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Wednesday, 12 September 2018 11:39

PTC’s ‘The Graduate’ achieves highest honors

BANGOR – Here’s to you, Penobscot Theatre Company.

For the first show of its 45th season, PTC presents the Maine premiere of “The Graduate,” directed by Bari Newport. The play was adapted by Terry Johnson from the novel of the same name, written by Charles Webb, as well as the screenplay, written by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham.

Published in Style

I’ve always loved the Muppets. From their anarchic weirdo beginnings through every family-friendly iteration that followed, I was all in on Jim Henson’s fuzzy felted creations … though I always had a stronger connection to their darker side, whether it was overt or subtly lingering just beneath the surface.

“The Happytime Murders,” produced by Henson Alternative, the adult-oriented arm of the company, is very much connected to that darker side. Oh, and it’s definitely overt – this movie is a lot of things, but subtle is not one of them. Brian Henson, son of the legendary puppeteer, directs from a screenplay by Todd Berger.

It’s a comic noir vision of a world in which puppets and humans exist side by side, packed with foul language and incessant innuendo. It is a film that revels in its tastelessness, unafraid to get down and really wallow in the mire. It is coarse and crass and not for everyone.

As you might have guessed, I dug it.

Published in Movies
Friday, 24 August 2018 08:57

‘BlacKkKlansman’ goes under the hood

When it comes to telling true stories at the movies, one always has to recognize the flexibility of the notion of what is “true.” Terms like “based on” and “inspired by” give filmmakers a lot of leeway as far as shaping these true events in such a way as to serve the story they wish to tell.

Spike Lee’s latest film “BlacKkKlansman” is foundationally a true story, based on the memoir “Black Klansman” by Ron Stallworth. But again, there’s small-t true and Large-T True, and with a visionary auteur like Lee both running the camera and creating the script (Lee co-wrote the screenplay along with David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott), well … he’s going to err on the side of Large-T every time.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 15 August 2018 12:37

‘Dog Days’ more bark than bite

August is an interesting month when it comes to the movies. It’s a landing spot for films that maybe don’t quite fit the now-traditional IP blockbuster mode, but don’t make sense in the fall, but are also too good for the January-February wasteland.

In many ways, “Dog Days” epitomizes a certain type of August movie. It’s an ensemble comedy that isn’t unceasingly raunchy or packed with big stars, one driven more by the uncynical central conceit that dogs make our lives better.

Despite the subversive comedy bona fides of director Ken Marino (of “The State” fame), “Dog Days” seems content to coast on moments of sentimental cuteness and easy jokes. It’s basically one of those Garry Marshall holiday-themed movies, only with more dogs and a less famous cast.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 15 August 2018 11:55

Great shows grace the Gracie in 2018-19

BANGOR – There are some great shows that will be gracing the stage of the Gracie Theatre – located on the campus of Husson University – over the next year.

This marks the seventh season for the Gracie. Seven seasons of quality programming aimed at enhancing the cultural landscape of the region. Seven seasons of wonderful performances offering something for audiences of all ages to enjoy. Seven seasons of seeing things you won’t find anywhere else in the area.

Whether you’re looking for music or comedy or one-man shows featuring Hollywood icons, Gracie Theatre Managing Director Jeri Misler has come up with something for you. Misler was kind enough to chat with The Maine Edge about what’s going on at the Gracie and talk about some of the highlights, as well as about the process of assembling such a diverse season.

Published in Cover Story

It’s rare for movies to really surprise us anymore. Oh, there are the plot twists and turns that will sometimes catch us off guard. We anticipate a bad movie and get a good one or vice versa, that’s unexpected. But for a movie to legitimately SURPRISE us, to be something far more than we ever could have prepared for, well … that’s an uncommon treat.

“Sorry to Bother You” – written and directed by hip-hop activist Boots Riley – wasn’t really on my radar before a few weeks ago. What little I initially gleaned was that it was a sort of workplace comedy with something to say about race and class. But then the murmurs started. People whose opinions I trusted – critics and friends alike – were talking about this film. Talking about it in hushed and reverent tones while still keeping everything very close to the vest. My interest piqued, I went to see it for myself.

Published in Movies
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.

Published in Movies

ORONO – Family gatherings can be a real pain, but they can also lead to some unexpected fun – just so long as you mind your manners.

Orono-based theater company True North Theatre is giving you a chance to join in one such family gathering. Their production of Alan Ayckbourn’s beloved comedy “Table Manners” is taking place at the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre on the University of Maine campus. Directed by Tricia A. Hobbs, the show runs through June 24.

Published in Buzz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ORONO - If I were to tell you about seeing a possessed puppet and the disaffected teenager attached to it take over a small-town Texas church basement, you might think I was describing some sort of fever dream.

In fact, I’d be talking about “Hand to God,” the latest production mounted by Orono’s Some Theatre Company. The Tony-nominated play – written by Robert Askins – is directed by Elaine Bard; the show runs through June 23 at the Keith Anderson Community House in Orono.

It’s a dark and provocative comedy, packed with blue language and blasphemy; the piece offers up challenge after unapologetic challenge, daring to cross any line you might think of. It is profane and wicked and thoughtful – as smart as it is discomfiting.

And it is REALLY funny.

Published in Buzz

BANGOR – Local theatergoers are being asked to pitch in and solve a hilarious whodunit.

Penobscot Theatre Company’s latest production is “Shear Madness,” adapted by Marilyn Abrams and Bruce Jordan from Paul Portner’s “Scherenschnitt.” It’s a freewheeling comic mystery – one that makes great demands of both its cast and its audience – and it’s running at the Bangor Opera House through July 8.

Published in Style
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