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Wednesday, 02 March 2016 06:33

The Triangle's titanic trio

The Legends Club' looks at three giants of college hoops

One of the most exciting times of the entire sports year is fast approaching. The NCAA basketball tournament has reached the point of being a cultural touchstone dozens of games playing out over the course of weeks, with schools large and small taking their shots at the immortality that is a national championship.

College basketball has always lent itself to fierce rivalries, but perhaps the fiercest of them all was and to a degree still is located in the state of North Carolina.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 15:41

A fairly well-run Race'

Jesse Owens biopic a decent effort

I'm a sucker for inspirational movies. I'm also a sucker for sports movies. So an inspirational sports movie is definitely in my wheelhouse particularly if it is also a period piece that tells a true story.

All the pieces are there for 'Race,' a film based on the story of the many obstacles faced by track star Jesse Owens during his rise to fame that culminated in an historic performance for reasons athletic and otherwise at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. While it is a bit uneven in spots, the overall effect is an engaging, compelling story that certainly warrants telling to a new generation.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 14:07

Don't stop relieving Urinetown'

UMaine School of Performing Arts presents satirical musical

ORONO What if it weren't free to pee?

From that seemingly absurd question springs 'Urinetown,' written by Greg Kotis and Mark Hollman. The musical directed by Tom Mikotowicz - is being produced by the University Of Maine School Of Performing Arts. Performances are at Hauck Auditorium on the UMaine campus; the show runs through Feb. 28.

Published in Happenings
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 14:05

Bye, Boo

Thoughts on Harper Lee

'The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.' Atticus Finch, 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

My love for Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is well-documented. I consider it to be the greatest American novel of the 20th century. I also believe the 1962 film version to be one of the century's finest pieces of American cinema. In addition, the stage version provided me with one of the most rewarding performance experiences of my life.

I really like 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' is what I'm saying.

Published in Happenings
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 10:32

Celebrating cinema with the Oscars 2016

Predicting the 2016 Academy Award winners

It's that time of year again, folks. Time for Hollywood to dress up and throw statues at one another in a whirlwind of self-celebration and ego stroking.

That's right it's Oscar time!

I'll be the first to admit that I love the Academy Awards while also acknowledging that they are growing increasingly irrelevant and out of touch. I love the movies and this is the biggest celebration of cinema on the American pop culture calendar.

Published in Cover Story
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 09:04

Celeb Slam - (02-24-2016)

More monkey business

As anyone who reads this space with regularity is aware, we're not at all averse to going for the low-hanging fruit. Sure, we could dig a little deeper in our quest to scorn and deride the failings of the famous, but really why bother? There are plenty of celebs who are more than happy to provide a nigh-constant stream of misdeeds and faux pas.

One of our all-time favorites is Justin Bieber. The Biebs has been providing fodder for this feature for what seems like forever; he's definitely earned a place on the Celebrity Slam Mount Rushmore. So what is Bieber doing now to warrant our interest?

Published in Celebrity Slam
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 09:27

The consequences of genius - A Doubter's Almanac'

Novel explores the powerful, punishing effects of true brilliance

'Talent is a flame. Genius is a fire.' Bernard Williams

What is the true cost of genius? How does a single-minded fanatical brilliance impact the rest of one's life? What effects does it have on interpersonal relationships and one's sense of self? Great problems require great solutions, but those solutions can often prove to be obstacles in their own right.

Ethan Canin's 'A Doubter's Almanac' (Random House, $28) tells the tale of the issues raised by the obsessive genius of one particularly gifted family.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 09:24

The profane perfection of Deadpool'

Film offers crass, clever take on the superhero genre

Considering the current ubiquity of superhero movies, one might think that we're past the point where any of these films might be capable of surprising us. We've got the ongoing Marvel brightly-colored world-building and the DC dark-and-gritty take about to commence what else is there?

Quite a bit, it turns out.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 09:13

How to Be Single' deserves to be alone

Rom-com attempts edginess, fails to resonate

Plenty of people critics and consumers alike are happily dismissive of romantic comedies out of hand. I, however, am not one of them. There's something inherently romantic about the medium; movies are great vehicles for the telling of love stories. Call them cheesy, call them trite, call them whatever you like they can absolutely have value. They don't always, mind you, but they can.

This is where a distinction needs to be made; I'm talking about WELL-MADE romantic comedies here. There are certainly plenty of terrible rom-coms out there, just like there are terrible examples of every genre of film. Granted, romantic comedy tends to lean into formula and hackneyed tropes more than most, so it's always a delight when a solid one pops up.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 08:59

Zoolander 2' a fashion victim

Too-late sequel neither funny nor necessary

Sequels are inherently subject to the law of diminishing returns. Revisiting the same people doing the same things is almost always going to result in a lesser experience. The degree of diminishment, however, is variable. Sometimes, you get a sequel that stands fairly strong; it's particularly nice when a sequel allows itself to change in a significant way.

Other times, you get 'Zoolander 2.' This wildly unnecessary 15-years-later sequel to 2001's 'Zoolander' has no real reason to exist. The original managed to take advantage of a cast operating at or near the peak of its collective comedic powers to elevate a barely-viable concept into a fun, eminently quotable cult classic. The sequel doesn't.

Published in Movies
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