July 2019

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The Lion King

The Lion King hits theaters July 19

The Lion King

  • Photo Courtesy of Disney

When Walt Disney Pictures released The Lion King in 1994, its opening weekend box office topped $40,000,000 globally. The film won an Oscar for Best Musical Score and a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture and Original Score. In 1997, a stage adaptation opened on Broadway. It was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, winning six (Best Musical, Choreography, and Direction of a Musical along with Best Scenic, Costume, and Lighting Designs of a Musical). It has played 9,010 performances to date and is still running.

Now, 25 years later, Walt Disney Pictures and director Jon Favreau bring us a re-imagined Photo Realistic Computer Animated version of The Lion King with composer Hans Zimmer returning to update the score. The Lion King is the story of King Mufasa (James Earl Jones, reprising his role), and Simba (Donald Glover, Solo A Star Wars Story), his son and Prince of the Pride Lands. Simba idolizes his father and takes his own royal destiny to heart hoping to one day follow in his father’s footsteps. Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave), Mufasa’s brother and former heir to the throne, has different plans. Ravaged by betrayal, drama, and tragedy, the Pride Lands are torn apart resulting in Simba’s self-imposed exile. The new Lion King focuses more on Simba’s time growing up than did the original film. We will see Simba’s transition from boy to man and the growing pains associated with having experienced the deep trauma of his father’s death.

 “The Lion King” hits theaters July 19th.


Once Upon A Time In Hollywood hits theaters July 26th (Starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo Di Caprio)


  • Photo Courtesy of SONY PICTURES

For his ninth film, writer-director-auteur Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight) delivers an ostentatious ode to the golden age of Tinseltown with his latest alternative history feature Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.

True to form, this film stars Hollywood’s very own golden boys Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) as washed up tv actor Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt (Allied) as his trusty stunt double Cliff Booth. With their careers about to crash, Dalton and Booth make a last attempt to leap from the small screen to the silver screen. His performance on a new series catches the eyes of a producer, who thrusts Dalton into the feature world of spaghetti Westerns. They wind up at the Spahn Movie Ranch, Hollywood’s go-to location shoot, which also doubles as the safe house for the notorious Manson family. Between Dalton’s movie star gravitas and Booth’s stunt double skills, they quickly find themselves in the middle of the wildest Western shootout and takedown of the greatest villain of their careers — Charles Manson.

With an ensemble cast stacked with the biggest names in the biz, including Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Timothy Olyphant (Santa Clarita Diet), Dakota Fanning (The Alienist), Al Pacino (Paterno), Damian Lewis (Billions), Kurt Russell (Crypto), Emile Hirsch (Peel), and Bruce Dern (Black Monday), Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood promises to be an instant classic.

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” hits theaters July 26th.


Spider-man: Far From Home hits theaters July 2nd


  • By Michael Jacobo
  • Photo Courtesy of Marvel/Sony

If you thought superhero movies were a thing of the past after Avengers: Endgame, then you’re in for a surprise. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is still very much thriving, only this time they’re ushering in a new generation of heroes. Spider-Man, who made his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War gets his own time to really shine. Played by boy wonder, Tom Holland, the film gave a new voice — yet again — to the web slinger that surely was a catch to today’s young audiences.

This month, Spider-Man swings back into theaters with Spider-Man: Far From Home, the long-awaited sequel to Homecoming and also the first MCU film to premiere after Endgame. In it, Peter Parker and friends are on a school trip in Europe when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and a new guy in town (villain, perhaps?) Mysterio (a wildly vibrant Jake Gyllenhaal) recruit Parker to save the world from Elementals, extra-dimensional humanoids who have become immortal through super powers. The mission would be a tough one for Peter, who is still grieving the loss of his mentor Tony Stark.

Also starring in the film are Zendaya as Peter’s friend/love interest MJ, Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother), Jon Favreau (Iron Man) and Marisa Tomei as Aunt May. The film was written by the first film’s co-writers, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, and directed by Jon Watts, who also directed Homecoming.

Spider-man: Far From Home” hits theaters July 2nd.

Marrianne & Leonard

Marianne & Leonard Words of Love hits theaters July 5th

Marrianne & Leonard

  • By Arlene Winnick
  • Photo Courtesy of Dogwoof

For me one of the most powerful and haunting songs ever created is “Hallelujah,” written and sung by the legendary Leonard Cohen so I was thrilled to see a new insightful documentary about his life.   Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love tells the romantic but very complicated story of Cohen’s love affair with his Norwegian muse, Marianne Ihlen. The two met in 1960 on the idyllic Greek island of Hydra as part of a bohemian group of foreign artists, writers and musicians. Cohen was a struggling unknown writer and Marianne a single mother who encouraged him and became his lover and his muse. The film follows their relationship from the tumultuous early days during his rise to fame (thanks to an impromptu performance at a Judy Collins concert) to ultimate success and then as an industry outlier, the devastation of depression and turmoil. Though their relationship lasted only a decade (his song “So Long Marianne” remains a tribute to her), their friendship would last another fifty years.

Directed by award-winning British filmmaker Nick Broomfield (“Whitney: Can I Be Me,” “Kurt & Courtney,” “Biggie & Tupac”), Marianne & Leonard is a very personal story as he too met Marianne in the 1960’s on Hydra and she introduced him to Cohen’s music and encouraged his filmmaking.

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love” hits theaters July 26th.

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