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Allen Adams

Allen Adams

edge staff writer

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I love me a movie musical. My deep and abiding affection for the joy and wonder of the genre is well-documented. So it should come as no surprise that I was interested in checking out “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again,” the sequel to 2008’s blockbuster hit “Mamma Mia.”

But here’s the thing – I had never SEEN “Mamma Mia.” This despite not just the aforementioned movie musical love, but an actorly crush on Meryl Streep AND a long-standing affinity for the music of ABBA! It makes zero sense that I would not have seen that film. And so, I rectified that fact before taking in the sequel.

You don’t need me to tell you about the first film, but I can tell you that “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” stays largely true to the unabashedly dorky spirit of its predecessor, packed with impromptu musical numbers and hammy scenery chewing and the inarguably outstanding music of ABBA. It also makes the unusual choice of serving as both a sequel AND a prequel to the original, roughly splitting the story between the two timelines. It is campy, winking and just delightful.

In today’s franchise-driven cinematic climate, the focus has shifted from performer to property. The notion of a “movie star” – at least in the way we’ve traditionally considered the term – is becoming increasingly anachronistic. But they’re not all gone yet. There are a few who can still legitimately bear the mantle of movie star.

Denzel Washington is one of the few. His latest is “The Equalizer 2,” which sees him reteaming with director Antoine Fuqua for a sequel to their 2014 old-guy-action extravaganza. It’s Denzel’s first sequel, which is surprising. What isn’t surprising is that it doesn’t live up to the pulpy thrills of the original, falling prey to the law of diminishing returns. Still, it’s Denzel, so while the movie might not be great, it’s extremely watchable thanks to the inescapable charismatic magnetism of its star.

BUCKSPORT – Bucksport’s Main Street played host to a few members of Maine’s burgeoning craft brewing scene last weekend, thanks to the efforts of everybody’s favorite beermaking friars.

The Friars’ Invitational Brewfest took place on July 21 as part of the Bucksport Bay Festival that took place all weekend. A number of local craft breweries set up tents and offered up samples of their delicious brews for a few hours one warm afternoon.

The participating breweries were: Friars’ Brewhouse (of course), Airline Brewing Company, Blank Canvas Brewery, Lake St. George Brewing Company, Penobscot Bay Brewery, 2 Feet Brewing and Waterville Brewing Company.

We’re not afraid to play fast and loose with the notion of what exactly the term “celebrity” entails. For the most part, we stick to pretty standard notions of what it means to be a celebrity and normal levels of popularity and pop cultural cachet. Well, for a given value of “normal,” at any rate. But that doesn’t mean we’re bound by the TMZ definition of celebrity.

Occasionally, we’ll make note of an individual that we’re perfectly aware is a reach, but for whatever reason, are irresistible in that specific moment. It all boils down to a single question: just what weirdness and/or idiocy are we going to get to discuss? The right words and deeds can earn the right person a whole lot of leeway as far as their level of fame is concerned. Whether that fame is niche or novel or long-past, we don’t care – we will not hesitate to write them up right here in this illustrious space if the story makes us laugh.

This brings us to Ryan Lochte.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018 13:52

Criminal Mischief (07/25/2018)

Cruiser crash

WINDHAM (AP) — Authorities say a police cruiser crashed into another car and struck a vent at a Maine gas station.

My affection for the alternate history subgenre of speculative fiction is no secret. I’ve always been enamored of the answers to “what if?” questions that these sorts of stories can provide. The idea that one small difference can cause ripples that lead to larger and larger divergences – it makes for fascinating fiction.

S.M. Stirling is one of the foremost practitioners of alternate history; his latest is “Black Chamber” (Ace, $16), the first in a series about a World War I that was significantly different than our own, from the enemies being fought and the institutions doing the fighting. It’s a strong introduction, one that hints at the many differences – large and small – between that history and this one.

There’s something comforting about known quantities when it comes to the cinema. Going to the movies with a confident understanding of precisely the experience you’re going to have can be kind of nice.

So it is with summer CGI-explosion fest “Skyscraper,” a simplistically-titled vehicle for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (who by The Maine Edge fiat will continue to be called The Rock and there’s nothing any of you can do to stop me) that is formulaic and predictable and jam-packed with action clichés both general and Rock-specific.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s not a good movie, mind you, but if your expectations are tempered by the knowledge of both the film’s star and its title, you will almost certainly have a good time.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018 15:50

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

We live in a world filled with sharp divides. So many lines that see so many people on either side. Common ground and understanding are in short supply. But there’s at least one thing on which the vast majority of us can agree.

Mister Rogers. Fred Rogers was a good man and his neighborhood was a good place. No matter how you feel about literally anything else in the world, you are almost certainly onboard with that sentiment.

He’s the subject of director Morgan Neville’s new documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” It details the life of Fred Rogers through an exploration of his iconic children’s TV show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and interviews with many of the people who knew him best both personally and professionally – although it rapidly becomes clear that knowing Mr. Rogers in any capacity meant knowing him personally.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018 15:32

Summer reads: The last five years

We’ve reached that point in the season where everybody is trotting out their annual recommendations for summer reading. This is something of which I wholeheartedly approve – I believe that the more we talk about books, the better.

However, I’ve decided to adopt a slightly different tactic with this year’s story. I’ve decided that rather than try and sell you on new or about-to-arrive works, I’d take you on a trip back through the past few years and reintroduce you to some of the works that I’ve written about and enjoyed over that span.

I’ve gone back about five years and put together a list of works that you may have missed the first time around, but that are well worth your attention. There are 18 in all – 11 fiction, 7 nonfiction. There’s literary fiction and genre fiction, biographies and memoirs and a fair amount of baseball-related stuff.

(Note: As you’ll see, there’s no Stephen King stuff on here. That’s because he could basically BE the list. Besides, you don’t need me to tell you about Mr. King and his summer read-worthiness – although I will say that the past decade, his work has been as consistently good as it has ever been.)

So dig into this list. I can almost guarantee there’s something here to fulfill everyone’s summer reading needs, but even if you don’t see anything on this particular list to your liking, go find something. Discover new words and new worlds. Read.

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Tuesday, 17 July 2018 15:10

Celebrity Slam - Depp charge

Our usual fare here at Celebrity Slam tends toward the verbal and/or self-inflicted mistakes of famous people. We love making fun of the stupid things that these people will say and mocking the idiotic things that they do; however, those actions don’t tend to be violent in nature as a rule. But sometimes they are, and as long as that violence is comedic rather than tragic, well … we’re all in.

Which brings us to Johnny Depp.

It’s no secret that Mr. Depp has been on a bit of a prolonged and relatively slow-moving downward spiral. We’re not going to talk about all of that awfulness right now, though please know that we’re aware of how strange and terrible things are in Captain Jack’s world at the moment.

What we ARE going to talk about is the fact that he punched a guy on set for what really does seem to be no reason at all.

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