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Allen Adams

Allen Adams

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Thursday, 26 April 2012 06:46

A baker's dozen for summer 2012

Previewing some of this season's cinematic offerings

The summer movie season used to be easy to pinpoint. For years, Memorial Day marked the season's official unofficial beginning. That was just how it worked. However, over the past few years, that starting date has been slowly creeping earlier and earlier into May. It's clear that the first big summer film of 2012 is 'The Avengers' despite the fact that it comes out on May 4. That's right. May 4. We're only a year or two away from a summer movie season that starts in April.

Let's have a look at some of the more eagerly-anticipated films of this summer. Granted, it's a whole lot of what we've come to expect out of Hollywood: there are sequels and reboots galore. That's not necessarily a bad thing; some of these movies look absolutely spectacular. But there are also some star-studded comedies, adaptations of books and musicals and some animated fare as well.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012 13:35

A hot dog education at College Dogs

New Orono restaurant features specialty hot dogs

ORONO When most of us think of hot dogs, we more or less think of the same thing. A bunch of hot dogs on the grill, a bag of rolls and a handful of basic condiments ketchup, mustard, relish. That tends to be our default thought process with regards to hot dogs.

But then you visit a place like College Dogs, located in the University Mall at 6 Stillwater Avenue in Orono. College Dogs is the kind of restaurant that reminds you of the true and epic potential of the hot dog.

'I moved here from Fall River (Massachusetts) about a year ago,' said Jody Blanchette, owner-operator of College Dogs. 'I came up to visit some friends in the Old Town/Orono area and liked it so much I decided to move here with my family.

'I was looking for a way to make a living,' he continued, 'so I decided to bring something that wasn't around here; stuff like hot dogs, fried treats, steamed burgers, fried dinner plates and home cooked food.'

Wednesday, 18 April 2012 13:03

A new take on terror

The Cabin in the Woods' an atypical horror story

Making a horror movie is a tricky thing. Finding ways to scare people is difficult in and of itself. Considering that there's almost a century of celluloid fear-mongering behind us, coming up with a new way to scare someone at the movies seems almost impossible - right up until some director or another finds one.

This time, it's Joss Whedon. His latest project is 'The Cabin in the Woods.' While the film was directed by first-timer Drew Goddard, Whedon wrote the script and produced the film, in addition to serving as second unit director. His fingerprints are all over this movie in the best way.

Dana (Kristen Connelly, 'Certainty') is a college student getting ready to get out of town for a weekend with some of her friends. There's the smart and athletic Curt (Chris Hemsworth, 'Thor') and his sweet girlfriend Jules (Anna Hutchison, TV's 'Wild Boys'). Curt and Jules have invited Curt's new buddy Holden (Jesse Williams, TV's 'Grey's Anatomy') in order to maybe set her up with Dana. Rounding out the crew is the chatty, likable stoner Marty (Fran Kranz, TV's 'Dollhouse'). The quintet piles into an RV and heads off to Curt's cousin's new cabin.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:58

The Three Stooges' surprisingly fun

Farrelly brothers' effort full of slapstick and sweetness

Watching people get hurt is sad. Watching them get hurt without injury or consequence is hilarious. That's why the Three Stooges were able to become some of the biggest stars of Hollywood's younger days. In real life, poking eyes and thumping heads with hammers ends up with bloodshed and hospital visits, but in the world of the Stooges, no permanent harm is ever done.

Bobby and Peter Farrelly have taken it upon themselves to update that world with 'The Three Stooges.' However, this isn't your typical Farrelly gross-out jam. It's their first-ever foray into the more family-friendly realm of a PG rating.

The story begins at an orphanage where a duffel bag is unceremoniously dumped on the doorstep in a drive-by. The three babies in the bag immediately make a negative impression on the dour Sister Mary-Mengele (Larry David, TV's 'Curb Your Enthusiasm') before initially charming the rest of the nuns. However, when we flash forward 10 years, we quickly learn that these boys are far more of a handful than anyone could have guessed.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012 11:23

A Morning in the Life

A behind-the-scenes look at local morning news

BANGOR It's 5:30 AM. Early. I'm still prying the sleep seeds from the corners of my eyes and stifling yawns. My fingers clutch desperately at the cup of coffee that stands as my sole defense against a return to dreamland. My feet make a scuffling noise as I walk across the WVII parking lot because I just can't raise the energy to lift them properly. It's 5:30 AM.

For me, it's early. For Nicole Gerber and Clay Gordon, anchors of the ABC 7/FOX morning news program, it's just another morning.

The morning news program, which airs from 6:30 to 7:00 on ABC and from 7:00 to 8:00 on FOX every weekday morning, has been rolling strong since last fall. The first broadcast was in early September and the rest, as they say, is history.

I'm not unfamiliar with the workings of the program; some of you might know that I do a weekly segment on the show every Wednesday morning. It's a preview of this very publication that is currently holding your gaze, actually. It's been happening since the program's inception and it has been a lot of fun for me. I even got to spend a morning as a guest anchor.

Friday, 13 April 2012 13:42

Celebrity Slam - April 11, 2012

The Amanda Show

There are a lot of trashballs out there among the celebrity elite. These are people who despite their fame or more often because of it behave like irresponsible degenerate morons. We just shrug it gives us something to fill this space and it's not like we have high expectations of the Snookis and LiLos of the world.

And then there are the surprises. Surprises like Amanda Bynes.

Bynes apparently was clubbing it up in West Hollywood and got behind the wheel when she shouldn't have. According to law enforcement sources, Bynes attempted to pass a police car and sideswiped it, banging into the right real panel. Obviously, she was pulled over; officers determined that she was not fit to drive. She was arrested and carted off to jail.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012 14:48

Getting together with American Reunion'

The gang from American Pie' grows up

The movies we see and love as young adults often go on defining our cinematic tastes long after we have supposedly 'grown up.' However, the opportunity to see the cast of one of those movies after they too have grown up is pretty rare.

'American Reunion' is that opportunity.

The film, officially fourth in the 'American Pie' canon (though there are a slew of straight-to-video offerings that co-opted the 'American Pie' name), sees the original crew returning to East Great Falls for their high school reunion. Jim (Jason Biggs, TV's 'Mad Love') and Michelle (Alyson Hanigan, TV's 'How I Met Your Mother') are married with a child. They still love each other, but the passion seems to have left their marriage. Oz (Chris Klein, 'Caught in the Crossfire') is a sportscaster and minor celebrity with a model girlfriend. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas, 'InSight') is a work-at-home husband, while Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas, TV's 'How to Make It in America') simply reappears after vanishing for years, telling wild globetrotting stories. Former flames such as Vicky (Tara Reid, 'Last Call') and Heather (Mena Suvari, 'Restitution') are also back.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012 14:12

Belfast theater to go All In'

Poker documentary to be screened at the Colonial Theater

BELFAST - Poker is big business. There's no disputing that the game has experienced an exponential surge in popularity over the past decade or so. It's been so big, in fact, that it can be easy to forget the years of ups and downs the game faced before this recent explosion.

'All In: The Poker Movie' is a documentary that aims to determine the root causes behind this 21st century poker boom. The movie is currently being screened in theaters all over the country, including a number of Maine locales. The film has already screened at the Portland Museum of Art and will be coming to Belfast's Colonial Theater on April 19.

The film, directed by Douglas Tirola, explores some of the history of poker, looking back at a time when the poker player was viewed as a somewhat shady, almost sleazy character. We get introduced to some of the legendary underground poker rooms in New York City (a number of which served as inspiration for the seminal poker film 'Rounders'). The game's popularity ebbed and flowed in Las Vegas, but in 1973, Binion's put together a six-man tournament that they called 'The World Series of Poker.'

Wednesday, 11 April 2012 14:02

A brief history of thrash metal

Murder in the Front Row' offers a peek at the birth of a genre

While I've never been much of a music connoisseur, even I went through certain phases of musical fandom. And like just about every other kid who grew up in the sticks, I went through a heavy metal phase. As with all phases, it eventually fell by the wayside and was largely forgotten, resurfacing only when a chance radio encounter brought forth some thrashy nostalgia.

Said nostalgia received an exponential bump when 'Murder in the Front Row' (Bazillion Points Press) landed in my lap. It's essentially a coffee table book devoted to the early days of the Bay Area thrash metal scene.

And it's even cooler than it sounds.

The majority of the photos come from the collections of a handful of enthusiasts who were vital parts of the burgeoning scene back in the early 1980s. Guys like Harald Oimoen, Brian Lew and Ron Quintana were just hardcore fans that happened to be there when metal icons such as Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth first took root in the California soil and began to blossom. It's a moment in time, preserved by a couple of kids armed with nothing more than cameras and a deep passion for the music.

Pitcher's memoir a story of more than just baseball

David Foster Wallace once wrote a wonderful piece about how disappointing an athlete's autobiography can be. While he used Tracy Austin's 'Beyond Center Court' as an example of the general vapidity of the athlete's biography, the truth is that there are hundreds of hastily ghost-written books out there that, while providing the basic nuts and bolts information about an athlete, never really tell us anything about who they are.

However, when that is not the case when both the athlete and co-author are both literate, expressive and willing to speak truthfully the reader is treated to a very real, very raw peek behind the curtain at an athlete's real personality; warts and all. The reader gets an actual memoir one that just happens to star an athlete.

The reader gets 'Wherever I Wind Up' (Blue Rider Press, $24.95) by R.A. Dickey with Wayne Coffey.

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