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Allen Adams

Allen Adams

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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.

We’re all aware that sequels and franchises are the primary drivers of Hollywood’s economic engine. That’s the nature of the beast, so it’s something to which audiences have grown accustomed. But every so often, a sequel will come along that is surprising in that its very existence seems to be unnecessary, leaving you to wonder … how? Why?

“Sicario: Day of the Sodaldo” is one such head-scratcher, a sequel to 2015’s excellent “Sicario,” a taut, subversive thriller which starred Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro and wound up with a couple of Oscar nominations. “Sicario” was a really good movie – and a story that needn’t go on.

It seems that screenwriter Taylor Sheridan had more to tell, however, and so we get this weird and unexpected sequel; Stefan Sollima takes the reins from Denis Villeneuve. Blunt is gone, but Brolin and Del Toro are back. The result is a movie that isn’t nearly as thoughtful or challenging as its predecessor; the amorality of its primary figures is largely untempered. In essence, the first film’s misguided-but-present moral compass is replaced with gunfire and action-movie nihilism.

Monday, 02 July 2018 15:37

Fair fare – fun with food festivals

There’s a lot going on in the summertime here in Maine.

There’s all of the outdoors stuff, of course. There are mountains to be climbed and trails to be hiked. There are oceans and lakes and rivers begging to be swum in or kayaked or sailed upon. There’s even the nigh-ubiquitous ritual of heading “upta camp,” where you can do some, most or even all of these things depending on where you go.

Or if you’re leaning towards the arts, there are a multitude of options for you to take in, whether you’re looking for concerts or live theatre or film festivals. There’s a whole lot on that side of things as well.

But you might not be as familiar with just how many food-based festivals are happening all around the state of Maine over the course of the summer. These events – some taking place in just a single day, others clocking in at a week or longer – are devoted to celebrating various foodstuffs that are inherent and integral parts of life here in Vacationland.

We’re not in time for all of this summer’s festivals – for instance, the always-exceptional Maine Whoopie Pie Festival took place back on June 23 – but there are still all manner of tasty trips there for the taking, with a variety of festivals playing out over the next few weeks.

Here’s a look at just some of what’s to come.

Monday, 02 July 2018 15:23

Celebrity Slam - Mob Wife vs. Teen Mom

One of the realities of working on a weekly feature such as Celebrity Slam is the fact that the term “celebrity” means different things to different people. Fame is a relative thing – just because we personally are unfamiliar with someone doesn’t mean they’re any less famous.

Reality television has further blurred the lines, because we now have a wealth of celebrities who aren’t really famous for anything other than being famous. It has become a self-propagating beast, churning out ostensibly attractive and aggressively off-putting “stars” with factory-floor regularity. There are just so many – it’s impossible to know them all. And despite our ignorance, they ARE famous – their shows are inexplicably adored by a not-insignificant number of people.

And due to the nature of the game, sometimes these “stars” have to square off against each other. Whether it’s within the confines of their own shows or in the larger reality TV-sphere, part of the deal is conflict. The more conflict you can generate – genuine or otherwise – the better.

Which brings us to the budding beef between Drita D’Avanzo and Farrah Abraham.

Monday, 02 July 2018 15:21

Weird National Briefs (07/04/2018)

Talking turkey

GARDEN CITY, Mich. - A suburban Detroit man has been fined $100 for a turkey that’s been calling his backyard home.

Mark Johnston tells WXYZ-TV he hasn’t gone out of his way to make the turkey comfortable since it started showing up outside his Garden City home six months ago. He says the turkey will stick around a while then jump the fence and disappear before returning.

Johnston was recently ticketed for keeping the turkey as a pet. Police Chief Tim Gibbons says they’ve been working with Johnston since April on the issue. He says the turkey likes Johnston’s overgrown backyard and likely will leave if it’s cleaned up.

Johnston says he’s tried getting rid of the turkey, but nobody will take it. And he says he’s working on clearing out his yard.

TME – We smell a Disney movie!

Monday, 02 July 2018 15:19

Criminal Mischief (07/04/2018)

Throwing stones

SCARBOROUGH – An incident on the Maine Turnpike in Scarborough resulted in the arrest of a Lewiston man who was allegedly throwing rocks at vehicles.

According to State Police say the man, reportedly high on drugs, was charged after he stopped his car in the median of the Maine Turnpike in Scarborough sometime around midday on July 1 and began throwing rocks at passing cars, damaging three of them. 

When police arrived on the scene, a group of motorists had pinned 42-year-old David Mullen to the ground.  Mullen was charged with criminal mischief and could face additional charges. Southbound traffic on the turnpike was backed up for some time as the incident was resolved. 

Mullen was treated at Maine Medical for facial lacerations.  Mullen told troopers he had been using drugs, including one called “Molly,” which is a form of Ecstasy.

Yes, yes, I know. We tend to view the All-Star break as midseason and that’s not for a couple more weeks. However, when you’re reading this, we’re going to be right around the 80-game mark, which is the ACTUAL middle of a 162-game season.

And so here we are with Clubhouse Leaders.

There were rumors of potential paradigm-shifting fireworks from the Boston Celtics on draft night, but instead, Danny Ainge had a relatively quiet evening. All that happened was that a potentially lottery-level talent dropped into their laps at the back end of the first round.

The Celtics selected Robert Williams III, a 6’ 10” big man, out of Texas A&M with the 27th overall pick. The power forward, who will likely play small-ball center in the scheme of C’s coach Brad Stevens, was considered by many to be a high-level talent – potentially top-10 talent – but personal maturity questions led him to drop, which in turn led to Boston happily scooping him up.

There’s a big difference between literary fame and literary greatness.

There are plenty of writers who are great without being famous and more than a few who are famous without being great. A very specific confluence of circumstances is required for an author to achieve both. But even the greatest, most famous writers come to the end of their story.

Terri-Lynne DeFino’s novel “The Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (and Their Muses)” (William Morrow, $15.99) takes a speculative look at what that ending might look like, creating a vividly detailed place where literary giants might spend their final days, swapping stories and generally accepting that the heady heights of their younger days are permanently behind them.

As the Hollywood landscape has evolved and shifted in recent years, moving toward a model built on a foundation of franchise, of sequels and prequels and cinematic universes, one finds oneself asking: when is enough enough? Where is the line that, when crossed, leaves a franchise bereft of quantity even as quantity marches on? When does the downward spiral begin in earnest?

It’s usually pretty tough to spot, but in the case of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” it’s pretty clear. This is one franchise that has officially jumped the shark. Or dinosaur. Whatever.

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