James Sanford

Film Critic

James Sanford has been reviewing films since he was hired by the Grand Rapids Press at the age of 16. Since then, he's written for many publications and websites, including WMUK. He's current a staff reporter at the Battle Creek Enquirer. Sanford has also appeared om stage at the API, New Vic, and Whole Art theaters in Kalamazoo. He was a member of the Crawlspace Eviction comedy troupe for six years and starred and co-wrote the feature film "Comic Evangelists," which was showcased at the American Film Instutute's 2006 festival in Hollywood. He's also the author of two memoirs: The Sum of My Parts and Au Naturel: A Summer on Martha’s Vineyard".

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Back in the early 1970s, the “Planet of the Apes” films were far more popular with moviegoers than they were with critics. Looking back, it’s not difficult to see why. The original “Planet of the Apes,” starring Charlton Heston, at least had novelty value, a certain kind of eeriness and a satiric edge, qualities that quickly disappeared as Twentieth Century Fox cranked out sequel after sequel. 


If you’re one of the dozen or so people in the world that has been eagerly hoping for a mash-up of a superhero movie and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” the benevolent genies of Hollywood have made your dream come true. 


Forget about "Captain America versus Hydra" or "Batman versus Catwoman": The real superhero battle of the last few years has been the cinematic clash of the comic-book kings, Marvel versus DC. Frankly, it has not been much of a contest. 


How many times can you ride the same roller coaster before those initial feelings of terror disappear? Oh, it can be so surprising the first time around, when you don’t know exactly how fast you will go, how deep the drops will be, how loudly you’ll scream when you go into that hairpin turn. 


Imagine what you’d get if Google, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram were consolidated into one company.

Odds are, you’d wind up with something that looked very much like “The Circle,” the fictitious Internet giant that is on its way to world dominance in director James Ponsoldt’s adaptation of the Dave Eggers’ best seller. 


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