TOP GUN: MAVERICK
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 05/27/2022
Running Time: 131
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Tom Cruise, Greg "Tarzan" Davis, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris and Val Kilmer.
Crew: Director: Joseph Kosinski. Producers: Tom Cruise, Jerry Bruckheimer, Emily Cheung, David Ellison and Christopher McQuarrie. Screenwriters: Christopher McQuarrie, Ehren Kruger, Peter Craig, Justin Marks, Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr. and Eric Warren Singer. Cinematographer: Claudio Miranda.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

I could sit through "Top Gun: Maverick" at least two more times. Tom Cruise's long-awaited sequel to his 1986 hit movie "Top Gun" doesn’t disappoint and has summer blockbuster written all over it.

It wasn't just the spectacular nail-biting aerial sequences in "Top Gun: Maverick" that kept me fully engaged, but also the stellar cast that includes an excellent Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Jay Ellis, Glen Powell, Monica Barbaro, Jennifer Connelly, Lewis Pullman, Bashir Salahuddin, Charles Parnell, and Greg "Tarzan" Davis. By the way, "Tarzan" Davis plays a hotshot pilot named Coyote.

N2Entertainment.net recently interviewed Davis in Sacramento and he talked about what it was like working with the legendary Tom Cruise. REEL MOVIE TALK

When "Top Gun: Maverick" begins, we see Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (Cruise) test piloting an aircraft and breaking all the rules by pushing it to reach Mach 10.2. When he touches down, Maverick gets an ear load from Rear Admiral Chester "Hammer" Cain, (Ed Harris, TV's "Westworld") who heads the Darkstar program.

The only thing that is keeping Maverick from being discharged from the Navy is his former rival, turned friend and four-star Admiral Tom "Iceman" Kazansky who is the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The Iceman has recommended Maverick train a group of elite, young pilots for a complicated and dangerous mission.

No commanding officer really wants to deal with the cocky Maverick especially Vice Admiral Beau "Cyclone" Simpson (Jon Hamm, TV's "Good Omens"). Still, you get the impression from Rear Admiral Solomon "Warlock" Bates, (Charles Parnell, TV’s "The Last Ship") the commander of Naval Education and Training, that he and everyone else knows Maverick is the right man for the job.

It is an emotional decision and quite a challenge for Maverick because one of the students, Lt. Bradley "Rooster" Bradshaw (an excellent Miles Teller, upcoming "Spiderhead") is the son of Maverick’s former co-pilot (Goose) who was killed in the original movie.
Naturally, there is a lot of tension.
Getting through to these recruits is more involved than Maverick anticipated, and things don’t go according to plan.

They become even more complicated when Maverick connects with an old acquaintance named Penelope "Penny" Benjamin (an excellent, Jennifer Connelly, TV’s “Snowpiercer” ) who is the daughter of a former Admiral, a single mom and owner of the local bar.

While I liked every breathtaking second of the high-flying action in "Top Gun: Maverick," I was equally impressed with the dramatic arc surrounding Cruise, Teller, and Jennifer Connelly.

Screenwriters Jim Cash (“Top Gun”), Jack Epps Jr. (“Top Gun”), and Peter Craig (“The Batman”) do a terrific job at blending the flashback images and making the story feel more grounded sincere. The scene with Cruise and Val Kilmer is just so powerful and well done. There is so much to read into it.

As for Tom Cruise, well, he looks absolutely amazing doing the majority of the film's daring stunts. "Top Gun: Maverick" is a big, high-flying blast of summer fun. Prepare to be impressed.

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

Watch This Trailer For "TOP GUN: MAVERICK"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards....
 

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OLD SCHOOL VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH

Book Of Numbers Title: Book Of Numbers
Year Released: 1973
Running Time: 81
Production Company: AVCO Embassy Pictures
Director: Raymond St. Jacques
Director of Photography: Gayne Rescher
Screenwriter: Raymond St. Jacques
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: As a kid growing up in San Bernardino, California, I remember this cute, curly-headed, green eyed young guy coming over my family’s house with his handyman/electrician father to do some repair work. Little did I know the shy teen would become an iconic TV star.

Yeah, Philip Michael Thomas who played Ricardo “Rico” Tubbs alongside Don Johnson in the...
NEW ON DVD

Meat Me Halfway Title: Meat Me Halfway
Year Released: 2021
Running Time: 80
Production Company: Reducetarian Productions
Director: Brian Kateman
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"MEAT ME HALFWAY"

“Meat Me Halfway” is a new eye-opening documentary directed and written by Brian Kateman, founder and leader of the Reducetarian Organization. Kateman’s movement takes a guided and practical approach to addressing the harmful effects that eating meat has on people and the planet.

In case you are wondering what "Reducetarianism" is, well, it’s a concept that Kateman--a former vegetarian--crafted that encourages people to not avoid meat entirely, but simply reduce their consumption of it. Kateman believes this a more realistic approach rather than brow-beating people into becoming a strict vegetarian or vegan.

It’s a smaller step, but nevertheless he says is an effective one since people would still be helping to save the environment from increased greenhouse gas emissions and climate change as well as safeguard their health.

However, as Kateman, who is based in New York City discovers during his investigative journey—which leads him to a pig slaughterhouse in Los Angeles and a “ethically raised/slaughter” animal farm in Georgia and several points in between--there are strong and varying viewpoints from meat lovers and vegetarians/vegans.

Kateman is often ridiculed--even by his own skeptical parents--and other meat-eaters for his stance of “eating less meat.” He also angers animal rights activists who believe his position is counterproductive to theirs.

“Meat Me Halfway” features several notable scholars, scientists, doctors, and writers sharing their views on climate change and the cost of eating healthy. Michele Simon who is the founder of the Plant Based Foods Association notes that “taste,” “price” and “convenience” are the three most powerful drivers of food choices. She states that marketing and the environment people live in shapes their everyday food choices.

That’s a big reason why Olympia Auset started SUPRMARKT, the first organic produce pop-up in South Los Angeles to provide fresh and healthy vegetables and fruits to her community. The lack of major grocery stores in black and brown communities is alarming and that needs to change adds Eric Adams, Borough President of Brooklyn New York. Auset and Adams maintain it's important to make healthy food accessible and affordable to everyone.

“Meat Me Halfway” lays it all out there but doesn’t take a stand in the end. Instead, the viewer is left to chew on all the information, draw their own conclusions and make their own decisions. It is a highly informative and well-done documentary.
(Highly Recommended).

"Meat Me Halfway" is available July 20 on VOD and streaming platforms.

No Ordinary Love Title: No Ordinary Love
Year Released: 2020
Running Time: 99
Production Company: 1091 Pictures
Director: Chyna Robinson
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"NO ORDINARY LOVE"

“No Ordinary Love” the new movie from screenwriter/director Chyna Robinson (“Greenwood: 13 Hours”) is a compelling drama that centers around two vastly different couples who are in abusive marriages. Incredible circumstances bring them together.

“No Ordinary Love” deserves attention as it shines a spotlight on domestic violence and women who feel trapped in their relationships and are afraid to leave them.

Elizabeth Jeffries (April Hartman, “American Zombieland”) has tried to be the perfect wife to her husband, Michael (Eric Hanson, “90 Feet from Home”). He is a pastor at the local church in their small hometown. Their pre-teen son Matthew (Houston Ries, “Adventures in Zeroworld”) has to put up with a lot from his parents whose marriage is shattering right before his eyes.

How Elizabeth has been able to withstand the verbal abuse all these years from Eric is beyond me, because he’s a sexist and religious zealot whose backwards way of thinking is just mindboggling. Then again, Elizabeth is trying to keep up the “good wife” charade mainly for the sake of the church folk. Many in town consider him so wonderful and righteous. However, when Elizabeth finally realizes that she can’t live with him anymore and plans to leave, their relationship becomes even more dangerous.

Meanwhile, Derrick Anderson (Lynn Andrew III, TV’s “The Price of Fame”) is a well-respected police officer who is married to Tanya, (DeAna Davis), a beautiful and caring woman. They have an adorable young daughter named Faith, (Nya Cummings). Faith doesn't deserve to live in fear every time her dad comes home angry and then she has to watch him beat her mother. This guy is a punk and has some serious issues.
Every time Derrick apologizes for his abusive behavior, Tanya gives him another chance thinking he’ll change. He doesn’t. In fact, his anger issues worsen which forces Tanya to expose his secret to Elizabeth, the pastor’s wife.

That sets up a series of events for both couples, but the film’s unbelievable ending feels forced and incomplete. Still, the solid acting in “No Ordinary Love” is what carries the movie and keeps you locked in.
(Recommended).

The Unhealer Title: The Unhealer
Year Released: 2021
Running Time: 94
Production Company: Shout! Studios
Director: Martin Guigul
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"THE UNHEALER"

Last week, I had so many movies and TV shows to review that I almost tossed aside “The Unhealer,” a little supernatural thriller from Shout! Studios that was far better than I expected.

“The Unhealer” is available June 8 on Blu-Ray, DVD, digital, and On-Demand. This one isn’t your typical coming-of-age teen drama. It holds a few horrors and gory surprises and has ample doses of humor too. In other words, it’s my kind of movie.

In “The Unhealer” from director Martin Guigui (“Drama Drama”), Elijah Nelson (TV’s “9-1-1-: Lone Star”) plays a high school student named Kelly. He’s constantly bullied by his classmates. They call him “a human garbage disposal” because he has an eating disorder called “Pica.” Kelly eats really odd things like the plastic packaging of a Cup of Noodles and even chows down on his pencil erasers.

He’s a skinny kid and the lack of eating healthy food--or any food for that matter--makes him even more of an outcast. Kelly’s mother Bernice (Natasha Henstridge, “Night of the Sicario” and TV’s “Diggstown”) realizes her son’s condition is getting worse. Doctors have tried to get Kelly on a healthy regiment, but it’s not working. So, when Bernice finds out about a healer named Pflueger (Lance Henriksen, “The Dead of the Night”) who supposedly has cured many people, both young and old, of various afflictions, she decides to give him a shot.

The guy seems like a real shyster. But if it’s a scam, it’s a good one. Pflueger is somehow able to withstand the pain of others and in the process heal himself. If a guy punches Kelly in the face at school, Kelly will feel it for a brief second, but the guy will feel the brunt of the punch and Kelly’s face wouldn’t look like he’s been hit at all. The other guy however is a different story.

But just as Kelly is about to be treated, the session goes horribly wrong and somehow the powerful gift that Pflueger had is now within Kelly.

See where this is going?

Bring on the bullies. Soon everyone who picked on poor Kelly and his family is in for a royal beat down. He’s out for revenge. The hotshot school quarterback is taken aback when he picks a fight with Kelly this time. He can’t explain to his macho dad, how the pipsqueak Kelly turned the tables on him and beat him up.

Kelly’s newfound power isn’t limited to fighting. The horny teen can also fantasize and daydream about things he wants. In this case a couple of pretty girls in his class suddenly become sexually aroused and aren’t sure why.

“The Unhealer” isn’t a scary movie, but screenwriters J. Shawn Harris (“Star Quality”) and Kevin E. Moore sure have made it an entertaining and fun one.
(Highly Recommended).

Endangered Species Title: Endangered Species
Year Released: 2021
Running Time: 101
Production Company: Blue Sky Films
Director: M.J. Bassett
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"ENDANGERD SPECIES"

Going on a wildlife safari isn’t at the top of my bucket list or even on my bucket list. However, if it was, I’m sure that I wouldn’t be as reckless as the Halsey family is in the new movie “Endangered Species” which arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray June. 1.

Of course, this wealthy family’s stupidity makes for an entertaining drama, and I found myself locked in despite several eye rolls within the first 20 minutes.

In “Endangered Species,” from director/screenwriter M.J. Bassett (TV’s “Power”), Phillip Winchester (“Rogue” and TV’s “Chicago Justice”) plays a father who is trying to unite his fractured family.

His wife Lauren (Rebecca Romijn, TV’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) is excited about taking their snooty, Ivy-League daughter Zoe (Isabel Bassett, “Rogue”), son Noah (Michael Johnston, “Drama Drama”) oh, and Zoe’s slacker boyfriend Billy (Chris Fisher, TV’s “Bulletproof”) to Kenya for vacation. Billy proves to be the smartest and most resilient of the bunch.

As soon as they check in for their exciting safari, they meet some guys, notably Jerry O’ Connell from “Ballbuster” and TV’s “Star Trek: Lower Decks” who claim to be assistants but are really poachers.

Jack can’t really afford to pay for the guided tour. Apparently, he’s been lying about his money and job. So, he continues the charade and tells his family that they get to do their own tour. With a map in hand, a van with no air conditioning and a few glass bottles of water they blow past the guards and head out on their excursion.
Since Lauren wants to see a rhino up close and personal, they go off the beaten path into a restricted area. There’s a reason it’s off limits. Wild, vicious animals roam there and they seem to love fresh, white meat.

When the Halseys come between a rhino and her baby, they are brutally attacked, their van overturned and now they are stuck in the middle of nowhere without any cellphone access, water—the bottles broke—and no diabetic medication for Lauren.

It’s about to get real.

Throw in a pack of hungry hyenas and a leopard ready to pounce and you’ll wonder if any of the Halseys will make it out alive in this gritty and silly wildlife adventure.
(Highly Recommended).
  MOVIE TRIVIA
 
Prior to starring in the 1980s hit TV show “Miami Vice,” Philip Michael Thomas made his Broadway debut in which of the following theatrical productions?
“Hair” and “Aquarius”
“Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Fiddler On The Roof”
“Pippin” and “The Wiz”
“No Place To Be Somebody” and “The Selling of the President."
 
  "REEL" MOVIE NEWS
doctor strange By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SCARLET WITCH RETURN TO THEATERS ON MAY 6

In Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the MCU unlocks the Multiverse and pushes its boundaries further than ever before. Journey into the unknown with Doctor Strange, who, with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary.

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, with Michael Stühlbarg, and Rachel McAdams.

The film is directed by Sam Raimi, and Kevin Feige is the producer. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Eric Hauserman Carroll, Scott Derrickson and Jamie Christopher serve as executive producers. The screenplay was written by Michael Waldron.

For more information check out the Website: https://www.marvel.com/movies/doctor-strange-in-the-multiverse-of-madness


ABBA THE MOVIE By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

“ABBA: THE MOVIE--FAN EVENT"

The newly remastered “ABBA: The Movie” dances back into movie theaters on May 12 and May 14 to celebrate 45 years since its original release.

“ABBA: The Movie – Fan Event” is coming to approximately 450 cinemas in the US and Canada. For local listings, visit www.AbbaMovie.com.

Starring ABBA’s Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus, and Agnetha Faltskog; and directed by Lasse Hallstrom (“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” “Chocolat,” “Dear John”), this event is presented in cinemas by Trafalgar Releasing and Warner Bros.

“ABBA: The Movie – Fan Event” will take attendees on a flashback journey to the 1970s when disco reigned supreme, and ABBA were international pop royalty.

The film was captured by Hallström during the group’s mega-successful 1977 Australian tour. The now cult-classic music film provides a rare look at the hugely popular group during the height of their popularity and includes backstage footage as well as full-length performances of some of ABBA’s greatest hits including "Dancing Queen," "Tiger," "Name Of The Game," and "Eagle.”

The movie’s subplot is a mockumentary-style story of a country radio disc jockey who attempts to land an interview with the band. As deadlines loom—it is a slapstick mix of happenstance and error by the young DJ who is tasked with getting the coveted interview while ABBA’s dedicated bodyguard does everything he can to stop it from happening.

“ABBA: The Movie” DCP was remastered from IP and scanned at 2K resolution. During the remastering process, dirt, scratches, and stains were digitally removed and the audio was restored to provide an “A” quality representation of the film. The remaster was completed at Motion Picture Imaging on the Warner Bros. studio lot.


18 and a half movie By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

THE INDIE THRILLER/COMEDY "18 1/2" DEBUTS IN THEATERS ON MAY 27

The Adventure Entertainment award-winning indie, comedy feature film "18½" from Dan Mirvish ("Between Us," “Bernard and Huey” and a Slamdance Film Festival Co-founder), has played in more than 20 festivals around the globe.

"18½" is a 101 Films International, Bugeater Films and Kyyba Films production in association with Syncopated Daydreams and Terry Keefe Media and will be released in more than 50 markets across North America on May 27, beginning with Laemmle theaters in Los Angeles and expanding coast-to-coast on June 3 with the filmmakers in attendance for Q&A's in all key markets.

The film "18½" humorously crafts its own narrative into the notorious gap in Nixon’s Watergate scandal. Taking place in 1974, "18½" is about a fictional White House transcriber finds the only copy of the infamous 18½-minute gap in Nixon's Watergate tapes but her attempts to leak it to the press run afoul of hippies, swingers and nefarious forces.

"18½" acclaimed cast is led by stars: Willa Fitzgerald (Amazon's "Reacher"), John Magaro ("First Cow"), Vondie Curtis Hall ("Harriet"), Catherine Curtin (Netflix's "Stranger Things"), Richard Kind ("Argo"), Sullivan Jones("The Gilded Age"), Alanna Saunders, Claire Saunders, and the legendary voices of Ted Raimi ("Spider-Man") , Jon Cryer ("Two and a Half Men"), and Bruce Campbell ("Evil Dead") as President Richard Nixon.

Directed by Dan Mirvish, "18½" features a screenplay by Daniel Moya, story by Dan Mirvish & Daniel Moya, with classic cinematography by Elle Schneider. The film is produced by Dan Mirvish, p.g.a., Daniel Moya, p.g.a. and Terry Keefe. Executive producers are Tel K. Ganesan, Ashwin T. Ganesan, Richard Schenkman and Sebastian Twardosz, co-executive producers are Paul Orzulak, Kyra Rogers, Elisabeth Jereski, Jarrod Phillips, Dana Altman, Frederic Forestier.

ABOUT ADVENTURE ENTERTAINMENT

Sydney-based, and operating in 28 countries on 5 continents, Adventure Entertainment is making literal and metaphorical waves in the adventure film world with over 10 film touring platforms, and dozens of feature films in recent distribution.

Specializing in producing live, eventized, theatrical film screenings, AE is leading the way in innovative, community-based marketing and generating pre, and post-show buzz in the entertainment industry.

In addition to "Rookie Season," other 2021/22 titles include National Geographic's" Torn, "Red Bull Media House's "La Liste: Everything or Nothing, " and "Buried, ” from Oscar-winning producers Evan Hayes and Michael Sugar. See more at adventureentertainment.com.

Editor's Note: Information used in this report obtained from Warner Bros., Marvel Studios and Adventure Entertainment publicity departments.