THE GUILTY
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 09/24/2021
Running Time: 90
Rated: R
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Ethan Hawke, Riley Keough, Christina Vidal Mitchell, Eli Goree, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Paul Dano and Peter Sarsgaard.
Crew: Director: Antoine Fuqua. Producers: Antoine Fuqua, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Haring, David Litvak, Jon Mallard, Riva Marker, Svetlana Metkina, Eddie Rubin, Kat Samick and Gary Michael Walters. Executive Producers: Justin Bursch, Lina Flint, Eric Greenfield, Annie Marter, Christian Mercuri, Gustav Moller, Jonathan Oakes Niz Pizzolatto. Cinematographer: Maz Makhani.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“The Guilty” is a remake of a 2018 Danish film of the same name that was nominated for “Best Foreign Language” film at the 91st Academy Awards.

While I didn’t see that one, I wasn’t about to let this reimagined version from director Antoine Fuqua (“The Equalizer 2”) slip by me.

In “The Guilty” Jake Gyllenhaal gives another fierce performance that’s as riveting and committed as anything he’s done from “Nightcrawler” to “Prisoners.”

Gyllenhaal plays a disgraced cop in Los Angeles named Joe Baylor who has been demoted and tasked with working as a 911 dispatch operator pending his upcoming court case.

He hates the job and is counting the days until he’ll be back on the streets. In the meantime, he must deal with a rash of calls into the dispatch center that mainly revolve around prostitutes, drunk drivers and people trying to reach the fire department since wildfires are raging all over the place. Officer Baylor’s last shift takes a dramatic turn when a young woman (Riley Keough, TV’s “Calls” and “Riverdale”) calls in and tells him she’s been abducted by her estranged and violent husband Henry (Peter Sarsgaard, TV’s “Dopesick”).

Emily becomes more frantic and pleads with Joe to help her. He cleverly manages to get information on her whereabouts. The scenario becomes more intense when Emily tells Joe she has two kids alone at home and fear for their safety.

The victim gets under Joe’s skin. Throughout the ordeal he becomes less of a jerk and more of a sympathetic and even heroic policeman. He’s willing to break the rules to ensure this all ends well for Emily.

Yet, there’s a twist in “The Guilty” that you may or may not see coming. That’s because you’ll likely be so fixated on Gyllenhaal’s manic one man show. Although “The Guilty” features an impressive cast that includes Ethan Hawke (TV’s “United We Fall”), Eli Goree (“One Night in Miami”), DaVine Joy Randolph (“Dolemite Is My Name”) and Paul Dano (TV’s “The Great Work Begins. Scenes from Angels in America”), they’re all offscreen. You can only hear their voices when Gyllenhaal is speaking to them by phone.

Still, “The Guilty” is a stylish, nail-biting thriller from beginning to end and a great platform for Gyllenhaal to showcase his acting chops. It arrives in theaters--limited release--this weekend and bows on Netflix Oct. 1.

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.

Watch This Trailer For "THE GUILTY"

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...
 

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OLD SCHOOL VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH

Book Of Numbers Title: Book Of Numbers
Year Released: 1973
Running Time: 81
Production Company: AVCO Embassy Pictures
Director: Raymond St. Jacques
Director of Photography: Gayne Rescher
Screenwriter: Raymond St. Jacques
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: As a kid growing up in San Bernardino, California, I remember this cute, curly-headed, green eyed young guy coming over my family’s house with his handyman/electrician father to do some repair work. Little did I know the shy teen would become an iconic TV star.

Yeah, Philip Michael Thomas who played Ricardo “Rico” Tubbs alongside Don Johnson in the...
NEW ON DVD

Meat Me Halfway Title: Meat Me Halfway
Year Released: 2021
Running Time: 80
Production Company: Reducetarian Productions
Director: Brian Kateman
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"MEAT ME HALFWAY"

“Meat Me Halfway” is a new eye-opening documentary directed and written by Brian Kateman, founder and leader of the Reducetarian Organization. Kateman’s movement takes a guided and practical approach to addressing the harmful effects that eating meat has on people and the planet.

In case you are wondering what "Reducetarianism" is, well, it’s a concept that Kateman--a former vegetarian--crafted that encourages people to not avoid meat entirely, but simply reduce their consumption of it. Kateman believes this a more realistic approach rather than brow-beating people into becoming a strict vegetarian or vegan.

It’s a smaller step, but nevertheless he says is an effective one since people would still be helping to save the environment from increased greenhouse gas emissions and climate change as well as safeguard their health.

However, as Kateman, who is based in New York City discovers during his investigative journey—which leads him to a pig slaughterhouse in Los Angeles and a “ethically raised/slaughter” animal farm in Georgia and several points in between--there are strong and varying viewpoints from meat lovers and vegetarians/vegans.

Kateman is often ridiculed--even by his own skeptical parents--and other meat-eaters for his stance of “eating less meat.” He also angers animal rights activists who believe his position is counterproductive to theirs.

“Meat Me Halfway” features several notable scholars, scientists, doctors, and writers sharing their views on climate change and the cost of eating healthy. Michele Simon who is the founder of the Plant Based Foods Association notes that “taste,” “price” and “convenience” are the three most powerful drivers of food choices. She states that marketing and the environment people live in shapes their everyday food choices.

That’s a big reason why Olympia Auset started SUPRMARKT, the first organic produce pop-up in South Los Angeles to provide fresh and healthy vegetables and fruits to her community. The lack of major grocery stores in black and brown communities is alarming and that needs to change adds Eric Adams, Borough President of Brooklyn New York. Auset and Adams maintain it's important to make healthy food accessible and affordable to everyone.

“Meat Me Halfway” lays it all out there but doesn’t take a stand in the end. Instead, the viewer is left to chew on all the information, draw their own conclusions and make their own decisions. It is a highly informative and well-done documentary.
(Highly Recommended).

"Meat Me Halfway" is available July 20 on VOD and streaming platforms.

No Ordinary Love Title: No Ordinary Love
Year Released: 2020
Running Time: 99
Production Company: 1091 Pictures
Director: Chyna Robinson
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"NO ORDINARY LOVE"

“No Ordinary Love” the new movie from screenwriter/director Chyna Robinson (“Greenwood: 13 Hours”) is a compelling drama that centers around two vastly different couples who are in abusive marriages. Incredible circumstances bring them together.

“No Ordinary Love” deserves attention as it shines a spotlight on domestic violence and women who feel trapped in their relationships and are afraid to leave them.

Elizabeth Jeffries (April Hartman, “American Zombieland”) has tried to be the perfect wife to her husband, Michael (Eric Hanson, “90 Feet from Home”). He is a pastor at the local church in their small hometown. Their pre-teen son Matthew (Houston Ries, “Adventures in Zeroworld”) has to put up with a lot from his parents whose marriage is shattering right before his eyes.

How Elizabeth has been able to withstand the verbal abuse all these years from Eric is beyond me, because he’s a sexist and religious zealot whose backwards way of thinking is just mindboggling. Then again, Elizabeth is trying to keep up the “good wife” charade mainly for the sake of the church folk. Many in town consider him so wonderful and righteous. However, when Elizabeth finally realizes that she can’t live with him anymore and plans to leave, their relationship becomes even more dangerous.

Meanwhile, Derrick Anderson (Lynn Andrew III, TV’s “The Price of Fame”) is a well-respected police officer who is married to Tanya, (DeAna Davis), a beautiful and caring woman. They have an adorable young daughter named Faith, (Nya Cummings). Faith doesn't deserve to live in fear every time her dad comes home angry and then she has to watch him beat her mother. This guy is a punk and has some serious issues.
Every time Derrick apologizes for his abusive behavior, Tanya gives him another chance thinking he’ll change. He doesn’t. In fact, his anger issues worsen which forces Tanya to expose his secret to Elizabeth, the pastor’s wife.

That sets up a series of events for both couples, but the film’s unbelievable ending feels forced and incomplete. Still, the solid acting in “No Ordinary Love” is what carries the movie and keeps you locked in.
(Recommended).

The Unhealer Title: The Unhealer
Year Released: 2021
Running Time: 94
Production Company: Shout! Studios
Director: Martin Guigul
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"THE UNHEALER"

Last week, I had so many movies and TV shows to review that I almost tossed aside “The Unhealer,” a little supernatural thriller from Shout! Studios that was far better than I expected.

“The Unhealer” is available June 8 on Blu-Ray, DVD, digital, and On-Demand. This one isn’t your typical coming-of-age teen drama. It holds a few horrors and gory surprises and has ample doses of humor too. In other words, it’s my kind of movie.

In “The Unhealer” from director Martin Guigui (“Drama Drama”), Elijah Nelson (TV’s “9-1-1-: Lone Star”) plays a high school student named Kelly. He’s constantly bullied by his classmates. They call him “a human garbage disposal” because he has an eating disorder called “Pica.” Kelly eats really odd things like the plastic packaging of a Cup of Noodles and even chows down on his pencil erasers.

He’s a skinny kid and the lack of eating healthy food--or any food for that matter--makes him even more of an outcast. Kelly’s mother Bernice (Natasha Henstridge, “Night of the Sicario” and TV’s “Diggstown”) realizes her son’s condition is getting worse. Doctors have tried to get Kelly on a healthy regiment, but it’s not working. So, when Bernice finds out about a healer named Pflueger (Lance Henriksen, “The Dead of the Night”) who supposedly has cured many people, both young and old, of various afflictions, she decides to give him a shot.

The guy seems like a real shyster. But if it’s a scam, it’s a good one. Pflueger is somehow able to withstand the pain of others and in the process heal himself. If a guy punches Kelly in the face at school, Kelly will feel it for a brief second, but the guy will feel the brunt of the punch and Kelly’s face wouldn’t look like he’s been hit at all. The other guy however is a different story.

But just as Kelly is about to be treated, the session goes horribly wrong and somehow the powerful gift that Pflueger had is now within Kelly.

See where this is going?

Bring on the bullies. Soon everyone who picked on poor Kelly and his family is in for a royal beat down. He’s out for revenge. The hotshot school quarterback is taken aback when he picks a fight with Kelly this time. He can’t explain to his macho dad, how the pipsqueak Kelly turned the tables on him and beat him up.

Kelly’s newfound power isn’t limited to fighting. The horny teen can also fantasize and daydream about things he wants. In this case a couple of pretty girls in his class suddenly become sexually aroused and aren’t sure why.

“The Unhealer” isn’t a scary movie, but screenwriters J. Shawn Harris (“Star Quality”) and Kevin E. Moore sure have made it an entertaining and fun one.
(Highly Recommended).

Endangered Species Title: Endangered Species
Year Released: 2021
Running Time: 101
Production Company: Blue Sky Films
Director: M.J. Bassett
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"ENDANGERD SPECIES"

Going on a wildlife safari isn’t at the top of my bucket list or even on my bucket list. However, if it was, I’m sure that I wouldn’t be as reckless as the Halsey family is in the new movie “Endangered Species” which arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray June. 1.

Of course, this wealthy family’s stupidity makes for an entertaining drama, and I found myself locked in despite several eye rolls within the first 20 minutes.

In “Endangered Species,” from director/screenwriter M.J. Bassett (TV’s “Power”), Phillip Winchester (“Rogue” and TV’s “Chicago Justice”) plays a father who is trying to unite his fractured family.

His wife Lauren (Rebecca Romijn, TV’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) is excited about taking their snooty, Ivy-League daughter Zoe (Isabel Bassett, “Rogue”), son Noah (Michael Johnston, “Drama Drama”) oh, and Zoe’s slacker boyfriend Billy (Chris Fisher, TV’s “Bulletproof”) to Kenya for vacation. Billy proves to be the smartest and most resilient of the bunch.

As soon as they check in for their exciting safari, they meet some guys, notably Jerry O’ Connell from “Ballbuster” and TV’s “Star Trek: Lower Decks” who claim to be assistants but are really poachers.

Jack can’t really afford to pay for the guided tour. Apparently, he’s been lying about his money and job. So, he continues the charade and tells his family that they get to do their own tour. With a map in hand, a van with no air conditioning and a few glass bottles of water they blow past the guards and head out on their excursion.
Since Lauren wants to see a rhino up close and personal, they go off the beaten path into a restricted area. There’s a reason it’s off limits. Wild, vicious animals roam there and they seem to love fresh, white meat.

When the Halseys come between a rhino and her baby, they are brutally attacked, their van overturned and now they are stuck in the middle of nowhere without any cellphone access, water—the bottles broke—and no diabetic medication for Lauren.

It’s about to get real.

Throw in a pack of hungry hyenas and a leopard ready to pounce and you’ll wonder if any of the Halseys will make it out alive in this gritty and silly wildlife adventure.
(Highly Recommended).
  MOVIE TRIVIA
 
Prior to starring in the 1980s hit TV show “Miami Vice,” Philip Michael Thomas made his Broadway debut in which of the following theatrical productions?
“Hair” and “Aquarius”
“Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Fiddler On The Roof”
“Pippin” and “The Wiz”
“No Place To Be Somebody” and “The Selling of the President."
 
  "REEL" MOVIE NEWS
DEAR EVAN HANSEN By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

DEAR EVAN HANSEN: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE OPENS AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE ON SEPT. 23

The breathtaking, generation-defining Broadway phenomenon becomes a soaring cinematic event as Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Ben Platt reprises his role as an anxious, isolated high schooler aching for understanding and belonging amid the chaos and cruelty of the social-media age.

"Dear Evan Hansen: The IMAX Experience" opens at the Esquire IMAX Theatre on Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theater box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento.

The IMAX release of "Dear Evan Hansen" will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of the IMAX Experience with proprietary IMAX DM (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, showtimes, and safety procedures please call 916-443-IMAX (4629) or visit the website at www.imax.com/sacramento.

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


VENOM By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE THE IMAX EXPERIENCE OPENING AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE ON SEPT. 30

Tom Hardy returns to the big screen as the lethal protector "Venom," one of Marvel’s greatest and most complex characters. Directed by Andy Serkis, " the film also stars Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris and Woody Harrelson, in the role of the villain Cletus Kasady/Carnage.

"Venom: Let There Be Carnage" The IMAX Experience opens at the Esquire IMAX Theatre on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theater box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento.

The IMAX release of Venom: Let There Be Carnage will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of the IMAX Experience with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images, coupled with the Esquire IMAX Theatre’s six story high and 80 feet wide screen, customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.

The Esquire IMAX Theatre is located at 1211 K Street in downtown Sacramento, CA. For information on tickets, showtimes, and safety procedures please call 916-443-IMAX (4629) or visit the website at www.imax.com/sacramento.

ABOUT IMAX CORPORATION:

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you’ve never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX’s network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX, IMAX 3D, IMAX DMR, Experience It In IMAX, An IMAX 3D Experience, The IMAX Experience, IMAX Is Believing and IMAX nXo are trademarks of IMAX Corporation.

More information about the Company can be found at www.imax.com. You may also connect with IMAX on Facebook (www.facebook.com/imax), Twitter (www.twitter.com/imax) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/imaxmovies).

Information used in this report obtained from IMAX publicity.


GARY MARSH LEAVING DISNEY By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

GARY MARSH STEPPING DOWN AS PRESIDENT/CCO OF DISNEY BRANDED TELEVISION TO LAUNCH HIS NEW PRODUCTION COMPANY

After 33 years in creative and leadership roles at Disney, Gary Marsh recently announced he will step down as President and Chief Creative Officer of Disney Branded Television at the end of 2021 to launch his own production company.

Backed by Disney General Entertainment, Marsh’s multiyear production deal will develop world-class, brand-defining content for Disney’s streaming and linear platforms including: Disney+, Hulu, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, ABC, National Geographic, Freeform and FX.

Marsh has led a storied career, developing and shepherding some of the most iconic content in the Disney canon, from the history-making “High School Musical” and “Hannah Montana” franchises to generational favorites like “Lizzie McGuire,” “Descendants,” “Phineas and Ferb,” “Gravity Falls,” “The Proud Family,” “That’s So Raven,” “Jessie,” “Andi Mack” and “The Owl House.” Additionally during his tenure, he launched the Disney Junior Channel along with its emblematic children’s programs including “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Doc McStuffins,” “Elena of Avalor” and “Sofia the First.”

Programming under Marsh’s guidance has received the highest industry and critical recognition, including dozens of Emmy and Annie Awards, as well as Peabody, Humanitas, Imagen, GLAAD, Gabriel, Christopher and Kid’s Choice Awards.

Through his creative leadership, Marsh is credited with launching and elevating the careers of many young superstars such as Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, the Jonas Brothers, Zendaya, Demi Lovato, Shia LaBeouf, Hilary Duff, Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Olivia Rodrigo and Debby Ryan.

“For 33 years, I’ve had the greatest job in television,” said Marsh. “The stories we’ve told, the music we’ve created, the stars we’ve discovered, the franchises we’ve built – all of it has entertained and engaged millions of kids and families around the globe. Thanks to the reach of Disney’s streaming platforms, those stories will live forever in the hearts and minds of future generations, alongside all the new stories I look forward to telling. There simply could not be a more compelling or creatively stimulating time to enter the production ranks.”

“Gary’s leadership and creative genius have shaped a generation of beloved kids and family programming, and we are forever grateful for the indelible impact he’s made at The Walt Disney Company,” said Peter Rice, Chairman, Disney General Entertainment. “Gary is a valued leader and good friend, and we’ve been talking about this move for years. So when he decided to focus solely on producing after three decades of an amazing executive career, I jumped at the opportunity to keep him among us.”

Marsh’s move to the production ranks is the culmination of conversations that began with the company nearly two and half years ago. Marsh agreed to stay on as president through Disney’s acquisition of the Fox assets and the company’s subsequent reorganization to focus its content groups on expanding development and production pipelines to fuel the growth of Disney’s streaming platforms. Marsh and Rice are now preparing for a smooth transition to a new Disney Branded Television leader before the end of the year.

In the meantime, Marsh is also finalizing the first projects that will be developed under his new production banner including two new “Descendants” movies, the prequel to “Beauty and the Beast” and projects “Tink,” “School for Sensitive Souls” and “Witch Mountain.”

ABOUT DISNEY BRANDED TELEVISION:

Disney Branded Television encompasses the creative storytellers, and production and marketing teams responsible for Disney-branded television series, movies and other programming spanning live-action, animated and unscripted formats. The group helps fuel the Disney+ streaming platform and Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior linear networks with content geared toward kids, tweens, teens and families, with stories that are imaginative, aspirational and reflective of their world and experiences.

Recent projects include: “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” “Monsters at Work,” “The Mysterious Benedict Society” and “Marvel’s Spidey and his Amazing Friends.” Disney Branded Television has created some of the most iconic and award-winning properties and franchises including Peabody Award winners “Doc McStuffins” and “The Owl House”; Emmy Award winners “Big City Greens” and “Elena of Avalor”; the beloved “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts plus the Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM) franchise, comprised of more than 100 titles.

Editor's Note: Information used in this report obtained from Disney Publicity. Photo Credit: Disney Enterprises Inc./Richard Harbaugh.