Admin

PTC production offers weird, wild trip to the Florida swamps

BANGOR We are not alone in the universe at least, not according to some eccentrics living in the swamps of Florida.

That's part of the story behind 'The Sugar Bean Sisters,' a play by Nathan Sanders. Penobscot Theatre Company is presenting their production of the show a Maine premiere through Feb. 17 at the Bangor Opera House.

It's the tale of the Nettles sisters, two spinsters living out their days in their deceased father's shack in the town of Sugar Bean, Florida. There's Willie May (Irene Dennis), a born-again Mormon who supports their little family by way of her 'grapefruit fortune,' a settlement for an injury she received while working at a citrus plant. And then there's Faye Clementine (A.J. Mooney), a woman whose main claim to fame is an appearance on the cover of 'The Weekly World News' after a UFO sighting 20 years ago.

Published in Happenings
Thursday, 14 June 2012 07:52

Prometheus' rises

Ridley Scott prequel lives up to the hype

Ridley Scott is a master of creating atmosphere. His films always have a lush visual aesthetic that elevates them. He's also got some wonderful horror sensibilities; the first 'Alien' mined epic scares with cardboard cutouts and lighting tricks. His bromance with Russell Crowe has gotten to be a bit much as of late, so it was probably time for Ridley get some alone time.

So we get 'Prometheus.' Scott is returning to the near-future universe of 'Alien' only this time with a multimillion studio budget. Would the money enhance what Scott already brings to the table? Or would he get bogged down by the budget's temptations and expectations?

Turns out it's the former.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 15:10

They sank their Battleship'

Sci-fi action film flawed and formulaic

Sometimes when we go to the movies, we're looking for complex stories about the sorts of trials and tribulations we encounter in real life. They're dramatized of course, but at their core, these are stories that could have happened to us in some way, shape or form.

And sometimes, we just want to see some stuff blow up. Guess which category 'Battleship' falls under? Surprise the movie based on a board game isn't overly invested in character development!

The film is centered around Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch, 'John Carter'), a ne'er-do-well troublemaker whose latest scrape with the law finally pushes his brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgard, TV's 'True Blood') to demand that Alex join the Navy. Flash forward a few years and Alex is progressing through the ranks, though he's never quite shed his inability to be bound by The Man's rules. He's also dating the lovely Samantha (Brooklyn Decker, 'What to Expect When You're Expecting'), a smart, tough woman who just happens to be the daughter of Alex's superior officer Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson, 'The Grey'). Because that's just how things work in movies like this.

Published in Movies

It got me.

'Cowboys and Aliens' begins with a mysterious man (Daniel Craig, 'Quantum of Solace') waking up in the middle of nowhere. He has no memory of who he is or where he came from; just a photograph and a strange metal band on his wrist. He makes his way to the nearby town of Absolution, a tiny town ruled by local cattleman Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford, 'Morning Glory'). The man is arrested and about to be delivered into federal custody when surprise! aliens show up and start blowing stuff up and abducting the heck out of everyone.

Honestly? That's about everything you need to know.

The best part about the whole thing is the fact that, to my surprise, the movie was actually pretty good. You know, no award winner, but just a solid popcorn-muncher of a summer blockbuster.

Most of the credit for that has to go to Craig and Ford. The two of them have more than enough charisma to carry the film through its brisk two hours. Thankfully, the bulk of the action is handled by Craig watching Harrison Ford geriatrically struggle through a stunt sequence would be too heartbreaking for words. Still, the two of them are unmistakably movie stars, to the film's great benefit.

That's not to say that they do it all alone. Sam Rockwell ('Iron Man 2') has a nice turn as Doc, the town's doctor/saloonkeeper, for instance. The entire supporting cast is strong, featuring a veritable who's who of 'that guy's, those actors that you always recognize and usually like, but whose names you never remember. The one weak link felt like Olivia Wilde, whose performance wasn't terrible per se, but rather two-dimensional. There was a flatness to her that stood out.

Director Jon Favreau has officially established his big-budget blockbuster bona fides by now, after helming the two 'Iron Man' films before this one. 'Cowboys and Aliens' works because it plays everything honestly. This isn't some sort of kitschy wink at the audience; the film takes itself seriously. That genuineness of intent is what makes the whole thing work.

And it does work. The effects are prevalent without being distracting. The action sequences are exciting and well-made, although there's a tendency toward quick cuts that can make things feel a little too chaotic and tough to follow. Again, the performances are good. And it's a surprisingly engaging story a bit thin perhaps, but still interesting enough to keep me wanting to know what would happen next.

'Cowboys and Aliens' delivers what it promises cowboys and aliens. And really, what more can you ask for from your summertime movies?

[3 out of 5]

Published in Movies

Advertisements

Website CMS and Development by Links Online Marketing, LLC, Bangor Maine