Friday, April 19, 2024

Review: Netflix’s ‘Is It Cake?’ not your typical cooking show

By Matt Pascarella

Three seasons
Average episode time: 40 minutes

I’m not a fan of television cooking shows, but this one is a bit different. The purpose of this Netflix series is to identify which items are cake. A variety of bakers compete to advance in the competition with the three best bakers making it to the season finale and competing for $50,000. Many of the bakers have a cake business or are known for their cake decorating and designs.

The goal of each episode is to fool judges and then win money identifying cash from cake in a segment called “cake or cash.” The host can be more than a bit obnoxious, and parts are obviously scripted, but it’s still a fun show and it’s cool to see what people can create and how realistic some of their cakes are.

“Is it Cake?” is hosted by Mikey Day and guest judges feature a variety of TV actors and writers along with “Saturday Night Live” cast members from past and present.

Episodes begin with contests having to find the cake in a scene or setting, such as a living room or beach display. The competition starts out with nine bakers who must find the cake in a particular setting or group of items. The three or four bakers who find the cake the fastest get to bake cakes of their own based on a theme, usually associated with the initial setting or scene, while the other contestants watch from the gallery and ask obviously scripted questions, like “What flavor will your cake be?” or “How’s it going?”

Once finished, each baker gets their cakes displayed for the judges – along with three decoys. The judges must identify which one from the items that are displayed is the baker’s cake. The judges then get to taste the cakes and determine a winner; the baker with the least popular cake, for lack of better terminology, is eliminated from the competition. This leads up to the season finale, where the three best bakers compete for $50,000.

During the baking portion of the episodes, viewers get backstory into the bakers as they reveal a bit about themselves and how they got into baking and making cakes.

These bakers are very talented and during the portion where the judges must identify which item is cake, the camera gives the viewer ample time to see all four items. Sometimes it can be really hard to determine which one is cake because they’re so well made.

Whether they make it to the final round or not, these seasons feature crazy-talented bakers who make realistic cakes that really resemble burgers, shoes, or even a block-like cell phones from a bygone era. This is a family-friendly show that is OK for all ages to watch. My only caution is the annoying host. While the contestants are competing against each other, they also help each other out and ask each other for advice, which is a nice touch – it’s not an aggressive competition.

Two cake pans up!

Available to stream on Netflix. <

Friday, April 12, 2024

Cumberland County to stage second annual Touch A Truck event in Windham

Cumberland County’s 911 Regional Communications Center is preparing to host the second Annual Touch A Truck on Saturday, April 20 in Windham.

Cumberland County's 911 Regional Communications
Center will host the second Annual Touch A Truck 
from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 20 at 
22 High St. in Windham. The free event for
children and adults will be held rain or shine.
The county’s 911 Regional Communications Center is at 22 High St., Windham.

The free event will be held rain or shine, and this is the second time that the popular Touch A Truck event for children will be hosted by Cumberland County 911 Communications. Touch a Truck Activities will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and everyone is welcome to attend and participate.

This family friendly event will include:

** Fire Trucks

** K-9 Demonstrations

** "Sparky" the Dog

** Smokey Bear

** A Bounce House

** Food trucks

** Safety tips

** Vendors

** 9-1-1 Dispatch tours

The Cumberland County Regional Communications Center is a public safety emergency communications center. It provides emergency and non-emergency dispatching service for many public safety agencies within Cumberland County and serves as the Public Safety Answering Point for 19 of the 28 communities within the county.

As the Public Safety Answering Point for those communities, the 911 Regional Communications Center receives all 9-1-1 emergency phone calls for those areas within Cumberland County. <

Friday, April 5, 2024

Review: ‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’ a good time at the movies

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 1 hour, 55 minutes

When the discovery of an old artifact could bring another ice age to all of New York City, the Spengler family returns to the firehouse that started it all. While this family has what it takes to ghost bust some mean spirits, they’ll need the help of some of the original crew to take on a new and evil god, Garraka, before it’s too late. Whether you are a diehard fan or just a regular fan of the previous Ghostbuster movies, seeing this one on the big screen was decent and worthwhile.

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” has a star-studded cast of Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Dan Ackroyd, Annie Potts, William Atherton, Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Kumail Nanjiani, Patton Oswalt, Celeste O’Connor, and Emily Alyn Lind.

In 1904 New York City, chaos sweeps the city and leaves it frozen; the only survivor is a woman found clutching a mysterious orb.

Gary Grooberson (Rudd) and the Spengler family (Coon, Wolfhard and Grace) are on a job speeding through New York City. This is a very action-packed opening with a supped-up Ecto-1. Grooberson’s driving causes an accident and upsets Mayor Peck (Atherton) who says he will not rest until the firehouse is demolished.

Ray Stantz (Ackroyd) hosts a ghost-detecting show where people bring in items from their departed and he helps them to make contact – maybe.

After the incident with the mayor, Phoebe Spengler (Grace) is told she’s too young to bust ghosts and has to stop immediately. This upsets her.

Nadeem Razmaadi (Nanjiani) visits Stantz with a whole box of stuff from his grandmother’s place. Inside this box is the orb from 1904. They are unaware of what tampering with it will do.

While staying in the firehouse while everyone is out ghostbusting, Phoebe discovers a ghost, Melody (Lind) and befriends her.

At the firehouse there is a problem with the ghost containment unit, after 40 years, it’s full. When asked if anyone saw this coming, Janine Melnitz (Potts) said,

“It was the 80s, no one was worried about the future.”

Winston Zeddemore (Hudson) has already built a new unit at another location. There, they’ve trapped and studied many ghosts.

Dr. Peter Venkman (Murray) tests Nadeem and senses there is something up with him.

Doctor Hubert Wartzki (Oswalt) takes several Ghostbusters down to a special level of the library where he explains about the demon god Garraka’s intentions to raise the dead.

After the mayor orders the Ghostbusters out of the firehouse, it is revealed Melody is not who she was originally thought to be.

Phoebe’s in trouble and the orb is shattered with much of New York City freezing like in 1904. Garraka is coming for the containment unit.

I am not the biggest Ghostbusters fan. I don’t dislike the franchise, it’s just not my favorite. However, this movie brought back nostalgia, is funny, had cool special effects and it was nice to see most of the original cast in with some big names who brought new meaning to this installment.

“Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” isn’t as good as the original, but it’s a nice compendium to the series. Although it centers around ghosts, I did not find it all that scary, but it might be for younger viewers. It has mild language and violence. It has a nice message about family woven in. I enjoyed the updated equipment like the drone-operated ghost trap. I think you can see this as a stand-alone movie, though it helps if you know a little bit of the old and new backstory.

I give this three out of five Proton Packs.

Now playing only in theaters. <