Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 09/21/2018
Running Time: 104
Rated: PG
Cast: Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sunny Suljic and Kyle MacLachlan.
Crew: Director: Eli Roth. Producers: Bradley J. Fischer, Eric Kripke and James Vanderbilt. Executive Producers: Laeta Kalogridis. W. Mark McNair, Tracey Nyber and William Sherak. Screenwriters: Eric Kripke and John Bellairs author of ("The House With A Clock In Its Walls"). Cinematographer: Rogier Stoffers.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Director/producer Eli Roth, whose work includes gritty, grown up action-packed movies such as “Hostel,” “Grindhouse” and this year’s “Death Wish” remake, does an about-face and opts for giddy, ghoulish fun with “The House with a Clock in its Walls.”

Adapted from John Bellairs 1973 children’s horror novel of the same name, “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” from screenwriter Eric Kripke (TV’s “Supernatural”), is a goofy movie that despite its often slow, meandering parts, surprisingly works. Of course, having Jack Black and Oscar-winner Cate Blanchette in “cuckoo” mode adds to its fun and silliness.

It’s 1955 and little Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro, “Daddy’s Home 2”) is on a bus headed to New Zebedee, Michigan to live with his eccentric uncle Jonathan (Jack Black, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and TV’s “Drunk History”) because his parents were tragically killed. Still mourning their deaths, Lewis has a Magic 8-ball that he uses to try and communicate with them.

The super-smart, nerdy 10-year-old kid also lugs around dictionaries, sports tweed jackets and even wears goggles.
Lewis has a lot to adjust to when he arrives in Michigan.

At school, he’s often teased and bullied by the bigger kids until he’s briefly befriended by the school jock, Tarby Corrigan (Sunny Suljic, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”).

However, it’s Uncle Jonathan’s dusty and spooky house that really gives him the creeps. It’s a spacious, dark, haunted mansion that’s referred to by the kids in the neighborhood as “The Slaughter House.” It has numerous clocks on the walls. The reason is to drown out the loud ticking of a clock that was secretly hidden in the house’s wall by the previous owner, but Uncle Jonathan hasn’t been able to find it.

There are also things in the house that go bump during the day and night like a scampering puppy chair that Uncle Jonathan has sort of trained. Then there are the bright, stained glass windows with inanimate objects that spring to life as well as a self-playing organ and a sphinx topiary with a serious case of irritable bowel syndrome.

Oh, and we can’t forget the wacky, next door neighbor, Florence Zimmerman (Blanchette, “Ocean’s Eight”). She’s a powerful witch who more than holds her own against Uncle Jonathan’s trash talking which is another highlight of the movie.

Lewis has little choice but to embrace his weird, new lifestyle. And when he discovers that Uncle Jonathan is a warlock with magical powers, he wants to be part of this dark and mysterious world.

Once Uncle Jonathan teaches Lewis the mystical machinations of sorcery, Lewis begins to use his powers and among other things accidently raises a warlock from the dead known as Isaac Izard (a terrific Kyle MacLachlan, TV’s “Portlandia”).

Izard, along with his wife Selena, (Renee Elise Goldsberry, TV’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”) are connected to the mansion. They soon test Uncle Jonathan and Florence and this sets up a battle between good versus evil as the fate of humankind hangs in the balance.

“The House with a Clock in Its Walls” brims with fantastical goblins and creatures. It packs just enough of a frightening punch for its young, targeted audience and yet is a whimsical delight that even adults can enjoy.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch 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.


Rated: R
Opens: 09/21/2018
Life Itself

Rated: R
Opens: 09/14/2018
A Boy. A Girl. A Dream.

Rated: R
Opens: 09/14/2018
The Predator

Rated: R
Opens: 09/14/2018
White Boy Rick

Rated: R
Opens: 09/07/2018

Rated: R
Opens: 08/17/2018


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...

Uncle Drew <b> (Sept. 25) </b> Title: Uncle Drew (Sept. 25)
Year Released: 2018
Running Time: 103
Production Company: Summit Entertainment
Director: Charles Stone III
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


I have yet to meet Kyrie Irving, but will soon enough. When I do, chances are I’ll inadvertently call him Uncle Drew. That’s because Irving is so convincing and funny playing the basketball legend in his hilarious new comedy, “Uncle Drew.”

The movie, centers around a bunch of old, basketball players trying to recapture some of their former glory. They’re portrayed by actual NBA stars like Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson and Chris Webber.

Much of the fun of “Uncle Drew” is seeing the amazing job the film’s makeup artists did to make these guys look like such geezers.

Directed by Charles Stone III (“Drumline”), “Uncle Drew” is really a star-studded affair. Comedian Lil Rel Howery (TV’s “Rel, “The Bobby Brown Story”) stars as Dax, a well-meaning Foot Locker employee whose hoop dreams were hijacked by a white dude named Mookie (a semi-funny Nick Kroll, TV’s “Portlandia”) who blocked his game winning shot.

That’s been tough for Dax to live down. But, now he wants to coach and thinks he could hook up a streetball team to win the $100,000 grand prize at Harlem’s annual Rucker Tournament.

Dax desperately needs the money because he can’t stop his girlfriend Jess (Tiffany Haddish, “Night School”) from spending.

If Dax can put a team together that’s good, he may have a shot to get revenge on Mookie (Kroll) who is coaching one of the best teams in New York.

But that seems like a longshot especially since Mookie convinces Dax’s young star Casper (Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic) to play for him.

That leave Dax desperate and in search of more key players. He thinks he’s found the answer to his problems when he catches an old guy schooling a “young blood” during a pick-up game.

That old man just happens to be the legendary Uncle Drew (Irving). According to barbershop hustling friends Angelo ( J.B. Smoove, TV’s “New Girl”) and Louis (Mike Epps, “Death Wish”), Uncle Drew was the best player to ever step foot on the Rucker Court.

And guess what? Uncle Drew still has game. So, Dax convinces him to join his team.

Uncle Drew takes Dax on a ride in his old school van complete with an 8-track tape player. They head out to round up some other potential hoopsters.

The movie really gets wild and crazy when Dax and Uncle Drew pick up an old school preacher (a terrific Chris Webber). His attempt to head out with the gang is threatened by his clingy wife, Betty Lou (a funny Lisa Leslie).

Reggie Miller stars as a blind guy named Lights. Nate Robinson is nicknamed Boots and has been confined to a wheelchair, but a pair of shoes gives him new life.

Shaquille O’Neal is as crazy as ever playing a karate instructor who has some major drama festering with Uncle Drew.

While all the characters have their special moments to shine—the dance off contest is among the film’s funniest.

Unless Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart’s upcoming movie “Night School” delivers more laughs, for now, “Uncle Drew” ranks as one of my favorite comedies this year.
(Highly Recommended).

<b> Solo: A Star Wars Story (Sept. 25)</b> Title: Solo: A Star Wars Story (Sept. 25)
Year Released: 2018
Running Time: 135
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Ron Howard
Review By: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


“Solo: A Star Wars Story” gets a marginal recommendation. As much as I enjoy the “Star Wars” franchise, I couldn’t help but wonder how different it might have been if directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller had remained on board for this installment.

Lord and Miller were unceremoniously dumped/fired by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy just four months into filming “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” allegedly for creative differences.

Ron Howard was brought in to finish the film—about 70 percent of it--and Lord and Miller received executive producing credit. So, how “Solo: A Star Wars Story” would have turned out under their quirky style, we’ll never know. While “Solo: A Star Wars Story” offers some exciting moments, they’re few and far between.

Overall, there’s something amiss about the movie beyond its drab, dark, grey look and feel. It’s just not the big thrill ride you’d expect.

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” tells the adventurous story of the young, confident flyboy Han Solo played by Alden Ehrenreich (“Rules Don’t Apply” and “Hail Caesar!) doing his best to channel Harrison Ford’s youthful charisma, but coming up a bit short in that department.

Han and his girlfriend Emilia Clarke (TV’s “Game of Thrones”) have been captured and imprisoned on his home planet of Corellia. Han has devised a plan for them to escape.

His journey leads him to Chewbacca--( Joonas Suotamo) who is also imprisoned. Han also meets an underworld smuggler, Lando Calrissian played by Donald Glover from TV’s “Atlanta”).

Of course, Lando Calrissian was originally portrayed by Billy Dee Williams in “The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Return of the Jedi” (1983). Don’t let the slick sideburns and cape fool you. Glover is no Billy Dee Williams. He tries way too hard to mimic the legendary actor and just doesn’t cut it as a younger version of him.

However, it’s the villainous Woody Harrelson, Paul Bettany and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Goodbye Christopher Robin”) as L3-37, Lando's droid companion) that gives “Solo” some much needed oomph. They are among the most exciting characters of the bunch. It’s unfortunate that Thandie Newton (TV’s “Westworld”)is underused too as Harrelson’s partner in crime.

Overall, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” is rather underwhelming which are words rarely associated with such an iconic franchise. You may find the “Blu Ray Special Features” more exciting than the actual movie.

-Solo: The Director & Cast Roundtable
-Team Chewie - Bringing Chewbacca to life.
-Kasdan on Kasdan - Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and son Jonathan share what it was like to write the movie's script together.
-Remaking the Millennium Falcon
-Escape from Corellia
-The Train Heist
-Becoming a Droid
-Welcome to Fort Ypso
-Into the Maelstrom: The Kessel Run.

-Proxima's Den
-Corellian Foot Chase
-Han Solo: Imperial Cadet
-The Battle of Mimban: Extended
-Han Versus Chewie: Extended
-Snowball Fight!
-Meet Dryden: Extended
-Coaxium Double-Cross.

THE MILLENNIUM FALCON: FROM PAGE TO PARK: A look at the Falcon's new place at Disneyland.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom <B> (Sept. 18)</b> Title: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Sept. 18)
Year Released: 2018
Running Time: 128
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Director: J.A. Bayona
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” which is the fifth installment of the “Jurassic Park” film series, retains much of the magic, charm and nostalgia of the previous films.

Credit that to screenwriters Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow who directed the first “Jurassic World” movie as well as director J.A. Bayona who knows the importance of giving audiences a good scare or two having helmed movies such as “The Orphanage” and “A Monster Calls.”

And quite honestly, few things are scarier and as exciting than seeing the giant dinosaurs in “Fallen Kingdom” chomp and stomp on people.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom picks up three years after the events of “Jurassic World.” The huge theme park located on the Isla Nublar—near Costa Rica—is a shell of itself; old and abandoned with just the remaining dinosaurs running wild and free.

But trouble is brewing. The once dormant volcano under the island has erupted and is threatening the animals.
There are many people, like Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum, “Hotel Artemis”) who want to let nature run its course and let the lava flow kill the dinosaurs off once and for all.
He’s seated before United States congressional leaders trying to explain what could happen again if the dinosaurs aren’t extinct.

Not everyone agrees with Dr. Malcolm. In fact, there’s a growing group of activists who want to save the dinosaurs and take them to a safe place.

At the forefront of the effort, is “Dinosaur Protection Group” director Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard, TV’s “Arrested Development”) and dinosaur whisperer/behaviorist Owen Grady (Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy”). Owen is still crushing on Claire and has a personal interest to find Blue, the adorable velociraptor he raised.

There’s also ailing billionaire Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell, “Marshall”) and his right-hand guy, Eli Mills (Rafe Spall, “The Big Short”).

Also joining in the round up, is former marine and paleoveterinarian Dr. Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda, TV’s “The Detour”) and systems analyst, Franklin Webb (Justice Smith, “Every Day” and TV’s “The Get Down”). Smith is a blast and supplies the comic relief as the nerdy and frightened kid who wants no part of this mission.

But there’s also a sinister plan at play that Owen and Claire learn about from the inquisitive Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) the grand-daughter of Benjamin Lockwood.

It involves a greedy dinosaur hunter named Ken Wheatley, (Ted Levine, TV’s “The Alienist” and “Here and Now”) and surprisingly Lockwood’s assistant Eli (Spall) who is working with a sleazy businessman (Toby Jones, “Atomic Blonde”) that wants to weaponize the dinosaurs and sell them to foreign leaders for millions of dollars.

Things don’t go as planned while they're on Isla Nublar. Now, with time ticking away, it’s up to Owen and Claire to save the day.

Superfly <b> (Sept. 11)</b> Title: Superfly (Sept. 11)
Year Released: 2018
Running Time: 103
Production Company: Sony/Columbia Pictures
Director: Director X
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


As many of you know, I love Blaxploitation movies. So, any time one of the classics are re-made, I’m nervous and excited.

As I’ve said numerous times, if you’re going to take on such an iconic movie, you've got to make it as good or better than the original.

Thankfully, director Julien Christian Lutz, aka, Director X. understood that concept with his re-imagined version of “Superfly.”

Granted, this one will never replace the original 1972 “Super Fly” movie directed by Gordon Parks Jr. and which starred the late, great Ron O’Neal. But, I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at how much the new “Superfly” not only pays homage to the original movie, but 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 “Superfly” and the hip-hop/rap beats come courtesy of Lil Wayne, Future, Young Thug and others.

Lutz and his crew were also wise enough to include Curtis Mayfield’s sizzling, classic song, “Superfly” which elevates the film’s powerful message. Any sort of hip-hop version of it would have been an epic fail.

What I liked most about this “Superfly” is how good Trevor Jackson (TV’s “Grown-ish”) is in the role of Youngblood Priest, the pimped out, cocaine dealer that O’Neal righteously made famous. 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.

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 are 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 “fly” and stylishly done.
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"
michael thriller By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


Now this sounds like a real thriller. On the heels of the Michael Jackson Diamond Celebration and leading into the Halloween season, IMAX Corporation and the Estate of Michael Jackson are partnering to break new ground by digitally re-mastering Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" 3D into IMAX 3D for the first time ever.

The exclusive engagement begins Sept. 20 in IMAX at The Esquire IMAX Theatre ahead of showings of Amblin’s “The House with a Clock in Its Walls."

In creating “Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D,” which had its world premiere at the 74th Venice Film Festival.

The original iconic short film, directed by John Landis and written by Landis and Michael Jackson, was not reedited or recut in any way.

Optimum Productions brought Landis in and together they supervised an elaborate and labor-intensive process that began with the original 35mm film negative from Michael’s archives and resulted in a 3D conversion of the acclaimed film using the latest available technology.

Additionally, all of the audio, including Michael’s music, Elmer Bernstein’s score and sound effects, were adapted to 5.7, 7.1 and Atmos standards in order to create the highest quality audio experience for in theater viewing.

“Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D” was then provided to IMAX to go through its proprietary digital re-mastering process (IMAX DMR), which optimizes the images and remixes the soundtrack for playback in IMAX theatres so fans can experience Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” to the fullest in IMAX.

Editor’s Note: The song “Thriller,” from the album ”Thriller” is one of the biggest selling albums of all time, and is performed by Michael Jackson, with music and words by Rod Temperton. The film premiered at the AVCO Theatre in Los Angeles in 1983, and it sold out every night for three weeks. No other music film generated such excitement and has such a hold on our attention, such that more than three decades later, we all share it as a collective memory. It remains the only music video to be inducted into the elite National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

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.

Predator By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


From the outer reaches of space to the backwoods of southern Georgia, the hunt comes home in Shane Black’s explosive reinvention of the Predator series.

Now, the universe’s most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before. And only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biology professor can prevent the end of the human race.

“The Predator: The IMAX 2D Experience” opens Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at

The IMAX release of “The Predator” 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 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.

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.

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