Book Review: The Life of Captain Marvel by Margaret Stohl, Carlos Pacheco


Author: Margaret Stohl
Title: The Life of Captain Marvel
Illustrator: Carlos Pacheco
Publication Info: Marvel,  February 19, 2019
Summary/Review:

After reading Kraven’s Last Hunt, I decided to check out another book in the Marvel Selects series. The material in this collection isn’t actually all that old, only dating to 2018.  It tells Captain Marvel’s origin story framed within a story of Carol Danvers taking a break from the Avengers to visit her family at their summer home in Maine.  (Did you know that Carol is from the Boston area, they didn’t say that in the movie?)  With flashbacks to her childhood and confrontations with her mother and brother, Carol learns secrets about her parents and the origins of her powers.  As origin stories go, it’s pretty well done.

Rating: ***

Recent Movie Marathon: Blow the Man Down (2020)


Happy New Year! Today I’ll be sharing my reviews of a binge watch of recent films (released within the past 18 months or so)!

Title: Blow the Man Down
Release Date: March 20, 2020
Director: Bridget Savage Cole & Danielle Krudy
Production Company: Secret Engine | Tango Entertainment
Summary/Review:

I watched this movie because I’d heard that David Coffin, song leader of The Christmas Revels, appeared in it. Otherwise I had not idea what the movie was about and dang was I surprised. Don’t read any further if you want to be as surprised as I was.

The story is about young adult sisters Priscilla (Sophie Lowe) and Mary Beth Connolly (Morgan Saylor), beginning on the day of their mother’s funeral. They live in a fishing village in Maine where their mother has established a fishmonger’s shop and has had to mortgage their house. Priscilla, the “responsible” older sister worries about how they’re going to keep the house, while Mary Beth, the “wild” one simply wants to get out of the small town.

On the night after the funeral, they argue and Mary Beth goes out to a bar where she hooks up with a man named Gorski (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). When she observes him acting suspiciously, he attacks her, and she kills him in self-defense. The bulk of the movie is Priscilla and Mary Beth poor attempts to cover up Gorski’s death. This gets them entangled in other town scandals with Enid (played magnificently by Character Actress Margo Martindale), an old friend of their mother’s who runs a brothel out of her B&B.

Over the course of the film, the sisters learn some dark secrets of the village and their mother’s past. Throughout the film we see the actions of three older women who are not to be underestimated. David Coffin and other singing fishermen appear from time to time to sing sea chanties as kind of a Greek chorus. The beautiful setting is a contrast to the quirky mystery at the heart of the movie. In the sense it reminds me of the first season of Broadchurch.

Rating: ***1/2

Movie Review: The Shawshank Redemption (1994)


Title: The Shawshank Redemption
Release Date: September 23, 1994
Director: Frank Darabont
Production Company: Castle Rock entertainment
Summary/Review:

I’m scratching off another movie from my I’ve Never Watched It List. Based on a Stephen King story, The Shawshank Repemption is the story of two men held in a Maine prison and their friendship that develops over decades.  Morgan Freeman plays Red, a long-time prisoner who is the go-to man for smuggling in contraband for the other prisoners.  Much of the movie is from Red’s point of view with Freeman providing voice-over narration that proves an exception to the rule that voice-overs are bad for movies.

Tim Robbins plays Andy Dufresne, a banker who begins serving a life sentence in 1947 for the murder of his wife and her lover.  Andy prove unexpectedly resilient and is able to gain favor by providing tax and accounting services to the guards and the prisons cruel warden (Bob Gunton). Andy use his advantages to help the other prisoners feel more free and alive by doing things like getting cold beers for men working on tarring a roof and advocating for a full prison library and GED courses.

The movie is beautifully filmed, well-acted with some terrific dialogue, and contains a lot of surprises of what Andy is working on behind the scenes.  I won’t spoil them here if you’re even more behind the times in watching this movie than I am.  The Shawshank Redemption balances the horrific brutality of prison life with the good humor of the camaderie among men. But most of all it is a terrific story of friendship – a love story, really – between Andy and Red.

Rating: ****

Photopost: Camping at Wolfe’s Neck Farm


Last week we celebrated the end of the school year with our somewhat annual stay at Wolfe’s Neck Oceanfront Camping in Freeport, Maine. We tented in the woods by Casco Bay, roasted marshmallows, biked nearly everywhere, shopped in Freeport, visited the Wolfe’s Neck Center farm, and most significantly, we went hiking with goats!

Related posts:

Book Review: Granite, fire, and fog : the natural and cultural history of Acadia by Tom Wessels


Author: Tom Wessels
TitleGranite, fire, and fog : the natural and cultural history of Acadia
Publication Info: Hanover : University Press of New England, 2017.
Summary/Review:

This book integrates the natural and cultural history of Acadia National Park in an intriguing way.  Wessels describes the geological processes that created Mount Desert Island’s unique formations and how the location of the island brings together fauna and flora not found together anywhere else.  For a short book, it can be quite detailed, as almost an entire chapter is dedicated to the different types of lichen that grow on the island’s rocks (don’t step on them!) and nearly as much as space to how fogs provide hydration and nutrients to the island’s plants.  The Fire of 1947 is also described as a cataclysmic event that unexpectedly shaped the national park that we know today.  This is a fascinating introduction to the wonders of Acadia, and a good field guide for visitors there.

Rating: ****

Book Reviews: Acadia: The Complete Guide: Acadia National Park & Mount Desert Island by James Kaiser


Author: James Kaiser
TitleAcadia: The Complete Guide: Acadia National Park & Mount Desert Island
Publication Info: Destination Press (2016), Edition: Fourth edition
Summary/Review:

This is a spectacular guidebook to one of my favorite places.  You’re not going to find much about hotels or restaurants here but you will find detailed descriptions of the geology, ecology, history, and culture of Mount Desert Island.  Also there are in-depth descriptions of wildlife, local foods, notable persons, and popular hikes.  And all of it is richly-illustrated with glossy photographs.  This is a travel guide you can read cover-to-cover like an ordinary book.

Rating: ****

Photopost: Mount Desert Island


We spent the long Labor Day weekend visiting Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park in Maine. It was our first visit in 10 years, and thus our first visit with the kids. I’ve been blogging long enough to have a full travelogue of our “babymoon” in 2007 still online.

We stayed at terrific vacation home in Bass Harbor on the “quiet side” of the island.

Highlights of the trip include:

Here is a small selection of my photos of this most photogenic island.

Beer Review: Allagash Sixteen Counties Ale


BeerSixteen Counties Ale
Brewer: Allagash Brewing Company
Source: Draft
Rating: **** (8.8 of 10)
Comments:

A golden/orange beer offering yeasty and grassy aromas.  The flavor is a complex balance of fruits, spices, yeast, and grains.  A smooth and robust beer.  I love it.

 

From the same brewery:

 

Beer Review: Peak Organic IPA Evergreen 


Beer: Evergreen IPA
Brewer: Peak Organic Brewing Company
Source: Can
Rating: *** (7.7 of 10)
Comments: A cloudy golden/orange in color, this beer offers an appropriately piney aroma.  The flavor is grassy with hints of spice and a hop aftertaste.  It’s basically a liquid Christmas tree, and a like it.

From the same brewery:

 

Beer Review: Baxter Pamola 


Beer: Pamola Session Ale
Brewer: Baxter Brewing Co.
Source: Can
Rating: *** (7.7 of 10)
Comments: A straw colored beer with a thin head, this beer offers the scent of fresh mown hay.  The flavor is sweet with a touch of spice.  It’s a nice balance of subtle flavors in basic ale, good to pair with spicy food.

From the same brewery: