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Allen Adams

Allen Adams

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Tuesday, 17 July 2018 15:08

Weird National Briefs (07/18/2018)

Work’s a beach

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Rhode Island’s governor says she’s holding summer office hours at the beach.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo will hold the first event Monday at Scarborough State Beach in Narragansett. She’ll be joined by members of her Office of Constituent Services to help connect residents with various services.

While there, she plans to sign an executive order to reduce reliance on single-use plastics that can end up in the state’s waters.

Raimondo says she looks forward to hosting office hours and hearing directly from residents at some of the state’s most popular destinations. She plans to go to East Matunuck State Beach on July 23 and Lincoln Woods State Park on Aug. 3.

TME – Conference calls will be held at the ice cream stand.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018 15:07

Criminal Mischief (07/18/2018)

Men’s room meth

LINCOLN – Two men were arrested on drug charges following reports of meth sales out of a motel men’s room in Lincoln.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018 12:13

‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ comes up big

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become one of the primary driving forces in the world of movies over the past decade. Each of these films makes hundreds of millions at the box office and continues the ever-evolving and unfolding story, moving toward massive paradigm shifts and crossover events.

But here’s the thing – operating on global and cosmic scales presents some issues. Namely – you can’t just keep raising the stakes; narrative stakes can only be raised so many times before things begin to lose their impact and feel forced. To avoid reaching that point, some sort of reset is necessary. With the 20th film in the MCU, the powers that be have chosen to cleanse our palates after the cataclysmic consequences of “Avengers: Infinity War.”

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” brings the MCU back down to Earth, choosing to tell a smaller, largely self-contained story. Taking place before the events of “IW,” the film doesn’t deal with fate-of-the-universe-level consequences. Instead, its impact is primarily on a more individual plane. It exists mostly independent of the other films, without the numerous cameos and tangential MacGuffins that often riddle MCU offerings. That freedom allows “AM&TW” to be lighter and funnier while still providing the superpowered set pieces audiences have come to expect.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018 11:58

More movie magic courtesy of MIFF

WATERVILLE - One of the highlights of Maine's cinematic calendar is about to get underway in Waterville.

The Maine International Film Festival is set to take place from July 13 through July 22. The festival - marking its 21st year - will once again feature a vast array of films - nearly 100 in all. Comedies, dramas and documentaries, feature-length films and shorts, movies new and old from all over the world and from right in our backyards here in Maine.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018 11:56

Weird National Briefs (07/11/2018)

Panini press?

HARTFORD, Conn. - A tasty typo mistakenly turned a U.S. Senate candidate’s name into that of a sandwich.

The Connecticut Post reports that a banner on Connecticut Senate candidate Dominic Rapini’s website’s read “Approved by Dominic Panini.”

When told about the mistake, Rapini told the newspaper: “Oh, my God, you’re kidding me!”

The mistake was fixed as of Thursday afternoon.

The Apple executive faces Republican-endorsed candidate Matthew Corey in the August primary. They’re hoping to take on Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy in the fall.

Rapini’s last name already has an appetizing meaning. He says rapini means broccoli rabe in Italian, so people often find recipes when they Google his name.

TME – He’d certainly be the most delicious candidate.

In the realm of speculative fiction, the line between “inspired by” and “derivative of” is gossamer thin. It can be wonderful to read works that wear their influences proudly, but if influences are all the reader sees, the story ultimately falls short.

But sometimes you read a book that pulls from the stories that have come before while also generating something with heft and impact, something that feels timely and thoughtful, something that is reminiscent of what has come before without ever feeling like a facsimile.

Siobhan Adcock’s “The Completionist” (Simon & Schuster, $26) is just such a book, a vivid rendering of a bleak near future where water shortages have led to scientific solutions with unintended consequences – consequences that have put the future of mankind into question.

Tuesday, 03 July 2018 14:49

Red Sox Report Card – June 2018

Real talk – there was little chance that the Red Sox were going to be able to match the phenomenal across-the-board performance they put up in the month of May. We had to know that there would be at least a little regression in June.

And that’s what we got – a little regression. A VERY little regression.

As June came to a close, the Red Sox sat atop the American League East with a 56-28 record, the best in the major leagues. In June, they went 17-10 and were among the league leaders in just about every category that matters. And yet … they were just a game ahead of the Yankees, who happen to have the second-best record in the big leagues.

All in all, it looks like Boston is going to have to keep it up if they want to stay ahead of their longtime rivals. But hey – they keep having months like June and they should be good to go.

On to the Report Card.

Writing about science in a manner that is entertaining and accessible while also conveying the desired information with clarity and concision – not an easy task by any means. Finding the proper balance of wonky jargon and narrative engagement requires a backwards-and-forwards depth of knowledge about the subject matter AND significant storytelling acumen. It’s a shot at harmony while dodging discord.

In short, there’s a real art to science writing.

Nick Pyenson’s new book “Spying on Whales: The Past, Present, and Future of Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures” (Viking, $27) is a prime example of getting it right. Pyenson is unabashedly wonky for long stretches (though he does come by it honestly - he’s Curator of Fossil Marine Mammals at the Smithsonian and a noted paleobiologist), but he also allows his personal passion for the work shine through. True passion is infectious, and that’s what he brings to the table – the reader can’t help but be drawn along.

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.

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