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  • Review: 'Man Down' waits too long to deliver worthy message

    "Man Down" carries a poignant message about American veterans' mental health needs, but you may give up on the movie before it gets there. Nothing is clear until the film's final moments, which hit with a gut punch just before the credits roll.Until then, the story is told through disjointed flashbacks that make it hard to know what's going on and who to root for. Director Dito Montiel bounces between boot camp, active duty in Afghanistan and life in post-apocalyptic America, with star Shia LaBeouf's haircut and beard scruff the only real indicator of where we are in time.LaBeouf's performance is powerful, maybe his best to date, but it's unduly burdened by an erratic story structure that doesn't engender empathy for his character.He plays Gabe, a Marine who enlisted with his lifelong best friend, Devin (Jai Courtney). When we first see the two men, they're dirty and bearded, not in uniform, brandishing guns in a bombed-out city as they desperately look for Gabe's son. Gabe carries a worn picture in his pocket of his wife, Natalie (Kate Mara), and their towheaded little boy, Jonathan (Charlie Shotwell, heartbreaking in the final scenes).Suddenly, uniformed, clean-shaven Gabe is in an office being questioned by a military counselor (Gary Oldman, disappointingly flat). The counselor is asking about "the incident," and Gabe is stoic.Then it's basic training at Camp Lejeune, where Gabe and Devin are new recruits being toughened up by an unrelenting drill sergeant. Natalie sweetly shaves Gabe's head as he prepares to ship out to Afghanistan.

  • Olympic hero Michael Phelps looks to dip his toes in tech

    SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Michael Phelps wants to dive into Silicon Valley's investment opportunities as he tries to make the transition from Olympic swimming star and product pitchman to entrepreneur."I would love to get involved, whether it's in a couple little startups here and there, take a little risk, have some fun and see where it goes," Phelps said in an interview during a recent visit to San Jose, California while appearing at an Intuit software conference.For now, Phelps isn't providing any details about what he is going to do, though he says he has been getting advice from venture capitalists and other experienced investors in Silicon Valley startups.Getting into tech investing would be a new direction for Phelps, whose business experience to date consists mostly of his own line of swimwear and endorsement deals with the likes of Under Armour, Visa and Wheaties.These and other big brands have paid him an estimated $75 million during his career. That's far more than the $1.65 million that he received from the U.S. Olympic Committee and Speedo for winning a record 28 medals, including 23 golds, in five Olympics. He's still promoting products; he is currently doing commercials for computer chipmaker Intel in a campaign that began in October.Whatever he does next, Phelps isn't ready to start his own investment fund, like retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant did earlier this year with entrepreneur Jeff Stibel. And if Phelps has ideas for founding a startup of his own, he's keeping them to himself.

  • NBC boss and hit-making producer Grant Tinker dies at age 90

    NEW YORK (AP) — Grant Tinker, who brought new polish to the TV world and beloved shows including "Hill Street Blues" to the audience as both a producer and a network boss, has died. He was 90.Tinker died Monday at his Los Angeles home, according to his son, producer Mark Tinker.Though he had three tours of duty with NBC, the last as its chairman, Tinker was perhaps best-known as the nurturing hand at MTM Enterprises, the production company he founded in 1970 and ran for a decade.Nothing less than a creative salon, MTM scored with some of TV's most respected and best-loved programs, including "Lou Grant," ''Rhoda," ''The Bob Newhart Show" and, of course, the series that starred his business partner and then-wife, Mary Tyler Moore."I am deeply saddened to learn that my former husband and professional mentor Grant Tinker has passed away," Moore said in a statement. "Grant was a brilliant, driven executive who uniquely understood that the secret to great TV content was freedom for its creators and performing artists. This was manifest in his 'first be best and then be first' approach."Tinker summed it up with typical self-effacement in a 1994 interview with The Associated Press: "I just had the good luck to be around people who did the kind of work that the audience appreciates. The success just rubbed off on me."

Black American journey finally enshrined in national museum

When the Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture opens this week alongside the Washington Monument and the National Museum of American History, it will firmly — and finally — anchor the black experience in the nation's narrative.

  • icon Posted: September 25

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Arizona Biltmore providing Thanksgiving feasts

This Thanksgiving, the Arizona Biltmore will celebrate the holiday with a variety of feasts fit for families, friends and loved ones alike, with a special take-out menu for those on the go.

  • icon Posted: November 14

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