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Wednesday, November 24,2010

The Screening Room

Danny Boyle's '127 Hours' unforgettably intense

by James Sanford
You might need it to mop away the sweat ' and possibly the tears ' triggered by director Danny Boyle’s electrifying, nervewracking portrayal of the perils of Aron Ralston (James Franco), the adventurer who set out to explore Utah’s Blue John Canyon...
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Wednesday, November 24,2010

Of pills and pillow talk

'Love and Other Drugs' has its ups and downs, but the stars remain steady

by James Sanford
For proof of how one outstanding performance can give elevate a middling movie, look no further than director Edward Zwick's "Love and Other Drugs." Based on Jamie Reidy's "Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman," the film starts off as a reasonably raucous and raunchy comedy revolving around fast-talking Pfizer pharmaceutical peddler Jamie Randall (a vibrant, funny Jake Gyllenhaal), who isn't thrilled to be pushing Xanax in the Ohio River Valley in the late 1990s, until he meets bohemian artist Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway).
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Saturday, November 20,2010

Ani-malcontents

The fractured fables of David Sedaris are 'bedtime stories for children who drink'

by James Sanford
It all sounds perfectly innocuous. A lonely mouse befriends a snake. A stalwart rabbit stands guard at the gate to his forest. A chipmunk thinks she’s found Mr. Right in the form of a sophisticated squirrel.But despite its seemingly cuddly characters and an array of beguiling illustrations by Ian Falconer, David Sedaris’ “Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk” is probably not the best holiday gift for that special youngster on your shopping list.
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Wednesday, November 17,2010

Fishy tales

Williamston Theatre cooks up ’Tuna’

by James Sanford
In less than two hours, Aral Gribble and Wayne David Parker put themselves through a sort of acting aerobics workout, changing costumes and altering their voices every few minutes to portray an assortment of oddballs: a pair of garrulous radio disc...
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Wednesday, November 17,2010

The Screening Room

Capital City Film Festival kicks off in April

by James Sanford
With Michigan caught up in movie mania, the time seemed right for the launch of a new film festival. So Cochran, director of Lansing’s Office of Community Media, and his partners launched the Capital City Film Festival, scheduled for April 14 to 17. Submissions are being accepted.
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Friday, November 12,2010

Train-ing day

Unsubtle 'Unstoppable' delivers loud, flashy suspense

by James Sanford
Swoop! Swooosh! Swirl! Denzel Washington and Chris Pine may be the stars of “Unstoppable,” but it’s cinematographer Ben Seresin who gets the most taxing workout. Even when characters are simply standing around or engaged in tense conversations, the camera behaves like a first-grader that’s been force-fed Pixy Stix and Monster Energy Drinks. It circles, it spirals, it bobs and weaves: It’s as if poor Seresin spent his days strapped to a carousel from hell.
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Friday, November 12,2010

Ready to roll

Capital City Film Festival seeks submissions

by James Sanford
Looking for a place to screen your latest film? Dominic Cochran can help you out.Cochran, a partner of Lansing's Ahptic Film & Digital, has just announced the first Capital City Film Festival, to be held April 14-17 in downtown Lansing. It's open to everyone and submissions are now being accepted.
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Wednesday, November 10,2010

'Yeah! That’s the ticket!'

He may have been a latercomer to stand-up but Jon Lovitz is making up for lost time

by James Sanford
The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club opened last year in Universal City, near Hollywood. Although Lovitz is quick to admit his place (where he often performs on Wednesday nights) won’t be mistaken for the usual brick-wall, cabaret-style stand-up space.
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Wednesday, November 10,2010

The Screening Room

Expert cast brings ’Morning Glory’ to full bloom

by James Sanford
In writer-director James L. Brooks’ classic 1987 comedy-drama “Broadcast News,” dynamic, idealistic producer Jane Craig (Holly Hunter) spent much of her time fretting about the rise of puff-pieces in network newscasts.
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Saturday, November 6,2010

The Screening Room

A superhero spoof - and so much more

by James Sanford
True, that long-delayed “Spider-Man” musical may never make it to Broadway and the hyped-to-the-heavens “Watchmen” was something of a box office underachiever. But otherwise, superhero extravaganzas have a fairly impressive track record when it comes to making money.
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