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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Slo-mo 'Snow' show no-go

It's almost laughable to see how seriously Kristen Stewart's 'Snow White and the Huntsman' takes itself

by James Sanford
How many makeovers does one girl need? Snow White, who has already been the subject of a lavish off-the-wall comedy (“Mirror Mirror,” with Julia Roberts and Lily Collins) a few months back, now becomes a sword-swinging, dagger-wielding Joan of Arc in “Snow White and the Huntsman,” which attempts to turn the simple story of youth-must-be-served-a-poisoned-apple into “Stephenie Meyer’s ‘Braveheart.’” All that’s missing is the blue face paint — and the excitement, since writer Evan Daughtery’s misguided rewrite of “Snow” moves at an almost glacial pace.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Going back to his roots

Director Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus' is an engrossing prequel to the 'Alien' saga

by James Sanford
"In space, no one can hear you scream." That's what the ads for "Alien" promised in the summer of 1979. It's a great tagline that, in most cases, would have been more memorable than the movie it was attached to. But director Ridley Scott's chronicle of the ill-fated voyage of the Nostromo, a spaceship that took a deadly detour on its way back to Earth, proved to be much more than a typical summer chiller: It spawned one of the most enduring franchises in science-fiction history, turning Sigourney Weaver (who had her first major film role in the original "Alien") into a cinematic icon and helping to launch the careers of directors like James Cameron and David Fincher along the way.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Coming soon to a theater near you

Forget the old AMC; Celebration! Cinema plans to reinvent the defunct Meridan Mall theater as Studio C!

by James Sanford
Thursday, June 7 — In Steve VanWagoner’s eyes, the shuttered AMC Meridian 6 Theatres complex could one day be an upscale cinema, with refreshments whipped up by chefs, plush stadium-style seating and possibly even a liquor license. He envisions an enormous difference between the old AMC, almost apologetically tucked away behind the Meridian Mall, and Celebration! Cinema’s latest venture, Studio C!, which VanWagoner hopes will be open before the end of the year.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Oh, the movie never ends — it goes on and on and on and on

If you think 'Rock of Ages' is going to rock the house, you can stop believin'

by James Sanford
“Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready to rock?” Perhaps predictably, these are the first words we hear in “Rock of Ages.” Surprisingly, the movie’s answer turns out to be a meek “ummm, maybe.”
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Bat-fans gather for 'Dark Knight Rises' tour

Bat-Pod and Tumbler vehicles bring big crowds to Delta Township event

by James Sanford
Friday, June 15 — Two of the most celebrated vehicles in movies — the Bat-Pod and Tumbler — arrived in Lansing Friday as part of a promotional tour for “The Dark Knight Rises,” director Christopher Nolan’s final “Batman” film; the movie opens July 20. Hundreds of fans gathered at the Delta Township WalMart Supercenter between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. to take pictures and scoop up posters, temporary tattoos, free samples of Mountain Dew’s Batman-inspired flavor and T-shirts. But Deric Underhill made a slightly longer trip than most: He drove in from Erie, Penn.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Swept away — and there's hell to pay

Rachel Weisz navigates 'The Deep Blue Sea' of doomed love

by James Sanford
Tuesday, June 19 — "Beware of passion, Hester — it always leads to something ugly." The warning comes from Lady Hester Collyer's mother-in-law, a woman who nearly faints when Hester doesn’t pour the tea in the proper manner (“Oooh, you’ve put the milk in first!”). So it’s perhaps understandable that Hester (Rachel Weisz) would chose to ignore the cautionary comments of the snippy harpy (exceptionally well drawn by Barbara Jefford).
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Dare to be cuddly

In spite of the heat, Lansing Community College cast reminds us of why 'Charlie Brown' will always be cool

by James Sanford
Thursday, June 21 -- In the same week that Lansing made national headlines with an impromptu performance of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues" comes a show that represents the exact opposite of the theatrical spectrum: "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," in which the biggest shock comes from a flash of self-awareness on the part of the moody Lucy, who gasps, "I've done nothing but spread crabbiness everywhere I go -- I'm a super-crab!"
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

She shoots, she scores

Pixar's exciting, atmospheric 'Brave' salutes mothers and daughters

by James Sanford
In the past 17 years, Pixar has given us wonderful stories about fathers and sons (“Finding Nemo”) and the power of the family unit (“The Incredibles”), not to mention the “Toy Story” trilogy, made up of three outstanding “buddy” comedies. Finally, the bond between mothers and daughters gets its due in “Brave,” a beguiling, often exciting fable that unfolds in pastoral ancient Scotland.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

What a wonderful 'World'

MSU Summer Circle offers a jewel of a Jules Verne adaptation with the delightful 'Around the World in 80 Days'

by James Sanford
Friday, June 22 -- Director Michael Anderson's 1956 film of "Around the World in 80 Days" runs more than three hours and has a cast of hundreds (aside from leads David Niven, Shirley MacLaine, Robert Newton and Cantinflas, there are dozens of cameos from people like Frank Sinatra, Buster Keaton, Marlene Dietrich, John Gielgud, Charles Boyer, Cesar Romero and Noel Coward). Director Rob Roznowski's Michigan State University Summer Circle Theatre production of "Around the World in 80 Days" runs less than two hours and has a cast of five, plus a hard-working, top-hatted sound engineer. But if you suspect a scaled-down presentation means the Jules Verne classic gets short-changed, you'd better think twice: Roznowski and his team thoroughly rock this "World," making this fast-paced, high-energy adventure a complete delight.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Going for the 'Golden'

John Peakes makes his debut at Purple Rose in a role he played at BoarsHead 20 years ago

by James Sanford
Friday, June 22 — Please don't ask John Peakes about Henry Fonda and the fondly remembered 1981 film of “On Golden Pond.” Ernest Thompson‘s play, which begins previews Thursday at Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, is an entirely different animal, he insists.
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