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Salma Hayek

Film Review: Un-Buddy-Like Violence in ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’

CHICAGO – One day I would like to meet a professional assassin. Are they as quippy and biblical as Samuel L. Jackson? This tired movie occupation is trotted out again, this time pairing Jackson with Ryan Reynolds, in an overwrought and ultra-violent buddy comedy, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard.”

Film Review: ‘Sausage Party’ is a Hard R-Rated Raunchy Good Time

CHICAGO – First things first. Don’t let the fact this is animated fool you, “Sausage Party” is most definitely, absolutely NOT FOR CHILDREN. This is a hard R-rated Seth Rogen raunch fest that may induce nightmares into more sensitive viewers and contains images of animated debauchery that can not be unseen. But it is inventively profane, with more on its mind than just animated f-bombs.

Film Review: Muppets Still Know How to Entertain in ‘Muppets Most Wanted’

CHICAGO – There is a comfort, like a favorite drink in a childhood mug, about Jim Henson’s legendary Muppets and their standard of entertainment and humor. It’s brilliant that Walt Disney Studios continues to understand what makes them work, producing their latest, “Muppets Most Wanted.”

Film Review: ‘Grown Ups 2’ is the Worst Comedy Since 2010’s Loathed ‘Grown Ups’

CHICAGO – There’s a time and a place where overacting is acceptable – musicals, children’s plays, Broadway – but there’s nothing worse than using it all the time in every wrong place.

DVD Review: Oddly Flat ‘Here Comes the Boom’ with Kevin James

Here Comes the Boom

CHICAGO – There are good movies, there are bad movies, and then there are the movies that are just strangely non-existent. The Kevin James comedy “Here Comes the Boom,” recently released on DVD and Blu-ray, falls into that gap in-between. The movie has a good heart but it’s so predictable that its complete lack of real humor leaves it just bland. There’s nothing horribly wrong with “Boom” but there’s nothing to praise either. It is mediocre in every way and will appeal to only hardcore fans of James or MMA.

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: Kevin James Displays Heart in ‘Here Comes the Boom’

CHICAGO – Seeing the words “Happy Madison Production” on any film means a broad, unfunny and formulaic comedy is about to emerge – usually with company founder Adam Sandler. Although “Here Comes the Boom” has some of those dulling elements, it’s Kevin James who is sincere and motivated as a cage match fighter.

Blu-ray Review: Great Release For ‘The Pirates! A Band of Misfits’

The Pirates

CHICAGO – Aardman’s Animation “The Pirates! A Band of Misfits” is a wonderfully clever slice of family entertainment that’s probably second to only “ParaNorman” when it comes to the best animated cinema of 2012. Sony has treated the film and its fans very well with an extras-packed special edition of the Peter Lord film that comes with a spectacular short film, 3D version, UltraViolet edition, and more. It’s one of the best family Blu-rays on New Releases shelves right now.

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.

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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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