Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 04/20/2018
Running Time: 96
Rated: R
Cast: Paula Patton, Omar Epps, Laz Alonso, Roselyn Sanchez, William Fichtner, Dawn Olivieri, Luke Goss and Missi Pyle.
Crew: Director: Deon Taylor. Producers: Deon Taylor, Paula Patton, Roxanne Avent, Victoria Bullock, Karicean Karen Dick, Heather Kritzer and Ging Rochelle. Executive Producers: Deon Taylor. Screenwriter: Deon Taylor. Cinematographer: Dante Spinotti.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Sacramento director, producer and screenwriter, Deon Taylor has been honing his craft and making thought-provoking, independent movies for more than 20 years through his production company, Hidden Empire Film Group.

Among Taylor’s many film credits is the outstanding 2014 drama, “Supremacy” featuring Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (Best Supporting Actor, “Moonlight”), Danny Glover, Derek Luke and Julie Benz. “Supremacy “garnered critical acclaim for taking an unflinching look at racism.

Yet, it’s Taylor’s latest movie “Traffik” that’s also generating plenty of buzz for shining light on the hot-button issue of human trafficking.

Filmed primarily in Sacramento, “Traffik” stars Paula Patton (“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”), Laz Alonso, (“Detroit”) Omar Epps and Roselyn Sanchez (TV’s “Devious Maids”).

Check out Reel Movie Talk with director Deon Taylor and Laz Alonso. REEL MOVIE NEWS

In “Traffik,” Patton plays Brea, a feisty news reporter at the fictional Sacramento Post newspaper. Her editor, (William Fichtner, TV’s “Mom”), has little use for human interest stories and wants her to write more lurid and sensational pieces.

Well, those stories aren’t easy to come by. So a romantic weekend getaway to Lake Tahoe with her boyfriend John (a fine Omar Epps, TV’s “Shooter”) in the new muscle car he refurbished for her is just the mini vacation she needs to escape from her demanding boss.

John has some pretty well-connected friends. In fact, his buddy, Darren (Laz Alonso), is a cocky, sports agent and is letting John use his spectacular guest house so he can propose to Brea.

Before arriving to the house, John and Brea stop at a gas station/ convenience store to fuel up, freshen up and get a few snacks. While headed to the bathroom, Brea is closely watched by some English dude named Red (Luke Goss, “No More Mr. Nice Guy”).
They strike up a conversation, then Brea makes her way to the restroom and she bumps into a very disheveled woman who on the sly drops her phone into Brea’s purse.

While that drama is picking up, John is trying to be nice to some motorcycle dude who wants to know how he can afford a car like that since he’s not an athlete. When John tells the guy he doesn’t want any trouble, well, that’s about when the trouble starts.

Brea heads out to the car and briefly tells John about her experience inside the store, but she doesn’t get too far into it before they are being chased by the biker boys.

Brea and John cut them off. They think they’ve lost them. When John and Brea finally arrive at the house, Darren and his significant other (Roselyn Sanchez, TV’s “Devious Maids”) are there too, but Darren’s obnoxious and boorish behavior is the least of these lovebird’s worries.

They get a surprise visit from that strange woman from the bathroom gas station. She wants her phone back which has some incriminating information on it that involves the police and several other racist people in this small town.

John and Brea are soon caught up in a volatile situation that gets worse by the minute, but ultimately leads Patton to unravel one of the biggest news stories of her career.

“Traffik” is Deon Taylor’s most ambitious and exciting movie yet. It’s filled with suspense and action and the acting is superb.

You’ve got to see this movie.

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 "TRAFFIK"

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 04/13/2018
Truth Or Dare

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 04/13/2018

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 04/06/2018
A Quiet Place

Rated: R
Opens: 04/06/2018

Rated: PG-13
Opens: 03/30/2018
Isle Of Dogs

Rated: R
Opens: 03/30/2018


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...

The Post <b> (April 17)</b> Title: The Post (April 17)
Year Released: 2017
Running Time: 115
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Director: Steven Spielberg
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Director Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” is a poignant journalism docu-drama about the Washington Post’s historic role in its unprecedented battle for free speech between the press and the government.

Set in 1971, Meryl Streep gives another tour de force performance this time as Kay Graham, who inherited the role of publisher of the Washington Post after the suicide of her husband Phil.

Kay had her hands full navigating the journalistic waters and competing with other papers that were scooping The Post left and right.

In addition, not everyone was on board with Kay running things, notably The Post’s predominately white male Board of Directors.

Kay even rankled the feathers of her editor Ben Bradlee, played by a very good, but over the top Tom Hanks (“Sully”).

However, after much wrangling, the two come around after the New York Times publishes a number of leaked top-secret government documents—The Pentagon Papers—written by Robert McNamara (a fabulous Bruce Greenwood, TV’s “The Resident”) who served as the secretary of defense under Lyndon B. Johnson.

They revealed a web of lies about the Vietnam war. When President Nixon (Curzon Dobell, TV’s “Blacklist” and “Bull”) reads the articles, he goes ballistic and attempts to sue the New York Times for publishing the “classified” information.

This leads Bradlee and his rag-tag team of reporters led by Ben Bagdikian (an excellent Bob Odenkirk, “The Disaster Artist”) to dig deeper into the story.

Bagdikian becomes a confidant of Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys, TV’s “The Americans”) and what he uncovers is eye-opening to say the least.

“The Post” is heightened by the tug-of-war that Kay Graham faces between her paper’s Board of Directors, the courts who threatened to censor The Post and other newspapers who followed their lead, as well as her legal team who advised her not to green-light the stories fearing it would cripple the paper.

However, Kay rolls the dice anyway and “The Post” articles along with the subsequent Watergate coverage. put the paper front and center and captured a Pulitzer in 1972.

“The Post” is a compelling movie and a vivid reminder why a free press is just as important today in 2018 as it was in 1971.
(Highly Recommended).

The Greatest Showman <b>(April 10) </b> Title: The Greatest Showman (April 10)
Year Released: 2017
Running Time: 105
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Director: Michael Gracey
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


“The Greatest Showman” made a valiant effort for consideration during awards season, but it never quite gained much traction. Timing is everything and perhaps, since arriving on the heels of “La La Land,” audiences had their fill of song and dance.

Whatever the reason, it’s unfortunate because “The Greatest Showman,” from director Michael Gracey (“Naruto”) is a dazzling musical/biopic about circus maestro P. T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman, “Logan”).

No surprise that Jackman nails every musical number, especially the rousing, “The Other Side” which he performs with Zac Efron (“The Disaster Artist”).
Really, every song is an absolute showstopper from the title track, to “This is Me” from Keala Settle, and “Come Alive” featuring Daniel Everidge, Jackman, Settle and Zendaya.

As great as the music is, this rags to riches story is equally captivating. When the company Barnum works for goes bankrupt, he’s out of a job and left to support his wife, Charity (Michelle Williams, “Janis”) and young daughters, Helen (Cameron Seely, TV’s “Madam Secretary”) and Carolyn (Austin Johnson, TV’s “Kevin can Wait”).

He lies to the local bank and convinces them to give him a loan and uses the money to purchase Barnum's American Museum in downtown Manhattan. There’s not much to the place other than isles of wax models. No wonder people peek inside, but don’t plop down money to really see it.

Barnum’s youngest daughter suggests he add something that’s lively and will get people’s attention. Barnum goes all out searching for different and bizarre freakish looking people. He renames his entertainment venture, “Barnum’s Circus.”

Hoping to capitalize on a more upscale crowd, Barnum meets playwright Phillip Carlyle (Efron) and convinces him to join his big show. It’s not long before Carlyle falls hard for Anne Wheeler (Zendaya, TV’s K.C. Undercover”), an African-American trapeze artist.
But Carlyle knows what having an interracial affair would mean for them, so he tries to keep his feelings hidden as long as possible.

Carlyle also arranges for Barnum to meet Jenny Lind, (Rebecca Ferguson, “The Girl on the Train”), a famous Swedish singer, that Barnum convinces to perform in America providing he will also be her manager. Their relationship blossoms into something more and soon threatens Barnum’s marriage. Barnum even distances himself from the very people that made his business a rousing success.

He begins to associate with the real movers and shakers with hopes it will bring more respect and credibility to his business. But, his circus crew snubs him for selling them out.

Ultimately, the move forces Barnum to decide—especially when tragedy strikes—what matters most in his life.

“The Greatest Showman” is a great family movie.
(Highly Recommended).

Molly's Game <b> (April 10) </b> Title: Molly's Game (April 10)
Year Released: 2017
Running Time: 140
Production Company: STX Films
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

While everyone was going gaga for “Lady Bird,” the coming-of-age drama from Sacramento writer and director Greta Gerwig, lurking in the shadows was “Molly’s Game” starring Jessica Chastain, another Sactown native.

Chastain, who last year starred in the excellent movie “Miss Sloane,” turns up the heat with “Molly’s Game,” a stunning, true drama from Aaron Sorkin in his directorial debut.

Chastain received a “Best Actress” nomination from the Critics’ Choice Awards for her role here and the film got a nod for “Best Adapted Screenplay.”

"Molly's Game," which is based on the 2013 memoir “Molly's Game: From Hollywood's Elite to Wall Street's Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker” by Molly Bloom, tells the unbelievable story of how Molly launched a lucrative underground poker empire for high rollers in the entertainment, business and sports world, but was targeted and brought down by the FBI.

This wasn’t the life that Molly envisioned while growing up in Loveland, Colorado with her father (Kevin Costner, “Hidden Figures”), a clinical psychologist/teacher at Colorado State University and her mother, a ski and snowboard instructor.

Molly was determined to become a competitive skier and was ranked third in North America among women's skiers.
But her life’s dream changed in seconds after a freak accident during a qualifying run at the Salt Lake City Olympic trials that injured her back forcing her to quit.

Her back up plan was law school, but that required a lot of money. So, Molly got a part-time job and on the side helped run a private poker game for Dean Keith (Jeremy Strong, “Detroit”).
Their relationship didn’t last long and she was fired, but Molly remembered all the high rollers Dean brought in and decides to build her own poker empire in Los Angeles.

Things start out slow, but the tips are soon big enough that before long Molly is branching out and diving into the business. It’s a bold move and one that pays off handsomely.

What began as once-a-week games turns into a nightly affair. Everyone who is anyone wants a piece of this action from movie stars to business tycoons and high- profile athletes.

Molly knows the game and she knows the business too which is why she hires some very attractive female assistants. They bring in even more super wealthy men.

The money continues to roll in even from guys like “Bad Brad” (Brian D’Arcy James, “Spotlight” and TV’s “13 Reasons Why”) who is one of the worst gamblers in the world, but skates by on luck more than anything else.

Not everyone is as fortunate. Molly can’t do much for Harlan (Bill Camp, “Hostiles”) a big loser drowning in debt.

Molly’s gig has become a real hot spot. So much so, that word gets out to the Feds that Molly is colluding with members of the Russian Mafia. The FBI bust in and raid the place.

That shakedown leads her to the office of elite defense attorney Charlie Jaffey (a fantastic Idris Elba, “The Mountain Between Us”) who after some wrangling, agrees to take the case providing she can pay him of course.

There are setbacks and a few plot twists involving Molly’s father which ultimately turn “Molly’s Game” into a real high stakes drama.
(Highly Recommended).

Star Wars: The Last Jedi <b> (March 27)</b> Title: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (March 27)
Year Released: 2017
Running Time: 152
Production Company: Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Rian Johnson
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” picks up where the J.J. Abrams directed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” left off.

Director/screenwriter Rian Johnson--whose previous work includes the indie flicks “Brick” (2005), “The Brother’s Bloom” (2008) and “Looper” (2012)--is in control this time around and he maintains a sincere reverence for the "Star Wars" series.

At 152 minutes long, this space adventure covers a lot of ground. It features a few new characters—my favorites are Laura Dern (TV’s “Twin Peaks”) as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, a fearless officer in the Resistance and Benicio del Toro, plays a shyster named DJ.

The action gets underway fairly quickly. The Resistance fighters, Finn (John Boyega, “Detroit” and “Pacific Rim: Uprising”), Poe Dameron, (Oscar Isaac, “Suburbicon”), and Rey (Daisy Ridley, “Murder on the Orient Express”) are battling the malevolent First Order’s evil Supreme Leader Snoke, (Andy Serkis, “War For The Planet of the Apes”)along with his masterful and power hungry servant, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver, “The Meyerowitz Stories” and TV’s “Bob’s Burgers”) and former head of the First Order’s Starkiller Base, General Hux, (Domhnall Gleeson, “American Made”).

Rey is determined to find Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill, TV’s “Miles From Tomorrowland”) to have him not only train her in the ways of the Force, but so he can also join the Resistance’s fight.

Luke Skywalker—who looks pretty battle tested already—has been laying low on the planet Ahch-To and wishes the Jedi would just die off.

Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Dern) has a strategy in place, but the hotshot flyboy Poe insists on taking matters into his own hands much to the dismay of leading Resistance General Leia Organa, (Carrie Fisher in her last big screen role).

If all goes as planned, a secret mission involving Finn (Boyega) and a feisty maintenance worker named Rose (newcomer Kelly Marie Tran), will unveil a codebreaker that could cripple the First Order’s security system.

There are dazzling moments in “The Last Jedi,” the light-saber fight scenes are real standouts. However, the various tonal shifts disrupt the continuity of the film which becomes weighed down with often impressive, but longer than necessary CGI action sequences.

Still, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has enough humor and even weepy nostalgia involving Porgs, Yoda, Chewbacca, R2-D2, the Millennium Falcon and others that will keep diehard fans on board and even spark interest among newcomers to the galaxy.

Here's what you’ll find on the “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” DVD/Blu-Ray Editions

1. The DVD only set (1 Disc total).
2. The Blu-ray/Digital HD Copy Multi-Screen edition (3 Discs total).
3. The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD Copy edition (3 Discs total) – Best Buy & Target exclusive.
4. The 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray/Digital HD Copy edition (3 Discs total).

Editor’s Note: The digital copy has a code you can redeem on the Movies Anywhere website, which you can then link with your different digital movie accounts on Amazon Video, iTunes, Google Play, FandangoNow and Vudu. When you link them, the films from your Movies Anywhere library are imported into all of those other digital movie sites. So, no matter which digital movie platform you use, you should be able to view the movie on your chosen device.

DVD & Blu-Ray Special Features:

1. The DVD only set (1 Disc total) features just the DVD.

2. The Blu-ray/Digital HD Copy Multi-Screen edition (3 Discs total). This edition has nearly three hours of special features. Here’s a breakdown:
The Director and the Jedi: Go deep behind the scenes with writer-director Rian Johnson on an intimate and personal journey through the production of the movie—and experience what it's like to helm a global franchise and cultural phenomenon.

Balance of the Force: Explore the mythology of the Force and why Rian Johnson chose to interpret its role in such a unique way.

Scene Breakdowns:
Lighting the Spark: Creating the Space Battle: Get a close-up look at the epic space battle, from the sounds that help propel the action, through the practical and visual effects, to the characters who bring it all to life.

Snoke and Mirrors: – Motion capture and Star Wars collide as the filmmakers take us through the detailed process of creating the movie's malevolent master villain.

Showdown on Crait Break down everything that went into creating the stunning world seen in the movie's final confrontation, including the interplay between real-word locations and visual effects, reimagining the walkers, designing the crystal foxes, and much more.

Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only) Writer-director Rian Johnson presents two exclusive sequences from the movie featuring Andy Serkis' riveting, raw on-set performance before his digital makeover into Snoke.

Deleted Scenes: With an introduction and optional commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.

Audio Commentary: View the movie with in-depth feature audio commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.
What racially/controversial Broadway play did Calvin Lockhart star in with Angela Lansbury?


The Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle.

A new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment - the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.

“Avengers: Infinity War The IMAX Experience” will open on April 26 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at

The IMAX release of “Avengers: Infinity War” 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: Infinity War” marks the first Hollywood film to be shot entirely with IMAX cameras. Exclusively in IMAX theatres, “Avengers: Infinity War” 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 at

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



The Academy is now accepting entries for its 2018 Student Academy Awards competition.

All Student Academy Award winners become eligible for Oscars consideration. The entry deadline for submissions is June 1, 2018.

The U.S. competition is open to all full-time undergraduate and graduate students whose films are made within the curricular structure of an eligible accredited institution.

The international competition allows two options for students at international film schools to submit their films.

In addition to CILECT-member schools submitting one student film per international film school category, international students may now enter films that qualify through film festivals recognized by the Student Academy Awards Executive Committee.

For the fourth year, students are asked to submit their films online using FilmFreeway, a widely used festival and competition platform.

Complete rules, the SAA qualifying film festivals list and a link to the online submission platform are available at

The 45th Student Academy Awards presentation will be held on October 11, 2018, at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Past winners have gone on to receive 59 Oscar nominations and have won or shared 10 awards. This year, two 2017 Student Academy Award winners received Oscar nominations in the Live Action Short Film category: Katja Benrath, a Gold Medal winner in the Narrative (International Film Schools) category for “Watu Wote/All of Us,” and Kevin Wilson, Jr., a Gold Medal winner in the Narrative (Domestic Film Schools) category for “My Nephew Emmett.”

Past Student Academy Award winners include filmmakers: Patricia Cardoso, Pete Docter, Cary Fukunaga, John Lasseter, Spike Lee, Trey Parker, Patricia Riggen and Robert Zemeckis.

In 1972, the Academy established the Student Academy Awards to provide a platform for emerging global filmmakers by creating opportunities within the industry to showcase their work.


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.


Information used in this report obtained from The Academy.

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL 2018 By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:


Netflix recently announced its films and documentaries that will premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival which will take place April 18-29 in New York City.

Debuts include: “Cargo and Sunday's Illness” (aka “La Enfermedad Del Domingo”). Original Documentary Features: “The Rachel Divide” and “The Bleeding Edge.”


“CARGO”--(Netflix Launch: May 18, 2018) Stranded in rural Australia in the aftermath of a violent pandemic, an infected father desperately seeks a new home for his infant child, and a means to protect her from his own changing nature.

Directed by Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke and written by Yolanda Ramke, “Cargo” boasts a top-line international cast including Martin Freeman, Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter, Caren Pistorius, Kris McQuade, Natasha Wanganeen and David Gulpilil. “Cargo” is produced by Samantha Jennings and Kristina Ceyton of Causeway Films (“The Babadook”). Russell Ackerman, John Schoenfelder and Mark Patterson also serve as producers.

“SUNDAY'S ILLNESS” (aka “La Enfermedad Del Domingo”) (Netflix Launch: June 15)

In “Sunday's Illness (aka “La Enfermedad Del Domingo”), Anabel abandoned her daughter Chiara when she was barely eight years old. Thirty-five years later Chiara returns with a strange request for her mother; she asks to spend ten days together. Anabel sees this trip as a chance to get her daughter back, but she doesn't know that Chiara has a hidden purpose and she'll have to face the most important decision of her life. Written and directed by Ramon Salazar (“10,000 Noches En Ninguna Parte”), the film stars Barbara Lennie and Susi Sanchez. “Sunday's Illness” is produced by Francisco Ramos and is executive produced by Rafael Lopez Manzanara.


“THE RACHEL DIVIDE" (Netflix Launch: April 27, 2018)

Self-described "trans racial" activist Rachel Dolezal ignited an unprecedented media storm when a local news station in Spokane, Washington outed her as a white woman who had been living as the black president of the NAACP.

Since the controversy erupted, director Laura Brownson and team exclusively filmed with Rachel, her sons and her adopted sister Esther, capturing the intimate, vérité life story of a damaged character who lands squarely in the cross-hairs of race and identity politics in America--and exploring how that character still provokes negative reactions from millions who see her as the ultimate example of white privilege.

A Netflix original documentary, “The Rachel Divide,” is executive produced by Academy Award winner Roger Ross Williams.

“THE BLEEDING EDGE" (Netflix Launch: TBD 2018)

America has the most technologically advanced health care system in the world, yet medical interventions have become the third leading cause of death, and the overwhelming majority of high-risk implanted devices never require a single clinical trial. In “The Bleeding Edge,” Academy Award nominated filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (“The Invisible War,” “The Hunting Ground”) turn their sights on the $400 billion medical device industry, examining lax regulations, corporate cover-ups, and profit driven incentives that put patients at risk daily. Weaving emotionally powerful stories of people whose lives have been irrevocably harmed, the film asks: what life-saving technologies may actually be killing us?

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