Sunday, August 24, 2014

Book Review by Elizabeth Richards - "The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simston

The Rosie Project, by Australian author Graeme Simsion, is a light read with a unique perspective. The plot line is filled with humor, unexpected twists, and thought provoking realizations.
The book opens with genetics professor Don Tillman coming to the conclusion that he is ready to have a wife. Having had less than stellar success with traditional dating due to his rigid and idiosyncratic personality, he launches the “Wife Project,” designing an elaborate questionnaire to ensure that he’ll meet his perfect match. 

PhD student Rosie Jarman is not that perfect match. She is always late, can’t cook and smokes. Though Don finds her entirely unsuitable as a candidate (and, in fact, she never intended to be one) he finds that against all logic, he enjoy spending time with her. His project is sidelined by Rosie’s quest to find her biological father, and Don finds himself breaking rules and taking chances for the first time in his regimented life. The “Father Project” takes the pair on some wild adventures, from Australia to New York. She just may be the one to change Don’s perspective on life and love.

With Don as the narrator, the tone was somewhat awkward and stilted in the beginning. Though this was by design – speaking directly to the character’s eccentric personality - I wasn’t sure I would be able to get past it to enjoy the story. By the second chapter, however, the plot was engaging and entertaining enough that the exaggerated detail and overly rigid language was barely noticeable. 

This novel moved beyond traditional romance, brought the characters to life and prompted some stimulating questions. I found myself pondering relationships, personalities, and the things people do to fit into societal norms as I read. While some aspects of the story were almost absurdly unbelievable, the tale was told so well that it didn’t matter. The beauty of this book is that it captures the issues many people struggle with in a way that resonates.
The book has been optioned by Sony for a motion picture, and this is one that I hope gets made. A sequel to the story is due out in December 2014.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Movie Review of Teenage Mutaint Ninja Turtles (PG-13) - By Daniel Kilgallon

Run Time: 101 min

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a new science-fiction/action comedy based on the beloved characters of the same name. The movie is directed by Jonathan Liebesman and is considered a reboot of the popular film franchise of the 1990s. Megan Fox stars and Michael Bay produces in this story revolving around a group of genetically mutated turtles who grew up in the sewers, were trained to be ninjas by a rat and love to eat pizza…That coupled with Bay’s  directing ego was enough to turn me off and I just wasn’t expecting much out of this film. That being said, I have to give this movie a bit of a break as you can’t really take the ridiculous premise too seriously. To my surprise, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected it to be and it was, for the most part, a very entertaining summer action movie. 
The plot for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is pretty straightforward, seemingly because it is targeted at a typically younger audience. Anyways, in this movie the four turtles (Leonardo, Rafael, Donatello and Michelangelo) face their greatest threat yet and must rise from the sewers to meet their destinies and save the day. New York City is being terrorized by their archenemy Shredder, an armored ninjutsu master, as well as his evil “Foot Clan” of criminals. Together, they plan to take over the city and rule with an iron fist. Along the way, our turtle heroes soon realize they must work with an ambitious journalist named April O’ Neill (Megan Fox) in order to ruin Shredder’s plans of conquering New York.

One thing that this movie did right was portray these beloved characters. I was never a huge fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles growing up, but I still feel it is safe to say to all you diehards out there, that this movie does do justice to all four heroes. They were all very well done and quite funny, particularly the wisecracking Michelangelo. But unfortunately, this movie does have some clear weak points highlighted by subpar acting and a clich├ęd, incoherent plot. However, I think the awesome action scenes and the turtles helped to make up for it. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles certainly isn’t the best film of the year, but I think fans will be satisfied with this new take and families entertained with a fun, summer action movie.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Movie Review of Guardians of the Galaxy (PG 13) - review by Daniel Kilgallon

Run Time: 121 min

Guardians of the Galaxy is a new science-fiction/comic-book movie directed by James Gunn. It is based on the popular Marvel Comics superhero team and marks the tenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This film features an outstanding ensemble cast starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper as our five primary heroes as well as Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly and Glenn Close in supporting roles. As a massive Marvel fan this was probably my most anticipated film of the summer movie season. Guardians of the Galaxy totally went above and beyond my high expectations, making it one of, if not the absolute best Marvel movie to date.

Early on in the film we are introduced to an American pilot named Peter Quill (Pratt) aka Star-Lord, who travels to the remote planet of Morag to steal a mysterious orb. Quill manages to escape with the artifact but his theft is soon discovered and a bounty placed on his capture. Eventually, Quill figures out that a villain named Ronan the Accuser wants this orb in order to abuse its power and rule the galaxy. In order to prevent this happening, Quill assembles a team of outlaws known as “The Guardians of the Galaxy”. This squad includes ‘Star-Lord” himself, an alien assassin named Gamora (Saldana),  a superhuman warrior called Drax (Bautista), a tree-like humanoid named Groot (Diesel) and a genetically-engineered raccoon known as Rocket (Cooper). Together, these extraterrestrial misfits must overcome their uneasy alliance so they can save our galaxy.

First of all, Guardians of the Galaxy is definitely the funniest movie that Marvel has ever made. This film is loaded with quality, natural humor that is truly hilarious; with much of it coming from the incredible main characters. Speaking of which, those five heroes are some of the coolest, most interesting heroes that have been brought to the big screen in a long time. They were all equally awesome and unlike 2012’s The Avengers, there was nobody that really stole the show, (Hulk) which I think is very important for a superhero-team movie like this. Guardians of the Galaxy was completely entertaining from start to finish; loaded with mind-blowing visual effects and equally outstanding action sequences. This movie is just absolutely phenomenal; easily one of this year’s best films, one of Marvel’s best movies and in my opinion, one of the greatest comic-book films ever made.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Cop Shop for July 21-July 28

Arrests and summonses

July 21
11:20 p.m. – Timothy Schoubroek, 31, of Whites Bridge Road in Standish, was arrested for failure to pay fine.

July 22
9:46 a.m. – John Grimaldi, 42, of Moss Road, Windham, was arrested for domestic violence criminal threatening.
9:45 p.m. – Michael Morrell, 35, of Haskell Road, Windham, was arrested for theft by unauthorized taking or transfer.

July 24
12:13 a.m. – Michael Hanrahan, 47, Starlit Way, Windham, was arrested for domestic violence assault.

July 25
1:34 a.m. - Nicholas Porter, 23, Roosevelt Trail in Windham was arrested for failure to appear.
11 p.m. – Zachary Sliter, 20, of Old Hollis Road in Limington was summonsed for criminal mischief.

July 28
1:34 a.m. – Daniel Harmon, 48, Barnes Road, Windham, was arrested for operating after suspension.


July 21
8:52 a.m. – James DiPietro, 56, was cited for speeding 1 to 9 mph over the limit on Gray Road.
9:25 p.m. – Christopher Tinsman, 18, was cited for speeding 15 to 19 mph over the limit on Roosevelt Trail near Anglers Road.
10:02 p.m. – Sari Greene, 21, was cited for failure to produce proof of insurance.

July 22
6:44 p.m. - A 17-year-old male was cited for carrying passengers beyond his license restriction.

July 24
7:47 a.m. – Jennifer Kallahan, 38, was cited for failure to produce proof of insurance.
11:20 a.m. – Kerry Kelchner, 44, was cited for failure to stop at a red light on Tandberg Trail by Gilbert’s Chowder House.

July 27
8:12 a.m. – Bruce Mayberry, 54, was cited for speeding 20 to 24 mph over the limit on Roosevelt Trail.

Movie Review - Hercules (PG13) - review by Daniel Kilgallon

            Run Time: 98 min          

Hercules is a new fantasy action film directed by Brett Ratner, not to be confused with Renny Harlin’s The Legend of Hercules movie that came out back in January. This time, we have Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson starring as the title character alongside John Hurt, Ian McShane and Joseph Fiennes in supporting roles. Obviously, Dwayne Johnson is a perfect fit for the part of Hercules and if you can’t tell from the picture above, The Rock looks absolutely huge for this movie. However, despite his major star power, I honestly wasn’t expecting much out of this action flick. But believe it or not, Hercules may very well be the surprise movie of the summer blockbuster season. 

The movie opens with a brief account of Hercules’ (Johnson) early life as a Greek demigod followed by a montage of his legendary twelve labors. Hercules achieves many physical feats in combat, which includes killing a lion with his bare hands. His battle heroics establish him as a legend and hero amongst the Greeks. However, years later after the loss of his family, Hercules decides to become a mercenary, traveling around Greece using his physical gifts and intimidation abilities in exchange for gold. Along the way, five more companions with similar interests join him and they form a powerful mercenary group. Eventually, the King of Thrace, Lord Cotys (John Hurt) hires Hercules and his partners to train his men in combat skills. He intends to create the greatest army of all time and rule with an iron fist. It is up to Hercules and his team to see past this tyranny and restore justice to Greece. 

To my surprise, I was actually extremely entertained for just about every minute of Hercules’ perfect hour and a half runtime. Dwayne Johnson totally owned the role of Hercules and completely stole every moment he was on screen. I imagine that anyone who has seen the movie would agree that watching him wreck havoc in battle was definitely the highlight of the film. Furthermore, all of the action scenes were thrilling and very well shot, although there were some aspects that felt like they were recycled from movies such as Gladiator, Braveheart and 300. Putting aside that and very-much expected mediocre acting, I enjoyed pretty much everything else about Hercules. It was action packed and exciting from start to finish; a surprisingly entertaining summer action movie for sure.