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Rupert Friend

Film Review: Entertaining ‘A Simple Favor’ Can’t Maintain Its Mojo

CHICAGO – As the secrets are revealed in “A Simple Favor,” filtered through the witty and entertaining directorial style of Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”), the story moves with charm and energy for three-quarters of its running time. But as the mystery gets solved, the conclusion doesn’t live up to the promising beginning.

Film Review: Renny Harlin’s ‘5 Days of War’ Succumbs to Action Clichés

5 Days of War Film Review

CHICAGO – “5 Days of War” is a stark reminder of the atrocities that can occur when a B-movie director tries to tackle serious material. The Russo-Georgian War of 2008 was largely ignored by the U.S. government and media, so it was only a matter of time until filmmakers attempted to raise belated awareness about the devastation. Too bad director Renny Harlin is skilled solely in the art of action-packed kitsch.

Blu-Ray Review: Beautifully Designed Drama of ‘The Young Victoria’

The Young Victoria

CHICAGO – The end of April and beginning of May has produced an onslaught of 2009 Oscar winners and nominees on Blu-ray including “Avatar,” “Crazy Heart,” “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” “Nine,” and Oscar winner for Best Costume Design, “The Young Victoria”.

Emily Blunt is the Girl Who Would Be Queen in ‘The Young Victoria’

CHICAGO – One of the functions of royalty seems to be an expected adoration from the peasants. Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend and Paul Bettany offer their interpretation on a monarch’s origins with “The Young Victoria.”

DVD Review: ‘Cheri’ Knows Love Isn’t Love if It’s All About You

Cheri

CHICAGO – “Cheri” could be confused with an updated adaptation of a Jane Austen novel if its characters weren’t so comfortable with what goes on between the sheets. Like players in many stuffy costume dramas, they wear the best clothes, live in lavishly decorated homes and speak their perfect grammar in posh accents. But since they aren’t sexually repressed, they do it all with a little bounce in their step.

DVD Review: Manipulative ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ Feels False

Boy in the Striped Pajamas
HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 1.5/5.0
DVD Rating: 1.5/5.0

CHICAGO – The plot of “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” new to DVD and based on a best-selling novel by John Boyne, may have worked on the page but a number of awful decisions on the way to the screen have taken a story with inherent emotional strength and turned it into misguided, manipulative drama.

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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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