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Monday, March 18,2013

Silence is golden

'The Artist': Get ready to cheer for a silent movie

by James Sanford
“I won’t talk! I won’t say a word!” vows actor George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) in a climactic scene in “A Russian Affair,” one of several movies-within-a-movie in director Michael Hazanavicius' “The Artist.” For George, keeping that promise will be tricky; for Hazanavicius, working without many spoken words results in a quietly spectacular film.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Acclaim and shame

The Academy Award nominations include some solid choices and some mystifying slights

by James Sanford
Tuesday, Jan. 24 — There has never been — and will never be — a flawless crop of Academy Award nominations. But this year's roster, which was announced Tuesday morning, has more than its share of astonishing omissions.
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Monday, March 18,2013

A star vehicle gets hijacked

Glenn Close's subtle work is upstaged by the bolder Mia Wasikowska and Janet McTeer in 'Albert Nobbs'

by James Sanford
Over the years, we’ve seen many characters cross-dress in the movies for various reasons. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis pretended to be female musicians to escape gangsters in “Some Like It Hot.” Dustin Hoffman went dowdy to become a soap opera diva in “Tootsie.” Barbra Streisand concealed her femininity to become a Talmud scholar in “Yentl,” while Julie Andrews disguised herself as an upscale drag queen in “Victor/Victoria.” And let’s not forget Jaye Davidson playing “The Crying Game.”
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Monday, March 18,2013

Get your 'Money' back

Katherine Heigl takes a shot at playing Stephanie Plum in a movie that's dead on arrival

by James Sanford
In 1991, Kathleen Turner attempted to turn Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski thrillers into a franchise; unfortunately, the dream died the minute the dismal debut, “V.I. Warshawski,” began to unspool for audiences. A similarly sorry fate awaits Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, the bounty hunter who has strutted through 17 novels, but probably won’t make it to her second movie, once fans snooze through the slapdash “One for the Money.”
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Monday, March 18,2013

A return trip to 'Paris'

East Lansing Film Society screens Oscar-nominated comedy from Woody Allen

by James Sanford
Monday, Jan. 30 —The East Lansing Film Society screens writer-director Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" this week. The comic fantasy is nominated for three Academy Awards, including best picture and best director.
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Monday, March 18,2013

The spirit is willing — to do some killing

Daniel Radcliffe's 'Woman in Black' conjures up some old-fashioned chills

by James Sanford
One of the biggest shocks in “The Woman in Black” arrives in the first minutes, when you realize that Daniel Radcliffe, who seemed to be a child himself not so very long ago, is now playing the father of a 4-year-old. Granted, “Woman” is set in the Victorian era, when it was commonplace for teens to marry and start families, but even so the sight of a cherubic little boy calling Radcliffe “Daddy” is a bit jarring.
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Monday, March 18,2013

From bullied geek to supernatural freak

'Chronicle' isn't your standard superhero movie, but it isn't very good, either

by James Sanford
When Madonna hired a documentary crew to follow her around for her 1991 film “Truth or Dare,” many observers thought she’d scaled new heights of narcissism (even her then-boyfriend Warren Beatty brayed, “She doesn’t want to live off-camera!”). As it turned out, the high priestess of pop had once again seen the future: Twenty years later, anyone with a camera, a Facebook page or a Twitter account can be the star of his or her own show — he or she may also be the only truly interested member of the audience as well.
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Monday, March 18,2013

The layered look

Pedro Almodovar dresses up a twisted tale in stunning style in 'The Skin I Live In'

by James Sanford
Thursday, Feb. 23 — Before he was an international sex symbol, Antonio Banderas was a familiar face to fans of the films of Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. More than 20 years since their last collaboration (“Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!”), but they are reunited in “The Skin I Live In (La Piel Que Habito),” an elegantly twisted science-fiction/psychological thriller/romance that’s utterly bizarre and stunningly stylish, even by Almodovar’s standards.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Fit to be tie-dyed

Zany 'Wanderlust' finds Manhattanites Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston communing with hippies

by James Sanford
George and Linda Gergenblatt (Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston) leave behind their Manhattan studio apartment — sorry: “microloft” — for a Georgia commune — oops: “intentional community” — in director David Wain’s “Wanderlust,” a fish-out-of-water comedy that manages to be both raunchy and surprisingly sweet-natured. And no, it's not always so genteel in its language.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Warm up for 'Moulin Rouge — The Ballet' with 'Moulin Rouge' the movie

The Nicole Kidman/Ewan McGregor musical returns to Celebration Cinema this weekend

by James Sanford
Wednesday, March 7 — Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet presents "Moulin Rouge — The Ballet" next Wednesday at the Wharton Center. You can get in the "Moulin" mood with the 2001 Nicole Kidman/Ewan McGregor movie, which screens this weekend at Celebration Cinema Lansing.
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