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Allen Adams

Allen Adams

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Wednesday, 04 April 2012 17:11

Celebrity Slam - April 4, 2012

Community strife

The NBC show 'Community' has had a bit of a rough go recently. The show just came off a winter hiatus and its status in the network lineup is unclear after this season. Happily, those tensions haven't affected the on-set environment and everyone is pleased as punch to be working together for however much longer it lasts.

Ha! Just kidding. There's a full-on blood feud developing between Chevy Chase, one of the show's stars, and creator Dan Harmon.

While this conflict has allegedly been simmering for a while now, things came to a head during the filming of the season's final episode. Apparently, Chase wasn't feeling a scene and asked Harmon for a rewrite, saying that he wouldn't do the scene as it was currently written. Harmon refused and Chase left the set. There was some tension, but overall, things looked amicable.

Looks can be deceiving.

Wednesday, 04 April 2012 16:35

Maine Masque takes the reins with Equus'

Student production dark, challenging

ORONO One of the wonderful things about academic theater is the relative freedom it affords; there's a pervasive optimism that informs it. While it might be a touch raw sometimes, it is almost always passionate.

The Maine Masque, the University of Maine's student theater group, is full of individuals filled with that sort of passion. A show produced by the group independent of the faculty annually closes the mainstage season of UMaine theatre.

This year's offering is a production of Peter Shaffer's 'Equus,' running through April 7 at Hauck Auditorium on the University of Maine campus.

Martin Dysart is a psychiatrist at a provincial facility in England, specializing in work with children. His life changes when a young man named Alan Strang is brought into his office, alternating between sullen silences and angrily spouting commercial jingles. Dysart is informed that Alan has been brought here because he committed an act of gruesome violence against a stable full of horses; Dysart's job is to find out why.

Wednesday, 04 April 2012 14:46

Mirror Mirror' worth a look

New film offers a reboot of Snow White

In this age of remakes and reboots, it should come as no surprise that Hollywood eventually got down to really raiding the Grimm's Fairy Tales cupboard. It appears that Snow White is the first of those childhood favorites to get a heavy-duty 21st century makeover with the release of 'Mirror Mirror' as well as the imminent summer release of 'Snow White and the Huntsman.'

Be glad this one came first.

'Mirror Mirror' stars Lily Collins ('Abduction') as Snow White. Her father the king was killed by the fabled 'beast' of the forest, leaving her wicked stepmother (Julia Roberts, 'Larry Crowne') as Queen. The Queen keeps Snow White locked away in the castle so that she can mercilessly tax her subjects and fritter away the kingdom's money.

Meanwhile, Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer, 'J. Edgar') is wandering through the forest, months into a search for adventure. He is beset by a band of bandits bandits who ultimately prove to be the seven dwarves we all know and love. The Prince is robbed and left helpless in the woods, to be discovered and freed by Snow White, who has sneaked out of the castle in order to see for herself the state of the kingdom.

Wednesday, 04 April 2012 14:43

'Wrath of the Titans' a myth-fire

Action film offers little in the way of plot, performance

One of the reasons we go to the movies is to escape. We want to go to a place that is different than the one in which we live. Sometimes, we want to watch someone do something that neither we nor anyone else could ever do. It doesn't need to be challenging. It doesn't need to be inspired. We just want to get away for a while.

Big, dumb and loud will never go out of style.

That's not a value judgment I love getting simple and explode-y as much as the next guy. However, all big action epics are not created alike. Sometimes, they work wonderfully. Other times, something is missing and the film never quite clicks.

Unfortunately, 'Wrath of the Titans' falls mostly into the latter category.

Wednesday, 04 April 2012 14:24

'Triggers' right on target

Too often, when people think about science fiction, their minds immediately go to aliens and far-flung futures and worlds far different than our own. Yes, there is plenty of that, but sci-fi is at its core a genre steeped in ideas.

Robert J. Sawyer understands that. His 'WWW' trilogy is an excellent example of this sort of idea-driven fiction, set in an alternate present that resembles our own in so many ways. His newest book, 'Triggers' (Ace, $25.95), is set in a similar world, although the obstacles to be faced are both smaller and much larger.

President Seth Jerrison is giving a speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when he is struck down by an assassin's bullet. Secret Service agent Susan Dawson, along with a number of her colleagues, rush the President to the nearby hospital where Dr. Eric Redekop awaits to perform the surgery that hopefully will save Jerrison's life.

At the same time, Professor Ranjip Singh is in the midst of an experiment. He has built a device that he believes can erase traumatic memories, and with the help of a PTSD-stricken Army private named Kadeem Adams, he is attempting to prove it.

Wednesday, 04 April 2012 12:46

Embracing National Beer Day

The history behind a made-up holiday

National Beer Day is what we like to call an 'unofficial' holiday. Sure, it isn't acknowledged on any federal calendar, but that doesn't make it any less legitimate. Look at some of the other 'holidays' that share the same month. April Fools Day? Not an official holiday, but who doesn't love pulling a harmless prank or two? And what about Earth Day? Again, not official, but who would argue against its importance and/or legitimacy?

So it is with National Beer Day (and New Beer's Eve, of course). Is it silly? Of course it is. Still, there's something to be said for a day set aside to celebrate something that so many of us enjoy. Beer is a part of our national consciousness in a way that few other consumables are.

Think about the huge variety of beer you see when you go to the grocery store or visit your local watering hole. Think about the utter ubiquity of beer commercials on our television airwaves. Think about the rapidly-growing contingent of small craft breweries offering their own unique takes on the classic beverage. Think about the multitude of homebrewers making their own beers in their own homes a throwback to those Prohibition days, only without the fear of reprisal.

Thursday, 29 March 2012 12:05

An Interview with Kieran Shields

Writing a book is difficult. Writing a good book is even more so. So when a first-time novelist gets it right, it is certainly worthy of note. When that novel turns out to be a historical mystery about Portland and the author is a Maine native, wellthe hits just keep on coming.

Kieran Shields, a Portland native who still lives in southern Maine, is the author of 'The Truth of All Things,' a detective novel set in Portland at the turn of the 20th Century. It's a marvelous debut effort; Mr. Shields was kind enough to take a few moments to speak to us.

'The idea grew out of an earlier work I had done that was just sitting in a drawer,' said Shields. 'It was non-fiction dealing with colonial Maine in the late 1600s. While doing research for that book, I found lots of interesting connections between Portland and the Salem Witch Trials. A lot of the major players in Salem had connections to Maine.'

Thursday, 29 March 2012 11:06

Two bads make a worse

Google and MySpace announce ill-conceived partnership

EDITOR'S NOTE: (This story is from The Maine Edge's annual April Fools Day edition. As such, you can safely assume that most of it - if not all of it - is totally made-up.)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA Two floundering social networking sites have announced plans to combine their forces and create a much larger floundering social networking site.

Google+ and MySpace are going forward with plans to merge their two sparsely-populated websites into a new entity, tentatively (and unfortunately) titled GooSpace+.

'It all comes down to schadenfreude,' stated a Google representative in a limited press release. 'We're absolutely miserable about the whole Google+ debacle, so we started thinking Who has been hit harder than us by that Zuckerberg punk?' In a flash, the answer came to us: MySpace.

'We figured they must really hate that guy.'

Thursday, 29 March 2012 10:18

The Hunger Games' a satisfying meal

Film adaptation a well-told tale

Literature aimed at young adults has served as the basis for two of the most popular (not to mention lucrative) film franchises in history. Both J.K. Rowling's 'Harry Potter' series and Stephanie Meyer's 'Twilight' books have spawned movies that have made hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office.

Suzanne Collins's book 'The Hunger Games,' as well as the two subsequent books in the series, aims to be the next blockbuster in line.

'The Hunger Games' follows young Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence, 'X-Men: First Class'), a girl who lives in far-flung District 12 in a dystopian future nation called Panem. This society revolves around a yearly competition known as the Hunger Games, in which two 'tributes' a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 are selected to compete in a battle to the death. When her sister is selected, Katniss offers herself up as a volunteer replacement.

Maine author's debut an enthralling read

There's something magical about those moments when a book grabs your attention. It can be anything: a clever title, an evocative cover image or a jacket quote from a previously-enjoyed author. And when you've given your attention and picked up that book for a closer examination BOOM! The hook is set.

So it was for me with Maine author Kieran Shields's debut novel 'The Truth of All Things' (Crown, $25). It's a great title. The cover art is intriguing. So I took a look at the inside jacket copy. I was hooked before I was halfway to the bottom.

Archie Lean is a newly-appointed Deputy Marshal for the City of Portland. When he's called in to investigate the death of a prostitute, he is confronted with a body that appears to have been ritualistically murdered, surrounded by a pentagram and pinned to the ground with a pitchfork a killing method traditionally associated with the execution of witches.

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