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Monday, March 18,2013

We're only in it for the money

'Where Soldiers Come From' takes a tough look at the realities of combat

by James Sanford
Friday, Nov. 4 -- Remember the days when young men enlisted in the military because they wanted to fight to preserve the American way of life, or defeat a foreign threat or simply see the world? Bodi, Dom and Cole, the trio of young men from Michigan's Upper Peninsula who are the central figures in "Where Soldiers Come From," didn't join the National Guard for any of those reasons. They did it for the money and, as two of them note, a feeling of "I might as well do something with my life."
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Monday, March 18,2013

City Pulse makes 'The Colbert Report'

Bullying article gets Comedy Central spotlight

by James Sanford
Thursday, Nov. 10 — Yes, that really was a City Pulse clip on last night's "The Colbert Report" episode on Comedy Central: The "Brushfire over bullying" story was shown in Stephen Colbert's introduction to a segment on the controversy over Michigan's anti-bullying legislation and Republican lawmakers' attempts to modify the language in the bill. The article in the current edition was used as a jumping-off point for its look at the measure that passed the state Senate last week with a provision that protected “statements of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”
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Monday, March 18,2013

To fetch a pail of (toilet) water

Adam Sandler tackles a dual role in the painfully puerile 'Jack and Jill'

by James Sanford
In the secret language shared by twins Jack and Jill Sadelstein, the phrase “polly wolly zoom golly golly” means “I want to choke on my own vomit.” And that’s precisely what Adam Sandler proceeds to do for 91 soul-crushing, stomach-churning, laugh-free minutes in “Jack and Jill,” yet another movie that was made primarily because the star needed a vacation (for no apparent reason, most of the last third of the film is essentially a commercial for Royal Caribbean International cruises). Sandler gives his audience a trip, too — a first-class ticket straight to Hollywood Hell.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Breaking down

Overwrought, unintentionally hilarious 'Breaking Dawn, Part One' kills off the 'Twilight' franchise

by James Sanford
Stephenie Meyer, the queen of supernatural teen romance, was faced with a rebellion in her kingdom when “Breaking Dawn,” the final installment of her phenomenally successful “Twilight” series, was published in 2008. Many readers were dissatisfied with the wrap-up of the love triangle between mortal Bella Swan, vampire Edward Cullen and werewolf Jacob Black, and they took their complaints to Facebook, Twitter and fan sites.Three years later, the griping can begin anew with “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part One,” which quickly vanquishes whatever good will might have been built up by the earlier films in the series. Sour, clunky and sometimes unintentionally hilarious, the cinematic “Dawn” drives a splintery stake straight through the heart of the franchise.
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Monday, March 18,2013

'Flint Food Fighters' premieres at MSU

Documentary profiles five people involved in the urban farming movement

by James Sanford
Thursday, Nov. 17 — The documentary "The Kings of Flint" screened last Sunday as part of the East Lansing Film Festival — but it's already got a sequel. Michigan State University faculty members Geri Alumit Zeldes and Troy Hale host the premiere of “Flint Food Fighters” at 10 a.m. Friday in room 145 of the Communication Arts and Sciences Building on the MSU campus.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Running away from herself

A magnetic Elizabeth Olsen shows all her colors in 'Martha Marcy May Marlene'

by James Sanford
There are some women whose secrets shine in their eyes. Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) is one of them. She seems to radiate uncertainty, dread and vulnerability. She’s on the run, both from a backwoods cult and, “Martha Marcy May Marlene” writer-director Sean Durkin convinces us, from herself.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Lame actually

Witless 'New Year's Eve' is nothing to celebrate

by James Sanford
If your holiday wish is for one more cruise aboard “The Love Boat,” director Garry Marshall may be your cinematic Santa: Although Captain Stubing and cruise director Julie McCoy may have missed the boat, “New Year’s Eve” managed to shanghai plenty of big (and not-so-big) names into appearing in a witless, thoroughly synthetic sitcom, albeit one you have to pay good money to watch.
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Monday, March 18,2013

'Crazy' and thoughtful

Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin were made to be together — or were they? — in 'Like Crazy'

by James Sanford
You don’t have to have endured a long-distance relationship to appreciate “Like Crazy,” but if you have, you’ll have no trouble identifying with the yearning, the worrying and the loneliness that consume Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones), a couple separated — in a bitterly ironic twist of fate — by their desire to stay together.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Come spy with me

Tom Cruise hits a new high in the fourth — and best — 'Mission: Impossible' adventure

by James Sanford
Thursday, Dec. 15 — Apparently, nobody ever considered offering Tom Cruise the role of James Bond, which may be why the star launched the “Mission: Impossible” line. Based on a TV show that was more memorable for its urgent theme song and its tagline (“This message will self-destruct in five seconds”) than its content, the “Mission” movies have always seemed like afterthoughts in Cruise’s career: They are what he makes when he needs a sure-fire international success to reinforce his box office bankability — or when he wants to collect a major-league check for playing with cutting-edge gadgets, driving dreamy cars and strolling through exotic locales.
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Monday, March 18,2013

'Tattoo' two

Rooney Mara is on fire in David Fincher's chilly adaptation of 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'

by James Sanford
Tuesday, Dec. 20 — Let’s start with the question everyone wants to ask: How does Rooney Mara compare to Noomi Rapace, the actress who became an international sensation in the trilogy of Swedish thrillers adapted from Stieg Larsson’s blockbuster novels?
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