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Monday, 02 July 2018 15:44

Ball don’t lie – ‘Uncle Drew’

Sometimes, you see a movie trailer and think “That looks terrible.” Other times, you see a trailer and think “I’d like to see that.” And every once in a while – rarely, but it happens – you get one that makes you think “That looks terrible. I’d like to see that.”

“Uncle Drew” very much falls into that third category.

The film – based solely on a character played by Kyrie Irving for a handful of Pepsi commercials wherein Irving would don a bunch of old-age makeup and prosthetics and proceed to humiliate people on various basketball courts. Pretty funny bit for a couple of minutes, sure - but for 90? With a Space Jam-esque collection of NBA players making up a significant portion of the supporting cast? Obviously, it was going to be terrible.

And even more obviously, it was going to delight me.

Published in Movies

ORONO – Family gatherings can be a real pain, but they can also lead to some unexpected fun – just so long as you mind your manners.

Orono-based theater company True North Theatre is giving you a chance to join in one such family gathering. Their production of Alan Ayckbourn’s beloved comedy “Table Manners” is taking place at the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre on the University of Maine campus. Directed by Tricia A. Hobbs, the show runs through June 24.

Published in Buzz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ORONO - If I were to tell you about seeing a possessed puppet and the disaffected teenager attached to it take over a small-town Texas church basement, you might think I was describing some sort of fever dream.

In fact, I’d be talking about “Hand to God,” the latest production mounted by Orono’s Some Theatre Company. The Tony-nominated play – written by Robert Askins – is directed by Elaine Bard; the show runs through June 23 at the Keith Anderson Community House in Orono.

It’s a dark and provocative comedy, packed with blue language and blasphemy; the piece offers up challenge after unapologetic challenge, daring to cross any line you might think of. It is profane and wicked and thoughtful – as smart as it is discomfiting.

And it is REALLY funny.

Published in Buzz

BANGOR – Local theatergoers are being asked to pitch in and solve a hilarious whodunit.

Penobscot Theatre Company’s latest production is “Shear Madness,” adapted by Marilyn Abrams and Bruce Jordan from Paul Portner’s “Scherenschnitt.” It’s a freewheeling comic mystery – one that makes great demands of both its cast and its audience – and it’s running at the Bangor Opera House through July 8.

Published in Style

BANGOR – A former Penobscot Theatre Company stalwart has returned to Bangor to bring a long-beloved theatrical experience to life on the Bangor Opera House stage.

Former PTC artistic director Scott R.C. Levy has made his way back to the Queen City to direct a production of “Shear Madness,” adapted from a 1963 German murder mystery by Paul Portner by Marilyn Abrams and Bruce Jordan. The madcap and improvisational comedy is one of the longest running nonmusical plays in the world, having been running nonstop in Boston since January of 1980. The PTC production is scheduled to run from June 14 through July 8.

Published in Cover Story

I’ve always had an affinity for watching people get hurt in ridiculous ways. It’s the teenaged boy in me; slapstick, physical humor has always been a favorite of mine. It’s why I have a soft spot for Johnny Knoxville and “Jackass.” The sheer abandon with which those degenerates approached their work (such as it was) … admirable, really.

But such degeneracy is a young man’s game. Truly, in the end, time leaves no man’s balls unkicked.

This brings us to “Action Point,” a film about which I held the exact right degree of low expectations, yet was disappointed nevertheless. It’s a lazy, largely unfunny comedy that spastically flails about and fails to make any real impact, despite an enthusiastic performance by Knoxville (including a couple of stunts sure to delight his longtime fans).

Published in Movies
Tuesday, 22 May 2018 15:00

More meta mayhem – ‘Deadpool 2’

Superheroes are big business at the box office. The biggest cinematic successes of the past few years have involved CGI explosions and spandex. Hell, 2018 alone has seen “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” taking their places atop various all-time lists.

And yet … there’s more than one path to victory.

We got a glimpse of one such path with 2016’s “Deadpool,” the hard-R Ryan Reynolds passion project that brought the unorthodox and profane titular character to the big screen in all of his fourth wall-breaking metatextual glory. The critical and commercial acclaim with which it was met ensured that we’d see another installment.

“Deadpool 2” is … more. More of the self-awareness. More of the snark. More winking jokes and nods. More curse words. Just … more. It is broad and crude and unapologetic. And while it’s maybe a little messier and unfocused than its predecessor, it also opens up and shows some unexpected heart – albeit in Deadpool’s specific and very peculiar way.

Published in Movies
Tuesday, 22 May 2018 14:58

‘Book Club’ fails to leave a mark

It isn’t easy getting old in Hollywood. Too often, stars flail against the notion of age, desperately trying to stave off the inevitability of time. Aging gracefully isn’t something that most actors have the luxury of doing.

It’s particularly bad for women; there just isn’t a lot of space carved out of the cinematic firmament for actresses of a certain age. So when an opportunity arises – an opportunity for a collection of exceptionally talented women to shine - all you can do is cross your fingers and hope for the best.

At the very least, hope for better than “Book Club.”

Published in Movies

It seems as though we don’t get the same kinds of breakout comedies in the summer that we once did. The season has become overrun with blockbusters, and while I love superheroes and explosions as much as anyone and more than most, it’s nice to change it up once in a while. And occasionally, a comedy will achieve significant summertime success. A lot of factors have to line up for it to happen – timeliness, star power, subject matter, broad appeal and more – for a comedy to be that movie.

“Life of the Party” is not that movie.

Published in Movies
Tuesday, 08 May 2018 14:39

Mother’s milk – ‘Tully’

One of the downsides to the bounteous excess of summer blockbuster season is the fact that it’s extremely difficult for a smaller film to gain any real traction. More thoughtful fare can be drowned out by a wave of superheroes, sequels and CGI explosions.

In the case of “Tully,” the latest product of the director/writer partnership of Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody, that would be a real shame. This weird little funny/sad film is a lovely piece of storytelling that deserves to be seen, a meditation on motherhood that is genuine and bizarre and driven by an outstanding performance from Charlize Theron (who previously teamed with Reitman and Cody on 2011’s “Young Adult”).

Published in Movies
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