Allen Adams

Allen Adams

edge staff writer

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Wednesday, 07 February 2018 14:55

Ice ice baby - 'I, Tonya'

There are relatively few truly shared experiences anymore. The proliferation of the internet has led to a cultural splintering that largely prohibits the grand-scale zeitgeist moments that we all witnessed together.

To anyone possessed of even a modicum of awareness in 1994, the name Tonya Harding was a familiar one. She was at the center of one of the most bizarre incidents in sports history when she was involved (or not involved) in the planning of an assault on Nancy Kerrigan, her fellow figure skater and major rival in the 1994 Olympic Games.

“I, Tonya” means to tell that story. And it does, after a fashion, by embracing the strangeness of the situation. Rather than trying to piece together the truth from a collection of wildly differing accounts, director Craig Gillespie and screenwriter Steven Rogers lean into the disparities, bouncing from POV to POV and producing a story that is utterly compelling even as it utterly lacks consistency.

The Winter Olympics are upon us. There’s no doubt that we will soon be up to our eyeballs in event coverage. However, you might find yourself looking for a brief respite maybe you realize that you’re not that interested in watching the middle 8K of the 10,000-meter Nordic skiing final or the qualifying rounds in women’s skeleton or the Norway/Finland curling match.

(Who are we kidding? Everybody wants to watch curling.)

Say you want that break, but you don’t want to lose that Winter Olympics state of mind that you’ve been waiting since Sochi to feel again what do you do? 

Why, watch a Winter Olympics-themed movie of course.

Granted, pickings are kind of slim - there just haven’t been that many Winter Olympics movies made. However, the ones that have all possess their own charms. Some more than others, as you’ll see. Here are five that you might enjoy.

(Please note: this list does not include “I, Tonya” – you can read a full review of that film elsewhere in this week’s edition.)

Wednesday, 07 February 2018 14:36

‘The Shape of Water’ beautiful and bizarre

It’s a rare thing for a filmmaker to be able to bring together diverse sensibilities in the service of furthering their own particular voice. Finding the balance between craftsmanship and commercialism is never an easy thing to do.

And when I say commercialism, I’m not necessarily referring to box office success (although that’s part of it). What I mean is the art of making commercial fare – a very different skill set than that used in the making of more indie-minded films.

Guillermo del Toro is as good at walking that line as any filmmaker in his generation. He’s probably the best we’ve seen since the heyday of Spielberg. And “The Shape of Water” is the culmination of that journey, precisely filling the Venn diagram overlap between those styles – equal parts “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Hellboy.”

Wednesday, 07 February 2018 14:12

‘Winchester’ a half-cocked horrorshow

With a certain type of horror movie, one of the most unsettling parts happens right at the beginning. Before the film even really starts, in fact. It’s when you see the words “Inspired by true events” or some variation on that theme.

Wednesday, 07 February 2018 14:08

A Valentine’s variety pack

Valentine’s Day is almost here!

We’re not here to tell you that your feelings about this particular holiday – good, bad or indifferent – are right or wrong. No, we thought that with the day fast approaching, rather than just offer up the standard V-Day blah-blah-blah, we might instead share with you some random assorted thoughts about love and the holiday and the stuff that sometimes comes with it.

The following are lists of things that are connected to Valentine’s Day or pop culture’s portrayals of love … more or less. We’re taking a look at a few bests and worsts in entertainment’s takes on romance, along with some drink ideas and gift no-nos and whatnot.

It ain’t Cupid’s arrow, but at least we took our shot. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 07 February 2018 13:39

Celebrity Slam - We see rude people

We’ve noted our preferences here at Celebrity Slam a number of times. If you’ve ever visited this space with any kind of regularity, you know that there are two things we absolutely LOVE when it comes to famous folks:

1) Celebrity beef

2) Creating portmanteaus for famous couples

However, while those are our favorite things, they aren’t the only things we enjoy. Obviously, when celebrities say and do idiotic things, they garner our attention. But what you might not know is that there are definitely certain places where famous people are more likely to stick their feet in their mouths.

One particularly popular place for celebrity meltdowns? The airport. It’s understandable, really – the airport is a popular place for non-celebrity meltdowns as well. It’s a stressful place rendered exponentially more stressful with every deviation – no matter how slight – from the plan at hand.

This brings us to Haley Joel Osment.

Wednesday, 07 February 2018 13:33

Weird National Briefs (02/07/2018)

Drop the hammer

DALLAS - Authorities say a man took a sledgehammer to about a dozen squad cars in a Dallas police station parking lot.

Of all our major sports, baseball is the one with the longest history. All that history means that on a singular level, there’s room for a lot of interesting things to happen. It’s like the adage about infinite monkeys and infinite typewriters eventually producing “Hamlet” – do something long enough and you’ll eventually get some singular results.

Joe Cox’s latest book “The Immaculate Inning: Unassisted Triple Plays, 40/40 Seasons, and the Stories Behind Baseball’s Rarest Feats” (Lyons Press, $27.95) recounts some of those singular moments. Some are just one game (or even one play) while others consist of longer stretches and even full seasons, but they all share at least one commonality: you don’t see them every day.

ORONO – A local theater company is raising the curtain on a new Orono performance space with a roar.

True North Theatre is presenting their production of James Goldman’s “The Lion in Winter” at the former St. Mary’s Catholic Church – now known as the Old St. Mary’s Reception Hall - on Main Street in Orono. The show – directed by TNT artistic director Angela Bonacasa – runs through February 4.

The play was written in 1966, but the story is perhaps best known for the 1968 film version that starred Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn and landed Hepburn the third of her four Best Actress Oscars. It’s the sordid saga of King Henry II of England and his machinations and manipulations with regards to his family and his legacy as he seeks to cement his place in history.

Casual comedy fans – particularly those of a younger generation – may not be familiar with Doug Kenney. However, anyone who has any interest in the comedic craft has reaped the benefits of his groundbreaking work.

Kenney – who co-founded the subversive humor magazine The National Lampoon before branching out into stage, radio and film – was a weirdo shooting star in the comedy world, one who shone brightly and ultimately burned out too fast.

“A Futile and Stupid Gesture” – based on Josh Karp’s book of the same name – tells the story of Kenney’s rapid ascent and subsequent fall. Directed by David Wain, the film goes out of its way to paint its subject as a genius, a true icon, but despite its sprawling efforts – including a deep and talented cast - it never quite goes beyond a surface-level exploration of Kenney. The result is a serviceable biopic with a few flashes; not terrible, but not nearly what we might have hoped it to be.

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