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Allen Adams

Allen Adams

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Wednesday, 14 March 2012 14:33

John Carter' just misses

Adventure epic lacks spirit of source material

One of the problems with adapting a beloved literary property to the big screen is the simple truth that you can't satisfy everybody. Like it or not, two hours of film cannot match 400 pages of novel in terms of sheer volume of description. So filmmakers pick and choose the parts that they use - making a coherent movie, sure, but also infuriating the purists. Of course, if the literary property in question is almost a century old, there's a little leeway.

So it is with 'John Carter.'

The film is based on the Barsoom series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This film is based primarily on 'A Princess of Mars,' the first of a dozen different stories featuring the planet Mars as imagined by Burroughs.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012 14:25

A Thousand Words' and zero laughs

Clumsy comedy has little to offer

Remember when Eddie Murphy used to be funny?

The past few months have heard rumblings that maybe Eddie was on his way back he'd shown us a little of the old razzle dazzle in 'Tower Heist;' he was set to host the Oscars but then the movie went nowhere and Brett Ratner's homophobic slurring took care of the hosting gig and the talk of Eddie's return sort of disappeared.

'A Thousand Words,' Murphy's latest, is indicative of the kind of dreck to which he has exposed audiences over the past couple of decades.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012 12:46

The descent into (March) madness

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 NCAA hoops. 

That's right, folks. It's tourney time.

You've all seen the NCAA tournament brackets that are essentially ubiquitous following the final selections and seedings that took place over the weekend. Chances are pretty good that even if you don't follow the sport yourself, you know someone who follows college basketball. And there's a solid possibility that that someone, or someone who knows that someone, is putting together a tournament pool.

Thursday, 08 March 2012 15:09

Celebrity Slam - Mar. 7, 2012

Give and take

You may not remember, but Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries were married for a little while. Then they got divorced soon afterward. However, unlike with most marriages, this divorce was only the beginning.

Kris Humphries has returned to the spotlight with his recent outrage about Kim's refusal to return the gifts they received from their wedding guests. Kim made a charitable donation (to the tune of $200,000 twice the value of the presents) instead of returning the gifts. It might seem a little weird that Kardashian is keeping them, but she's well within the parameters of proper etiquette. She was under no obligation to do anything, though the donation was a nice gesture.

While Humphries has said that he appreciates that Kardashian made the donation, he felt that the donation should have been made in addition to returning all the presents. He also made mention yet again that the guests were duped by Kim's 'fraud' with regards to the wedding.

Like sands through the hourglass

Where to begin? Let's start with the fact that all this donation stuff happened months ago. Are you really just now addressing it, Kris? Clearly it must have been bothering you if you spent the past three months formulating your response. That must be it, right? Or did you bring it up because you've been confronted with the fact that you're a mediocre basketball player and this is the only way you can get anyone to pay attention to you? It was nice being for-real famous for a few minutes, wasn't it Kris? Hard to let that go.

The best part of all is that one of Kardashian's friends is calling BS. He claims that he gave Humphries a $5000 gift card as a personal wedding gift and that Humphries refused to return it. So not only is he being a self-righteous d-bag about the whole thing, he's a hypocrite too!

That's not how ballers do it, buddy. Sit down on the bench and think about what you've done.

Southern-fried sexual harassment

Celebrity chef Paula Deen is in a bit of hot water thanks to a lawsuit brought by a former employee.

Lisa Jackson, who worked as the general manager of Bubba's Oyster and Seafood House (co-owned by Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers) in Savannah, Georgia from 2005-2010. She alleges that during the entirety of her employment there, she was subjected to all manner of inappropriate behaviors, including lots of racist and sexist comments. She is claiming sexual harassment and infliction of emotional distress.

Jackson claims that Hiers was constantly bringing pornography into the workplace, even going to XXX websites on work computers and never logging out, making porn a constant presence in Jackson's workday. He told her he wanted to replace the entire staff with 'Hooters girls' and complained about servers he deemed 'fat.' She also claims that Hiers told her to 'bring pictures of herself when she was young' for him to look at. In addition, both Hiers and Deen were liberal users of racial slurs, according to Jackson.

The irony is that the only reason Jackson was hired was because the man who previously had the gig was fired for you guessed it sexually harassing the staff. Said harassment led to this delightful aside: Deen allegedly said to the outgoing manager 'If you think I have worked this hard to lose everything because of a piece of p---y, you better think again, and now I'm going to do something I have never done I am going to put a woman in a man's job.'

How progressive.

While there are two sides to every story, if even a fraction of this is true, Team Deen has got some serious issues on their hands. Seriously what century is it again? I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that dropping n-bombs in the workplace has been considered inappropriate behavior for some time now. I can see how that sort of language might be disconcerting in a place of business.

And the porn thing is just gross. How socially maladjusted can you be? And to throw all this at the woman who replaced the guy you fired for sexual harassment? It's just ridiculous. The dude is a troglodytic moron whose sole redeeming quality appears to be his sibling relationship to a woman capable of constructing an entire meal out of butter and bacon fat.

GodI wonder what his office smells like.

Thursday, 08 March 2012 11:49

Dr. Seuss saves the Earth The Lorax'

Animated film offers laughs, environmental themes

The works of Dr. Seuss have been adapted to the big screen many times over the years with mixed results. For whatever reason, some of his stories translate well to film while others simply do not. However, his canon is so universally beloved that the movies just keep on coming.

The latest attempt is 'The Lorax,' from the same team that did 2010's excellent 'Despicable Me.' Chris Renaud and Ken Daurio are certainly talented, and there are some great moments here, but the movie never seems to quite live up to its potential.

The film tells the story of Ted (Zac Efron, 'New Year's Eve'), a 12-year-old boy who lives in the town of Thneedville. Thneedville is a town where nothing natural grows, everything is made out of metal and plastic and the air they breathe is sold to them by the tiny and tyrannical Mr. O'Hare (Rob Riggle, 'Big Miracle'). Ted is smitten with neighbor Audrey (Taylor Swift, 'Valentine's Day'), who tells him about her desire to see a real tree.

Thursday, 08 March 2012 11:40

Project X' deserves an F'

Party movie not much fun

Sometimes, a movie comes along that looks just terrible. You see the trailers and read the advance coverage and you think to yourself 'Man, what a steaming pile that movie is going to be.' Of course, you're still kind of titillated by the idea of going to see this awful, awful movie. Sometimes it's fun to see something you know is going to be bad.

But sometimes you get a movie that's beyond bad, a movie that is exponentially worse than even the terrible trailers ever indicated.

Sometimes you get 'Project X.'

Multi-generational novel both epic and intimate

The power of family is a constantly explored theme in the literary world. Telling stories that span generations has long been a favorite undertaking for novelists great and small; Maine resident Peter Behrens is one of those who falls more into the former category. His latest offering is 'The O'Briens' (Pantheon; $25.95), a story that springs from but is no way reliant on his previous work 'The Law of Dreams.'

Our book begins with the O'Brien family struggling their way through a hardscrabble existence in the wilds of western Quebec right around the turn of the 20th century. We watch as young Joe O'Brien comes of age the hard way, slowly and steadily building himself an entrepreneurial empire.

Of course, life is about more than just monetary success. We also watch as Joe builds a family of his own, a family he swears will never have to endure the same hardships that dominated his own youth. However, life is rarely as easy as we feel it should be, and Joe and his family are confronted with an entirely new set of obstacles to their happiness different, yes, but no less difficult because of that.

Thursday, 08 March 2012 11:01

Fated' a fine urban fantasy

Urban fantasy is a genre whose star has been on the rise over the past decade or so. More and more authors are trying their hand at bringing the magic of sword-and-sorcery to a modern cityscape. Some are successful, but many more are not it's hard to write urban fantasy without coming off as derivative or clichd. I've read a lot of mediocre stuff over the years.

That's why it's exciting when a new book arrives that seems to have potential. 'Fated' (ACE, $7.99), the first book in a new series by Benedict Jacka, is one of those books.

It's modern-day London, just like ours save one small detail there is magic among us. Alex Verus is a diviner; a mage who can see the future. He operates a magic shop in London and not the card-trick, rabbit-hat kind of magic. He's also a bit of a pariah among the magical elite due to some unpleasantness in the past, so he tries his best to just keep his head down and stay out of magic's way.

I was lucky enough to have a seat in the building as World Wrestling Entertainment made its triumphant return to the Bangor Auditorium on March 4. While I freely admit that I'm not a huge fan of professional wrestling, there's no mistaking the very real energy of the moment when it all unfolds in front of you live and in person.

This was a big show; even a relative neophyte such as I could recognize some of these names. John Cena. Chris Jericho. Kane. WWE Champion CM Punk. These are some of the brightest stars in the WWE galaxy and they were right here in Bangor.

The night's matches all had their winners and losers, but the particulars didn't really matter. It's all about experiencing the spectacle, and even if you aren't a follower of wrestling, you can't help but be swept up in the unapologetic passion of the true fanatics. 

Thursday, 01 March 2012 09:15

Celebrity Slam - Feb. 29, 2012

Young and crazy

We see a lot of faded stars in this space. It's easy to understand why; it must be hard to have stood at the top of the mountain, only to wind up crashing back down to Earth with the rest of us normies. However, there are always a few washed-up celebrities who take their fall from grace to a truly crazy place.

Step right up, Sean Young.

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