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caprez headline -4/21/2014, 6:39 PM

Law enforcement works to further decrease fatalities -4/20/2014, 5:48 PM

Roadwork to begin in Phillips/Smith counties -4/18/2014, 4:45 PM

Enjoying high school memories -4/16/2014, 10:27 AM

New ponies, warmer weather welcome in spring -4/15/2014, 8:47 AM

Coping strategies, including healthy eating, can reduce stress -4/13/2014, 9:46 AM

Winners chosen for Hays art exhibition -4/10/2014, 12:12 PM

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Aging issues addressed in April Extension programs -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

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A few more expensive pinot noirs, but ones well worth the cash -3/25/2014, 9:27 AM

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Families need to find proper ways to deal with stress -3/23/2014, 9:20 AM

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Propane refill hits budget; hog butchering on tap -3/11/2014, 3:03 PM

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Extension workshop features estate planning -3/6/2014, 3:49 PM

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Winter blues continue for Eicher family -3/4/2014, 1:53 PM

KDOT announces approved February bids -3/3/2014, 4:28 PM

K-23 pavement replacement project to begin -3/3/2014, 4:19 PM

Celtic guitarist Barlow performing at library -3/2/2014, 4:10 PM

Walk Kansas program offers health benefits -3/2/2014, 12:08 PM

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Preserving the Family planning event March 14 -2/27/2014, 3:49 PM

Nex-Tech hosting Tech Edge Conference in June -2/27/2014, 4:28 PM

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Student graphic designs featured in exhibit -2/26/2014, 3:49 PM

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Adjustment period can take time in step-families -2/24/2014, 11:21 AM

Birthdays -2/24/2014, 11:21 AM

Extension offers financial planning programs -2/20/2014, 9:56 AM

FHSU alum to host pitch fundraiser -2/20/2014, 9:56 AM

Program to focus on parenting teenagers -2/20/2014, 9:56 AM

Snow continues to pile up for Eichers as they hope for warmth -2/18/2014, 4:44 PM

Business Briefcase (Feb. 16, 2014) -2/16/2014, 2:53 PM

To strengthen relationships, celebrate success -2/14/2014, 10:04 AM

Sternberg Museum to offer summer camps -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Natoma girl promotes state program -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Hansen Museum displays students' artwork -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Hays Symphony showcases 3 young artists -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Hays Eagle Scout earns award -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

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Whitetail agent has message -2/2/2014, 4:00 PM

Hays native wins award at bioscience symposium -1/30/2014, 11:26 AM

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Snow still piling up for Eicher family; vacation time extended -1/28/2014, 8:54 AM

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Celebration Church announces new series service -1/24/2014, 11:16 AM

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Eicher family rings in New Year in style -1/21/2014, 8:48 AM

Seeding to begin on I-70 in Sherman County -1/17/2014, 5:39 PM

The memories behind a bottle of wine -1/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Eichers gather as one big family for holiday -1/14/2014, 9:27 AM

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KDA creates easy-to-follow guidelines for farmers, ranchers -1/8/2014, 3:34 PM

Eichers busy during holiday season -1/7/2014, 8:18 AM

Kansas online tax filing now available through KS WebFile -1/6/2014, 4:22 PM

Rep. Huelskamp announces military academy nominations -1/6/2014, 2:42 PM

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Commerce Bank names O'Connor market president -1/3/2014, 2:02 PM

Fatalities on Kansas' roads hit all-time low in 2013 -1/3/2014, 10:15 AM

Dreams abound for a happy, peaceful new year in 2014 -1/1/2014, 12:45 PM

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Bridge replacement project to start on K-27 in Wallace County -12/23/2013, 8:30 PM

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Management minute -- Mentoring 101 -12/22/2013, 11:18 AM

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Another year's FHSU graduates find 95-percent rate of success in jobs, advanced study -12/20/2013, 11:42 AM

Public record, Dec. 20, 2013 -12/20/2013, 10:42 AM

What the Bible says: Is it really OK to OMG? -12/20/2013, 10:05 AM

FUMC to host night service -12/20/2013, 10:04 AM

Nex-Tech Wireless hosts annual holiday toy drive -12/19/2013, 10:04 AM

Holiday traditions build strong families -12/19/2013, 10:04 AM

Public record, Dec. 18, 2013 -12/18/2013, 10:42 AM

'The Desolation of Smaug' shows improvement -12/17/2013, 11:28 AM

Business Briefcase (Dec. 15, 2013) -12/15/2013, 3:20 PM

Chamber schedules events -12/13/2013, 8:50 AM

Utility, bank establish training program -12/11/2013, 8:07 AM

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SPOTLIGHT
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'Captain Phillips' is commanding

Published on -10/16/2013, 9:49 AM

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"Captain Phillips" tells the true story of Capt. Richard Phillips and the crew of the Maersk Alabama during the cargo ship's hijacking by Somali pirates in 2009. Very simply, this is a fantastic -- and powerful -- movie.

Much like there was in "Gravity," there is a scene in "Captain Phillips" that transcends the films greatness and blows through the barrier into iconic territory. In both cases, however, I feel I would be providing a disservice to describe these scenes more than I already have -- even saying where they occur within the movie is information enough to spoil some of the effect.

I will simply say this: When Tom Hanks is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in "Captain Phillips," the highlight reel that will be shown will be almost exclusively from the scene I am describing.

Cryptic acting achievements aside, "Captain Phillips" is a tense thriller that displays wonderful focus on its narrative. There are no distractions here, there are no cop-outs. There is very real and intimate danger.

What's more, "Captain Phillips" does an excellent job of putting different worlds on display. The film starts by introducing the world of commercial shipping, which is something I would imagine isn't familiar territory for most viewers. Next we see the turmoil of Somalia. The contrast between those two perspectives is startling, and the film does a great job of showing how heavily the circumstances of our birth affect the course of our lives.

It's very rare for a film to earn a six out of six from me. I cannot remember ever giving two in a row. "Captain Phillips" very much deserves its rating and its hype.

It is one of the best films of the year, and it is certainly the best Tom Hanks movie I've seen in close to a decade.

6 of 6 stars

James Gerstner works at Fort Hays State University Foundation. james.gerstner@gmail.com

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