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Michael Douglas wants to surprise audiences with Marvel's 'Ant-Man'

By Mary Milliken LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - After throwing audiences a curveball by playing flamboyant pianist Liberace, leading man Michael Douglas is ready to make another unconventional career choice, this time playing scientist Hank Pym in Marvel superhero film "Ant-Man."

Hollywood sets up Herculean box office clash

Hollywood is powering up for a clash of the titans this year, with two films about legendary demigod Hercules -- one starring teen heartthrob Kellan Lutz, and a more mature version later in the year. The superhero standoff -- Tinseltown seems prone to doing movies in pairs, after two adaptations of the Snow White tale last year -- comes 16 years after the last Hercules movie, by Disney in 1997.

Pilot error blamed for crash of Mexican vigilante leader's plane

Mexico City, Jan 7 (EFE).- The crash of a small plane carrying a self-defense group leader over the weekend in the western Mexican state of Michoacan was caused by pilot error, Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said Tuesday. Jose Manuel Mireles Valverde, leader of the Self-Defense Groups Council of Michoacan, was injured when the small plane went down on Saturday night. One person was killed and four others, including Mireles, were injured when the small plane made an emergency landing in La Huacana, a city in Michoacan.

Mexican vigilante leader wounded in plane accident

One person was killed and four wounded, including the leader of an anti-crime vigilante group, when the small plane in which they were traveling made a forced landing in western Mexican, officials said. The plane had a mechanical problem while in flight and was forced to the ground late Saturday, Michoacan state prosecutor Marco Vinicio Aguilera told AFP. Aboard the plane was Jose Manuel Mireles, the head of Self-Defense Council of Michoacan, a group of citizens that took up arms to defend themselves from drug gang violence.

Anna Paquin will not be in next "X-Men" movie

Arts Desk, Dec 23 (EFE).- The Rogue character played by actress Anna Paquin in the "X-Men" saga has disappeared in the editing of the latest sequel, "Days of Future Past," scheduled to premiere next May. After appearing in three films, Paquin did a scene for the fourth film in the series, but its director, Bryan Singers, decided to cut it from the final edit. Singer told Entertainment Weekly that the scene, which Paquin shared with Ian McKellen as Magneto and Patrick Stewart as Professor X, turned out to be "extraneous."

N.J. woman who tried to place hit on romance rival gets 10 years

By Victoria Cavaliere NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New Jersey woman who admitted to trying to hire a hitman to kill a romantic rival was sentenced on Wednesday to 10 years in prison for the failed plot. Nicole Faccenda, 44, of Lyndhurst, received the maximum possible sentence during her hearing in federal court in Newark. Faccenda asked for a reduced sentence and cried throughout the proceedings.



Wis. collector puts rare comics on auction block; auctioneers say items likely to bring in $1M

STEVENS POINT, Wis. - Holy auction block, Batman! Comic book collector and industry legend Maggie Thompson of Wisconsin has decided to put some 500 pieces of her personal collection up for auction over the next few months. Nearly 90 issues went on the block Thursday, including the first issue of "The Avengers," ''Journey Into Mystery" No. 83, which features the first appearance of Thor, and the first issue of "The Incredible Hulk."

Superman artist, 91, seeks return of JFK comic-book drawings

By Bernard Vaughan NEW YORK (Reuters) - An aging comic book artist is racing against time to recover art he created depicting Superman and President John F. Kennedy for a comic book that was to be published the same month as Kennedy's assassination. Earlier this week, Al Plastino, 91, asked a New York state court to order Heritage Auctions to name the person who hired the Dallas-based business to sell the original artwork, "Superman's Mission for President Kennedy," so he could seek its return.

Spider-Man Broadway musical to close in January, move to Vegas

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" will end its Broadway run in January, a spokesman said on Monday, and the popular musical is set to move to Las Vegas. The show, the most expensive staged on Broadway, had a rocky start in 2010 with cast injuries during high-wire stunts and opening night delays. "We are excited to report that the next destination for SPIDER-MAN will be the entertainment capital of the world: Las Vegas," Rick Miramontez, a spokesman for the show, said in an email to Reuters.
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