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Wednesday, 23 March 2016 12:54

Play ball! (03-23-2016)

Previewing the 2016 MLB season

Once again, spring has sprung. Regardless of what the weather outside brings, there's no escaping the fact that we're just days away from the beginnings of another baseball season. The crack of the bat and the smack of the mitt will soon surround us.

There's a lot to look forward to in 2016. We get to see the Kansas City Royals as defending champions for the first time in 30 years. We get to watch as generational talents such as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper redefine what a young player can do; we also bear witness to a season-long good-bye from Red Sox all-timer David Ortiz. Exciting young teams like the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros will show us the future of the sport.

Published in Cover Story

Latest installment of YA adaptation a dull, derivative mess

As we all know by now, young adult fiction can serve as the source material for some big money film franchises. One of the now-standard quirks of these series is the division of the final book into two separate films all the better to create an additional opportunity to cash in.

The 'Hunger Games' might have finally come to a merciful conclusion, but hey if you're looking for a less interesting knock-off version featuring a thinner plot and weaker performances, perhaps I can interest you in the 'Divergent' series.

The latest in the series is 'Allegiant,' based on part of the third book in Veronica Roth's trilogyand it definitely feels like it. Even in a genre that consists almost entirely of increasingly diminishing returns, the drop-off in these films has proved shockingly steep.

Published in Buzz

Sacha Baron Cohen's latest a scatalogically-obsessed misfire

No one makes movies quite like Sacha Baron Cohen.

Characters drive Cohen's work bizarre, fringe-y, over-the-top characters that Cohen creates and then structures narratives around. Borat, Bruno, Ali G these weirdos were the centerpieces around which Cohen filled in the gaps to create his films.

And if there's one thing that can't be disputed, it is Cohen's pathological willingness to commit to the bit, no matter how weird and/or unpleasant it might be. He pushes boundaries it's the basic concept behind everything that he does.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 16 March 2016 10:34

Bunker mentality '10 Cloverfield Lane'

Small cast thriller packed with frightening intensity

The current era in Hollywood is one of franchises and sequels. Much of the wide-release fare that we see is either a beginning or a continuation of some long-extant property. Multi-movie world-building has become accepted practice and good business.

'10 Cloverfield Lane' is both of and outside of that realm. Deemed a sort of spiritual sequel to 2008's found-footage monster movie 'Cloverfield' by producer J.J. Abrams, the film isn't a direct continuation of that previous film's narrative. It exists in that same type of universe, but it tells a much different story a story all its own.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 09 March 2016 12:37

News from the front Whiskey Tango Foxtrot'

Memoir adaptation shines a light on war correspondence

Moviegoers have long been accustomed to seeing representations of warfare onscreen. The visceral nature of combat makes for a natural transition to film, with plenty of great movies being made about soldiers and the impact war has on them.

The new movie 'Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,' directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa and adapted by Robert Carlock from Kim Barker's memoir 'The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan,' takes a look at a war zone from a different angle that of a war correspondent.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 09 March 2016 11:20

The play's the thing with Pop-Up Hamlet

PortFringe offers unique look at Shakespeare's masterpiece

PORTLAND There's something not-so-rotten in the state of Denmarkand in the state of Maine.

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the first publication of Shakespeare's collected works; to mark the occasion, Washington D.C.'s Folger Shakespeare Library is sending copies of the First Folio to spend time in every state in the United States over the course of the year.

Published in Happenings
Wednesday, 09 March 2016 11:09

Celeb Slam - (03-09-2016)

Nude beef

So despite our best efforts to spend a little more time separate from our good friends the Kardashians, good old Kim simply won't let us quit her. It had been, what, a couple of weeks since we mentioned her or her family in this space? Honestly, we'd love to leave it alone, but she makes it impossible.

Published in Celebrity Slam
Wednesday, 09 March 2016 09:40

The origin of species Zootopia'

Animated film offers plenty of laughs, surprising depth

It used to be that animated family films were almost solely aimed at younger audiences. For decades, the most beloved films (pretty much exclusively from Disney) were simple stories whose clear targets resulted in movies that were at best tolerable to older moviegoers.

However, recent years have seen animated films become far more layered and sophisticated still plenty enjoyable for the kiddie set, but also offering more complex references and storytelling for the adults in the crowd. Disney's early '90s renaissance started the ball rolling, while the geniuses at Pixar have taken things to the next level over the past decade-plus.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 07:47

Eddie the Eagle' takes flight

Inspirational sports movie a true underdog story

Everyone loves an underdog.

That's why some of the most entertaining sports movies out there films like 'Rocky' and 'Hoosiers' and 'Rudy' and 'The Bad News Bears' focus on the efforts of a scrappy, downtrodden athlete or team to rise above circumstances and achieve greatness.

Published in Movies

Action film marred by bad story and even worse special effects

The first two months of the year tend to offer pretty slim pickings in terms of quality films. The simple truth is that January and February serve largely as dumping grounds for films that, for whatever reason, simply didn't live up to studio expectations.

Yes, there's the occasional outlier 'Deadpool' is Exhibit A from 2016 but for the most part, this is where films are simply abandoned so that they might hopefully just go away. And usually, that's just what happens.

Published in Movies
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