Image Awards-winning miniseries “The People vs. OJ Simpson - American Crime Story.”

Paralleling baseball’s nine innings, “SHUT OUT” will cover nine historical eras spanning from the abolition of slavery through to when Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color line in 1947. The storytelling will take viewers on a compelling and educational journey from slave baseball to the on-field accomplishments of legends such as ace pitcher Satchel Paige and home run slugger Josh Gibson. “SHUT OUT” will also spotlight baseball’s innovation spawned from the Negro Leagues including batting helmets, the screwball and baseball under the lights.

“SHUT OUT” will use archival stock footage, interviews, narration and animation to chronicle the systematic oppression in the US, utilizing celebrities and a music-driven narrative to illuminate the athletes, personalities, dramas and challenges throughout each time period. Far more than just a baseball or sports history lesson, once complete, the producers’ goal is for the film to provide black history lessons via annual screenings in schools every Black History Month.

Wrapped Productions has a nonprofit sponsorship relationship with From the Heart Productions in addition to their own 501(c3) nonprofit entity, The Untold Truth LLC, each of which receive tax deductible donations.

For more information or to get involved, please visit https://shutoutmovie.com/.

Editor’s Note: Information used in this report provided by GREATSCOTTP.R.ODUCTIONS.