02-19-2017  1:11 pm      •     
McMenamins
Keep On Keepin' On

PHOTO: Still from Keep on Keepin' On

BIG BUDGET FILMS

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INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

But Always (Unrated) Romance drama about childhood sweethearts (Nicholas Tse and Yuanyuan Gao), raised in Beijing, who go their separate ways only to fall in love all over again a decade later when their paths cross in New York City. With Lam Suet, Qin Hao, Du Haitao and Luo Shi. (In Mandarin with subtitles)

Falcon Rising (R for sexuality and pervasive profanity) Michael Jai White stars as the title character of this revenge thriller, set in Brazil, as an ex-Marine suffering from PTSD who travels to the slums of Sao Paulo to find the attackers who left his sister (Laila Ali) for dead. Support cast features Neal McDonough, Lateef Crowder and Hazuki Cato.

Frontera (PG-13 for rape, violence and brief profanity) Neo-Western about a pregnant undocumented alien (Eva Longoria) held for ransom by the corrupt coyotes she hired to sneak her into New Mexico where she hopes to come to the assistance of her murder suspect husband (Michael Pena). With Ed Harris, Amy Madigan and Kristen Rakes.

God Help the Girl (Unrated) Musical drama, unfolding in Scotland over the course of the summer, revolving around an anorexic aspiring songwriter (Emily Browning) who escapes from a rural mental hospital to find fame and fortune in the city of Glasgow. Co-starring Olly Alexander, Hannah Murray and Pierre Boulanger.

Gringo Trails (Unrated) Eco-expose’ examining the negative impact of tourism around the planet in places as far afield as Bolivia, Thailand, Mali and Bhutan

The Identical (PG for smoking and mature themes) Coming-of-age drama about the diverging fates of twins (Blake Rayne), separated at birth, one, who becomes a pop star after being raised by their parents (Brian Geraghty and Amanda Crew), while the other fails to fulfill his potential after being adopted by a domineering minister (Ray Liotta) and his deferential wife (Ashley Judd). With Seth Green, Danny Woodburn and Joe Pantoliano.

Innocence (Unrated) Romantic fantasy revolving around a 16 year-old enrollee (Sophie Curtis) at an exclusive, Manhattan prep school run by a coven of witches who preserve their youth by drinking the blood of virgin students. Co-starring Kelly Reilly, Graham Phillips and Linus Roache.

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.

Kelly & Cal (Unrated) Tale of forbidden love about a middle-aged housewife (Juliette Lewis) suffering from post-partum depression who gets a new lease on life from a secret romance with the paraplegic teen (Jonny Weston) living next door. Cast includes Josh Hopkins, Cybill Shepherd, Lucy Owen and Lusia Strus.

Last Days in Vietnam (Unrated) Rory Kennedy (daughter of Ethel and Robert) directed this documentary chronicling the chaotic final days of the fall of in Saigon.

Levitated Mass (Unrated) “How did they do that?” documentary detailing the installation of a dangling 340-ton granite boulder wedged over a walkway in the L.A. County Museum by Michael Heizer as a work of art.

The Longest Week (PG-13 for smoking and sexuality) Romantic dramedy about a spoiled-rotten, 40 year-old playboy (Jason Bateman) who steals his BFF’s (Billy Crudup) girlfriend (Olivia Wilde) after being disinherited and evicted from his posh bachelor pad by his filthy-rich divorcing parents. With Jenny Slate, Barry Primus and Tony Roberts.

Memphis (Unrated) Atmospheric character study about a modern-day pied piper (Willis Earl Beal) who wanders around the city of Memphis amassing a motley following while singing the blues. Cast includes Constance Brantley, Larry Dodson, Devonte Hull and Lopaka Thomas.

Naked Opera (Unrated) Dying wish documentary about a gay sugar daddy with a terminal illness whose porn star boy-toy helps fulfill his last request by staging an all-nude production of his favorite opera, Don Giovanni. (In German, French, English, Italian and Luxembourgish with subtitles)

The Rule (Unrated) Inspirational documentary about the overachieving students at St. Benedict’s Prep, a Catholic school in Newark, New Jersey whose mostly black and Latino graduates enjoy a nearly 100% college acceptance rate.

Wetlands (Unrated) Romantic dramedy about a sexually-adventurous 18 year-old girl (Carla Juri) who bonds with her male nurse (Christoph Letkowski) after a shaving accident lands her in the hospital. With Marlen Kruse, Meret Becker and Axel Milberg. (In German 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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  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
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  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
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