02-19-2017  10:43 pm      •     
McMenamins
Floyd Norman: An Animated Life movie

BIG BUDGET FILMS

Don't Breathe (R for terror, violence, profanity, sexual references and disturbing content) Suspense thriller about a gang (Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette and Daniel Zovatto) that gets more than they bargained after burglarizing the home of a rich blind man (Stephen Lang) they thought would be an easy target. With Emma Bercovici, Franciska Torocsik and Christian Zagia.

Hands of Stone (R for sexuality, nudity and pervasive profanity) Reverential biopic chronicling the life and career of welterweight boxer Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez). A-list ensemble cast includes Robert De Niro, Ellen Barkin, John Turturro, Ruben Blades, Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Usher Raymond.

 

Mechanic: Resurrection (R for profanity and pervasive violence) Jason Statham reprises title role in this high-octane sequel which finds the retired hit man blackmailed into performing a trio of dangerous hits by the kidnapper who's abducted the love of his life (Jessica Alba). With Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Yeoh and Sam Hazeldine.

Southside with You (PG-13 for smoking, a violent image, brief profanity and a drug reference) Day-in-the-life retrospective revisiting the summer day in Chicago in 1989 when Barack (Parker Sawyers) and Michelle Obama (Tika Sumpter) went on their first date. Supporting cast includes Vanessa Bell Calloway, Donald Paul and Deborah Geffner. See Kam's full review of this film.

 

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

Black Songbird (Unrated) Revenge thriller revolving around a rookie journalist (Jenique Bennett) recruited by the FBI to infiltrate a nightclub run by the mobsters who murdered her childhood friends. Support cast includes Felicia White, Brynn Mosley and Antwan Mclaurin.

Blood Father (R for graphic violence, pervasive profanity and brief drug use) Mel Gibson stars in the title role of this action thriller about an ex-con's attempt to protect his estranged, 16 year-old daughter (Erin Moriarty) from the drug cartel that wants her dead. With William H. Macy, Diego Luna and Michael Parks.

Floyd Norman: An Animated Life (Unrated) Reverential biopic about 80 year-old Floyd Norman, the first African-American animator hired by Walt Disney Pictures. Featuring commentary by Whoopi Goldberg, Leonard Maltin and Don Hahn.

 

The Hollars (PG-13 for brief profanity and mature themes) John Krasinski directed and stars in this Prodigal Son dramedy as a struggling, NYC artist who moves back home to the Midwest with his pregnant girlfriend (Anna Kendrick) to help care for his ailing mom (Margo Martindale). With Richard Jenkins, Sharlto Copley, Randall Park and Josh Groban.

In Order of Disappearance (R for graphic violence and pervasive profanity) Dark comedy revolving around a mild-mannered milquetoast-turned-bloodthirsty vigilante (Stellan Skarsgard) who embarks on a revenge-fueled killing spree after his son is murdered by mobsters. With Bruno Ganz, Birgitte Hjort Sorensen and David Sakurai. (In Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, English, Serbian and German with subtitles)

Is That You? (Unrated) Romance drama revolving an unemployed, 60 year-old, film projectionist (Alon Aboutboul) who moves from Israel to America to search for his long-lost childhood sweetheart. featuring Rani Blair, Patrick Michael Kelly and Naruna Kaplan de Macedo.

Kate Plays Christine (Unrated) Sobering biopic chronicling Kate Lyn Sheil's preparations to portray Christine Chubbuck, the suicidal, TV news anchor who shot herself in the head on the air in 1974.

Mia Madre (R for profanity) Bittersweet dramedy, set in Rome, revolving around a film director's (Margherita Buy) attempt to care for her terminally-ill mother (Giulia Lazzarini) while shooting a movie with a disappointing leading man (John Turturro). With writer/director Nanni Moretti, Beatrice Mancini and Stefano Abbati. (In English, Italian and French with subtitles)

Remember the Goal (PG for mature themes and and drug references) Faith-based drama revolving around the efforts of the cross-country coach (Allee Sutton Hethcoat) at an all-girls, Christian prep school to prepare the team for a big track meet while simultaneously ministering to their personal life issues. Co-starring Quinn Alexis, Sydney Marks and Jayla Palmer.

The Sea of Trees (PG-13 for mature themes, disturbing images and brief profanity) Character-driven drama about two suicidal men (Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe) who have second thoughts about taking their own lives after making friends in a forest at the base of Mount Fuji. With Naomi Watts, Katie Aselton and Jordan Gavaris. (In English and Japanese 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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