06 26 2016
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Divergent

BIG BUDGET FILMS   

Divergent (PG-13 for intense violence, mature themes and some sensuality) Futuristic sci-fi, set in a supposedly-utopian society where people are segregated by personality, although anyone who fails to fit into one of five groups ends-up condemned to death. Starring Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, Mekhi Phifer, Ashley Judd, Zoe Kravitz, Theo James and Maggie Q.     

Muppets Most Wanted (PG for mild action) Animated adventure set in Europe where the Muppets unwittingly become embroiled in a jewel heist hatched by a Kermit the Frog look-a-like (Steve Whitmore). Voice cast includes Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell, with cameos by Lady Gaga, Sean Diddy Combs, Celine Dion, Zach Galifianakis, Josh Groban, Tony Bennett, Usher and Salma Hayek.   

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS   

50 to 1 (PG-13 for suggestive material and a bar fight) Fact-based drama chronicling the road trip from New Mexico to Kentucky undertaken by a posse of cowboys when their crooked-footed horse miraculously qualifies for the Derby. Starring Skeet Ulrich, William Devane and Christian Kane.  

American Revolutionary (Unrated) Reverential biopic about Grace Lee Boggs, the 97 year-old, progressive political activist who, for many decades, has dedicated her life to the plight of the poor people of Detroit. Featuring commentary by Danny Glover, Angela Davis and Bill Ayers. 

Anita (Unrated) Ugly biopic about beauty queen-turned-gay rights opponent Anita Bryant (Uma Thurman) whose homophobic crusade led to her divorce and bankruptcy, and heralded the demise of her showbiz career.  

Awakened (Unrated) Supernatural thriller about a young woman (Julianne Michelle) who gets help from beyond the grave while unearthing the truth about whether her father (John Savage) murdered her mother (Kiva Dawson) when she was a child. Featuring Steven Bauer, Edward Furlong and Sally Kirkland.

A Birder’s Guide to Everything (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality, drug use and partial nudity) Ornithological comedy about a 15 year-old bird watcher (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who embarks on an expedition with a couple of friends in search of the supposedly-extinct Labrador Duck. With Ben Kingsley, James Le Gros and Katie Chang.

Blood Ties (R for sexuality, violence, brief drug use and pervasive profanity) Gangster saga, set in 1974, revolving around two brothers (Clive Owen and Billy Crudup) operating on opposite sides of the law in their Brooklyn neighborhood. Ensemble cast includes James Caan, Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, Jamie Hector and Griffin Dunne.

Cheap Thrills (Unrated) Dark comedy about an unemployed auto mechanic (Pat Healy) who, for some much-needed cash, accepts a rich couple’s (David Koechner and Sara Paxton) series of increasingly twisted dares. With Ethan Embry, Amanda Fuller and Laura Covelli.  

God’s Not Dead (PG for mature themes, brief violence and an accident scene) Christian-oriented drama about a college freshman (Shane Harper) who finds his faith challenged by a philosophy professor’s (Kevin Sorbo) pressure to embrace atheism for a passing grade. Featuring Dean Cain, Jim Gleason and Willie Robertson.   

It Felt Like Love (Unrated) Coming-of-age drama about an envious, 14 year-old virgin (Gina Piersanti) who decides to seduce an older boy (Ronen Rubinstein) to match the exploits of her sexually-active BFF (Giovanna Salimeni). Support cast includes Nick Rosen, Richie Folio and Andrew McCord.

Just a Sigh (Unrated) Serendipitous romance drama about the love which blossoms when a miserably-married actress (Emmanuelle Devos) and a grieving literature professor (Gabriel Byrne) sit across from each other on a train traveling from Calais to Paris. With Gilles Privat, Aurelia Petit and Laurent Capelluto. (In French and English with subtitles)

Maladies (Unrated) Dream deferred drama about a mentally-ill, soap opera star (James Franco) who retires prematurely to a quiet coastal town with his deranged sister (Fallon Goodson) and best friend (Catherine Keener). Cast includes David Strathairn, Jean Carter and Jon Prescott. 

McCanick (R for profanity, graphic violence and brief drug use) David Morse stars in the title role of this out-of-the-closet drama chronicling an eventful day-in-the-life of a cop with a big secret. Featuring Mike Vogel, Tracie Thoms, Aaron Yoo and recently-deceased Cory Monteith in the late Glee star’s final screen appearance.  

The Missing Picture (Unrated) Claymation documentary recreating the crimes against humanity committed by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the late Seventies. (In French with subtitles)

Nymphomaniac: Part One (Unrated) Lars Von Trier (Breaking the Waves) directed this erotic drama in which a 50 year-old woman (Charlotte Gainsbourg) recounts her adventurous sex life to the Good Samaritan (Stellan Skarsgard) who came to the rescue after she was beaten and left for dead in an alley. With Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman and Willem Dafoe.

Rob the Mob (R for sexuality, drug use and pervasive profanity) Crime caper about a couple (Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda) that stumbles upon something unexpected at an underground club in the process of attempting to fleece the Mafia. Support cast features Ray Romano, Andy Garcia and Griffin Dunne.  

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  • ST. LOUIS (AP) — A draft of the Democratic Party's policy positions reflects the influence of Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign: endorsing steps to break up large Wall Street banks, advocating a $15 hourly wage, urging an end to the death penalty. Hillary Clinton's supporters turned back efforts by Sanders' allies to promote a Medicare-for-all single-payer health care system and a carbon tax to address climate change, and freeze hydraulic fracking. While the platform does not bind the Democratic nominee to the stated positions, it serves as a guidepost for the party moving forward. Party officials approved the draft early Saturday. The Democratic National Convention's full Platform Committee will discuss the draft at a meeting next month in Orlando, Florida, with a vote at the convention in Philadelphia in late July. Sanders said Friday he would vote for Clinton, the presumptive nominee, in the fall election, but so far has stopped short of fully endorsing the former secretary of state or encouraging his millions of voters to back her candidacy. The Vermont senator has said he wants the platform to reflect his goals — and those representing him at a St. Louis hotel said they had made progress. "We lost some but we won some," said James Zogby, a Sanders supporter on the committee. "We got some great stuff in the platform that has never been in there before." Added Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., a Sanders ally: "We've made some substantial moves forward." Deliberating late into Friday, the group considered language on the Israel-Palestinian conflict, an issue that has divided Democrats. The committee defeated an amendment led by Zogby that would have called for providing Palestinians with "an end to occupation and illegal settlements" and urged an international effort to rebuild Gaza. The draft reflects Clinton's views and advocates working toward a "two-state solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict" that guarantees Israel's security with recognized borders "and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity." In many cases, Clinton's side gave ground to Sanders. The document calls for the expansion of Social Security and says Americans should earn at least $15 an hour, referring to the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour as a "starvation wage," a term often used by Sanders. Sanders has pushed for a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Clinton has supported efforts to raise the minimum wage to that level but has said states and cities should raise the bar as high as possible. Sanders' allies wanted the draft to specify calls for a $15 per hour minimum wage indexed with inflation. Clinton's side struck down a direct link, noting the document elsewhere included a call to "raise and index the minimum wage." The committee also adopted language that said it supports ways to prevent banks from gambling with taxpayers' bank deposits, "including an updated and modernized version of Glass-Steagall." Sanders wants to reinstate the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited commercial banks from engaging in investment banking activities. Clinton does not, but says her proposed financial changes would cast a wider net by regulating the banking system. Also in the draft is a call for the abolition of the death penalty. Clinton said during a debate this year that capital punishment should only be used in limited cases involving "heinous crimes." Sanders said the government should not use it. Sanders, a vociferous opponent of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was unable to get language into the document opposing the trade deal. As a result, the party avoided an awkward scenario that would have put the platform at odds with President Barack Obama. Clinton and Sanders have opposed the deal. Committee members backed a measure that said "there are a diversity of views in the party" on the pact and reaffirmed that Democrats contend any trade deal "must protect workers and the environment." In a setback for Sanders, the panel narrowly rejected amendments that would have imposed a tax on carbon and imposed a national freeze on fracking. The panel deliberated for about nine hours following several late nights and long hours of policy exchanges between the two campaigns and the Democratic National Committee. Sanders, in a statement, said he was "disappointed and dismayed" that the group voted down the measure opposing the TPP. But he was pleased with the proposals on Glass-Steagall and the death penalty — and vowed to fight on. "Our job is to pass the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party," he said.
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  • VIDEO: Watch Columbia Riverkeeper argue trains are unsafe    
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  • VIDEO: Vermont senator says he will vote for Clinton if she wins nomination                  
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  • Nearly half of advisory panel members have ties to drug companies      
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