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Monday, March 18,2013

Strange fruit

Terrence Malick's visually stunning 'Tree of Life' is audacious, aggravating, powerful and pretentious

by James Sanford
Alternately powerful and pretentious, “The Tree of Life” is everything you love about Terrence Malick and everything that drives you crazy about Terrence Malick in one distinctively Malickian package. If that name doesn’t mean anything to you, you probably don’t want to read much further because if you’ve never been exposed to the work of this fascinating/frustrating/innovative/infuriating director, “Tree” is not the place to begin.
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Monday, March 18,2013

A date with destiny in the Forbidden Forest

'Deathly Hallows, Part Two' brings the Harry Potter series to a sensational finale

by James Sanford
“Join me in the Forbidden Forest, and confront your fate!” Talk about an offer you can’t refuse. The challenge, of course, comes from the supremely sinister sorcerer Lord Voldemort, who makes one final bid to do away with his archenemy, Harry Potter, in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two,” the suitably sensational finale to a series that has kept much of the world happily spellbound for the past 10 years.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Red, white and black and blue

Stylish and fun, 'Captain America' is a loving tribute to a 1940s superhero

by James Sanford
“I finally got everything I wanted,” announces former ectomorph-turned-extreme-hunk Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). “And I’m wearing tights.” That’s the downside to being “Captain America: The First Avenger,” but it seems like a small price to pay for having the ability to batter those nefarious Nazis into a red, white, black and blue pulp.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Strange 'Change'

How is 'The Change-Up' different from one of those 1980s 'body-switcher' movies? Well, for starters, it's incredibly raunchy

by James Sanford
In the 2010 drama “Every Day,” there’s a scene in which Ned, a TV show writer played by Liev Schreiber, has to pitch story ideas to his crass, ratings-hungry boss, Garrett (Eddie Izzard), who is dead-set on making his show as scandalous and shocking as possible. Ned eagerly throws out one disgusting concept after another, until even the amoral, anything-for-a-laugh Garrett is stunned into silence.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Emma Stone clean up in 'The Help'

Thought-provoking adaptation of the best seller serves as a showcase for some strong performances

by James Sanford
At first, “The Help,” adapted from Kathryn Stockett's runaway best seller, seems like another trip to the Cinema of Self-Congratulation, in which we’re invited to sit back and feel good about how we’ve moved beyond the prejudices and narrow-minded thinking of an earlier era. In this case, it’s the mindset of 1963 Mississippi, where the Civil Rights movement is on the rise and well-to-do whites are anxiously clinging to the status quo.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Tickets, tickets and more tickets

Wharton Center puts individual tickets on sale Monday for dozens of shows

by James Sanford
Tuesday, Aug. 16 — Are you ready to rock? It's a question commonly heard at concerts, but it's also a question Wharton Center is asking the public. The venue has a full slate of rock, jazz, dance, theater and Broadway musicals, and individual tickets to most events (except "Wicked," which goes on sale at a date to be announced) go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday.
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Monday, March 18,2013

New worlds to conquer

Moody 'Another Earth' combines stark drama with elements of science-fiction

by James Sanford
Friday, Aug. 19 —The discovery of another planet identical to our own is the starting point for director Mike Cahill’s “Another Earth,” a moody drama that’s not so much science-fiction as it is an in-depth character study. Instead of concentrating on what’s out there in the cosmos, the screenplay by Cahill and star Brit Marling points its telescope instead at the human heart.
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Monday, March 18,2013

The shape of TV to come

WKAR's Fall Preview celebrated the past and looked into the future

by James Sanford
Thursday, Aug. 25 — TV from around the world — and foods from around the country — were served up at WKAR’s Fall Preview 2011 Wednesday evening.
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Monday, March 18,2013

It's all set

The new WLNS news set is unveiled tonight; expect to see some familiar sights

by James Sanford
Friday, Aug. 26 — Although the new WLNS news set makes its debut during tonight's 5 p.m. newscast, chances are excellent you've already seen some of its elements. The amber and blue backdrops of the main desk and the smaller "explainer" desk include images of such Lansing landmarks...
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Monday, March 18,2013

Toronto Madness!

by James Sanford
Wednesday, Sept. 14 — "I've got insanity in my entrails," laments a deeply disturbed mother in director Pedro Almodovar's "The Skin I Live In," one of the many high-profile films being rolled out during this week's Toronto International Film Festival.
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