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RANDALL KING Ñ MOVIES

What's Xenu with you?

Initially, director Paul Thomas Anderson claimed Philip Seymour Hoffman's guru (right) in The Master was not based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, but now that the movie (starting tomorrow) is out, we can report obvious similarities, including intense psychological "auditing" (referred to in the movie as "processing"), the Hubbard doctrine that man is not an animal and a belief in reincarnation. The big question now is: What would Anderson's Magnolia star Tom Cruise think of the movie?

BRAD OSWALD Ñ TV

PBS gives birth to a bouncing baby series

The U.S. public broadcaster has long used British costume dramas as the primary building blocks of its scripted programming primarily under the Masterpiece and Mystery! franchises. This week, PBS introduces its latest across-the-pond offering as a stand-alone title, confident that it will be as big a hit in North America as it was when it first aired on BBC. And it should: Call the Midwife, which premieres Sunday, is a brilliantly charming drama based on author Jennifer Worth's memoirs about midwifery in London's East End in the 1950s.

JILL WILSON / BOOKS

Tooting his own horn

Michael Chabon's latest novel, Telegraph Avenue, finds the virtuosic writer in show-off mode, with a 12-page chapter that's one long single sentence. But that doesn't take away from the book's warmth, as Chabon throws his heart into the intricately woven tale of two record-store owners battling indifference, changing tastes and the push and pull of their families -- not to mention kung fu, leisure suits, lesbian marching bands and an African grey parrot.

MORLEY WALKER / BOOKS

Harry might be shocked and appalled

Characters dropping F-bombs is not what you would expect from the pen of the author of the world's most successful children's series. But J.K. Rowling clearly does not want to repeat herself. A casual glance through her first adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, which hits stores today, suggests that Rowling has delivered a whole different can of Bertie Botts's Every Flavour Beans.

KEVIN PROKOSH / THEATRE

A hatful of memories

Canadian acting legend Gordon Pinsent will be in Winnipeg Oct. 18-19 to promote his autobiography Next (McClelland & Stewart, $32.99). This city is where his 60-year-old career was launched after he was discharged from the infantry. He was a man in a hurry and in 1954 managed to talk himself into parts in two plays, including Twelfth Night, before he had ever walked onto a stage. The pioneering Pinsent was there onstage for opening night of the first Manitoba Theatre Centre production, A Hatful of Rain.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 27, 2012 E2

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