02-19-2017  10:52 am      •     
McMenamins
Quincy Jones and Whoopi Goldberg

PHOTO: Quincy Jones and Whoopi Jones at the Tribeca Film Festival showing of Keep on Keepin’ On a biopic about 93 year-old jazz legend Clark Terry.

BIG BUDGET FILMS   

The Hundred-Foot Journey (PG for mature themes, mild epithets, violence and brief sensuality) Three-time Oscar-nominee Lass Hallstrom directed this adaptation of Rochard Morais’ best-seller about an immigrant family which opens an Indian restaurant in a quaint village in the South of France, much to the chagrin of the steely proprietor (Helen Mirren) of a trendy bistro right down the street. Cast includes Om Puri, Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon. (In English, French and Hindi with subtitles)

Into the Storm (PG-13 for profanity, sexual references, and scenes of intense peril and destruction) Found footage thriller about some storm chasers and thrill-seekers who get more than they bargained for when they decide to film a tornado bearing down on a tiny town in Middle America. Co-starring Matt Walsh, Arlen Escarpeta, Richard Armitage and Sarah Wayne Callies.  

Step Up All In (PG-13 for profanity and sensuality) 5th installment in the street dance franchise revolves around an L.A. crew which ventures to Vegas to enter a competition where the winning team lands a lucrative pro contract. Ensemble includes Ryan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Adam G. Sevani and Stephen Boss. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (PG-13 for violence) Reboot of the adaptation of the comic book franchise finds the anthropomorphic protagonists (Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard and Pete Ploszek) rising from NYC’s sewers to fight their archenemy (William Fichtner) and his army of ninjas, with the help of an intrepid, young reporter (Megan Fox). Cast includes Whoopi Goldberg and Will Arnett, with voicework by Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub.

What If (PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and partial nudity) Romantic dramedy revolving around a med school dropout (Daniel Radcliffe) who develops feelings for his BFF (Zoe Kazan), despite the fact that she lives with her longtime boyfriend (Rafe Spall). With Megan Park, Adam Driver and Mackenzie Davis.   

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS 

About Alex (R for profanity and drug use) Jason Ritter stars as the title character of this nostalgic drama about a group of college friends’ eventful reunion to care for a suicidal pal over the course of a three-day weekend. Cast includes Aubrey Plaza, Maggie Grace, Max Minghella and Nate Parker.

After (R for profanity) Skeleton-in-the-closet drama about a cash-strapped matriarch (Kathleen Quinlan) whose already-fragile family’s stability is further threatened by the

-revelation of her big secret. With John Doman, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Diane Neal and Pablo Schreiber (brother of Liev).  

The Dog (Unrated) Gender-bending biopic about John Wojtowicz (1945-2006), whose robbery of a Brooklyn bank to pay for his boyfriend’s sex change served as the inspiration for the film Dog Day Afternoon.

Fifi Howls from Happiness (Unrated) Celebrity to obscurity documentary tracing the trajectory of the career of Bahman Mohassess, the flamboyantly gay artist known as the Persian Picasso, who went from national icon to persona non grata following the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979. (In Persian with subtitles)

James Cameron’s Deep Sea Challenge (PG for mild profanity and disaster images) 3D documentary chronicling the director of the Titanic’s submarine expedition to the ocean floor.

Keep on Keepin’ On (Unrated) Reverential biopic about 93 year-old jazz legend Clark Terry, trumpeter and flugelhorn pioneer who played with everyone from Duke Ellington to Count Basie to Dizzy Gillespie to Quincy Jones.

The Maid’s Room (Unrated) Paula Garces handles the title role in this psychological thriller, set in the Hamptons, as a summer season housekeeper for a rich couple (Annabelle Sciorra and Bill Camp) covering up their Princeton-bound son’s (Philip Ettinger) deadly hit-and-run car accident. With Remy Auberrjonois, John Brodsky and Stefanie Brown.  

Web Junkie (Unrated) Internet addiction is the subject of this expose’ examining a trio of adolescents undergoing treatment for the compulsive disorder at a rehabilitation center in Beijing, China. (In English and Mandarin with subtitles)

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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