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.
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.
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!
Author: Tom Wessels Title: Granite, 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.
Author: James Kaiser Title: Acadia: 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.
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.
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.
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.
This weekend we returned Recompence Shore in Freeport, ME, and the adjacent Wolfe’s Neck Farm for camping and nature discoveries. Here are some photographic highlights from my brand new Canon Rebel T5.