SUPERFLY
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 06/13/2018
Running Time: 103
Rated: R
Cast: Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Michael Kenneth Williams, Lex Scott Davis, Jennifer Morrison, Rick Ross and Big Boi.
Crew: Director: Director X. Producers: Joel Silver, Future and Palak Patel. Executive Producers: Matthew Hirsch. Screenwriters: Alex Tse and Phillip Fenty. Cinematography: Amir Mokri.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

If you’re going to do a remake of a classic movie, it must be as good as the original or better. This filmmaking 101 rule wasn’t lost on director Julien Christian Lutz, aka, Director X.

Lutz’s new “Superfly” pays homage to the original 1972 blaxploitation film, which was directed by Gordon Parks Jr. and starred the late, great Ron O’Neal, yet it also stands on its own as a gritty, contemporary, cautionary tale.

Lutz, a Canadian film and music video director, is best known for his work with Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Jay-Z and Rihanna.

So, it’s no surprise that music drives this updated “Superfly” and the hip-hop/rap beats come courtesy of Lil Wayne, Future, Young Thug and others.
Thankfully, Lutz and his crew were wise enough to include Curtis Mayfield’s sizzling, classic song, “Superfly” which elevates the film’s powerful message.

I wouldn’t have ever imagined Trevor Jackson (TV’s “Grown-ish”) in the role of Youngblood Priest, the pimped out, cocaine dealer that O’Neal righteously made famous. Yet Jackson, is every bit as handsome and charismatic as O’Neal and lights up the screen with an unwavering swagger and a permed-out pompadour that rocks.

This time around in “Superfly,” the setting has shifted from New York to Atlanta. Priest (Jackson) is out to make one final score alongside his right-hand man Eddie, Jason Mitchell (“Mudbound” and “Straight Outta Compton” and TV’s “The Chi”). It will net them so many millions of dollars that they can get out of the drug game for good.

But it’s hard out here for a pusherman especially when everyone wants a piece of the action.

There’s corrupt cops (Jennifer Mason, TV’s “Once upon a Time”) and (Brian F. Durkin, TV’s “Stranger Things”), a ruthless street gang known as the Snow Patrol, Superfly’s friend named Scatter (the always amazing Michael Kenneth Williams, TV’s “Hap and Leonard”) and a Mexican drug lord (Esai Morales, TV’s “Mars”).

Still, whenever things get too hot on the streets for Superfly he can find solace in the arms of his gorgeous live-in girlfriends, Georgia (Lex Scott Davis, “The First Purge”) and Cynthia (Andrea Londo, TV’s “Narcos”). Their three-way sexy shower scene is a real eye-opener and puts O’Neal’s and Sheila Frazier’s little bathtub romp to shame.

This “Superfly” dishes up more violence than the original too and some slick, explosive car chases are thrown in for good measure. It’s all very stylish entertainment.

What I enjoyed most about “Superfly” was Jackson of course as the title character, but also the storyline wasn’t predictable and even the rest of the supporting cast is stellar.

Granted, this “Superfly” will never replace the original. It’s just such a classic film. However, if you’re a fan of blaxploitation movies like me, this remake sure is a nice companion piece.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:40 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.

Take A Peek At This Trailer For "SUPERFLY"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.
 

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Opens: 06/15/2018
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Book Club


OLD SCHOOL VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH

Brian's Song Title: Brian's Song
Year Released: 1971
Running Time: 90
Production Company: Screen Gems (Sony)
Director: Buzz Kulik
Director of Photography: Joseph F. Biroc
Screenwriter: Gale Sayers, Al Silverman and William Blinn
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: This Review Reprinted In Honor Of Movie Critic Bill Gibron--May 14, 1961--May 11, 2018. Pictured Top Left.

Now with summer behind us, the arrival of fall means weekends attending and watching plenty of football games. Whether they’re college, pro or high school, I’m all over them.

And when it comes to football movies, few move me as much as the 1971 drama...
NEW ON DVD

Unsane <b>(June 19)</b> Title: Unsane (June 19)
Year Released: 2018
Running Time: 97
Production Company: Bleecker Street/20th Century fox
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

”UNSANE”

“Unsane” is an insanely good psychological thriller from director Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic” and the “Ocean’s” trilogy).

Soderbergh filmed this creepy, pulse-pounder on his iPhone which is further proof that you don’t need a super-sized budget to make a very good movie.

In “Unsane” Claire Foy from TV’s “The Crown,” stars as Sawyer Valentini. She’s recently moved from Boston to Pennsylvania looking for a fresh start and mainly to escape the weirdo guy named David (Joshua Leonard, TV’s “Scorpion”) that she met while caring for her sickly father.

This guy fell hard for Sawyer and started stalking her.

Now, Sawyer is trying as best she can to shake the haunting memories of this creep. On occasion, she visits a local mental health clinic for counseling.

But one day while there, she lets her guard down, signs a consulting form without reading the fine print and winds up involuntarily confined to the facility for a week.

It turns into one hellish stay for Sawyer. Yeah, her past is still an issue, but she’s nowhere near as crazy as the people she’s being forced to room with at this place. For starters, there’s Violet (Juno Temple, “Wonder Wheel”), whose real name should be Violent since she can’t stand Sawyer and plans to stab her when she goes to sleep.

And the staff at this place seems off their meds too. Nurse Boles (Polly McKie, TV’s “Frenemies”) has little compassion for the patients and treats them terribly especially Sawyer. But Nurse Boles is the least of Sawyer’s problems. It’s the new orderly that’s in charge of dispensing medication to everyone that has her doing a double take.

That’s because he looks a lot like David, her stalker. In fact, it is David. This guy has followed her to the mental facility using a bogus name and has everyone fooled.

Sawyer goes ballistic when none of the authorities there—including the security cops--believe her when she tells them that David is a phony, has a criminal past and plans to probably kill her.

Fortunately, Sawyer befriends Nate, (a terrific Jay Pharoah, TV’s “SNL” and “BoJack Horseman”) who is also a patient. Still, something seems odd about Nate. It’s like he doesn’t belong there either.

Nate has somehow managed to sneak in a cell phone. Sawyer, makes him an offer to use it and secretly calls her mother Angela (Amy Irving, “Confetti”) and explains her nightmarish situation. She's even talked to a cop (Matt Damon, "Downsizing") who offers her sound advice.

However, when Sawyer's mom arrives, getting her daughter out of the place isn’t very easy, despite her threatening to hire an attorney. And what happens to her is chilling to say the least.

Plus, the more Sawyer gets closer to exposing the nutso David and the mental institution’s fraudulent game they’re running with patients and their insurance companies, the more riveting “Unsane” becomes.
(Recommended).

Tyler Perry's Acrimony <b>( June 26) </b> Title: Tyler Perry's Acrimony ( June 26)
Year Released: 2018
Running Time: 120
Production Company: Tyler Perry Studios
Director: Tyler Perry
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"ACRIMONY"

Taraji P. Henson, star of the hit TV show “Empire,” is a force to be reckoned with in Tyler Perry’s new revenge thriller, “Acrimony.”

As expected, Perry who produced, wrote and directed “Acrimony,” goes for the jugular at every turn and gets the best from his cast which also includes the sensational Lyriq Bent (TV’s “She’s Gotta Have It” and Ajiona Alexus (TV’s “Empire”).

When we first meet Melinda (Henson) she’s seated in a courtroom consumed with anger and staring into space as a judge admonishes her for failing to obey a restraining order from her ex-husband Robert (Bent).

Next, it’s on to her therapist meeting. Melinda explains the cause of her failed relationship and how it destroyed her life.

Things started out so promising too. Melinda (Ajiona Alexus playing the younger version of Henson) met Robert (Antonio Madison, TV’s “Greenleaf”) in college. Despite being from the wrong side of the tracks, he was a smart, chemical engineering student. She admired his drive and ambition. Robert introduced Melinda to not just great sex, but turned her on to other things like appreciating new music and singers like Nina Simone.

He tells Melinda that his invention of a self-charging battery will be a game changer and make him wealthy beyond belief.

Robert swears that when it does, he wants her to be part of that dream and his world. The goal is to sell his idea to the Prescott & Howard Technological Company, a corporate giant that’s created a lottery system that lures young, creative talent much like Robert.

Melinda believes in Robert and is seduced by his good looks and charm. So much so, that she helps him get his project started by tapping into the $350,000 that she inherited from her recently deceased mother. They wind up getting married and she even buys Robert a car. Love is not only blind, but downright foolish at times especially when Melinda finds out that Robert has been lying to her and she catches him with another woman (Shavon Kirksey, TV’s “The Crisis”).

They manage to work through that ordeal and Robert (now played by Bent) keeps plugging away with his pet project. He also continues to turn to Melinda to help him finance it.

Eventually he spends every dime of her money only to discover the Prescott company isn’t initially interested in his battery.

Now humiliated and broke, Melinda is left to pick up the pieces and tries to start over with a new guy she meets named DeVon (Jay Hunter, TV’s “If Loving You is Wrong”). He’s nice and all, but just doesn’t measure up like Robert did.

Wouldn’t you know that Robert finally gets his break with Prescott & Howard and he’s soon rolling in money. He arrives at Melinda’s job and hands her a check for $10 million along with the keys to his mother’s house that they lost in foreclosure.

It’s his way of apologizing for everything. Melinda also sees it as an opportunity to perhaps patch things up and start over with him. They do still love each other, much to the dismay of her family and friends.

When Melinda pays Robert a visit at his posh, penthouse apartment, she’s stunned to find Diana (now Crystle Stewart, TV’s “Too Close to Home”) there. Diana even gloats to Melinda about their upcoming wedding.

When Melinda hears that, she cranks up the crazy and goes after Robert and Diana with all her might.
(Highly Recommended).

Tomb Raider <b> (June 12) </b> Title: Tomb Raider (June 12)
Year Released: 2018
Running Time: 118
Production Company: Warner Bros.
Director: Roar Uthaug
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"TOMB RAIDER"

Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”/Best Supporting Actress”) is all that and more as Lara Croft in this new version of “Tomb Raider.”

Lara Croft is the character Angelina Jolie brought to life in the 2001 and 2003 action-adventure movies.

Based on the Tomb Raider video game--which is also enjoying a resurgence of sorts—the “Tomb Raider” movie from Norwegian director Roar Uthaug (“The Wave”), is a better than expected origin story.

Our introduction to Lara in “Tomb Raider” is via flashback as a little girl (Maisy De Freitas in her debut role). She’s laughing and playing with her archeologist father, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West, TV’s “The Affair”). He tells his adorable “Sprout” (Lara) that he has to go away for a while, but assures her that he’ll be back. He even gives her a token which will “magically” keep them together in spirit.

As it turns out, Lord Richard’s mission had something to do with the discovery of a demonic and ancient princess tomb buried on a mountainside near a Japanese Island. But, it’s been seven years and no one has seen or heard from the archaeologist.

Fast forward a few years and now Lara (Vikander) has assumed her father is dead. She spends her time in a boxing gym perfecting her MMA skills, practicing archery and working as a bike courier. Problem is, that job doesn’t pay much and she can barely afford the club dues.

Of course, Lara really is rolling in dough. At least her family is. She could cash in her daddy’s fortune, but refuses to because it would mean she’d have to claim he’s dead rather than simply missing in action.

Things become even more problematic for Lara when she gets caught up in this crazy bicycle race and winds up in jail. Her aunt Ana (Kristin Scott Thomas, “Darkest Hour”) has to bail her out. She also tries to convince Lara to sign her father’s paperwork which would make her the sole proprietor of his holdings.

Lara reluctantly agrees to and discovers among her father’s possessions is a photo of them, a skeleton key and a mysterious puzzle which provides clues to her his disappearance.

Heeding the information, Lara soon heads off to Hong Kong. She meets a drunken sailor—how cliché-- named Lu Ren (Daniel Wu, TV’s “Into the Badlands”) and bribes him to take her to the remote island where her father was last seen.

When Lara arrives she soon sees just what her father was keeping a secret. She also comes in contact with a group of bad guys and their leader Mathias Vogel (a terrific as always Walton Goggins, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” and TV’s “The Big Bang Theory”).

Mathias wants her father’s powerful secrets and will go to great lengths to obtain them. First, he’ll have to get through Lara who proves a formidable force as she utilizes all her archery and MMA training talents.

Vikander is every bit the badass in “Tomb Raider.” She’s grittier than Jolie was but generates equal doses of raw sexiness and toughness while she battles the baddies along with some of nature’s most challenging obstacles.

She not only makes this “Tomb Raider” exciting, but flat out fun.
(Recommended).

Editor’s Note: The Tomb Raider 4K Ultra HD, 3D Blu-ray, and Blu-ray Combo Packs contain the following special features:

Tomb Raider: Uncovered--The cast and crew reveal the challenges — and the fun — of bringing Lara Croft’s thrilling adventures to life for a new generation.

Croft Training--Enter the gym with Award-winning actress Alicia Vikander as she prepares for the most physically demanding role of her career and transforms into the iconic action hero Lara Croft.

Breaking Down the Rapids-- Join director Roar Uthaug as he and other members of the cast and crew break down the film’s most exciting action set piece.

Lara Croft: Evolution of an Icon-- Explore the revolutionary Tomb Raider saga from video games to movies, and discover how Lara Croft became one of the most popular and successful female characters of all time.

The Tomb Raider Standard Definition DVD Contains The Following Special Features:

Tomb Raider: Uncovered--The cast and crew reveal the challenges — and the fun — of bringing Lara Croft’s thrilling adventures to life for a new generation.

Love, Simon <b> (June 12) </b> Title: Love, Simon (June 12)
Year Released: 2018
Running Time: 109
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Director: Greg Berlanti
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"LOVE, SIMON"

“Love, Simon,” from director Greg Berlanti (TV’s “Supergirl,” “Black Lightning” and “Arrow” sure doeAlthough the new teen dramedy, “Love, Simon” sure does grow on you.

The teen drama is an earnest coming-of-age story which centers around 17-year-old Simon Spier played by Nick Robinson. He was also terrific in last year’s teen romance movie, “Everything, Everything.”

Simon comes from a nearly perfect family. His dad Jack (Josh Duhamel, TV’s “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.”) is a former college football star. His mother Emily (Jennifer Garner, TV’s “Llama, Llama”) is a therapist and modern-day June Cleaver. Simon’s little sister, Nora (Talitha Eliana Bateman, “Annabelle: Creation”) loves to cook, but isn’t always very good at it. Still, they all encourage her efforts.

Simon goes to the best suburban school and hangs out with his buddies Leah (Katherine Langford, TV’s “13 Reasons Why”), Nick (Jorge Lendborg Jr., “Spider-Man: Homecoming”) and Abby (Alexandra Shipp, “Straight Outta Compton” and upcoming “Shaft”).

They’re like most any other high school kids. They eat out together, listen to music and gossip about girls and guys. However, Simon likes guys. It’s a secret he’s been keeping and one that’s slowly consuming him. He can’t tell his parents or his friends he’s gay.

He does find solace from an anonymous online friendship with another closeted guy at school named Blue. Simon tries to figure out just who it is he’s been communicating with and his imagination gets the best of him in class.

It could be the cute black guy named Bram (Keiynan Lonsdale, TV’s “Legends of Tomorrow”), Cal (Miles Heizer, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”and TV’s “13 Reasons Why”) or the hunky Lyle (Joey Pollari, TV’s “American Crime”).

For the moment, Simon’s mysterious internet friend is about the only thing he has to look forward to along with starring in the high school production of Cabaret which is under the direction of drama teacher Ms. Albright (a fabulous Natasha Rothwell, Netflix’s “The Characters”). She must contend with a motley crew of not so talented students including the show’s gregarious ringleader, Martin (Logan Miller, TV’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”).

This guy is the attention seeking class clown. You know the one who is just so obnoxious that you wish you could ignore him but can’t.

And thanks to Martin’s insecurity and stupidity, poor Simon finds himself caught up in a terrible situation that jeopardizes his secret.

Generally, these sort of teen, romance movies are predictable and simplistic. Thankfully, “Love Simon” strikes a different and refreshing tone. The characters really act like high schoolers and it’s easy to identify with all of them. Tony Hale, on the other hand, as the comical school principal was kind of hit or miss for me.

Still, there’s no denying the authenticity to “Love, Simon” and the director really nails and captures all the topsy-turvy emotions of adolescence.

And again, any movie—teen or otherwise—that opens with the Brenton Wood soul, classic “Oogum Boogum” song and features The Jackson Five’s“Someday at Christmas” like “Love, Simon” does, will always receive high praise from me.
(Recommended).
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  "REEL" MOVIE NEWS
JURASSIC WORLD FALLEN KINGDOM By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM THE IMAX EXPERIENCETO OPEN AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE ON JUNE 21

It’s been four years since theme park and luxury resort Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs out of containment.

Isla Nublar now sits abandoned by humans while the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves in the jungles.

When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.

Arriving on the unstable island as lava begins raining down, their expedition uncovers a conspiracy that could return our entire planet to a perilous order not seen since prehistoric times. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom The IMAX Experience” will open on June 21 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento.

The IMAX release of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of an IMAX 3D Experience and 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.

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


imax incredible By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

"THE INCREDIBLES 2: THE IMAX 2D EXPERIENCE" OPENS AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE JUNE 14

Everyone’s favorite family of superheroes is back in “The Incredibles 2: The IMAX 2D Experience” – but this time Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is in the spotlight, leaving Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) at home with Violet (voice of Sarah Vowell) and Dash (voice of Huck Milner) to navigate the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life.

It’s a tough transition for everyone, made tougher by the fact that the family is still unaware of baby Jack-Jack’s emerging superpowers. When a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot, the family and Frozone (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) must find a way to work together again—which is easier said than done, even when they’re all Incredible.

“The Incredibles 2: The IMAX 2D Experience” opens June 14 at 5 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento.

The “Incredibles” Double Feature starts at 6 p.m. on June 13. Guests will be able to watch the first “Incredibles” film followed by “The Incredibles 2: The IMAX 2D Experience”one day before the film opens.

The IMAX release of “The Incredibles 2” 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 theater 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 show times, please call 916-443-IMAX (4629) or visit the website at www.imax.com/sacramento.

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.


jojo rabbit By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY HAS BEGUN ON TAIKA WAITITI’S “JOJO RABBIT” FOR FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

Fox Searchlight Pictures recently announced that principal photography on “Jojo Rabbit” has begun in and around Prague, Czech Republic.

The film is written and directed by Taika Waititi (pictured) "Thor: Ragnarok”) and stars Golden Globe nominated Scarlett Johansson (“Avengers: Infinity War”) Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), Rebel Wilson (“Pitch Perfect”), Thomasin McKenzie (“The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies”) and introducing Roman Griffin Davis as Jojo.

The film’s producers are Waititi, Carthew Neal (“Hunt For The Wilderpeople”) and Chelsea Winstanley (“What We Do In The Shadows”) with Kevan Van Thompson (“The Zookeeper’s Wife”) serving as executive producer.

“I’m stoked to begin shooting my anti-war satire. We’ve assembled an incredible cast and I couldn’t be more excited to finally ridicule Nazis and their beliefs, said Waititi. This film is going to piss off a lot of racists and that makes me very happy,” said Waititi.

“Taika is a master at bringing honesty and humanity to the surface in any story, all while allowing us to laugh. We could not be more thrilled to join him in the remarkable journey of Jojo Rabbit,” said Presidents of Production Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum.

In “Jojo Rabbit,” writer/director Taika Waititi brings his signature style of humor and pathos to a World War II satire. The story follows an awkward young German boy (Roman Griffin Davis) raised by a single mother (Scarlett Johansson), and whose only ally is his imaginary friend Hitler (Waititi). His naïve patriotism is tested when he meets a young girl (Thomasin McKenzie) who upends his world views, forcing him to face his biggest fears.

Joining Waititi on the film is director of photography Mihai Malaimare Jr. (“The Master”), production designer Ra Vincent (“Thor Ragnarok”), editor Tom Eagles (“Hunt For the Wilderpeople”), costume designer Mayes Rubeo (“Thor: Ragnarok”) and make-up and hair designer Dannelle Satherley (“Hunt For The Wilderpeople”).

Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures. It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox. Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of Twentieth Century Fox Film.

Editor’s Note: Information used in this report obtained from Fox Searchlight Pictures.