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Back in Cannes, actor Sean Penn directs again, along with daughter Dylan

He premiered in Cannes his latest film, “Flag Day,” in which he also co-stars. The lead, though, belongs to Penn’s 30-year-old daughter, Dylan Penn.

Sean Penn has been to the Cannes Film Festival about a dozen times — from bumming around with Robert De Niro in 1984 to presiding over the jury.

But his last visit was rocky. Penn’s film, 2016’s “The Last Face,” flopped with critics in way that would make some filmmakers gun shy about returning.

Penn, though, didn’t hesitate. On Saturday night, he premiered in Cannes his latest film, “Flag Day,” in which he also co-stars.

A few hours before walking down the red carpet, Penn sat comfortably in a hotel bar, excited to be back. The festival is the greatest in the world, he said. “Everyone knows it’s the big game.”

And it’s a game Penn welcomes. Cannes is worth it, even if he takes a few lumps. 

“The bad stuff, these days, I’ve been on such extreme ends on that. It’s like: whatever,” says Penn. “The thing is: I am confident that I know as much — more –about acting than almost any of these critics. And I’m very confident in the performance I’m most concerned about.”

With that, Penn raises his hand and points toward where his daughter, Dylan Penn, is sitting. Dylan, 30, is the star of “Flag Day.” She has dabbled before in acting but it’s easily her biggest role yet. In the film, adapted from Jennifer Vogel’s 2005 memoir “Flim-Flam Man: The True Story of My Father’s Counterfeit Life,” she plays Jennifer Vogel, the journalist daughter of a swindler and counterfeiter (played by Penn). 

Her father’s confidence isn’t misplaced. Dylan is natural, poised and captivating. She looks a veteran, already, which might be expected of the child of Penn and Robin Wright. And those critics? Variety said the film “reveals Dylan Penn to be a major actor.”

But for a long time, Dylan never wanted the spotlight. 

“Growing up, being surrounded by actors and being on set, it was really something that didn’t interest me at all,” Dylan says. “I always thought, and still think, my passion lies in working behind the camera. But as soon as I expressed wanting to do that kind of thing, both of my parents said separately: You won’t be a good director if you don’t know what it’s like to be in the actor’s shoes.”

Dylan is stepping forward in movies the same time her father is withdrawing. Penn, 60, is in the midst of shooting Sam Esmail’s Watergate series for Starz, with Julia Roberts. But he has recently pulled further away from Hollywood. Penn devotes more time to Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), the nonprofit he started after the 2010 earthquake to help Haitians. Haiti has this week again plunged into crisis after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, a situation Penn calls heartbreaking. 

“These people have been working so hard to bring their country up and this kind of horrible violence, cynicism — whatever my suspicions the motivation was,” he says. “I’m glad that our teams are safe for the moment, but it’s horrible.”

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During the pandemic, CORE has erected testing and vaccination sites, including one at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium, and dispensed millions of shots. In movies, Penn still has a pair of upcoming roles he says he promised to do years earlier. But beyond that?

“Then I just don’t know. I’d be very surprised. I don’t think I would start a movie without knowing if it was going to be a movie. And I don’t think I’d direct something that wasn’t a movie unless it was on the Broadway stage,” he says, and then smiles. “There’s a simpler way of saying that: I’m not interested in directing for the small screen.”

Penn is increasingly at odds with Hollywood’s dominant priorities. He’s never made a franchise film. He laments Marvel movies and “how much it’s taken up the space and claimed so much time in the careers of so many talented people.” He misses cinema that isn’t “just razzle-dazzle, Cirque de Soleil movies.” 

So-called “cancel culture,” he has issues with, too. Arguing that today he wouldn’t be allowed to play gay icon Harvey Milk (2008’s “Milk”), Penn recently said that soon only Danish princes will play Hamlet. 

But his biggest gripe may be with the onset of direct-to-streaming film releases. “The way I’ve always put it is: It’s not the girl I fell in love with,” Penn says. 

MGM will release “Flag Day” theatrically Aug. 13; Penn considers himself “lucky to have a movie that’s going to be a movie.” But it took years to reach this stage. Dylan first read the book when her father optioned it when she was 15. Many possible iterations followed — Penn didn’t initially plan to direct — but the prospect of doing the film with Dylan was appealing. 

“I have always thought if she wanted to do it, I’d encourage it,” Penn says. 

For Dylan, the father-daughter relationship of “Flag Day” — Jennifer tries to help and stabilize her scamming father but also inherits some of his more destructive, conman habits — is a half-reflection of their own bond together. 

“She always strived to have this really honest, transparent relationship with her father which she never got it in return,” Dylan Penn says. “I’ve tried to have that with my dad and got it in return.” 

“It made us a lot closer than we’ve ever been,” she adds. “Of course, there were times when I talked back or had an attitude, but it was like: You can’t. This is your boss. This is work. This is not your dad right now.”

Dylan grants the experience was so satisfying that she’d like to continue acting. Her dad, she feels, may be “passing the torch a little bit,” she says. Hopper Jack Penn, her younger brother, also co-stars in the film. The rest of the cast is more veteran, including Josh Brolin and Regina King. Original songs by Cat Power, Eddie Vedder and Glen Hansard contribute to the score.

But the most vibrant parts of “Flag Day” are the scenes between Dylan and her dad. 

“Dylan is — and I can say this in equal parts for my feeling about her as a person and as an actress — as uncontrived as it gets,” Penn says. “That’s a great quality to play off of.”

Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

Wingspan Along with 10 Additional Swifts and Starts Lands on Xbox Today

In Wingspan, you and up to 4 other players compete to build up their nature preserves in a limited number of turns. It is a relaxing experience, where your goal is to discover and attract beautiful birds with unique abilities. Every single bird that you add to your preserve makes you better at laying eggs, drawing cards or gathering food. Many of the 170 bird types have powers that echo their real life counterparts: your hawks will hunt, your pelicans will fish, and your geese will form a flock. You’ll feel right at home if you’re bird-savvy, but if you’re not – don’t worry, you’ll catch on in a jiffy.

But that’s not all. There’s also the fact that each bird you add to your preserve extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats. Each habitat, in turn, focuses on a key aspect of the growth of your preserves. This interesting loop is what keeps the gameplay interesting and what will hook you right into it.

WINGSPAN

The digital edition of Wingspan is the official adaptation of an award-winning board game of the same name. It has won multiple awards, including the prestigious Kennerspiel des Jahres.

When the board game was released in 2019, it took the world by storm. To the point that Golden Geek Awards rules needed to be adjusted, because Wingspan won half of the categories. When I reached out to Jamey Stegmaier – the publisher – in January 2019, this was still yet to happen, but we’ve heard enough about the concept to jump head-first into creating its digital counterpart. This version not only preserves the original’s look and feel, but builds upon it to enhance the relaxing experience. The birds now sing with their real life sounds and interesting pieces of information are available on each and every species in the game. The goal to create something special, based on the original, is what’s been driving us from the very beginning. It’s been quite a while since we set out on this journey, but we’re not stopping here.

All of the above makes Wingspan a game that merges three worlds together. The nature related theme blends seamlessly with the sharp board game mechanics and allows for strategic depth. In the digital adaptation, in turn, the birds and habitats of Wingspan are brought to life by the beautiful art, carefully crafted animations and calming soundtrack.

WINGSPAN

Wingspan is an experience for everyone. You’ll be able to learn it in no time, but on the other hand, its mechanics allow for a lot of experimentation. The kids will love the audiovisual aspects and the atmosphere, while advanced players can also dive deep into the strategic and tactical choices it offers. This turns the game into a fantastic time that you can enjoy with your family and friends, both offline and online.

Wingspan is not only the game, it’s also – if not first and foremost – the players. There’s a phenomenal community that is built around the game and it would be great if you’d like to become a part of it. Head on over to discord.gg/wingspan and chat with gamers and bird lovers from all around the world. It’s the best place to find multiplayer partners, too. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – follow us to keep posted with Wingspan related news.

See you in your bird preserve!

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WINGSPAN

Monster Couch

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Xbox One X Enhanced
You are bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats. Each habitat focuses on a key aspect of the growth of your preserves. In Wingspan up to 5 players compete to build up their nature preserves in a limited number of turns. Each beautiful bird that you add to your preserve makes you better at laying eggs, drawing cards, or gathering food. Many of the 170 unique birds have powers that echo real life: your hawks will hunt, your pelicans will fish, and your geese will form a flock.

Author: Krzysztof Żarczyński, Managing Director, Monster Couch
This post originally appeared on Xbox Wire

‘Alito was just pissed’: Trump’s Supreme Court breaks down along surprising lines

“We’re arguing about the battles among the conservatives and when that coalition breaks and where it goes,” lamented Harvard Law School lecturer Nancy Gertner, a former federal judge. “It’s a dramatic difference from only two or three years ago.”

Leading the charge from the right in both cases Thursday was Justice Samuel Alito, who penned caustic opinions taking his colleagues to task for issuing narrow rulings that seemed to him to be aimed at defusing political tensions rather than interpreting the law.

“After receiving more than 2,500 pages of briefing and after more than a half-year of post-argument cogitation, the Court has emitted a wisp of a decision that leaves religious liberty in a confused and vulnerable state. Those who count on this Court to stand up for the First Amendment have every right to be disappointed—as am I,” Alito wrote in the foster-care case, notwithstanding the Catholic charity’s unanimous victory.

In the Obamacare dispute, Alito sarcastically accused the majority of repeatedly indulging in flights of legal sophistry to avoid the politically unpalatable step of striking down the landmark health care law.

“No one can fail to be impressed by the lengths to which this Court has been willing to go to defend the ACA against all threats,” Alito wrote. “A penalty is a tax. The United States is a State. And 18 States who bear costly burdens under the ACA cannot even get a foot in the door to raise a constitutional challenge. Fans of judicial inventiveness will applaud once again. But I must respectfully dissent.”

While Alito observed the court’s traditional decorum by railing at “the majority,” there was little doubt his criticism was aimed primarily at Chief Justice John Roberts, who provided the pivotal vote to uphold Obamacare nine years ago and voted Thursday to leave the law intact by concluding that the Republican-led states seeking to overturn it lacked legal standing to sue.

In the latest Obamacare case, the chief justice left authorship of the majority opinion to the court’s second-longest-serving justice, Stephen Breyer, but the result was vintage Roberts: a largely-technical, 7-2 decision finding a lack of standing for the states and individuals challenging the law, while pushing aside more fundamental questions about the law’s constitutionality.

Roberts was the author of the opinion the court issued Thursday finding very narrow grounds to strike down Philadelphia’s ban on Catholic Social Services due to its policy against vetting same-sex couples for foster care.

Alito complained that Roberts’ reading of the Philadelphia ordinance and a similar state law was so Talmudic that it meant nothing in other cases and could quickly be evaded by the city through minor changes.

“This decision might as well be written on the dissolving paper sold in magic shops,” Alito wrote derisively.

Despite the obviously tense Alito-Roberts dynamic, what unfolded Thursday at the court was not simply a one-on-one grudge match. It was more like a tag-team wrestling event, with Justice Neil Gorsuch repeating much of Alito’s criticism and the court’s newest conservative justices — Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh — coming to Roberts’ defense.

“Perhaps our colleagues believe today’s circuitous path will at least steer the Court around the controversial subject matter and avoid ‘picking a side,” Gorsuch wrote in the foster-care case, in an opinion joined by Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas. “Dodging the question today guarantees it will recur tomorrow. These cases will keep coming until the Court musters the fortitude to supply an answer. Respectfully, it should have done so today.”

Roberts seemed intent on not taking the bait. His majority decision made only a single, passing reference to Alito’s hulking dissent and chose to focus more on Gorsuch’s, which the chief curiously called “the concurrence.”

Roberts said the way the anti-discrimination ordinance and policy applied left the case open to resolution on that basis and meant the court had “no occasion” to use the case to reconsider a 21-year-old precedent that Alito views as hostile to religious freedom.

Barrett chimed in to say that while she agreed with Alito that the precedent is flawed, there was “no reason” to overrule it now. Kavanaugh seconded that view, also throwing in with the chief on the point.

Will the split among conservatives persist?

It’s not yet clear whether the internecine fighting among the high court’s conservatives has any long-term impact in other cases. The cases the court took this term are generally considered to be middling in significance, but the justices have accepted an abortion case to be heard in the fall that could upend or cut back the constitutional right to abortion the court found in the landmark 1973 case, Roe v. Wade.

Still, some scholars doubt that precedent is truly in jeopardy and insist that the tendency of justices like Kavanaugh and Barrett to side with Roberts in some contentious cases undermines the idea of a six-justice conservative majority.

“I think you have a three-three-three court,” said South Texas College of Law Professor Josh Blackman. “I disagree with the notion that we have a six-member conservative majority on many of these divisive issues.”

Some analysts suspect the vocal public tiff the conservatives aired Thursday may be, in part, due to gripes about horse-trading done by Breyer.

The unusual length and painstaking detail in Alito’s opinion in the Philadelphia case made some courtwatchers wonder if it might have been drafted as a majority opinion, but later lost that status due to a shift from the court’s initial vote. A similar scenario played out in the Obamacare case back in 2012, according to reports from CBS News and elsewhere.

Alito’s lament Thursday about more than six months of “post-argument cogitation” in the same-sex foster case dispute also fuels suspicion that something more than the routine exchange of opinions went on.

“Alito’s 77-page Fulton concurrence has me thinking that Roberts did actually assign him the original majority decision and himself the Obamacare decision until Breyer engineered a bipartisan coup in Fulton that Roberts took for himself while reassigning Obamacare to Breyer,” Mike Sacks, an attorney and legal reporter for WNYW-TV in New York, wrote on Twitter.

Blackman said he, too, thinks something unusual played out in the foster-care case.

“I got that vibe,” the professor said. “I think Alito was just pissed. He was frustrated.”

Author: Josh Gerstein
This post originally appeared on Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

River City Girls 2 Confirmed For Switch, Along With 'River City Girls Zero'

River City Girls 2 Lead Image© WayForward

The Limited Run Games E3 presentation has finished and, predictably, it was both crazy and genuinely funny. Amazingly, it announced two new titles in such an off-hand way that many of us watching were trying to figure out whether it had been a reveal; thankfully WayForward has sent out a press release to confirm we weren’t imagining things.

River City Girls 2© WayForward

River City Girls 2 is on the way, a follow-up to the popular beat ’em up of 2019. Picking up after the first game you can again take control of Misako and Kyoko, and in a neat touch also as Kunio, Riki and ‘other characters’. It will offer ‘new moves, new enemies, new recruits, new environments’, and will support both local and online two-player co-op. It’ll arrive in 2022.

River City Girls Zero© WayForward

Also confirmed was River City Girls Zero, which is coming to Switch first later this year. This is actually a localisation of 1994’s Super Famicom title Shin Nekketsu Koha: Kunio-tachi no Banka, albeit with some excellent additions and adjustments; details are below. You can also learn more about the original in our retro review.

River City Girls Zero, meanwhile, lets players experience the first time that Misako and Kyoko teamed up with Kunio and Riki to take to the streets in hard-hitting, curb-stomping action. While the graphics, music, and gameplay all remain true to the classic 16-bit Super Famicom release, this version marks the first time the 1994 game will be localized for the West. A new opening cinematic, new manga cutscenes, and new theme song by River City Girls composer Megan McDuffee have been added as well. Set out solo or team up with a friend in local co-op and discover how the River City Girls story began!

Of course, the fact these were teased in the Limited Run Games show means they’ll be getting physical editions down the line, too.

Are you excited about River City Girls 2 and River City Girls Zero?

Author:
This post originally appeared on Nintendo Life | Latest News

Gov. Abbott says he’ll share plans next week for Texas

share plans next week for Texas

DEL RIO, Texas (Nexstar) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he’ll share plans next week for the state to build a wall along the Mexico border, but he offered no other specifics about how the project would proceed.

This particular announcement drew a standing ovation and cheers Thursday evening from the crowd gathered at Abbott’s border security summit in Del Rio. He also discussed several other initiatives he said would “secure the border and restore order.”

Abbott held up a stack of papers and told the crowd Texas lawmakers allocated $ 1 billion in the latest budget to fund border security efforts. He also announced the formation of a new governor’s task force on border and homeland security, which he said will meet every two weeks to come up with “every solution to make your border safer.”

That task force, Abbott explained, would include members of his office, the attorney general’s office, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Division of Emergency Management, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the state commissions on law enforcement and jail standards.

Abbott invited local landowners like John Paul Schuster to the summit as well. He said he encounters migrants on his ranch in Kinney County, 25 miles from the border, almost daily in recent weeks.

“The other day at the house was a gentleman, he was by himself. He was dirty. He had been traveling through the brush,” Schuster explained. “As he approaches the house, there he is got a long sleeve hoodie on jeans and a backpack. Okay, good guy or bad guy? What’s in that backpack?”

“You only got just five or six seconds to make that decision. Good guy. Bad guy. Yeah. Are they gonna stop and talk to me? Are they gonna keep coming at me?” Schuster said, adding he and his wife carry a gun almost all of the time, even at home at the dinner table.

“I don’t want to have to kill somebody, and I don’t want to,” Schuster said, tearing up.

Ahead of the governor’s summit, he said the government needed to come up with a better plan to help.

“I don’t ask a lot of the government, I work hard, we work hard, pay our taxes, that’s justifiable. But we need help,” Schuster said.

Following the summit, Schuster said he was hopeful Abbott’s new proposals would help.

The summit also included county sheriffs, police chiefs, county judges and mayors to talk about how the state is trying to secure the U.S./Mexico border, a press release from Abbott’s office said. It also focused on “collaborative strategies between state government, local city and county officials, law enforcement, and landowners to secure our border communities and ensure a safer future for all Texans.”

Along with Abbott, TDEM Chief Nim Kidd, Texas Military Department Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris and Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw spoke at the Del Rio Civic Center.

The summit came after Abbott made comments to FOX News’ Sean Hannity that he wants to arrest “everybody coming across the border.” Two law enforcement members that confirmed the summit last week to our news partners at Border Report are hoping the summit “sheds light” on Abbott’s comments.

Abbott said Thursday he’ll sign another disaster declaration next week to create this plan.

“What this will do, it will focus on making arrests,” Abbott said. “The Department of Public Safety will work with local officials to arrest anyone who enters our state illegally and is found trespassing against them. We will be arresting a lot more people in the future, so more jail space will be required.”

Abbott made disaster declarations in 34 border counties due to the influx of migrants trying to cross the border. In response, migrant advocates in the Rio Grande Valley issued their own counter-declaration, saying Abbott’s move was “a transparent attempt to distract from his failed leadership,” and unfairly mischaracterized the border communities. It pressed for more support for those communities, not more law enforcement.

Migrant advocates criticize Abbott’s approach, pointing to other Republican state leaders who have tried ramping up enforcement during surges in the past.

“This isn’t a new tactic, necessarily. And Texas governors in the past have also tried to sending National Guard troops or Department of Public Safety officers to the border. We’ve seen little, if any effect of that. Most of the changes in migration flows at the U.S.-Mexico border come either from changes in U.S. federal policy or changes in the degree to which Mexican immigration authorities are enforcing immigration laws in the interior of that country,” Jessica Bolter with the Migration Policy Institute explained.

While Abbott largely pointed the finger at the Biden administration for the current crisis, Bolter explained that’s not the only factor weighing on migrants flocking to our border.

“Their plans to migrate depend much more on the conditions that they’re experiencing in their home, in their home countries, and then what they’re hearing about, whether that’s from smugglers or from others in their social networks, about who’s being able to cross the border at the moment,” Bolter said.

Kate Huddleston, a staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas, said in a statement Abbott’s plan is “unlawful” and threatens to harm families at the border, creating trauma for young kids.

“Abbott is also undermining the right to seek asylum by jailing those fleeing danger and punishing them for seeking refuge in the U.S. Additionally, Abbott’s proposed border wall will harm border communities and the environment,” Huddleston’s statement reads. “In this plan, Abbott is yet again scapegoating immigrants in an effort to distract from his own failures in governing and managing actual crises in Texas — like the historic winter storm that led to the deaths of more than 150 Texans  — with cruel results.”

Author: Will DuPree
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

China’s economy could double in size by 2035, eclipsing US along the way – Bank of America

In terms of post-Covid recovery, China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and has a good chance to double its GDP by 2035, according to Helen Qiao, head of Asia economics at Bank of America Global Research.

She told CNBC that some reform measures would help China get there. The doubling of China’s GDP would require an average annual growth of 4.7 percent for the next 15 years. “We think China would be able to achieve it,” Qiao said.

The economist predicted that, in addition to doubling its gross domestic product, the Asian nation will surpass the United States as the world’s largest economy in around 2027 to 2028.

Also on rt.com China partners with SWIFT to boost global use of yuan & cut reliance on US dollar

The Chinese economy expanded by 2.3 percent last year, official data showed. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said China will grow 8.1 percent this year. Meanwhile, the United States contracted by 3.5 percent in 2020, according to the latest government estimates. The IMF expects the US economy to grow by 5.1 percent this year.

In a report published earlier this month, Qiao addressed the common concerns – such as aging population, high debt-to-GDP ratio, and the country’s investment-led growth model – that could prevent China from reaching its 2035 economic goals. Those concerns will slow, but not derail, China’s overall growth trajectory, Qiao said.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section