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Arts and Culture (All)

Scary forces fight for souls, all in elegant bodies

A tonic to warm up the blood would do good in these heavy days of Pisces, where we’re stuck till the first day of spring. You’ll find it at Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s double feature, The Firebird and The Scarlet Letter, this weekend only at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.
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The only mystery is who approved this script

Young adventurer Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson: The Kids Are Alright) intercepts a mysterious message referencing Jules Verne. Sure he had to break into a satellite station to get the signal, but what’s a little arrest in the quest for adventure?
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Starting over can be very funny

Chapter 2, now at Colonial Players of Annapolis, is Neil Simon’s comedy about the blossoming of a new relationship in middle age, when starting over means stepping away from your past. Since it is Neil Simon, it is very, very funny.
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A trio of teens get the gift of a lifetime in this fun sci-fi take on superpowers

Spiderman’s beloved Uncle Ben once said With great power comes great responsibility. Sure Voltaire said it first, but the three teens at the center of Chronicle are more likely to be reading philosophy penned by Stan Lee than some old French guy.
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Kleenex needed for this unrequited romance about the surprise of the human condition — as we all know it.

Love Letters is a simple show about a complex relationship chronicled through 50 years of letters. It needs, playwright A.R. Gurney says, “no theater, no lengthy rehearsal, no special set, no memorization of lines and no commitment from its two actors beyond the night of performance.”
    If those actors happen to be a couple? All the better.
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Anyone who is human or has ever been in love finds themselves reflected in these characters

Twin Beach Players have staged Theater at the Beaches since 1997, when the traveling nomads in search of a home debuted with A Christmas Carol.
    In 14 years, they’ve brightened life at the Beaches. All with never a home of their own. And at prices lower than you’d pay to see a movie.
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Superb casting, sumptuous costumes, stunning sets and whimsical dance can transcend even the flimsiest plot

Remember Nelson Eddie and Jeanette MacDonald singing Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life, At Last I’ve Found You in their 1935 debut film, Naughty Marietta?
    No?
    How about Madeline Kahn in Young Frankenstein?
    Ah, I thought so.
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Liam Neeson proves old dogs can learn new tricks

There are movies like The Artist in which every shot is an exquisitely composed tableau. And then there are movies like The Grey, where Liam Neeson (Unknown) bare-knuckle boxes a giant Alaskan timber wolf.
    My job as a reviewer is convincing you that both sorts can be enjoyable and worth your hard-earned money.
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A story this important deserves better than this second rate film

In the times before Martin Luther King put momentum behind his dream, African Americans had to be twice as good to get half as much as their white counterparts. Racism was justified and equality denied by spurious science.
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Meryl Streep is all teeth, no bite, in this boring biopic

What do you do when you’re making a movie about a political figure whose politics you don’t agree with? Avoid the subject, cast Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher and give her an immense set of dentures. The formula worked. Streep and her dentures just took home a Golden Globe.
    The teeth are right. But the rest of the film is all wrong.
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