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Wednesday, March 31,2010

'Song' sung blue

Miley Cyrus: Still a girl, not yet an actress in her dramatic debut 'The Last Song'

by James Sanford
Miley Cyrus fans, don’t say you weren’t warned. Remember how “The Hannah Montana Movie” took a serious turn in the last half-hour, with Miley suffering an identity crisis? Consider that a warm-up for “The Last Song,” in which Cyrus tackles her first straight dramatic role. Despite the title, she does very little singing in the film (aside from a scene in which she belts out Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved” along with the radio); she also doesn’t do much in the way of persuasive emoting, either.
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Wednesday, March 31,2010

The Screening Room

Cyrus is still a girl, not yet an actress in ’The Last Song’

by James Sanford
Remember how “The Hannah Montana Movie” took a serious turn in the last halfhour, with Miley suffering an identity crisis? Consider that a warm-up for “The Last Song,” in which Cyrus tackles her first straight dramatic role.
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Sunday, March 28,2010

Wharton Center has everything from "Mary" to "Jersey"

2010-11 Broadway season also includes "Shrek the Musical," "9 to 5"

by James Sanford
It’s fresh, and yet it’s also familiar — that’s what you might think when you see the Wharton Center’s Broadway line-up for 2010-11.
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Saturday, March 27,2010

Wharton 2010-11 Season Schedule

by James Sanford
MSU FEDERAL CREDIT UNIONBROADWAY AT WHARTON CENTER: MaryPoppins *(Extendedrun) November3-21, 2010 9to 5 December14-19, 2010 Shrek February 8-13, 2011 Jersey Boys *(Extendedrun) Sept. 28-October 16, 2011 SPECIAL...
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Friday, March 26,2010

Putting the punch in punchline

The humor of "Greenberg" is acidic — and unexpectedly touching, too

by James Sanford
“Are you going to let me in?” That’s what Florence (Greta Gerwig) murmurs as she navigates the traffic on a busy Los Angeles street. She might ask the same question of the title character in “Greenberg,” writer-director Noah Baumbach’s acidic comedy, in which Ben Stiller plays a stubborn slacker who spends his days fashioning personal crusades out of minor inconveniences and wallowing in nostalgia, although it’s hard to imagine his supposed glory days were anymore glorious than his seemingly pointless present-day situation.
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Friday, March 26,2010

'How to Train Your Dragon': Fantasy battle reflects real-world wars

A beautifully animated, often funny adventure touches on some serious topics

by James Sanford
“Our parents’ war is about to become ours,” a young girl tells her friend in a new film. “Figure out what side you’re on.” All around them they see destruction and chaos, the result of being under siege by a culture they don’t understand. Some of these enemies set themselves on fire in order to kill more effectively. Many of the warriors who join in the battle come home with missing limbs. The rationale behind the fighting is vague. “They’ve killed hundreds of us!” a father warns his son. “And we’ve killed thousands of them!” the son replies. Given those kinds of details, you might think the movie is set in Iraq or Afghanistan or the Gaza Strip. It’s not
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Friday, March 26,2010

Identity crisis

Amanda Seyfried and Julianne Moore generate some steam in "Chloe," but a feeble finale spoils the mood

by James Sanford
The younger woman pours a steady stream of sugar into her coffee cup. Her life could use a little sweetening up: She’s Chloe, a call girl who lives out other people’s fantasies while shutting out her own. “I can become your first kiss, or a torn-out image from a Playboy magazine you saw when you were 9 years old,” she says. “I can become your living, breathing dream. Then I can disappear.”
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Wednesday, March 24,2010

Secrets of Cirque

’Language of performance’ unites an international cast

by James Sanford
“We have performers from 17 different countries,” senior artistic director Michael Smith noted as he observed his artists preparing for a stopover of the “Alegria” spectacular in Detroit in February. “We’re very multi-national. That’s the best part of working at Cirque.
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Thursday, March 18,2010

A quiet drink with friends

Director Claire Denis reveals the complex ties between four people in "35 Shots of Rum"

by James Sanford
It takes “35 Shots of Rum” for Lionel (Alex Descas) to mark a truly special occasion, and he doesn’t take that ritual lightly. There don’t seem to be many important moments in Lionel’s life: A handsome, thoughtful widower, he drives a metro train in Paris and lives with his college-age child, Josephine (Mati Diop), in a compact apartment. It’s a good thing he and Josephine get along; when they sit down to eat, there’s barely enough room at their tiny dinner table for a rice steamer, a salad bowl and a couple of plates.
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Wednesday, March 17,2010

'Zeitoun' selected for One Book, One Community

Author Dave Eggers visits East Lansing Aug. 29

by James Sanford
The City of East Lansing and Michigan State University have selected Dave Eggers’ 2009 novel “Zeitoun” as the 2010 One Book, One Community novel. Set in New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina has devastated the city, “Zeitoun” chronicles the journey of Syrian-American Abdulrahman Zeitoun, his wife, Kathy, and their four children as they face the storm’s terrifying aftermath.
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