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Articles by DIana Beechener

Beautiful effects and interplanetary drama isn’t enough to make up for a terrible lead

When confederate soldier John Carter (Taylor Kitsch: Friday Night Lights) realizes he’s on Mars, he is filled with wonder and amazement. I tell you this now, because it’s hard to decipher what Carter thinks or feels since Kitsch plays him with a slack-jawed blankness that makes you wonder if there’s enough air on the red planet to support brainwaves.
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Actress Mary Ann Jung breathes life into women’s history

It’s business as usual at the Pasadena Senior Center, until Mary Ann Jung walks in waving a knife.
    “Julia Child presents the chicken sisters,” Jung trills in Child’s unmistakable accent. Whipping the coverlet off a table, she reveals raw chickens of several sizes.
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Sometimes life won’t let you make good decisions

Nader (Peyman Moadi: About Elly) and Simin (Leila Hatami: Aseman-e mahboob) are in the middle of a bitter divorce and custody battle, made more bitter by the fact that neither wants to end the marriage.
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Get to know local amphibians

This year’s elongated February marked a different sort of Leap Year. FrogWatch USA joined with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for an amphibious census.
    With nearly one-third of known amphibious species thought to be in danger of extinction, FrogWatch USA is hopping mad.
    You can help combat species endangerment and extinction in several ways.
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There’s a thin line between straightforward and uninteresting

Modern thrillers are typically bogged down with fantastical plots, unnecessary twists and red herrings. Gone avoids most of these pitfalls with a simple thriller plotline that’s easy to follow. In doing so, it becomes a boring potboiler.
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Love means never having to say you’re sorry about illegal surveillance

CIA agents Tuck (Tom Hardy: Warrior) and FDR (Chris Pine: Unstoppable) are top agents assigned to take down German terrorist brothers. The job goes bad, terrorist Heinrich (Til Schweiger: New Year’s Eve) vows revenge and the two agents are grounded in the Los Angeles field office.
    What do bored agents do when they can’t wear suits and shoot up nightclubs?
    They look for love in this crazy modern world.
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Teen Ania Kelly knows how to handle herself in the big show

At 16, Ania Kelly has already mastered the art of the leash. The Dunkirk teen took top prize in the Junior Showmanship competition at this year’s 136th Westminster Dog Show, pairing with her English cocker spaniel Wizard to best over 100 competitors.
    A five-time veteran of Westminster, Kelly is a third-generation handler.
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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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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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In 2011, the terrier was king of the box office

If you want to stand out in movies, never work with dogs or children. This Oscar season, however, films featuring terriers are racking up the nominations.
    First popular in screwball films of the 1930s, such as The Thin Man and Bringing Up Baby, terriers dropped back to the relative obscurity of television shows such as Fraiser and Wishbone.
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