STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 05/07/2021
Running Time: 75
Rated: G
Cast: Voice Talent: Dee Bradley Baker, Archie Panjabi and Michelle Ang.
Crew: Directors: Steward Lee, Saul Ruiz and Nathaniel Villanueva. Producers: Daisy Fang and Josh Rimes. Executive Producers: Carrie Beck, Jennifer Corbett, Dave Filoni, Athena Portillo, Brad Rau, Ivan C. Shih. Screenwriters: George Lucas, Jennifer Corbett, Dave Filoni and Matt Michnovetz.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“Star Wars” fans are in for a real treat as Disney+ unveils its new series, “Star Wars: The Bad Batch.” There are reportedly 14 or so episodes in the series created by the franchise’s TV legend Dave Filoni.

Once you see the first one, which debuted May 4, chances are you’ll be hooked like me.

“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” is both a sequel to and spin-off from the series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”

Aside from the storyline, what impressed me the most is how life-like the characters are and it’s a series that’s not overly violent and one that kids will sit still for and enjoy.

The series centers around a group of five mutated clones known as the “Bad Batch.” Their leader Hunter, a chiseled, mullet wearing bruiser who, like the rest of the soldiers are defective but have certain enhanced capabilities that make them special and stand out. Crosshair is an amazing sharpshooter. Echo is a cybernetics expert. Tech is the smart, geeky soldier. Wrecker is a big brute who can destroy everything in his path yet has a heart of gold.

“Star Wars: The Bad Batch” which is narrated by Tom Kane features top notch voice talent that includes: Archie Penjabi as Depa Billaba, Freddie Prinze Jr. (Caleb Dunne), Ming-Na Wen (Fennec Shand), Ben Diskin (AZI-3), and Bob Bergen (Lama Su) among others.

What’s even more impressive is Dee Bradley Baker voices all five clone characters. There should be some sort of award for that. Anyway, aside from their unique skillsets, The Bad Batch also think and react differently to orders than regular clones.

They find themselves thrust into a New World Order during the Clone Wars and must utilize their skills in ways they didn’t imagine until the arrival of a young girl named Omega (Michelle Ang, TV’s “Vegas”) changes everything.

I don’t want to be a spoiler, so that’s all I’ll say for now, but you’ll want to check out “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” on Disney+ The next episode arrives May 7.

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.

Look At This Trailer For "STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH"

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

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 05/07/2021
Paper Spiders

Rated: R
Opens: 05/07/2021
Wrath of Man

Rated: R
Opens: 04/30/2021
Tom Clancy's Without Remorse

Rated: R
Opens: 04/23/2021
Together Together

Rated: R
Opens: 04/16/2021
Jakob's Wife

Rated: R
Opens: 04/16/2021
Vanquish


OLD SCHOOL VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH

<b>THE KID WHO LOVED CHRISTMAS</b> Title: THE KID WHO LOVED CHRISTMAS
Year Released: 2020
Running Time: 94
Production Company: Paramount
Director: Arthur A. Seidelman
Director of Photography: Hanania Baer
Screenwriter: Mark McClafferty, Clint Smith, Mark E. Corry, Lin Marlin and Sam Egan
Author: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: There are a handful of Christmas movies that I absolutely must watch the week before Christmas.

They include: "The Preacher's Wife," with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. It's a remake of the 1947 film, "The Bishop's Wife" starring Cary Grant and Loretta Young.

Then there's of course, "It's a Wonderful Life," followed by "Frosty the Snowman," Rudolph...
NEW ON DVD

The More You Ignore Me <b>(Oct. 13)</b> Title: The More You Ignore Me (Oct. 13)
Year Released: 2020
Running Time: 98
Production Company: Vega Baby Releasing
Director: Keith English
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

?THE MORE YOU IGNORE ME"

Mental Illness is finally getting a lot of attention, particularly on the big screen. The latest movie to showcase the illness is the dark British dramedy, ?The More You Ignore Me? which has been adapted from comedian Jo Brand?s 2009 best-selling novel of the same name.

Directed by Keith English (Disney Channel, ?Bus Life?), ?The More You Ignore Me? is a coming-of-age drama set in 1980s England and finds pre-teen Alice (Ella Hunt, TV?s ?Dickinson?) preoccupied with her favorite music group, The Smiths.

It?s about the only thing that keeps her going in dead end small town she lives in with her schizophrenic mother Gina (Sheridan Smith, TV?s ?Isolation Stories?) and her bumbling father Keith Mark Addy (TV?s ?Downton Abby? and ?The Salisbury Poisonings?).

Her mother?s outbursts are scary, and Alice doesn?t know how long her father will be able to deal with each violent and strange episode which often includes an infatuation over the local weatherman. They ultimately decide mum is better off at a psychiatric hospital.

Although ?The More You Ignore Me? is rather scattershot, the film?s eclectic characters along with Hunt and Smith?s impassioned performances keep it lively and on track.
(Recommended).

Editor's Note: "The More You Ignore Me" is available now on VOD.
Due to the number of Indie movies being released, N2Entertainment.net will begin to feature reviews of some of them in this section as well as the movie review section as necessary.

One Story Up/Cherish: A Visual Poem  <b>(Oct. 15)</b> Title: One Story Up/Cherish: A Visual Poem (Oct. 15)
Year Released: 2020
Running Time: 22
Production Company: First Look Media
Director: Terrance Daye
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

EPISODE ONE: "CHERISH: A VISUAL POEM"

Oscar winning director Roger Ross Williams (Documentary/?Music By Prudence?) is hosting a new, monthly series for upstart filmmakers called ?One Story Up? which premiered Oct. 15 and is available on the new streaming service Topic from First Look Media.

Topic features some of the most talented emerging directors and underrepresented voices in film. The series will feature one short film per month that?s chosen by Williams, who introduces each episode and then returns for a discussion with the filmmaker.

The films in the series cover a wide range of important topics, from coming-of-age stories on race and class, to chronicles of growing up Black in the South, all from exciting up-and-coming filmmakers.

The first short on Episode 1 is ?Cherish: A Visual Poem? from filmmaker Terrance Daye who is a 2018 Spike Lee Film Production grant recipient and a Sundance Ignite Fellow.

?Cherish: A Visual Poem? follows a young boy watching a spirited display of church worshippers at his home. His imagination takes flight and as he breaks away from his reality, he begins to experience a sense of renewed freedom and wonder.
(Recommended).

?Editor?s Note: Launched last year, Topic features North American premieres and exclusive programming from around the world, complemented by a diverse slate of originals. Recent programming includes: the weekly comedic variety series: ?Second City Presents: The Last Show Left on Earth;? ?Down from London? from executive producer Sharon Horgan; horror anthology series ?Soul City? from filmmakers Coodie and Chike; BAFTA TV Award nominee ?The Virtues? from filmmaker Shane Meadows starring Stephen Graham; Maria Bamford?s discussion show on mental health, ?What?s Your Ailment?!; and critically acclaimed documentary and narrative films such as ?Behemoth? and ?We Need to Talk About Kevin.?

Topic is available to US and Canadian audiences on Topic.com, Apple iOS, and AppleTV, Android, Amazon Fire TV and Roku, in addition to Amazon Prime Video Channels. Check it out.

Sno Babies <b>(Sept. 29)</b> Title: Sno Babies (Sept. 29)
Year Released: 2020
Running Time: 109
Production Company: Better Noise Entertainment
Director: Bridget Smith
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"SNO BABIES"

?Sno Babies,? from director Bridget Smith (?The Retaliators?) and screenwriter Michael Walsh (?Right Before Your Eyes?) is a dark and gritty cautionary tale about teen drug abuse. The film is available On Demand Sept. 29.

The film stars newcomer Katie Kelly (TV?s ?Game of Silence?) as Kristen McKusker. At first blush it seems as if Kristen has the world on a string. Her parents are extremely wealthy, and Kristen is the apple of their eye. She?s a good, Catholic girl headed to Princeton.

However, looks are deceiving and it?s a shame that her father Bill (Ken Arnold, ?The Night Watchmen?) and her real-estate mother Clare (Shannon Wilson, ?Halston?) are so caught up in with their busy lives they don?t notice how much Kristen is slipping away from them.

It all starts when Kristen is hanging out with her boyfriend and he wants her to pop a couple of OxyContin so she can experience the high of ?having all her worries and problems disappear.?

It?s not long before Kristen wants a new drug and her heroin addicted best friend Hannah (Paola Andino, TV?s ?Queen of the South?) knows what she should try. Hannah is a bubbly teen too and would rather spend her days shooting up than attending school.
Hannah soon convinces Kristen to upgrade to heroin. She even shows Kristen where to inject the needle on her tongue, between her toes and a few other scenic spots.

While much of ?Sno Babies? centers around Kristen and Hannah, there is also a subplot involving a couple played by Jane Stiles, (TV?s ?F.B.I.?) and Michael Lombardi (?Central Park?). They want to get married, but a family inherited nature preserve is causing them all sorts of financial problems and forcing them to put their plans on hold.

?Sno Babies? may be a jumbled film, but it still packs a powerful and important message for teens or anyone struggling with drug addiction.
(Recommended).

Editor?s Note: The official ?Sno Babies? soundtrack features some of the biggest names in rock music today. The soundtrack will include two tracks from SIXX:A.M. and will include the Top 10 hits from Country/Rock star Cory Marks (?Outlaws & Outsiders?) and from chart toppers Bad Wolves (?Sober? - the #1 hit) as well as new music from Eva Under Fire, From Ashes to New and Escape The Fate.

Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story <b>(Sept. 22)</b> Title: Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story (Sept. 22)
Year Released: 2020
Running Time: 84
Production Company: Shout! Studios
Director: April Wright
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"STUNTWOMEN: THE UNTOLD HOLLYWOOD STORY"

?Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story? is an exciting, up-close and personal look at some of the most amazing Hollywood stuntwomen who drive the action and thrills of today?s biggest blockbuster movies. It also acknowledges the unsung heroines of the silent age of cinema.

Narrated by Michelle Rodriguez (?Widows,? ?The Fast and the Furious?) ?Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story?-- from Shout! Studios-- debuts Sept. 22 on the digital platforms AppleTV, Amazon, VUDU, GooglePlay, hoopla, Fandango Now, Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox, and Charter.

Directed by April Wright (?Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace?) and produced by Stephanie Austin, Michael Gruskoff, and Marion Rosenberg, ?Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story? spotlights pioneering women such as Jadie David who served as the stunt double for the legendary Pam Grier in the classic, blaxploitation 1970?s movies ?Coffy? (1973), ?Friday Foster? (1975) and ?Sheba, Baby? (1975), Julie Ann Johnson (?Women in Chains?) who was the first woman to work as a stunt coordinator on a major TV show (?Charlie Angels?) and Jeannie Epper who doubled for Lyndia Carter in the hit TV series, ?Wonder Woman.?

These women reveal their passion for the profession and share some of their humorous stunt work moments. They also discuss how they overcame many obstacles; notably their struggle to be treated equally and how they help pave the way for today?s Hollywood stuntwomen like Cheryl Lewis (?Wonder Woman 1984,? ?Luke Cage? and ?I Am Legend?), Alyma Dorsey (?Joker,? ?Captain Marvel? and Jumanji: The Next Level?) and Amy Johnston (?Captain America: Winter Soldier? and ?Suicide Squad?).

"Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story" is based on the best-selling book of the same name by Mollie Gregory.

The film features the original song, ?Without A Net? written by Academy Award nominee Diane Warren performed by Mickey Guyton.

Directors Paul Verhoeven, Paul Feig and Anne Fletcher and producer Al Ruddy also talk about the importance of stunt performers in their films and reveal some tricks of the trade.
(Highly Recommended).

Editor?s Note: Some information used in this review obtained from Shout! Studios/Publicity.
  MOVIE TRIVIA
 
Prior to his TV and film career, Michael Warren was a standout basketball player for which of the following colleges?
San Francisco State University--Gators
University California, Los Angeles--Bruins
Cal State University San Bernardino--Coyotes
University of San Francisco--Dons
 
  "REEL" MOVIE NEWS
TCM FILM FESTIVAL By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

CALLING ALL FILM LOVERS FOR THE VIRTUAL TCM CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL MAY 6-9

The TCM Classic Film Festival will run virtually this year from May 6 through May 9, both on the TCM network and for the first time within the Classics Curated by TCM Hub on HBO Max.

The 12th Annual Festival will open with a 60th anniversary screening of “West Side Story” (1961) with stars Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn giving new and exclusive interviews.

This much anticipated cast reunion will air on TCM and be available on HBO Max simultaneously for opening night on May 6 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT). This year’s festival will feature four days of unique and complementary programming on TCM and HBO Max.

Cable subscribers can tune-in to TCM for an extensive lineup of iconic classic films, presented by TCM hosts and joined by special guests. Starting the same day, HBO Max subscribers can navigate to the Classics Curated by TCM Hub to find even more unique and unforgettable classic movies. There will also be exclusive film discussions and interviews with special guests and TCM hosts, panels and unique presentations, brand new film introductions from our TCM hosts, and rarely seen behind-the-scenes footage.

Editor’s Note: Information used in this report obtained from The TCM Classic Film Festival.


seance By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

RLJE FILMS AND SHUDDER WILL RELEASE THE HORROR MOVIE “SÉANCE” ON MAY 21.

Known for writing some of the most revered horror films over the past decade, Simon Barrett (“You’re Next,” “The Guest”) makes his feature directorial debut with the horror movie “Séance.”

“Séance,” which Barrett also wrote, stars Suki Waterhouse (“Assassination Nation,” “The Divergent Series: Insurgent”), Madisen Beaty (“Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”), Ella-Rae Smith (“Into the Badlands”, “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw”), Inanna Sarkis (“Boo 2! A Madea Halloween,” “After” franchise), Seamus Patterson (“Channel Zero”) and Marina Stephenson-Kerr (“Channel Zero”).

SÉANCE: WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Camille Meadows (Waterhouse) is the new girl at the prestigious Edelvine Academy for Girls. Soon after her arrival, six girls invite her to join them in a late-night ritual, calling forth the spirit of a dead former student who reportedly haunts their halls. But before morning, one of the girls is dead, leaving the others wondering what they may have awakened.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT: The best horror movies are, at their core, mysteries. There’s always an element of the unknown, or the unknowable, at the center of the narrative, with the characters providing the audience with a tool to scrape away at its surface, ideally dreading what they may find beneath.

Many classic horror films embrace this directly. Slashers like the original “Black Christmas,” “he House on Sorority Row” or “Scream,” or beloved giallos such as “Deep Red,” “The Black Belly of the Tarantula” and “Blood and Black Lace” deliver variations on traditional murder mysteries while lacing them with scares. Additionally, these films were modern and relevant, providing audiences with catharsis for the cultural anxieties of their times.

I have long wanted to make my own variation of this horror-mystery narrative, but with the added goal of weaving in supernatural elements, as ghost stories tend to be murder mysteries as well. This thought process led me to write Seance, a film that I hope pays effective homage to the teen slasher mysteries of my youth, while at the same time being its own unique thing.

As horror cinema is often susceptible to waves of faddish subgenres, to which I myself have unabashedly contributed, people sometimes ask me what I predict the next trend in horror will be. I think trends are born when creators give horror viewers what they’ve always wanted: fun, original, relevant films that genuinely surprise and unsettle. My goal with Seance is to create a horror film that contains elements of comedy, romance, intrigue and action, one that hopefully makes viewers want to watch it again, just like I did with the films that inspired it.

Look At This Trailer For "SEANCE"


F9 JUNE 25 By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

TO CELEBRATE “F9” IN THEATERS ON JUNE 25 UNIVERSAL PICTURES FEATURING FREE “FAST FRIDAYS” SCREENINGS

Universal Pictures recently announced that to celebrate the arrival of F9, the newest chapter in the “Fast and Furious” Saga, in theaters June 25, the studio and its theater partners across the U.S. has launched a free nationwide screening series of all eight previous “Fast” films, beginning April 30, 2021.

The eight-week program invites fans to watch all eight previous “Fast” films in participating theaters, free of charge, with one film screening each Friday. The films will be screened in chronological order, beginning with 2001’s “The Fast and the Furious” (April 30) and culminating with 2017’s “The Fate of the Furious” on June 18.

The screening series will launch in more than 500 theaters across the U.S. and will ultimately expand to more than 900 theaters. Theaters that join the screening series after April 30 will begin their screenings with whichever film is already scheduled to screen in that week.

Participating theaters include: AMC Theatres, Regal, Cinemark Theatres, Marcus Theatres, Harkins Theatres, Showcase Cinemas, Santikos Entertainment, B&B Theatres, Cinépolis USA, Georgia Theatre Company, Marquee Cinemas, Epic Theatres, EVO Cinemas, Megaplex Theatres, Maya Cinemas, Xscape Theatres, Silverspot Cinema, Golden Star Theaters, MovieScoop Cinemas and Premiere Cinemas.

Over the course of eight films that have stoked passion in an ever-expanding audience and have earned more than $5 billion at the worldwide box office, Universal Pictures’ record-smashing, homegrown “Fast” Saga has become the studio’s most-profitable and longest-running franchise. Across social media platforms, the fan following for the movies and cast has grown into the biggest of any active franchise.

On the heels of 2017’s “The Fate of the Furious,” which debuted in theaters as the biggest global opening of all time, the blockbuster franchise has expanded to a multitude of offerings – from toys and video games to an all-new animated series and a successfully launched spin-off franchise.

“The “Fast” films are all about family, and Universal wanted to find a way to thank our huge family of “Fast” fans around the country for their passion and loyalty over the past 20 years,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution. “We’re grateful to our theater partners for their help in making this screening series possible and we are delighted to welcome audiences back to theaters to experience the wild “Fast” ride all over again. And we cannot wait to blow everyone’s minds with the release of “F9 “on June 25.”

Screening tickets will be distributed by each individual theater and will be available the Friday before each weekly screening, starting on Friday, April 30. Visit www.FastFridayScreenings.com for further information on how to receive tickets.

The remaining schedule of screenings is as follows:

Friday 5/7– 2 Fast 2 Furious

Friday 5/14– The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift

Friday 5/21- Fast & Furious

Friday 5/28– Fast Five

Friday 6/4– Fast & Furious 6

Friday 6/11– Furious 7

Friday 6/18– The Fate of the Furious.

In addition to the screening series, Entertainment Weekly’s popular Binge Podcast will take fans through each of the previous “Fast” films in an eight-week series featuring exclusive conversations with the stars who brought those movies to life. Each episode will focus on one movie in the franchise with a “Fast” cast member from that particular film. Beginning April 30, a new episode will drop each “Fast Friday,” every week, leading up to the release of “F9” on June 25.

ABOUT “F9”

No matter how fast you are, no one outruns their past. F9 is the ninth chapter in the “Fast & Furious” saga, which has endured for two decades and has earned more than $5 billion around the world.

Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto is leading a quiet life off the grid with Letty and his son, little Brian, but they know that danger always lurks just over their peaceful horizon. This time, that threat will force Dom to confront the sins of his past if he’s going to save those he loves most. His crew joins together to stop a world-shattering plot led by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered: a man who also happens to be Dom’s forsaken brother, Jakob (John Cena, the upcoming “The Suicide Squad”).

“F9” sees the return of Justin Lin as director, who helmed the third, fourth, fifth and sixth chapters of the series when it transformed into a global blockbuster. The action hurtles around the globe—from London to Tokyo, from Central America to Edinburgh, and from a secret bunker in Azerbaijan to the teeming streets of Tbilisi. Along the way, old friends will be resurrected, old foes will return, history will be rewritten, and the true meaning of family will be tested like never before.

The film stars returning cast members Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster and Sung Kang, with Oscar winners Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron along with Kurt Russell.

“F9” also features Grammy-winning superstar Cardi B as new franchise character Leysa, a woman with a connection to Dom’s past, and a cameo by Reggaeton sensation Ozuna.

“F9” is produced by Neal H. Moritz, p.g.a., Vin Diesel, p.g.a., Justin Lin, p.g.a., Jeff Kirschenbaum, p.g.a., Joe Roth, Clayton Townsend, p.g.a., and Samantha Vincent.

Universal Pictures presents an Original Film/One Race Films/Perfect Storm production in association with Roth/Kirschenbaum Films, a Justin Lin film. www.thefastsaga.com.

ABOUT UNIVERSAL PICTURES:

Universal Pictures is a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com). Universal Studios is part of NBCUniversal. NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group and world-renowned theme parks. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

Editor’s Note: Information used in this report obtained from Universal Pictures Publicity.