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Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges

Blu-Ray Review: Blockbuster ‘Fast Five’ is Addictive Escapist Ride

CHICAGO – “Fast Five,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, is one of the most interesting pop culture phenomena of 2011. All of us who complain that sequels are never good and that films usually get worse as a franchise gets older had to admit that this was the exception to the rule. Not only the most critically-acclaimed film in the “Fast and the Furious” franchise, it also became the highest-grossing in the series, making an AMAZING $620 million worldwide and currently ranking fifth on the year in domestic gross.

Blu-Ray Review: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher in Decent ‘No Strings Attached’

No Strings Attached

CHICAGO – I have become nearly exhausted by writing reviews about the modern decline of the romantic comedy, the genre most in need of a complete overhaul. Most of them nowadays are horrendous. So, no one is more surprised than this critic to say that “No Strings Attached” with Ashton Kutcher & Natalie Portman, now available on Blu-ray and DVD, isn’t bad. It’s no genre classic, but it’s an enjoyable comedy on a Saturday night.

Film Review: ‘Fast Five’ Furiously Finds Fun Factor in Franchise Finest

CHICAGO – Maybe director Justin Lin learned how to have fun directing the now-classic paintball episode of “Community.” Wherever he figured out that his movies need not be so damn self-serious or wordy, he took that knowledge to the set of “Fast Five,” a movie that this critic who hated “Fast & Furious” absolutely dreaded when it was first announced. Now I can’t wait for the inevitable sixth movie in the most unexpected mega-franchise of the new millennium.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Stephanie Buxbaum

    CHICAGO – In the history of “Reality TV” there has been periods of up-and-down popularity, shows that have been around seemingly forever (“Big Brother,” “Amazing Race”) and spinoffs to new styles like “documentary series” as networks like the National Geographic Channel emerged. In all those permutations, producer Stephanie Buxbaum has experienced it all, and has the career and stories to prove it.

  • Deadbeat2

    CHICAGO – Not many web series start out as music videos, but the new online (YouTube) drama “Deadbeat 2” was just that. Created, written and directed by Danny Froze, the made-in-Chicago story recently premiered episodes five and six in the series, which features actor Kiwaun Stoutmire in the lead role of Ronnie.

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