Locals were energized and inspired by President Donald Trump’s inaugural address promising to give government back to the people.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Easton resident Joey Locke-Keller spent the past year campaigning for Republican Donald Trump.

But as he sat on the floor of a mall food court Friday, rehashing Trump’s inaugural ceremony, Locke-Keller said what impressed him most about the day was not the person being inaugurated. It was the people attending the inauguration.

Locke-Keller and his Bridgewater State University classmate Samantha Bazarewsky were inspired, they said, by the crowd’s respectful recognition of outgoing president Barack Obama as much as their enthusiastic welcome of Trump.

As they sat and talked, the white linoleum and plastic chairs around them were strikingly everyday, compared to the majesty of national monuments and choral singing that had surrounded them just an hour before.

But the inaugural ceremony, in all its democratic glory, was reflected in the awe in Locke-Keller’s voice.

“I like to think today was about democracy,” he said, as Bazarewsky nodded. “It was really cool to see people from all over the country, people of all colors, races, ethnicities, all coming together on the National Mall.”

Hours earlier, Locke-Keller and Bazarewsky had been herded through security gates along with hundreds of thousands of other inaugural attendees.

Holding creamy card stock tickets, precious on Jan. 20, the two college students were swept into a crowd of red, white, and blue.

The new president’s name, ‘Trump,’ proclaimed itself everywhere–from shirts, hats, and buttons, and the mouths of those wearing them.

“Trump! Trump! Trump, baby!” one man yelled, shouting himself hoarse as he stood on a cement block at the edge of the crowd.

Joined by friends and strangers, his cries drowned out the rhyming slogans of protesters who hovered around the checkpoints, holding signs declaring Trump incompetent or fascist.

Thousands of men, women, and even children slowly trickled past thorough TSA security checks and onto the National Mall, finding their places hours or minutes before the inaugural ceremony began at 11:30 a.m.

Though protesters linked arms and planted signs to block or slow some of the crowds moving through checkpoints, the waves of Trump supporters were undeterred.

Locke-Keller and Bazarewsky joined chants of “USA! USA!” as they waited in line, while Abington resident John Zimini was dazzled by the “surreal” experience of watching his first inauguration doubled in the glassy surface of the Capitol’s reflecting pool.

Beth Veneto, of Ginger Betty’s Bakery in Quincy, even got a potential business partnership out of the experience, exchanging numbers with a chocolate-maker from Florida.

The crowd pledged allegiance as one, Make America Great Again hats over their hearts.

They cheered, fists in the air, as Mike Pence took his oath as vice president, and furiously waved American flags and Trump banners as the new president took his oath.

Then, drawing closer to speakers along Pennsylvania Avenue or peering through restaurant windows at televisions, they listened as Trump gave an inaugural address about giving the government back to the people.

It was a message that gave Zimini chills, he said.

“We hear this cliché all the time, that Washington is out of touch with the voters,” Zimini said Friday afternoon. “This was a populist speech. It feels like he’s turning this government over to us, and that’s a first.”

Under Trump’s administration, how well the new president listens to the people is what will matter most to Zimini.

“I truly believe he’ll be a great president,” Zimini said. “We’ll see.”

He said Friday was not about Republican control of government, though that party now does control all three branches.

The day was about recognizing how incredible it is to have a peaceful transfer of power.

Carter resident Mark Townsend, a member of the Massachusetts Republican party, agreed.

“It made you feel how unique of an experience it is, that we just turn over power every four years,” said Townsend. “We listen to the people. There are no tanks in the streets, no guns in the streets. We’re very unique in that.”

(Dalton Bennett,Bastien Inzaurralde,Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

Protesters made themselves heard in the nation’s capital Friday, leaving a trail of damage along some city blocks, disrupting security checkpoints at President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and clashing with police as Trump supporters tried to celebrate.

As people poured into the city to watch Trump sworn in as the 45th president, they encountered protesters across the area throughout the day. Many of the demonstrations were nonviolent, with people holding signs that spoke to their causes and concerns. One protest even took on a carnival atmosphere, with puppets, stilt walkers and a giant inflatable elephant wearing a sign that read “racism.” But other groups tried to disrupt the day’s events by burning flags, throwing bricks and rioting en masse, leading to injuries and 217 arrests by Friday evening.

Six people intent on interrupting the presidential swearing-in ceremony made it into the closest section of seats to Trump. They wore shirts that spelled out “R-E-S-I-S-T” and got up and started shouting “We the people!” as Trump took the oath of office at noon. As authorities removed them from the area, they raised their fists and shouted “USA! USA!” One woman yelled, “We’re for an America for all of us.”

Some in the crowd responded with taunts: “Na, na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, good bye.”

After the swearing in, protesters arrived at the Franklin Square area and clashed with police. The protesters were throwing rocks, bricks and chunks of concrete and taking newspaper boxes and barriers and putting them on the streets. Meanwhile police appeared to be using a flurry of flash-bang grenades and chemical spray to hold the protesters back, pushing them block-by-block west along K Street, from 12th Street toward 14th Street.

During the afternoon clash, the protesters started a fire in the middle of the street using garbage bins and newspaper boxes, and some climbed trees and light poles. About 100 officers in riot gear, carrying shields, stood in a line blocking off K Street.

“It’s a little jarring when you’re in a peaceful march with drumming and chanting and the next thing you know flash bangs are going off around you,” said Daniel Hultquist, a protester from Rhode Island. “People that throw rocks and bricks are undermining the cause.”

When one police SUV tried to drive through the crowd, several protesters dressed in all black tried to block it; when the SUV sped up, pushing the protesters aside, one picked up a rock, threw it, and smashed the vehicle’s rear window. At about 4:15 p.m., as the inaugural parade took place blocks away, protesters set a car on fire along K Street, sending plumes of dark smoke through downtown.

Trump supporters and protesters clashed throughout the day at several locations, and it sometimes turned violent. Three officers were injured during an earlier protest along the K Street corridor, including an officer who was struck by an object that had been thrown, said Doug Buchanan, a spokesman for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services. A fourth officer was struck by a thrown object on K Street in the late afternoon and was taken to a hospital.

During the morning protest, a large group of black-clad protesters — self-described as anti-capitalist and antifascist — made their way south on 13th Street near K Street, throwing newspaper boxes and garbage cans into the street and trying to set them on fire, leaving them smoldering. They also threw fireworks and broke glass at bus stops, businesses and on the windows of a limousine.

Police cleaned up behind them as they marched, and authorities used chemical spray in an attempt to disrupt the vandalism. They ultimately herded the group away from the inauguration parade route with a large number of police vehicles and officers in riot gear, and they used concussion grenades — which make a loud noise — to break up the crowd.

D.C. Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham said officers arrested 217 people in connection with protests that turned violent and caused “significant damage to a number of blocks in our city.” He said officers handling the protests did not deploy either flash-bang or percussion grenades — used to disorient people in crowds — and that protesters had their own. But numerous Washington Post reporters saw officers throw such grenades.

Newsham said a “a very small percentage” of the thousands who came to demonstrate the inauguration resorted to violence. Police said those arrested were charged with rioting.

“It’s disappointing that it had to happen,” Newsham said, praising how officers responded. “We knew this was going to be a long day . . . Anyone who thinks they can come here and break the law, we will take them into custody.”

At least one bystander, a middle-aged man, was injured when the grenades went off; he was hit in the head, which was cut and bleeding.

Another man, Robert Hrifko, 62, who rode his Harley Davidson motorcycle up from St. Augustine, Fla., to join the Bikers for Trump group, approached several firemen and asked: “Do you think I need stitches?”

A welt on his cheekbone dribbled blood. He said a man hit him with rock after he tackled a protester who was attempting to throw an aluminum chair at a police officer.

“Bam — just waylaid me,” he said. The firemen offered him a Band-Aid and said he would be all right. “Good, I ain’t got insurance anymore, because I can’t afford Obamacare.”

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser tweeted that she respects the rights of protesters but “will not condone crime and vandalism which are the antithesis of what we hope to accomplish today.” She also wrote: “To those of you visiting Washington, D.C. we welcome you but we cannot allow you to destroy our neighborhoods.”

Protesters jammed city streets and also aimed to jam checkpoints to the inauguration, at times successfully.

“Shut it down!” protesters shouted at the checkpoint at John Marshall Park early Friday morning. There, five black men stood at the front of the crowd, chained together, blocking the path.

Hailing from different parts of the country, the men were protesting on behalf of the Black Lives Matter movement. As they stood together, they shouted that by demonstrating, “all we have to lose is our chains.”

Police began redirecting people to other entrances at about 8:30 a.m. As protesters there shouted, “This is what democracy looks like,” a Trump supporter countered. He pointed to the other side of the fence and said, “This is what democracy looks like, but I can’t get to it because of you!”

Michael Henning came from Dalton, Ohio, to see the events on the Mall and expressed frustration with how police handled the situation.

“We drove 20 hours, and now we can’t get in,” Henning said. “Everyone should have just brought guns and had it out, I’d be happy if they just dropped a bomb on them.”

One protester was arrested after sprinting up 13th Street and taunting a small group of officers chasing him. As he passed a D.C. fire station, cheers could be heard behind the glass of the garage doors: “Get him! Get him!” When a young man in a hoodie — apparently an undercover police officer — bolted from the side and brought the protester down on the sidewalk with a flying tackle, a cheer arose from inside the station.

“I’m not resisting, I’m not resisting,” the protester said from beneath a pile of three officers. “How are you all doing today?” he said, just before being helped to his feet, his hand in restraints.

It is unclear how many protesters descended on the nation’s capital for the inauguration, but law enforcement officials were bracing for more than 60 demonstration groups, both in support of and against Trump. About two dozen groups have received permits for specific gathering spaces for Friday and Saturday, when the Women’s March will take over the streets. According to their permit requests, some of those groups Friday were anticipating as few as 20 participants; others were planning for tens of thousands.

(Thomas LeGro/The Washington Post)

In the days leading up to the inauguration, protests started with one group shutting down K Street in downtown Washington and gay rights advocates holding a dance party near the temporary home of Vice President-elect Mike Pence in Chevy Chase, complete with biodegradable glitter and the hashtags #WeAreQueer #WeAreHere #WeWillDance.

Thursday night, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the National Press Club in downtown Washington, where the “DeploraBall” was being held. They shouted obscenities and insults such as “racist” and Nazi” at those attending the celebratory ball on the eve of Trump’s inauguration, and at one point someone threw an object that hit a counter protester in the head. Officers directed chemical spray at the crowd multiple times after protesters began throwing trash at Trump supporters who were leaving the building.

Many protesters participated in nonviolent demonstrations Friday. One man brought three llamas named Shay, Tragically Cute, and Thaddeus from a farm in Lancaster, Pa. Other groups protested silently, letting their signs speak for them.

“I just wanted my voice to be heard,” said Sharae Cloak, who stood quietly with two friends. “It’s a sad day in America, in the world. I didn’t want to be one of those people who complains and sits at home.”

But at least one organization had vowed to try to shut down the city. Organized under activist collective Disrupt J20, that group arranged to have different organizations gather at each of the dozen checkpoints that inauguration ticket holders had to pass through to view the ceremony. Each aimed to speak to a different cause, organized under names that include: Future is Feminist, Movement for Black Lives, Standing Rock for Native Lives, Economic Justice and Communities under Attack.

At one checkpoint, a group of LBGT protesters held a banner that read: “Out of the Closet. Into the Streets” and danced along to Abba and Madonna. They blew whistles and horns and filled the wet pavement with blue and purple glitter.

“We are here as a celebration of all the rights we have achieved as a movement and to stand up for ourselves,” said Mike Mcvicker-Weaver, 40, an HIV health care worker from Baltimore.

At a checkpoint near 10th and E streets, a group of women early in the morning tied themselves together with purple yarn and sat down, blocking people from passing.

“Hey, hey, ho, ho! Donald Trump has to go!” the group of about 100 mostly young protesters said. “End white supremacy!”

Clashes broke out at the location throughout the morning, and the line appeared at a standstill less than an hour before Trump was expected to take the oath of office.

Disrupt J20 describes its plans online as “a series of massive direct actions that will shut down the Inauguration ceremonies and any related celebrations — the Inaugural parade, the Inaugural balls, you name it. We’re also planning to paralyze the city itself, using blockades and marches to stop traffic and even public transit.”

Not all of the demonstrations on Friday were anti-Trump. Among those groups that requested permits for space were two organizations that support him: Bikers for Trump and Let America Hear Us, Roar for Trump.

The latter shared Dupont Circle with a group that did not request a permit but set up there early Friday — DCMJ, which was formerly known as the D.C. Cannabis Campaign and was behind the successful effort to legalize marijuana in the District in 2015.

The group, which started rolling joints this month, plans to hand out 4,200 before marching to the Mall. Once there, those who get through the security checkpoints — a problem because it is illegal to possess marijuana on federal land, which includes the Mall — plan to light up four minutes and 20 seconds into Trump’s speech.

A 40-year-old pot grower named Josh stood near Dupont Circle Friday morning, controlling the line, which stretched up Massachusetts Avenue. He said he had donated a half-pound of his own weed for the giveaway.

“I’d appreciate it if you don’t do any illegal here,” Josh told the crowd. “If you want to do something illegal, take it down the block.”

Nikolas Schiller, co-founder of DCMJ, said the demonstration is not a protest of Trump but a signal of wanting to work with him on fully legalizing cannabis in all 50 states and the District.

“This is about demonstrating to Trump that he has the power to change the law and do what Obama was not able to do,” Schiller said. “We believe cannabis legalization will create jobs, it will increase tax revenue, and it will also help fix the broken criminal justice” system.

As for the bikers they will be sharing space with Friday, he said, “We hope some come on over and get a free joint.”

Another organization, the ANSWER Coalition, planned to host a large gathering at the U.S. Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Ben Becker of ANSWER said that more than 45,000 people indicated through social media an interest in joining the group’s protest near the U.S. Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue. The group, which stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, had a 28-foot stage and large sound system set up there and plans to showcase speakers and performers throughout the morning and afternoon.

“We’re considering it the counterinauguration,” Becker, 33, said. “The main message is that there is going to be a grass-roots movement of resistance to the Trump agenda from Day One of his presidency.”

The group had thousands of signs ready to hand out. Among them: “Say no to racism,” “Stop the Trump Agenda” and “Inaugurate the Resistance.”

Becker said his hope for the day, regardless of how many people show up, is that they leave feeling confident in their ability to stand up, fight back and organize.

“It’s not a one-day event,” he said. “We’re calling it Day One of a larger resistance movement.”

Tara Bahrampour, Michael Alison Chandler, Steve Hendrix, Arelis R. Hernández, Tom Jackman, Justin Jouvenal, John Kelly, Robert McCartney, Clarence Williams and Julie Zauzmer contributed to this report.

Next week a range of journalists from old and new media will gather at New York University for an event hosted by the liberal website Slate called “Not the New Normal.” It’s billed as a forum on “how the news media can and should proceed to cover” the Trump administration. Here’s hoping, writes Tom Kuntz at Real Clear Politics, “the answer to that question is fair, fact-based coverage that informs the public about issues of significance.” Yeah, well, good luck with that. If the press takes its cue from Kyle Pope, editor in chief and publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review, it will remain as clueless as ever, as arrogant and ignorant as a high school sophomore, absolutely certain of its superiority and completely in denial about its biases. In a piece called “An open letter to Trump from the US press corps,” he basically delivers a finger-wagging lecture to the president-elect that’s as snotty and disrespectful as it can be. He recaps a list of sins against the press he thinks Mr. Trump has committed and then lets him have it:

All of this, of course, is your choice and, in a way, your right. While the Constitution protects the freedom of the press, it doesn’t dictate how the president must honor that; regular press conferences aren’t enshrined in the document.

But while you have every right to decide your ground rules for engaging with the press, we have some, too. It is, after all, our airtime and column inches that you are seeking to influence. We, not you, decide how best to serve our readers, listeners, and viewers. So think of what follows as a backgrounder on what to expect from us over the next four years.

The overall point of the piece seems to be: Like it or not, Bub, you need us to get your message out to the American people, so you’d better be nice and play by our rules. He even threatens at one point that if Trump mean to a member of the press, they’ll all come back at him with “a unified front.” But the thing is that Trump does not need them, as he has demonstrated over and over again during the primaries and in the transition period. He gets 20 million views every time he tweets, and many of them end up on the front page and in the evening newscasts. He is very good at getting his message out, unfiltered and unshaped by the media. And no matter how many people keep telling him, “You can’t do that,” he’s undoubtedly going to keep doing that, says Brian Micklethwait at Samizdata:

More generally, one of the things I notice about effective people, including me at those times in my life when I have been effective, is that effective people often do things that they “can’t” do, but which actually, they can do, and which if they do do will serve their purposes very well. “You can’t do that” actually only means that until now you couldn’t do that. And it often also means: Now that you can do that and now that you are doing it, we want you to stop.

Until recently, no President of the USA could tweet back at his media critics, very quickly and cheaply and easily, without in any way having to beg from them any right to reply to their criticisms, and without irritating anyone else who isn’t interested. Now, the President can. The claim that he shouldn’t, because “proper Presidents don’t behave like that” needs him to be persuaded of this claim. But if ignoring this claim is a major reason for his effectiveness, why would he be persuaded?

The press has lost a great deal of credibility during this political season. I don’t see any evidence yet that they’re going to work at getting it back. Don Surber says to the press:

Trump owes you nothing.

I owe you nothing.

The American people owe you nothing because — and pay attention this time — we don’t believe you.

Yep. ELSEWHERE IN THE NEWS If that’s the case, my sister thinks she must be immortal by now: Eating hot chili peppers may help you live longer. Only a tiny portion — probably somewhere between 3 and 11 percent — of the guns used in crime are purchased legally, so passing more gun laws won’t help at all. The suspense is absolutely killing me: Will Lady Gaga use her super Bowl halftime appearance to dis Donald Trump? Take a peek inside the most expensive home for sale in the U.S. — $250 million. Some of the photos show how delightfully wretched excess can be. United Nations ambassador nominee Nikki Haley voices skepticism about the value of the U.S. I like her attitude. On this day in military history: 75 years ago, on Jan. 18, 1942, FDR facetiously awarded the Iron Cross to New York Daily News reporter John O’Donnell, for his frequent negative reporting on the war effort. The Asian-American band The Slants goes before the Supreme Court to defend its name, which couldn’t be trademarked because it is “offensive.” If the First Amendment still means anything, they’ll win handily. Dang, I should have planned a little better: Indiana is the 10th worst state to grow old in. Oh, my God, we’re all going to die! In 2016 a record high temperature was set for the third year in a row! Please, please, please, government, save us now, we don’t care how much you tax us and how much control you take over our lives! But wait:

For the benefit of science reporters and other people who are unfamiliar with the scientific method, let me point out that the margin of error for these measurements is plus or minus one tenth of a degree Celsius. The temperature difference that is supposedly being measured is one one-hundredth of a degree—one tenth the size of the margin of error. To go back to sports reporting, that’s like saying that the football is on the 10-yard line—give or take a hundred yards.

Dear Editor: I am writing as the concerned father of two children who are graduates of the UW System to ask that concerned readers contact their Wisconsin Assembly representative to vote against proposed legislation by Rep. Jesse Kremer that would allow students to carry concealed guns into classrooms on Wisconsin college and university campuses.

There is strong evidence/data that suggests that this legislation, if passed, will not make students safer in their classrooms, but instead will increasd the overall risk to our students, professors/teachers or campus staff who may encounter a disturbed, enraged, violent, or intoxicated student with a gun.

In some of the best studies on homicide and gun violence available in the U.S., The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health-Harvard Injury Control Research Center, concludes: “1. Where there are more guns available (prevalence), there is more homicide; 2. Across high income nations (e.g. USA), more guns available equals more homicides; 3. Across U.S. States, more guns equals more homicides; 4. More guns equals more homicides of police; and 5. Overall conclusions: where there are higher levels of gun ownership, there are more gun suicides and more total suicides, more gun homicides and more total homicides and more accidental gun deaths.”

Jim Daubert

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Below are the films opening theatrically through April 21. Release dates and other details, as compiled by Kevin Crust, are subject to change. Sadly, “Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies” (Jan. 13) and “My Entire High School is Sinking Into the Sea” (2017 TBA) fall outside this window.

JAN. 20

“Alone in Berlin”: After their son is killed in World War II, a middle-aged German couple become activists spreading an anti-Nazi message across the city via postcards. With Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson, Daniel Bruhl. Written and directed by Vincent Perez, based on the novel “Every Man Dies Alone” by Hans Fallada. IFC Films

“Antarctica: Ice and Sky”: French glaciologist Claude Lorius, whose work provided evidence of man-made global climate change, is profiled in this documentary. Directed by Luc Jacquet. Music Box Films

“Detour”: A overly trusting law student allows a violent couple to play on his suspicions that his stepfather arranged the car crash that left his mother in a coma. With Tye Sheridan, Stephen Moyer, Emory Cohen, Bel Powley. Written and directed by Christopher Smith. Magnet Releasing

“The Founder”: Michael Keaton stars as McDonald’s impresario Ray Kroc, who turned a Southern California burger joint into a billion-dollar business. With Nick Offerman, Linda Cardellini. Written by Robert D. Siegel. Directed by John Lee Hancock. Weinstein Co.

“The Red Turtle”: Stranded on an island with turtles, crabs and birds, a man experiences the milestones of being human in this silent animated film. Directed by Michael Dudok de Wit. Sony Pictures Classics

“Split”: A kidnapper with 23 distinct personalities struggles with an emerging 24th that threatens to dominate the others. With James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Jessica Sula, Haley Lu Richardson. Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Universal Pictures

“Staying Vertical”: A carefree filmmaker becomes a single father after he is seduced by a bohemian shepherdess. With Damien Bonnard, India Hair, Raphael Thiery. Written and directed by Alain Guiraudie. Strand Releasing

“Trespass Against Us”: The patriarch of a British crime family stops at nothing to keep his son in line when he begins thinking of another way of life for his own family. With Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson, Lyndsey Marshall, Killian Scott, Rory Kinnear, Sean Harris. Written by Alastair Siddons. Directed by Adam Smith. A24

“Worlds Apart”: Three foreigners each find love with a Greek in this triptych set against the socio-economic turmoil of contemporary Greece. With J. K. Simmons, Christopher Papakaliatis (as Christoforos Papakaliatis), Andrea Osvart. Written and directed by Christopher Papakaliatis. Cinema Libre Studio

“XXX: The Return of Xander Cage”: Vin Diesel returns for his third outing as a former extreme sports star turned government agent embroiled in a global conspiracy. With Donnie Yen, Toni Collette, Samuel L. Jackson. Written by F. Scott Frazier, based on characters created by Rich Wilkes. Directed by D.J. Caruso. Paramount Pictures

Also: “The Axe Murders of Villisca” Horror. IFC Midnight … “Bakery in Brooklyn” Comedy. Gravitas Ventures … “Doobious Sources” Comedy. Gravitas Ventures … “My Father, Die” Thriller. FilmRise … “Sailor Moon R the Movie: Promise of the Rose” Animated. Eleven Arts …”Saving Banksy” Documentary. Parade Deck Films

JAN. 27

“A Dog’s Purpose”: The meaning of life is explored through one pooch and his humans. With Britt Robertson, KJ Apa, John Ortiz, Dennis Quaid, Josh Gad. Written by W. Bruce Cameron, Cathryn Michon, Audrey Wells, Maya Forbes and Wally Wolodarsky; based on the novel by Cameron. Directed by Lasse Hallstrom. Universal Pictures

“Fall”: Michael Murphy portrays an elderly Roman Catholic priest whose life is shaken by a disturbing visit from the past. With Suzanne Clement. Written and directed by Terrance Odette. Breaking Glass Pictures

“Gold”: Matthew McConaughey plays a prospector who teams with a geologist to hunt for treasure in the untamed jungles of Indonesia. With Bryce Dallas Howard. Written by Patrick Massett and John Zinman. Directed by Stephen Gaghan. TWC – Dimension

“I Am Michael”: James Franco stars in this real-life story of gay rights activist Michael Glatze who had a religious awakening, renounced his life and became a Christian pastor. With Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts. Written and directed by Justin Kelly, based on a New York Times article by Benoit Denizet-Lewis. Brainstorm Media

“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter”: The sixth and culminating episode in the action-horror franchise once-again stars Milla Jovovich as the zombie-slaying Alice, returning to the Hive, where it all began. With Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts. Written and Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. Screen Gems

“The Salesman”: Forced to change apartments, a young Iranian couple in Tehran find their lives upended by violence linked to a previous tenant. With Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti. Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi. Amazon Studios / Cohen Media Group

“Strike a Pose”: A documentary look at seven male dancers, six gay, one straight, who were part of Madonna’s 1990 “Truth or Dare” tour. Featuring Luis Camacho, Oliver Crumes III, Salim “Slam” Gauwloos, Jose Gutierez, Kevin Stea, Sue Trupin, Carlton Wilborn. Directed by Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan. Bond/360

Also: “Get the Girl” Comedy. Vertical Entertainment … “Kung Fu Yoga” Action comedy with Jackie Chan. Well Go USA … “Lost in Florence” Romantic drama. Orion Pictures … “Paris 05:59” Romantic drama. Wolfe Releasing … “Sophie and the Rising Sun” Drama with Julianne Nicholson and Margo Martindale. Monterey Media … “The Sunshine Makers” Documentary. FilmRise …”They Call Us Monsters” Documentary. Matson Films

FEB. 3

“The Comedian”: A former comedy star struggles to reinvent himself, but finds inspiration in a woman he meets while doing community service. With Robert De Niro, Leslie Mann, Cloris Leachman, Danny DeVito, Harvey Keitel, Edie Falco. Written by Art Linson, Jeff Ross, Richard Lagravenese, Lewis Friedman; story by Art Linson. Directed by Taylor Hackford. Sony Pictures Classics

“The Daughter”: An Australian man returns home to New South Wales after 15 years and learns a secret that could tear apart a friend’s family. With Geoffrey Rush, Ewen Leslie, Paul Schneider, Miranda Otto, Sam Neill. Written and directed by Simon Stone. Kino Lorber

“I Am Not Your Negro”: Filmmaker Raoul Peck picks up writer James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, “Remember This House,” about the assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., connecting the civil rights movement to #BlackLivesMatter in this documentary. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. Magnolia Pictures

“Oklahoma City”: Director Barak Goodman’s documentary looks at the deadly April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and the continuing anti-government anger that plagues the nation. American Experience

“Rings”: The deadly videotape returns, and a young woman discovers an even darker level to its evil in this reboot of “The Ring.” With Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan, Vincent D’Onofrio. Written by David Loucka, Jacob Estes and Akiva Goldsman; story By David Loucka and Jacob Estes. Directed By F. Javier Gutierrez. Paramount Pictures

“The Space Between Us”: The first human born on Mars returns to Earth and sets out to find his father. With Gary Oldman, Asa Butterfield, Carla Gugino, Britt Robertson. Written by Allan Loeb, Peter Chelsom and Tinker Lindsay; story by Stewart Schill and Richard B. Lewis & Loeb. Directed by Chelsom. STX Entertainment

“War on Everyone”: A pair of corrupt cops who extort money from criminals stumble into a deeper mess when they blackmail a strip club owner and his boss. With Alexander Skarsg�rd, Michael Pena, Caleb Landry Jones. Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh. Saban Films / Lionsgate

“Youth in Oregon” A man faces the unenviable task of driving his father-in-law across the country while trying to convince him not to have himself euthanized. With Frank Langella, Billy Crudup, Christina Applegate. Written by Andrew Eisen. Directed by Joel David Moore. Samuel Goldwyn Films

Also: “Don’t Knock Twice” Supernatural horror with Katee Sackhoff. IFC Midnight … “Eloise” Psychological thriller with Chace Crawford and Eliza Dushku. Vertical Entertainment … “A Good American” Documentary. The Film Collaborative …”Grace of Jake” Faith-based drama. Indican Pictures … “Midsummer in Newtown” Documentary. Participant Media / Vulcan Productions … “The Trouble With Terkel” Animated comedy. Indican Pictures … “Wheeler” Drama with Stephen Dorff and Kris Kristofferson. Momentum Pictures

FEB. 10

“David Brent: Life on the Road”: Twelve years later, Ricky Gervais’ “Office” manager takes his shot at rock stardom in this mockumentary. With Ben Bailey Smith. Written and directed by Gervais. Netflix

“Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends)”: The Palm Desert rock band share their experiences from the November 2015 Paris terror attack during a concert, its aftermath, and their return to play the city with U2 just three weeks later. Featuring band members Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme. Directed by Colin Hanks. HBO Documentary Films

“Fifty Shades Darker”: A reunion between Christian and Ana is threatened by a shady character from his past in this follow-up to the kinky drama. With Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Jennifer Ehle, Kim Basinger, Marcia Gay Harden. Written by Niall Leonard; based on the novel by E L James. Directed by James Foley. Universal Pictures

“John Wick: Chapter 2”: Keanu Reeves is back as the titular hit man is lured out of retirement to stop an attempt to seize control of a mysterious assassins’ guild. With Common, Riccardo Scamarcio, Laurence Fishburne, Ruby Rose, Bridget Moynahan, Lance Reddick, Franco Nero, John Leguizamo, Ian McShane. Written by Derek Kolstad. Directed by Chad Stahelski. Summit Entertainment

“Land of Mine”: German POWs, at the end of WWII, are forced to clear land mines on the Danish coasts. With Roland M�ller, Mikkel Boe F�lsgaard, Louis Hofmann. Written and directed by Martin Zandvliet. Sony Pictures Classics

“The Lego Batman Movie”: The snarky brick version of the Caped Crusader battles the Joker and learns to be a team player and lighten up a little. Voices by Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes. Written by Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jared Stern and John Whittington; story by Grahame-Smith. Directed by Chris McKay. Warner Bros.

“Mr. Gaga: A True Story of Love and Dance”: Documentary on classically trained choreographer Ohad Naharin, who created the dance and “movement language” Gaga. Directed by Tomer Heymann. Abramorama

“United Kingdom”: The king of Botswana and an Englishwoman engage in a forbidden love and plan to marry in 1940s Southern Africa. With David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike. Written by Guy Hibbert. Directed by Amma Asante. Fox Searchlight

“Fist Fight”: A meek high school English teacher inadvertently angers a tougher colleague and their pending after-school brawl triggers an unexpected response on the campus. With Ice Cube, Charlie Day, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Dean Norris, Christina Hendricks, Dennis Haysbert, JoAnna Garcia Swisher. Written by Van Robichaux and Evan Susser; story by Van Robichaux, Evan Susser and Max Greenfield. Directed by Richie Keen. Warner Bros. / New Line Cinema

Also: “Bornless Ones” … Horror. Uncork’d Entertainment … “Chapter & Verse” Drama. Paladin … “Do You Dream in Color?” Drama. Uncork’d Entertainment … “Don’t Hang Up” Horror. Vertical Entertainment … “Havenhurst” Horror. Brainstorm Media … “Left on Purpose” Documentary. Gunpowder & Sky Distribution … “Oscar Nominated Shorts” Live action, animated, documentary. Shorts International … “Running Wild” Drama with Sharon Stone. SP Releasing / Sony Pictures Home Entertainment … “Sex Doll” Romantic thriller. IFC Midnight … “Stray Bullets” Thriller. Screen Media Films

FEB. 17

“American Fable”: An 11-year-old girl in 1980s Iowa discovers a mysterious man held captive in the silo on her family’s farm. With Peyton Kennedy, Kip Pardue, Richard Schiff, Gavin MacIntosh, Rusty Schwimmer, Zuleikha Robinson, Marci Miller. Written and directed by Anne Hamilton. IFC Midnight

“A Cure for Wellness”: Sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from a luxurious Swiss spa, a young executive soon realizes the horrific truth beneath the ritzy surface. With Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs. Written by Justin Haythe; story by Haythe and Gore Verbinski. Directed by Verbinski. 20th Century Fox

“The Great Wall”: Historic action-thriller about warriors making a heroic stand on China’s most famous structure. With Matt Damon, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Hanyu Zhang, Andy Lau. Written by Carlo Bernard, Doug Miro and Tony Gilroy; story by Max Brooks, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz. Directed by Zhang Yimou. Universal Pictures

“Kedi”: Documentary about hundreds of thousands of free-roaming cats on the streets of Istanbul and their impact on the humans they adopt. Directed by Ceyda Torun. Oscilloscope Laboratories

“My Name is Emily”: Irish drama about a teenager who enlists her only friend to find her institutionalized father. With Evanna Lynch, Michael Smiley, George Webster. Written and directed by Simon Fitzmaurice. Monument Releasing

“XX”: Female filmmakers spin four dark tales in this horror anthology. With Natalie Brown, Melanie Lynskey, Breeda Wool, Christina Kirk. Directed by Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Karyn Kusama, Jennifer Lynch and Jovanka Vuckovic. Magnet Releasing

Also: “From Nowhere” Drama with Julianne Nicholson. Filmrise … “The Great & Small” Drama. Breaking Glass Pictures

FEB. 24

“Bitter Harvest”: An artist in 1930s Ukraine struggles to save his childhood secret and fight for his people against the death-by-starvation programs of Josef Stalin. With Max Irons, Samantha Barks, Barry Pepper, Tamer Hassan, Terence Stamp. Written by George Mendeluk and Richard Bachynsky-Hoover; story by Bachynsky-Hoover. Directed by Mendeluk. Roadside Attractions

“Get Out”: A young African American man’s visit to the country home of his white girlfriend and her family takes a chilling turn in this thriller. With Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Catherine Keener. Written and directed by Jordan Peele. Universal Pictures

“The Girl With All the Gifts”: A plague blights humanity, turning victims into flesh-eaters, and a small groups of survivors, including a special little girl, flees an army base in rural England. With Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close. Written by Mike Carey. Directed by Colm McCarthy. Saban Films / Lionsgate

“Kiki”: Documentary on New York City’s vibrant underground ballroom scene fueled by young LGBTQ people staging elaborate dance competitions. With Chi Chi Mizrahi, Gia Marie Love, Divo Pink Lady, Twiggy Pucci Garcon. Written by Sara Jordeno, Twiggy Pucci Garcon. Directed by Jordeno. Sundance Selects

“My Life as a Zucchini”: An orphaned youth struggles to find friends and adjust to his new life in this animated tale. English-language voice cast includes Will Forte, Nick Offerman, Ellen Page, Amy Sedaris. Written by Celine Sciamma, based on “Autobiography of a Courgette” by Gille Paris. Directed by Claude Barras. GKids

“Rock Dog”: A Tibetan mastiff leaves his mountaintop home to seek music stardom after a radio falls from the sky in this animated comedy. Voices by J.K. Simmons, Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard. Written by Ash Brannon and Kurt Voelker; story by Brannon and Zheng Jun, based on the graphic novel “Tibetan Rock Dog” by Zheng. Directed by Ash Brannon. Summit Premiere

“Tulip Fever”: A married woman and her lover in 17th century Amsterdam stake their hopes of running away together on the city’s tulip bulb market. With Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Christoph Waltz, Holliday Grainger, Jack O’Connell, Zach Galifianakis, Dame Judi Dench. Written by Tom Stoppard; based on the novel by Deborah Moggach. Directed by Justin Chadwick. Weinstein Company

Also: “As You Are” Thriller. Votiv Films / Amazon … “Drifter” Horror. XLrator Media … “Dying Laughing” Documentary. Gravitas Ventures … “Punching Henry” Comedy with J.K. Simmons. Well Go USA … “Voodoo” Horror. HyperCube Films


“Before I Fall”: The perfect life of a young woman unravels when she finds herself inescapably reliving the same day over and over. With Zoey Deutch, Halston Sage, Logan Miller. Written by Maria Maggenti; based on the novel by Lauren Oliver Directed by Ry Russo-Young. Open Road Films

“Contemporary Color”: Documentary on the event that musician David Byrne staged in 2015 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center as a salute to the art of color guard, the synchronized dance routines using flags, rifles and sabers. Featuring St. Vincent, Nelly Furtado, Devonte Hynes. Directed by Bill Ross and Turner Ross. Oscilloscope Laboratories

“Donald Cried”: A Wall Street executive returns to his working-class Rhode Island neighborhood to bury his grandmother, loses his wallet and is forced to reconnect with his eccentric best friend from high school. With Kris Avedisian, Jesse Wakeman, Louisa Krause. Written and directed by Avedisian. The Orchard

“Junction 48”: Tragedy propels a down-on-his-luck Palestinian musician living outside Tel Aviv into the world of hip-hop where he discovers his political consciousness. With Tamer Nafar, Samar Qupty, Salwa Nakkara. Written by Oren Moverman, Nafar. Directed by Udi Aloni. The Orchard

“The Last Word”: Shirley MacLaine stars as a highly controlling, once successful businesswoman who drags a young writer into her quest to shape her legacy. With Amanda Seyfried, Anne Heche, Thomas Sadoski, Philip Baker Hall. Written by Stuart Ross Fink. Directed by Mark Pellington. Bleecker Street

“Logan”: Hugh Jackman makes his last stand as the razor-clawed Wolverine, protecting a young girl who may share some of his traits. With Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Dafne Keen. Written by Michael Green, Scott Frank and James Mangold; story by David James Kelly and Mangold. Directed by Mangold. 20th Century Fox

“Lovesong”: A young mother attempts to regain the intimate connection she had with her best friend, who is about to be married. With Jena Malone, Riley Keough, Brooklyn Decker. Written by Bradley Rust Gray and So Yong Kim. Directed by Kim. Strand Releasing

“The Shack”: Tragedy plunges a man into a deep depression, causing him to question his faith, until he’s mysteriously summoned to a modest shelter in the wilds of Oregon. With Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Avraham Aviv Alush. Written by John Fusco, Andrew Lanham and Destin Cretton, based on the book by William Paul Young, in collaboration with Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings. Directed by Stuart Hazeldine. Summit Entertainment

“Table 19”: Anna Kendrick stars as a young woman who loses out being maid of honor when the best man dumps her, but decides to buck decorum and attend her oldest friend’s wedding regardless. With Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, June Squibb, Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant. Written and directed by Jeffrey Blitz; story by Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass and Blitz. Fox Searchlight

“Wolves”: A Manhattan high school basketball star must deal with his father, an alcoholic writer with a gambling problem, to preserve his bright future. With Michael Shannon, Carla Gugino, Taylor John Smith, Chris Bauer, John Douglas Thompson. Written and directed by Bart Freundlich. IFC Films

Also: “Actor Martinez” Drama. Breaking Glass Pictures … “American Violence” Thriller. Cinedigm … “Burlesque: Heart of the Glitter Tribe” Documentary. XLrator Media … “Catfight” Comedy with Sandra Oh and Anne Heche. MPI … “Fair Haven” Drama. Breaking Glass Pictures … “Growing Up Smith” Comedy-drama with Jason Lee. Good Deed Entertainment … “Lavender” Thriller with Abbie Cornish. AMBI Media Group … “Middle Man” Comedy. Quiver Digital


“The Freedom to Marry”: The decades-long battle for marriage equality is chronicled in this documentary. Featuring Evan Wolfson, Mary Bonauto. Directed by Eddie Rosenstein. Argot Pictures

“Kong: Skull Island”: Scientists travel to a remote Pacific island and face the enormous ape. With Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly. Written by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein, story by John Gatins and Gilroy. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. Warner Bros.

“My Scientology Movie”: Louis Theroux and director John Dower set out to make a documentary about the controversial church, encountering obstacles both amusing and bizarre. Magnolia Pictures

“Personal Shopper”: Kristen Stewart stars as the title character, also a spiritual medium, trying to make contact with her recently deceased twin brother. With Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouaziz, Anders Danielsen Lie. Written and directed by Olivier Assayas. IFC Films

“The Sense of an Ending”: A reclusive man must face the fallout of choices he made as a young man. With Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, Harriet Walter, Michelle Dockery. Written by Nick Payne, based on the novel by Julian Barnes. Directed by Ritesh Batra. CBS Films

“The Wall”: Two U.S. soldiers are trapped with only a crumbling structure between them and an Iraqi sniper. With Aaron Taylor-Johnson, John Cena. Written by Dwain Worrell. Directed by Doug Liman. Amazon Studios / Roadside Attractions

Also: “The Ottoman Lieutenant” Drama with Josh Hartnett. Paladin … “Raw” Horror. Focus World … “Somewhere Beautiful” Romantic drama. Bueno Films


“Frantz”: The arrival of a young Frenchman in a small German town shortly after World War I intrigues a young woman who lost her fiance in battle. With Pierre Niney, Paula Beer, Ernst Stotzner. Written and directed by Francois Ozon, loosely based on the Ernst Lubitsch film “Broken Lullaby.” Music Box Films


“After the Storm”: A once successful author now working as a private detective gambles away his money and tries to reconnect with his estranged family. With Hiroshi Abe, Yoko Maki, Taiyo Yoshizawa, Kirin Kiki. Written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. Film Movement

“Beauty and the Beast”: 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. Written by Evan Spiliotopoulos, Stephen Chbosky and Bill Condon. Directed by Condon. Walt Disney Pictures

“The Belko Experiment”: Unseen forces lock 83 Americans in a Colombian high-rise and force them to play a deadly game of survival. With John Gallagher Jr, Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona. Written by James Gunn. Directed by Greg McLean. BH Tilt

“Free Fire”: In a stylized, 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. Written by Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump. Directed by Wheatley. A24

“Song to Song”: Love, seduction and betrayal fuel writer-director Terrence Malick’s tale of two couples in the Austin, Texas, music scene. With Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett. Broad Green Pictures

“T2: Trainspotting”: Ewan McGregor’s Renton is back with the old gang facing challenges old and new in this 20-year follow-up to the 1996 Scottish film. With Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle. Written by John Hodge. Directed by Danny Boyle. TriStar Pictures

“13 Minutes”: A man is arrested and interrogated in connection with a bombing that targeted Adolph Hitler in 1939 Munich. With Christian Friedel, Katharina Schuttler, Burghart Klaussner, Johann von Bulow. Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel. Sony Pictures Classics

Also: “All Nighter” Comedy with J.K. Simmons and Emile Hirsch. Good Deed Entertainment … “Atomica” Sci-fi thriller. Syfy Films … “The Devil’s Candy” Paranormal thriller. IFC Midnight … “The Last Laugh” Documentary featuring Mel Brooks and Jerry Seinfeld. The Film Collaborative … “Mean Dreams” Thriller with Bill Paxton and Colm Feore. Vertical Entertainment


“Brimstone”: In the old West, a preacher pursues a frontierswoman on the run for a crime she did not commit. With Guy Pearce, Dakota Fanning, Emilia Jones, Carice van Houten, Kit Harington. Written and directed by Martin Koolhoven. Momentum Pictures


“CHIPS”: Dax Shepard wrote, directed and stars with Michael Pena in this reboot of the late 1970s television series about California Highway Patrolmen. With Rosa Salazar, Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Vincent D’Onofrio. Based on the series created by Rick Rosner. Warner Bros.

“The Last Face”: In wartime Liberia, a relief aid doctor and the director of an international organization have an affair as they battle over the best way to help those around them. With Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem, Adele Exarchopoulos. Written by Erin Dignam. Directed by Sean Penn. Saban Films / Lionsgate

“Life”: An international crew investigate the first signs of extraterrestrial life on Mars. With Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ariyon Bakare, Olga Dihovichnaya. Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick. Directed by Daniel Espinosa. Columbia Pictures

“Saban’s Power Rangers”: After learning the globe is under threat from an alien force, five teens join together to form a resistance team. With Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin. Written by John Gatins. Story by Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Michele Mulroney and Kieran Mulroney; based on “Power Rangers,” created by Haim Saban and Toei Co. Directed by Dean Israelite. Lionsgate

“Their Finest”: During World War II, a female screenwriter is engaged by the British ministry to give their films a “woman’s touch.” With Gemma Arterton, Bill Nighy, Sam Claflin. Written by Gaby Chiappe, based on the novel by Lissa Evans. Directed by Lone Scherfig. EuropaCorp

“Wilson”: Woody Harrelson plays a caustic, eccentric man who discovers a he has a teenage daughter. With Laura Dern, Judy Greer, Cheryl Hines, Isabella Amara. Written by Daniel Clowes. Directed by Craig Johnson. Fox Searchlight

Also: “Bokeh” Sci-fi. Screen Media Films … “Buster’s Mal Heart” Sci-fi thriller. Well Go USA … “From a House on Willow Street” Horror. IFC Midnight


“Aftermath”: A plane crash tragically connects the lives of an air traffic controller and a construction foreman. With Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scoot McNairy, Maggie Grace, Martin Donovan, Frances Conroy. Written by Javier Gullon. Directed by Elliott Lester. Lionsgate Premiere

“All These Sleepless Nights”: Two Warsaw art students spend a spirited summer living life to the fullest in this documentary. Written by Michal Marczak, Katarzyna Szczerba. Directed by Marczak. The Orchard

“The Blackcoat’s Daughter”: Evil lurks as two students are left at a Catholic girls’ prep school at winter break and nearby a young woman accepts a ride from a seemingly kind-hearted couple. With Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, Lucy Boynton. Written and directed by Osgood Perkins. A24

“The Boss Baby”: Animated comedy featuring a wise-cracking, suit-and-tie wearing infant. Voices by Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire, Miles Bakshi. Written by Michael McCullers, based on the picture book by Marla Frazee. Directed by Tom McGrath. 20th Century Fox / DreamWorks Animation

“Carrie Pilby”: A prodigious young woman without purpose finds life in New York unbearable until a therapist issues her a five-point plan to break free. With Bel Powley, Nathan Lane, Gabriel Byrne, Vanessa Bayer. Written by Kara Holden and Dean Craig, based on the novel by Caren Lissner. Director Susan Johnson. The Orchard

“Cezanne et Moi”: Dramatization of the longtime friendship between painter Paul Cezanne and writer Emile Zola. With Guillaume Canet, Guillaume Gallienne. Directed by Daniele Thompson. Magnolia Pictures

“Ghost in the Shell”: A special forces unit led by a human-cyborg hybrid faces the destruction of cybertechnology. With Scarlett Johansson, “Beat” Takeshi Kitano, Michael Carmen Pitt, Juliette Binoche. Written by Jamie Moss and Ehren Kruger, based on the comic by Masamune Shirow. Directed By Rupert Sanders. Paramount Pictures

“Step Sisters”: An African American dance champion bound for Harvard Law School is tasked with teaching some moves to a group of white sorority girls so they won’t embarrass the school. With Megalyn Echikunwoke, Eden Sher. Written by Chuck Hayward. Directed by Charles Stone III. Broad Green Pictures

“The Zookeeper’s Wife”: Jessica Chastain play a Warsaw woman who works with her husband to resist the Nazis when Poland is invaded by Germany during World War II. Written by Angela Workman, based on the nonfiction book by Diane Ackerman. With Johan Heldenbergh, Michael McElhatton, Daniel Bruhl. Directed by Niki Caro. Focus Features


“The Discovery”: A scientist verifies the existence of an afterlife, while his son falls for a woman with a tragic past. With Rooney Mara, Jason Segel, Robert Redford. Written by Justin Lader and Charlie McDowell. Directed by McDowell. Netflix

“Suntan”: A middle-aged doctor on a Greek island falls in love with a much younger woman and struggles to keep up with her wild lifestyle. With Makis Papadimitriou, Elli Tringou and Dimi Hart. Written by Argyris Papadimitropoulos and Syllas Tzoumerkas. Directed by Papadimitropoulos. Strand Releasing


“Alive and Kicking”: Documentary on the contemporary world of swing dancing and the positive psychological effects it has on practitioners. Directed by Susan Glatzer. Magnolia Pictures

“The Assignment”: A hit man seeks revenge after being knocked out and awakening to discover he has been surgically turned into a woman. With Michelle Rodriguez, Tony Shalhoub, Anthony LaPaglia, Caitlin Gerard, Sigourney Weaver. Written by Walter Hill, Denis Hamill. Directed by Hill. Saban Films / Lionsgate

“Colossal”: Anne Hathaway plays a woman who loses her job, her boyfriend and her apartment and realizes she is somehow connected to a giant creature terrorizing the city of Seoul. With Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell, Tim Blake Nelson. Written and director by Nacho Vigalondo. Neon

“Dean”: Demetri Martin writes, directs and stars with Kevin Kline as a father and son dealing with grief and attendant life changes. With Gillian Jacobs. CBS Films

“Going in Style”: Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin star as seniors who resort to crime to get even with the corporation that burned them in this update of the 1979 comedy. With Ann-Margret, Joey King, Matt Dillon, Christopher Lloyd, John Ortiz, Peter Serafinowicz. Written by Theodore Melfi. Directed by Zach Braff. Warner Bros. / New Line Cinema

“Salt and Fire”: A United Nations scientific research team is abducted at gunpoint in a South American country while a global eco-disaster looms. With Michael Shannon, Gael Garcia Bernal and Veronica Ferres. Written and directed by Werner Herzog, based on the story “Aral” by Tom Bissell. XLrator Media

“Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock”: Four decades of work by the music photographer Mick Rock are captured in this documentary. Directed by Barnaby Clay. Magnolia Pictures

“Smurfs: The Lost Village”: This all-animated installment finds the little blue creatures searching the Forbidden Forest using a mysterious map. Voices by Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello. Written by Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon; based on the characters and works of Peyo. Directed by Kelly Asbury. Columbia Pictures

“Wonder”: The facial differences that a fifth-grader was born with present challenges during his entry into a mainstream school. With Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay, Mandy Patinkin, Daveed Diggs. Written by Jack Thorne, Steven Conrad and Stephen Chbosky; based on the novel by R. J. Palacio. Directed by Chbosky. Lionsgate

Also: “Gods Knows Where I Am” Documentary. Bond/360 … “Mine” Military thriller. Well Go USA … “Sleight” Sci-fi thriller. BH Tilt … “Speech & Debate” Comedy-drama. Sycamore Pictures


“Gifted”: The life of a single man raising his niece, a math prodigy, is complicated by his meddling mother’s plans for her granddaughter. With Chris Evans, McKenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate. Written by Tom Flynn. Directed by Marc Webb. Fox Searchlight

“The Fate of the Furious”: 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. Written by Chris Morgan; based on characters created by Gary Scott Thompson. Directed by F. Gary Gray. Universal Pictures

“Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent”: The one-time superstar San Francisco chef resurfaces 20 years later at New York City’s Tavern on the Green in this documentary. Featuring Mario Batali, Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Reichl. Written and directed by Lydia Tenaglia. The Orchard

“Man in the Camo Jacket”: Documentary on Mike Peters of the Welsh band the Alarm and his multiple battles with cancer and the formation of the Love Hope Strength Foundation. Featuring Slim Jim Phantom of Stray Cats, Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, Billy Bragg. Directed by Russ Kendall. XLrator Media

“Norman: The Rise and Fall of a New York Fixer”: Richard Gere stars as a scheming New Yorker who attempts to capitalize financially on a small favor he once did for the prime minister of Israel. With Charlotte Gainsbourg, Josh Charles, Michael Sheen, Lior Ashkenazi, Dan Stevens, Steve Buscemi, Hank Azaria. Written and directed by Joseph Cedar. Sony Pictures Classics

“A Quiet Passion”: A biography drama starring Cynthia Nixon as the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson. With Jennifer Ehle, Jodhi May. Written and directed by Terence Davies. Music Box Films

“Tommy’s Honour”: Pioneering father-and-son golf greats “Old” Tom and “Young” Tommy Morris battle on and off the links in 19th century Scotland. With Ophelia Lovibond, Sam Neill, Peter Mullan, Jack Lowden. Written by Pamela Marin and Kevin Cook, based on the book by Cook. Directed by Jason Connery. Roadside Attractions

“Vince Giordano – There’s a Future in the Past”: The classic jazz saxophonist and bandleader, whose work can be heard in many films and television series, is profiled in this documentary. Directed by Dave Davidson & Amber Edwards. First Run Features


“Born in China”: Young panda bears, golden monkeys and snow leopards make their way in the Asian wilderness in this family nature documentary. Narrated by John Krasinski. Directed by Lu Chuan. Walt Disney Pictures

“Citizen Jane: Battle for the City”: Documentary explores the mid-20th century battles between urbanization critic and activist Jane Jacobs and New York “master builder” Robert Moses. Directed by Matt Tyrnauer. Sundance Selects

“The Lost City of Z”: The early 20th century British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett enters the Amazon and works at proving his discovery of an ancient civilization until he mysteriously disappears in 1925. With Charlie Hunnam, Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Angus MacFadyen. Written and directed by James Gray, based on author David Grann’s nonfiction book. Amazon Studios / Bleecker Street

“Nola Circus”: New Orleans barbershops on opposite sides of a street engage in an escalating battle to cut heads in this comedy. With Martin Bradford, Kamille McCuin, Vas Blackwood. Written and directed by Luc Annest. XLrator Media

“Unforgettable”: An unbalanced woman sets out to destroy the engagement of her ex-husband and his new fiancee. With Katherine Heigl, Rosario Dawson, Geoff Stults, Cheryl Ladd. Written by Christina Hodson. Directed by Denise Di Novi. Warner Bros.


“Graduation”: A Romanian doctor compromises his ethics to ensure his college-bound daughter a brighter future. With Adrian Titieni, Maria Dragus, Lia Bugnar, Malina Manovici, Vlad Ivanov. Written and directed by Cristian Mungiu. Sundance Selects

“One Week and a Day”: At the end of the traditional Jewish mourning period following the death of his son, a middle-aged Israeli man chooses to see what makes life meaningful rather than return to his regular routine. With Shai Avivi, Evgenia Dodina, Tomer Kapon. Written and directed by Asaph Polonsky. Oscilloscope Laboratories

“Paint It Black”: The suicide of a young artist heatedly brings together his girlfriend and mother as they confront their grief. With Janet McTeer, Alia Shawkat, Rhys Wakefield, Nancy Kwan, Emily Rios, Alfred Molina. Written by Amber Tamblyn, Ed Dougherty, based on the novel by Janet Fitch. Directed by Tamblyn. Imagination Worldwide

“Queen of the Desert”: Nicole Kidman stars as early 20th century British adventurer Gertude Bell as she explores the Middle East. With James Franco, Damian Lewis, Jay Abdo, Robert Pattinson. Written and directed by Werner Herzog. IFC Films

“The Transfiguration”: A bullied Queens, N.Y., teen with a vampire obsession tries to hide his own dark cravings. With Eric Ruffin, Chloe Levine. Written and directed by Michael O’Shea. Strand Releasing

Also: “Live Cargo” Drama. Gunpowder & Sky Distribution

Auston Matthews fired the first on-ice salvo in the opening instalment of what should be lengthy Golden Horseshoe rivalry with the Buffalo Sabres’ Jack Eichel, but his Maple Leafs may have paid a painful price for the victory.

About an hour before a Matthews second-period snapshot into the top corner put the hosts ahead for good in an eventual 4-3 Leafs victory on Tuesday night, top defenceman Morgan Rielly was knocked out of the game midway through the opening frame with a suspected right knee/leg injury.

Toronto coach Mike Babcock said afterwards that the team would know more about the situation Wednesday after Rielly had undergone additional tests. Keep this in mind: Rielly underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament Nov. 6, 2011 while still in junior with the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Interestingly, the Leafs reached the midway mark of their season Saturday in Ottawa without having suffered any major injuries through the first 41 games. But the second half of the campaign began quite ominously Tuesday on a number of fronts.

There was the incident in which Sabres rookie winger William Carrier landed on Rielly, causing the Toronto blueliner to hobble to the dressing room. He would briefly return to the bench before disappearing into the bowels of the Air Canada Centre for the evening.

Meanwhile, Rielly’s teammates were having their own issues. A brutal Freddie Andersen giveaway led to Kyle Okposo’s opening goal, while a Evander Kane snapshot with just 33 seconds remaining in the period sent the Sabres to the dressing room in the first intermission with a 2-0 advantage.

But a three-goal explosion by the Leafs in the second period capped by Matthews 22nd goal of the season erased Buffalo’s lead and gave Toronto a positive kick-start to this four-game home stand, which also includes games Thursday versus the New York Rangers, Saturday against provincial rival Ottawa and Monday versus the Calgary Flames.

James van Riemsdyk upped Toronto’s margin to 4-2 midway through the third before Carrier scored to bring the Sabres within one. They would not get any closer.

Leo Komarov and Matt Martin had the other Leafs goals.

While coach Mike Babcock certainly will find some nasty warts in this Leafs victory, the win upped Toronto’s recent hot streak to 9-1-1. In the process, Matthews was named the game’s first star on a night that had been billed as Matthews-Eichel I in honour of the first regular-season meeting between the two young American-born stars.

“I think I’ve only played against him once when he was at (Boston University) and I was with the National Development Team,” Matthews said, “He’s a big strong player you always must be aware of.”

Early in the season, these young Leafs might have been flustered in a game like this, in terms of falling behind early, then later protecting a lead. Not anymore.

“I think that’s one of the improvements we’ve made,” he said, “We don’t want to (fall behind) but that happens. But we showed resilience. We didn’t hang our heads, we didn’t pout or feel bad for each other. We got it together in the second and third periods and came at them.”

The Eichel-Matthews relationship, of course, has many layers to it.

They were classmates in high school while with the U.S. Development program in 2013-14 and roommates with Team USA during the 2015 world junior championships. Then, just one year after Eichel was selected second overall by the Sabres in 2015, Matthews was the top pick in the 2016 draft at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, which now serves as Eichel’s home rink.

Through it all, the two have a close friendship off the ice while being fierce competitors off it.

“You have to understand: these guys were part of 44 guys in our program who were in the same home room every day in 13-14,” Don Granato, who coached both at the time,” said Tuesday night in a phone interview from Madison, Wisc. “They went to school together, they trained together, they played together.”

Granato said there probably was a bit of “mentorship” involved when Team USA officials decided to room the younger Matthews with Eichel at the 2015 world juniors. Granato was an assistant coach with the Americans at the time.

Eichel and Matthews were reunited as teammates on the Young Guns team during the recent World Cup. But on Tuesday evening at the Air Canada Centre, friends became foes in a rivalry that should have some teeth for years to come.

“(Matthews) is a pretty normal guy,” Eichel said after the Sabres morning skate Tuesday. “I know him pretty well from World Cup and world juniors, spent a lot of time with him. He’s a good dude, I’m happy he’s having success and I look forward to playing against him.”

Count Matthews in as part of this mutual admiration society.

“(Eichel) is a special player,” Matthews said Tuesday morning. “His stride, his skating ability and his strength … he’s so hard to knock off the puck. He has that deceptive stride, he takes one and he’s already by you.”

Because of a high ankle sprain suffered on Oct. 12, Eichel was in civvies during Matthews first regular-season matchup against the Sabres, a rare 2-1 Leafs victory in Buffalo on Nov. 3.

One of the scheduled headliners at President-elect Donald J. Trump’s upcoming inauguration appeared regularly at the Tropicana.

As a blackjack dealer.

We speak of Lee Greenwood, famous for “God Bless the USA” and a featured performer in “The Make America Great Again” Official Inaugural Concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Early in his career, Greenwood dealt cards in the Trop blackjack pit while alternating as vocalist and bassist in the lounge revue Bare Touch.

Greenwood worked those dual assignments for most of the 1970s. He shared this story one night when we were seated next to each other (a great coincidence) at a Terry Fator show at the Mirage. “I was burning the candle at both ends,” he said. “You have no idea.”

Years later, in September 2002, long after “God Bless the USA” became his signature song, Greenwood was the first act to perform at the Henderson Pavilion. A capacity crowd of 5,500 turned out that night.

The Vegas lounge-inauguration connection includes Tony Orlando, too, which is not so surprising. Orlando has told the story of his 1972 debut at the Las Vegas Hilton, when he received word that Elvis, in the midst of his headlining run at the hotel, was dropping by the lounge.

“I see this white flash of something, and everyone started screaming,” Orlando said. “Elvis walks in, he has no place to go because the place is packed, so he walks by the stage and he says to me, ‘Thank you! Thank you very much!’ And then he left. It was incredible.”

Inauguration concert performer Toby Keith’s Strip connection is the Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Harrah’s. In September, the second-floor tavern and restaurant celebrated its 10th year of burning nightlife action (the country-rock band Cash Presley routinely fills the place). One famous night in November 2007, Keith visited the venue with some of his musician brethren and invited Wayne Newton, headlining at Flamingo at the time, to join him onstage. Newton was mobbed as he waded into the club.

“He had no idea that I played guitar,” Newton said after that night. “So he was saying to everyone around, ‘You’re on keyboard, you’re on drums. … He looked at me, and I said, ‘Guitar! … I’ll tell you, I can’t remember having more fun than on that night.”


Some of Las Vegas’ more prominent couples have signed on for a series of performances of A.R. Gurney’s play “Love Letters.” The shows are Feb. 10-14, with none other than Vegas power couple Penn and Emily Jillette opening the series. Additional details and ticket prices are being released this week. Other esteemed pairings who have also committed are Bob and DeLee Lively-Torti, Graham Fenton and Nicole Kaplan, Clint Holmes and Kelly Clinton-Holmes; and Josh Strickland and Todd DuBail.

It’s a formidable lineup, rife with talent and variety.

Torti is late of “Rock of Ages” at Venetian and Rio, and Lively-Torti has extensive stage experience in “Smokey Joe’s Café,” having been nominated for a 1995 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress. Fenton co-starred in “Jersey Boys” at Palazzo Theater and Paris Las Vegas; and Kaplan was a principal singer through the entire two-year run of “Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers.” Strickland, who starred in “Tarzan” on Broadway and “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood, is a lead in “Vegas! The Show” at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood; and DuBail was a member of the “Jersey Boys” ensemble at Paris. And Clint and Kelly have been favored performers for years, all across the city, with Clint just closing “Between the Lines” at Palazzo and set to release his new CD, “Rendezvous,” next month. Kelly is a regular host on Mondays at Bootlegger Bistro and Wednesdays at Piazza at Tuscany Suites.


The staging was advanced. The dancers were great. The band burned. The songs were familiar fan favorites. The place was packed.

That’s the snap review of Sunday’s performance of “Tenors of Rock” at Harrah’s Showroom. This show blazes out of the gate, covering The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There” to Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine’ in just the opening 10 minutes. The quintet of Gareth and Dai Richards, Jonathan Williams, Tommy Sherlock and Jimmy Denning packs a punch.

The singers, musicians and four backing dancers have already sent a message to similar productions opening in March – particularly “Raiding the Rock Vault” at Vinyl at Hard Rock Hotel and “The World’s Greatest Rock Show” at Stratosphere – that this production is a serious effort. This is not a storytelling show, exactly, though the guys do explain the production’s timeline. It’s mostly a rock concert – with one diversion into a spirited cover of “Music of the Night” from “Phantom of the Opera,” where the guys’ affinity for musical theater is unveiled.

Another highlight was a full-scale retelling of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

For those who saw the first version of this show in November 2013, performed to tracks at the Lounge at the Palms, the updated production is a real eye-opener.


Michael Monge, the onetime headliner at Eastside Lounge at Encore Las Vegas, performs his second show at the ever-swanky Italian American Club on Wednesday night. Monge soared with such standards as “Fly Me to the Moon,” “My Girl,” “Save the Last Dance,” and “What Kind of Fool Am I” during his lounge gig on the Strip. He then filled the IAC showroom in his debut there in November. Tickets are $25 and available at 702-457-3866 or iacvegas.com

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section, and Fridays in Neon. He also hosts “Kats! On The Radio” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on KUNV 91.5-FM and appears Wednesdays at 11 a.m. with Dayna Roselli on KTNV Channel 13. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

New York, NY (Top40 Charts) The unheard original & first GYPSY PISTOLEROS 2005 album is out now!!! on Evil Boy Records.’The Rumba Rock N Roll Gypsy Punk Kings’ Featuring GLP/Lee J/Lee Mark Jones-Vox,( Cry of the Innocent, The Ice Babies, White Trash, The Last Gang) Ian MacDonald Walker, Bass, B.Vox (Cry of the Innocent, The Ice Babies) Neil Phillips-All Guitars & B.Vox & Producer & Engineer (The Yo Yo’s, B.Movie Heroes) Scott Garrett -Drums ( B.Movie Heroes) Mastered by Terry Thomas (Bad Company, Foreigner, 3 Colours Red, Tesla, The Yo Yo;s, etc)

The mongrel offspring of fiery flamenco passion and gritty gutter glam, the Gypsy Pistoleros’ were born roamin’ somewhere between Barcelona and Birmingham, brought into the world to a soundtrack stack-heeled anthems of sleazy ’70s America. Standing alone in musical ancestry and sum sound, they’re one of those most rare acts who honestly can claim the tag: ‘unique.’

The insane inspiration came from front-man Lee Pistolero, who struck on fusing his roots in the British glam punk circuit. The Gypsy Pistoleros always had a reputation for danger and made history by being the only band to be invited to play at all five Rocklahoma festivals, in Oklahoma, USA; on May 28th 2011, they appeared alongside Poison, Whitesnake, Black Label Society, Papa Roach, etc where they closed Saturday night after Staind.

They toured extensively, playing with the likes of L.A. Guns (Both), Ratt, Dogs d’Amour, Vains Of Jenna, Twisted Sister, Poison, Vince Neil, Bang Tango, Skid Row, Slaughter, Faster Pussycat, Dokken and ZZ Top, Papa Roach, Buckcherry, Love/Hate, Staind, Dirty Penny.

The sound is flamenco in a head on collision with punk/rock riffs, pounding bass and thrashing drums. The songs span madly in the best rock ‘n’ roll tradition! With big hooks, attitude, and sleaze. Yet those flamenco breaks got into your head and refused to leave – this hybrid rocks.

“The Pistoleros are sheer musical escapism” -Classic Rock

“A thrill-a-minute collection of melodic eye patch swagger that smells of exotic spices and forbidden concubines.” -Sleazegrinder

“One of the best Rock n Roll groups to come out of the U.K for years!” -TRACCI GUNS

“The Spanglish Rumba Rock n Roll Kings! Para Siempre.”

“Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy…and find out why the Gypsy Pistoleros are the single most inventive band of the last decade.” -Allyson, Bring Back Glam

“If you missed this the first time around, or were too slow to catch the ship before it sailed into out of print land, this is your chance to get your hands on what could be the best album of 2008. Yes it really was that good, and with the extra tracks, it got even better.” -The Spunky Lobster, Komodo Rock

“Para Siempre is a thrill-a-minute collection of melodic eye-patch swagger that smells of exotic spices and forbidden concubines.” -Sleaze, Sleaze Grinder

“Reissued with two extra tracks, the Pistoleros’ debut is sheer musical escapism.” -Henry Yates, Classic Rock Magazine

“I’m not sure how it came about but Gypsy Pistoleros have come up with an interesting, individual sound and there just isn’t anything else like it at the moment. ‘Para Siempre’ is as exotic as rock n roll can get.” -Jonni Starr, DirtyRock.net

“The Gypsy Pistoleros have been the talk of the town in Hard Rock circles for a few months now and all the accolades are well deserved.” -Heavy Metal Addiction

‘I am holding a Bushmaster XM15. To buy, this would set me back $3,500 (€3,300), but I could get 250 rounds of ammunition as a special deal to purchase the gun’
‘I am holding a Bushmaster XM15. To buy, this would set me back $3,500 (€3,300), but I could get 250 rounds of ammunition as a special deal to purchase the gun’

There have been many atrocities committed around the world for many reasons over the last 10 or 20 years. The one that stands out for me was the massacre of the innocents at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The massacre took place on December 14, 2012. I happened to be in the United States at that time and witnessed the blanket coverage of the outrage. It had a profound effect on me.

Some time before 9.30am a withdrawn and disturbed 20-year-old named Adam Lanza murdered his mother with her own Bushmaster XM15, which is a semi-automatic assault rifle. Lanza then drove in his mother’s car to the Sandy Hook Elementary School where, at 9.34am, he gained access to the building. Approximately five minutes later, Lanza ended his own worthless life with a Glock pistol shot to the head. Prior to this he managed to shoot and kill 20 children – eight boys and 12 girls aged between six and seven. He also shot six female staff who had tried to protect or hide the children from this monster.

It goes beyond easy understanding how somebody can do such a thing. Nobody can legislate for this sort of volatility, for the machinations of the criminally insane and the random and fickle nature of crimes like this. What is beyond any doubt is that these children were just old enough to comprehend what was happening and what was about to happen. The teachers, there to protect and educate, knew the gravity and the awfulness of their predicament from the first gunshot. This moment in time should in any structured society have been a staging post for change.

In the immediate aftermath the American President Barack Obama openly wept on national television when trying to address the nation. Most right-thinking people guessed the reason for his outpouring of grief had much to do with the hopelessness of the situation and the grim reality of his impotence in terms of introducing sweeping reforms on gun control.

Three weeks later, I read in one review on the crime in the quality press that sales of the Bushmaster XM15 had soared in that period of time and had done so for two reasons: Firstly, there were fears that the weapon would be banned, dealers realised there would be a profit to be made if something could not be purchased through normal channels and they bought up large numbers of the weapon; secondly, the weapon itself – and you have to take a good deep breath here – had done such a good job that some people felt compelled to buy it. There are no words.

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick

In the months that followed, federal and state legislation was proposed, banning the sale and manufacture of certain types of semi-automatic firearms and magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition. President Obama signed 23 executive orders and proposed 12 Congressional Actions regarding gun control. His proposals included universal background checks on firearms purchases, an assault weapons ban and limiting magazine capacity to 10 cartridges. This proposed legislation in the first session of the 113th Congress was defeated in the Senate on April 17, 2013, mere months after the atrocity was committed.

After noticing that there were about 25 gun magazines in the Barnes & Noble Bookstore close to me in Florida, I was drawn to see what I could actually buy in the pages of these magazines and was shocked to learn that virtually any type of sub-machine gun could be purchased with the minimum of hassle. I walked into a local firing range and was amazed at the choice of weapons available for sale or to use at the firing range. In the main photograph on this page I am holding a Bushmaster XM15. To buy, this would set me back $3,500 (€3,300), but I could get 250 rounds of ammunition as a special deal to purchase this gun. All I required was a driving licence. I did not need a letter to say that I did not suffer from any psychiatric or mental illness or that I was in any way an unfit person to purchase such a weapon. I assured the young lady at the counter that I did not have a criminal record. That would be that, job done!

As the young lady put the gun back on the shelf I noticed that right beside the dozen or so Bushmasters there were also about a dozen Armalite automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles. These were a bit cheaper, ranging from $1,500 to $2,900 (€1,400-€2,700). I was asked if I would like to try that weapon for size and so I got to know what it feels like to have an Armalite in my hands.

I asked if there were any ballot boxes that go with this weapon? She didn’t understand my question and asked would I consider buying the gun. I told her that there were some sitting members of parliament in Dublin who would be able to get me a far better deal than that.

“How so?” “Apparently they can do a bulk discount.” Two rows down there was an AK47 section, these were considerably cheaper at $700 (€660) a unit – clearly these are for lower-end users.

In the United States, there are roughly 112 guns per 100 people. You can empathise with Obama’s sense of helplessness with this situation. As Donald Trump takes office, it isn’t going to get any better.

Steroid Nation

A survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimated that half a million eighth to tenth grade students (the equivalent of second year to fourth year in Ireland) were using anabolic steroids. Another study estimated that close to 1.5 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 have used anabolic steroids. They are some pretty serious numbers.

Now, that information is over a dozen years old so I suspect that numbers have subsequently risen and not decreased. There is no reason to presume otherwise. I bought a magazine called Flex. It is for bodybuilders. It was positioned right beside the gun magazines. I have no interest in bodybuilding but I do find the whole concept humorous and I have watched a number of documentaries on the subject. I do like to keep abreast of what these guys are taking. (It’s a bit like saying ‘I buy Playboy for the features’.) I buy these bodybuilding magazines to look at the advertisements and see what they are using.

Quite often what is good for bodybuilders doesn’t necessarily translate into increased efficiency and strength for rugby players and athletes. Bodybuilders are what they are and when you see any of the pages in these magazines you can tell straight away that many of these people ingest enormous amounts of steroids. The tell is in the face. It is an homogeneous face – they all look the same. Unfortunately, they all die the same too – in their 40s or early 50s.

In terms of where the trend is going, products like creatine are so passé -they are the last millennium’s muscle bulkers. Where we are now and what the labs can produce is light years away from where we were even 10 years ago. One of the products that causes me huge concern are these ‘pre-workout’ supplements which you take an hour or two before a weights session. So as not to receive any letters of complaint from manufacturers I won’t name them, but these products, I believe, are more dangerous than creatine.

They contain, amongst other things, methylhexanamine and industrial dosages of caffeine. None of these supplements are 100 per cent safe from contamination or cross-contamination and anybody using them could be banned because they are on WADA’s proscribed list. I suspect quite a number of 17- to 25-year-olds in amateur rugby and other athletic pursuits in Ireland are regularly using these products without any notion of how dangerous they can be.

In the US it is illegal to sell androgynous anabolic steroids without prescription but it is not illegal to take them and so sourcing and sending are the occupational hazard of the dealers. If there are that many users in the US taking that much then the Feds are only picking up a very small percentage. It is very easy to deal at the gyms and workout stations around the country and that is probably the easiest way to source the product. I am sure the dark net is another forum but it still means that the product will have to be distributed through orthodox channels.

There are, quite unbelievably, a number of steroid sales sites on the internet where you can pick up everything from about 110 registered androgynous anabolic steroids through to 25 variations of testosterone or human growth hormone. Steroid takers will do what they have to do and it’s somebody else’s problem if they are caught.

What really concerns me, and it is a problem which is either in its infancy or widespread, is the issue of steroid alternatives. The products being sold here are not anabolic steroids per se but what is termed as their ‘legal equivalent’ and their manufacturers say it is a ‘completely legal and safe substitute for steroids without the common side effects’.

So, for instance, if you were a serious athlete and taking an anabolic steroid like Dianabol, you can choose to take the real anabolic steroid and all its consequences or else use a product called D-Bal – the product which claims to do exactly what the real steroid does but is legal and claims to have no side effects.

This is no cottage industry. Remember in Dublin a few years ago you had head shops which sprung up to give people ‘legal highs’? It might be a good idea to check out the validity of these legal steroids manufacturers’ claims. A lot of American boys are using them. Who’s to say there aren’t Irish boys doing the same?

There has been much emphasis on concussion injury and CTE as a cause of suicide amongst professional athletes. Maybe it has or maybe it has not been taken into account but most of the athletes who killed themselves were also steroid abusers and the ones who had CTE are just a small percentage in relation to the number of steroid abusers who do eventually kill themselves or die prematurely.

Rugby Nation

Before the season kicked off the Pro12’s CEO, Martin Anayi, raised the possibility of including an American franchise in an interview with Wales Online. I thought at the time that the likelihood of this happening was remote. I did however think that the incorporation of a professional American rugby championship would be very good for the game. If there was no NFL and America’s sport was rugby, they would be world champions year after year.

As with all of these ventures at the embryonic stage, getting your structures in place is very important but at all stages money is prime. Douglas Schoninger was the promoter behind the venture and initially they had hoped for a 12-team competition and that competition would be called Pro Rugby USA.

For a variety of reasons they only managed to get five teams in its inaugural year: the Denver Stampede, Ohio Aviators, Sacramento Express, San Francisco Rush and the San Diego Breakers. On October 7, Steve Lewis, Pro Rugby’s chief operating officer, left and a few weeks ago the San Francisco Rush were expelled from the league for a variety of reasons. A week before Christmas the whole league collapsed amid recriminations between Schoninger and the American Eagles.

All of the players had their contracts terminated and apart from the players there are quite a number of creditors and employees who have not been paid in a few months. As usual, money, or lack thereof, is the issue here. Sparse attendances are not really of consequence if you have television revenues coming in. Unfortunately, that did not happen and despite Schoninger promising that he would give it three years to succeed, the figures were extrapolated and they did not make financial sense. As usual when an entrepreneurial element meets with an institutional element, there will be wrangling of sorts and prior to the collapse there was bickering and grandstanding from both parties. Nobody knows whether there will be a divine resurrection.

Whither the Pro12? It would seem that the concept of inviting an American franchise to partake was a little premature, or maybe even a little bit of thinking aloud from its CEO. Rather than thinking that the venture is done and dusted would now not be the time to investigate whether a team could be included in the absence of the Americans not being able to put their own league together.

With 100 players and a few former superstars out of contract, surely there would be an opportunity now to ask the question? I feel if the Americans got some form of a franchise up and running it would be a matter of no more than 10 years before they picked up some real talent from some of those un-drafted college superstars.

Remember, once college players leave their universities and don’t make it into the NFL or CFL there is no amateur league. A Pro Rugby League would be a serious alternative. Either way, the days of America turning up to World Cups and getting thumped by professional teams will have to stop.

Football Nation

I have been to more than a dozen NFL games in my time. The more I see the closer the gap becomes between enjoying watching rugby union and NFL.

There are a number of themes which are constant in this game, namely the military, race, money and talent. There is always a strong military presence at these games, particularly in the last ten years. I watched the New England Patriots play the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on New Year’s Day. Quite apart from the national anthem being sung with extraordinary fervour – led by a serving Sergeant at Arms in Afghanistan – there was a pitch-size American flag covering the field which was conveyed on to the pitch by a corps of service people. There were regular intermissions to pay homage to soldiers throughout the game and as the final strains of the national anthem were played out, two large military helicopter gun ships flew over the stadium. It is all-pervasive. The mix of sport and military are good for each other in America.

A football game is the perfect place to see how polarised society is in America. It was quite noticeable how jersey sales went along race lines. For the New England patriots, the vast majority of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman jersey’s (white players) were worn by the majority of white people and the LeGarrette Blount and Randy Moss (since retired) were worn by the majority of black people – the same applied for Miami.

At the start of this season, Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who played in a Super Bowl a couple of years ago, refused to stand for the national anthem because he believed that the USA oppresses black people and other minorities. This brought forward a storm of disapproval/approval again drawn down on race lines and quite a number of other black athletes chose the same course of action.

I have to say it was a brave decision by Kaepernick and one which would have brought him a whole load of unnecessary opprobrium, but he stuck to his guns all the way until the end of the regular season. The problem here is that money supersedes race or any sense of inferiority and any action taken to stand against that prejudice. The issue comes down to a time and a place for such a stance. The 49ers had a shocker of a season with a two and 14 record – the second worst in the league. Head coach Chip Kelly was sacked on the final day of the season and his general manager got the boot too.

Conversely, the New England Patriots, the best team in the league at 14 and two, had none of these issues. Bill Belichick is the best coach currently working in the NFL and when he finishes he will be looked back on as the greatest of all time. When I looked at the Patriots roster – which was right in front of us – at the game all of their players stood for the anthem, not because they are patriotic but because they were there to do a job. Belichick, as befits a successful coach, has zero tolerance for any matters non-sporting or which distract from a team’s performance and that is why he is so successful and why the Patriots are 14 and two. Belichick’s attitude would be: ‘That’s fine boys, do it on your own time.’

Finally, it was a pleasure to watch Tom Brady perform 17 years after I had watched his first game for the Patriots. He is without doubt the greatest quarterback of all time and it was a privilege to see him give a masterclass in passing and field intelligence as the Patriots ensured home field advantage for the play-offs. At 39, Brady is still as nimble mentally and athletically as he was 17 years ago.

His arm is still strong and the speed and accuracy of some of his passes took my breath away. Brady has a net worth running into the hundreds of millions and is set for life financially, yet his desire for the game is undiminished and his skill levels and drive demonstrate that. As they say, ‘In it for the outcome not the income.’

If all goes according to plan, it will be a New England Patriots v Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl in Houston in February – although Pittsburgh or Green Bay may have something to say about that.

Sunday Indo Sport

Australia 9 for 268 (Wade 100*, Maxwell 60, Hasan Ali 3-65) beat Pakistan 176 (Faulkner 4-32, Cummins 3-33) by 92 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Matthew Wade came in at 5 for 78, and reached his hundred off the last ball of the innings © Getty Images

Matthew Wade performed a commendable salvage operation for Australia to put up a total that proved well beyond the reach of Pakistan in the first ODI at an enervating Gabba. Defeat may be particularly ruinous for the visitors given an apparent hamstring tear to the captain Azhar Ali, who must now be in grave doubt for the rest of the tour.

Azhar suffered the injury early in Pakistan’s ultimately doomed pursuit, and did it no favours when coming back out to bat at the fall of the sixth wicket. Brisbane’s hot and humid weather also claimed an Australian casualty, with the debutant Billy Stanlake appearing in some distress and unable to add to his initial three overs.

Fortunately for Australia’s captain Steven Smith, he had plenty of other bowling options to call upon, including the exceptionally-tidy Travis Head. Regular wickets down the order to James Faulkner, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins meant Pakistan were always short of what was required. Azhar’s injury will create a leadership conundrum for the tourists, as the vice-captain Sarfraz Ahmed has returned home for personal reasons.

The day had begun more promisingly for Pakistan. Unbalanced by Mohammad Amir’s dismissal of David Warner and Smith in consecutive balls, the newly-promoted Head and Chris Lynn were unable to go beyond cameos. Glenn Maxwell played sensibly for his 60 but Wade was left to accompany the tail through the later overs to notch his highest ODI score and third international century to ensure a decent target on a pitch that played a little more trickily than appearances suggested.

That impression was strengthened when Pakistan batted, as a series of mistimed strokes prevented the pursuit from developing any momentum. After the long break forced by Azhar’s injury, Sharjeel Khan shelled Faulkner to mid-on, before Mohammad Hafeez followed a delivery going across him and was well held by Wade.

An offcutter bouncer from Mitchell Starc accounted for Umar Akmal, and a swifter delivery from Pat Cummins was guided unerringly into the hands of Smith at slip by Babar Azam. Mohammad Rizwan was held on the juggle by Marsh, and Mohammad Nawaz bowled by a hint of inswing from Starc before Azhar’s vain effort to revive the innings.

Azhar Ali’s hamstring tear sucked all the momentum from Pakistan’s chase © Cricket Australia/Getty Images

The hosts had included two debutants in Lynn and the tall Stanlake, while Head moved up to open alongside Warner instead of the jettisoned Aaron Finch. Pakistan were unable to consider an ill Shoaib Malik, meaning the inclusion of two spinning allrounders in Imad Wasim and also Mohammad Nawaz.

Azhar called upon Hafeez to bowl the second over of the innings after his return from remedial work on his bowling action, and the gambit contributed to a subdued start by Warner and Head. Amir was duly permitted to calibrate his radar, and responded with the sweetest of late outswingers to confound Warner, then a delivery angled nicely across Smith for a first-ball edge behind.

Lynn, appearing at the scene of so many BBL feats for the Brisbane Heat, was able to connect with one powerful blow over straight midwicket, but fell victim to a presumptuous heave at a Hasan Ali slower ball to sky a catch. Head peppered the cover boundary off both front and back foot, but was less successful when he tried to drive Imad Wasim and was well held by Mohammad Rizwan behind the stumps.

Rizwan claimed another fine catch to account for a hesitant Marsh, and Wade arrived at the wicket without a half century in any format since October. Initially he played in Maxwell’s considerable slipstream, the allrounder contributing well on his return to the XI, but after he also offered a high catch from a miscue and then Faulkner snicked to slip, Wade took control.

Fighting fatigue, he added 42 with Cummins, 23 with Starc and a hectic unbroken 33 with last man Stanlake to give Australia’s bowlers a chance under lights. Wade’s desire to get every last run was summed up when he turned little more than half a run into two with madcap running between the wickets to ensure he was on strike to reach a richly deserved three figures from the final ball of the innings.

Wade then proved his durability by keeping soundly throughout Pakistan’s failed chase, despite the heat; not just the Man of the Match, the iron man too.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

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