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Brett Ratner

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.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Kites’ Excites in Hollywood, Bollywood Versions

Kites Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – The more Bollywood pictures I see, the more I understand the odd appeal of a film like Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge,” which remains near the top of my Greatest Guilty Pleasures list. Why guilty? Because even I can understand why many people hate it. The picture is loud, chaotic, stupendously over the top, and staggeringly drunk on the sheer movieness of movies. That may be why I love it.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Star Trek Into Darkness

    CHICAGO – With J.J. Abrams not involved with the creation of a third “Star Trek” movie, a compendium of his work within the franchise only seems fitting. Loaded with special features but only a few new ones, this disc set is a strong choice for those who don’t already have both entertaining blockbusters in their collection.

  • References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot

    CHICAGO – In “References to Salvador Dali Makes Me Hot,” now at the Den Theatre in Chicago through September 7th, the intersect of author José Rivera and the strong cast of actors make for a formidable partnership. Committed and passionate interpreters take both the soft and edgy parts of the narrative to task.

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