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Allen Adams

Allen Adams

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Well, that was … better? Not by much, but by a little.

There wasn’t really anywhere to go but up after our abysmal Wild Card performance – Stella and I both went 1-3 – so there’s that. And we definitely did go up – just not by much.

Stella and I both went 2-2 in the Divisional Round. We went one-for-two on our mutual picks, which hey – not bad. We had Kansas City beating Houston – we sweated that first quarter or so out before Patrick Mahomes and company stepped on the gas and absolutely curb-stomped the poor Texans. On the flip side, we (along with literally everyone else in the world) had the Ravens beating the Titans. Imagine our surprise when Baltimore struggled and Tennessee’s Derrick Henry basically turned into the second coming of Earl Campbell.

As for our differing games: I picked the Vikings for some idiotic reason, only to watch them get easily handled by the 49ers. Stella picked the Niners because she’s not dumb. Meanwhile, I lucked out with my Packers pick; it seemed solid, but then we got to the end of the game and the Seahawks had a real chance of pulling it out. Happily, Green Bay held out, meaning that I avoided going 1-3 for the second weekend in a row.

And so, we’re tied going into the Conference Championships. Granted, it’s at 3-5, but a tie is a tie – it’s anyone’s game. And we will have a winner, because we are at odds on one of the weekend’s two contests.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020 14:11

War is hell – ‘1917’

I’m always a little suspicious when I hear a movie being lauded as a “technical achievement.” Not because I don’t value the technical aspects of filmmaking – quite the opposite, actually. It’s more that I worry that a film relies on technique over narrative, rather than letting each elevate the other. It doesn’t matter how beautifully a film is made if we don’t care about the tale being told.

“1917,” directed by Sam Mendes from a script he co-wrote alongside Krysty Wilson-Cairns, was that movie. I’d been hearing for months about the film’s aesthetic and cinematographic ambition, the fact that the entire thing was constructed to look like a single unbroken take. Impressive, sure, but if we aren’t engaged by the story and the characters … who cares?

Turns out I needn’t have worried, because while yes, it is an incredible technical achievement that elicits legitimate awe in spots, it is also a compelling story, as we follow along on a seemingly impossible mission laid at the feet of young men who can’t possibly be prepared for such demands, yet ultimately venture forth in an effort to do what’s right.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020 14:09

Depth charge - ‘Underwater’

The ocean can be scary.

Specifically, the deep ocean. We’re talking Mariana Trench deep. Challenger Deep deep. Miles down where the pressure is so intense that only particular brands of strange and strong life can exist. In many ways, the ocean floor is as alien to mankind as the moon. Perhaps more so.

As such, it makes sense that such a place would inspire some sci-fi/horror storytelling. The latest offering in that vein is “Underwater,” directed by William Eubank and starring Kristen Stewart. One might suspect that it’s your usual mid-January fare, but don’t be fooled by the release date – it isn’t a great movie, but there’s enough here to warrant a look from sci-fi fans.

There are shades of other, better films here – classics like “The Abyss” and the very obvious influence of the first two “Alien” movies – and “Underwater” occasionally wanders into the realm of the derivative. Still, the film is stylistically interesting, and Stewart is surprisingly engaging in a role that’s a bit of a departure for her. Again, not great, but not terrible either.

ORONO – They say opposites attract … but do they really? And for how long?

True North Theatre is bringing a Neil Simon classic to the stage with their production of “The Odd Couple.” Directed by Angela Bonacasa and starring TNT regulars Tellis Coolong and Tyler Costigan, the show runs through Jan. 19 at the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre on the campus of the University of Maine at Orono.

It’s the best-known of Simon’s many theatrical classics, a story about the difficulties inherent to starting over and the importance of friends who will support you even as you drive them crazy. It’s also arguably his funniest, with the mismatched pair at the show’s center an iconic stage dynamic; their relationship laid the foundation for a hundred comedies – some brilliant, others derivative, but all undeniably inspired by Oscar and Felix.

True North gets it, featuring fine performances from that central duo and a general understanding of just how hilarious this script is - an understanding that is ulitmately executed wonderfully.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020 13:47

New to view - 20 of 2020's early TV offerings

Remember when the fall television lineups were all that mattered?

It wasn't so long ago that that autumn offerings were the be-all and end-all of new TV. Shows that made their debuts in January were considered little more than filler, with the term “midseason replacement” taking on a derogatory tone.

However, as the ways in which we consume television have changed, so too have our attitudes regarding when shows join their respective lineups. Instead of an afterthought, this second season has become a viable entity in its own right, with loads of interesting programming arriving on your screens of choice.

Broadcast networks, premium and basic cable outlets, streaming services - everybody has something for the viewer looking for something new to consume this winter. If nothing else, it seems likely that all tastes - highbrow, lowbrow and everything in-between - will be addressed.

Have a look at some of the intriguing options coming your way.

Based as we are here in Maine, it probably comes as no surprise that the folks at Celebrity Slam are big fans of the NFL’s New England Patriots. We’re homers to the core, we are.

That means that we’ve really been able to enjoy the unprecedented success of the past two decades. One could argue that no other team has been as consistently successful for as long in the history of the NFL.

But even consistent success doesn’t mean winning a title every year. And this year was one of the non-title seasons, with the Patriots falling to the Tennessee Titans in the wild card round of the NFL playoffs. It’s the earliest end to a New England football season in a decade. So what are the Patriots players doing with their spare time?

Let’s ask Julian Edelman.

The star wide receiver for the Patriots landed in a little bit of hot water over the weekend after getting arrested following an incident that allegedly involved him jumping onto the hood of a car.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020 13:28

Weird National Briefs (01/15/2020)

Hairy hold-up

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The FBI is asking the public's help in catching a so-called “bad wig bandit” who's been robbing banks in North Carolina.

The FBI said in a statement on Thursday that the suspect wore a different wig during each heist in the Charlotte area.

One wig was blonde. Another was black. The third was red.

The FBI said he robbed a BB&T in Huntersville on Dec. 13. He then robbed two banks on Jan. 7. The first was a New Horizon Bank in Belmont. The second was a Wells Fargo in Gastonia.

TME – The challenges on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” are getting INTENSE.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020 13:25

Criminal Mischief (01/15/2020)

Massive jet makes emergency landing at BIA

BANGOR (AP) — One of the world’s largest passenger jets made an unscheduled landing at Maine’s Bangor International Airport because of a medical emergency involving a passenger, officials said.

The fire department needed to use its aerial ladder to retrieve the patient from the second level of the double-decker A380, which landed at the airport at 9:30 a.m., said spokeswoman Aimee Thibodeau.

The firetruck ladder expedited the passenger’s removal because the airport’s steps wouldn’t reach the airplane’s upper doors, Thibodeau said.

The Emirates Airbus A380 from Dubai took off from Bangor at 12:15 p.m. to continue its flight to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport.

Tuesday, 07 January 2020 12:50

Kibbles and Picks 2020 – Divisional Round

Well then. That didn’t go well for anybody, now did it?

Despite our shared regular season excellence, Stella and I both managed to lay a pretty significant egg during the Wild Card round. Of the four games I picked, I got exactly one right – Seattle over Philly. Of course, Stella also got exactly one right – Houston over Buffalo. The two predictions we shared – New England over Tennessee and New Orleans over Minnesota – were both sadly, heartbreakingly wrong.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced the 15 finalists for the Class of 2020, with first-time eligibles safety Troy Polamalu and receiver Reggie Wayne leading the way.

They’ll be joined by five other first-time finalists and a collection of other greats. From this list, the selection committee will then choose five honorees from the remaining finalists. The Class of 2020 will be officially announced on Feb. 1 – the day before Super Bowl LIV.

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