BREAKTHROUGH
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 04/19/2019
Running Time: 106
Rated: PG
Cast: Chrissy Metz, Josh Lucas, Topher Grace, Mike Colter, Marcel Ruiz, Sam Trammel Dennis Haysbert
Crew: Director: Roxann Dawson. Producer: DeVon Franklin. Executive Producers: Stephen Curry, Samuel Rodriguez and Becki Cross Trujillo. Screenwriter: Nieporte. Cinematographer: Zoran Popovic.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

With the box office success of Christian, faith-based movies like “Heaven is For Real,” “Son of God,” “God’s Not Dead,” “Miracles from Heaven” and “Soul Surfer,” it’s no surprise that Hollywood continues to tap into this once underserved, and now lucrative market.

The latest religious drama to hit theaters is “Breakthrough” from director Roxann Dawson (“The Americans”). DeVon Franklin (“The Star” and “Miracles from Heaven”) co-produced the film and NBA star Stephen Curry (upcoming, “Jumpshot: The Kenny Sailors Story”) served as co-executive producer.

“Breakthrough” is based on a true story and adapted from the Christian novel “The Impossible.” The film stars Chrissy Metz (TV’s “This is Us”) and Josh Lucas (“J. Edgar” and TV’s “Yellowstone”) as the adoptive parents of teenager John Smith (Marcel Ruiz, Netflix’s “One Day at a Time”).

Joyce (Metz) and Brian (Lucas) live in St. Charles, Missouri. While in Guatemala for a church mission, they adopted John when he was just nine months old. Now, John is 14 and going through his rebellious adolescence stage.

He calls his parents by their first names rather than mom and dad which irritates them to no end. John also attends an elite, private Christian school, but studying isn’t his major focus. Basketball is.

John is quite the baller too. He’s an outstanding point guard on the school team and lets everyone know his favorite NBA player is Stephen Curry. Remember, Curry is the executive producer of “Breakthrough.”

John can drain sweet, fall-away, game winning jump shots much like his hoopster hero. Despite his ego and hot-shot tendencies, John’s coach sees a lot of potential in him. But, his coach also lets John know, he’ll bench him if his grades slip.

At home John must contend with his well-meaning, but overprotective and super religious parents. His mother (Metz) is trying to get used to their new church pastor, Jason Noble (a terrific Topher Grace, “Love, Death & Robots”). This guy is doing everything he can to attract youngsters to the church. He’s brought in a live band with a rapper. Joyce prefers traditional church hymns. He dresses way too casual for her too. She prefers pastors in a suit and tie. Plus, he’s just a bit too hip with his sermons. Even his haircut annoys her.

It’s going to take a miracle for Jason and Joyce to get along.

One day, John and a couple of his buddies are playing around on a seemingly frozen lake and John falls through it. His friends manage to get out, but they can’t reach him. The poor kid is underwater for at least 15 minutes before he’s finally rescued by first responder Tommy Shine (a terrific Mike Colter, TV’s “The Good Fight” and “Luke Cage”).

It’s not looking good for John. He’s rushed to the hospital and met by the head physician, Dr. Kent Sutterer (Sam Trammell, TV’s “The Order” and “This is Us”). The medical team tries to revive John, but for 45 minutes he has no pulse.

Yet, when Joyce arrives and sees her son, she frantically yells, pleads and prays for his recovery. Dr. Garrett (the always great Dennis Haysbert, TV’s “Reverie”), an expert in treating drowning victims is called in and has no choice but to place John in an induced coma to let his body try and heal. He also warns Joyce of the dire consequences that could result from doing this.

Throughout the ordeal, Joyce’s faith and love for her son never wavers. She seldom leaves John’s side. Surprisingly neither does Pastor Noble.

When Joyce insists that John fight on his own without the medication, Dr. Garrett reluctantly agrees. It takes several days, but John miraculously pulls through and get this; he has NO sign of brain damage or injury whatsoever.

You can call it faith, luck or divine intervention, but the turn of events are truly incredible....
 

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 04/12/2019
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Opens: 04/05/2019
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Rated: PG-13
Opens: 04/05/2019
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Rated: PG-13
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Rated: R
Opens: 03/22/2019
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OLD SCHOOL VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH

<b>“The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings.”</b> Title: “The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings.”
Year Released: 1977
Running Time: 110
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Director: John Badham
Director of Photography: Bill Butler
Screenwriter: William Brashler
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: It must have been my recent chance meeting with former Dodger legend Dusty Baker that turned my attention to the Dodgers and baseball in particular. Then again, baseball season is right around the corner, so this review was just meant to me.

The truth is, I realized I hadn’t reviewed any baseball movies in a long time. One of my favorite...
NEW ON DVD

Destroyer <b> (April 23)</b> Title: Destroyer (April 23)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 123
Production Company: Annapurna Pictures
Director: Karyn Kusama
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“DESTROYER"

In the gripping, new drama, “Destroyer,” Nicole Kidman shuns her glamour girl image to portray a gritty, hard-knock veteran LAPD detective named Erin Bell.

Erin’s pain and suffering isn’t all self-inflicted. Since losing her partner Chris (Sebastian Stan, “Black Panther,” “Avengers: Infinity War”) 17 years ago during an undercover sting gone horribly wrong, she hasn’t been able to completely move on with her life.

In a series of flashbacks, we discover that Chris was killed by a guy named Silas (Toby Kebbell, “War for the Planet of the Apes”), the leader of a group of bank robbers that Erin and Chris were about to take down.

This storyline gets even more juicy because Erin and Chris were lovers and she had his baby. It’s years later now and Erin can barely take care of herself much less raise her rebellious teen daughter Shelby (Jade Pettyjohn, TV’s “School of Rock”), whose older boyfriend Jay (Beau Knapp, “Death Wish”) is a real loser.

When police get a new lead in this cold case involving Silas and the robbers who made away with millions of dollars, Erin is eager to provide some useful information to the cops. Problem is, they see her as an old washed up alcoholic and don’t want her help.

Consequently, Erin decides to take matters in her own hands and hunts down the psycho. Along the way, Erin gets a big assist from one of Silas’ associates (Tatiana Maslany, “Stronger” “Orphan Black) who he has also ticked off.

Revenge really is a dish best served cold.

While “Destroyer” zig-zags often with an overuse of flashback scenes, screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (“Ride Along”) along with director Karyn Kusama (TV’s “Halt and Catch Fire”), still manage to keep the film from derailing thanks largely to some nifty plot twists that will keep your head swiveling.

But what really keeps you invested in “Destroyer” is the fierce performance from Kidman who transformed from a beauty to a beast.
(Recommended).

Glass <b> (April 16)</b> Title: Glass (April 16)
Year Released: 2018
Running Time: 129
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

”GLASS”

Director M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is a creepy, little thriller and the sequel to "Split” and “Unbreakable.”

While it’s bold, dark and quite good, thanks to the star power of Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis, “Glass,” pales in comparison to “Split.”

Still, it’s hard to take your eyes off the screen especially when James McAvoy’s myriad personalities take hold. One minute he’s Kevin Wendall Crumb/The Horde, then Jade (a foul-mouthed teenage girl), Orwell (an introverted man), Barry (his original dominant personality), Patricia, Hedwig (a nine-year-old boy) and then Dennis (a perverted man with OCD).

As great as McAvoy was in “Split,” he raises the bar even higher here. Kevin (McAvoy) is at war with all those voices in his head. He kidnapped four cheerleaders and chained them up in a dilapidated warehouse in Philadelphia. The police are combing the area but are having little luck with their leads.

Meanwhile, David Dunn (Willis), who is now known as “The Overseer” is putting his superhuman powers to good use and trying to help those in need. David has a sixth sense that can detect the evil in people when he casually walks by and brushes up against them.

David works with his grown son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark, TV’s “Criminal Minds” and “Animal Kingdom”) and together they track Kevin/The Beast (McAvoy).

David finds Kevin and rescues the scared cheerleaders from the warehouse, but he can’t get away before Kevin unleashes “The Beast.”

When police arrived, they arrest both guys and take them to a mental institution which is run by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson, TV’s “American Crime Story,” “Bird Box” and “American Horror Story”).

Something doesn’t seem quite right with this woman.

Dr. Staple’s role at the institution is to convince patients who think they have superpowers that they really don’t and basically that they’re just crazy.

But are they really? Or is Dr. Staple pulling a fast one on these patients?

David has bigger concerns. He soon discovers the place is also home to his arch enemy, Elijah Price aka, “Mr. Glass” (Jackson). He’s the genius/mastermind/mass murderer and comic book theorist who has a genetic disease which causes his bones to be brittle. Elijah’s mother Charlayne Woodard, (TV’s “Pose”) has been by her son’s side since day one and really does believe he’s a superhero.

Something tells me she knows a lot more about Elijah and what's up his sleeve. In fact, it’s not long before Kevin and “Mr. Glass” are cooking up a scheme that could have world-wide ramifications.

The bonus features on the Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack of "Glass" includes: an alternate opening, deleted scenes, and 12 brief behind-the-scenes featurettes which Shyamalan explains why they weren’t used in the film.

“Glass” is a keeper and one you’ll want to add to the movie collection.
(Highly Recommended).

The Kid Who Would Be King <b> (April 16) </b> Title: The Kid Who Would Be King (April 16)
Year Released: 2018
Running Time: 120
Production Company: Fox Home Entertainment
Director: Joe Cornish
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING"

There is a very good chance your inner child will spring to life when watching the fun, family friendly movie, “The Kid Who Would Be King.”

Director/screenwriter Joe Cornish (“Attack the Block” and “Ant-Man”) serves up a contemporary take on the Legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

This wild, fantasy adventure centers around Alex ( Louis Ashbourne Serkis, son of Andy Serkis, aka Gollum/Caesar), an adorable 12-year-old schoolkid, whose father has died, but Alex is being raised right by his mother (Denise Gough, “Colette”). He’s smart and considerate of others.

Still, Alex isn’t one of the cool kids at school which makes him and his nerdy best friend/classmate, Bedders (a terrific debut by Dean Chaumoo) stand out from the crowd and become an easy target for bullying.

One day at school Alex tries to defend Bedders from two persistent bullies named Lance (Tom Taylor, The Dark Tower”) and Kaye (Rhianna Dorris, “Secret Life of Boys”), but to no avail. Alex and Bedders wind up being chased. They manage to escape in a dilapidated construction area.

It’s here that Alex finds a sword stuck in stone. He’s able to pull it out and when does, he discovers it has enormous powers.

And quicker than you can sneeze, a magician named Merlin (Angus Imrie, TV’s “Hollow Crown”) and his older version played by a hammy and devilish Patrick Stewart (upcoming movie, “Charlie’s Angels”) appears.

They inform Alex that he’s been chosen to help conquer the evil forces of sorceress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson, “Mission Impossible: Fallout” and “The Greatest Showman”). She has a crew of soldiers who ride on fire-lit horses.

This is a pretty big deal and far greater than anything Alex could ever dream possible. Even he wonders why he was tapped and tells Merlin, that he’s just kid. He can’t fight any battles and take down people.

Then again, he’s a kid wielding an incredible sword. When it’s in hands anything is possible.

Before long, this once scary, play-by-the-rules kid rises and becomes a brave and fearless leader. He even convinces many of his fellow classmates--and even enemies Lance and Kaye--to join in this quest.

There’s not a lot of violence in “The Kid who Would be King” which is nice, and the young Louis Ashbourne Serkis has a commanding screen presence just like his old man.

But what really makes “The Kid Who Would Be King” a crowning achievement, is it’s just a kid’s movie through and through. The story is simple, clever and filled with life lessons and refreshing messages about courage, friendship, loyalty and family. It’s such a delight.
(Recommended).

On The Basis Of Sex  <b> (April 9) </b> Title: On The Basis Of Sex (April 9)
Year Released: 2018
Running Time: 120
Production Company: Focus Features
Director: Mimi Leder
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“On the Basis of Sex,” the biopic from director Mimi Leder (“The Leftovers”) is a fascinating take on the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It makes a nice companion piece with last year’s critically acclaimed documentary “ RBG.”

Leder’s film chronicles the early accomplishments (1950s-1970s) of Ginsburg who is played with a determined fierceness by Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”).

It’s 1956 and Ginsburg the crusader in the making, is making waves and a name for herself as a student at Harvard Law School. Ginsburg is one of only nine women in a class of 500 which also includes her loyal, tax-attorney husband Marty (a wonderful Armie Hammer, “Sorry to Bother You”).

Ruth realizes early the barriers and sexism that she and other aspiring women lawyers will be confronted with from colleagues and professors (Stephen Root, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”).
In fact, while attending a dinner party hosted by crusty Harvard Dean Erwin Griswold (a fabulous Sam Waterston, “Miss Sloane”), the female students are crudely asked why they’ve decided to attend Harvard since their academic seats could have gone to “Harvard Men.”

Moments like that coupled with Ginsburg’s intuitiveness and drive made her a strong advocate for equal rights among women. Yet, even after being first in her class, Ginsburg is unable to find work at New York law firms.
Consequently, she begins teaching law at Rutgers University and at Columbia even while caring for her husband who has testicular cancer.

In addition to her parenting and teaching obligations, Ginsburg is intrigued by a sex-discrimination case that involves an unmarried Colorado man named Charles Moritz (Chris Mulkey, “Gotti”). He’s caring for his ailing mother but is denied a tax-deduction based on an old law that says only women can be considered primary care givers.

She files a brief with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver and gets additional help on the case from other legal eagles and activists like Dorothy Kenyon (Kathy Bates, TV’s “American Horror Story”) and American Civil Liberties Union Director Mel Wulf (Justin Theroux, “Bumblebee”).

The 1972 case, “Moritz v. Commissioner of the IRS,” had far-reaching implications and made it to the Supreme Court. Ginsburg won the case which ultimately helped define her legal legacy and paved the way to her appointment on the Supreme Court.
(Highly Recommended).
  MOVIE TRIVIA
 
Which Of The Following Stars of "The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings" Won A Tony Award As "Best Supporting Actor In A Musical?"
"Ted Ross"
"Richard Pryor"
"Billy Dee Williams'"
" James Earl Jones"
 
  "REEL" MOVIE NEWS
AVENGERS: ENDGAME By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

“AVENGERS: ENDGAME THE IMAX EXPERIENCE” OPENS AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE APRIL 25

The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos (Josh Brolin) that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios' grand conclusion to twenty-two films.

“Avengers: Endgame The IMAX Experience” opens April 25 at 6 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento.

The IMAX release of “Avengers: Endgame” 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.

“Avengers: Endgame” marks the second Hollywood film to be shot entirely with IMAX cameras. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo used the revolutionary ALEXA IMAX camera to take full advantage of the scale and scope of the IMAX canvas.

Exclusively in IMAX theatres, “Avengers: Endgame” will be presented in an expanded IMAX 1.9:1 aspect ratio --offering moviegoers up to 26% more of the image than standard theatres for a truly immersive experience.

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 atwww.imax.com/sacramento.

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


LET HIM GO By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

LESLEY MANVILLE, KAYLI CARTER, JEFFREY DONOVAN AND WILL BRITTAIN JOIN KEVIN COSTNER AND DIANE LANE IN “ LET HIM GO”

Academy Award nominee Lesley Manville (“Phantom Thread and “Normal People”), Kayli Carter (“Private Life”), Jeffrey Donovan (“Fargo” and “Sicario”), and Will Brittain are set to join the cast of “Let Him Go.”

“Let Him Go” is based on the novel of the same name by Larry Watson. The The suspense thriller is led by Academy-Award winner Kevin Costner and Academy-Award nominee Diane Lane (pictured). Following the loss of their son, retired sheriff George Blackledge (Costner) and his wife Margaret (Lane) leave their Montana ranch to rescue their young grandson from the clutches of a dangerous family living off the grid in the Dakotas, headed by matriarch Blanche Weboy. When they discover the Weboys have no intention of letting the child go, George and Margaret are left with no choice but to fight for their family.

Manville will play Blanche Weboy, the matriarch of the villainous family, with Donovan and Brittain playing her sons Bill and Donnie, and Carter as Lorna, Costner and Lane’s daughter-in-law.

Thomas Bezucha (“The Family Stone”) will direct the screenplay he wrote based on the novel by Larry Watson. Paula Mazur and Mitchell Kaplan of The Mazur Kaplan Company will produce alongside Thomas Bezucha. Kimi Armstrong Stein, Jeffrey Lampert, Kevin Costner, and Rod Lake will executive produce. Production is underway. Focus Features and Universal Pictures International will distribute the film worldwide.

For more information please visit www.focusfeatures.com.

ABOUT MAZUR KAPLAN:

Mazur Kaplan is a partnership of award-winning producer Paula Mazur and nationally recognized bookseller Mitchell Kaplan. Their company produces elevated literary material for film and television. They are in post-production “On All The Bright Place” starring Elle Fanning and Justice Smith, which will be released on Netflix later this year.

The company recently produced “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”starring Lily James, and “The Man Who Invented Christmas” starring Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer.

In development are numerous bestselling books including: “The Silent Wife” starring Nicole Kidman, “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” written by Jack Thorne and “Pretend I’m Dead” starring Lola Kirke.

Editor’s Note: Information used in this article obtained from Focus Features.


NEVER RARELY... By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

FOCUS FEATURES PARTNERS WITH PASTEL AND BBC FILMS ON ELIZA HITTMAN’S “NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS”

Production recently wrapped on “Never Really Sometimes Always,” the third feature film from acclaimed writer/director Eliza Hittman (“It Felt Like Love” and “Beach Rats”).

Focus Features will distribute worldwide with Universal Pictures International, excluding Free UK TV rights, which are retained by BBC Films.

“Never Rarely Sometimes Always” is produced by PASTEL’s Adele Romanski and Sara Murphy, the production outfit behind Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” and “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

Written and directed by Hittman, the film is an intimate portrayal of two teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania.

Faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of local support, Autumn and her cousin Skylar embark on a brave, fraught journey across state lines to New York City.

The film’s leads are played by Sidney Flanigan (“Autumn”) and Talia Ryder (“Skylar”). Cast also includes Théodore Pellerin (“Boy Erased” and “The OA”), Ryan Eggold (“New Amsterdam” and “BlacKkKlansman”), and Sharon Van Etten (“The OA”).

“Never Rarely Sometimes Always” reunites Eliza Hittman and “Beach Rats” cinematographer Hélène Louvart. The film was developed by BBC Films who also co-financed production alongside Tango Entertainment and Mutressa Movies.

Executive producers are Rose Garnett for BBC Films, Tim Headington and Lia Buman for Tango Entertainment, Elika Portnoy and Alex Orlovsky for Mutressa Movies.

Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski said: “Eliza is an outstanding artist who elevates intimate tales into powerfully relatable stories, and Pastel consistently make courageous films that humanize topics too often polarized in the media. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining them on the journey of bringing this timely and moving film to the world”

PASTEL said: "We have been admirers of Eliza’s filmmaking since her debut “It Felt Like Love” and we are honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with her on “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” a critical story for our time and one that we feel desperately needs to be told."

Rose Garnett, Director of BBC Films said: “Eliza is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today and in “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” she sensitively explores an experience women around the world can relate to. We’re proud to help Eliza tell this story.”

For more information please visit www.focusfeatures.com.