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John Barrowman and his assistant onstage during his panel.
Photo by Rachel Collings | Davis Clipper
John Barrowman and his assistant onstage during his panel. Photo by Rachel Collings | Davis Clipper
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Dispatches from Salt Lake Comic Con: “Lord of the Rings” memories, Donna Noble’s future and the 13th Doctor Who
by JENNIFFER WARDELL
Sep 23, 2017 | 477 views | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
John Barrowman and his assistant onstage during his panel.
Photo by Rachel Collings | Davis Clipper
John Barrowman and his assistant onstage during his panel. Photo by Rachel Collings | Davis Clipper
slideshow

Salt Lake Comic Con wrapped up Saturday with some big names and great lines. Here are some highlights you might have missed.

—Elijah Wood, best known as Frodo on “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” was the first panel of the day. He talked about his experience in the movies, the way the film industry has changed, and more:

On playing Frodo again in “The Hobbit”: “It was so surreal. It was an opportunity I thought I’d never have again. The most surreal aspect was how normal it felt. It sort of felt like I’d stepped back into time.”

On the tattoos many of the “Lord of the Rings” cast members got: “It was an idea we had early on, because we knew we would be connected forever because of the experience we were having. Everyone was excited at first, but then people were like ‘Wait. Let’s make sure it was a good experience.”

On visiting the Millennium Falcon set: “The thing that freaked me out was how familiar I was with the interior geography of the ship. It was like I’d been there before.”

—Catherine Tate, best known for her role as Donna Noble on “Doctor Who” and “The Catherine Tate Show,” wandered out among the audience during her panel and brought a few attendees up on stage. She also shared these highlights from her life and work:

On what she feels happened to Donna Noble after she was last seen on the show: “I think she spent all her winnings from the lottery quite quickly. She’s had to go back and be the fastest temp in Chiswick.”

On why it took her so long to start doing conventions: “I only started doing the conventions this year. John Barrowman is the one who said I should do the conventions, and I said ‘Why? I was on the show six years ago. Who would be there who remembered me?’ I had no idea the show traveled so well.”

On how she gets ideas for characters: “I steal from people’s personalities all the time. How you keep them from recognizing themselves is to change their hair color onscreen. I think we recognize ourselves physically, but not characteristically.”

—John Barrowman, best known for his roles on “Arrow,” “Doctor Who” and “Torchwood,” came out onstage in white heels and a sparkly “Wonder Man” costume. In a funny, ribald hour that included both a musical performance and men in kilts, he shared a few serious insights amid the laughs:

On the new Doctor being a woman: “The reason we’re so used to the Doctor being a guy is because it’s always been a guy. As far as I know, there are no rules in the Gallifreyan text that says it has to be a man. When we step through the doors of the TARDIS, we go on that journey. It doesn’t matter who’s driving it.”

On interacting with other actors in a scene: “It’s like playing a good game of tennis. You have to hit the ball back. You can’t just stop and go ‘I didn’t like that.’”

On advice for other writers: “Write every day. There’s no magic formula for any of it, because if there was I would bottle it and try to sell it. It’s a lot of luck, a lot of perseverance, and a lot of passion.”

 

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angelbrew
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September 23, 2017
Scoring information for Woods Cross is incorrect (Deseret News has it wrong routinely). You have a player scoring who didn't even play in the game. Best place to get correct box score info is MaxPreps.com. If you could correct the online version, that would be great!
Movie Beat: Despite Taron Edgerton and Colin Firth, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” a disappointment
by JENNIFFER WARDELL
Sep 23, 2017 | 577 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
© 20th Century Fox
© 20th Century Fox
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Rated R for sequences of strong violence, drug content, language throughout and some sexual material 

Screenplay by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, based on the comic book by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Starring Taron Edgerton, Julianne Moore, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Edward Holcroft, Sophie Cookson and more

Grade: Two stars

 

There’s nothing more disappointing than a mediocre sequel to a really great movie.

The latest example of this is “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” a wasteful, overstuffed, desperately scattered sequel to the 2014 hit “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” While the original movie felt like a brilliant re-invention of both the action and spy genres, the new movie flings cliché after cliché at the audience so quickly it forgets to actually shape them into any kind of coherent plot. Potentially great characters are wasted over and over again, including one of the best characters from the original movie, and though the action scenes are good they’re not enough to make up for everything else the movie is lacking.

To describe the entire plot will be exhausting for both of us, so I’ll just say that the villain here is a sickly-sweet woman who apparently controls the entirety of the world’s drug trade. She’s decided to poison all of her customers for Big Plot Reasons, and the Kingsmen have to stop her with the help of the Statesmen, a bunch of alcohol-obsessed cowboys who are apparently America’s answer to the Kingsmen. Oh, and Eggsy’s dating the princess we saw for five minutes in the last movie.

The plot is a complete mess. The first “Kingsmen” was borderline absurd, true, but carefully calibrated so that had just enough internal logic to keep itself going. The sequel has clearly never even heard of internal logic, stumbling along through cliché after cliché with only occasional moments of cleverness. The action scenes are good, particularly an opening chase scene that we get with almost no context, but action scenes do not a movie make.

And that’s before we get to the shooting gallery. I’ve been watching movies long enough to be aware that killing people is just what they do. But what directors fail to understand is that there’s a world of difference between writing a death that’s absolutely necessary for the plot, one that feels like the ultimate evolution of a character’s journey, and randomly killing off supporting characters for shock value. There was no narrative need for any of the deaths in “The Golden Circle,” one of which continued the alarming trend of killing off female characters for the sake of male angst.

If it wasn’t for the pointless angst, then the other option is even more alarming – the series killed off some of its best characters simply because the writers weren’t clever enough to figure out what else to do with them. That’s certainly true of the wasted characters who didn’t die, instead kept to the fringes of the story or shuffled offscreen completely after little more than an introduction scene.  

Surprisingly, the two most successful characters in the whole movie are Elton John, played with a wonderful zest by the man himself, and Charlie. A seemingly disposable antagonist from the first movie, Edward Holcroft plays the character with a kind of focus and thoughtfulness that made me want to know more about the transformation that happened to him between films and how he’d gotten to where he was in this one.   

If only the rest of the movie was even half that interesting. 

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Movie Beat: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany fantastic in “Stronger”
by JENNIFFER WARDELL
Sep 23, 2017 | 456 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
© Roadside Attractions
© Roadside Attractions
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Rated R for language throughout, including repeated use of the f-word, some graphic injury images, and brief instances of sexuality/nudity

Screenplay by John Pollono, based on the book “Stronger” by Jeff Bauman and Bret Witter

Directed by David Gordon Green

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson, Richard Lane Jr., Nate Richman, Lenny Clarke, and more

Grade: Three and a half stars

 

The real stories of heroes are often messier and more complicated than we realize.

Surprisingly moving proof of this can be found in “Stronger,” based on the true story of Jeff Bauman, who lost his legs during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and became a symbol of hope for the entire city. The movie is painfully honest about Bauman’s struggles, including those moments when he doesn’t make the most admirable decisions, and takes the time to show how hard it was for those who loved and supported him. That honesty, combined with fantastic performances by both Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany, make the characters’ successes that much more heartfelt and inspiring. These are clearly real people, and we cheer them all the louder for it.  

The focus of the movie is on Bauman, a working-class Bostonian who attended the marathon in the hopes of winning back his ex-girlfriend who was running in the race. He was waiting for her at the finish line when the bomb went off, and was close enough that he provided authorities with a description of one of the bombing suspects almost as soon as he regained consciousness. The journey back to emotional and mental health, however, was far more complicated, both for Bauman and Erin Hurley, the ex-girlfriend who had never stopped loving him.

It’s not an easy movie to watch sometimes, but the performances absolutely suck you in. Gyllenhaal absolutely makes the movie as Bauman, a charming, unfocused man who works at Costco who clearly tries to skate through the majority of his life. He clearly has a good heart, but Gyllenhaal also makes it clear that he’s easily overwhelmed. The bombing was enough to overwhelm anyone, let alone someone like Bauman, and Gyllenhaal really makes you feel the pressure and hopelessness of it all weighing down on him. He also really makes you feel Bauman’s moments of understanding and courage, making them that much more powerful.  

Maslany is just as good as Hurley, who had broken up with Bauman because he had trouble “showing up” only to have him show up at the worst possible moment. Her fear for Bauman in the immediate aftermath of the bombing is palpable just through the expression on her face, and Maslany acknowledges the guilt and responsibility Hurley feels without ever letting it overshadow the fact that she genuinely loves Bauman. When she briefly threatens to snap under the pressure and Bauman’s own unwillingness to move forward, you can’t blame her in the slightest.

The chemistry between the two is vital to the success of the movie. We only see the two characters together for two scenes before the worst happens, and Gyllenhaal and Maslany still manage to make it utterly clear that the two are still drawn to each other. During the later scenes, where she’s supporting him through some treatment or test, the quiet connection between them is wonderfully palpable.

The rest of the cast is great as well, particularly an utterly unrecognizable Miranda Richardson as Bauman’s well-meaning but sometimes misguided mother Patty. Danny McCarthy also does well as Bauman’s boss Kevin, who doesn’t fit in with his loud, boisterous family in the slightest but still tries really hard to be there for him. 

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