HAPPY DEATH DAY
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 10/13/2017
Running Time: 90
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews, Charles Aitken and Rob Mello.
Crew: Director: Christopher Landon. Producers: Jason Blum, Phillip Dawe, Beatriz Sequeira and Ryan Turek. Executive Producers: John Baldecchi, Jeannette Brill, Angela Mancuso, Seth William Meier and Couper Samuelson. Screenwriter: Scott Lobdell. Cinematographer: Toby Oliver.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Universal Pictures has had a successful run with its low-budget horror movies “Get Out” and “Split.” Both cost less than $10 million to produce and both made more than $253 million at the box office.

So, it’s no surprise that the studio is rolling the dice again with their latest little thriller, “Happy Death Day.” For the record it costs a mere $4.8 million to make.

In addition to its snappy title, “Happy Death Day” has a lot going for it. For starters, it’s opening on Friday the 13th. Halloween is right around the corner which should attract even more moviegoers. Plus, the appealing cast of “Happy Death Day” should connect with its targeted audience. Perhaps most important, “Happy Death Day,” though not very scary, is kind of silly and fun.

Directed by Christopher B. Landon, who is best known for the “Paranormal Activity” movies and my personal favorite “Disturbia,” “Happy Death Day,” is a mild slasher combo version of “Groundhog Day,” Tom Cruise’s “Edge of Tomorrow” and “Scream.”

While I had hoped it would be scarier, screenwriter Scott Lobdell (TV’s “X-Men” series) at least should be commended for this “high-concept” mashup.

Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe, “La La Land”) is a popular sorority girl who attends the fictional Bayfield University in Louisiana.

One morning Tree suddenly wakes up from a bad dream in a stranger’s dorm room with no clue how she got there. Of course, we know a night of heavy partying and drinking are to blame.

The stranger just happens to be a nice guy named Carter Davis (Israel Broussard, “The Bling Ring”). Lucky for Tree Carter tells her they didn’t do anything because she was just too wasted. Today is Tree's birthday and her morning is already off to a bad start. Not only is she late for class, but as she makes her way to it, she's struck with a serious bout of déjà vu.

She remembers in her dream, walking past the same couple on the campus, seeing a group of frat guys, running into a guy that she’s intentionally been ignoring and having a brief touchy-feely moment in the office of her married, hottie professor (Charles Aitken, TV’s “Frontier”).

Tree also remembers getting stabbed to death by a man in black clothing wearing a baby face mask. Not Babyface the singer.

Who is it? And why does someone want to kill Tree?

Well, Tree isn’t the nicest girl you’d want to meet, but is that a reason for her to go out this way?

Everybody is a potential suspect now including Tree’s hoity-toity sorority president, Danielle (newcomer Rachel Matthews), her roommate Lori (Ruby Modine, TV’s “Shameless”). Oh, and you can’t rule out that dude she ignored (Caleb Spillyards, TV’s “The Astronaut Wives Club”).

It takes about four times for Tree to figure out at after each dream just who her killer is. Each day is more difficult and draining for her than before.

Throughout Tree’s harrowing rinse and repeat journey-- which include a few surprising bloody deaths along the way—she discovers a lot about herself and works on becoming a better person in the process.

Revealing much more would undermine the clever trick that screenwriter Scott Lodbell has up his creepy sleeve which leads to the movie’s "happy" final act.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net 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.

Check Out This Trailer For "HAPPY DEATH DAY"

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 Image Awards.
 

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OLD SCHOOL VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH

Lady Sings The Blues Title: Lady Sings The Blues
Year Released: 1972
Running Time: 144
Production Company: Paramount Pictures
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Director of Photography: John A. Alonzo
Screenwriter: Suzanne De Passe
Author: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: When you’ve watched a movie so many times that you basically know the dialogue verbatim, that movie really means something and resonates with you.

The 1972 autobiographical drama, “Lady Sings the Blues” is the one for me. No matter how many times I see it, it never gets old.

Directed by Sidney J. Furie (“Iron Eagle” and “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace”), “Lady Sings the...
NEW ON DVD

Girls Trip <b>(Oct. 17)</b> Title: Girls Trip (Oct. 17)
Year Released: 2017
Running Time: 122
Production Company: Universal Pictures
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"GIRLS TRIP"

Girl power rules in the wildly entertaining comedy “Girls Trip.”

Director Malcolm D. Lee (“The Best Man” and “The Best Man Holiday”) knows his way around a big ensemble comedy and gets the best out of his talented cast.

It’s been a long time since the “Flossy Posse” have all been together. The four best friends from college plan to reunite after five years for a weekend of “Wildin’ Out” out at the Essence Festival in New Orleans. The trip is a perfect opportunity for these young women to celebrate “sistahood.”

Despite hitting a few rough patches, all the women have done pretty well with their careers. Sasha Franklin (Queen Latifah, TV’s “Star”) graduated with a journalism degree and works as a celebrity gossip blogger. It pays the bills, but really only when she can get the real, juicy scandalous stuff on famous athletes or entertainers.

Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith, “Bad Moms” and TV’s “Gotham”) is a recently divorced mother of two who gave up her partying ways to settle down. She’s hurt that her marriage fell apart.

However, Dina (a scene-stealing Tiffany Haddish, TV’s “The Carmichael Show”) hasn’t changed one bit. She’s still the little, hot firecracker that loves to get her drink and party. She’s also loyal to her best friends.

Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall, “When the bough Breaks”) is the most successful one of all. She’s been invited to the Essence Festival as the keynote speaker. She’s written self-empowering books with titles like “You can Have it All.” And on the surface, it appears as if Ryan does.

She’s married to a handsome, former pro football star named Stewart (Mike Colter, TV’s “Luke Cage” and “The Defenders”), who is always at her side except when he slips off for a tryst with an Instagram model.

Ryan knows about his flings, but she is also on the verge of having her agent Elizabeth Davelli (Kate Walsh, TV’s “13 Reasons Why”) land them a lucrative merchandising deal. So from a business standpoint, Ryan believes it’s cheaper to keep him. But over time, she begins to tire of the entire charade.

When she runs into and hangs out with a kind-hearted, musician friend, Julien Stevens (a fabulous Larenz Tate, TV’s “Power”) who is single, but looking to find the right woman, it reminds Ryan of what a catch he would have been.
Each of the women bring their A-game to “Girls Trip.”

Thanks to Haddish, you may never look at a banana and grapefruit the same way ever again or Kofi Siriboe, the chocolate hunk who stars as Ralph Angel on TV’s “Queen Sugar.”

“Girls Trip” is one raunchy, fun ride.
(Highly Recommended).

Lady MacBeth <b>(Oct. 17)</b> Title: Lady MacBeth (Oct. 17)
Year Released: 2017
Running Time: 98
Production Company: Roadside Attractions
Director: William Oldroyd
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“LADY MACBETH”

“Lady MacBeth” is the impressive directorial debut from William Oldroyd. The movie is based on the novel “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District” by author Nikolai Leskov.

It's a dark and engrossing story of sex, lies and murder which centers around up and coming actress Florence Pugh who until this release has starred in even smaller films like “The Falling” and “Marcella.”

However, Pugh is exceptionally good in “Lady MacBeth.”

Set in 19th Century rural England, Pugh, plays Katherine, a young woman who is sold to a cantankerous, landowner named Boris (Christopher Fairbank, TV’s “Taboo”) so she can wed his weird son Alexander (Paul Hilton, “Swansong”).

It’s truly a loveless marriage for Katherine especially since Alexander seems to have some bedroom issues.

Over time, Katherine gets tired of being ignored and mistreated by her husband.

When Alexander leaves for a business trip she meets Sebastian (an excellent Cosmo Jarvis, TV’s “Vera”), a handsome stud who works on their property. They strike up a lot more than conversation.
Sebastian is completely open to the passionate flings, despite knowing he’s a goner if anyone finds out.

Katherine’s housekeeper Anna (Naomi Ackie, TV’s “The Five” and “Doctor Who”) knows exactly what’s happening between them and it puts her in a very awkward and even dangerous position.

Yet, Katherine and Sebastian are so blinded by love/lust they’ll stop at nothing, and I do mean nothing, to be together even when Alexander comes back home, but he doesn’t stay around for long.

The film takes an even juicer and darker turn when a blast from Alexander’s past arrives at Katherine’s doorstep with a delivery that definitely puts a wrinkle in the plans she made with Sebastian.

“Lady MacBeth” is a sizzling, undeniably intriguing movie with a killer ending.
(Highly Recommended).

Baby Driver <b>(Oct. 10)</b> Title: Baby Driver (Oct. 10)
Year Released: 2017
Running Time: 112
Production Company: Tri-Star Pictures
Director: Edgar Wright
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“BABY DRIVER”

Although it was a dismal summer movie season, one of the biggest surprises was director/screenwriter Edgar Wright's rousing, crime caper, “Baby Driver.”

"Baby Driver" isn't a remake, a sequel or prequel which is probably why moviegoers latched on to it. That and it's killer soundtrack.

"Baby Driver" features pop, rock and some old school R&B/soul gems from Carla Thomas’ “B-A-B-Y,” Barbara Lewis’ “Baby I’m Yours,” Bob & Earl’s “Harlem Shuffle,” Martha Reeves & The Vandellas’ “Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide,” Brenda Holloway’s “Every Little Bit Hurts,” Young MC ("Know How"), to Queen ("Brighton Rock"), Barry White’s “Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up,” “Bellbottoms” by the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion” and “Easy” by the Commodores.

While the Simon & Garfunkel song, “Baby Driver” features prominently in the movie, the title really is about its lead star Ansel Elgort (“The Fault in our Stars”), whose nickname is Baby.

Baby’s parents were killed in a car crash. The accident left him with tinnitus. To help block out the “ringing in his ears,” Baby pops in headphones and listens to a bunch of music. He’s a singing and dancing machine, often moving and grooving to his beats while walking down the street or even when hanging out at the apartment in Atlanta where he lives with his stepfather Joseph (the talented CJ Jones).

Don’t get it twisted, Baby might look like a young softie, but he’s wise beyond his years and one heck of a driver. That’s why he was hired as the getaway guy by veteran criminal mastermind Doc (a terrific Kevin Spacey, TV’s “House of Cards”) who leads a rag-tag team of bank robbers.

These guys are good too. Buddy (a fabulous Jon Hamm, TV’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) is a former Wall Street trader turned thug and doesn’t make a move without his girlfriend Darling (Eiza González, TV’s “From Dusk Till Dawn”) by his side.
There’s also Griff (Jon Bernthal, “The Accountant”), JD (Lanny Loon, “Takers”), Eddie (Flea, TV’s Family Guy”) and Bats (Jamie Foxx, “The Amazing Spiderman: 2”), a loose cannon who doesn’t know what to make of Baby and doesn’t trust him all that much.

As much as this crew fusses and fights with each other, when it comes to getting down to business, they fall in line and execute their robberies with expert precision.

While all the drama takes place, Baby remains one cool customer, sitting inside his little, red souped up Subaru, timing the escapades and getting lost in his beats. When it’s time to roll, Baby is at the top of his game.
He knows there’s probably a better life out there for him than what he has going now, but this gig pays royally.

Still, he’s ready to call it a day after meeting a young, beautiful diner waitress named Debora (Lily James, “Cinderella”). She completely understands him and Baby falls hard and fast in love with her. But can he truly get out from under Doc’s criminal hold for their romance to blossom?

Baby tells Doc he’s doing one last job for him and then he’s done. But boy does that last heist come with a HUGE price.
(Highly Recommended).

The Beguiled <b>(Oct. 10)</b> Title: The Beguiled (Oct. 10)
Year Released: 2017
Running Time: 94
Production Company: Focus Features
Director: Sofia Coppola
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

“THE BEGUILED”

Sofia Coppola (“The Bling Ring” and “Lost in Translation”) has done wonders with remaking, the Southern Gothic tale, “The Beguiled.”

In May, Coppola received “Best Director” honors at the Cannes Film Festival and became the second woman in its 71-year history to do so. Russian director Yuliya Solntseva won the top prize in 1961 for her film, “Chronicle of Flaming Years.”

“The Beguiled” is a Civil War drama that’s based on the best-selling novel originally published as “A Painted Devil” by Thomas P. Cullinan.

Set in 1864, “The Beguiled” stars Nicole Kidman (“Lion” and upcoming “Aquaman”) as Martha Farnsworth, the prim and proper headmistress of a Virginia seminary for young women.

Martha’s assistant, Edwina Dabney (Kirsten Dunst, “Hidden Figures”) is equally as strait-laced.

All five of the students which they teach, range in age from 11-years old to the late teens and are respectful and well behaved.

The movie opens with the faint sounds of war in the distance and the young Amy (Oona Laurence) shuffling along in the forest collecting wild mushrooms.

While in the forest, Amy is startled when she finds wounded Union soldier, Corporal John McBurney (a terrific Colin Farrell, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and “The Lobster”). He’s been shot in the leg and is barely able to move.

Not sure what to do, Amy decides to help him and brings him back to the seminary. Amy’s decision is met with a lot of criticism particularly from her older classmate Jane (Angourie Rice, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”). Amy insists to Miss Martha and Edwina that helping the soldier was the Christian thing to do.

Martha makes it plain to Corporal McBurney that he is merely a temporary and unwanted guest who will be leaving as soon as he gets better. There’s an emphasis on the “soon.”

But a strange thing happens to the Farnsworth Seminary women as they begin to watch over their unexpected guest. They are equally scared and intrigued by his rugged, good looks and charming demeanor.

Martha can’t help but swoon for the colonel especially when she feeds and bathe him.

And as soldier John becomes healthier, he’s also aware of his newfound celebrity and attempts to take control of it in every conceivable way. He pours the charm on each of the young girls, but it’s Alicia (Elle Fanning, “Live by Night”), who really gets all hot and bothered by the colonel and soon is expressing her feelings toward him.

Even Martha and Edwina are caught up in the colonel’s beguilement. And when a lusty interlude is suddenly interrupted, it sets off a chain of events that requires the women to band together as Colonel McBurney becomes more than an object of their desires, but rather an evil menace.

He must be stopped at all costs and taking him down involves a heaping helping of sautéed mushrooms.
(Recommended).
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  "REEL" MOVIE NEWS
JIGSAW By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

JIGSAW: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE TO OPEN AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE ON OCT. 26

A mysterious madman rounds up a group of victims to play sadistic games of life and death. Police soon find evidence that link the crimes to Jigsaw, the infamous killer who died 10 years earlier.

“Jigsaw: The IMAX Experience” will open at The Esquire IMAX Theatre Oct. 26 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento.

“Jigsaw: The IMAX Experience” has been 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 show times, please call 916-443-IMAX (4629) or visit the website at www.imax.com/sacramento.

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


Bladerunner By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

BLADE RUNNER 2049: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE TO OPEN AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE ON OCT. 5

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

“Blade Runner 2049: The IMAX Experience” will open at The Esquire IMAX Theatre on Oct. 5 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theatre box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento.

“Blade Runner 2049: The IMAX Experience” has been digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience with proprietary IMAX (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 show times, please call 916-443-IMAX (4629) or visit the website at www.imax.com/sacramento.

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


jigsaw By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

JIGSAW IS BRINGING BACK THE ICONIC BLOOD DRIVE TO SAVE MORE LIVES THAN EVER

The “SAW” blood drive has been a tradition since the first “SAW” movie became a record-breaking franchise in 2004.

Past campaigns have showcased vintage nurses as the blood drive ambassadors. Public support has been overwhelming, leading to incredible participation.

Donate blood at any Mobile Jigsaw Blood Drive around the country and receive a FREE ticket to see “Jigsaw” in theaters Oct. 27.

To date, 120,000 pints have been donated and 360,000 lives have been saved.

GIVE TILL IT HURTS. #JigsawMovie.

Editor’s Note: There will be a blood drive in Sacramento on Oct. 13.

For Additional locations log on to www.jigsawblooddrive.com.