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Allen Adams

Allen Adams

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Wednesday, 20 March 2019 12:46

Love is in the air – ‘Five Feet Apart’

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a soft touch, emotionally speaking. My buttons can be pushed pretty easily. If a movie wants to make me cry, it will have little problem doing so. Whether or not that emotional manipulation is earned, well … it doesn’t really matter. It will work. However, just because my emotions are impacted doesn’t mean I’m unaware of the strings being pulled.

The new movie “Five Feet Apart” – directed by Justin Baldoni from a screenplay by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis – is nothing BUT strings. It is almost cynically manipulative, with a star-crossed love story featuring terminally ill teenagers falling for one another yet being kept apart by forces beyond their control. It is so formulaic, so boilerplate, that it almost feels algorithmically-generated – a product of maudlin mathematics.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that when people are confronted with an invasion, they inevitably fall into one of two categories: collaborator or resistor. It has been that way in every war that has ever been fought; when enemy forces take over, some will fall in line and others will fight back.

There’s no reason to think that that would somehow change if said forces came not from another country, but from another world.

That’s the basic gist of “Captive State,” an alien occupation thriller directed by Rupert Wyatt from a script he co-wrote with Erica Beeney. It’s a story of what it means to live under the rule of an enemy that seems too powerful to overcome – and what it means to stand up to that enemy anyway.

It’s not a particularly subtle movie; it wears its ideas on its sleeve and is more about blunt force than surgical precision. The story is a bit overlong as well and meanders through its middle third. However, the low-fi aesthetic is interesting and there are some good performances. Add it all up and you get an acceptable (and forgettable) sci-fi outing.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019 12:27

Play ball! A 2019 MLB Preview

It might be hard to believe, considering how much snow we’ve seen recently, but spring is here. Whatever the weather says, the truth is that baseball season is just around the corner! Spring training is coming to a conclusion – we’re on the verge of seeing games that count!

There’s plenty to be excited about in 2019. The biggest contracts in the history of the game have been signed. The stars are poised to pick up where they left off; reigning MVPs (Mookie Betts and Christian Yelich) and Cy Young winners (Blake Snell and Jacob deGrom) and Rookies of the Year (Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto) are all ready to get back to work. Meanwhile, new faces like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Eloy Jimenez are almost here. Plus, there are the names that we don’t know well (or at all) yet, but who will capture our attention before the season is through.

There are going to be a lot of home runs and a lot of strikeouts. There will be stars who perform to expectations and unknowns who shock the world. There will be delightful highs and unfortunate lows. There’s no way to say for certain what will go down on the field in 2019.

But let’s give it a go anyway.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019 12:06

Celebrity Slam - Conor’s phone freakout

It’s always hard to deal with the week after.

While we always have fun here at Celebrity Slam, we are rarely gifted with something so beautifully perfect for this space as the still-ongoing college admissions scandal. Yes, there are plenty of plain, boring, un-famous rich people involved, but we also have Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman.

There have been developments since last we spoke, mostly regarding Loughlin’s side of things. Her daughter (and notable social media influencer) Olivia Jade has some old posts regarding her general disdain for school that don’t reflect well. Oh, and it turns out that she was partying on a yacht belonging to a USC trustee as everything was going down. Plus, Loughlin has gotten the old heave-ho from the fine folks at the Hallmark Channel.

But we can’t really spend too much time here. We have to move on. Even though subsequent stories almost certainly won’t be as fun, we can’t just live on Operation Varsity Blues forever.

And so, we’re going to talk about Conor McGregor.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019 12:04

Weird National Briefs (03/20/2019)

Practice makes perfect

PORTAGE, Wis. - Authorities in southern Wisconsin say a 56-year-old Cambria man arrested on suspicion of his 8th OWI offense tried to drink in front of a deputy.

According to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, a vehicle was reported in a ditch in the Town of Fountain Prairie Saturday night. The caller reported the driver wasn’t hurt, but “something wasn’t right with the driver.” The caller gave the man a ride home.

When a deputy arrived, the man had returned in another car. When the man was told he would be arrested, authorities say he tried to grab an open liquor bottle from the vehicle and drink from it.

The man was arrested on suspicion of OWI 8th offense, bail jumping, operating with open intoxicants and failure to maintain control of his vehicle.

TME – Go big or go home.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019 12:03

Criminal Mischief (03/20/2019)

Car crashes though Jetport fence

SOUTH PORTLAND (AP) — An official says a car crashed through the fence surrounding the tarmac at the Portland International Jetport. No flights were affected.

Assistant Airport Director Zachary Sundquist told WGME-TV that the crash Sunday night was a security breach, but the procedures in place worked as they should. The runway was not closed.

The cause of the crash is unclear.

Sundquist said security personnel will remain at the site where the fence was hit until it can be repaired on Monday.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019 13:12

Bracketology basics 2019

It’s that time of year again, that time when even the most casual of sports fans (or even non-fans) start paying attention to the wild and wooly world of college hoops.

That’s right, folks. NCAA tourney time is upon us.

Selection Sunday is just around the corner, so I thought I might try to get some thoughts out there far enough in advance for you fine folks to take advantage when the time comes to fill out your own brackets. Bear in mind - I’m no expert when it comes to the college hardwood.

However, I do have a touch of the degenerate gambler about me.

We all know the drill at this point: you pony up a bit of cash or sign up for a contest and fill out your own copy of the bracket, picking winners all the way through the tournament, up to and including the 2019 champion. If you make the best picks, you win the pot.

Of course, with over 9 quintillion ways to fill out a bracket, the odds are not in your favor. But hey - there’s always a chance.

Here are a few of my (very basic) observations with regards to the sweet science of bracketology.

What would you do if you found yourself in a world that was similar to your own, yet undeniably different? What if you were displaced by tragedy, only to wind up in a place where you were largely unwanted? What if your old life was erased, leaving you with just a few scraps of memory?

Those are the questions at the heart of K. Chess’s excellent “Famous Men Who Never Lived” (Tin House Books, $24.95). It’s a wonderful piece of speculative fiction, following two people who find themselves adrift in a place that is just different enough from their home to be jarring and unsettling. They are surrounded by people who view them as other – as alien – and their connection to the past grows ever more tenuous as they try desperately to remain connected to whatever cultural consciousness to which they can cling.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019 13:07

Marvel at ‘Captain Marvel’

There’s no disputing that the Marvel Cinematic Universe rules the box office like nothing the entertainment industry has ever seen. Film after film drawing massive numbers, with grosses in the middle nine figures AT WORST. The MCU has produced some of the most globally popular movies of all time.

As we near the end of Phase Three – set to culminate with next month’s “Avengers: Endgame” – we are finally introduced to one of the characters who promises to be a major player in how that arc ends: Captain Marvel. The superpowered spacefarer stars in her own eponymously-titled outing, serving as the first female character to headline an MCU movie.

You may have heard about efforts from certain elements to undermine the film before its release. You may have also heard about how ultimately ineffectual those efforts were. Because a LOT of people saw this movie on opening weekend. And what they saw was pretty darned good, a quippy, zippy origin story that manages to stand on its own merits while also serving as connective tissue for the rest of the MCU out of necessity.

“Captain Marvel” could have floundered under the storytelling load it was asked to shoulder, but instead manages to (mostly) soar, giving us a fun and engaging narrative, some decent gags and some solid action set pieces (along with a killer ‘90s soundtrack). Excellent performances (particularly from star Brie Larson) serve as the glue that binds it all together.

BANGOR – Too often, we think of science as SCIENCE, some far-removed thing that has little connection with most of our everyday lives. We allow ourselves to be intimidated by this notion that science is something far too complex for any but the most specialized among us to truly understand it.

And nothing could be further from the truth.

Science is EVERYWHERE, a fact that is celebrated annually by the Maine Science Festival. This year’s MSF – which marks the fifth year of the event – takes place March 13-17 at locations all over the greater Bangor area. Scores of events aimed at bringing science to joyful, relatable life – as well as finding those connections to the world we live in everyday – are happening over that span.

And at the risk of sounding cliché, it really is fun for all ages. There will be plenty to do and to learn for young children, teenagers and adults alike. Seriously – if you have even the slightest bit of curiosity, you’ll find something to fascinate you at the Maine Science Festival.

Oh, and the vast majority of events are absolutely free.

You can find more information and a full schedule at www.mainesciencefestival.org. And you should absolutely do that, because any effort on my part to convey the vast and varied sweep of offerings over MSF weekend would be lacking. There’s just SO MUCH SCIENCE.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.

Kate Dickerson is the Director of the Maine Science Festival and one of the driving forces behind turning it into one of the most anticipated events on the cultural calendar. She was kind enough to engage with The Maine Edge via email for a Q&A that was not only incredibly informative, but also illustrative of the passion she carries for this project.

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