Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 10/16/2020
Running Time: 82
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Kelli Dillon and Cynthia Chandler.
Crew: Director: Erika Cohn. Producers: Erika Cohn, Angela Tucker, Christen Marquez and Nicole Docta. Executive Producers: Geralyn Dreyfous, Blye Faust, Mark Lipson, Patty Quillin, Doree Friedman, Diane Philips, Lois Vossen, and Sally Jo Fifer.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“Belly of the Beast” is such a disconcerting yet important documentary that exposes modern-day eugenics and human rights abuses of women in California’s prison system.

Directed by Emmy and Peabody award-winning filmmaker Erika Cohn (“The Judge” and “In Football We Trust”), “Belly of the Beast” will debut Oct. 16 in limited theaters in Los Angeles, New Orleans, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Washington D.C.

“Belly of the Beast” will also make its national television debut on the award-winning PBS series “Independent Lens” on Nov. 23.

Multi-Grammy Award winning and two-time Oscar nominated singer/songwriter Mary J. Blige lends her voice to the doc with the powerful song, “See What You’ve Done.” In the movie press notes Blige said she was so moved by “Belly of The Beast” that she was “inspired to write a song that would amplify the voices of women in prison. “See what You’ve Done” is a testimony, a call to be strong, and an anthem for a movement.”

That movement was sparked in part when a whistleblower at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in Georgia unveiled numerous hysterectomies performed on immigrant women without their consent. Even worse, many of the women trusted the doctor who wasn’t even a Board-Certified OB-GYN.

These hysterectomy procedures were being done on women to decrease the population in poor, immigrant regions.
“Belly of the Beast” was filmed over seven years and offers personal accounts from current and former incarcerated victims at Central California Women’s Facility, the world’s largest women’s prison. Women like Kelli Dillon, 15 years there for murdering her abusive husband.

When Dillon complained of abdominal pain while in prison, she was examined by a doctor at the facility who said she had fibroids. Dillon later discovered she had been sterilized by the prison doctor without her consent.
Upon release from prison, Dillon reached out to Bay Area activist lawyer Cynthia Chandler and they waged a lengthy battle against the Department of Corrections to expose the illegal practice of sterilization in California.

“Belly and the Beast” reveals a pattern of racism and discrimination among minorities seeking healthcare while in prison. Many of the doctors, managers and officials within the system maintained that paying $100,000 or more of taxpayer’s money on these sterilizations would still be cheaper than them having kids and being on welfare.

In 2014, former California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1135, the prison anti-sterilization bill making it illegal to sterilize people/prisoners for the purpose of birth control.

The documentary notes that none of the California Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (CDCR) doctors or officials faced consequences for their actions and declined interview requests. They did however issue a statement noting “an enhanced focus on women’s health” since the bill passed.

It took courageous women like Kelli Dillon to risk nearly everything to bring these reproductive injustices to light and as “Belly of the Beast” notes, this battle is still far from over.

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.

Check Out This Trailer For "BELLY OF THE BEAST"

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

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 10/16/2020
The Opening Act

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 10/15/2020

Rated: R
Opens: 10/08/2020
Charm City Kings

Rated: PG
Opens: 10/09/2020
The War With Grandpa

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 10/09/2020
Black Box

Rated: PG
Opens: 10/02/2020
Herb Alpert Is...


<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...

The More You Ignore Me <b>(Oct. 13)</b> Title: The More You Ignore Me (Oct. 13)
Year Released: 2020
Running Time: 98
Production Company: Vega Baby Releasing
Director: Keith English
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


Mental Illness is finally getting a lot of attention, particularly on the big screen. The latest movie to showcase the illness is the dark British dramedy, “The More You Ignore Me” which has been adapted from comedian Jo Brand’s 2009 best-selling novel of the same name.

Directed by Keith English (Disney Channel, “Bus Life”), “The More You Ignore Me” is a coming-of-age drama set in 1980s England and finds pre-teen Alice (Ella Hunt, TV’s “Dickinson”) preoccupied with her favorite music group, The Smiths.

It’s about the only thing that keeps her going in dead end small town she lives in with her schizophrenic mother Gina (Sheridan Smith, TV’s “Isolation Stories”) and her bumbling father Keith Mark Addy (TV’s “Downton Abby” and “The Salisbury Poisonings”).

Her mother’s outbursts are scary, and Alice doesn’t know how long her father will be able to deal with each violent and strange episode which often includes an infatuation over the local weatherman. They ultimately decide mum is better off at a psychiatric hospital.

Although “The More You Ignore Me” is rather scattershot, the film’s eclectic characters along with Hunt and Smith’s impassioned performances keep it lively and on track.

Editor's Note: "The More You Ignore Me" is available now on VOD.
Due to the number of Indie movies being released, will begin to feature reviews of some of them in this section as well as the movie review section as necessary.

One Story Up/Cherish: A Visual Poem  <b>(Oct. 15)</b> Title: One Story Up/Cherish: A Visual Poem (Oct. 15)
Year Released: 2020
Running Time: 22
Production Company: First Look Media
Director: Terrance Daye
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


Oscar winning director Roger Ross Williams (Documentary/“Music By Prudence”) is hosting a new, monthly series for upstart filmmakers called “One Story Up” which premiered Oct. 15 and is available on the new streaming service Topic from First Look Media.

Topic features some of the most talented emerging directors and underrepresented voices in film. The series will feature one short film per month that’s chosen by Williams, who introduces each episode and then returns for a discussion with the filmmaker.

The films in the series cover a wide range of important topics, from coming-of-age stories on race and class, to chronicles of growing up Black in the South, all from exciting up-and-coming filmmakers.

The first short on Episode 1 is “Cherish: A Visual Poem” from filmmaker Terrance Daye who is a 2018 Spike Lee Film Production grant recipient and a Sundance Ignite Fellow.

“Cherish: A Visual Poem” follows a young boy watching a spirited display of church worshippers at his home. His imagination takes flight and as he breaks away from his reality, he begins to experience a sense of renewed freedom and wonder.

“Editor’s Note: Launched last year, Topic features North American premieres and exclusive programming from around the world, complemented by a diverse slate of originals. Recent programming includes: the weekly comedic variety series: “Second City Presents: The Last Show Left on Earth;” “Down from London” from executive producer Sharon Horgan; horror anthology series “Soul City” from filmmakers Coodie and Chike; BAFTA TV Award nominee “The Virtues” from filmmaker Shane Meadows starring Stephen Graham; Maria Bamford’s discussion show on mental health, “What’s Your Ailment?!; and critically acclaimed documentary and narrative films such as “Behemoth” and “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”

Topic is available to US and Canadian audiences on, Apple iOS, and AppleTV, Android, Amazon Fire TV and Roku, in addition to Amazon Prime Video Channels. Check it out.

Sno Babies <b>(Sept. 29)</b> Title: Sno Babies (Sept. 29)
Year Released: 2020
Running Time: 109
Production Company: Better Noise Entertainment
Director: Bridget Smith
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


“Sno Babies,” from director Bridget Smith (“The Retaliators”) and screenwriter Michael Walsh (“Right Before Your Eyes”) is a dark and gritty cautionary tale about teen drug abuse. The film is available On Demand Sept. 29.

The film stars newcomer Katie Kelly (TV’s “Game of Silence”) as Kristen McKusker. At first blush it seems as if Kristen has the world on a string. Her parents are extremely wealthy, and Kristen is the apple of their eye. She’s a good, Catholic girl headed to Princeton.

However, looks are deceiving and it’s a shame that her father Bill (Ken Arnold, “The Night Watchmen”) and her real-estate mother Clare (Shannon Wilson, “Halston”) are so caught up in with their busy lives they don’t notice how much Kristen is slipping away from them.

It all starts when Kristen is hanging out with her boyfriend and he wants her to pop a couple of OxyContin so she can experience the high of “having all her worries and problems disappear.”

It’s not long before Kristen wants a new drug and her heroin addicted best friend Hannah (Paola Andino, TV’s “Queen of the South”) knows what she should try. Hannah is a bubbly teen too and would rather spend her days shooting up than attending school.
Hannah soon convinces Kristen to upgrade to heroin. She even shows Kristen where to inject the needle on her tongue, between her toes and a few other scenic spots.

While much of “Sno Babies” centers around Kristen and Hannah, there is also a subplot involving a couple played by Jane Stiles, (TV’s “F.B.I.”) and Michael Lombardi (“Central Park”). They want to get married, but a family inherited nature preserve is causing them all sorts of financial problems and forcing them to put their plans on hold.

“Sno Babies” may be a jumbled film, but it still packs a powerful and important message for teens or anyone struggling with drug addiction.

Editor’s Note: The official “Sno Babies” soundtrack features some of the biggest names in rock music today. The soundtrack will include two tracks from SIXX:A.M. and will include the Top 10 hits from Country/Rock star Cory Marks (“Outlaws & Outsiders”) and from chart toppers Bad Wolves (“Sober” - the #1 hit) as well as new music from Eva Under Fire, From Ashes to New and Escape The Fate.

Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story <b>(Sept. 22)</b> Title: Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story (Sept. 22)
Year Released: 2020
Running Time: 84
Production Company: Shout! Studios
Director: April Wright
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


”Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story” is an exciting, up-close and personal look at some of the most amazing Hollywood stuntwomen who drive the action and thrills of today’s biggest blockbuster movies. It also acknowledges the unsung heroines of the silent age of cinema.

Narrated by Michelle Rodriguez (“Widows,” “The Fast and the Furious”) “Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story”-- from Shout! Studios-- debuts Sept. 22 on the digital platforms AppleTV, Amazon, VUDU, GooglePlay, hoopla, Fandango Now, Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox, and Charter.

Directed by April Wright (“Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace”) and produced by Stephanie Austin, Michael Gruskoff, and Marion Rosenberg, “Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story” spotlights pioneering women such as Jadie David who served as the stunt double for the legendary Pam Grier in the classic, blaxploitation 1970’s movies “Coffy” (1973), “Friday Foster” (1975) and “Sheba, Baby” (1975), Julie Ann Johnson (“Women in Chains”) who was the first woman to work as a stunt coordinator on a major TV show (“Charlie Angels”) and Jeannie Epper who doubled for Lyndia Carter in the hit TV series, “Wonder Woman.”

These women reveal their passion for the profession and share some of their humorous stunt work moments. They also discuss how they overcame many obstacles; notably their struggle to be treated equally and how they help pave the way for today’s Hollywood stuntwomen like Cheryl Lewis (“Wonder Woman 1984,” “Luke Cage” and “I Am Legend”), Alyma Dorsey (“Joker,” “Captain Marvel” and Jumanji: The Next Level”) and Amy Johnston (“Captain America: Winter Soldier” and “Suicide Squad”).

"Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story" is based on the best-selling book of the same name by Mollie Gregory.

The film features the original song, “Without A Net” written by Academy Award nominee Diane Warren performed by Mickey Guyton.

Directors Paul Verhoeven, Paul Feig and Anne Fletcher and producer Al Ruddy also talk about the importance of stunt performers in their films and reveal some tricks of the trade.
(Highly Recommended).

Editor’s Note: Some information used in this review obtained from Shout! Studios/Publicity.
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"


The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures announced on Oct. 19 that scholar, programmer, and educator Jacqueline Stewart has been named Chief Artistic and Programming Officer.

In this new executive position, Stewart will lead strategy and planning for the Academy Museum’s curatorial, educational, and public programming initiatives, including exhibitions, screenings, symposia, publications, workshops, and K-12 programs. Stewart will join the museum in January 2021 and will report to the Director and President of the Academy Museum, Bill Kramer.

Bill Kramer said, “Jacqueline Stewart is a powerful leader in the film world. Her inspiring history of scholarship, teaching, programming, building community partnerships, and archival work combined with her dedication to inclusivity and accessibility make her an ideal leader for the museum. With her remarkable ability to engage the public and her commitment to showcasing the diverse and fascinating history of the movies, she will be a vital part of our mission to advance the understanding, celebration, and preservation of cinema.”

“As a scholar who researches, teaches, presents, and archives films, I see how cinema shapes our understandings of history and culture, of other people and ourselves, in profound and enduring ways. In my work to create welcoming spaces for people to experience films, I have seen that movies have a unique ability to galvanize dialogue and cultivate empathy,” said Jacqueline Stewart. “I am excited to join the Academy Museum team at this critical moment for the institution, and for our world, to engage visitors and partners in accessible, multifaceted conversations about the history of filmmaking and the impact that cinema has on our lives.”

Stewart joins the Academy Museum from the University of Chicago Department of Cinema and Media Studies, where she teaches American film history, specializing in African American cinema from the silent era to the present. Stewart also is the Director of the university’s Arts + Public Life initiative, which provides platforms for artists and access to arts programming through artist residencies, arts education, creative entrepreneurship, and artist-led programs and exhibitions. She currently serves on the curatorial advisory committee for the Academy Museum’s upcoming exhibition “Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971,” which explores the visual culture of Black cinema from its early days to just after the civil rights movement.

An award-winning writer, Stewart is the author of “Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity,” a study of African Americans and silent cinema, and was the co-editor of “L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema”—a landmark study of the first generation of film-school-trained Black filmmakers out of UCLA, including: Charles Burnett, Julie Dash, and Haile Gerima. Stewart's writings have appeared in Critical Inquiry, Film Quarterly, Film History, and The Moving Image. She has two forthcoming books on directors William Greaves and Spencer Williams.

Stewart’s research has been supported by numerous grants and fellowships, including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library, the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University, the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2019, Stewart was a senior fellow at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C.

A thoughtful and engaging programmer, Stewart is the host of “Silent Sunday Nights” on Turner Classic Movies, which showcases silent films from all over the world, and she co-curated “Pioneers of African American Cinema” for Kino Lorber—a collection of works of early African American filmmakers. A native of Chicago's South Side, Stewart founded the South Side Home Movie Project in 2005 to preserve, digitize, and screen amateur footage documenting everyday life from the perspectives of South Side residents.

A passionate film archivist and advocate for film preservation, Stewart studied moving image archiving at UCLA and the Cineteca di Bologna in Italy. She is a three-term appointee to the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB), which advises the Librarian of Congress on film preservation policy. As Chair of the NFPB Diversity Task Force, Stewart led the drafting of reports on diversity, equity, and inclusion on the National Film Registry and in the film archive profession. Stewart has served on the Boards of Chicago Film Archives, the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, and the Association of Moving Image Archivists.

Stewart has held faculty positions at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Chicago and her BA in English from Stanford University.


The Academy Museum will be the world’s premier institution dedicated to the art and science of movies. Opening April 30, 2021, the museum will be simultaneously immersive, experimental, educational, and entertaining. More than a museum, this dynamic film center will offer unparalleled experiences and insights into movies and moviemaking. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the museum is restoring and revitalizing the historic Saban Building, formerly known as the May Company building (1939), at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. The Saban Building will feature six floors, including exhibition spaces, the 288-seat Ted Mann Theater, the Shirley Temple Education Studio, special event spaces, conservation areas, a café, and store. The new spherical addition will connect to the Saban Building via glass bridges and will feature the state-of-the-art 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater and the rooftop Dolby Family Terrace, which will offer sweeping views of the Hollywood Hills.

Editor’s Note: Information used in this feature obtained from The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.



Indie Memphis Film Festival, presented by Duncan-Williams, Inc., has announced the addition of this year’s Centerpiece and Closing Night films to the fest’s 2020 incarnation, which runs from Oct. 21-29.

Adjusting to the changing landscape, this year’s festival will be “Online and Outdoors” as film lovers from all over the world will participate in the virtual screenings and events. Memphis audiences will also enjoy in-person screenings at the Drive-In and outdoor lawns.

The upcoming A24 release “Minari,” written and directed by Korean-American filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung (“Lucky Life”), will be this year’s Centerpiece Film. “Minari” follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. “The Walking Dead” and “Burning’s” Steven Yeun stars as the family patriarch in a film that serves as Chung’s love letter to his own immigration story and his beloved family.

In addition, Indie Memphis is very excited to announce that Academy Award Winning actress Regina King’s feature directorial debut “One Night in Miami” (Pictured/Cast) will be the fest’s Closing Night film.

“One Night in Miami” is a fictional account of one incredible night where icons Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree, “Race” and TV’s “Riverdale”), Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir, “High Fidelity”), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom, Jr., “Hamilton”), and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge, “Hidden Figures” and “Straight Outta Compton”) gathered discussing their roles in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the ‘60s.

“We’re thrilled to add these titles to the Indie Memphis line-up, continuing our goal of showing the best films of the year, both new discoveries and festival highlights,” said Artistic Director Miriam Bale.

Additional newly announced titles include a drive-in repertory screening of David Cronenberg’s unsung NC-17-rated masterpiece “Crash” (1996), starring James Spader, Elias Koteas and Holly Hunter as an underground group of people who are sexually aroused by car crashes. In keeping with Cronenberg’s fascination with body horror, the film delves into the “new flesh,” fusing the human body with the machine. Based on the pulp novel by J.G. Ballard, the film won a Special Jury Prize at Cannes “for originality, for daring, and for audacity.”

Ephraim Asili’s “The Inheritance” is now also a part of the festival. The drama weaves histories of the West Philadelphia–based MOVE Organization, the Black Arts Movement, and dramatizations of the life of the filmmaker when he was a member of a Black activist collective.


The mission of Indie Memphis, a 501(c)3 arts organization, is to create community through independent film and support the development of filmmakers. Learn more at

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Indie Memphis Film Festival, log on to



Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios company, has acquired North American rights to the Stanley Tong and Jackie Chan action film, “Vanguard.” Directed by Stanley Tong, “Vanguard” marks the ninth collaboration from the director and Jackie Chan.

“Vanguard” is a globe-trotting story filmed in London, Dubai, Zambia and an ancient city in India and features high stakes action sequences that take place over air, land and sea. “Vanguard” also stars Yang Yang, Ai Lun, Mu Qimiya, Xu Ruohan and Zhu Zhengting.

Gravitas Ventures is planning a wide theatrical release of “Vanguard” in the U.S. and Canada including drive-ins and IMAX theaters on Nov. 20.

“My latest action movie “Vanguard” is coming out on Nov. 20 in the cinema and we filmed in nine cities across five countries, London, Dubai, Zambia, India, and China,” said director Stanley Tong. “We've experienced so much during this production. Each time I work with Jackie, we are always trying to impress our audience with the best picture and idea. Especially this time, we put a lot of innovation in it. I hope the North American audiences enjoy it. And, I'm so happy to be partnering with Gravitas for the release.”

“Upon my first viewing of “Vanguard,” I instantly became attracted to its big, fun, escapism that reminded me of those globe-trotting action adventures we are all so familiar with,’ said Cameron Moore, Gravitas Ventures Senior Manager, Theatrical Distribution. "The scope of this film is phenomenal, and the fact that it was filmed on location over land, air, and sea makes it a must-watch entertainment on the biggest screen possible. Vanguard is a film that fills a Fall action adventure vacancy, with the legendary screen icon Jackie Chan at the forefront. I can’t wait for North American audiences to see this film."


Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios company, is a leading all rights distributor of independent feature films and documentaries. Founded in 2006, Gravitas connects independent filmmakers and producers with distribution opportunities across the globe. Working with talented directors and producers, Gravitas Ventures has distributed thousands of films into over a hundred million homes in North America - over one billion homes worldwide. Recent releases include “The Secret: Dare to Dream,” directed by Andy Tennant and starring Katie Holmes; “End of Sentence” starring Logan Lerman and John Hawkes; “Looks that Kill,” “Tread; Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk,” narrated by Bill Murray; Colin Hanks’ “All Things Must Pass” and the upcoming “Our Friend” starring Casey Affleck, Dakota Johnson, and Jason Segel.

For more information, please visit, and follow @GravitasVOD on Twitter and @gravitasventures on Instagram.

ABOUT RED ARROW STUDIOS: Red Arrow Studios is one of the world’s leading creators and distributors of entertainment content, comprised of an acclaimed network of international production companies and labels in seven territories; world-leading digital studio, Studio71, based in six countries; and global film and TV distributors Red Arrow Studios International and Gravitas Ventures. The group’s significant output includes scripted, non-scripted and formatted content and IP, from TV and film to short-form and branded content, made for an array of global networks and platforms. Red Arrow Studios is part of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, one of Europe's leading media groups.

Editor” Note: Information used in this report obtained from Gravitas Ventures and Red Arrow Studios publicity.