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Manu Bennett

TV Review: B-Movie Take on Legendary Hero Thrills in Starz’s Bloody Hit ‘Spartacus: Vengeance’

CHICAGO – “Let us split darkness with the cries of Romans.” Boobs, blood, and betrayal — “Spartacus” must be back. Following up on the action of the beloved “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” and coming on the heels of the most critical acclaim in the history of the network (“Boss”), Starz hopes to keep momentum going with the well-made if ridiculous “Spartacus: Vengeance.”

TV Review: ‘Spartacus: Gods of the Arena’ Delivers Bloody Goods

CHICAGO – It’s mere minutes into “Spartacus: Gods the Arena” before men are being decapitated and women are flashing their breasts. With all the self-serious junk on right now, it’s nice to have Starz’s biggest hit back.

Blu-Ray Review: Guilty Pleasures of ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand’

Spartacus: Blood and Sand

CHICAGO – “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” is a ridiculous program, a mix of pretentious dialogue that thinks its more important than it is, elaborate battle sequences shot in slo-mo to hide the show’s budget, and historical inaccuracies on an epic scale. And yet it’s also remarkably enjoyable. It’s a guilty pleasure program that has developed a rabid following on Starz and should put the network on the map when it comes to original series with the help of an excellent Blu-ray release for the first season.

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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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