Saturday, June 30, 2018

Top Ten DVD List for July 3rd, 2018

Image result for Frontline: Trump's Takeover

by Kam Williams

This Week's DVD Releases

Frontline: Trump's Takeover



Striking Out: Series 2

Rwanda: The Royal Tour

Delicious: Series 2

7 Days in Entebbe

Shark Week: Sharktacular Adventures

Another Wolf Cop

American Socialist: The Life and Times of Eugene Victor Debs

Friday, June 29, 2018

Uncle Drew

Film Review by Kam Williams

It's Geriatric Legends vs. Youngbloods in Rucker Park Hoops Comedy

Rucker Park is home to a popular basketball tournament staged since 1950 on an outdoor court located at 155th Street in Harlem. Many promising prospects have honed their skills on the world famous proving ground en route to enviable NBA careers: Kevin Durant, Wilt Chamberlain, Karrem Abdul Jabbar, "Dr. J" (Julius Erving) and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, to name a few.

Sadly, some Rucker standouts seemingly bound for glory have failed to even make it to the pro ranks, including such self-destructive streetball legends as Pee Wee Kirkland and Earl "The Goat" Manigault. Upon retiring, Jabbar referred to The Goat (aka Greatest of All Time) as the best player he'd ever competed against. 
Uncle Drew is a hilarious hoops flick which pays tribute to Rucker Park as well as to the acrobatic athletes who have mesmerized generations of adoring fans attending the annual summer classic. Directed by Charles Stone III (Drumline), the picture stars the Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving as the title character, but don't expect to be able to recognize him under all the gobs of plastic makeup turning him into a senior citizen. 
The same can be said of Shaquille O'Neal, Reggie Miller, Chris Webber, Nate Robinson and Lisa Leslie, as they all transition into old timers, too, a la Larry Johnson's alter ego Grandmama of another era. Rounding out the principal cast are the Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon and a half-dozen of the funniest comedians around: Tiffany Haddish, J.B. Smoove, Mike Epps, Nick Kroll, Lil Rel Howery and Erica Ash. Oh, and the film features a profusion of cameos appearances by George "Iceman" Gervin, Jerry West, Dikembe Mutombo, Bill Walton, David Robinson, Steve Nash, Rick Barry, Chris Mullin and more. 
Just past the point of departure, we find Dax (Howery) fielding a team to enter in the upcoming Rucker tournament. But when the hapless manager loses not only his best players but also his wife (Haddish) to the perennial winning coach (Kroll), he prevails upon geriatric Drew for help.

Drew, in turn, embarks on a cross-country road trip, coaxing his long-lost buddies out of retirement for one last hurrah on the court at Rucker. This ain't easy, for a variety of reasons. Big Fella (Shaq) is now the sensei of a thriving karate school. Lights (Miller) is legally blind. Boots (Robinson) is wheelchair-bound. And Preacher (Webber) has a bat-wielding, disapproving wife (Leslie), plus a church congregation he'll have to abandon to make the trek. 
Of course, upon arriving at Rucker, the reunited geezers are practically laughed off the court, at least until they show they still got game. But can the cagey old codgers prevail in the championship match against the traitorous youngbloods coached by Dax's trash-talking nemesis? What do you think?

A delightful family comedy guaranteed to keep you in stitches all the way to the satisfying, if not exactly surprising, finale.


Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, suggestive material and brief nudity
Running time: 103 minutes
Production Studios: Creators League Studio / Temple Hill Entertainment /Summit Entertainment / Pepsi Productions
Distributor: Lionsgate Films

To see a trailer for Uncle Drew, visit:

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Kam's Kapsules for movies opening July 6, 2018

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun 
by Kam Williams



Ant-Man and the Wasp (PG-13 for action and violence) 20th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise finds superhero Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) joining forces with the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) to embark on an urgent mission to unearth some big secrets from their past. With Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Pena, Laurence Fishburne, T.I. "Tip" Harris and Bobby Cannavale.

The First Purge (R for pervasive profanity, disturbing violence, sexuality and drug use) Prequel to the dystopian horror trilogy finds America's test of a pilot program allowing a night of lawlessness in one community going awry when violence spreads like wildfire across the entire nation. Ensemble cast includes Marisa Tomei, Melonie Diaz, Lexi Scott Davis, Luna Lauren Velez and Y'lan Noel.

Sorry to Bother You (R for sexuality, graphic nudity, pervasive profanity and drug use) Sci-fi comedy, set in Oakland, about a telemarketer (Lakeith Stanfield) who enjoys material success after discovering the key to powercalling, much to the chagrin of his performance artist/political artist girlfriend (Tessa Thompson). With Armie Hammer, Forest Whitaker, Patton Oswalt, Danny Glover, Terry Crews, Steven Yeun and Omari Hardwick.


Bleeding Steel (R for violence and some profanity) Jackie Chan stars in this sci-fi thriller as a police inspector on the trail of the mad scientist (Callan Mulvey) behind the mysterious disappearance of his daughter (Na-Na OuYang) over a decade ago. (In English and Mandarin with subtitles)

The Citizen (Unrated) Immigration saga, set in Budapest, about an African refugee (Cake-Baly Marcelo) who develops feelings for the married teacher (Agnes Mahr) helping him prepare to take his citizenship exam. With Tunde Szalontay, Tibor Gaspar and Peter Barbinek. (In Hungarian with subtitles)

The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter (Unrated) Male bonding opportunity comedy about a famous outdoorsman's (Josh Brolin) attempt to reconnect with his estranged, 11 year-old son (Montana Jordan) while on an epic weekend adventure during which they're accompanied by his trusted cameraman (Danny McBride). With Carrie Coon, Scoot McNairy and Rory Scovel.

Moss (Unrated) Mitchell Slaggert plays the title character in this coming-of-age tale, set on a secluded island in North Carolina, revolving around a grieving teen who overcomes the loss of his mother (Hannah Johnston) with the help of a mysterious hiker (Christine Marzano) he meets along the banks of the river behind his house. Support cast includes Dorian Cobb, Billy Ray Suggs and Erby Dalmus Burton.

No Postage Necessary (PG-13 for suggestive material) Tale of redemption about a recently-paroled computer hacker (George Blagden) who finally decides to go straight after falling in love with the widow (Charleene Closshey) of a Marine killed in Afghanistan. With Robbie Kay, Michael Beach and Michelle Moreno.

Under the Tree (Unrated) Hatfields vs. McCoys dramedy about an escalating feud between neighboring families over which one owns a beautiful tree located along the property line. Co-starring Edda Bjorgvinsdottir, Selma Bjornsdottir and Dora Johannsdottir. (In Icelandic with subtitles)

Whitney (R for profanity and drug content) Revealing biopic painting a warts-and-all portrait of Whitney Houston (1963-2012) probing deeper than the sensational tabloid stories. Featuring rare, archival footage of her husband Bobby Brown, their late daughter, Bobbi Christina, and her mother, Cissy Houston.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Top Ten DVD List for June 26, 2018

by Kam Williams

This Week's DVD Releases

Mission: Impossible [4K Ultra HD]

Mission: Impossible 2 [4K Ultra HD]
Sleepless in Seattle: 25th Anniversary

Jack Reacher: 4K Ultra HD

Black Lightning: Season 1

Girlfriends: Series 1

A Taste of Phobia

Tyler Perry's Acrimony

Mission: Impossible 3 [4K Ultra HD]

Honorable Mention

German Angst:

The Heart Guy: Series 2


Mission: Impossible 4 [4K Ultra HD]

Mission: Impossible 5 [4K Ultra HD]
Frat Pack

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Film Review by Kam Williams

Feds Fight Bad Hombres in Gory Border War Sequel 
I can't think of a movie that has ever been more timely. Just as the debate about the detention of undocumented aliens has reached a fevered pitch, here we have a film revolving around the dark side of the border wars.

It doesn't focus as much on the vast majority of non-violent refugees entering the country in search of the American Dream as on the "bad hombres" Donald Trump has repeatedly alluded to since the day he threw his hat into the ring as a presidential candidate. Although the film is technically a sequel, one need not have seen the original to enjoy this heart-pounding adventure. 
Directed by Italy's Stefano Sollima (Suburra) and written by Oscar-nominee Taylor Sheridan (for Hell or High Water), Sicario: Day of the Soldado co-stars Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro reprising their lead roles as CIA Agent Graver and undercover operative Alejandro Gillick, respectively. 
As the film unfolds, we find the two being dispatched to Mexico by the Secretary of Defense (Matthew Modine) to smoke out the human traffickers smuggling radical Islamists into the U.S. There's an urgency to their mission, given that some suicide bombers embedded with Latinos seeking asylum recently snuck across the Rio Grande before blowing themselves up in a big box store in Kansas City.

Trouble is, there are too Mexican gangs and too little time to sort out which one has started exporting terrorist cells. So, instead of searching for the guilty parties, our heroes secretly kidnap the daughter of a crime boss hoping that her mysterious disappearance will trigger a bloody turf war among the cartels competing for control of the region. 
There is a method to the madness behind abducting Isabela Reyes (Isabela Moner). After all, her father is the ruthless kingpin who ordered the massacre of Gillick's family in Sicario 1.
The ruse works for awhile, but the plot thickens when the Mexican government catches wind of the spies' scheme. The U.S. disavows any connection to them, a la Mission: Impossible, and suddenly it's each man for himself in a harrowing struggle to escape back to the States by any means necessary. 
A riveting, rough-edged, political thriller not to be missed!

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for profanity, graphic violence and bloody images
In English and Spanish with subtitles
Running time:122 minutes
Production Studios: Black Label Media / Rai Cinema / Thunder Road Pictures
Distributor: Columbia Pictures

To see a trailer for Sicario: Day of the Soldado, visit:

Friday, June 22, 2018

Kam's Kapsules for movies opening June 29, 2018

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun  
by Kam Williams



Sicario: Day of the Soldado ( R for profanity, graphic violence and bloody images) High-body count, border war sequel finds CIA Agent Graver (Josh Brolin) and undercover operative Alejandro Gillick (Benicio del Toro) re-teaming to take on drug cartels smuggling terrorists and undocumented aliens into the U.S. With Isabela Moner, Catherine Keener and Jeffrey Donovan. (In English and Spanish with subtitles)

Uncle Drew (PG-13 for profanity, suggestive material and brief nudity) NBA star Kyrie Irving handles the title role in this hoops comedy about an elderly street legend who coaxes a bunch of his elderly buddies out of retirement to form a basketball team to compete in Harlem's Rucker Park Tournament. Cast includes Shaq, Tiffany Haddish, LilRel Howery, Reggie Miller, Chris Webber, Nate Robinson, Lisa Leslie, Mike Epss and J.B. Smoove.


The Cakemaker (Unrated) Romance drama about a gay baker (Tim Kalkhof) who travels from Germany to Jerusalem after his married Israeli lover (Roy Miller) perishes in a car crash. There, he takes a job at his late boyfriend's wife's (Sarah Adler) cafe without letting her know about their secret relationship. With Zohar Shtrauss, Sandra Sade and Stephanie Stremler. (In Hebrew, German and English with subtitles)

Dark River (Unrated) Sibling rivalry drama, set in Yorkshire, England, about a young sheep shearer (Ruth Wilson) who finds herself at odds with her estranged big brother (Mark Stanley) upon returning to their childhood home for their abusive father's (Sean Bean) funeral. Support cast includes Esme Creed-Miles, Aiden McCullough and Steve Garti.

Leave No Trace (PG for mature themes) Dysfunctional family drama about a father (Ben Foster) and teen daughter (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) who live off the grid in a forest outside Porland, Oregon until they're discovered by the authorities and placed under the care of social services. With Jeff Kober, Dale Dickey and Dana Millican.

Love, Cecil (Unrated) Reverential biopic about three-time Oscar-winning costume and set designer Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) who worked on such classic films as Gigi, My Fair Lady and Anna Karenina. Featuring commentary by Rupert Everett, David Hockney and Isaac Mizrahi.

Sanju (Unrated) Warts and all biopic chronicling the rise and fall from grace of Sanjay Dutt (Ranbir Kapoor), the star of hundreds of Bollywood films who served time in prison after becoming implicated in Mumbai terrorist attacks. With Sonam Kapoor, Paresh Rawal and Dia Mirza. (In Hindi with subtitles)

This Is Congo (unrated) Political documentary offering an unvarnished look at the lives of three survivors of the most recent cycle of civil unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Three Identical Strangers (PG-13 for mature themes) Skeleton-in-the closet documentary about the deep secret revealing reunion at the age of 19 of triplets separated at birth and adopted by different families.

Woman Walks Ahead (R for profanity and brief violence) Jessica Chastain plays Catherine Weldon in this biopic, set in the 1890s, recounting how the artist became embroiled in the Lakota tribe's struggle to retain their lands when she traveled from Brooklyn to the Dakotas to paint a portrait of Chief Sitting Bull (Michael Greyeyes). Supporting cast includes Sam Rockwell, Ciaran Hinds and David Midthunder. (In English and Sioux with subtitles)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Incredibles 2

Film Review by Kam Williams

Parr Family Back to Battle Diabolical Villain Hypnotizing Humanity

It's hard to fathom why it has taken Disney and Pixar 14 years to release a follow-up to The Incredibles. After all, it not only won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, but it grossed over $600 million at the box office. During the interim, creator Brad Bird instead made Ratatouille (2007), Mission: Impossible (2011) and Tomorrowland (2015) before turning his attention to writing and directing Incredibles 2. 
The great news is that this thoroughly entertaining sequel is well worth the wait. And most of the actors playing members of the crime-fighting Parr family are back. Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter reprise their roles as parents Bob (Mr. Incredible) and Helen (Elastigirl), as do Eli Fucile and Sarah Vowell as baby Jack Jack and 14 year-old Violet. 10 year-old Dash is now portrayed by Huck Milner, since the original kid's voice deepened.

Samuel L. Jackson has also returned as family friend and fellow superhero Lucius Best/Frozone. Noteworthy additions to the ensemble include Catherine Keener, Isabella Rossellini and Bob Odenkirk.

The picture picks up precisely where the first left off. Jack Jack is still a toddler, but learning to harness the superpowers that had just started to manifest towards the end of the previous episode. At the point of departure, we find the Parrs being forced into retirement by a government agent (Jonathan Banks) because of the costly collateral damage of their last operation. 
Of course, that doesn't last long. Helen is soon coaxed back into her stretchy superhero suit by a rich fan (Odenkirk) for a photo op designed to resurrect her disgraced clan's image. The impromptu sex role reversal has Bob staying home to assume the child-rearing and domestic duties.

Next thing you know, Helen is further recruited to subdue Screenslaver (Bill Wise), a pizza delivery guy-turned-hacker who has started hijacking people's computer screens. Might someone else be behind a wider diabolical plot to hypnotize all of humanity? If so, that might call for the rest of the Parrs to morph into their superhero alter egos and join the fight.

What ensues is another visually-captivating, dizzying delight for young and old alike. Pixar and Disney have done it again!

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG for action and brief mild epithets
Running time: 118 minutes
Production Studios: Pixar Animation Studios / Walt Disney Pictures
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

To see a trailer for Incredibles 2, visit:

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Top Ten DVD List for April 10, 2018

by Kam Williams

This Week's DVD Releases

In Syria

The Death of Stalin

Midnight Sun


Paul, Apostle of Christ

The Best of Agatha Christie, Volume 3

The Best of Agatha Christie, Volume 4

Merlin: 3 Film Collection

5 Family Favorites

Action: 9 Movie Collection

Honorable Mention

Pacific Rim: Uprising


Masterpiece: Man in an Orange Shirt

Secrets of the Dead: Hannibal in the Alps

Gridiron Gang: Special Edition

Kid West

The Awesomes: The Complete Series

5 Family Favorites

Crime Time TV: Miami Vice & Knight Rider Bundle

Kam's Kapsules for movies opening June 22, 2018

 Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun  
by Kam Williams



Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (PG-13 for scenes of peril and intense violence) Fifth installment in the horror franchise finds Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) leading a rescue team back to the abandoned dino theme park to save the prehistoric creatures from extinction when a dormant volcano on the island threatens to erupt. Cast includes Jeff Goldblum, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, BD Wong, James Cromwell and Daniella Pineda.


Boundaries (R for profanity, sexual references, drug use and nude sketches) Intergenerational dramedy about a single-mom (Vera Farmiga) who has to drive cross-country to relocate her estranged father (Christopher Plummer) with the help of her son (Lewis MacDougall) after the rebellious geezer is kicked out of his retirement home for dealing marijuana. Support cast includes Christopher Lloyd, Peter Fonda and Bobby Cannavale.

Brain on Fire (PG-13 for mature themes, brief profanity and partial nudity) Adaptation of New York Times reporter Susannah Cahalan's (Chloe Grace Moretz) best-selling memoir of the same name about her month-long battle with an undiagnosed case of encephalitis. With Tyler Perry, Carrie-Anne Moss and Janet Kidder (Margot's niece).

The Catcher Was a Spy (R for sexuality, violence and profanity) Paul Rudd plays Major League baseball player Moe Berg (1902-1972) in this biopic about his double life during World War II. Cast includes Paul Giamatti, Jeff Daniels, Connie Nielsen and Sienna Miller.

Damsel (R for violence, profanity, sexuality and brief frontal nudity) Mia Wasikowska plays the title character in this comic Western, circa 1870, revolving around a wealthy pioneer's (Robert Pattinson) perilous trek across the frontier to marry the love of his life. With Robert Forster, and David and Nathan Zellner.

Izzy Gets the F*ck across Town (Unrated) Mackenzie Davis handles the title role in this romantic dramedy as a jilted girlfriend who makes her way across L.A. in order to crash her ex's (Alex Russell) engagement party. Cast includes Haley Joel Osment, Annie Potts, Lakeith Stanfield, Brandon T. Jackson, Jr. and Alia Shawkat.
The King (R for profanity) Politically-tinged musical retrospective chronicling Elvis Presley's rise from humble roots to the King of Rock & Roll at the same time America devolved from a democracy into an empire. Featuring commentary by James Carville, Alec Baldwin and Chuck D.

Never Steady, Never Still (Unrated) Poignant character study, set along the shores of British Columbia's Stuart Lake, where we find a widow with Parkinson's disease (Shirley Henderson) caring for a troubled teenage son (Theodorin Pellerin) struggling with his sexual identity. With Mary Galloway, Nicholas Campbell and Hugo Ateo.

Phenom (Unrated) Soccer documentary, narrated by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, chronicling the efforts of over five dozen players' quest to represent their country in the 2018 World Cup competition.

Spiral (Unrated) An eye-opening documentary chronicling the recent rise of anti-Semitism and assaults against Jews in France.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Film Review by Kam Williams

BFFs Play Cutthroat Version of Kids Game in Fact-Based Cat-and-Mouse Comedy

As kids, five BFFs from Spokane, Washington began playing Tag with no idea that, over the intervening years, an innocuous children's game might gradually morph into a cutthroat version where each would go to extraordinary lengths to pass on or avoid becoming "It." Several decades later, despite bearing all the responsibilities associated with adulthood, the guys remain ever vigilant for another tap on the shoulder. 
The competitive quintet came to the attention of Wall St. Journal reporter Mark Steilen who wrote an article about their imaginative antics entitled, "It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It." Soon thereafter, Hollywood came-a-callin' seeking to retain the rights to their story.

The upshot is Tag, the least like likely of sports flicks since Dodge Ball (2004). The movie marks the feature film directorial debut of Jeff Tomsic, who had previously only been at the helm of assorted TV show productions. Tomsic assembled a big-name cast, with Jon Hamm, Ed Helms Jeremy Renner, Hannibal Buress and Jake Johnson portraying the protagonists of the bawdy buddy comedy. 
At the point of departure, we find Hoagie (Helms), a veterinarian by profession, taking a job as a janitor at an insurance company just to be able to shock a rival, Callahan (Hamm), the firm's CEO. That gives you an idea of the elaborate ruses involved.
While this novel adventure gets an A for creativity, its characters frequent resort to unnecessary cursing proves to be a self-sabotaging distraction. After all, Tag is still a little kids' game, even if it's big kids playing it. So, in this critic's opinion, the film would've worked better with a squeaky clean script. 
Nevertheless, the series of screwball stunts held my interest for the duration, despite the profusion of profanities. Best of all, were the priceless clips which ran during the closing credits of the real-life pals pulling off their pranks. 
A nostalgic walk down Memory Lane courtesy of the ultimate game of Tag. You're it!

Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated R for pervasive profanity, crude humor, sexuality, drug use and brief nudity
Running time: 100 minutes
Production Studios: Broken Road Productions / New Line Cinema
Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures

To see the trailer for Tag, visit:

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


Film Review by Kam Williams

Trevor Jackson Plays Iconic Title Character in Stylized Remake of Blaxploitation Era Classic 
Super Fly (1972) was one of the most profitable of the Blaxploitation Era flicks. Released during the genre's heyday, the picture revolved around its iconic title character, Youngblood Priest, a flamboyant cocaine dealer who dressed like a pimp, drove flashy cars and sampled his wares from a spoon shaped like a cross draped around his neck. 
Overcoming a modest budget of just a half-million dollars, the film's phenomenal box-office success led to a couple of sequels, (Super Fly T.N.T. (1973) and The Return of Superfly (1990). Nevertheless, the franchise is probably best remembered for the original's soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield which enjoyed a long run at #1 atop Billboard's Top 100 chart. 
Given its woeful production values, Super Fly is a movie almost begging to be remade. And 2.0 represents an upgrade which does not disappoint in that regard. As overhauled by Julien Christian Lutz (aka Director X), the highly-stylized production bears a greater resemblance to McG's frenetically-paced Charlie's Angels (2000) and Baz Luhrmann's decidedly-decadent interpretation of The Great Gatsby (2013) than to any blaxploits made back in the Seventies.

The setting has been shifted to Atlanta, but the basic plotline is otherwise faithful to the source material. The blow-by-blow is narrated by the picture's protagonist, played with perfect aplomb by Trevor Jackson (of TV's Grown-ish). 
At the point of departure, a beleaguered Priest informs us via voice-over that he's been selling drugs on the street since the age of 11. He now sits atop a gang caught up in an escalating bloody turf war marked by drive-by shootings with a flashy posse called the Snow Patrol.

Understandably, Priest wants out of the game, but first he has to do a bigger deal than he's ever attempted before. That involves going over the head of his supplier Scatter (Michael Kenneth Williams) and securing a huge shipment of narcotics directly from the South American cartel kingpin, Adalberto Gonzales (Esai Morales). 
Somehow Lutz, a veteran director of music videos, manages to manipulate the audience into rooting for the sort of unsavory characters you'd cross the street to avoid in real life. Listen, the cinema has a long history of championing ruthless lawbreakers like Bonnie and Clyde, the Godfather and more recently, the Ocean's 8 crew.

The upshot: this incarnation of Superfly proves to be a riveting, slick and pulse-pounding reboot that easily blows away the original!

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for pervasive profanity, graphic sexuality, violence, ethnic slurs, nudity and drug use
Running time:108 minutes
Production Studios: Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures Entertainment / Silver Pictures
Distributor: Columbia Pictures

To see a trailer for Superfly, visit: