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Blu-ray Review: Dwayne Johnson’s Ferociously Generic Warrior Tale ‘Hercules’

Hercules with Dwayne Johnson

CHICAGO – Dwayne Johnson slams and jams in the bland “Hercules,” the “Space Jam” he never made when known as a brow-raised wrestler under his birth name “The Rock.” This ferociously generic take on the mythological hero focuses on Hercules with a group of mercenaries (played by Rufus Sewell among others) as they train a group of gee-shucks farmers to become warriors, while they project legends of immortality onto Johnson’s secretly mortal hero.

Film Review: ‘A’ for Effort, ‘C’ for Execution in Dwayne Johnson’s Unmemorable ‘Hercules’

CHICAGO – I empathize with Dwayne Johnson and simultaneously don’t. Most people never get rich and famous once, let alone twice. Sure, it’s hard to re-brand people from the wrestling superstar you once were into the dramatic action star you’re trying to become, but your past is forever immortal.

Blu-ray Review: Stellar Ensemble Elevates Relatively Routine ‘Tower Heist’

Tower Heist

CHICAGO – Brett Ratner’s “Tower Heist” features a LOT of actors who have proven talents but haven’t made the best career decisions of late. The number of disappointing films that star Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, and Tea Leoni could fill a film festival in Hell. And Ratner has committed his own crimes against celluloid. So, I was dreading “Tower Heist.” There’s nothing to dread here.

Film News: Billy Crystal Takes Over as Oscar Host

Billy Crystal Oscars

CHICAGO – A day after Eddie Murphy dropped out as the host of the next Academy Awards Ceremony, Billy Crystal announced on his twitter that he would take over the hosting duties. Crystal will host the Oscars for the ninth time on February 26, 2012.

Film News: Eddie Murphy Drops Out as 2012 Oscar Host

Eddie Murphy Oscar Host

CHICAGO – A day after producer/director Brett Ratner was ousted from being the 2012 Academy Award show producer, 2012 host Eddie Murphy has decided he will no longer host the upcoming Oscar ceremony. The announcement came Wednesday afternoon as Murphy – who worked with Ratner on the recent feature release “Tower Heist” – decided he didn’t want to stay on as host without his friend and creative partner working with him.

Film Review: Morgan Spurlock Hawks ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Sold’

CHICAGO – In a remarkable idea for a film, director Morgan Spurlock (”Supersize Me”) funds his new documentary, “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” by selling sponsorships for financing. However, the process is redundantly explored, and no new ground is broken.

Interview: Morgan Spurlock Sells ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Sold’

CHICAGO – Morgan Spurlock walked into the interview room with his special suit. The black business suit is festooned with product logos, representing the companies that financed his latest documentary, “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.”

TV Review: Freddy Rodriguez Stars in Quirky Spy Series ‘Chaos’

CHICAGO – The main problem with reviewing television is that we’re often sent only the premiere and asked to judge a show overall. And yet we’d all agree that programs regularly improve or slide in quality after week one.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Drunk History Seasons 1 & 2, 2014

    CHICAGO – The awesomeness of history loses any of its stuffiness with the incredibly fun, indeed educational show “Drunk History” from Comedy Central, its two seasons now released on DVD. Hosted by its creator Derek Waters, the show is a celebration of various historic figures and their under-appreciated true tales, as expressed by funny people narrating in the universal language of inebriation; their recounts are then reenacted by famous actors working with their given dialogue, dressed with the comic cheapness of a bloated biopic.

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

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