GEMINI MAN
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 10/11/2019
Running Time: 117
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen and Benedict Wong.
Crew: Director: Ang Lee. Producers:Jerry Bruckheimer, David Ellison, Dany Goldberg, Don Granger, David Lee and Melissa Reid. Executive Producers: Brian Bell, Guo Guangchang, David Lee, Don Murphy, Chad Oman and Mike Stenson. Screenwriters: David Benioff, Billy Ray and Darren Lemke. Cinematographer: Dion Beebe.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

In the sci-fi drama “Gemini Man,” from director Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”), Will Smith isn’t out to save the world this time, but rather himself.

It’s all about self-preservation for Henry Brogan, (Smith) an elite government assassin with 72 confirmed kills. When his attempt at shooting a terrorist aboard a speeding train goes astray, Henry believes he’s lost his touch and decides to retire.

But it’s short-lived.

A tip from his old friend Jack Willis (Douglas Hodge, “Joker”) and a rental boat manager (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, “The Parts You Lose”)-- who isn’t who she claims to be--soon has Henry on the run from a biotech guru named Clayton “Clay” Varris (Clive Owen, The Informer”) who runs a clandestine black ops unit codenamed “Gemini.” He wants Henry dead.

How do you kill the world’s best assassin?

You make a younger, cloned version of him and set him loose.

With all the technological advances at Clayton’s disposal, he plans to create an army of super soldiers modeled after Henry.

Henry now must call on his pilot friend, Baron (Benedict Wong, “Avengers: Endgame”) to stay steps ahead of his killer who looks just like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Director Ang Lee’s use of digital innovation is striking throughout “Gemini Man.” It’s a kick to watch Smith go one-on-one with a younger version of himself thanks to the use of advanced motion-capture and digital recreation technology that “de-ages” him.

Once the action picks up, “Gemini” soars particularly when Smith is fighting his way through exotic locales like Budapest, Belgium and Cartagena. The latter destination features a stunning motorcycle showdown between Henry and junior.

Screenwriters David Benioff (TV’s “Game of Thrones”) and Darren Lemke (“Shazam!”) throw a few surprising wrinkles in the suspenseful mix that ties up all the loose ends nicely.

Best of all, it’s Smith who brings his bona fide movie star swagger and charm to “Gemini Man” and makes it a riveting, high-tech thriller.

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 "GEMINI MAN"

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: 10/11/2019
The Addams Family

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 09/04/2019
The Parts You Lose

Rated: R
Opens: 10/04/2019
Joker

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 09/20/2019
Ad Astra

Rated: R
Opens: 09/13/2019
Hustlers

Rated: R
Opens: 09/06/2019
IT Chapter Two


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

Spider-Man: Far From Home <b> (Oct.1) </b> Title: Spider-Man: Far From Home (Oct.1)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 129
Production Company: Sony/Columbia
Director: Jon Watts
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME”

“Spider-Man: Far from Home” turned out to be a big blast of summer fun. While I’ve enjoyed all the actors who have played the red-suited superhero like Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, there’s a special boyish charm that Tom Holland brings as the web-slinger that makes “Spider-Man: Far from Home”even more special.

Directed by Jon Watts (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”), “Spider-Man: Far from Home” finds Peter Parker (Holland) trying to lay low and enjoy life without having to deal with the burden of saving the world.

He’s now more interested in hanging with his high school friend Ned Leeds (a funny Jacob Batalon, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”) and preparing for a class trip to Europe with his dopey and clueless teachers Mr. Harrington (Martin Starr, TV’s “Silicon Valley”) Mr. Bell (a funny J.B. Smoove, TV’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”).

Really, Peter hopes that he can get over his nerves and finally tell MJ (the feisty Zendaya, “The Greatest Showman” and TV’s “The OA”) just how much she makes his Spidey-senses tingle.

And while true love is in the air, so is danger. That’s why Peter’s Aunt May (a funny Marisa Tomei, “The First Purge”) insists on packing Peter's Spider-Man suit just as a precaution.

Peter does his best to avoid taking phone calls from Nick Fury (the always great, Samuel L. Jackson, “Shaft”) because that always means something is about to go down.

Fury can't believe Peter is avoiding him and his actions have Harold "Happy" Hogan (Jon Favreau, “Avengers: Endgame”) on edge too. Harold is the former driver and bodyguard of Tony Stark and now looks after Peter.

The latest threat involves the Elementals, a vicious monster that can wreak all sorts of havoc by taking the the form of Earth, Wind and Fire.

How can Peter possibly suit up as Spider-Man and do his thing without blowing his cover? Ned (Batalon) knows what’s up with him, but he’s really the only classmate that does.

With so many Avengers now gone, Peter must stand tall. The problem is that will leave Brad (Remy Hi, TV’s “Harrow”) time to move in on MJ. He loves her too.

It’s a tough call for the love-starved Peter to make. Does he save the world, or does he save his girl? If he plays his cards right, he might be able to swing both.

Fury and his crew design an all-black suit for Peter/Spider-Man to wear that will make him inconspicuous.

Still, Peter/Spider-Man is having a tough time using some of the cool devices at his disposal like a pair of high-tech sunglasses that his former mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) left for these types of sticky situations. The glasses are equipped with the artificial intelligence E.D.I.T.H., which has access to all databases of Stark Industries.

Fortunately, Peter doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting. He gets a big assist from Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal, “The Sisters Brothers”). This guy is a master of trickery and illusion and considered an expert on the Elementals. Plus, he's out for payback. He goes after them in London, Venice, Prague and Berlin.

While “Spider-Man: Far from Home” gets a bit heavy-handed with the CGI fight sequences, what works best is the focus on the young characters and Parker’s love interest angle. Plus, the loads of hunor round out the film’s dramatic moments.
(Recommended).

Maiden <b> (Oct. 1)</b> Title: Maiden (Oct. 1)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 97
Production Company: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Alex Holmes
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“MAIDEN”

“Maiden” is one of this year’s best sports films, yet it has flown under the radar. It’s actually a documentary about yacht racing, but before you yawn, it’s really worth checking out and is as gripping and inspiring as they come.

Directed by Alex Holmes (“House of Saddam”), “Maiden” tells the story of Tracy Edwards, an Englishwoman who after getting kicked out of high school winds up getting a job as a stewardess aboard a yacht in Greece and falls in love with sailing.

Edwards’ passion for sailing grew so much that she wanted to join the famous Whitbread Round the World yacht race, a 32,000-mile competition.

But no one took her seriously. She was ridiculed because of her inexperience and age. She was 24-years-old at the time. Edwards was constantly told she’d never be part of this traditionally male dominated sport. The male teams didn’t even want to hire her as a cook.

Their thinking was women weren’t cut out for such a tough and gruesome journey.

You know I love an underdog story, regardless of the sport. And “Maiden” is a very good one. Whenever someone can step up against all odds and show out after others have belittled and counted them out, it’s great to watch them rise to the occasion.

Even the yachting press took bets that Edwards would fail. She couldn’t land any sponsors either.
None of that stopped her.

Edwards remortgaged her house and scrapped together enough money to buy a 58-foot yacht and named it “Maiden.”
She reached out to other women interested in sailing and assembled an all-female crew. They entered the Whitbread Yacht Competition in 1989-1990.

As you might have guessed, the crew overcame every obstacle thrown at them—weather and inexperience proving among the biggest—yet they persevered and made history in the process.

Edwards’ journey is riveting from start to finish.
(Recommended).

John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum <b> (Sept. 10) </b> Title: John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum (Sept. 10)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 122
Production Company: Summit Entertainment
Director: Chad Stahelski
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“JOHN WICK CHAPTER 3: PARABELLUM”

I hope that as of this writing, everyone associated with the “John Wick” franchise is sitting down discussing doing a fourth installment after the success of “John Wick Chapter 3 Parabellum.”

This series just gets better and better as it goes along and "JW3" is just flat out thrilling. It picks right up where “John Wick Chapter 2” left off.

Our man John Wick (Keanu Reeves, “Toy Story 4”) has been declared "excommunicado" now and has nowhere to run or hide ever since he violated the rules of the High Table by killing Santino D’Antonio (Ricardo Scamarcio) in the “Safe Haven” space of the New York Continental Hotel. It’s owned and managed by the ironfisted elder statesman, Winston (Ian McShane, TV’s “American Gods”).

Consequently, there’s a $14 million bounty on John’s head and everyone in New York it seems, including an assassin named Zero (Mark Dacascos, TV’s “Hawaii Five-O”) and “Tick Tock Man” (Jason Mantzoukas, TV’s “Big Mouth”) wants it on a platter.

The clock is ticking. John has one hour to come up with a plan to save his life. First, he decides to take a cab and get his dog to safety.

Meanwhile, The Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon, TV’s “Billions”) is paying a visit to the Continental Hotel to chat with Winston (McShane), and the Bowery King (Lawrence Fishburne, TV’s “Black-ish”) who had a hand with Wick’s escape.

She informs them that their involvement with John Wick can’t go unpunished either. They have seven days to vacate their posts or else.
And that “else” includes some relentless “Wick”-ed action. It starts with an outrageous fight at the New York Public Library with John and a giant Yugoslavian (NBA star Boban Marjanovic).

As unbelievable as that scene is, it pales in comparison to a vicious knife-wielding attack between John and a bunch of highly skilled judo, kung Fu and Brazilian jiu-jitsu martial arts masters. It’s a nod to Bruce Lee, Jim Kelly and Jackie Chan.

John Wick uses everything at his disposal to take down the baddies and even goes after them galloping on a horse.

Out of desperation, he turns to his protector, “The Director” (Angelica Houston, TV’s “Angie Tribeca”) with hopes of obtaining clearance to Casablanca.

While there, he also calls in a favor to his good friend/assassin, Sofia (a badass Halle Berry, “Kidnap”) who runs a local branch of the Continental Hotel.

Sofia rises to the occasion along with her beautiful Malinois who are trained to viciously attack men’s crown jewels. It’s an over the top crazy scene. Then again, so is most everything in this movie which is why I loved it and I bet you will too.
(Highly Recommended).

Ma <b> (Sept. 3)</b> Title: Ma (Sept. 3)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 99
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Director: Tate Taylor
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“MA”

Octavia Spencer is fierce and wicked in the horror thriller “Ma” which reunites her with director Tate Taylor who helmed and wrote “The Help” and earned Spencer an Oscar for “Best Supporting Actress.”

In “Ma” Spencer plays Sue Ann Ellington, a small-town veterinarian assistant who works alongside her demanding boss, Dr. Brooks (Allison Janney, upcoming, “The Addams Family” and TV’s “Mom”).

Immediately you sense that something isn’t quite right with Sue. She lives alone—or so it seems initially—in a big, old but comfortable looking house and doesn’t have any friends drop by.

That all changes when a group of high schoolers--including the new girl in town, Maggie (“Glass”)—asks Sue to buy them some alcohol.

At first, Sue says no, but changes her mind when she meets the rest of Maggie’s friends, Darrell (Dante Brown, TV’s “Lethal Weapon”), Haley (McKaley Miller, “Unfollowed”) and Chaz (Gianni Paolo, TV’s “Power”).

If only these kids had listened when their mama told them never talk to strangers, chances are they could have been spared such agony.

Then again, Sue is so nice to them and seems so incredibly cool. She even promises not to tell on them and they swear they won’t say a word to anyone about her either.

Meanwhile, Maggie’s mother Erica (a very good Juliet Lewis, TV’s “The Act”) is just glad to see her daughter is meeting new people and adjusting to her new digs. It hasn’t been easy for either of them, especially Erica who after a painful divorce is right back in the small town she grew up in working as a waitress to make ends meet. And to think, she was the girl “Most Likely To Succeed” in her high school yearbook.

Now that the cool kids have found a friend in Ma, they call on her a few more times for their alcohol runs and Sue comes through. However, Sue insists they bring the party to her house and they can cut loose in her big basement.

Darrell (Brown) doesn’t like the idea, because, well, they don’t know that woman. Still, he goes along to get along. Sue has a couple of rules they must follow while at her house: No profanity and they can’t go upstairs at any time. Before long, the kids are partying, drinking and calling Sue “Ma” because she makes them tasty snacks too.

The more these kids start talking to Ma, the more they see she’s a bit off her rocker especially when she tells them that the big thumping sound from upstairs is just the ice-maker. The kids slowly start to piece things together. Ma went to the same high school as most of their parents. Andy’s father, Ben (Luke Evans, TV’s “The Alienist”) has a dark, creepy past with Sue that comes to light in brutal fashion for him. The rest of these youngsters soon fall prey to Ma’s house of horror and all hell breaks loose.
(Highly 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
Maleficent By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

"MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL THE IMAX 2D EXPERIENCE" OPENS AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE ON OCT. 17

A formidable queen causes a rift between Maleficent and Princess Aurora. Together, they must face new allies and enemies in a bid to protect the magical lands which they share.

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil The IMAX 2D Experience” opens at the Esquire IMAX Theatre on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento.

The IMAX release of “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil 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 publicity.


lionsgate fatale By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

LIONSGATE PICKS UP SACRAMENTO FILMMAKER DEON TAYLOR’S “FATALE” STARRING HILARY SWANK, MICHAEL EALY, MIKE COLTER AND TYRIN TURNER.

“Fatale,” centers on a married man who finds himself living a nightmare as he is relentlessly compromised, out-witted and morally manipulated by a mysterious woman with whom he had a wild one-night stand. How far will he go to save his marriage from his mistake?

“Fatale” is written and produced by David Loughery(“The Intruder,” “Lakeview Terrace” and “Obsessed”). The film is produced by Sacramento filmmaker Deon Taylor’s Hidden Empire Film Group partner Roxanne Taylorand is executive produced by partner Robert F. Smith.

Oscar nominee Dante Spinotti (“L.A. Confidential” and “Heat”) served as DP, marking his third collaboration with Taylor on “Fatale.”

Taylor is definitely on a roll. His low-budget thriller “The Intruder” which arrived in theaters this past summer made $37 million and was produced for merely $8 million.

Look for Taylor’s upcoming Screen Gems drama “ Black and Blue," starring Oscar Nominee Naomie Harris, Frank Grillo, Tyrese Gibson and Mike Colter.

Written by Peter A. Dowling, “Black and Blue” follows a rookie African American female cop who stumbles upon corrupt officers who are murdering a drug dealer, an incident captured by her body cam.

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


hidden film group award By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

HIDDEN EMPIRE FILM GROUP TO RECEIVE LMGI 2019 HUMANITARIAN AWARD

The Location Managers Guild International (LMGI) have named Hidden Empire Film Group's Roxanne Taylor, (Middle) Deon Taylor (Right) and Robert F. Smith (Left) as recipients of the 2019 LMGI Humanitarian Award for their philanthropic reach across the globe.

The 6th Annual LMGI Awards highlight international features, television and commercials in which the creative use of filming locations set the tone, enrich the character and enhance the narrative.

Winners will be revealed during the formal ceremony on Sept. 21, at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California.

"The Hidden Empire Film Group's deep compassion and active engagement in raising awareness of human rights and social issues is a unique, and inspiring hands-on brand of activism," said LMGI VP and Awards Co-Chair Lori Balton. "Their commitment to advancing social change, improving education, and promoting human dignity is seemingly endless. HEFG is about helping people find a voice and opportunities they would never otherwise have. They have an inspiring, hands-on brand of activism."

Through the creative vision of director Deon Taylor, Hidden Empire Film Group's 2018 film “Traffik” spread awareness on human trafficking. Producer Roxanne Taylor comments, "It's happening everywhere...to everyone, and minorities are 90 percent of the victims."

Like his wife, former pro basketball player Taylor overcame hardship. "I have become who I am today simply because I was told 'no' everywhere I went. I'm the product of no." Joining forces with Smith, the couple strives to help others climb beyond adversity.

They mostly fly under the radar, particularly producer and philanthropist Robert F. Smith who recently was lauded for erasing student debt for the Morehouse College class of 2019. He also has signed the Giving Pledge-an effort to address society's most pressing problems by inviting the world's wealthiest individuals to commit more than half their wealth to giving back or charitable causes either during their lifetime or in their will.

Hidden Empire Film Group developed the "Be Woke. Vote" initiative.

It's philanthropic social media at its finest, fueling activism around the upcoming US elections with prominent voices like Jamie Foxx and Chelsea Handler. This nonpartisan political series encourages voter registration and inspires young people to discuss political issues affecting our communities.

Another endeavor is Roxanne Taylor's charitable non-profit CLIMB: Community, Learn, Inspire, Motivate, Build. CLIMB encourages young people to learn ALL THAT it takes to make better life choices and become a success within the community.

Their filmography includes: “The Intruder,’ “Traffik,” “Meet the Blacks” and “Supremacy;”as well as the aforementioned “Black & Blue,” “Fatale” and upcoming Meet the Blacks 2: The House Next Door.”

Oscar-nominated director Peter Weir (“Witness” “Dead Poets Society,” “The Truman Show” and “Master and Commander”) will receive the Eva Monley Award, which recognizes and honors industry members who support the work of location professionals. Location Manager Michael J. Meehan (“Dead Poets Society,” “The Perfect Storm,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,””Master and Commander”) will receive the 2019 LMGI Lifetime Achievement Award.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Location Managers Guild International (LMGI)