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What should we name Trump: the Sequel?

The latest in presidencies and movies

Well, President-elect Trump scored a sleeper hit with his stunning election-day performance at the ballot box. And what do studios do after scoring a hit? They greenlight a sequel! Let's get the obvious options out of the way: Trump 2: The Trumpening; 2 Trump 2 Furious; Trump 2: Nuclear Boogaloo; Trump 2: Judgment Day, etc. Leave your ideas in the comments. Oh, and be sure to check out Scott Marks' roundup of Trump cameos/performances prior to this, his dramatic triumph.

Movie

Eagle Huntress **

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Documentarian Otto Bell’s titular huntress — a 13-year-old Kazakh named Aisholpan who hails from a family boasting generations of champion (male) eagle hunters — is impossible not to like and/or root for. She’s cheerful, natural, diligent, sweet, and full of dreams about following in her father’s footsteps. So Dad consults with Grandpa and then helps his daughter to capture and train her own eagle in preparation for competition. If Bell had stuck with that story, we might know more about how Dad found that secluded eagle’s nest, or how Aisholpan managed to excel the way she did, or what makes one eagle or hunter better than another. Something fascinating to go along with the breathtaking landscapes and thrilling avian action. But then there might not have been time for the girl-power narrative, featuring tut-tutting old-timers running through the standard traditional objections: girls aren’t strong enough, girls belong at home, it’s always been men, etc. (Not that these grumps present any real obstacles: our heroine registers at the contest with nary a bleat raised in protest.) And what good is personal triumph unless it’s also a political one? In Kazakh with English subtitles.

Find showtimes

So, there have been people around the internet wondering how to talk to their kids — and daughters in particular, given the Access Hollywood comments — about a Trump presidency. I'm not going to give any particular advice, but I will note that The Eagle Huntress is a sweet, uplifting, overtly political movie about a girl who sets out to do a thing normally reserved for men. And it's lovely to behold. You could do worse.

Movie

Miss Hokusai **

thumbnail

A scattershot but intriguing account of a year or so in the life of the artistic community in Edo during the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate. When we meet O-Ei, she is a young woman living with her father Hokusai, a (real-life) great painter who is not a great husband, father, teacher, or human being — in both cases, because he is utterly devoted to his work. O-Ei is also an accomplished artist, but she has yet to give herself over to it — e.g., her images of women are technically excellent but lack a kind of lived-in sensuality. Small wonder: she has a lonely, aging mother to think of, and a blind younger sister to console. Also, there are men in the picture: other artists, whose attitude toward her father is rather more reverent than her own. The art here is rawer and more idiosyncratic than some other anime, and there is a pleasing matter-of-factness about fleshy matters — drinking, sex, sickness — even as the more abstract question of art’s practice and power is under consideration. Just don’t go looking for a grand point beyond that, or even a narrative structure amid the history, and you’ll be fine. Directed by Keiichi Hara. In Japanese with English subtitles.

Find showtimes

Speaking of daughters, Miss Hokusai is a story about a great artist ... told from his daughter's point of view. But it's about her, too. And it's good, in an enigmatic, open-ended sort of way.

Speaking of enigmatic, perhaps the election has you feeling alienated, hardly able to recognize your formerly happy world, struggling to communicate with strange intelligences that don't even share your humanity. Well, then, you might sympathize with Amy Adams in Arrival. I didn't like it too much, but then, I'm an idiot. Most other folks thought it was just ducky.

Movie

Almost Christmas ***

thumbnail

Strap Tyler Perry to a theater seat and use this to give him the <em>Clockwork Orange</em> treatment. The impeccably executed opening credit sequence, effortlessly distilling a 40-year marriage down to two minutes, gave reason to think this could be something more than just 2016’s annual nightmare-before-Christmas film. We’ve seen variations on this plot dozens of times before: it’s the first Christmas since mom died, and potentially the last chance the Meyers family will celebrate together in their childhood home. Every facet of the ensemble is given a chance to shine, with Mo’Nique and J.B. Smoove working overtime to deliver laughs. Sentimental and schmaltzy, but never sickeningly so. Even the de rigueur impromptu dance number or “say no to drugs” subplot can’t put a dent in the overall charm. No guilt-peddling here, just a surprisingly diverting shared experience. With Danny Glover, Gabrielle Union, Kimberly Elise, and Romany Malco. David E. Talbert directs.

Find showtimes

Stop the presses! (Kids, ask your parents what that used to mean.) I just got a call from Scott as he walked to the parking lot after taking in an early showing of the family holiday film Almost Christmas. Wonder of wonders: he gave it a three-star review. It's a new world, folks: Trump is President and Marks is guffawing at PG-13 Christmas comedies.

Movie

Do Not Resist ***

thumbnail

Ferguson, Missouri, the day after an unarmed African-American teenager was fatally shot by a white police officer. A call asking for a bigger police presence to help assuage any potential unrest results in the appearance of an MRAP, a veritable armored car, given to the city free of charge as part of a government initiative designed to funnel used military vehicles to local police departments. The controversy concerning the militarization of police sparked by the shooting acts as springboard for this even-handed inquiry as to the current condition of American law enforcement. Today’s Hummers are tomorrow’s MRAPs. Small towns with murder rates that have forever numbered at zero can now sleep safer at night. (A protester’s sign reads: “More Mayberry, Less Fallujah.”) Doubling down as director and cinematographer, Craig Atkinson proves worthy at both assignments. One rub: for a moment or two during the scant 72-minute running time, one half-expected to hear Inner Circle break into the theme from <em>Cops</em>.

Find showtimes

Anyway, you'll surely have more fun seeing that than Scott's other three-star offering this week, a documentary about the already-ongoing militarization of police called Do Not Resist.

And alas, he didn't love Loving, for the same reason he didn't love Moonlight: "Directors make movies, not issues." And in hindsight, I shouldn't have sent him to the rockumentary We Are X. I just thought he might be in some kind of groove after Gimme Danger. Wrong again.

Opening but not reviewed: Shut In and The Monster. Make your own Trump joke out of that. I'm gonna go watch Trumpbo.

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“Medicine Show” webcast showcases Mrs. Henry’s puppeteering

Friends from Earthless, The Blank Tapes, Howlin Rain, Warish, and others join in the fun

Well, President-elect Trump scored a sleeper hit with his stunning election-day performance at the ballot box. And what do studios do after scoring a hit? They greenlight a sequel! Let's get the obvious options out of the way: Trump 2: The Trumpening; 2 Trump 2 Furious; Trump 2: Nuclear Boogaloo; Trump 2: Judgment Day, etc. Leave your ideas in the comments. Oh, and be sure to check out Scott Marks' roundup of Trump cameos/performances prior to this, his dramatic triumph.

Movie

Eagle Huntress **

thumbnail

Documentarian Otto Bell’s titular huntress — a 13-year-old Kazakh named Aisholpan who hails from a family boasting generations of champion (male) eagle hunters — is impossible not to like and/or root for. She’s cheerful, natural, diligent, sweet, and full of dreams about following in her father’s footsteps. So Dad consults with Grandpa and then helps his daughter to capture and train her own eagle in preparation for competition. If Bell had stuck with that story, we might know more about how Dad found that secluded eagle’s nest, or how Aisholpan managed to excel the way she did, or what makes one eagle or hunter better than another. Something fascinating to go along with the breathtaking landscapes and thrilling avian action. But then there might not have been time for the girl-power narrative, featuring tut-tutting old-timers running through the standard traditional objections: girls aren’t strong enough, girls belong at home, it’s always been men, etc. (Not that these grumps present any real obstacles: our heroine registers at the contest with nary a bleat raised in protest.) And what good is personal triumph unless it’s also a political one? In Kazakh with English subtitles.

Find showtimes

So, there have been people around the internet wondering how to talk to their kids — and daughters in particular, given the Access Hollywood comments — about a Trump presidency. I'm not going to give any particular advice, but I will note that The Eagle Huntress is a sweet, uplifting, overtly political movie about a girl who sets out to do a thing normally reserved for men. And it's lovely to behold. You could do worse.

Movie

Miss Hokusai **

thumbnail

A scattershot but intriguing account of a year or so in the life of the artistic community in Edo during the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate. When we meet O-Ei, she is a young woman living with her father Hokusai, a (real-life) great painter who is not a great husband, father, teacher, or human being — in both cases, because he is utterly devoted to his work. O-Ei is also an accomplished artist, but she has yet to give herself over to it — e.g., her images of women are technically excellent but lack a kind of lived-in sensuality. Small wonder: she has a lonely, aging mother to think of, and a blind younger sister to console. Also, there are men in the picture: other artists, whose attitude toward her father is rather more reverent than her own. The art here is rawer and more idiosyncratic than some other anime, and there is a pleasing matter-of-factness about fleshy matters — drinking, sex, sickness — even as the more abstract question of art’s practice and power is under consideration. Just don’t go looking for a grand point beyond that, or even a narrative structure amid the history, and you’ll be fine. Directed by Keiichi Hara. In Japanese with English subtitles.

Find showtimes

Speaking of daughters, Miss Hokusai is a story about a great artist ... told from his daughter's point of view. But it's about her, too. And it's good, in an enigmatic, open-ended sort of way.

Speaking of enigmatic, perhaps the election has you feeling alienated, hardly able to recognize your formerly happy world, struggling to communicate with strange intelligences that don't even share your humanity. Well, then, you might sympathize with Amy Adams in Arrival. I didn't like it too much, but then, I'm an idiot. Most other folks thought it was just ducky.

Movie

Almost Christmas ***

thumbnail

Strap Tyler Perry to a theater seat and use this to give him the <em>Clockwork Orange</em> treatment. The impeccably executed opening credit sequence, effortlessly distilling a 40-year marriage down to two minutes, gave reason to think this could be something more than just 2016’s annual nightmare-before-Christmas film. We’ve seen variations on this plot dozens of times before: it’s the first Christmas since mom died, and potentially the last chance the Meyers family will celebrate together in their childhood home. Every facet of the ensemble is given a chance to shine, with Mo’Nique and J.B. Smoove working overtime to deliver laughs. Sentimental and schmaltzy, but never sickeningly so. Even the de rigueur impromptu dance number or “say no to drugs” subplot can’t put a dent in the overall charm. No guilt-peddling here, just a surprisingly diverting shared experience. With Danny Glover, Gabrielle Union, Kimberly Elise, and Romany Malco. David E. Talbert directs.

Find showtimes

Stop the presses! (Kids, ask your parents what that used to mean.) I just got a call from Scott as he walked to the parking lot after taking in an early showing of the family holiday film Almost Christmas. Wonder of wonders: he gave it a three-star review. It's a new world, folks: Trump is President and Marks is guffawing at PG-13 Christmas comedies.

Movie

Do Not Resist ***

thumbnail

Ferguson, Missouri, the day after an unarmed African-American teenager was fatally shot by a white police officer. A call asking for a bigger police presence to help assuage any potential unrest results in the appearance of an MRAP, a veritable armored car, given to the city free of charge as part of a government initiative designed to funnel used military vehicles to local police departments. The controversy concerning the militarization of police sparked by the shooting acts as springboard for this even-handed inquiry as to the current condition of American law enforcement. Today’s Hummers are tomorrow’s MRAPs. Small towns with murder rates that have forever numbered at zero can now sleep safer at night. (A protester’s sign reads: “More Mayberry, Less Fallujah.”) Doubling down as director and cinematographer, Craig Atkinson proves worthy at both assignments. One rub: for a moment or two during the scant 72-minute running time, one half-expected to hear Inner Circle break into the theme from <em>Cops</em>.

Find showtimes

Anyway, you'll surely have more fun seeing that than Scott's other three-star offering this week, a documentary about the already-ongoing militarization of police called Do Not Resist.

And alas, he didn't love Loving, for the same reason he didn't love Moonlight: "Directors make movies, not issues." And in hindsight, I shouldn't have sent him to the rockumentary We Are X. I just thought he might be in some kind of groove after Gimme Danger. Wrong again.

Opening but not reviewed: Shut In and The Monster. Make your own Trump joke out of that. I'm gonna go watch Trumpbo.

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Tennis with François Truffaut and Donal Logue

The film is helped immensely by casting four leads to play their own tennis
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