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Monday, March 18,2013

Are you ready for 'The Avengers'?

What you should know before you go

by James Sanford
Wednesday, May 2 — Do you want to see “The Avengers”? No, not that ill-fated Ralph Fiennes/Uma Thurman/Sean Connery sci-fi-spy mess from many summers ago — we’re talking about the Marvel Comics superhero mash-up that’s right up there with “The Dark Knight Rises” and director Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” as one of the year’s most-anticipated movies.
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Monday, March 18,2013

How many superheroes does it take to make a blockbuster?

It's been a long time coming, but 'The Avengers' is a terrific ride

by James Sanford
Midway through “The Avengers,” there’s an argument between feuding brothers Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who have met up on the cliffs above a forest. Power-mad Loki, who is tired of living in Thor’s towering shadow, wants to conquer Earth, while the congenial Thor wants to save the planet. “So you take the world I love as recompense for your imagined slights?” Thor bellows. That’s when Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) intrudes, eager to put Loki out of commission. “You have no idea what you’re dealing with!” Thor warns. Stark looks at the duo, both dressed in their traditional Nordic costumes, and fights off the urge to roll his eyes. “Shakespeare in the Park?” he cracks.
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Monday, March 18,2013

In full bloom

Writer-director Whit Stillman makes a delightful comeback with the witty 'Damsels in Distress'

by James Sanford
If you think you’ve waited a long time for “The Avengers” to hit the screen, imagine how fans of writer-director Whit Stillman must feel about “Damsels in Distress”: Stillman, who became an art-house darling with “Metropolitan,” “Barcelona” and “The Last Days of Disco” in the 1990s, has taken almost 14 years off from filmmaking. Even so, the long hiatus has not tarnished his talent for concocting deliciously witty, eccentric comedies, and “Damsels” shows Stillman returning to the game in high style.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Sucking in the Seventies

Tim Burton's fitfully funny 'Dark Shadows' spoofs and salutes the old horror soap opera

by James Sanford
Long before soap operas discovered the allure of extraterrestrials, evil clones and time travel, there was “Dark Shadows,” a supernatural series that haunted weekday afternoons from 1966 to 1971. While it may have been cheaply put together (if you listen carefully in some episodes, you can hear offstage coughs, sneezes and other noises, which would seem to signal that retakes were rare and that ABC valued speed over slickness when it came to the production), creator Dan Curtis’ saga of the vampire Barnabas Collins and the cursed estate of Collinwood captured the imaginations of housewives and just-home-from-school kids as well.
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Monday, March 18,2013

'Shadows' of the '70s

Two 'Dark Shadows'-inspired movies brought Barnabas Collins and Angelique to the screen more than 40 years ago

by James Sanford
Friday, May 11 — Tim Burton isn’t the first director to bring “Dark Shadows” to the big screen. That honor goes to Dan Curtis, who created the TV series and went on to oversee the 1970 feature “House of Dark Shadows” and its 1971 sequel, “Night of Dark Shadows,” both of which opened in theaters while the popular soap opera was still running every weekday on ABC.
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Monday, March 18,2013

MSU alum campaigns via Facebook to save 'Detroit 1-8-7'

ABC crime drama, shot in the Motor City, may not see a second season

by KURT ANTHONY KRUG
The first season of ABC’s “Detroit 1-8-7” may be over, but the battle fans are waging to bring back the police drama that is set and filmed in Detroit for a second season rages on.
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Monday, March 18,2013

They're out for blood — literally

Annual Battle of the Badges between firefighters and police officers benefits the Red Cross

by Chris Galford
Tuesday, June 28 — On Saturday, local firefighters and policemen took to the basketball court as the first step in a drive for blood donations. The final score — which saw firemen in the lead — launched a running competition between these organizations. Now, however, it’s anyone’s game, as it’s up to donors to decide who they want to win.
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Monday, March 18,2013

A literary coup for MSU

The Irwin T. and Shirley Holtzman Collection of Israeli Literature is scheduled to arrive this week

by Chris Galford
A major donation to Michigan State University will soon introduce students to a plethora of foreign writers, as well as spurring cultural connections between the U.S. and Israel.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Looking back on Michigan's role in the Civil War

A Michigan State University exhibit recalls the events of the 1860s

by Chris Galford
The Michigan State University Museum is honoring the memory of Michigan’s soldiers with an exhibit on Michigan’s role in the Civil War.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Curtain Call

'Willy Wonka,' 'Dreamgirls.' 'Once Upon America' open this week

by Christopher Horb
The East Lansing High School Center for the Performing Arts is offering everyone a chance to meet the Candy Man himself when the curtain rises on “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” Friday.
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