Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 12/06/2019
Running Time: 100
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Himesh Patel and Tom Courtenay.
Crew: Director: Tom Harper. Producers: Tom Harper, David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Nick O'Hagan. Executive Producers: Richard Hewitt and Jack Thorne. Screenwriters: Tom Harper and Jack Thorne. Cinematographer: George Steel.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne who starred in “The Theory of Everything,” and which earned Redmayne a “Best Actor” Oscar, reunite in the action adventure “The Aeronauts.”

Directed by Tom Harper (“Wild Rose”) and loosely based on a true story, “The Aeronauts” is set in the 1860s and chronicles the chilling journey of pioneering British meteorologist James Glaisher (Redmayne) who is as stubborn and cocky as they come.

Glaisher believes he’s stumbled upon a groundbreaking atmospheric research that could advance his profession and hopefully convince the Royal Society of London that meteorology isn’t hocus-pocus, but rather a credible science. It involves soaring to new heights in a hot air balloon.

In real-life, Glaisher took to the skies over London on September 5, 1862, with British dentist and aeronaut Henry Tracey Coxwell.
Within 30 minutes of taking flight, they soared almost 11,000 meters above sea-level which is about seven miles high.

At that time, it marked the highest a manned balloon had ever scaled.
However, Harper who also co-wrote “The Aeronauts” with Jack Thorne (“Wonder”) have taken a few liberties and flipped the script.

The daring and smart Ameila Wren (a fine Felicity Jones) is teamed with Glaisher on the flight. While they respect each other, they’re equally headstrong and before long clash in their views of how to make this trip a success.

Amelia (Jones) knows this trip is a big deal. She also loves the circus like attention that it has brought from so many curiosity seekers.

Her thinking is, if you’re going to make history, make it with style. So, her acrobatic antics that she performs before getting into the hot air balloon with her cute dog all play well to the raucous crowds.

“The Aeronauts” starts slow, but if you stay with it, the payoff is rewarding especially when disaster strikes the hot air balloon. Amelia and James—who seem to have a thing for each other but chill on the romance—must find a way to survive as the balloon rises and the temperature dips to freezing levels. They begin to suffer from hypoxia due to the thin oxygen in the air.

With James nearly dead, a severely weak Amelia is forced to climb outside of the ice packed balloon to try and release a frozen valve at the top of it so they can descend. It’s a thrilling action sequence.

The film’s flashback scenes are also used effectively to show why both James and Amelia are so passionate about this outing. Amelia lost her husband (Vincent Perez) in a hot balloon accident. Now, she must prove that she can make a name for herself without him and in a male dominated field. So, she’s not about to let James’ ego stand in the way of their survival.

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones should do more movies together. They have an undeniable chemistry that really clicks and makes “The Aeronauts” soar.

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.

Watch This Trailer For "THE AERONAUTS"

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
Opens: 11/22/2019
A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Rated: PG
Opens: 11/22/2019
Frozen II

Rated: R
Opens: 11/22/2019
Marriage Story

Rated: R
Opens: 11/22/2019
21 Bridges

Rated: R
Opens: 11/15/2019
The Irishman

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 11/08/2019
Last Christmas


<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 Lion King <b>(Oct. 22)</b> Title: The Lion King (Oct. 22)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 118
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Jon Favreau
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


Disney’s “The Lion King” is a stunning re-imagining of the 1994 original movie.

Directed and produced by Jon Favreau (“Spider-Man: Far from Home”) who also helmed 2016’s outstanding movie, “The Jungle Book.”

When it comes to a classic like the original “Lion King,” sentimentality among fans runs deep. But, for those experiencing “The Lion King” for the first time, there is plenty of magic and wonder to be found in this beautifully rendered version.

Aside from the live setting, Favreau didn’t change much from the original. Even the dialogue is pretty much word for word.

What makes “The Lion King” really roar is how spectacular it looks and how realistic the animals are. It’s as if while watching the film you’re transported to an African Savanna.

Favreau and his talented filmmaking crew utilized state of the art motion capture technology and it’s a seamless transition that makes it appear as if the lions: Mufasa (voiced by the legendary James Earl Jones, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”), young Simba, played by JD McCrary (“Little” and TV’s “American Soul”) and Donald Glover (TV’s “Atlanta,”), Nala (a terrific Beyoncé), Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave” ) really can talk.

“The Lion King” is just a fabulous story. You’d have to go to great lengths to mess this up which is why I appreciate the few subtle liberties the filmmakers did take with it.

I like its dark moments that play out especially among the hyenas which are led by Kamari (a terrific Keegan-Michael Key, “Toy Story 4”). Ejiofer is also outstanding as Scar, the low-down dirty brother of Mufasa and the uncle of Simba. Scar manipulates his way to become king of the Pride Lands.

Seth Rogan as Pumbaa and Billy Eichner as Timon the meerkat are hilarious and have scene stealing moments. Although I would have enjoyed seeing and hearing more from Sarabi (Alfre Woodard, TV’s “Luke Cage”).

Simba also reconnects with his childhood friend Nala first voiced by (Shahadi Wright Joseph, “Us”) and later as Beyoncé who shines. They all convince Simba of his rightful place and that he must retain control of the Kingdom which is everything the light touches.

The music of “The Lion King” is unforgettable this time around too. When Nala/Beyoncé and Simba/Glover belt out “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” it’s palpable.

Equally moving is McCrary and Wright Joseph’s snappy, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and McCrary holds nothing back on “Hakuna Matata.”

Elton John’s new track “Never too Late” is a winner too.

It really is possible to love the original “Lion King” and this one too. It stands on its own and is a classic for a new generation.
(Highly Recommended).

Editor’s Note: The Blu-ray and Digital DVDs of “The Lion King” offers viewers bonus features:

AUDIO COMMENTARY – By Director Jon Favreau.

PROTECT THE PRIDE – Director Jon Favreau, the Lion Recovery Fund and conservationists highlight efforts to protect the majestic lions and their home.

PERFECTING THE PRIDE – Join the filmmakers on their research trip to Africa as they immerse themselves in the real world of “The Lion King.” From the animals in the pride, to the smallest of insects and the grasslands in the savanna, experience the attention to detail that brought the film to life.

DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE-- Pride Lands Pedia —Dung beetle shares the importance of his “roll” in the African Savanna in a fun, bug’s eye view of the land and its inhabitants.

BLU-RAY & DIGITAL BONUS: The Journey to “The Lion King”

THE MUSIC-- Go inside the studio with the cast and crew as they work to honor and elevate The Lion King’s beloved music.

THE MAGIC– Discover how the filmmakers blended the traditional filmmaking techniques with virtual reality technology to create amazing movie magic.

The Timeless Tale– Filmmakers and cast reflect on the story that has moved generations and share how this Lion King carries a proud legacy forward.

MORE TO BE SCENE – Recording studio and layer-by-layer progressions of some of most iconic moments in “The Lion King.”

“CIRCLE OF LIFE”– Peel back the layers of effects and go behind the scenes of this iconic musical moment from the film.

“I JUST CAN’T WAIT TO BE KING”-- See all the effects, talent and fun that went into creating this vibrant version of “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” for the movie.

“HAKUNA MATATA”-- Join Donald Glover (Simba), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa) and Billy Eichner (Timon) in the studio for the making of this memorable scene.

MUSIC VIDEOS: “Never Too Late” (lyric video) by Elton John and “Spirit” performed by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter.

SONG SELECTION: “Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” “Be Prepared,” “Hakuna Matata,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Spirit” and “Never Too Late.”

Stuber <b> (Oct. 22)</b> Title: Stuber (Oct. 22)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 93
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Director: Michael Dowse
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


The outlandish dramedy“Stuber” is an over-the-top, violent, actioner that features a hilarious star turn from Kumail Nanjiani (TV’s “Silicon Valley”) and Dave Bautista (Drax The Destroyer, “Avengers: Endgame”/”Guardians of the Galaxy”).

Nanjiani plays a mild-mannered Uber driver named Stu. When you put Stu and Uber together you get “Stuber.”
By day, Stu works as a sales associate at a sporting goods store run by his jerk boss Richie Sandusky (Jimmy Tatro, TV’s “Modern Family”). Stu hates him and the lame job. He drives an Uber to make ends meet, but it’s really to try and get next to the girl of his dreams, Becca (Betty Gilpin, TV’s “GLOW”).

Although they had a one-night stand, their relationship hasn’t taken off and it’s driving Stu crazy. He loves Becca, wants more than a friendship and is willing to take things to the next level. So much so, he even invested a chunk of his money in a new “Spinster” cycling-class business Becca is launching.

However, Becca is kind of in a relationship with a pro basketball player who has agreed to be a spokesperson for her new company. Despite his best intentions, Stu is pretty much an afterthought for Becca.

Can life possibly get any worse for poor Stu?

Oh yes, it can.

What should have been just another routine day of driving customers around in his nice, leased Nissan Leaf, becomes a real nightmare.

That’s because LAPD police detective Victor "Vic" Manning, (Bautista) got a lead on a heroin dealer named Tedjo (Iko Uwais, “The Raid 2”). He’s been after this guy for years. Tedjo killed Vic’s partner Sarah Morris (Karen Gillan, “Avengers: Endgame”) so it’s payback time.

Here’s the thing. Vic just had Lasik eye surgery and can barely see. The doctor told him he can’t really do anything for a few days until his vision is fully restored.

Vic refuses to just sit around and let Tedjo get away again. Plus, he has a lot to prove to his boss Angie (Mia Sorvino, TV’s “The Code”). So, Vic hops in his car, all blurry eyed and runs over his neighbor’s yards and ultimately lands in a ditch. He finally realizes he can’t drive. He decides to call an Uber. It’s a good thing his art sculptor daughter Nicole (Natalie Morales, TV’s “Abby’s) set up the app on his phone.

When Stu gets the call, he picks up Vic not knowing the wild ride he’s about to take. Really all Stu is worried about is getting that coveted 5-Star Uber rating.

Vic and Stu are such opposites. They bicker back and forth about pursuing Tedjo, you expect they’ll kill each other before they catch him.

Yet, watching Vic’s brash, super masculine persona clash with Stu’s meek and calm demeanor as they get into one dangerous and crazy predicament after the other, is when the film really revs into high gear.

Spider-Man: Far From Home <b> (Oct.1) </b> Title: Spider-Man: Far From Home (Oct.1)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 129
Production Company: Sony/Columbia
Director: Jon Watts
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


“Spider-Man: Far from Home” turned out to be a big blast of summer fun. While I’ve enjoyed all the actors who have played the red-suited superhero like Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, there’s a special boyish charm that Tom Holland brings as the web-slinger that makes “Spider-Man: Far from Home”even more special.

Directed by Jon Watts (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”), “Spider-Man: Far from Home” finds Peter Parker (Holland) trying to lay low and enjoy life without having to deal with the burden of saving the world.

He’s now more interested in hanging with his high school friend Ned Leeds (a funny Jacob Batalon, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”) and preparing for a class trip to Europe with his dopey and clueless teachers Mr. Harrington (Martin Starr, TV’s “Silicon Valley”) Mr. Bell (a funny J.B. Smoove, TV’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”).

Really, Peter hopes that he can get over his nerves and finally tell MJ (the feisty Zendaya, “The Greatest Showman” and TV’s “The OA”) just how much she makes his Spidey-senses tingle.

And while true love is in the air, so is danger. That’s why Peter’s Aunt May (a funny Marisa Tomei, “The First Purge”) insists on packing Peter's Spider-Man suit just as a precaution.

Peter does his best to avoid taking phone calls from Nick Fury (the always great, Samuel L. Jackson, “Shaft”) because that always means something is about to go down.

Fury can't believe Peter is avoiding him and his actions have Harold "Happy" Hogan (Jon Favreau, “Avengers: Endgame”) on edge too. Harold is the former driver and bodyguard of Tony Stark and now looks after Peter.

The latest threat involves the Elementals, a vicious monster that can wreak all sorts of havoc by taking the the form of Earth, Wind and Fire.

How can Peter possibly suit up as Spider-Man and do his thing without blowing his cover? Ned (Batalon) knows what’s up with him, but he’s really the only classmate that does.

With so many Avengers now gone, Peter must stand tall. The problem is that will leave Brad (Remy Hi, TV’s “Harrow”) time to move in on MJ. He loves her too.

It’s a tough call for the love-starved Peter to make. Does he save the world, or does he save his girl? If he plays his cards right, he might be able to swing both.

Fury and his crew design an all-black suit for Peter/Spider-Man to wear that will make him inconspicuous.

Still, Peter/Spider-Man is having a tough time using some of the cool devices at his disposal like a pair of high-tech sunglasses that his former mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) left for these types of sticky situations. The glasses are equipped with the artificial intelligence E.D.I.T.H., which has access to all databases of Stark Industries.

Fortunately, Peter doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting. He gets a big assist from Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal, “The Sisters Brothers”). This guy is a master of trickery and illusion and considered an expert on the Elementals. Plus, he's out for payback. He goes after them in London, Venice, Prague and Berlin.

While “Spider-Man: Far from Home” gets a bit heavy-handed with the CGI fight sequences, what works best is the focus on the young characters and Parker’s love interest angle. Plus, the loads of hunor round out the film’s dramatic moments.

Maiden <b> (Oct. 1)</b> Title: Maiden (Oct. 1)
Year Released: 2019
Running Time: 97
Production Company: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Alex Holmes
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


“Maiden” is one of this year’s best sports films, yet it has flown under the radar. It’s actually a documentary about yacht racing, but before you yawn, it’s really worth checking out and is as gripping and inspiring as they come.

Directed by Alex Holmes (“House of Saddam”), “Maiden” tells the story of Tracy Edwards, an Englishwoman who after getting kicked out of high school winds up getting a job as a stewardess aboard a yacht in Greece and falls in love with sailing.

Edwards’ passion for sailing grew so much that she wanted to join the famous Whitbread Round the World yacht race, a 32,000-mile competition.

But no one took her seriously. She was ridiculed because of her inexperience and age. She was 24-years-old at the time. Edwards was constantly told she’d never be part of this traditionally male dominated sport. The male teams didn’t even want to hire her as a cook.

Their thinking was women weren’t cut out for such a tough and gruesome journey.

You know I love an underdog story, regardless of the sport. And “Maiden” is a very good one. Whenever someone can step up against all odds and show out after others have belittled and counted them out, it’s great to watch them rise to the occasion.

Even the yachting press took bets that Edwards would fail. She couldn’t land any sponsors either.
None of that stopped her.

Edwards remortgaged her house and scrapped together enough money to buy a 58-foot yacht and named it “Maiden.”
She reached out to other women interested in sailing and assembled an all-female crew. They entered the Whitbread Yacht Competition in 1989-1990.

As you might have guessed, the crew overcame every obstacle thrown at them—weather and inexperience proving among the biggest—yet they persevered and made history in the process.

Edwards’ journey is riveting from start to finish.
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"
FROZEN 2 By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


Why was Elsa born with magical powers? The answer is calling her and threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she'll set out on a dangerous but remarkable journey.

In “Frozen,” Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In “Frozen II” she must hope they are enough. “Frozen II: The IMAX 2D Experience” opens at the Esquire IMAX Theatre on Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are on sale at the theater box office and online at

The IMAX release of “Frozen II: The IMAX 2D Experience” 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 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, IMAX 3D, IMAX DMR, Experience It In IMAX, An IMAX 3D Experience, The IMAX Experience, IMAX Is Believing and IMAX nXos are trademarks of IMAX Corporation. More information about the Company can be found at

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

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

lionsgate fatale By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


“Fatale,” centers on a married man who finds himself living a nightmare as he is relentlessly compromised, out-witted and morally manipulated by a mysterious woman with whom he had a wild one-night stand. How far will he go to save his marriage from his mistake?

“Fatale” is written and produced by David Loughery(“The Intruder,” “Lakeview Terrace” and “Obsessed”). The film is produced by Sacramento filmmaker Deon Taylor’s Hidden Empire Film Group partner Roxanne Taylorand is executive produced by partner Robert F. Smith.

Oscar nominee Dante Spinotti (“L.A. Confidential” and “Heat”) served as DP, marking his third collaboration with Taylor on “Fatale.”

Taylor is definitely on a roll. His low-budget thriller “The Intruder” which arrived in theaters this past summer made $37 million and was produced for merely $8 million.

Look for Taylor’s upcoming Screen Gems drama “ Black and Blue," starring Oscar Nominee Naomie Harris, Frank Grillo, Tyrese Gibson and Mike Colter.

Written by Peter A. Dowling, “Black and Blue” follows a rookie African American female cop who stumbles upon corrupt officers who are murdering a drug dealer, an incident captured by her body cam.

Editor's Note: Information used in this report obtained from Lionsgate Films.

hidden film group award By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


The Location Managers Guild International (LMGI) have named Hidden Empire Film Group's Roxanne Taylor, (Middle) Deon Taylor (Right) and Robert F. Smith (Left) as recipients of the 2019 LMGI Humanitarian Award for their philanthropic reach across the globe.

The 6th Annual LMGI Awards highlight international features, television and commercials in which the creative use of filming locations set the tone, enrich the character and enhance the narrative.

Winners will be revealed during the formal ceremony on Sept. 21, at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California.

"The Hidden Empire Film Group's deep compassion and active engagement in raising awareness of human rights and social issues is a unique, and inspiring hands-on brand of activism," said LMGI VP and Awards Co-Chair Lori Balton. "Their commitment to advancing social change, improving education, and promoting human dignity is seemingly endless. HEFG is about helping people find a voice and opportunities they would never otherwise have. They have an inspiring, hands-on brand of activism."

Through the creative vision of director Deon Taylor, Hidden Empire Film Group's 2018 film “Traffik” spread awareness on human trafficking. Producer Roxanne Taylor comments, "It's happening everyone, and minorities are 90 percent of the victims."

Like his wife, former pro basketball player Taylor overcame hardship. "I have become who I am today simply because I was told 'no' everywhere I went. I'm the product of no." Joining forces with Smith, the couple strives to help others climb beyond adversity.

They mostly fly under the radar, particularly producer and philanthropist Robert F. Smith who recently was lauded for erasing student debt for the Morehouse College class of 2019. He also has signed the Giving Pledge-an effort to address society's most pressing problems by inviting the world's wealthiest individuals to commit more than half their wealth to giving back or charitable causes either during their lifetime or in their will.

Hidden Empire Film Group developed the "Be Woke. Vote" initiative.

It's philanthropic social media at its finest, fueling activism around the upcoming US elections with prominent voices like Jamie Foxx and Chelsea Handler. This nonpartisan political series encourages voter registration and inspires young people to discuss political issues affecting our communities.

Another endeavor is Roxanne Taylor's charitable non-profit CLIMB: Community, Learn, Inspire, Motivate, Build. CLIMB encourages young people to learn ALL THAT it takes to make better life choices and become a success within the community.

Their filmography includes: “The Intruder,’ “Traffik,” “Meet the Blacks” and “Supremacy;”as well as the aforementioned “Black & Blue,” “Fatale” and upcoming Meet the Blacks 2: The House Next Door.”

Oscar-nominated director Peter Weir (“Witness” “Dead Poets Society,” “The Truman Show” and “Master and Commander”) will receive the Eva Monley Award, which recognizes and honors industry members who support the work of location professionals. Location Manager Michael J. Meehan (“Dead Poets Society,” “The Perfect Storm,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,””Master and Commander”) will receive the 2019 LMGI Lifetime Achievement Award.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Location Managers Guild International (LMGI)