Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 02/23/2018
Running Time: 115
Rated: R
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Oscar Isaac, Tessa Thompson and Tuva Novotny.
Crew: Director: Alex Garland. Producers: Eli Bush, Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich, Scott Rudin and Joanne Smith. Executive Producers: Jo Burn, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Don Granger. Screenwriters: Alex Garland. (Based on the Book: "Annihilation" By: Jeff VanderMeer.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

If you thought director/screenwriter Alex Garland’s 2015 “Ex-Machina” was a sci-fi mind-bender, wait until you see his follow-up movie, “Annihilation.” It’s a trippy, invasion drama that starts out slow, but builds into a surprisingly, suspenseful and riveting movie.

“Annihilation” is based on the first book from author Jeff VanderMeer’s “Southern Reach” Trilogy. And while the movie harkens back to other sci-fi classics, most notably, “Alien” and “Predator,” overall, “Annihilation” stands out for its richness and complexity.

Natalie Portman, who was so good as the dainty and proper Jackie Kennedy in the 2016 biopic “Jackie,” gets in touch with her edgier side in “Annihilation.”

Portman plays a biology professor/scientist named Lena. She’s been broken ever since her military-officer husband Kane (a terrific Oscar Isaac, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Suburbicon”) went on a secret mission. He and the other officers haven’t been heard from in nearly 12 months. Lena assumes Kane is dead.

But, when Kane arrives home out of the blue, it’s immediately clear, something is terribly wrong with him. Within minutes of talking with Lena about what he remembers from the expedition, he becomes extremely sick.

Lena is hurt and angry and demands that she gets some sort of explanation as to what is happening to Kane. She finally does from Dr. Ventress, (Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight” and TV’s “Twin Peaks) who is familiar with the mission.

Apparently, there’s a force, that has a lot of power and it’s known as “The Shimmer” and it’s surrounding a nearby swampland, but could easily make its way just about anywhere. It appears as a shiny, rainbow, plastic bubble wall of sorts. For reasons unknown yet, nothing that gets in the path of “The Shimmer” can escape. Almost nothing.

Somehow, Kane managed to escape, but not completely intact.

There’s no way that a biologist/scientist like Lena isn’t going to jump at the chance to find out what’s really behind this so called “Shimmer” and what it’s done to her husband.

So, when Lena learns that a group of women are on a mission to find out what the “The Shimmer” is, she’s all in and ready to roll into the danger zone. The group includes: physicist Josie (Tessa Thompson, “Creed” and TV’s “Westworld), anthropologist Cass (Tuva Novotny, TV’s “Dag” and “Nobel”) and paramedic Anya (Gina Rodriguez, “Ferdinand” and TV’s “Jane the Virgin”).

They all prove to be pretty tough, although Lena is perhaps the toughest of all. She’s skilled at handling an automatic weapon especially when a mammoth crocodile appears and is about to make a meal out of one of the crew.
They also have to contend with a couple of other ferocious beasts.

Everything behind “The Shimmer” is odd, even the way the flowers grow in the forested areas and the weird juxtaposition of the crocodile’s teeth. There’s some metaphysical force at hand here.

But why?

The more Lena and the women explore their surroundings to find out about “The Shimmer,” the darker and more menacing things become for them.

Director Alex Garland, methodically lays out this haunting tale and includes some unpredictable jump scares along the way along with a shocking and bizarre ending.

“Annihilation” is a riveting, yet unsettling creature feature.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:40 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.

Take A Peek At This Trailer For "ANNIHILATION"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP...

Rated: R
Opens: 02/23/2018
Game Night

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 02/16/2018
Black Panther

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 02/09/2018
The 15:17 To Paris

Rated: R
Opens: 01/19/2018
Den Of Thieves

Rated: R
Opens: 01/19/2018
12 Strong

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 12/20/2017
Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle


Halls Of Anger Title: Halls Of Anger
Year Released: 1970
Running Time: 96
Production Company: Mirisch Corporation
Director: Paul Bogart
Director of Photography: Burnett Guffey
Screenwriter: John Herman Shaner and Al Ramus
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: Editor's Note: While this "Old School Video Pick" of "Halls of Anger" has run before, I couldn't help but update a few things in it after recently watching it again along with a few other Calvin Lockhart movies, like "Melinda" and "Rain." Lockhart was an enormously talented actor who left us way too soon.

Audiences may best remember Calvin Lockhart, as the tall, dark and handsome actor who...

Roman J. Israel Esq. <b>(Feb. 13) </b> Title: Roman J. Israel Esq. (Feb. 13)
Year Released: 2017
Running Time: 119
Production Company: Columbia Pictures
Director: Dan Gilroy
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


In the Oscar nominated movie “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” Denzel Washington delivers a performance unlike any so far in his illustrious career.

The Oscar nominated movie from director/screenwriter Dan Gilroy (“Nightcrawler”), is a fascinating character study and stars Washington as Roman J. Israel, a brilliant activist attorney who has been practicing law in Los Angeles for more than 30 years. He’s a silent partner at the small firm he works at with his niece, Lynn (Amanda Warren, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”).

Although Roman suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, it doesn’t hold him back in any way. The guy can rattle off the California legal code and any other legalese you throw at him.

Everything about Roman is old school and actually just screams old. He’s been stuck in a 1960s time warp of sorts. His baggy, wrinkled clothes are out style, his afro—well that’s actually back in style now--his glasses and the bulky briefcase he carries around all just seem out of sorts.

Roman has spent the majority of his career defending those who can’t defend themselves. In other words, mostly poor people. Most of the cases he takes are pro-bono.

As much as he and Lynn want to do the right thing and help those who don’t get a fair shake, doing so doesn’t always pay the bills, rent or buy much good food as evidenced by Roman’s daily meals of peanut butter sandwiches which he eats at his hole-in-the wall apartment.

When Lynn informs Roman that the firm’s main partner—who we never see-- has a heart attack and the firm has to move forward or else go under, Roman is cast aside quicker than yesterday’s newspaper.

It’s a cold blow especially since Roman was really the guiding force behind the firm. He believes he should take the reins now. But, the few cases that Roman has presided over have landed him in contempt of court.

So, Lynn decides to turn everything over to a larger legal firm headed by a slick lawyer named George Pierce (a terrific Colin Farrell, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”). George will clean up the finances, get more clients and hopefully get things back on track.

Meanwhile, poor Roman is out of a job. He applies for a position with a non-profit group run by Maya Alston (a terrific Carmen Ejogo, “It Comes at Night”). Maya loves Roman passion, but doesn’t have any money to pay him.

That leaves Roman pondering whether he should throw his ethics aside and work with George (Farrell). After all, this is a guy who is more interested in his bottom line than people. Roman has to do something, because he’s on the road to nowhere right now.

Once Roman agrees to join George, things start out fairly well. George even loves the knowledge that Roman brings to the firm and he has him working on several cases.

However, Roman soon gets caught up in one that truly compromises his integrity and sets him on a collision course that’s difficult to recover from.

Washington is so astonishing in the role, that you almost overlook the movie’s other shortcomings, notably a saggy middle section and an easy out ending.

Still, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” is a solidly entertaining movie and another crowning achievement for Washington.
(Highly Recommended).

Wonder <b>(Feb. 13) </b> Title: Wonder (Feb. 13)
Year Released: 2017
Running Time: 113
Production Company: Lionsgate Films
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


Jacob Tremblay, the pint-sized and adorable Critics’ Choice Awards winner who wowed audiences in the 2015 movie, “Room” stars in the tear-jerker, family drama “Wonder.”

“Wonder” is based on author R. J. Palacio’s 2012 bestseller of the same name and the movie, from writer-director Stephen Chbosky (“Beauty and the Beast”) centers on Auggie (Tremblay), a young boy born with a congenital facial deformity.

Auggie is so ashamed by his appearance that he rarely goes outside of his Brooklyn Brownstone for fear of being ridiculed. When he does, he wears his beloved astronaut helmet.

Auggie ‘s parents Nate Pullman (Owen Wilson, “Father Figures” ) and Isabel (Julia Roberts, “Money Monster”) home school Auggie and have given him all the love and support imaginable.

But, that doesn’t prepare Auggie in the least for his first day as a fifth grader at the tony Beecher Prep School where he’ll be tested and teased by other kids his age.
Auggie’s sister Via/Olivia (Isabela Vidovic, “iZombie”) feels terrible that her brother has to go through such an ordeal. And as much as she realizes Auggie needs all the attention at home, she wishes her parents would spend more time with her too.

Auggie, a Star Wars geek, endures all the jeers and taunts from some of the cruelest kids at school, but also learns to find friendship and respect from a few of his classmates, notably Jack (Noah Jupe, “Suburbicon”) and his teacher, Mr. Browne (Daveed Diggs, TV’s “Blackish”).

Tremblay, once again is exceptionally convincing here. And while “Wonder” piles on the sugar at times and tugs at the heartstrings, trying to resist its charm and appeal is futile.

A Bad Moms Christmas <b>(Feb. 6)</b> Title: A Bad Moms Christmas (Feb. 6)
Year Released: 2017
Running Time: 104
Production Company: STX FILMS
Director: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


It's a bit odd to promote and get excited about a Christmas movie in February, but “A Bad Moms Christmas” is the latest DVD arrival.

If nothing else, you can buy and have it ready to roll come Christmas, which actually will be here again before you know it.

Plus, “A Bad Moms Christmas” will make a nice addition to your holiday movie collection providing you like raunchy Christmas comedies.

Directors/ screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore is the sequel to their 2016 sleeper hit, “Bad Moms.”

While that movie centered around Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn feeling under-appreciated, overworked and fed-up with every aspect of motherhood, this one takes aim at these frazzled, Chicago suburbanites rebelling against the pressures and expectations of Christmas.

It might be the most wonderful time of the year for some people, but not them. It’s the week before Christmas and Kiki (Kristen Bell, TV’s “The Good Place”) is frantically trying to clean and decorate her house, but her mischievous kids are getting on her last nerve.

Her husband Kent (Lyle Brocato, “Get Out”) tries to lend a hand, but most of the real parenting duties always fall on her.

Amy (Kunis, TV’s “Family Guy”) tries so hard to make Christmas special for her two pre-teens, Dylan (Emjay Anthony, TV’s “What Would Diplo Do?”) and Jane (Oona Laurence, “Pete’s Dragon”), but she always feels like a failure.

Fortunately, she has her boyfriend Jesse (Jay Hernandez, TV’s “Scandal”) around for support, but there’s a reason for her insecurities.

Meanwhile, Carla (Hahn) has matured quite a bit she we last saw her. She’s still crazy as ever, but at least she’s taken some positive step for her son Jaxon (Cade Mansfield Cooksey, “Free State of Jones” and “Bad Moms”).

Carla works in an upscale spa giving Brazilian waxes. Despite her wilding ways, she would like to have someone special in her life. For her there really is a Santa Claus.

Amy, Kiki and Carla get the surprise of their lives when their mothers show up unexpectedly.

Amy’s mother Ruth (a hilarious Christine Baranski, TV’s “The Good Wife,” “The Big Bang Theory”) is a bit haughty, not to mention a perfectionist. As soon as she arrives with Amy’s father, Hank (Peter Gallagher, TV’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”) she rips on Amy’s cheap looking Christmas décor, her cooking and parenting skills.

Of course, the kids love grandma Ruth because she spoils them with high end gifts, but everything she does drives Amy crazy especially when she hires a design team to totally transform their house into an epic winter wonderland complete with a funny and live musical performance by Kenny G, who according to Ruth, is the “Godfather of Smooth Jazz.”
Kiki’s mom Sandy (Cheryl Hines, TV’s “Nobodies”) is nosy and such a busybody. She wants to still control her daughter’s life so much that she plans to buy a house right next door to her. What’s worse she even tries to dress like Kiki.

Meanwhile, Carla’s mother Isis—yes, like the terrorist group-- (a wildly funny Susan Sarandon, TV’s “Ray Donovan”), is a former roadie for REO Speedwagon. She’s still embracing her rocker chick looks too.

Isis hasn’t seen Carla in about three years. After a few joints and chugs of liquor, she thinks she’s arrived for Easter instead of Christmas. Yep, she has baggage.

Naturally these families converge and dysfunction ensues. So much so, that Kiki and Sandy have to see a shrink (a funny Wanda Sykes, TV’s “Blackish”) to try and work through their issues.

But it’s when Kiki, Amy, and Carla decide to rebel against Christmas and get away from all their parent’s expectations and do what they want that “A Bad Mom’s Christmas” really gets its wings and flies.

Their first stop for mayhem is the mall food court. They get drunk, run amok, steal a Christmas tree from Footlocker and even give Santa some memorable moments.

Carla manages to find the love of her life when a male stripper named Ty (Justin Hartley, TV’s “This is Us”) comes into the shop to get part of his impressive package waxed. It’s one of the funniest scenes in the movie.

There are more hits than misses in “A Bad Mom’s Christmas.” And I would have never imagined that Christine Baranski—who I loved in “The Good Wife”--could be this funny, but she is and so is this movie.

Only The Brave <b>( Feb. 6) </b> Title: Only The Brave ( Feb. 6)
Year Released: 2017
Running Time: 134
Production Company: Columbia Pictures
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


Directed by Joseph Kosinski (“Oblivion” “TRON: Legacy”), “Only the Brave” is an adaptation of Sean Flynn’s 2013 GQ article which chronicles the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.

They were an elite group of male firefighters--20 in all--from Prescott, Arizona who on June 30, 2013 valiantly tried to protect a community in nearby Yarnell, from a historic and massive wildfire. They became the first municipal “hotshots” group of wildfire-fighting specialists in the country.

“Only the Brave” does a remarkable job at capturing the camaraderie of the fire crew up to that horrific day and the strong family bond they shared. The group is led by Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin, “Deadpool 2”), a rugged, no-nonsense and fearless commander with a checkered past. His job, which he takes very seriously and often at the expense of forsaking his lovely wife Amanda, (Jennifer Connelly, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”) is to whip these guys into the finest group of certified firefighters.

His mentor, Duane Steinbrink (Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”) is a crusty, veteran firefighter who believes in Eric and reigns him in a bit when his temper gets the best of him. But that’s mainly because Eric doesn’t like his unit being disrespected and will let anyone know it.

Eric’s right-hand man is Jesse Steed (James Badge Dale, “World War Z”). Not sure how the nutso Christopher MacKenzie (Taylor Kitsch, “American Assassin”) made the cut, but he does add a bit of zaniness and comedic flair to the station house.

However, it’s a youngster named Brendan “Donut” McDonough (Miles Teller, “Thank You for Your Service”) that impresses Eric the most. Despite, a history of petty crimes and drug abuse, Eric is willing to give this kid a shot to make the squad. Perhaps he’s sees a bit of himself in Brendan, but he’s more touched by his honesty.

Brendan realizes this is his only chance to straighten up and do right by his waitress girlfriend Natalie (Natalie Hall, TV’s “Shades of Blue”) who left him, but just gave birth to their first daughter.

All the drama surrounding Brendan getting in shape, the politics behind the firefighters obtaining their official certification—which they received in 2008—plays out against the threat of a ferocious wildfire looming on the horizon.

These men, who are the front-line responders, trained religiously for situations like these, but the Yarnell fire proved to be one like none they encountered.

Screenwriters Ken Nolan (“Transformers: The Last Knight”) and Eric Warren Singer (“American Hustle”) sprinkle just enough saccharine throughout “Only the Brave” giving it heart-warming moments.

But the film’s real strength, is its attention to detail and authenticity as we see these fast-moving fires enveloping mountainsides and valleys as these men frantically try to control the situation with only shovels, chainsaws and brute force.

“Only the Brave” is a triumphant film that honors and celebrates firefighters everywhere, but especially the fallen heroes of Prescott, Arizona.

Your admiration for these ordinary people who take extraordinary risks will soar even higher after seeing this movie.
(Highly Recommended).
What racially/controversial Broadway play did Calvin Lockhart star in with Angela Lansbury?
ACADEMY GOLD PROGRAM By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Los Angeles Philharmonic will present The Oscar Concert, a special, one-night-only celebration of film music at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Feb. 28, at 8 p.m.

As part of the Oscar week celebrations for its 90th anniversary, the Academy, in partnership with the LA Phil, presents an exclusive one-of-a-kind celebration of film music, including never-before-heard arrangements of this year’s five Original Score Oscar nominees.

Curated by composers and Academy Governors Michael Giacchino, Laura Karpman, and Charles Bernstein, the evening offers an insider’s look at film scoring across the decades, with select scores performed live by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by conductor Thomas Wilkins, and special guest Terence Blanchard (trumpet), with additional special guests to be announced.

The Oscar Concert explores the history of film music through special arrangements of beloved scores by composers including: Tan Dun, Quincy Jones, Mica Levi, Rachel Portman, A.R. Rahman, and many more, with accompanying film clips shown in HD on Walt Disney Concert Hall’s large screen.

The evening opens with an introduction by Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino and Oscar-winning director Pete Docter, who will explore the challenges and rewards of film scoring, utilizing music from the Oscar-winning film “UP.” Organized into vignettes, the program explores the emotions and excitement that film scores evoke, including the sound of home, the sound of the chase, the sound of fear, the sound of love, and the sound of courage.

The evening closes with the world premiere of specially arranged suites from all five Original Score nominees: “Dunkirk,” by Hans Zimmer; “Phantom Thread,” by Jonny Greenwood; “The Shape of Water,” by Alexandre Desplat; “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” by John Williams; and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” by Carter Burwell.

The 90th Oscars, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will be held March 4 at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live on ABC. will covering the 90th Oscars on March 4 and attending a few of the pre and post soirees. On Feb. 20, be sure to check out the Web site TV page (TV Close-Up) for our Oscars preview story and who we believe will take home the golden statue.

In the meantime, here’s a look at the program for The Oscar Concert which will be held Feb. 28 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino and Oscar-winning director Pete Docter present a live demonstration of the scoring process.


THE SOUND OF HOME: Rachel Portman, “Nicholas Nickleby” Nino Rota, “Amarcord” A. R. Rahman, “Slumdog Millionaire”

THE SOUND OF THE CHASE: Dave Grusin, “The Firm” Lalo Schifrin, “Bullitt” Jerry Goldsmith, “The Great Train Robbery”

THE SOUND OF FEAR: Mica Levi, “Jackie” Quincy Jones, “In Cold Blood” John Carpenter, “Halloween” John Williams, “The Witches of Eastwick”

THE SOUND OF LOVE: Erich Wolfgang Korngold, “The Adventures of Robin Hood” Luis Bacalov, “Il Postino” Tan Dun, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”

THE SOUND OF COURAGE: Terence Blanchard, “Malcolm X” Terence Blanchard, trumpet Joe Hisaishi, “Spirited Away” Alex North, “Spartacus”


World premiere suites from this year’s nominated films for Original Score Carter Burwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” Alexandre Desplat, “The Shape of Water” Jonny Greenwood, “Phantom Thread” John Williams, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” Hans Zimmer, “Dunkirk”

For more information, please visit Tickets for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s 2017/18 season are available for purchase at, in person at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, or by phone at 323.850.2000.

WHAT THEY DO: The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under the vibrant leadership of Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, presents an inspiring array of music from all genres – orchestral, chamber and Baroque music, organ and celebrity recitals, new music, jazz, world music and pop – at two of L.A.’s iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall ( and the Hollywood Bowl (

The LA Phil’s season extends from September through May at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and throughout the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. With the preeminent Los Angeles Philharmonic at the foundation of its offerings, the LA Phil aims to enrich and transform lives through music, with a robust mix of artistic, education and community programs.

The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences is a global community of more than 8,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles.



The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is proud to announce the launch of the 2018 Academy Gold internship enhancement and mentorship program for students and young professionals from underrepresented communities.

Currently, there are 22 entertainment industry partners, including Annapurna Pictures, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Deluxe, The Walt Disney Company, Dolby Laboratories, FotoKem, FremantleMedia, HBO, Illumination Entertainment, IMAX, Lionsgate, Overbrook Entertainment, Panavision, Paramount Pictures, Participant Media, Snap Inc., Sony Pictures, Technicolor, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures, Univision and Warner Bros., committed to the program.

“We’re extremely proud to launch the second year of the Academy Gold program,” said Academy governor Nancy Utley, Education Committee chair and president of Fox Searchlight Pictures. “Our industry partners, who are as committed to creating opportunities for promising young people as we are at the Academy, have acted on that commitment by providing extraordinary learning environments. With their support, this initiative is creating positive, meaningful and visible change in our industry.”

Edgar Aguirre, the Academy’s director of talent development and inclusion acknowledged the importance of the Academy Gold program. “Thanks to a dynamic group of partners, we can build on the success of our pilot year to continue to offer an enriching experience for our Gold interns and opportunities to propel their professional growth,” said Aguirre.

Each partner will sponsor up to three interns for the eight-week summer program, which offers participants exclusive networking opportunities with Academy members and industry professionals, screenings and educational workshops. Internships are available to undergraduate and graduate college students with an emphasis on high-quality, underrepresented talent in order to help them acquire the knowledge, skills and connections to achieve success as they navigate full-time, above- and below-the-line entertainment industry careers.

Last summer, 69 interns (including 18 interns placed within the Academy) participated in the inaugural Academy Gold program and had an opportunity to learn firsthand about every aspect of filmmaking – from finance to production – from Academy members and other industry professionals.

“The success of Academy Gold is due, in part, to the fact that the program doesn’t stop after the eight-week internship experience,” explains Bettina Fisher, the Academy’s director of educational initiatives. “At the end of the summer, each Gold intern is paired with an Academy member to serve as a mentor for their career goals, and several program alumni have already secured jobs in our community. We’re looking forward to welcoming the next class of up-and-coming talent.”

For more information about the Academy Gold program, visit

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

OSCARS PRODUCTION By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


Producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd announced 10 key members of the production team for the 90th Oscars which will air live on March 4, on ABC.

“This team brings more than 90 years of combined Oscars telecast experience,” said De Luca and Todd. “Collaborating with them as we celebrate the 90th year of the Oscars is both fitting and thrilling.”

Glenn Weiss is returning as director for his third consecutive year. He has won 13 Primetime Emmy Awards, including one for the 89th Oscars, for which he also won a DGA Award. Weiss has directed numerous televised events, including 17 Tony Awards shows.

Other directing credits include “The Kennedy Center Honors,” “Billboard Music Awards,” “BET Awards,” “Peter Pan Live!,” “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest,” “Primetime Emmy Awards®,” “Live from Lincoln Center,” “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular,” “Garth Brooks, Live from Las Vegas” and the “American Music Awards."

Rob Paine has been associated with the Oscar telecast for more than 20 years and returns as the supervising producer. Paine has more than 200 television events to his name and has earned six Primetime Emmy Award nominations and a Peabody Award. His other credits include 12 Super Bowl Halftime Shows, “The Kennedy Center Honors” and the “Primetime Emmy Awards.”

Production designer Derek McLane returns to the Oscars for a sixth consecutive year. McLane has earned Primetime Emmy nominations for every year he’s worked on the Oscars telecasts and won in 2014. His other television credits include: “Hairspray Live!,” “The Wiz Live!,” “Peter Pan Live!” and “The Sound of Music Live!” McLane also has designed sets for several acclaimed Broadway productions and is currently designing for “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.” He won a Tony Award for his work on the drama “33 Variations” and was Tony-nominated for “Anything Goes,” “Ragtime” and “The Pajama Game.”

Returning as head writer is Jon Macks, an eight-time Primetime Emmy nominee. This is his 21st time writing for the Oscars, and he has received three WGA Award nominations for the telecast. In addition to his work on the Oscars, Macks wrote for 22 years on the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and writes for Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Chris Rock and Martin Short.

Also returning is writer Dave Boone, a 10-time Primetime Emmy Award nominee, who won twice as head writer of the “Tony Awards.” Boone has written for 11 Oscars telecasts, dating back to the “70th Oscars,” with host Billy Crystal. He has also served as head writer of “The Kennedy Center Honors,” “The Screen Actors Guild Awards” and the “87th Oscars.”

Carol Leifer also joins the show as a writer, and has written for the Oscars telecast seven times. Other writing credits include “Seinfeld,” “Saturday Night Live,” “The Larry Sanders Show,” “Modern Family,” “Primetime Emmy Awards” and the “Tony Awards.” Leifer was discovered by David Letterman and appeared on “Late Night with David Letterman” 27 times. She is a four-time Primetime Emmy nominee.

Harold Wheeler, music director, returns for his fifth Oscars telecast. An accomplished orchestrator, composer, conductor, record producer and arranger, Wheeler has received multiple Emmy and Tony Award nominations as well as an NAACP Theatre Award for lifetime achievement. His television credits include the “People’s Choice Awards,” “AFI’s 100 Years…” series and 17 seasons of “Dancing with the Stars.” Wheeler also composed music for two Democratic National Conventions and the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics. On Broadway, he has orchestrated musicals including “Hairspray,” “The Full Monty,” “Dreamgirls,” “The Wiz” and “Promises, Promises."

Taryn Hurd rejoins the Oscars telecast team for the fifth consecutive year as talent producer. She also has served as talent producer on the past four Governors Awards ceremonies along with numerous variety television specials and award shows.

Lighting designer Robert Dickinson returns for his 29th Oscars show. He has won 18 Primetime Emmy Awards, including three for Oscars telecasts. Additionally, Dickinson has been honored with two Daytime Emmy Awards. His credits include “The Kennedy Center Honors,” “Grammy Awards,” “Primetime Emmy Awards,” “Tony Awards” and “Academy of Country Music Awards”; Olympics ceremonies in Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Athens and Vancouver; the ceremonies of the European Games in Baku; and the specials “Peter Pan Live!” and “The Sound of Music Live!”

Raj Kapoor joins the Oscars for the second consecutive year, as co-producer, overseeing screen content and performances. Kapoor’s recent credits include seven “Grammy Awards,” Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary, ABC’s “Greatest Hits” and the “Radio Disney Music Awards.” Kapoor has mounted numerous large-scale international tours for Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, Soul 2 Soul, One Republic, American Idol, Jason Aldean, Shania Twain, Juanes, Jewel, Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato and Rascal Flatts.

The 90th Oscars will be held March 4, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be broadcast live on the ABC Television Network at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

ABOUT THE ACADEMY: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 8,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles.

FOLLOW THE ACADEMY: Editor’s Note: Information used in this report obtained from the Academy publicity department.

black panther By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


After the events of “Marvel's Captain America: Civil War,” King T' Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country's new leader. However, T' Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country.

When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakanadan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.

“Black Panther: The IMAX 2D Experience” will open at the Esquire IMAX Theater Feb. 15 at 7:00 p.m.

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

The IMAX release of “Black Panther” 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.

Select scenes from Marvel’s Black Panther have been specially formatted for IMAX theaters. At least 50 minutes of the film will expand to fill more of the IMAX screen in an expanded 1.9:1 aspect ratio. Delivering audiences 26 percent more of the image than standard theaters for a more immersive experience.

The Esquire IMAX Theater is located at 1211 K Street in downtown Sacramento, CA. For information on tickets and show times, please call 916-443-IMAX (4629) or visit the website at

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