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Appealing leads buoy up underwhelming teen romp

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REID, LUSTRE AND PARAS. Youthful vibe in “Diary ng Panget’s” romantic roundelay

The big leap of “Diary ng Panget” from page to screen has something going for it—its appealing cast, led by Nadine Lustre, James Reid, Andre Paras and Yassi Pressman. When we watched the film on its opening day, its “kilig” moments had its followers happily falling into a swoon, as its actors carried the weight of their characters’ woes lightly on their young, still-unaffected shoulders—and it doesn’t hurt that they’re easy on the eye.

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Faulkner classic rekindles fire in James Franco’s belly

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FRANCO. Less is more.

James Franco’s decision to act in and direct the screen adaptation of William Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” is brave. The classic 1930 novel’s stream-of-consciousness style and complex narrative structure provide a challenge that has rekindled the fire in the actor-director’s belly.

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Authentic youth buoys up new ‘Romeo and Juliet’

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BOOTH AND STEINFELD. Cast as Romeo and Juliet, respectively, in latest adaptation of Shakespeare classic.

One of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays, “Romeo and Juliet,” has been performed for centuries all over the world, and has had at least five film versions.   George Cukor led off in 1936 with an acclaimed “filmization” that remains viewable despite the passage of many years.   In 1954, Renato Castellani directed Laurence Harvey [...]

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Joyce Ching’s ‘8 Secrets’

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My father suggested Bo Sanchez’s book “8 Secrets of the Truly Rich” to me. It has taught me that life is not just about becoming wealthy.

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Book that Lexi Fernandez recommends

Lexi Fernandez PHOTO BY: ANDREW TADALAN / PDI

I highly recommend William P. Young’s novel “The Shack.”

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Coming soon: Boots Anson-Roa’s memoir

BOOTS Anson Roa

“Misibis Bay” actress Boots Anson-Roa plans to write a book soon. “(The late photographer) Vic Valenciano, (singer) Gary V.’s dad, had been encouraging me to write it for so long. He even did a mockup, complete with photos. Only the text was missing. I plan to come out with it when I turn 70, a year and a half from now, as tribute to Tito Vic.”

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Billy Crystal’s book provides welcome relief from grief

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STAGE version of “700 Sundays” returns to Broadway this year. Right: The comedian as a precocious, young performer.

The passing of our dear dad months ago has shaken our world in ways we could not imagine. Being a daddy’s girl, I feel a deep sense of loss and sadness every time I realize that I will no longer see him.

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Universal announces new Harry Potter expansion

Britain's Kate the Duchess of Cambridge with her husband Prince William, right, and his brother Prince Harry raise their wands on the film set used to depict Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter Films during the inauguration of "Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden" near Watford, approximately 18 miles north west of central London, Friday, April 26, 2013. As well as attending the inauguration Friday at the former World War II airfield site, the royals will undertake a tour of Warner Bros. "Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter", where they will view props, costumes and models from the Harry Potter film series. (AP Photo/Chris Jackson, Pool)

Fans of Harry Potter and magic, rejoice: Universal Orlando is expanding its Wizarding World of Harry Potter with a new area based on the books’ fictional scenes in Diagon Alley and London.

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Books: Alfred Vargas

Alfred Vargas. FILE PHOTO

Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” was my favorite book back in college. It’s about a shepherd looking for inspiration and the meaning of life. It’s also about a dreamer who discovers that dreams could come true if you have faith in yourself.   It’s special to me because I read this at a point in my [...]

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‘Twilight’ author Meyer plots another trilogy

This film image released by Summit Entertainment shows Kristen Stewart, left, and Robert Pattinson in a scene from "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2." AP/Summit Entertainment, Andrew Cooper

Stephenie Meyer’s “The Host” doesn’t have much in common with her Twilight series, except maybe the potential for a franchise.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger says infidelity was his ‘biggest personal failure’

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Arnold-Schwarzenegger

“I have four wonderful kids,” Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed in a recent interview. He caught himself and quickly added with a smile, “Actually five.” The fifth one, of course, is the child he fathered with the family’s housekeeper, Mildred Baena. “They (his children) have been a great joy. Life couldn’t be better.”

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Jackson, cast discuss ‘The Hobbit’

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Cast members, from left, Martin Freeman, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, director Peter Jackson and Ian McKellen attend the premiere of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Thursday Dec. 6, 2012 in New York. Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Many fans are eagerly anticipating a return to the fictional world of Middle-earth with next week’s general release of the first movie in “The Hobbit” trilogy. Director Peter Jackson and the film’s stars speak to The Associated Press about making “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”:

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