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Monday, March 18,2013

Give it a great big KISS

Mac's Bar sends you back to the 1970s with a showing of the wonderfully cheesy 'KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park'

by James Sanford
Wednesday, Jan. 11 — Let’s be honest: Some movies are easier to watch if you have a few drinks close at hand. And one excellent case-in-point would be “KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park,” the 1978 camp classic that screens tonight at Mac’s Bar.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Serving up gospel with a side of glitz

Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah duel and duet in the proudly hokey 'Joyful Noise'

by James Sanford
"Joyful Noise" is set in one of those homey Georgia hamlets in which everyone over 35 is a country-fried Confucius, eagerly (and aggressively) dispensing the sort of wisdom that ought to come with a side of sausage gravy and a plate of waffles.
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Monday, March 18,2013

When people stop being polite

Words wound as Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz tear into each other in the savagely funny 'Carnage'

by James Sanford
The clafoutis has turned into cobbler, the rum has been traded out for scotch, a couple of names have been changed (to protect the guilty?) and the action sometimes leaves the living room, but otherwise director Roman Polanski’s “Carnage” is a faithful and often ferociously funny adaptation of Yasmina Raza‘s “God of Carnage,” the spiky black comedy that enjoyed highly successful runs on Broadway and in London’s West End.
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Monday, March 18,2013

In the wee small hours of the morning

WILX's David Andrews prepares for a schedule shift on Monday

by James Sanford
Getting up early in the morning is nothing new for WILX news anchor David Andrews. He’s been married to WFMK-FM morning-show DJ Monica Harris for 24 years, and she’s been starting work before sunrise the entire time they’ve been together. Beginning Monday, the couple will be working similar hours, as Andrews takes over WILX’s expanded morning news show, which starts at 4:30 a.m. every weekday.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Urban fairy tale fail

'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' is a well-made, but ultimately unconvincing would-be tearjerker

by James Sanford
Stephen Daldry has something to brag about. Every one of the British-born director’s features to date — “Billy Elliot,” “The Hours” and “The Reader” — has received an Academy Award nomination as best picture. But all good things must come to an end, and as of Tuesday (when the next batch of Oscar contenders is announced) Daldry’s streak will almost certainly be broken: “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” based on the Jonathan Safran Foer novel that some people adored and many people abhorred, is unlikely to wow the voters.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Silence is golden

'The Artist': Get ready to cheer for a silent movie

by James Sanford
“I won’t talk! I won’t say a word!” vows actor George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) in a climactic scene in “A Russian Affair,” one of several movies-within-a-movie in director Michael Hazanavicius' “The Artist.” For George, keeping that promise will be tricky; for Hazanavicius, working without many spoken words results in a quietly spectacular film.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Acclaim and shame

The Academy Award nominations include some solid choices and some mystifying slights

by James Sanford
Tuesday, Jan. 24 — There has never been — and will never be — a flawless crop of Academy Award nominations. But this year's roster, which was announced Tuesday morning, has more than its share of astonishing omissions.
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Monday, March 18,2013

A star vehicle gets hijacked

Glenn Close's subtle work is upstaged by the bolder Mia Wasikowska and Janet McTeer in 'Albert Nobbs'

by James Sanford
Over the years, we’ve seen many characters cross-dress in the movies for various reasons. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis pretended to be female musicians to escape gangsters in “Some Like It Hot.” Dustin Hoffman went dowdy to become a soap opera diva in “Tootsie.” Barbra Streisand concealed her femininity to become a Talmud scholar in “Yentl,” while Julie Andrews disguised herself as an upscale drag queen in “Victor/Victoria.” And let’s not forget Jaye Davidson playing “The Crying Game.”
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Monday, March 18,2013

Get your 'Money' back

Katherine Heigl takes a shot at playing Stephanie Plum in a movie that's dead on arrival

by James Sanford
In 1991, Kathleen Turner attempted to turn Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski thrillers into a franchise; unfortunately, the dream died the minute the dismal debut, “V.I. Warshawski,” began to unspool for audiences. A similarly sorry fate awaits Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, the bounty hunter who has strutted through 17 novels, but probably won’t make it to her second movie, once fans snooze through the slapdash “One for the Money.”
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Monday, March 18,2013

A return trip to 'Paris'

East Lansing Film Society screens Oscar-nominated comedy from Woody Allen

by James Sanford
Monday, Jan. 30 —The East Lansing Film Society screens writer-director Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" this week. The comic fantasy is nominated for three Academy Awards, including best picture and best director.
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