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Friday, October 8,2010

'Funny Story' tackles serious subjects

Well-acted comedy-drama looks at life in a mental hospital

by James Sanford
(Friday, Oct. 8) Forget those happy Prom Night memories and the fun of graduation: On a day-to-day basis, being a teenager is often tough, especially as you approach the brink of adulthood and have to think about where you're going to college, how you're going to score on the all-important admissions tests, what you want to study and what you're going to do with the rest of your life. In the case of Craig Gilner (the low-key but engaging Keir Gilchrist), the protagonist of "It's Kind of a Funny Story," the constant drive to succeed drives him into a mental hospital. But Craig isn't supremely sullen or self-destructive like the teenage patients in "Girl, Interrupted" or "Prozac Nation": He's merely self-aware enough to know he's losing his grip.
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Thursday, October 7,2010

The Screening Room

Sturdy 'Secretariat' is in it for the long run

by James Sanford
In horse racing, taking the Triple Crown requires winning the Preakness, the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. In Hollywood, there’s a similar sort of Triple Crown: winning the endorsement of critics, ticket buyers and, finally, Academy Award voters.
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Wednesday, October 6,2010

Games people play

Three buddies do some chatting and cheating in Stormfield Theatre's drama 'Among Friends'

by James Sanford
Off to the side, Kristine Thatcher watches them closely. If their conversation sounds familiar to her, it should: She wrote it.
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Wednesday, October 6,2010

Hamburger to go

Wharton marketing director headed for job in Phoenix

by James Sanford
The Lansing native and Michigan State University graduate is headed to Phoenix to be the director of marketing and commu nications at Arizona State University’s version of Wharton, Gammage, which provides music, dance and Broadway touring shows to a market of approximately 4 million.
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Wednesday, October 6,2010

Will the DSO show?

Strike may or may not affect Wharton concert

by James Sanford
According to the DSO website (www.detroitsymphony.com), "all concerts remain scheduled as planned." But ticketholders for the Chang/DSO concert might want to check the DSO’s concert hotline (313-576-5123) or the Wharton Center box office for updates..
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Tuesday, October 5,2010

Picture-perfect

Photographer Mikayla Spyker is only 10 years old, but she's already competing against professionals

by James Sanford
She was recommended for the competition by her instructor, Jeana-Dee Allen. “She’s the most dedicated student,” Allen said. “She’s come to every single class, and she wants to learn anything and everything. If you ask her what is an abstract shot and what is a wide-angle picture, she can tell you.
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Friday, October 1,2010

The Screening Room

The misunderstood message movie

by James Sanford
It must have seemed like a great idea to all concerned back in 1981. Paramount Pictures wanted a “’Jaws’ with paws” horror film; teen star Kristy McNichol was looking for a project that would help her make the transition to adult roles; director Sam Fuller (“Shock Corridor,” “The Naked Kiss”) needed a big hit to continue his comeback.
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Friday, October 1,2010

The Screening Room

Noomi Rapace sizzles while 'Playing With Fire'

by James Sanford
At the end of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” the brilliant computer hacker Lisbeth Salander seemed to be on her way to a life of luxury. Alas, the tables are turning as “The Girl Who Played With Fire” begins, and soon Lisbeth, who once tracked down a killer by operating on the outskirts of the law, will find herself hunted and harassed.
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Friday, October 1,2010

Pinsonnault is the king in the wings in 'Fortinbras'

by James Sanford
It’s not from a lack of coffee and it’s certainly not boredom. It’s the punishing schedule he’s set up for himself, which starts with a 2:15 a.m. wake-up call for his job as the morning and noon news anchor at WLNS-TV. Typically, he would stay up for a few hours after work ' “do some physical activity, maybe play golf” ' and then get to bed around 8 p.
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Friday, October 1,2010

The Screening Room

'Social Network': A slap in the Facebook

by James Sanford
Zuckerberg is the mastermind behind Facebook and the subject of director David Fincher’s outstanding “The Social Network” (opening nationwide on Friday). The movie asks if Zuckerberg also purloined the idea for Facebook from a couple of his classmates at Harvard, wealthy identical twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.
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