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Friday, October 1,2010

Mother to mutha

Long-shelved 'Case 39' inspires chuckles, not chills

by James Sanford
(FRIDAY - Oct. 1) Maybe there's a sliver of truth in all those "Oscar curse" theories after all. Six years ago, Renee Zellweger took home a best supporting actress Academy Award for "Cold Mountain," in which she gave a memorably feisty performance as the tough farmwoman who teaches Civil War survival skills to lady of the manor Nicole Kidman. Since then, Zellweger has stayed busy, but her fans have stayed home.
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Friday, October 1,2010

Bloody marvelous

When the vampire next door says ‘Let Me In,’ do it

by James Sanford
Abby is one of those friends your parents warned you about. Sure, she looks nice enough — but there’s something, well, strange about her. She’s the new girl in town who doesn’t like to talk about herself. She says she’s 12, “more or less.” She walks around barefoot in the middle of winter, claiming, “I don’t really get cold.” She’s also hungry all the time, but not for candy or burgers or anything else that the typical junior high kids eat. She prefers fresh blood.
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Wednesday, September 15,2010

The Screening Room

’Conviction’ director credits Michigan's credits

by James Sanford
During an interview Sunday morning at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the film premiered this week, Goldwyn admitted it was "the incredible tax incentive" that first drew him to Michigan: The state offers a 40 percent refundable tax credit against Michigan Business Tax liability for qualified filmmakers.
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Wednesday, September 8,2010

Stormfield shelter

by James Sanford
When Stormfield Theatre artistic director Kristine Thatcher returns from her summer job at Wisconsin’s Dorr County Playhouse, she’ll have a new theater waiting for her.
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Wednesday, September 8,2010

The Screening Room

'Winter's Bone' is an atmospheric chiller

by James Sanford
Near the start of “Winter’s Bone” (opening Friday At Celebration!Lansing), we hear “Farther Along,” that old Southern hymn that asks why hard-working, faithful people often struggle while the wicked and crooked prosper: “Often I wonder why I must...
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Wednesday, September 1,2010

Double trouble

Double trouble Life gets complicated in drama ’Dying City’

by James Sanford
It was supposed to be a peaceful evening for psychologist Kelly: She just wanted to watch “Law and Order.” But the young widow is about to get some unexpected company: her late husband Craig’s identical twin brother — an actor named Peter — turns up at her door and plunges her into her own personal psychodrama.
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Wednesday, September 1,2010

Toronto becomes a treasure trove of movies

Annual film festival has everything from Knightley to Newton-John

by James Sanford
Approximately 300 movies will be screened Sept. 9 to Sept. 19, and the variety is truly staggering, from the premieres of directors Clint Eastwood’s supernatural shocker “Hereafter” and Davis Guggenheim’s much-anticipated documentary “Waiting for Superman” to “Little Sister,” a Chinese version of Cinderella, and the teen comedy “Easy A.
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Wednesday, August 25,2010

The Screening Room

Stars in your eyes

by James Sanford
“Hubble captured images so complex we can actually travel through them,” DiCaprio notes, and travel through them we do. In a breathtakingly beautiful sequence, the camera effortlessly sails into the “rose-colored cloud” of the Orion Nebula to discover what looks like a Grand Canyon made of magenta cotton candy.
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Wednesday, August 25,2010

Nanny McPhee-quel

Emma Thompson returns in a suitably zany adventure

by James Sanford
The question: When will Emma Thompson get around to making a sequel to “Nanny McPhee”? The answer: When pigs fly.But, as Eleanor of Aquitaine promised in “The Lion in Winter,” there is “pork in the treetops” in “Nanny McPhee Returns,” which transplants Thompson’s devious disciplinarian to the British countryside during World War II, a device that allows the star and screenwriter to incorporate a bit of “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” — Nanny even has a motorcycle — into the story.
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Wednesday, August 25,2010

Whoa, Daddy

So-so 'Switch' puts Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman in a truly sticky situation

by James Sanford
It’s about time a film addressed a pressing problem that has been the secret shame of millions, a condition politicians never dare to address, a situation even the mouthiest TV pundits refuse to discuss. We’re talking, of course, about lice — and “The Switch” is the gutsy, no-holds-barred movie that tackles this burning (or should we say, crawling) issue.
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