02-19-2017  6:11 pm      •     
McMenamins

BIG BUDGET FILMS   

Battle of the Year (PG-13 for profanity and rude behavior) Musical drama about buddies (Laz Alonso and Josh Holloway) who assemble a talented, hip-hop dance team with dreams of bringing the B-Boy trophy back to the U.S. for the first time in 15 years. Cast includes Chris Brown, Josh Peck and Caity Lotz.



Prisoners (R for pervasive profanity and disturbing violence) Hugh Jackman stars in this vigilante crime thriller as a desperate father who decides to take the law into his own hands after being frustrated by the detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) handling the investigation into the Thanksgiving Day kidnapping of his 6 year-old daughter (Erin Gerasimovich) and her best friend (Kyla Drew Simmons). With Paul Dano, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo.  

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS  

After Tiller (PG-13 for mature themes and brief profanity) Pro-choice documentary discussing the diminishing number of physicians willing to perform abortions since the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas in 2009.   

Arise (Unrated) Empowerment eco-documentary, narrated by Darryl Hannah, paying homage to extraordinary Earth Mothers around the world who have dedicated their lives to healing the planet. 

C.O.G. (R for profanity and sexuality) Quixotic character study of a Yale grad and "Child of God" (Jonathan Groff) who takes a job off the grid at an Oregon apple farm where he fails to fit in with his fellow migrant workers. With Denis O'Hare, Casey Wilson and Dean Stockwell. (In English and Spanish with subtitles)

The Colony (Unrated) Sci-fi horror flick set at a frigid outpost during an Ice Age in 2045 when a band of beleaguered survivors find themselves not only fighting the elements but a horde of cannibals as well. Starring Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Zegers and Bill Paxton. 

Enough Said (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality, slapstick violence, crude humor and partial nudity) Romantic comedy about a divorced massage therapist (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who falls head over heels for a kindred spirit (James Gandolfini) whose embittered ex-wife (Catherine Keener) just happens to be one of her clients. Supporting cast includes Toni Collette, Ben Falcone and Amy Landecker.   

Generation Iron (PG-13 for mature themes and brief profanity) Weightlifting documentary following the world's top bodybuilders as they train for the Mr. Olympia competition. Featuring commentary by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Mickey Rourke, Michael Jai White and Buster Rhymes.    

Haute Cuisine (PG for brief profanity) Gustatory biopic chronicling the career of legendary French chef Hortense Laborie, who was summoned by President Francois Mitterrand to serve as his personal cook. (In French and English with subtitles)

Ip Man: The Final Fight (R for graphic violence) Martial arts biopic chronicling the later life of the legendary grandmaster (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang) when reluctantly forced out of retirement for a final fight against menacing mobsters from the dangerous underworld of the Triads. With Gillian Chung, Jordan Chan and Eric Tsang. (In Cantonese with subtitles)

Jewtopia (Unrated) Screen adaptation of the Off-Broadway play of the same name about two childhood friends (Joel David Moore and Ivan Sergei) who reunite as adults to help each other land their Ms. Right. Ensemble includes Jennifer Love Hewitt, Nicollette Sheridan, Camryn Manheim, Wendie Malick, Tom Arnold, Rita Wilson and Jon Lovitz.

Men at Lunch (Unrated) Depression Era documentary relating the untold story behind an iconic photograph taken of 11 construction workers sitting on a steel beam dangling high above Manhattan during a break from building Rockefeller Center.

The Muslims Are Coming! (Unrated) Tolerance is the theme of this concert flick featuring Muslim standup comedians as they attempt to combat Islamophobia by making uptight audiences laugh. With commentary by Soledad O'Brien, Russell Simmons, Rachel Maddow, Jon Stewart, Lewis Black and Janeane Garofalo. 

My Lucky Star (Unrated) Romantic comedy, a prequel to Sophie's Revenge, about a young woman (Ziyi Zhang) implicated in a diamond heist who falls for a spy (Leehom Wang) trying to save the world. With Yao Chen, Ruby Lin and Ada Choi. (In Mandarin with subtitles)

The Short Game (PG for mild epithets) Golf documentary about a tournament for 7 year-old prodigies hosted by North Carolina's Pinehurst Resort with the hope of spotting future greats. 

A Single Shot (R for nudity, sexuality, profanity, graphic violence and brief drug use) Cat-and-mouse thriller about a hunter (Sam Rockwell) on the run from a gang of criminals after pocketing $100,000 he found next to the body of a teenager (Kelly Reilly) they had just murdered. With Melissa Leo, Jeffrey Wright and William H. Macy.

Thanks for Sharing (R for profanity and graphic sexuality) Recovery comedy revolving around a trio of sex addicts (Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins and Josh Gad) who bond while undergoing treatment in a 12-Step program. With Gwyneth Paltrow, Joely Richardson, Alecia Moore and Patrick Fugit.

 

 

 

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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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