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Allen Adams

Allen Adams

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Monday, 24 September 2018 12:53

This is bus - 'Life Itself'

There’s nothing wrong with a film trying to play on your emotions. Oftentimes, our whole purpose in going to the movies is to feel. The cinema is inherently manipulative, whether we’re talking visually, emotionally or what have you. I have no problem with a movie pushing my emotional buttons.

But that evocation needs to be earned. If it isn’t, you’re left with something shallow and unsatisfying. When we’re constantly aware of the buttons being pushed, it all begins to feel a bit cynical.

It begins to feel like Dan Fogelman’s “Life Itself.”

Wednesday, 19 September 2018 14:23

Kibbles and Picks 2018 - Week 3

All right then.

We maintained the status quo after Week 2. Stella and I both wound up with identical 9-6-1 records (yet another tie – we’re hoping we’re done with all of that, but considering how lousy the kicking has been across the board, we might be in for more).

On our differences of opinion, we both batted .500. I was right on three, she was right on three and then there was of course Green Bay/Minnesota. For the record, I predicted victories for the Chiefs, the Colts and the Cowboys, while Stella picked Cincinnati, Miami and Chicago to win.

This week, we’re again at odds on seven different games.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018 11:38

‘Football for a Buck’ remembers the USFL

In many ways, the NFL is one of the last vestiges of American monoculture. In a world where the zeitgeist moves exponentially faster and more unpredictably with each year that passes, there are few entities that are as familiar, as entrenched, as overwhelmingly present as the NFL. Football is America’s sport and the NFL IS football.

But pro football was almost very different.

Jeff Pearlman’s new book “Football for a Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28) tells the story of the last pro football league to pose a serious challenge to the NFL’s domination of the football landscape. For a brief moment in the mid-1980s, the USFL looked poised to assume a spot alongside the NFL in the American sporting landscape. The pieces were there to succeed, but unfortunately – thanks to some massive individual egos and more than a little hubris – the league flamed out.

CARMEL – A local indie wrestling impresario is bringing his promotion to his hometown to mark its first birthday.

Pro Wrestling Takeover will mark its first year with “Almost Home,” a show taking place on Sept. 22 at the Carmel Elementary School – in tandem with the town’s Carmel Days celebration – at 7 p.m. The bill will feature eight matches and include a wealth of up-and-coming wrestling talent.

The promotion has operated largely in southern Maine since its inception; this is their seventh event overall, but “Almost Home” marks the first PWT show in the greater Bangor area.

PWT is the brainchild of Ryan Waning, a longtime resident of Carmel and veteran stand-up comedian. It was born of a time when he was away from the stage, caring for his ailing father, and searching for a creative outlet. PWT – in many ways the culmination of a lifelong dream – was born of that search.

Waning was kind enough to spend a few minutes answering questions about “Almost Home,” Pro Wrestling Takeover and what it means to bring something he loves to his hometown.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018 11:21

To catch ‘The Predator’

When Hollywood isn’t rebooting or remaking, it’s sequel-izing – even if the previous entry is years or even decades in the past. The successful efforts are fairly few and far between, but the wave of IP filmmaking doesn’t appear to have crested yet.

And so we get another “Predator” movie.

“The Predator” is the fourth standalone film in the franchise, following “Predator” (1987), “Predator 2” (1990) and “Predators” (2010) – please note that we’re not including the two crossover films with the “Alien” universe. Shane Black – who is not only one of the best action screenwriters of the past 25 years and a heck of a director, but actually played a small part in “Predator” back in 1987 – is the ideal man to bring this franchise back, someone with a clear affection for and understanding of the source material. Black directs from a script he co-wrote with Fred Dekker.

Set in the present day, it’s the story of a soldier whose chance encounter with an alien in the jungle leads to a fight to save himself and everyone he cares about from a gruesome (and I do mean GRUESOME) death. It is packed with gags and gore, a throwback sort of action movie that feels like it would fit right into the heyday of the original. It’s a flawed film, to be sure, but action fans will have a hell of a time.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018 11:19

Grant yourself ‘A Simple Favor’

When I first saw a trailer for “A Simple Favor,” I was intrigued. Sure, I figured it was basically going to be another “Gone Girl” knockoff – I wasn’t familiar with the 2017 Darcey Bell book of the same name or anything, but it all seemed pretty clear how this was going to go. I assumed I had it all figured out.

But you know what they say about when you assume.

I should have been suspicious. Paul Feig – best known for making sitcoms and Melissa McCarthy-led comedies – was in the director’s chair. The odd couple pairing of Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick as the leads. Still, I went into the theater expecting an entertaining, albeit fairly formulaic thriller.

Instead, I got something else. “A Simple Favor” definitely has “Gone Girl” in its DNA, but Feig has reflected the standard “Lost Woman” thriller through the skewed lens of his own absurd-leaning sensibility. The result is a movie riddled with twists and turns, filled with weird secrets and outlandish choices. It is somehow deadly serious and rather silly at the same time, with neither tone undermining the other. And it sure is fun to watch.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018 11:13

What’s new to view: A fall 2018 TV preview

Fall TV premiere season is upon us!

Granted, the whole “new fall lineup” has increasingly become less of a thing with the proliferation of streaming services willing to drop entire seasons in one go and networks becoming more and more flexible with regards to when a series can and should debut, but whether it is by design or simply through inertia, we still see a whole lot of new material hit the airwaves in the autumn.

As per usual, this preview addresses only those shows entering their debut seasons. This isn’t about all the exceptional television that is returning for a second or third or fifth or tenth season – this is about stuff we haven’t seen before. It’s a chance to look ahead at what’s coming and think about what content – if any – we might be willing to invest our limited leisure time into.

(Note: This story hits the streets on Sept. 19. We’re focusing on shows that have yet to make the scene, so for the handful of entries that bowed earlier this month … sorry. Better luck next time.)

It’s a mixed bag. We’ve got broadcast and we’ve got streaming. We’ve got comedy and drama. We’ve got prestige fare and we’ve got mass appeal. We’ve got highbrow, lowbrow, middlebrow – all the brows you could ever desire.

Will all of these shows be good? Absolutely not. Should you watch them all? Also – no. But if there’s even one or two gems among the flotsam, that’s a big win. And honestly, it looks like there might be a couple of winners here.

Or maybe it’s all just poorly-conceived adequately-executed entertainment detritus. Who can say?

Let’s have a look at some of 2018’s fall TV premieres.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018 10:59

Celebrity Slam - Bieber/Baldwin nuptial nonsense

Those who follow Celebrity Slam with any regularity know that our love of celebrity couples (and by extension making up portmanteaus for them) is outstripped only by our love for mocking and deriding famous people who say and/or do stupid things.

However, every once in a while, we are blessed with a rare opportunity to bring our two loves together. Sometimes, it’s a celebrity couple doing or saying the stupid thing. Even less frequently, however, is when the celebrity couple is forced to deal with the dumb stuff being said by people outside of the relationship.

Guess what we’ve got this week?

Wednesday, 19 September 2018 10:57

Weird National Briefs (09/19/2018)

Running on empty

PITTSBURGH - Robbing a Store 101: Take the money and run - but not before checking your getaway car’s gas tank.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018 10:53

Criminal Mischief (09/19/2018)

Three arrests in Bangor burglary

BANGOR – An investigation into a burglary at a local fitness facility has led to three arrests.

Last week, members of the Special Enforcement Team began investigating a burglary which took place at the facility. The suspect(s) allegedly damaged property inside the building and made off with some cash and checks.

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