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Movie review: ‘The Martian’ makes you feel good to be an Earthling (+video)

Ridley Scott’s space operas have been pretty bleak. “Alien” and its follow-up prologue “Prometheus” carried us to places where everyone can hear you scream. “Blade Runner” brought killer androids from their slave confines on extraterrestrial colonies to destroy their creators on Earth. Scott’s goal has been to make us unsettled, not uplifted. Unlike the “Star Trek” franchise, he’s never inspired NASA engineers.

Comedian Gabriel ‘Fluffy’ Iglesias tries to ‘break even’ in new reality show (+video)

Sitting overlooking the ocean at a restaurant in Long Beach, Calif., comedian Gabriel Iglesias pulls out his cellphone. Scrolling through the notes section, he lands on a page dated Dec. 30, 2012. On it is the skeleton of the idea bringing him back to television screens on Thursday night, an unscripted show about his struggles eating healthy and working out while on tour.

Dark Circle writers ‘couldn’t be prouder’ of their new Shield

During the development process to create a wave of fresh heroes for Archie Comics’ Dark Circle imprint, editor Alex Segura reached out to writers Adam Christopher and Chuck Wendig and asked them for a new take on a classic American hero. And then, after seeing their initial pitch, Segura encouraged the writing duo to go bigger and bolder to reinvent the Shield.

Modern movie effects milestones

The original “Star Wars” trilogy (Episodes I-III, 1977-1983): Because CGI was still in its embryonic stages, miniature Millennium Falcons, puppet Yodas and AT-AT Walkers shot in stop-motion were among the elements used to transport audiences to that galaxy far, far away. Still, George Lucas’s first “Star Wars” movies set a new bar for what could be visually achieved in the mainstream blockbuster.

Contests and Promotions

The Wedding Expo
The Wedding Expo
Herald Democrat Wedding Expo 2015

Cruz, Colbert go back and forth over Ronald Reagan, gay marriage (+video)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, like so many of the Republican presidential candidates, frequently evokes Ronald Reagan. But as Cruz talked about trying to bring in so-called “Reagan Democrats” to his campaign on the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” the host wondered: how many of Reagan’s policies would Cruz or other candidates agree with?

‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ wins box office, ‘Black Mass’ and ‘Everest’ open strong (+video)

LOS ANGELES — “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” ignited the weekend box office with an estimated $30.3 million domestic debut, while the Johnny Depp gangster film “Black Mass” opened with some heat of its own.

Munich, beer festival near, glad to be at center of refugee crisis (+video)

MUNICH — The central rail station here these days is a maze of eager but confused young men with backpacks and plastic bags, and exhausted families with overstuffed luggage holding what’s left of their worldly possessions. They collapse against walls, squat on benches, or pace, trying to figure out how to navigate new lives in this medieval city.

SWAT killing of ex-sheriff’s son-in-law led to documentary ‘Peace Officer’ (+video)

When police killed his son-in-law in 2008, William “Dub” Lawrence, a retired lawman with a meticulous streak, started his own investigation, tracking bullet trajectories and scouring the crime scene in an obsession aimed at exposing the increased militarization that has turned many police forces into small armies.