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Blake Lively

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.

Red-Carpet Exclusive Portraits: Woody Allen for ‘Café Society’

CHICAGO – He is one of the most prolific American directors of the modern cinema era, and has also forged a career as stand-up comedian, actor, playwright and screenplay artist. He is Woody Allen, and he walked the Red Carpet at the Chicago History Museum on July 21st, 2016, for his new film ‘Café Society.’

Film Review: Old Hollywood Glamour in Woody Allen’s ‘Café Society’

CHICAGO – In the 1930s, the contrast between the world of Hollywood movie sparkle and the rest of a Depression-era America was as different as peasants and kings. Writer/director Woody Allen captures this dichotomy with an East Coast/West Coast tale of one family in “Café Society.”

Film Review: Intoxicating ‘The Age of Adaline’ a Featherweight Fantasy

CHICAGO – “The Age of Adaline” is a beautifully shot featherweight fantasy that remains charming as long as you don’t think about it too hard, or at all.  At one point one character asks another why he loves Adaline, and he replies “because she makes no sense.” The same could be said for this movie.

Blu-ray Review: Oliver Stone’s Diverting ‘Savages’ Settles for Trashy Thrills

Savages Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Perhaps acknowledging that his status amongst Hollywood muckrakers has diminished in recent years, Oliver Stone follows up his toothless Bush biopic and needless “Wall Street” sequel with a wholly inconsequential yet thoroughly diverting little thriller. It’s pure trash that also happens to be Stone’s most compulsively watchable effort since 1995’s “Nixon.”

Film Review: Oliver Stone’s ‘Savages’ Harpoons Drug War Absurdities

CHICAGO – Director Oliver Stone sees a controversy, and comments on a controversy, in his own distinctive cinematic style. The new film “Savages” is no exception, taking on the U.S./Mexican marijuana wars, with performances by Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Salma Hayek and John Travolta.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 40 Pairs of Passes to ‘Savages’ From Oliver Stone with Taylor Kitsch

CHICAGOOliver Stone is back! In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 40 admit-two movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated new Oliver Stone film “Savages”!

Film Review: Story Lets Down Chloe Grace Moretz in Stupid ‘Hick’

Hick

CHICAGO – It’s understandable that people from the Southern or rural United States would criticize the general media. With films like “Hick,” which generally portray them as idiots or sociopathic, there is no balance or honest characterizations. Chloe Moretz, Blake Lively, Eddie Redmayne and Alec Baldwin add their take on it all.

Blu-ray Review: Ben Affleck’s ‘The Town: Ultimate Collector’s Edition’

The Town Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – It’s only been a couple of years but Ben Affleck’s “The Town” already feels like more of a modern classic than it did upon its release. There are some elements of the film that still falter for this critic (most of them related to the Affleck-Hall relationship and lack of chemistry within it) although they’ve become nearly overwhelmed by what DOES work about this engaging, tight thriller. He’s only made two films (“Gone Baby Gone” before this and this fall’s “Argo” will be his third) but I honestly feel like Ben Affleck will be a better director than an actor (and I’ve always thought him an underrated actor).

Blu-Ray Review: Ryan Reynolds Can’t Save Goofy ‘Green Lantern’

Green Lantern

CHICAGO – After the abysmal theatrical reviews, I thought it would be easier to completely dismiss “Green Lantern,” the least-acclaimed and least-profitable of the Summer 2011 Superhero Quartet (which also included “X-Men: First Class,” “Thor,” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” — and I would rank them in that order in terms of quality with “GL” bringing up the rear). The fact is that this is not an “Elektra” or “Ghost Rider”-level mess. There are things about Martin Campbell’s film that work, especially in the first half, but a goofy story and aesthetic ultimately sink the film to cartoonish levels.

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  • 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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