SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS
Rating: About Ratings
Opens: 07/23/2021
Running Time: 121
Rated: PG-13
Cast: Henry Golding, Andrew Koji, Úrsula Corberó, Samara Weaving and Iko Uwais.
Crew: Director: Robert Schwentke. Producers: Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Erik Howsam and Brian Goldner. Executive Producers: David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Greg Mooradian and Jeff G. Waxman. Screenwriters: Evan Spilotopoulos, Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse. Cinematographer: Bojan Bazelli.
REVIEW: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

What saves “Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins” from being just another middling, martial arts actioner, is its charismatic lead star Henry Golding who plays the mysterious, heroic fighter/commando and agent of the G.I. Joe organization.

It’s a nice departure for Golding who starred in the romantic comedies, “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Last Christmas.” He seems right at home here carrying this action-packed drama.

The movie opens with “Snake Eyes” as a young boy (Max Archibald, TV’s “The 100”) who witnesses his father murdered. The savage killing has haunted him over the years. Now grown, “Snake Eyes” has become an angry, man full of revenge and set on finding his dad’s killer.

A Yakuza arms dealer named Kenta (an exceptionally good Takehiro Hira, TV’s “Yasuke”) assures “Snake Eyes” he can find his father’s killer, but he must first agree to work for him.

Reluctantly “Snake Eyes” agrees to be part of Kenta’s crew, but not for long because Snake Eyes winds up saving the life of a co-worker named Tommy (Andrew Koji, TV’s “Warrior”) who posed as an undercover operative to take down Kenta’s organization.

Now, Tommy wants to thank Snake Eyes by making him part of his esteemed ninja fraternity, the Arashikage. But not everyone in the family is eager to welcome “Snake Eyes” with open arms. Plus, he must pass three tests to prove his mental and physical strength.

You can roll the dice, but the smart money is always on Snake Eyes. He’s a quick learner.

“Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins” is a stylish and exciting mashup of well-staged sword-fighting and martial arts. Not only will “G.I. Joe” aficionados enjoy this lean and mean origin story, but it’s also likely that even those unfamiliar with the elite warrior will too.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.

Watch This Trailer For "SNAKE EYES: G.I.JOE ORIGINS "

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image...
 

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Summer Of Soul


OLD SCHOOL VIDEO PICK OF THE MONTH

Book Of Numbers Title: Book Of Numbers
Year Released: 1973
Running Time: 81
Production Company: AVCO Embassy Pictures
Director: Raymond St. Jacques
Director of Photography: Gayne Rescher
Screenwriter: Raymond St. Jacques
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: As a kid growing up in San Bernardino, California, I remember this cute, curly-headed, green eyed young guy coming over my family’s house with his handyman/electrician father to do some repair work. Little did I know the shy teen would become an iconic TV star.

Yeah, Philip Michael Thomas who played Ricardo “Rico” Tubbs alongside Don Johnson in the...
NEW ON DVD

Meat Me Halfway Title: Meat Me Halfway
Year Released: 2021
Running Time: 80
Production Company: Reducetarian Productions
Director: Brian Kateman
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"MEAT ME HALFWAY"

“Meat Me Halfway” is a new eye-opening documentary directed and written by Brian Kateman, founder and leader of the Reducetarian Organization. Kateman’s movement takes a guided and practical approach to addressing the harmful effects that eating meat has on people and the planet.

In case you are wondering what "Reducetarianism" is, well, it’s a concept that Kateman--a former vegetarian--crafted that encourages people to not avoid meat entirely, but simply reduce their consumption of it. Kateman believes this a more realistic approach rather than brow-beating people into becoming a strict vegetarian or vegan.

It’s a smaller step, but nevertheless he says is an effective one since people would still be helping to save the environment from increased greenhouse gas emissions and climate change as well as safeguard their health.

However, as Kateman, who is based in New York City discovers during his investigative journey—which leads him to a pig slaughterhouse in Los Angeles and a “ethically raised/slaughter” animal farm in Georgia and several points in between--there are strong and varying viewpoints from meat lovers and vegetarians/vegans.

Kateman is often ridiculed--even by his own skeptical parents--and other meat-eaters for his stance of “eating less meat.” He also angers animal rights activists who believe his position is counterproductive to theirs.

“Meat Me Halfway” features several notable scholars, scientists, doctors, and writers sharing their views on climate change and the cost of eating healthy. Michele Simon who is the founder of the Plant Based Foods Association notes that “taste,” “price” and “convenience” are the three most powerful drivers of food choices. She states that marketing and the environment people live in shapes their everyday food choices.

That’s a big reason why Olympia Auset started SUPRMARKT, the first organic produce pop-up in South Los Angeles to provide fresh and healthy vegetables and fruits to her community. The lack of major grocery stores in black and brown communities is alarming and that needs to change adds Eric Adams, Borough President of Brooklyn New York. Auset and Adams maintain it's important to make healthy food accessible and affordable to everyone.

“Meat Me Halfway” lays it all out there but doesn’t take a stand in the end. Instead, the viewer is left to chew on all the information, draw their own conclusions and make their own decisions. It is a highly informative and well-done documentary.
(Highly Recommended).

"Meat Me Halfway" is available July 20 on VOD and streaming platforms.

No Ordinary Love Title: No Ordinary Love
Year Released: 2020
Running Time: 99
Production Company: 1091 Pictures
Director: Chyna Robinson
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"NO ORDINARY LOVE"

“No Ordinary Love” the new movie from screenwriter/director Chyna Robinson (“Greenwood: 13 Hours”) is a compelling drama that centers around two vastly different couples who are in abusive marriages. Incredible circumstances bring them together.

“No Ordinary Love” deserves attention as it shines a spotlight on domestic violence and women who feel trapped in their relationships and are afraid to leave them.

Elizabeth Jeffries (April Hartman, “American Zombieland”) has tried to be the perfect wife to her husband, Michael (Eric Hanson, “90 Feet from Home”). He is a pastor at the local church in their small hometown. Their pre-teen son Matthew (Houston Ries, “Adventures in Zeroworld”) has to put up with a lot from his parents whose marriage is shattering right before his eyes.

How Elizabeth has been able to withstand the verbal abuse all these years from Eric is beyond me, because he’s a sexist and religious zealot whose backwards way of thinking is just mindboggling. Then again, Elizabeth is trying to keep up the “good wife” charade mainly for the sake of the church folk. Many in town consider him so wonderful and righteous. However, when Elizabeth finally realizes that she can’t live with him anymore and plans to leave, their relationship becomes even more dangerous.

Meanwhile, Derrick Anderson (Lynn Andrew III, TV’s “The Price of Fame”) is a well-respected police officer who is married to Tanya, (DeAna Davis), a beautiful and caring woman. They have an adorable young daughter named Faith, (Nya Cummings). Faith doesn't deserve to live in fear every time her dad comes home angry and then she has to watch him beat her mother. This guy is a punk and has some serious issues.
Every time Derrick apologizes for his abusive behavior, Tanya gives him another chance thinking he’ll change. He doesn’t. In fact, his anger issues worsen which forces Tanya to expose his secret to Elizabeth, the pastor’s wife.

That sets up a series of events for both couples, but the film’s unbelievable ending feels forced and incomplete. Still, the solid acting in “No Ordinary Love” is what carries the movie and keeps you locked in.
(Recommended).

The Unhealer Title: The Unhealer
Year Released: 2021
Running Time: 94
Production Company: Shout! Studios
Director: Martin Guigul
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"THE UNHEALER"

Last week, I had so many movies and TV shows to review that I almost tossed aside “The Unhealer,” a little supernatural thriller from Shout! Studios that was far better than I expected.

“The Unhealer” is available June 8 on Blu-Ray, DVD, digital, and On-Demand. This one isn’t your typical coming-of-age teen drama. It holds a few horrors and gory surprises and has ample doses of humor too. In other words, it’s my kind of movie.

In “The Unhealer” from director Martin Guigui (“Drama Drama”), Elijah Nelson (TV’s “9-1-1-: Lone Star”) plays a high school student named Kelly. He’s constantly bullied by his classmates. They call him “a human garbage disposal” because he has an eating disorder called “Pica.” Kelly eats really odd things like the plastic packaging of a Cup of Noodles and even chows down on his pencil erasers.

He’s a skinny kid and the lack of eating healthy food--or any food for that matter--makes him even more of an outcast. Kelly’s mother Bernice (Natasha Henstridge, “Night of the Sicario” and TV’s “Diggstown”) realizes her son’s condition is getting worse. Doctors have tried to get Kelly on a healthy regiment, but it’s not working. So, when Bernice finds out about a healer named Pflueger (Lance Henriksen, “The Dead of the Night”) who supposedly has cured many people, both young and old, of various afflictions, she decides to give him a shot.

The guy seems like a real shyster. But if it’s a scam, it’s a good one. Pflueger is somehow able to withstand the pain of others and in the process heal himself. If a guy punches Kelly in the face at school, Kelly will feel it for a brief second, but the guy will feel the brunt of the punch and Kelly’s face wouldn’t look like he’s been hit at all. The other guy however is a different story.

But just as Kelly is about to be treated, the session goes horribly wrong and somehow the powerful gift that Pflueger had is now within Kelly.

See where this is going?

Bring on the bullies. Soon everyone who picked on poor Kelly and his family is in for a royal beat down. He’s out for revenge. The hotshot school quarterback is taken aback when he picks a fight with Kelly this time. He can’t explain to his macho dad, how the pipsqueak Kelly turned the tables on him and beat him up.

Kelly’s newfound power isn’t limited to fighting. The horny teen can also fantasize and daydream about things he wants. In this case a couple of pretty girls in his class suddenly become sexually aroused and aren’t sure why.

“The Unhealer” isn’t a scary movie, but screenwriters J. Shawn Harris (“Star Quality”) and Kevin E. Moore sure have made it an entertaining and fun one.
(Highly Recommended).

Endangered Species Title: Endangered Species
Year Released: 2021
Running Time: 101
Production Company: Blue Sky Films
Director: M.J. Bassett
Review By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

"ENDANGERD SPECIES"

Going on a wildlife safari isn’t at the top of my bucket list or even on my bucket list. However, if it was, I’m sure that I wouldn’t be as reckless as the Halsey family is in the new movie “Endangered Species” which arrives on DVD and Blu-Ray June. 1.

Of course, this wealthy family’s stupidity makes for an entertaining drama, and I found myself locked in despite several eye rolls within the first 20 minutes.

In “Endangered Species,” from director/screenwriter M.J. Bassett (TV’s “Power”), Phillip Winchester (“Rogue” and TV’s “Chicago Justice”) plays a father who is trying to unite his fractured family.

His wife Lauren (Rebecca Romijn, TV’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) is excited about taking their snooty, Ivy-League daughter Zoe (Isabel Bassett, “Rogue”), son Noah (Michael Johnston, “Drama Drama”) oh, and Zoe’s slacker boyfriend Billy (Chris Fisher, TV’s “Bulletproof”) to Kenya for vacation. Billy proves to be the smartest and most resilient of the bunch.

As soon as they check in for their exciting safari, they meet some guys, notably Jerry O’ Connell from “Ballbuster” and TV’s “Star Trek: Lower Decks” who claim to be assistants but are really poachers.

Jack can’t really afford to pay for the guided tour. Apparently, he’s been lying about his money and job. So, he continues the charade and tells his family that they get to do their own tour. With a map in hand, a van with no air conditioning and a few glass bottles of water they blow past the guards and head out on their excursion.
Since Lauren wants to see a rhino up close and personal, they go off the beaten path into a restricted area. There’s a reason it’s off limits. Wild, vicious animals roam there and they seem to love fresh, white meat.

When the Halseys come between a rhino and her baby, they are brutally attacked, their van overturned and now they are stuck in the middle of nowhere without any cellphone access, water—the bottles broke—and no diabetic medication for Lauren.

It’s about to get real.

Throw in a pack of hungry hyenas and a leopard ready to pounce and you’ll wonder if any of the Halseys will make it out alive in this gritty and silly wildlife adventure.
(Highly Recommended).
  MOVIE TRIVIA
 
Prior to starring in the 1980s hit TV show “Miami Vice,” Philip Michael Thomas made his Broadway debut in which of the following theatrical productions?
“Hair” and “Aquarius”
“Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Fiddler On The Roof”
“Pippin” and “The Wiz”
“No Place To Be Somebody” and “The Selling of the President."
 
  "REEL" MOVIE NEWS
SNAKE EYES By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

“SNAKE EYES: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE" OPENS AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE ON JULY 22

“Snake Eyes” stars Henry Golding as Snake Eyes, a tenacious loner who is welcomed into an ancient Japanese clan called the Arashikage after saving the life of their heir apparent. Upon arrival in Japan, the Arashikage teach Snake Eyes the ways of the ninja warrior while also providing something he’s been longing for: a home. But, when secrets from his past are revealed, Snake Eyes’ honor and allegiance will be tested – even if that means losing the trust of those closest to him.

“Snake Eyes: The IMAX Experience” opens at the Esquire IMAX Theatre July 22 at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theater box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento.

The IMAX release of “Snake Eyes” 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, showtimes, and safety procedures please call 916-443-IMAX (4629) or visit the website at www.imax.com/sacramento.

ABOUT IMAX CORPORATION:

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 www.imax.com. You may also connect with IMAX on Facebook (www.facebook.com/imax), Twitter (www.twitter.com/imax) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/imaxmovies).

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


DISNEY JUNGLE CRUISE By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

DISNEY’S “JUNGLE CRUISE” WILL DEBUT IN THEATERS AND ON DISNEY+ WITH PREMIER ACCESS JULY 30

Inspired by the famous Disneyland theme park ride, Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” is an adventure-filled, rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff and intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton. Lily travels from London, England to the Amazon jungle and enlists Frank’s questionable services to guide her downriver on La Quila—his ramshackle-but-charming boat.

Lily is determined to uncover an ancient tree with unparalleled healing abilities—possessing the power to change the future of medicine. Thrust on this epic quest together, the unlikely duo encounters innumerable dangers and supernatural forces, all lurking in the deceptive beauty of the lush rainforest. But as the secrets of the lost tree unfold, the stakes reach even higher for Lily and Frank and their fate—and mankind’s—hangs in the balance.

Jaume Collet-Serra directs the film, which stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramírez and Jack Whitehall, with Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti.

The producers are John Davis and John Fox of Davis Entertainment; Dwayne Johnson, Hiram Garcia and Dany Garcia of Seven Bucks Productions; and Beau Flynn of Flynn Picture Co., with Scott Sheldon and Doug Merrifield serving as executive producers. The story is by John Norville & Josh Goldstein and Glenn Ficarra & John Requa, and the screenplay is by Michael Green and Glenn Ficarra & John Requa.

Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” releases in U.S. theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access on July 30.

ABOUT DISNEY+ PREMIER ACCESS:

Premier Access provides an opportunity for consumers to watch newly released theatrical films on Disney+ for an additional one-time fee and an active Disney+ subscription. Disney+ subscribers can get Premier Access for a one-time fee of $29.99 per movie paid directly on disneyplus.com or on supported platforms. Once Premier Access has been unlocked, subscribers can enjoy a cinematic experience at home through the Disney+ app on a wide range of mobile and connected TV devices, including gaming consoles, streaming media players, and smart TVs.


BLACK WIDOW By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs:

"BLACK WIDOW: THE IMAX EXPERIENCE TO OPEN AT THE ESQUIRE IMAX THEATRE ON JULY 8

In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller "Black Widow," Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow/Scarlett Johansson confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises.

Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.

"Black Widow: The IMAX Experience" opens at the Esquire IMAX Theatre on July 8 at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the theater box office and online at www.imax.com/sacramento.

The IMAX release of "Black Widow" 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, showtimes, and safety procedures please call 916-443-IMAX (4629) or visit the website at www.imax.com/sacramento.

About IMAX Corporation:

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, IMAX3D, 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 www.imax.com. You may also connect with IMAX on Facebook (www.facebook.com/imax), Twitter (www.twitter.com/imax) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/imaxmovies).

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