Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Firebird (BOOK REVIEW)


Firebird
by Misty Copeland
Illustrated by Christopher Myers
G.P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group
Hardcover, $17.99
36 pages, Illustrated
ISBN: 978-0-399-16615-0

Book Review by Kam Williams




With spare, poignant text, American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland writes of a young dancer whose confidence is fragile. Through hard work and dedication, Misty shows her how she can reach the same heights as Misty, even becoming the Firebird, Misty Copeland's signature role.



An affecting story echoing Misty Copeland's own remarkable and meteoric rise in ballet, paired with vibrant, memorable art with plenty of style and flair—a must-have for any lover of ballet.”



-- Excerpted from the Bookjacket




Misty Copeland has undeniably arrived. First, this force to be reckoned overcame poverty and being a minority en route to earning a coveted spot as a prima ballerina in the prestigious American Ballet Company. She subsequently went on to write a best-selling memoir ostensibly designed to inspire others from humble backgrounds to pursue their own seemingly-unreachable dreams.



More recently, Misty was not only the subject of a feature story on CBS' 60 Minutes, but she also landed on the cover of Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Obviously, this is a woman with much more to share than dancing on her tippy toes.



For these purposes, the subject of discussion is her latest opus, Firebird, a delightful picture book appropriate for aspiring ballerinas up to about the age of 8. Dazzlingly-illustrated by Caldecott Medal-nominee Christopher Myers, the enchanting tale is basically a poetic pep talk delivered by Misty in heartfelt fashion to a promising protege plagued with self doubt.



Misty's points out that she herself was once “a dancer just like you... a dreaming shooting star of a girl with work and worlds ahead.” And in a telling postscript for the parents she explains how it isw her aim “to pave a more definitive path than the one that was there for me.”



A modern Horatio Alger parable with the perfect prescription for motivating many a rug rat to find their voice and spread their wings.



To order a copy of Firebird, visit:  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dana Perino (INTERVIEW)

Dana Perino
The “And the Good News Is…” Interview
with Kam Williams


Primo Perino!

Dana Marie Perino was born in Evanston, Wyoming on May 9, 1972, where she grew up herding cattle at the crack of dawn on a cattle ranch. In college, she moonlighted as a country music DJ while majoring in Mass Communications. And after graduating from Colorado State University-Pueblo, she went on to earn a Master’s in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. 
 
Dana made history as the first Republican female to serve as White House Press Secretary. After seven years in the George W. Bush administration, she was recruited by the Fox News Network to co-host a new show, The Five, which has become one of the most highly-rated programs on cable TV. 
 
Christians in word and deed, Dana and her husband, Peter, devote considerable time to philanthropy causes, traveling to Africa on numerous occasions to volunteer with charities ranging from Living Hope to Mercy Ships. The former is a faith-based organization working with AIDS victims, while the latter is a state-of-t
he-art floating hospital which sails down the Congo River to bring free medical care to desperate people living is some of the poorest countries in the world.
Here, she talks about her life and career, including the time spent as President Bush’s official spokesperson.

Kam Williams: Hi Dana, thanks for the interview. How are you?
Dana Perino: I’m pretty good, thank you.

KW: You know, I feel like I already know you, from seeing you on The Five everyday.  
DP: That’s one of the favorite things I hear a lot on the book tour. I think that’s a huge compliment to The Five.

KW: Even though I’m very liberal, I still enjoy the show, especially because you and Greg Gutfeld aren’t predictable in terms of your political stances.
DP: I know what you mean. Bill Shine, an executive at Fox, once said, “Who would’ve ever thought that it’d be Dana Perino always defending the unions and the TSA?”

KW: Or coming to the defense of Obama administration White House Press Secretaries. What were your expectations, when you agreed to do The Five?
DP: When we first started, we didn’t think it was going to be a permanent show, based on the way it was pitched to us. They said it was only going to run for six weeks. I said okay, because I didn’t really have anything to lose. And I didn’t want to have an act, since all I know how to be is myself. The good news for me is that Fox has let me be that person. It’s been great for me, actually.  

KW: I think the show has really humanized you and allowed you to blossom. Most people probably had you pigeonholed very narrowly, after only seeing you as the mouthpiece for the Bush administration.
DP: And who knew the show was going to be so much fun?

KW: It reminds me a lot of The McLaughlin Group.
DP: You’re not alone in that. Gutfeld says our show’s like The McLaughlin Group.

KW: I’m going to be mixing in readers’ questions with my own.
DP: Oh, good!

KW: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier asks: What is the primary message you want people to take away from your book?
DP: That you don’t have to have attended fancy prep schools growing up, or gotten an Ivy League education, or have your life completely planned and mapped out to enjoy a great deal of personal and professional success.

KW: Patricia also says: You became the second female at your former position at the White House. She’d like to know what advice you have for women trying to break the glass ceiling, given that there have been so few females, historically, in such government positions as White House Press Secretary, Attorney General and Supreme Court Justice. She’s wondering if you think some obligatory measures should be taken ensuring parity between the genders?
DP: I don’t. I think I was the right Press Secretary at the right time. I know that I was chosen because President Bush felt I was the best person for the job. I’m also very encouraged by developments in Washington, D.C., a place where women in government can advance even more than in private corporations. If you look at the number of females who have been chiefs of staff and undersecretaries under the past two administrations, the chances of a woman succeeding there are very good, and I think that corporate America is trying to catch up. And that’s happening not just in terms of political positions, like the one I held, but with the bureaucracy as well. 

KW: Scott McLellan, the White House Press Secretary who hired you, wrote a book which was a scathing indictment of the Bush administration after he resigned from the post. Did his memoir make your job even harder, and how did that betrayal affect you emotionally?  
DP: One of my favorite passages in the book is where I recount the lesson in forgiveness I was re-taught by President Bush.   

KW: I was astonished to read that President Bush had urged you to forgive him.
DP: That’s how President Bush lives his life. One of the reasons I wanted to write the book was to explain what I saw: he was focused on his job and he lived his faith. One way to succeed is to make sure you’re forgiving of little things… even big things. Certainly, that was a betrayal by Scott McLellan. And it made my job harder for about a week. But, at that point, when the president heard that I was still tied up in knots over it, he called me into the Oval Office at 6:40 in the morning and asked me to try to forgive Scott. That just took the weight off of my shoulders. But what really helped me continue to do my job well the most occurred later that day as I was leaving the White House, when President Bush said, “By the way, I don’t think you’d ever do this to me.” So, he was a good enough manager to know that I was tied up in knots because I was concerned about his press coverage, and about how I was going to deal with the briefing. But then I was also worried about my special relationship with him, and that the closeness and access I needed in order to do my job well was going to be curtailed. So, what he was doing was taking the time to assure me that that access was not going to be curtailed, and it certainly wasn’t.

KW: What’s your best memory of the late Tony Snow, your immediate predecessor as White House Press Secretary? 
DP: He was a giant of a Press Secretary. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received in my life was from him on his last day at the White house. I was very nervous, because I’d be taking over the next day, and he’d been so popular and so great at the job. I didn’t know how I was going to measure up. He was 6’5” and I’m only 5’ tall. He made me stand up, and he put a hand on my shoulder, tilted my chin up, and said, “You are better at this than you think you are.” I sort of made light of it at that moment. But it did hit me, after getting through two weeks of briefings and finding my rhythm. I thought, “Oh, that’s what he meant. I don’t have to be like him in order to be good at this job. I just have to be myself.”
That’s a theme that recurred throughout my career in Washington, and was also true with Roger Ailes at Fox News. I wasn’t really ready, but he gave me enough time to come out of my shell.
           
KW: Speaking of your height, how do you feel about the way Greg always teases you about being tiny whenever he does the intro to the show?
DP: I love it. One of my favorites was when he said, “She uses toothpicks for ski poles.”

KW: Finally, Patricia says: As an executive at Random House, what would you say helps distinguish a great book from an unknown writer?
DP: I think trust between the editor and the writer, and a belief in the project. Word of mouth helps as well.

KW: What inspired you to get involved with the Mercy Ships, and doing so much volunteer work in Africa?
DP: Initially, it was when President and Mrs. Bush launched the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS relief. So, I knew of the program for a long time, and I was familiar with the statistics, but I had never been to Africa until I went with them in February of 2008. I was really touched by the whole experience. I told my husband that I’d like to go back to Africa for six months after leaving the White House. He whittled that down a little and we went for six weeks. Volunteering and advocating for poverty alleviation, maternal health and early child development on a global scale are very important to me. Later, when I learned about Mercy Ships, I decided I’d like to see it for myself. And Peter, ever the trooper, came with me to the Congo. While we were there, we shot a video that reached millions and millions of people, letting them know about Mercy Ships. I was so proud of that.     

KW: I think a lot of people were very impressed by your doing that, especially since so many Democrats are convinced that Republicans only care about the rich?
DP: That’s a shame! It surprises me that people might think that, because when they publish the charitable donations each year you see that, across the board, conservatives give more. The AIDS relief program was started by President Bush, in part, because of encouragement from Evangelical Christians who felt a moral obligation to save a continent that was about to lose an entire generation of people. And now, Bono starts his concerts by asking everyone in the audience to thank President Bush for saving ten million lives.

KW: Documentary Filmmaker Kevin Williams says: It seems like the past several White House Press Secretaries since you left the job have been much more combative and antagonistic towards reporters asking tough questions. Do you think that’s the result of the recent jobholders’ nerves wearing thin or of a fundamental change in the role of the White House Press Secretary?
DP: I would say that there was a great deal of tension as well between the press and my two predecessors as well. But I don’t necessarily need to comment on other people’s styles. I would just say that I didn’t feel that it was very productive or helpful to the people of America for the White House Press Secretary and the press to be at each other’s throats everyday. That wasn’t how I wanted to live my life. They had a job to do; and I knew it was an important one. And I had a job to do, too. So, I tried to meet them halfway. I saw 50% of my job as advocating and defending the United States of America through the eyes of the Bush administration. I saw the other 50% of my job was defending and advocating for the press so it could maintain its access to the president. I don’t understand the antagonism we see today, or why this administration has cut off some access, like they did with photographers. President Obama is so handsome, he never takes a bad picture. So, they didn’t need to antagonize the press with that piece. In Chapter Six, I write about how swallowing sarcasm and carrying yourself with dignity and grace will make you more effective as a communicator than fighting all the time.  

KW: Kevin has a follow-up: Is it fair for people to see an unhealthy relationship between the political class and the press at the White House Correspondent's Dinner? Did you enjoy the so-called Nerd Prom?
DP: Hate's a strong word, but I hate the Nerd Prom and I have not been back since 2008. Big group events don’t suit me well. I’m not impressed by meeting celebrities. And one of the things that disappoints me about the dinner is that it is meant to celebrate the young people who are being awarded scholarships. Yet, the guests sitting at the tables won’t shut up long enough to allow the young people to enjoy their moment to shine.   

KW: Harriet Pakula-Teweles asks: What would be the most important piece of advice you’d give to an incoming Presidential Press Secretary?
DP: I think I would pay forward the advice I got from Chief of Staff Andy Card, o say a little prayer of thanks every morning before the Marine opens the door to the West Wing for you, and it will set your day off on a better foot.  



KW: Children's book author Irene Smalls asks: What is the toughest challenge you faced at the White House?
DP: I'd say the accumulation of stress and intensity, and the overwhelming amount of work we had to do. If I got to go back and do it over again, I would have taken better care of my health, because I really let things spiral out of control, and I think I would've been a better Press Secretary, if I'd focused on taking better care of myself.

KW: As Press Secretary your hair was short. Now it's long. Which is your preference?
DP: I had long hair for a long, long time prior to the White House. Now, I have the benefit of professional help in getting ready to appear on The Five. But I loooooove to wear a ponytail.

KW: Irene also asks: What are your hopes for the country?
DP: That we would recognize that we are so blessed to have been born here, and that we are an exceptional nation with a great deal of responsibility in the world which we need to take seriously. And that we need to live our lives with joy, because that's what was intended. And that we would come together and recognize that our problems are solvable. We sometimes just lack the will to solve them.



KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
DP: [Chuckles] I'd just like to share my favorite piece advice from the book: Choosing to be loved is not a career-limiting decision. My marriage has helped me in my career more than perhaps anything else I could've done, despite leaving an enviable career-track in Washington, DC when we had nothing.

KW: What was the last book you read?
DP: I'm almost finished reading “All the Light We Cannot See,” which is a novel about World War II.   I'm also reading “Munich Airport” by Greg Baxter. 
 
 
Another book by him I loved was “The Apartment.”  
 

KW: What is the last song you listened to?
DP: Last night, I listened to the new soundtrack from the TV series “Nashville,” a show which is like a combination of “Dallas” and “Fame.” [Laughs]   
 

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?
DP: My husband and I love steak with some sort of vegetables. But I'm also very good at making a dish I call Blue Cheese Heaven, which is stir-fried vegetables with blue cheese crumble melted served over sourdough toast with horseradish spread.

KW: Who is your favorite clothes designer?
DP: I didn't really learn a lot about fashion growing up in Wyoming, so I'm a little intimidated in Washington and New York at times. I'm lucky that I found a young designer named Bradley Scott who takes such great care of me. Whenever I have a special occasion, I pull out one of his dresses.



KW: When you look in the mirror what do you see?
DP: An older version of myself. [Laughs] I have found a way to be joyously content. I don't see myself as worried, or stressed or fearful anymore, like I use to. I also used to see a very hard-edged person when I worked in the White House, although that wasn't the kind of Press Secretary President Bush wanted me to be. And it wasn't good for my marriage either, so I tried to be the way I believe God intended my life to be, which is a little more joyous.

KW: I suppose that position forces you to be a little harder-edged.
DP: I think it's very hard to leave those arguments in the Briefing Room. But I was very much supported by President Bush and the White house.

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
DP: I would like the feeling of serenity to be shared by more people in the world.

KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?
DP: My earliest, childhood political memory was watching the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. My earliest memory was riding a pony my grandfather bought me named Sally at the ranch. I loved that pony.



KW: Would you mind giving me a Dana Perino question I can ask everybody I interview?
DP: Sure: What keeps you up at night? President Bush used to ask that of other world leaders because it would help him understand what their anxieties were so he could work better with them.

KW: Excellent! Thanks. The Melissa Harris-Perry question: How did your first big heartbreak impact who you are as a person?
DP: I remember very well when I was dumped in college by this guy I'd dated for two and a half years. All of a sudden he failed to show up one Friday night; and I never saw him again. I got the flu and was feeling sorry for myself until my friend Andrea said, “We gotta get you up and outta here.” And we started going to these country music bars in Pueblo. We'd danced with every guy but go home with no one. She and I are still such good friends. That experience taught me that you can survive a broken heart.

KW: What is the biggest difference between who you are at home and the person we we see on TV?
DP: I think I'm quieter at home. I need time to think, and I need time to read which isn't an indulgence but part of my job, since I get a lot of galleys

KW: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share?
DP: I actually believe it is optimism, not the unrealistic, Pollyanna sort, but the type that enables you to keep striving to achieve in the face of adversity.

KW: The Tavis Smiley question: How do you want to be remembered?
DP: As kind.

KW: Finally, what's in your wallet?
DP: Some credit cards and an I.D. And you know what I carried around in my wallet for five years? A scrap of paper with my sketch of an outline for this book I wanted to write. For some reason, I never threw it away, even after the first publisher I approached said the book would never sell. When I showed it to the one who did end up publishing the book, he said, “Leave this with me.” And he even wrote my proposal, because he believed in it so much.

KW: Wow! And it's been #1 on Amazon's best-seller list for several weeks straight.
DP: Would you believe it? Well, I loved talking with you, Kam.



KW: Same here, Dana. It's been an honor. Like I said, I love you on the show because you're not a predictable, hack Republican spouting the party line, but a very sensitive and intelligent person who obviously thinks for herself.
DP: Thank you, Kam, you made my day!

To purchase a copy of “And the Good News Is…” visit:  
 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Bass Clef Bliss



Bass Clef Bliss
Film Review by Kam Williams

African-American Mother and Son’s Adjustment to Autism Chronicled in Inspirational Biopic

            Before Terrence Partridge turned 2, his parents first noticed an arrest in his development of age-appropriate social skills. In fact, he actually started regressing soon thereafter, as words he had already been using began to disappear from his vocabulary.
            But it would still be a couple more years before they would receive the devastating diagnosis that their son was autistic. Unfortunately, the marriage would not last, as is so often the case with families touched by this affliction, and the burden of raising Terrence alone would end up falling entirely on his mother Therese’s shoulders.    
            Since early intervention can be critical in a kid’s prognosis, he was lucky she committed herself to giving him the love and support of even more than two parents. And she resolved to become an expert in autism, since it can manifests in myriad ways, making what might be a viable protocol for one child, totally inappropriate for another.
            In Terrence’s case, he exhibited an early interest in music, being among the 1 in 10,000 people blessed with perfect pitch. His attentive mom recognized his talent which she proceeded to cultivate with the help of Louise Titlow, his trombone instructor. Under his patient teacher’s tutelage, the boy blossomed into a promising prodigy to the point where he would one day play in San Diego’s New Youth Classical Orchestra as well as jazz in a combo led by trumpeter Gilbert Castllanos.
Louise modestly explains away her student’s seemingly miraculous achievements with, “All it takes with Terrence or any autistic child is a little bit more love, a little more time, and a little more faith.” Perhaps of greater significance is her further assertion that, “He can be an angel of healing self-expression through music, and heal others as he’s uplifting himself.”
Directed by Patrick Scott, Bass Clef Bliss is an alternately heartrending and uplifting biopic chronicling the tight bond between a mother and son as together they confront an assortment of daunting challenges associated with autism. Scott makes a most impressive debut here, as he oh so delicately balances the access he was afforded to his subjects ‘daily lives with their plausible concerns about personal privacy.
Besides focusing on Terrence and Therese’s trials, tribulations and ultimate triumphs, this informative documentary features a cornucopia of facts and figures about autism, courtesy of both experts and anecdotal evidence. Did you know that in 1985, 1 in 2,500 babies developed the disorder, and that today the number is about 1 in 68?
Thus, autism is now, effectively, universal in nature which makes a labor of love like Bass Clef Bliss certain to resonate deeply with any spiritually-inclined soul compassionately attuned to other than self.    

Excellent (4 stars)
Unrated
Running time: 70 minutes
Distributor: BKLYN2LA Productions / Drama House Productions

To see a trailer for Bass Clef Bliss, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiWffnyp1so

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Chocolate City (FILM REVIEW)

Chocolate City

Film Review by Kam Williams



College Student Moonlights as Stripper in Titillating Overcoming-the-Odds Saga

Cash-strapped Katherine McCoy (Vivica A. Fox) is holding down a couple of jobs to make ends meet while praying that her sons stay on the straight and narrow path until they can make it out of the ghetto. Though grown, both boys still live at home, yet neither is helping their struggling single-mom much financially.
At least the younger one, Michael (Robert Ri’chard), is close to graduating from college and works part-time at a diner as a short order chef. But he hasn’t even been able to save enough from that minimum wage position to have his car fixed, so he has to get around Los Angeles by bicycle. By comparison, his 30 year-old brother Chris (DeRay Davis) is a trash-talking hustler who shows more of an interest in hanging out on the streets than in finding gainful employment.   
            The siblings’ fortunes change the day they decide to patronize the local gentlemen’s club. For, while Michael is relieving himself in the men’s room, he’s approached by the owner (Michael Jai White) about stripping there on Ladies’ Night.
Initially, the handsome hunk hesitates out of concern about how his girlfriend (Imani Hakim) and his Bible-thumping mother might react to his moonlighting in his birthday suit. However, after taking the time to watch girls go wild over buff beefcake (played by Tyson Beckford, Ginuwine and others), he decides to throw caution to the wind.
So, on the advice of his brother-turned-promoter, he’s given the stage name “Sexy Chocolate.” I suppose taking “Magic Mike” might have been a tad too transparent even for this unapologetic rip-off.
Despite soon raking in the big bucks, Michael’s life nevertheless starts to come apart at the seams. His grades plunge from As to Fs. His mother worries about whether her son’s sudden gains are ill-gotten. And his girlfriend gets the surprise of her life the evening she shows up with her BFFs.
 Written and directed by Jean-Claude La Marre (the Pastor Jones franchise), Chocolate City is basically a blackface version of Magic Mike that trades shamelessly in the same sort of titillating fare which made that flick a runaway hit a few years ago.A derivative, estrogen-fueled, overcoming-the-odds saga strictly recommended for females interested in seeing sepia-skinned Adonises gyrate while disrobing to mind-numbing disco music.

           
           
Good (2 stars)
Rated R for profanity, brief violence, partial nudity and pervasive sexuality
Running time: 91 minutes
Distributor: Freestyle Releasing

To see a trailer for Chocolate City, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42HA58cBHAM  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Top Ten DVD Releases for 5-26-15



This Week’s DVD Releases
by Kam Williams


Top Ten DVD List for May 26, 2015                      

Murdoch Mysteries: The Movies

So Bright Is the View

Glee: The Final Season

Gun Woman

The Larry Sanders Show: The Complete Series

Battlestar Galactica: The Remastered Collection



The Wonder Years: Season Three

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Sons of Liberty

Sword of Vengeance


Honorable Mention

The House across the Street

The Loft

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (DVD REVIEW)



Da Sweet Blood of Jesus
DVD Review by Kam Williams

Lousy Spike Lee Remake of Blaxploit Released on DVD

            The Kickstarter page where Spike Lee raised $1,418,910 from fans for his latest “Joint” expressly states that the money would not used to shoot a remake of Blacula (1972). But it also failed to inform investors that the crowdfunded feature was ostensibly-inspired by another Blaxploitation era horror flick, namely, Ganja & Hess (1973). And after screening this disappointing indie, it’s obvious there was no reason to redo that picture either.
Spike’s sharp decline as a filmmaker in recent years is nothing short of shocking, with Oldboy (2013) and Red Hook Summer (2012) also submitted for your disapproval. Claims to the contrary notwithstanding, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is basically a boring vampire adventure that’s severely lacking in terms of tension, thrills, premise, storyline, special f/x, plausibility, production value, editing and character development. Am I forgetting anything?
The tawdry tale revolves around Dr. Hess Greene (Stephen Tyrone Williams), a wealthy anthropologist specializing in African Art History. This unrepentant bon vivant divides his time between New York City and an oceanfront summer home up on Martha’s Vineyard, living in the lap of luxury with the help of a private jet, a chauffeured Rolls Royce, and a loyal manservant (Rami Malek).
The plot thickens soon after Dr. Greene is stabbed with an ancient Ashanti artifact, when he develops an insatiable addiction to blood. To satisfy the craving, he steals some from a hospital, and he also embarks on a killing spree. Besides gratuitous slaughter, the film indulges in frontal nudity and eroticized violence, including a sleazy, lesbian sex scene that looks like an outtake from a soft core snuff film. 
What would Jesus do, Spike? Repent!

Fair (1 star)
Unrated
Running time: 124 minutes
Studio: 40 Acres & a Mule Filmworks
Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment

To see a trailer for Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n739-zHeooQ  
  
To order Da Sweet Blood of Jesus on DVD, visit:

Kam's Movie Kapsules for 5-29-15 (FEATURE)



OPENING THIS WEEK
Kam's Kapsules:      
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun         
by Kam Williams
For movies opening May 29, 2015


BIG BUDGET FILMS   

Aloha (PG-13 for profanity and suggestive comments) Oscar-winner Cameron Crowe (for Almost Famous) wrote and directed this romantic comedy about a disgraced astronaut-turned-defense contractor (Bradley Cooper) who divides his time between a feisty Air Force pilot (Emma Stone) and a long-lost ex-girlfriend (Rachel McAdams) while on assignment in Hawaii. Supporting cast includes Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Jay Baruchel and Danny McBride.

San Andreas (PG-13 for action, mayhem and brief profanity) 3-D disaster flick, unfolding in the wake a devastating earthquake, about a helicopter pilot (Dwayne Johnson) who flies with his ex-wife (Carla Gugino) from L.A. to San Francisco to rescue their missing daughter (Alexandra Daddario). With Paul Giamatti, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi and Will Yun Lee.


INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS 

Barely Lethal (PG-13 for sexuality, profanity, violence, drug references and underage drinking) Action comedy about a teenage spy (Hailee Steinfeld) who fakes her own death in order to have a normal life, only to find the treacherous waters of a suburban high school as challenging as international espionage. Featuring Jessica Alba, Samuel L. Jackson and Jaime King.

Gemma Bovery (R for sexuality, nudity and profanity) Screen adaptation of Posy Simmonds’ graphic novel of the same name, set in Normandy, about a baker’s (Fabrice Luchini) pursuit of a British beauty (Gemma Arterton) who has just moved to town with her furniture repairman husband (Jason Flemyng). With Isabelle Candelier, Niels Schneider and Mel Raido. (In French and English with subtitles)

Heaven Knows What (R for violence, sexuality, disturbing images, graphic nudity, pervasive profanity and incessant drug use) Screen adaptation of Mad Love in New York City, Arielle Holmes’s unpublished memoir, a tawdry tale of self-destruction and love between a couple of heroin addicts (Holmes and Caleb Landry-Jones) living on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Support cast includes Eleonore Hendricks, street legend Buddy Duress gore rapper and Necro.

I Believe in Unicorns (Unrated) Bittersweet drama about a vulnerable teenager (Natalia Dyer) who resorts to escapist fantasies to cope when her first romantic relationship turns violent. With Peter Vack, Julia Garner, Amy Seimetz and Toni Meyerhoff.

Results (R for sexuality, profanity and drug use) Midlife crisis comedy, set in Austin, revolving around a recently-divorced millionaire (Kevin Corrigan) who starts dating his hard-nosed personal trainer (Cobie Smilders), much to the chagrin of her jealous boos and ex-boyfriend (Guy Pearce). With Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Michael Hall, Brooklyn Decker and Tishuan Scott.

Survivor (PG-13 for action, violence and brief profanity) International thriller about a double-crossed, U.S. Foreign Service Officer (MillaJovovich), stationed in London, who ends up on the run and trying to clear her name in time to thwart a terrorist attack planned for New Year’s Eve in Times Square. A-list ensemble includes Pierce Brosnan, Angela Bassett, Emma Thompson, Dylan McDermott and Robert Forster.

The True Cost (PG-13 for mature themes and disturbing images) Eco-documentary examining the toll exacted by the fashion industry on underpaid employees sewing the clothes and on the Earth’s natural resources. .

Welcome to This House (Unrated) Lyrical biopic about the closeted love life of Pulitzer Prize-winner Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979), the secretly-gay Poet Laureate of the United States.