Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 10/12/2018
Running Time: 141
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Jason Clarke, Pablo Schreiber, Kyle Chandler, Olivia Hamilton, Ciarán Hinds, Christopher Abbott, Pablo Schreiber and Shea Whigham.
Crew: Director: Damien Chazelle. Producers: Damien Chazelle, Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey, James R. Hansen and Isaac Klausner. Executive Producers: Steven Soielberg, Josh Singer and Adam Merims. Screenwriters: Josh Singer and James Hansen (Author of Novel: "First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong"). Cinematographer: Linus Sandgren.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“First Man,” the new biopic about astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, reunites director Damien Chazelle with Ryan Gosling (“La La Land”).

Chazelle and Gosling didn’t miss a beat in “La La Land,” but oddly, “First Man” feels out of sync.

Josh Singer (“Spotlight”) adapted the script from James R. Hansen’s 2005 best-seller “First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong.”

And despite the film’s dazzling cinematography, “First Man” feels as cold, dark and empty as outer space. Plus, it’s incredibly long and moves at a snail’s pace.

Gosling plays Neil Armstrong and he does his best to sell the stoic patriot who made history on July 20, 1969 by becoming the first person to walk on the moon. There’s nothing flashy or showy about Armstrong and perhaps that’s part of the problem with the film.

“First Man” focuses primarily on Armstrong’s family life from when he worked as a research engineer for NASA and with the space crew which led to the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

Early on we see Armstrong and his wife Janet (Claire Foy “Unsane” and TV’s “The Crown”) trying to cope with the loss of their young daughter Karen who died from a brain tumor. Karen is tasked with keeping their two young, cantankerous boys in check whenever Armstrong is away from home, which is often.

But, “First Man” rarely makes that emotional connection and investment with viewers. Even a tragedy among Armstrong’s fellow colleagues, Ed White (Jason Clarke, “Winchester” and “Mudbound”) and Elliot See (Patrick Fugit,” Gone Girl”) doesn’t pack the emotional punch that it should.

Other characters fare slightly better such as Deke Slayton (Kyle Chandler, “Game Night”), one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts, who became NASA's first Chief of the Astronaut Office and the cocky Buzz Aldrin (the second man to walk on the Moon during Apollo 11) who is played by Corey Stoll (“Ant-man” and TV’s “The Strain”). They are the most compelling figures among the bunch.

Strangely, you come away from watching this movie with more questions about Neil Armstrong than answers.

With “First Man” Damien Chazelle reaches for the moon, but doesn’t quite achieve a full lift off.

Be sure to listen to my 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 "FIRST MAN"

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

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 10/12/2018
The Hate U Give

Rated: R
Opens: 10/12/2018
Bad Times At The El Royale

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 10/05/2018

Rated: R
Opens: 10/05/2018
A Star Is Born

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 09/28/2018
Night School

Rated: PG
Opens: 09/21/2018
The House With A Clock In Its Walls


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...

Skyscraper <b> (Oct. 9) </b> Title: Skyscraper (Oct. 9)
Year Released: 2018
Running Time: 102
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


It’s Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to the rescue once again, in the action thriller, “Skyscraper” from director Rawson Marshall Thurber (“Central Intelligence” and “We’re The Millers”).

Johnson has been on a roll doing the heroic thing in movies such last year’s big hit, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” as well as the exciting “San Andreas” and “Rampage.”

In “Skyscraper,” which is part “Die-Hard” and “The Towering Inferno,” Johnson plays a former FBI Rescue Team leader named Will Sawyer.

He was top dog with the agency, but
Will couldn’t prevent a guy from blowing his family to smithereens during a domestic dispute. Will lost a leg during the confrontation.

Ten years later, Will has tried to put the incident behind him. He and his lovely Navy surgeon wife Sarah (Neve Campbell, TV’s “House of Cards”) have two adorable kids Georgia (McKenna Roberts, TV’s “Timeless”) and Henry (Noah Cottrell). Will gets around just fine now with a prosthetic leg.

In fact, Will has a nice gig working as a high-end security agent for different companies all over the world. He was recently hired to review the security measures at the world’s tallest and newest high-tech skyscraper in Hong Kong called “The Pearl” which is owned by billionaire Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and TV’s “Lethal Weapon”).

This place is unlike any building you’ve ever seen. It houses a “city in the sky,” has lavish apartments, a terrarium and too many amenities to name.

It’s a treat for Will to be working with his former colleague Ben (Pablo Schreiber, “Den of Thieves) and to bring his family along so they can experience the luxury facility.

It turns out that Zhao (Han) has some shady business dealings with some terrorists who are led by Kores Botha (Roland Møller, TV’s “Beck”).

They aren’t too pleased with their end of the deal. Consequently, they’re about to raid “The Pearl” and set it on fire to make a statement to Zhao. And Ben (Schreiber) is somehow connected to this unfolding plot too and winds up double crossing Will.

Now, Will’s family is trapped inside with the gun-toting goons. Will goes into full beast mode to get them out and methodically kill these guys.

Still, there is so much fierce action in “Skyscraper” and some surprise twists along the way that will leave you breathless.
(Highly Recommended).

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation  <b> (Oct. 9) </b> Title: Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (Oct. 9)
Year Released: 2018
Running Time: 90
Production Company: Sony Pictures
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky.
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


The ghoulishly pleasing “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” was a big, summer hit at the box office.

While the first two movies released in 2012 and 2015 were set in the Hotel Transylvania--a haven owned and operated by Count Dracula (Adam Sandler, TV’s “Kevin Can Wait”) where monsters could unwind from human civilization--this outing finds Drac’s Pack on a family voyage aboard a luxury Monster Cruise Ship.

Dracula’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez, “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising”) and her husband Johnny (Andy Samberg, TV’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” believes the blood-sucker has been working way too hard and needs a break. Some fresh air and new scenery could do him good.
So, Mavis and Johnny gather their son, Dennis (Asher Blinkoff, “Sing” and “The Jungle Book”), his gigantic puppy Tinkles.

Also part of the motley crew is Frankenstein (Kevin James, “TV’s “Kevin can Wait”), his wife Eunice (Fran Drescher, TV’s “Broad City”), Wayne the Werewolf (Steve Buscemi, TV’s “Miracle Workers”) and his wife Wanda (Molly Shannon, TV’s “Divorce”), Murray the Mummy (Keegan-Michael Key, TV’s “Friends from College”) and Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade, TV’s “Love”).

They set sail for the Bermuda Triangle in search of the mythical island of Atlantis.

However, it’s far from smooth sailing. The plot thickens when Dracula falls in love with the ship’s beautiful captain Ericka (Kathryn Hahn, “A Bad Mom’s Christmas”).

Dracula doesn’t know that Ericka comes from a long line of vampire killers, notably the legendary monster hunter Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan, “Super Troopers 2”) who is Dracula’s archenemy. So, she has ulterior motives and is really playing him. But, as the Main Ingredient’s soulful classic song says, “love runs deeper than any ocean, it clouds your mind with emotion.” And Dracula has gone completely gaga over Ericka.

Of course, when the gang gets wind of the captain’s plans, they devise some ingenious and funny ways to save Dracula.

Honestly, there are plenty of laughs to be had throughout the film’s 97 minutes run time. This is my favorite “Hotel” of the series. I hope the fourth installment will be just as inviting and enjoyable.

Hotel Artemis <b> (Oct. 9 )</b> Title: Hotel Artemis (Oct. 9 )
Year Released: 2018
Running Time: 94
Production Company: Global Road Entertainment
Director: Drew Pearce
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


“Hotel Artemis,” is a campy and violent B-movie loaded with a dynamite cast. And with all the reboots and sequels we’re getting, it’s nice to see something that’s a tad original. I just wish it was more fun.

Directed by writer/director Drew Pearce (“Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation” and “Iron Man 3”), “Hotel Artemis” is set in a futuristic Los Angeles (2028). Chaos is everywhere. Rioters have taken to the streets to protest the privatization and shortage of clean water.

The “Hotel Artemis” may not be the swankiest place, but it does have a “special” appeal to certain people.

It’s a haven and underground hospital for wealthy criminals like Malibu mobster Orian Franklin a.k.a. “Wolf King,” (Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”) who is seeking medical attention after narrowly escaping an assassination attempt.

He’s been brought to the hotel by his son Crosby (Zachary Quinto, “Star Trek” series). There’s also an injured cop (Jenny Slate, “Zootopia” and TV’s “Adventure Time”) who needs help.

The obnoxious arms dealer Acapulco (Charlie Day, “Pacific Rim: Uprising” and TV’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) is there too looking to escape the heat. So are the bank-robbing brothers Sherman Atkins/Waikiki (a terrific Sterling K. Brown, TV’s “This is Us”) and Lev/Honolulu (Brian Tyree Henry, TV’s “Atlanta”).

While at the Hotel Artemis you want to be nice to Nice (Sofia Boutella, “Atomic Blonde”), a sultry assassin who can kill you with her eyes alone.

The hotel is run by an eccentric, alcoholic known as “The Nurse” played delightfully by Jodie Foster in her first appearance on screen since 2013’s “Elysium.” “The Nurse” has a checkered past which slowly comes to light as this dark drama unfolds.

Her right-hand man, Everest (Dave Bautisa, “Avengers: Infinity War”) is a beast who makes sure all the riff-raff that comes through the Hotel Artemis adheres to its rules. And there are many.

You can probably guess that all these unsavory characters aren’t all going to get along. It’s only a matter of time before fists and bullets start to fly especially when Sherman (Brown) realizes he’s stolen a diamond filled pen that belongs to the Wolf King.

Despite all its moving parts and stellar cast, “Hotel Artemis” becomes a bit disjointed. Plus, the violence is way over the top, and not nearly as cool and stylish as in “John Wick” or “Atomic Blonde.”

However, Jodie Foster, Charlie Day, and particularly Sterling K. Brown shine and make “Hotel Artemis” worth checking into.

The First Purge <b>( Oct. 2) </b> Title: The First Purge ( Oct. 2)
Year Released: 2018
Running Time: 97
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Director: Gerard McMurray
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


I have been locked in on “The Purge” movies since day one. And if you’re a fan of the franchise, you’ve got to be digging on the USA Network’s “The Purge” series too.

“The First Purge,” movie is the prequel and the fourth installment of the franchise and fortunately it’s as dramatic and exciting as all the rest.

It doesn’t shy from the hardcore violence, but it also has a gripping, sociopolitical message that in many ways mirrors today’s society.

In addition, we get a better idea how the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) decided on the annual “Purge.” This event allows for the government to let people murder, steal and go on a rampage—for 12 hours anyway--without any consequences/punishment.

The concept is meant to be a cathartic release for people. But the reality is, the “Purge” is really a way for the wealthy, ruling class to control the population and allow poor black and brown people to kill each other.

Government leaders such as Arlo Sabian (Patch Darragh, TV’s “The Path”) and behavioral scientist, Dr. Updale (Marisa Tomei, TV’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”) have developed this social experiment on Staten Island, New York among its low-income residents.

Those who participate in the “Purge” are asked to stay on Staten Island and are given $5,000 to do so. They’ll be monitored by wearing glowing contact lenses.

Most of the people jump at the chance just to get the money despite protests from community activists like Nya (Lex Scott Davis, “Super Fly” remake) and her friends Luisa and Delores (Luna Lauren Velez, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”) and Mugga, (TV’s “Manifest”).

Nya is also worried about her young brother Isaiah (Joivan Wade, upcoming “VS”), who hates living in poverty and is being recruited into the gang life.
Surprisingly, when the “Purge” initially begins, people aren’t killing and stealing. In fact, they’re throwing block parties and talking about what they plan to do with their money, which is a nice chunk of change for them.

Television news stations are reporting the lack of unrest on Staten Island and it’s making Arlo (Darragh) and his government operatives look foolish and the test itself an epic failure.

Well, they aren’t about to go down in flames like that, so Arlo decides to bring in mercenaries disguised as gangs of citizens to get the mayhem jumping.

It works too. His well-orchestrated plan sets off a string of violent confrontations, mainly with Staten Island’s drug king, Dmitri (a fabulous Y’lan Noel (TV’s “Insecure”).

Dmitri is forced to team with others in the community to expose this race war experiment and help fight for everyone’s survival. He also gets a huge assist from one of the neighborhood’s most menacing residents named Skeletor (an impressive performance by Rotimi Paul, “Mapplethorpe”).

I must admit that I’m late to the show regarding Y’lan Noel. In addition to TV’s “Insecure,” he's starred in “The Hustle” and “House of Another.” But, Noel is a fine actor with an undeniable screen presence and is the driving force in "The First Purge."
Billy Dee Williams Starred In Which Of These Baseball Movies.
"The Bad News Bears
"One In A Million"
"Bang The Drum Slowly'"
" The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings"
HARRIET MOVIE By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


Focus Features Chairman Peter Kujawski recently announced that Focus studios has set production on “Harriet,” a new feature chronicling the life of heroic abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

Tubman will be played by Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award-winner Cynthia Erivo (pictured. “Bad Times at the El Royale,” “Widows”) and Tony Award-winner and Grammy Award-winner Leslie Odom Jr. (pictured, "Hamilton,” and “Murder on the Orient Express”).

Other cast members of "Harriet" include: Joe Alwyn (“Boy Erased,” “The Favourite,” “Mary Queen of Scots”), multiple Grammy Award-winner Jennifer Nettles, and Clarke Peters (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”).

Awarding winning director Kasi Lemmons (“Eve’s Bayou”) will direct a screenplay she co-wrote with Gregory Allen Howard (Ali, Remember the Titans). Debra Martin Chase (The Princess Diaries, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) with Martin Chase Productions, Daniela Taplin Lundberg (“Beasts of No Nation,” “The Kids are All Right”) with Stay Gold Features and Gregory Allen Howard will produce. They’re joined by cinematographer John Toll and costume designer Paul Tazewell. Josh McLaughlin, Focus Features president of production, will oversee the production.

“Harriet” will begin filming this October in Virginia.

Based on the story of iconic freedom fighter Harriet Tubman, “Harriet” follows Tubman on her escape from slavery and subsequent missions to free dozens of slaves through the Underground Railroad in the face of growing pre-Civil War adversity.

"This is the story of a seemingly powerless woman who accomplished the extraordinary to save her loved ones, and in the process became a leader of and inspiration for her people,” said producers Chase and Lundberg. “While Harriet Tubman is a household name, most people don’t know the breadth of her story - not only was she a conductor on the Underground Railroad, but she was a spy for the Union army and remains one of the few women to have led an armed expedition in US history.”

“Tubman’s courageous life and the scope of her bravery is truly made to be told on the big screen,” said Focus Chairman Peter Kujawski. “The countless lives she saved, during a time of such hatred and danger to herself, can be described only as heroic. We’re thrilled to be working with this incredibly talented group of filmmakers led by Kasi, Debra, Daniela, and Greg and this multi-talented group of actors in bringing Tubman’s life to film.”

Focus Features and Universal Pictures International will distribute the film worldwide.

ABOUT FOCUS FEATURES: Focus Features acquires and produces specialty films for the global market, and holds a library of iconic movies from fearless filmmakers.

Current and upcoming domestic releases from Focus include Jason Reitman’s new comedy Tully, starring Charlize Theron and written by Diablo Cody; “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, director Morgan Neville’s documentary on Mister Rogers; Lenny Abrahamson’s atmospheric thriller “The Little Stranger;” Joel Edgerton’s coming-of-age and coming-out drama “Boy Erased,” about a boy’s true-life experience at a conversion therapy program.

"Boy Erased" stars Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe; “Mary, Queen of Scots” with Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I.

“On the Basis of Sex,” is the real-life drama of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and stars Felicity Jones and Armie Hammer.

Asghar Farhadi’s Spanish-language drama “Everybody Knows” (Todos lo Saben) features Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz. There's also Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre’s directorial debut “Mustang;” and Spike Lee’s new film “BlacKkKlansman.”

Focus is part of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG), which produces, acquires, markets and distributes filmed entertainment worldwide in various media formats for theatrical, home entertainment, television and other distribution platforms, as well as consumer products, interactive gaming and live entertainment.

UFEG’s global division also includes Universal Pictures, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Brand Development, Fandango, DreamWorks Animation Film and Television and Awesomeness.

UFEG is part of NBCUniversal, 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, world-renowned theme parks and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

Editor’s Note: Information used in this report obtained from Focus Features. Photo: Courtesy Of Joseph Marzullo/WENN.

Venom By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


One of Marvel’s most enigmatic, complex and badass characters comes to the big screen. See Academy Award winner Tom Hardy as the lethal protector in “Venom: The IMAX Experience” opening Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.

Guests can also purchase a Heartstopper combo ticket for this film. The ticket includes a screening of the film “Venom” at the Esquire IMAX Theatre and admission to the Heartstopper Haunted House in Rancho Cordova, California.

The IMAX release of “Venom” 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 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 Theater 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


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 is headquartered in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, with offices in London, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing. As of Dec. 31, 2016, there were 1,215 IMAX theatres (1,107 commercial multiplexes, 16 commercial destinations and 92 institutions) in 75 countries.

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. You may also connect with IMAX on Facebook (, Twitter ( and YouTube (

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

Note: Information used in this report obtained from IMAX.

House with clock By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


In the tradition of Amblin classics where fantastical events occur in the most unexpected places, Jack Black and two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett star in “The House with a Clock in Its Walls.”

Based on the beloved children’s classic written by John Bellairs and illustrated by Edward Gorey, “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” is directed by master frightener Eli Roth.

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” in IMAX 3D will run ahead of each screening. “The House With a Clock in Its Walls” with Michael Jackson’s Thriller opens Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at

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


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.