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Wednesday, 03 February 2016 16:08

Kicking it with Kung Fu Panda 3'

Animated sequel familiar, but still plenty of fun

As much as we might bemoan the lack of originality in Hollywood, there's no denying the reality that there's a lot of money to be made by giving people what they've already shown that they like.

Animated movies are among the guiltiest of offenders. Any animated film that achieves even a modicum of success swiftly becomes a franchise, a family-friendly cash cow that can be counted on to generate serious box office and merchandising revenue over and over and over again. Granted, all of these animated franchises fall prey to the inevitability of diminishing returns, but some manage their drop-offs better than others.

'Kung Fu Panda 3' is a good example of that sort of quality management. The folks at DreamWorks have never been shy about hitting the same notes repeatedly ('Shrek,' 'How to Train Your Dragon' and most egregiously 'Madagascar'), but they've handled this particular series with a lighter touch. The end result is a film that, while undeniably familiar, still manages to retain a bit of freshness.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 15:57

The Finest Hours' not so fine

Historical rescue drama mostly mediocre

The moviegoing public has always had an affinity for films that are based on a true story. Of course, there's always a degree of interpretation and dramatic license that goes into bringing those narratives to the big screen too often, reality simply isn't deemed interesting enough.

'The Finest Hours' is an example of a movie that seemingly sticks fairly closely to its original source material. The story of a 1952 Coast Guard rescue operation off the Massachusetts coast has plenty to recommend it, with heroic actions in the face of overwhelming odds and the uncaring rage of Mother Nature and all of that.

Alas, while the pieces are there for something really good, the end result is ultimately less than memorable.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 15:51

Todd Parker 02-03-2016

Dear Todd Parker,

I'm a 27-year-old guy and I broke up with my girlfriend of six years a few months ago. I decided that if I didn't want to marry her I was just stringing both of us along. My dating life before her was easier since I was still in college, going to parties, and constantly meeting new people. Now I am in the realm of the adult dating world and have been a bit lost but learning quickly.

I met a girl a few weeks after the breakup and started hanging out from time to time; very low-key. It's not like I'm looking for a serious relationship or anything, but I feel like that I had been in one for so much of my dating life that it's all I know.

Published in Ask Todd Parker
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 15:50

Why Ringo rules

With the welcome news that Ringo Starr & His All Star Band are set to play Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on June 8, it's a good time to assess some of Starr's greatness. The Beatles would not have been the group we know today without him.

For starters, he completed the group. They truly became The Beatles when Ringo officially joined the band in August 1962, four years after John, Paul and George began playing together. When Ringo accepted the job, the chemical reaction synthesized by the coming together of those precise personalities created a form of divine magic that can never be duplicated.

Ringo: 'Every time he (Pete Best, previous Beatles drummer) was sick, they would ask me to sit in.'

Published in Music
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 15:24

Celeb Slab - (02-03-2016)

Chief Keef beef?

One of the marvelous things about social media is that it provides a much quicker and easier way for celebrities to reach out and connect with their fans. Unfortunately for the famous folks and fortunately for us here at Celebrity Slam it also provides a much quicker and easier way for those same celebrities to say and do the kinds of ridiculous things that land them in this space.

Our latest contestant is rapper Chief Keef.

The hip-hop star recently took to Twitter to exact some sort of revenge on someone who has apparently wronged him. He posted a street address in Minneapolis and invited his followers of which there are more than a million to 'throw eggs and st in a bag and rocks and all that and Ima repost it.'

Published in Celebrity Slam
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 11:35

Weird National Briefs (02-03-2016)

Tunnel of love

SITKA, Alaska - Authorities arrested a fugitive convicted on drug and theft charges after finding him hiding this week in what they called an 'elaborate tunnel system' dug underneath a trailer home in Alaska.

The tunnels narrowed as officers walked further in, forcing them to trudge through on their knees and then on their stomachs. Police in the city of Sitka say they eventually spotted Jeremy Beebe's foot sticking out of another hidden entrance, catching him after an officer pulled back the skirting around the trailer.

Police Lt. Lance Ewers said Beebe, 42, had failed to report to the police department on Jan. 12 after he was sentenced to nearly two years in prison, the Sitka Sentinel reported.

Acting on a tip, officers staked out a trailer park Wednesday and saw Beebe heading in to one of the units. A woman who answered the door said Beebe was not there.

Police then used a battering ram to get through a plywood door they found on the outside of the trailer, which led to the tunnel system.

Published in Weird National Briefs
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 11:17

Edge Mom: Theories of relativity

Time is weird when you're a parent. There are times usually when there is fighting or crying - when time seems to stretch out and last forever. That witching hour before bedtime when no one can behave can feel like a miserable eternity. And on the other side of the spectrum it can seem like yesterday when they were just wee bundles, swaddled and blankets and having that amazing 'new baby' smell.

And now, with the kids in school it's a whole new level of weird time. On the one hand, the weeks seem to fly by. I get up at 4:50 a.m. to get lunches made, backpacks packed and at least locate the majority of items needed to get out the door (hats, mittens, snow pants, boots, coats plus shoes for indoors). Technically, I don't have to get up that early. I've proven this on days where I slept through the alarm. But it's also when I do some room cleaning, then sit and relax for 20 minutes before the rush.

Published in Edge Staff Mom
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 10:43

Hair Frenzy' a cut above

World premiere comedy captures Maine spirit

BANGOR The Bangor Opera House is playing host to a truly hair-raising experiencean experience taking place for the very first time.

Penobscot Theatre Company is presenting the world premiere of 'Hair Frenzy,' a new work by local playwright Travis Baker. Directed by PTC veteran Dominick Varney, this spiritual sequel to 2014's Clauder Prize-winning 'One Blue Tarp' is running through Feb. 14.

The play revisits the fictional town of Clara, Maine; it's a small town with a big heart, filled with the sorts of regular folks and eccentric characters that will likely ring familiar to anyone who has spent time in our state.

Published in Happenings
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 09:46

Jim C Hines Revisionary

Jim C. Hines talks fantasy, fandom and fatherhood

Jim C. Hines's "Revisionary" ($26, Daw) hit shelves this week, bringing the final installment of his Ex Libris series. Fans of the series rejoin Isaac Vainia and his companions Lena and Nihidi as they deal with the fallout of the world coming violently to terms with the idea of magic and magic users.

Not only does Hines have an excellent grasp of characterization, all of his characters are brimming with humor, anger and a vibrancy that easily connects with the audience. Partly it's the characters themselves, but it's also part of the rich world he's created. Yes, it's built around the real world - but the problems that crop up around poorly thought out legislation and terrorist attacks that leave citizens in turns terrified and vengeful.

Hines deftly balances humor, gritty realism and a sense of whimsy and dread no mean feat when any one of those things could make the stories feel overwrought or bleed it of its gravity, but he deftly avoids those pitfalls. Hines proves himself to be a master of his craft with this latest book. Once you start, you will be rocketed forward and unable to stop.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 09:11

Time Waster (02-03-2016)

Small Worlds'

There is too much noise.

-'Small Worlds'

This is a short and beautiful pixel exploration game. Your character is nothing more than a sprite, so things are so zoomed in they seem blocky and distorted. As you explore, the camera zooms out to give you a better view on the world, and things come into focus.

Published in Time Waster Weekly
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