There is a rumor that Marvel is filming a little short that has "The Real Mandarin" chewing out Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce. Major backpedal, but they may fix the character for you and all the other people pissed off.
thanks for the info
hopefully they do release the short
I closed up shop about 10:30, then hit up an 11:15 of Dallas Buyer's Club. It wasn't getting the universal showing I thought it would, but it was showing in a handfull of locations. But I wanted to squeeze it in in case it disappeared quick. I'd been pretty excited about this since I saw the trailer. It looked like a massive performance by Matthew McConaghey, whom I actually like quite a lot. After a few years of what appeared to be money chasing with romantic comedies, the guy has had a pretty impressive run of quirky roles, including Mudd this year, which I haven't seen yet.
DBC was in fact a really impressive performance by MM. And it wasn't just a matter of "This guy lost 75 lbs to play this role". He pulled off the cocky naive asshole of the era, and still managed to come off of vulnerably crushed at the right time.
The drug addled, AIDs infected, transvestite prostitute that Jared Leto plays, is an Oscar level performance as well. Also has a certain toughness to it, but incredibly vulnerable.
Overall however, I was a little disappointed. The story wasn't put together as well as I thought it could've been. The first act is pretty much non-existent. You don't get nearly enough background on Ron the cowboy as you could've. The sort of "heist" element of the thing was short lived too. One goofy Ron the priest scene to show him cross the border, and another of Ron the business man in Japan. But it's not like they turned this into a globetrotting fast moving flick. The relationship with Jennifer Gardner's doctor felt dry and odd. They had in my opinion one scene that popped, but it worked well enough that it made the rest of the relationship feel even flatter. The political stuff, and the constant griping about the AVT drug the US FDA was pushing was weirdly aggressive to me, then they almost apologized for it in the post script. The eventual heartfelt turning of the character to being sort of a pro-active activist and less the business man was predictable. The whole thing was woefully underscored.
In the end it reminded me a bit of how Argo bounced back and fourth between this home wacky comedic side, and this tense foreign thriller, only in this it was bouncing between wacky drug trafficker to star crossed romantic relationship to political drama to life ending tear jerker, and where Argo got it's balance pretty much right, this just didn't, in spite of the performances. I'd give the movie a low 80s, but recommend it for the performances anyway.
Later that night I went back out for a short ride to New Haven to see a limited release documentary called Muscle Shoals about Muscle Shoals Alabama, and it's history of music recording during the early stages of soul music, and into the rock movement it developed.
Content wise this couldn't be more in my wheelhouse. And I knew some of the info it was discussing coming into it. The Fame Studio down there, and it's producer Rick Hall. But not much more than that. It's a really compelling narrative. Hall's life is loaded with tragedy, but it's only hinted at. There's some deceit and backstabbing between record companies. It's filled with anecdotal music stories, which always fun. It deals a lot with the racial issues of the time. And the music is fan-****ing-tastic. About the halfway point they cover the moving of Hall's studio band, which is the dorkiest bunch of dorky white guys you'll ever see, who called themselves the Swampers (as in Sweet Home Alabama's line "Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers ... They been known to pick a song or two ... "). And between the two studios, their list of recordings is basically the soundtrack of the country from 50s on.
I saw it in a small screening room that sat about 35 people. It was more filled than this brand of small release usually is, and the place was singing and dancing like we were at a concert. A really great experience.
There's a little more about the mysticism of the area, the music being hidden in the mud of Tennessee river, and that sort of thing, which is to be expected, and normally I'd complain that the mysticism is tied to these great producers and musicians, and giving to much credit to the mud is kind of bullshit, but plenty of credit went to these great musicians, so I was okay with it.
Tons of interviews with the musicians. Some great comedy in interviews with The Rolling Stones. Percy Sledge. Greg Alman. Aretha Franklin. And even Bono's annoying ass.
If you care about this type of music at all, and you can find this movie, make an effort to go see it. You won't regret it. I may go see it again during the week before it disappears.
kung fu hustle-- 2004 martial arts satire flick by stephen chow.
the first half had a couple funny moments, but was nothing too special. however, the second half was filled with crazy battles, just as you'd expect from the director of shaolin soccer.
there's little more to say about it, since it wasn't meaningful or groundbreaking in any particular way. rotten tomatoes has this rated too highly at 90%... metacritic is much closer to the mark, at 78%. on a four-star system i'll give it 3/4. it deserves no higher. i haven't seen CJ7, but hopefully it corrects some of the weaknesses from this movie.
raise the red lantern-- 1991 film about the painful workings of the old chinese concubine system, set in the 1920's.
one of those beautiful, slow-developing, culturally-insightful films for when you're in the mood. just exquisite, pure film-making with very pleasing artistic visuals... an easy 4/4 stars from me.
OTOH, it's also bleak... perhaps even depressing. and that may perfectly mirror the dog-eat-dog nature of reality, but watch at your own risk.