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Wednesday, February 2,2011

Off the screen and onto the stage

Alan Mingo Jr. follows in Eddie Murphy's famous hoofprints as Donkey in 'Shrek: The Musical'

by James Sanford
“I don’t do impersonations, and that was a struggle at first,” Mingo said. For millions of moviegoers, Donkey will always be associated with Eddie Murphy, who voiced the character in the quartet of “Shrek” features. Mingo’s strategy was to remain true to the character while putting his own spin on the performance.
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Wednesday, February 2,2011

The Screening Room

Overlooked by Oscar, but worth looking into

by James Sanford
There are only so many slots available in each Academy Awards category, which means there will always be worthy performances and notable films that will go unrecognized. Several of them have just been released on DVD and Blu-ray. The Academy voters may not have seen them, but you should.
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Friday, January 28,2011

The darkest shades of love

Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling hold back nothing in bruising 'Blue Valentine'

by James Sanford
“Have we become a habit? Do we distort the facts? Now, there’s no looking forward; now, there’s no turning back.” The words come from an old Pat Benatar hit, “We Belong,” but they perfectly express what’s going through the mind of Cindy (Michelle Williams) in “Blue Valentine.” Benatar’s ballad sounds like a fiery ode to the power of passion — until you pay close attention to the lyrics: “Whatever we deny or regret, for worse or for better, we belong together.” Perhaps Cindy is figuring out the underlying meaning of the song for the first time while she listens to it as she drives to work. She is slowly, reluctantly facing the realization that she can’t keep going down the same road.
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Wednesday, January 26,2011

The omnipresent John Lepard: On stage, on TV, at the movies

The actor shows up next week on an episode of 'Detroit 187'; after that, he's back on the big screen in 'Scream 4'

by James Sanford
In "Road to Nowhere," the episode of “Detroit 187” that airs Tuesday, Lepard (who turns 47 today)plays Cyrus Layton, who assists Detroit police officers Fitch (Michael Imperioli) and Washington (Jon Michael Hill) in the investigation of a multiple-murder case.
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Wednesday, January 26,2011

The Screening Room

Oscar nominations: A tale of prizes and surprises

by James Sanford
As expected, Annette Bening got a best actress nomination for “The Kids Are All Right,” in which she plays a lesbian mom trying to deal with her adolescent kids and the surrogate father (Mark Ruffalo) who has suddenly resurfaced in their lives.
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Wednesday, January 26,2011

Here comes the stinger

Lisbeth Salander saga builds to a climax in moody 'Hornets' Nest'

by James Sanford
A great heroine deserves a sensational send-off, and Lisbeth Salander ' that girl with the dragon tattoo who played with fire ' gets a fairly good one in "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest," the concluding chapter of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy.
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Tuesday, January 25,2011

Oscar nominations: A tale of prizes and surprises

Ryan Gosling and Julianne Moore among the unjustly overlooked

by James Sanford
Once the cheers die down and everyone gets a closer look at the annual Academy Award nominations, the questions begin popping up. This year’s crop of nominations, which were announced Tuesday morning, is no exception.
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Wednesday, January 19,2011

’Spiritual life is very fluid’

The lead character in ’Happy Holy Days’ examines her faith; author Rob Roznowski is way ahead of her

by James Sanford
“What is a tradition?” Roznowski wonders. “What is a community? Doesn’t everyone’s spiritual life evolve?” “Days,” which is getting its first full production at Michigan State University next week, charts Sherrie’s fluctuations in faith over the...
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Wednesday, January 19,2011

The Screening Room

Hook-ups lead to heartaches in Hollywood

by James Sanford
In the raunchy comedy "No Strings Attached," Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher will endeavor to enjoy a purely physical relationship with none of those messy emotional complications. If Hollywood history is any indication, it won’t work ' it never does.
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Monday, January 17,2011

Don't I know that guy?

John Lepard guest stars in Tuesday's 'Detroit 187'

by James Sanford
Don't be surprised if you see a familiar face on "Detroit 187" Tuesday night. John Lepard, Williamston Theatre's artistic director (and frequently a performer there as well), is one of the guest stars as Cyrus Layton, head of Detroit's violent crimes unit.
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