02-19-2017  10:42 pm      •     
McMenamins

BIG BUDGET FILMS

The Lorax (PG for mild epithets) Danny DeVito stars as the title character in this animated adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic about an idealistic 12 year-old (Zac Efron), raised in an artificial reality, who searches for a real tree in order to impress the girl of his dreams (Taylor Swift). Voice cast includes Betty White, Ed Helms and Rob Riggle.

Project X (R for nudity, drug and alcohol abuse, mayhem, recklessness and pervasive profanity, sexuality, and crude humor) Raunchy teensploit revolving around three high school seniors (Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper and Jonathan Daniel Brown) who throw a wild house party that spirals totally out of control. With Alexis Knapp, Kirby Bliss Blanton and Dax Flame.

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

Art Is… The Permanent Revolution (Unrated) Agitprop documentary examining how printmakers, including Rembrandt, Goya and Picasso, have influenced the political landscape over the ages via graphic depictions of the human condition.

Being Flynn (R sexuality, drug use, pervasive profanity and brief nudity) Robert De Niro and Paul Dano co-star in this dysfunctional family dramedy about a young man mourning the loss of his mother (Julianne Moore) who is surprised to find his long-lost father living in a homeless center. With Olivia Thirlby, Lili Taylor and Dale Dickey.

Black Butterflies (Unrated) bittersweet biopic, set in South Africa in the Sixties, recounting the ill-fated arc of a defiant, anti-Apartheid poet (Carice van Houten) who found herself at odds with her father (Rutger Hauer) serving as the racist regime's Minister of Censorship. Supporting cast includes Liam Cunningham, Grant Swanby and Graham Clarke. 

Boy (Unrated) Coming-of-age drama, set in New Zealand in 1984, about an 11 year-old Michael Jackson fan (James Rolleston) who belatedly bonds with his absentee father (Taika Waititi) when the Prodigal hoodlum returns to town to unearth a buried treasure. With Moerangi Tihore, Cherilee Martin and Haze Reweti.

Heist: Who Stole the American Dream? (Unrated) The haves vs. the have-nots documentary chronicling the carefully-orchestrated dismantling of the U.S. middle-class by the corporatocracy with the help of politicians and lobbyists.

Let the Bullets Fly (Unrated) Action comedy, set in China in the Twenties, about a notorious crime boss (Wen Jiang) who poses as the newly-appointed mayor of a provincial town until he meets his match in a local mobster (Chow Yun-Fat). With Carina Lau, Kun Chen and You Ge. (In Mandarin and Cantonese with subtitles)

Patriocracy (Unrated) Middle-of-the-road documentary issuing an urgent call for reason in this age of political polarization. Featuring appearances by Eleanor Clift, Pat Buchanan and Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper.

The Salt of Life (Unrated) Midlife crisis comedy about an aging guy (Gianni Di Gregorio) neglected by his wife (Elisabetta Piccolomini) who decides to find out whether he's still attractive by flirting with neighborhood ladies. With Valeria De Franciscis, Alfonso Santagata and Valeria Cavalli. (In Italian with subtitles)

The Snowtown Murders (Unrated) Fact-based crime thriller, set in 1999, about an impressionable 16 year-old (Lucas Pittaway) who is recruited by his mother's (Louise Harvey) vigilante boyfriend (Daniel Henshall) to participate in a grisly killing spree around Adelaide, Australia. Cast includes Bob Adriaens, Matthew Howard and Anthony Groves.  

Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie (R for crude humor, graphic nudity, drug use, slapstick violence, and pervasive profanity and sexuality) Coarse comedy about a couple of guys (Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim) indebted to mobsters who try to revitalize a bankrupt mall as a way of repaying the loan they lost investing in a film that failed. With John C. Reilly, Will Ferrell and Mark Cuban.

The Woods (Unrated) Back-to-nature comedy about a bunch of young bohemians who retreat to the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with hopes of creating a utopian society. Cast includes Toby David, Justin Phillips and Nicola Persky.

Recently Published by The Skanner News

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
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