Bieber the bully?
We’ve all seen that fame and fortune can lead to an inflated sense of self-importance. Being surrounded by yes-men dependent on your earning power certainly lends itself to an overinflated ego. And when celebrities believe their own hype, they sometimes find themselves taking shots at other famous folk – often for no good reason.
It’s that time of year once again. The snow is melting and the grass is showing through. That whiff of spring is in the air.
Time for baseball.
The start of the 2013 Major League Baseball season is right around the corner and there’s plenty of intrigue out there. Some teams went all-out in attempts to get over the hump (Blue Jays, Dodgers). We even saw a team switch leagues for the first time since realignment (Astros). And we saw the San Francisco Giants win their second title in three years. Last year, we saw the first Triple Crown winner in over 40 years with Miguel Cabrera and perhaps the greatest rookie season of all time with Mike Trout. How will they follow history?
Taking to the stage for “Dancing Like the Stars”
BANGOR – For those who didn’t know (or simply haven’t been paying attention), I have spent the past two-plus months preparing to participate in “Dancing Like the Stars,” a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Over these past weeks, I and seven others have been paired up with dance coaches from Chuck and Sue McKay’s Back Door Dance Studio, learning to dance and raising money for this very good cause.
2013 season will be Rivera’s last
As Red Sox fans, many of us carry with us an antipathy toward the New York Yankees. The until-recently wildly one-sided Boston/New York rivalry has inspired some of the strongest, most passionate feelings in all of sports fandom. And there are plenty of players on each team that incur the wrath of fans on an individual basis.
But there are also players on either side that transcend the more base aspects of the rivalry. These are the players whose excellence both in talent and attitude earn the respect of the opposing fan base. All-time greatness is difficult to hate.
Disney offering offers decent family fun
There are few places in cinematic history as iconic as the Land of Oz. 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz” is more than a family classic; it’s a pop cultural touchstone as significant as any in film. Plenty of subsequent artists have returned there in the years since, with varying degrees of success. Big-screen trips to Oz have basically been flops.
“Oz the Great and Powerful” is Disney’s latest attempt (their last was 1985’s “Return to Oz”) to travel down the yellow brick road.
Strong performances can’t salvage weak plot
Those people who enjoyed director Niels Oplev’s work with the first film version of Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” have likely been looking forward to the director’s American theatrical debut.
“Dead Man Down” would appear to have all the requisite pieces. There’s a strong cast, including Noomi Rapace, who so embodied Lisbeth Salandar in “Dragon Tattoo.” There’s a dark undercurrent of deception and vengeance fueled by anger. The story has that noir-ish feel that Oplev grasps so firmly.
There are a few factors that go into the selection process for inclusion in this space. The ridiculousness of your words and actions can be a bit lower depending on just how famous you are. And the target of said ridiculousness also enters into it.
Actor Terence Howard made some rather salacious comments about filming with a co-star recently. Considering what he actually said – which we’ll get into momentarily – he probably would have made the cut regardless. However, since he happened to be talking about Oprah Winfrey…well, that’s when it gets awesome.
Fairy tale adventure more hit than miss
There has been a trend in Hollywood recently toward the reinvention of classic children’s stories. We’ve seen tongue-in-cheek takes on Hansel and Gretel and a pair of retellings of the story of Snow White. Developments in CGI technology have taken these stories out of the animated realm in which they have primarily dwelled and into the world of live action.
Coming of age comedy unfocused, unfunny
Films that show us a group of young friends (usually male) making a big transition in life – particularly the end of high school or college – have always been popular in Hollywood. And with good reason; their primary target audience sits squarely in that age range.
“21 and Over” is the latest offering in this particular coming of age subgenre. However, recent years have seen an increased tendency to turn these kids into oversexed, foul-mouthed punks with little to no redeeming value. There’s no one to root for because everyone is terrible.
Collection offers look at society’s fringes and failures
Short fiction is relatively easy to write. Good short fiction, however, is quite difficult. Any writer can tell a story in a few thousand words. Telling a story that makes an impact and moves the reader in those same few thousand words is an art that many writers will never master.
Sam Lipsyte’s newest book “The Fun Parts” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; $24) is that rare collection that carries that art forward into full bloom. It’s a baker’s dozen worth of postcards from the edge; each of the 13 stories is a glimpse at the people existing on the fringe. The characters populating Lipsyte’s literary landscape aren’t the sort that the reader is meant to love – or even to like, to be truthful – but they are brought to life with sharply-honed cleverness and furious glee.
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