Author: Recorder News

‘The Circle’ is all buzzwords, no substance

By Katie Walsh Tribune News Service Dystopian tech drama “The Circle” capitalizes on the exploding role of technology in our lives, seeking to capture the zeitgeist while grappling with the heavy duty issues of the day. It’s a noble, if failed effort, because ultimately, the film is all buzzwords and no substance. It’s based on Dave Eggers’ novel, and Eggers himself adapted the book for the screen with the film’s director, James Ponsoldt. Ponsoldt’s previous films have been intimate two-handers, from the alcoholism drama “Smashed” and high school romance “The Spectacular Now,” to the excellent David Foster Wallace biopic “The End of the Tour.” As we discover in “The Circle,” there have been some glitches in scaling up. There are too few characters and they’re all poorly established, sketchy ciphers and stereotypes, lacking depth and nuance. The story follows a young woman, Mae (Emma Watson), who lands her dream job at tech giant The Circle, which is behind the social networking site TruYou. As she soon discovers, things are a lot more complicated than no-strings-attached parties and perks. Much of the problem with “The Circle” is with the character of Mae herself. She’s never established as a fully formed person, so she becomes an empty vessel for the ideas of whomever she’s around. If she’s interacting with Circle leader Eamon (Tom Hanks), she’s passionate about disrupting the national voting...

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Philadelphia Inquirer Movie Guide

Beauty and the Beast. 2.5 stars out of 4. The beloved 1991 animated musical is given the live-action treatment with Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the prince-turned-monster. With Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson. 2 hr 9 mins. PG (some action violence, peril and frightening images) The Circle. 2 stars. The head of a giant tech company (Tom Hanks) asks an ambitious young employee (Emma Watson) to participate in an experiment testing the boundaries of personal privacy. Based on the novel by Dave Eggers, who cowrote the screenplay. 1 hr. 15 mins. PG-13 (sexual situation, brief strong language and some thematic elements including drug use) THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS. 2.5 stars. The eighth installment in the “Fast/Furious” series ranges from the shores of Cuba to the streets of New York City and the icy plains of the Arctic as the team tries to stop a global anarchist. With Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron. Directed by F. Gary Gray. 2 hrs. 16 mins. PG-13 (prolonged sequences of violence and destruction, suggestive content, and language) Free Fire. 1 star. In a violence-filled Boston of the 1970s where everyone has a gun, a polite but tense arms deal quickly goes awry. With Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Jack...

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‘Really bad’ or ‘catastrophic’: Comey defends Clinton choice

WASHINGTON (AP) — FBI Director James Comey told Congress Wednesday that revealing the reopening of the Hillary Clinton email probe just before Election Day came down to a painful, complicated choice between “really bad” and “catastrophic” options. He said he’d felt “slightly nauseous” to think he might have tipped the election outcome but in hindsight would change nothing. “I would make the same decision,” Comey declared during a lengthy hearing in which Democratic senators grilled him on the seeming inconsistency between the Clinton disclosure 11 days before the election and his silence about the bureau’s investigation into possible contacts between Russia and Trump’s campaign. Comey, offering an impassioned public defense of how he handled the election-year issues, insisted that the FBI’s actions in both investigations were consistent. He told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the FBI cannot take into account how it might benefit or harm politicians. “I can’t consider for a second whose political futures will be affected and in what way,” Comey told the senators. “We have to ask ourselves what is the right thing to do and then do that thing.” Persistent questions from senators, and Comey’s testimony, made clear that the FBI director’s decisions of last summer and fall involving both the Trump and Clinton campaigns continue to roil national politics and produce lingering second-guessing about whether the investigations were handled evenly. On Tuesday, Clinton...

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Perth man faces felony assault, endangerment charges

STAFF REPORT A Perth man is facing felony charges after he arrived home early from work to discover another man with his girlfriend, which allegedly led to a physical altercation, according to police reports. State Police arrested Adam M. Hanley, 29, of Perth, on Tuesday, May 2, and charged him with first-degree reckless endangerment and attempted second-degree assault, both felonies, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and fourth-degree criminal mischief. Hanley arrived home early from work Monday, May 1, and found his girlfriend, 33-year-old Jessica Cull, with 34-year-old Alex Seelow, according to police. A dispute transpired and Hanley allegedly punched Seelow in his head and face multiple times, which injured the left side of his face. Police said Seelow fled the residence and Hanley allegedly followed him outside with a shotgun and discharged one round into the rear bumper of Seelow’s vehicle. Seelow reportedly sought medical attention at Saratoga Hospital for injuries to his face following the alleged incident. Hanley was arraigned in Perth Town Court on Tuesday and remanded to Fulton County jail in lieu of $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond bail, according to...

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Bad hair wars

Enterprising entrepreneurs out there might want to invest in a fleet of tractor backhoes and partial ownership of a limestone quarry, because it’s starting to look like bunker-digging time in America. The threat of nuclear war is spiking like the needle of a meat thermometer on a lava-flow. It won’t be long before all the Marts; K, Wal, Quickie and the rest, start advertising red, white and blue specials on duct tape and plastic wrap. Survivalist sales. Civilization closeouts. Mankind markdowns. Various parts of the country are reacting differently. In the south, they’re hoarding grits and preserving tomatoes while California stockpiles imported cases of organic, heirloom, artisanal, gluten-free cannellini beans from the northwest district of the Tuscany region. California bunkers have hardwood floors and a view. While President Trump is busy dropping healthy payloads of big-D democracy on various Mideast miscreants, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has started to kick demilitarized sand in our face, sticking out his nuclear tongue and wagging thumbs in his ears. It might not even be his own thumbs. It could be his uncle’s thumbs. It’s 1950 all over again. A brand new serving of the old Cold War with a little kimchi on the side. The difference being the sequel is destined be televised in color and not a single General MacArthur can be found. This time both combatants are overseen by Mad...

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What’s happening

Today AMSTERDAM The Horace J. Inman Senior Center, 53 Guy Park Ave., will have lunch available for purchase from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. AMSTERDAM The Amsterdam Free Library, 28 Church St., will hold Minimakers: Preschool Learning Hour at 10:30 a.m. AMSTERDAM St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 24 Pine St., will hold a Bargain Basement Sale from noon to 5 p.m. AMSTERDAM The support group of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Montgomery, Fulton and Hamilton County will meet at the Riverfront Center, Suite 2390, second floor, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. For more information, contact Rebecca Cardinale at 518-843-3261. AMSTERDAM An Ostomy support group will meet at St. Mary’s Healthcare, 427 Guy Park Ave., at 5:30 p.m. A representative from Convatec will present. To RSVP, contact Mary Jo Nethaway, Ostomy nurse, at 518-225-7775. AMSTERDAM The Amsterdam Free Library, 28 Church St., will hold a Travelogue: Bicycling Across the Empire State with Sara Foss at 6 p.m. There will also be a Tech Thursday: Microsoft Word at the same time. AMSTERDAM The Amsterdam Free Library will host Sara Foss, a Gazette columnist, who will speak on “Biking Across the Empire State” at 6 p.m. AMSTERDAM The John J. Wyszomirski American Legion Post 701 will hold a membership meeting at 7 p.m. The meeting will include the presentation of nominees for officers as well as the opening of bids for...

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National news in brief

San Francisco police shoot, kill man on Market Street SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco police shot and killed a man who officers say was stabbing another man on the city’s busy downtown Market Street on Wednesday. Police Chief Bill Scott told reporters the shooting happened shortly before 11:30 a.m. when officers walking their usual beat in a neighborhood crowded with shoppers and tourists came upon the stabbing. He said a white man was stabbing an Asian man. The stabbing victim was taken to a hospital. The shooting occurred in the heart of San Francisco’s downtown above a congested transit station, across the street from a large, upscale mall with a popular food court and just steps from where thousands of tourists line up every year to ride the city’s famous cable cars. 7 bounty hunters shot at wrong car, charged with murder NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Seven bounty hunters who descended on the wrong car outside a Wal-Mart have been indicted on first-degree murder charges in the killing of an unarmed man and the wounding of another, Tennessee police announced Wednesday. The charges come after a chaotic scene in Clarksville on April 23, where police said the bounty hunters shot at the four people in the sedan and chased them for seven miles. Not one of the men in the sedan was wanted on outstanding charges. In fact,...

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Trump on Mideast peace: ‘We will get it done’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite bleak prospects for success, President Donald Trump promised on Wednesday “to do whatever is necessary” to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. At a White House meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Trump pledged to reinvigorate the stalled Mideast peace process that has bedeviled his predecessors and said he would serve as “a mediator, an arbitrator or a facilitator” between the two sides. “We will get it done,” Trump confidently told Abbas. “I’m committed to working with Israel and the Palestinians to reach an agreement,” Trump said. “But any agreement cannot be imposed by the United States or by any other nation. The Palestinians and Israelis must work together to reach an agreement that allows both peoples to live, worship, and thrive and prosper in peace.” The source of Trump’s optimism was not immediately apparent. He offered no details about his effort or how it would be any different from attempts over the past two decades during which former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all tried and failed. Palestinian officials said after the meeting that Trump had not raised any specific proposals to restart negotiations. Asked what distinguishes Trump’s plans from previous attempts, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said merely: “The man is different.” The peace process has been stalled since 2014, and there have been no serious attempts to restart negotiations....

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House to vote on health care bill Thursday

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House will vote Thursday on the GOP’s long-sought legislation to repeal and replace portions of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Republican leaders announced on Wednesday. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy confidently predicted success after a day of wrangling votes and personal arm-twisting by President Donald Trump. After an earlier failure when Republican leaders were forced to pull the bill for lack of votes, the decision to move forward indicated confidence on the part of GOP leaders. A successful outcome would be the culmination of seven years’ worth of promises by Republicans to undo Obama’s signature legislative achievement, but could also expose House Republicans to political blowback by endorsing a bill that boots millions off the insurance rolls. And there’s no guarantee that the bill, if passed by the House on Thursday, will actually become law. First the Senate must work its will, and the House legislation has generated significant opposition in the upper chamber. Nonetheless, victory in the House would provide some vindication of the GOP’s ability to govern in Republican-controlled Washington, and provide a long-sought win for Trump, who has been in office more than 100 days without a significant congressional victory save Senate confirmation of a Supreme Court justice. As he announced the vote would go forward, McCarthy was asked if leaders were confident they had the votes and he replied:...

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Race issues loom over Dallas suburb after police killing

BALCH SPRINGS, Texas (AP) — The Dallas suburb where a white police officer shot and killed a 15-year-old black boy as he left a party has a population that’s just 20 percent white but a police department that’s 80 percent white. Balch Springs now confronts the same issues of race and law enforcement as Ferguson, Baltimore and other cities that have been thrust into the spotlight because of police killings of African-Americans. Officer Roy Oliver was fired three days after the Saturday night shooting. But lawyers for Jordan Edwards’ family said Wednesday that the city must answer for more than Oliver, including a racial slur allegedly yelled at one of Edwards’ brothers moments after the shooting. The family also wants the officer to be charged with a crime. Edwards, his two brothers and two other teenagers were driving away from an unruly house party when the officer opened fire on their vehicle with a rifle. The bullets shattered the front passenger-side window and struck Edwards. It took a few moments for Edwards’ 16-year-old brother, who was driving, and other passengers to notice that he was slumped over in his seat. His brother pulled over and tried to call for help. Police ordered him to step out of the car and back away. As he moved, he heard someone call him a racial slur and say he didn’t understand directions,...

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