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Wednesday, May 9,2012

The screening room

'Damsels in Distress' is a sparkling college comedy

by James Sanford
If you think you'euro;'ve waited a long time for 'euro;'The Avengers'euro;' to hit the screen, imagine how fans of writer-director Whit Stillman must feel about 'euro;'Damsels in Distress'euro;': Stillman, who became an art-house darling with 'euro;'Metropolitan,'euro;' 'euro;'Barcelona'euro;' and 'euro;'The Last Days of Disco'euro;' in the 1990s, has taken almost 14 years off from filmmaking.
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Wednesday, May 9,2012

Learn while you laugh

Wade Rouse talks about the 'fine line between humor and heartbreak'

by James Sanford
A couple of years ago, a journalist told actress Carey Mulligan (“Shame”) how much he admired her ability to express sadness so eloquently. “The emotional stuff is easier, actually,” Mulligan said. “I think it’s easier to get yourself in a state where you’re crying than a state where you’re laughing for half an hour.”
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Wednesday, April 25,2012

The screening room

Connect with the superb Oscar-winning 'Separation'

by James Sanford
(Note: After this week's City Pulse was published, the booking of "A Separation" at Celebration Lansing was canceled. We will let you know if the film is rescheduled.) The engrossing, fascinatingly detailed Iranian drama “A Separation” reminds us that pointing fingers can be very risky business indeed. Writer-director Asghar Farhadi argues that the workings of the world are so tricky that simple solutions and easy answers are often hard to find.
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Wednesday, April 25,2012

Congo lines

A brothel madam battles brutal realities in the Pulitzer-winning 'Ruined'

by James Sanford
But while Mama Nadi may be able to manipulate her customers and her employees, she can’t shut out the realities of what’s going on outside her door, nor can she turn away from the traumas her employees have experienced: broken families, sexual slavery and the disgrace of being “ruined” by rapists.
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Wednesday, April 18,2012

The screening room

Seek 'Shelter'; you'll find a great psychological thriller

by James Sanford
He wakes up screaming from nightmares in which hundreds of birds swoop down upon him, oily rain falls and a seismic jolt shakes his house, causing his living room furniture to hang suspended in mid-air, like something out of “Inception.” Could these terrifying visions be premonitions, or are they merely warning signs that he’s losing touch with reality?
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Wednesday, April 11,2012

When the Capital City becomes Cinema City

In its second year, the Capital City Film Festival reels in new ideas

by James Sanford
Sure, the Capital City Film Festival has movies. But it also includes a full day of speakers, courtesy of TedX Lansing and the Media Sandbox Capstone Series, as well as the dramatic poetry of Kinetic Affect and the retro rhythms of Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle.
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Wednesday, April 11,2012

The screening room

Capital City Film Festival rolls out the documentaries

by James Sanford
Part of the fun of a film festival is having the chance to make discoveries. The Capital City Film Festival is no exception. Here are a couple of the notable documentaries screening this weekend.
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Wednesday, April 11,2012

True blue

In Lansing Civic Players' 'Vino Veritas,' a weird Peruvian wine leads to shocking revelations

by James Sanford
Another man came up to MacGregor and his friend and said, “I’m a single. Can I join you?” MacGregor’s friend waved the guy away, telling him that they were in the midst of a “private talk.” In fact, they weren’t, but MacGregor’s friend knew the presence of a stranger would mean that the friends would have to tone down their conversation and censor themselves.
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Wednesday, March 28,2012

Love on the rocks

Take two hard-luck cases, add one wise bartender, throw in songs and shake it up: That's 'The Usual'

by James Sanford
Now through April 22 Williamston Theatre 122 S. Putnam St., Williamston Preview 8 p.m. Thursday, March 29; all seats $15 Friday, March 30 through April 22: 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays; 3 p.m.
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Wednesday, March 28,2012

The screening room

Snow White prompts a double-take from Hollywood

by James Sanford
Back in the late 1980s, Hollywood couldn’t get enough of those body-switching comedies, in which boys and men changed places. Ten years later, we had a rash of end-of-the-world flicks, in which tidal waves obliterated New York in "Deep Impact" and unlikely astronauts Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck had to avert a cataclysmic collision between our precious planet and a gigantic space rock in "Armageddon."
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