Good Luck

May 28th, 2023

wakanda forever spotlight pageELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


I’ve been enjoying the Phase 4 projects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and one of the projects I was most anticipating was the sequel to 2018’s “Black Panther,” and this past weekend, I finally got to see how Marvel continued Wakanda’s story with “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” The movie follows the leaders of Wakanda as they fight to protect their nation from several outside forces in the wake of King T'Challa's death.

I figured there would be no shortage of emotion throughout the movie (much of that due to the death of “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman), and I was proven completely right. The first scenes alone, plus the opening credits with the Marvel logo, had me in tears almost immediately, and there were other very emotional scenes throughout the movie. Boseman’s legacy in the MCU was honored very well in the movie, and I felt the people in charge couldn’t have done it any better. Director Ryan Coogler (who also directed the first “Black Panther” movie) definitely had a vision for how he wanted to honor Boseman, and it all comes together very well. 

Keeping with that, I enjoyed the performances throughout from the entire cast. Letitia Wright does a great job coming back as T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri, and she captures pretty much every step of the grieving process throughout the movie in a wonderful way. Angela Bassett is also wonderful as T’Challa’s mother, Queen Ramonda, and she does a great job of showing Ramonda trying to balance leading her people, being Shuri’s mother, and keeping outside threats at bay, all while grieving – it’s a very strong and nuanced performance and I thought she was amazing. I also very much enjoyed Winston Duke coming back as Jabari leader M’Baku and I really liked his character development – in the first “Black Panther” movie, he was mostly a big jerk who angled for a fight and wanted to isolate his people from the world, but this time around, he’s wised up, become more of an actual leader and is much more willing to be part of the world, and I thought that was cool. He’s also a great big brother/mentor for Shuri, and I really enjoyed seeing that dynamic. 

all quiet on the western front spotlightRecruits to the German Army in World War 1 prepare for battle in this scene from Netflix’s “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Courtesy photo ELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Tomorrow marks Veterans Day and I spent part of last weekend thinking of what I could review for this week. I had just about run out of ideas when, on Netflix, the movie “All Quiet on the Western Front” showed up in my recommendations. I must admit I was initially a little confused as to why it was in there since war movies aren’t typically what I watch, but I ultimately clicked on it. 

And MAN was I ultimately glad I did. The movie takes place in the final years of World War 1, it follows the life of German soldier Paul Baümer (Felix Kammerer), who, after joining the German Army with his friends, finds himself exposed to the harsh realities of war. I’ve heard of the original novel, but haven’t read it, and I knew of at least one prior adaptation, but hadn’t seen it, so I went into the movie blind. 

The cinematography throughout the movie is absolutely amazing. From the opening scene to the final shot, the movie is just gorgeous to look at, as odd as that might sound about a war movie. The opening scene alone features a misty forest sunrise, a fox feeding its cub in their den on a seemingly normal morning, and then comes a shot of a hill littered with dead soldiers and more sounds and sights of battle, and the overall effect about made my jaw drop not only because it was so gorgeous but also because of how abrupt I found it. Another scene near the beginning that struck me rather hard was the cleaning and repair of the uniforms taken off dead soldiers to be given to new recruits (which shows the never-ending cycle of war) – the ladies in charge of all of that go about their task in a very businesslike manner, like they’ve had to do it 1000 times before. It’s a rather small scene in the grand scheme of the movie that doesn’t have a HUGE impact on the rest of the story, but it definitely stuck with me after the movie was over. Throughout the rest of the movie, the overall bleakness of war, the harshness of trench warfare fighting and all the other obstacles the soldiers have to face are all captured perfectly and every shot is extremely well done. In terms of visuals, “All Quiet On the Western Front” actually somewhat reminded me of “1917,” and the overall look is a marvel. 

beauty and the beast spotlightLumiere (Parker Underwood, left) and Ms. Potts (Rylee Ott, right), try to convince Belle (Eryn Apsley, center) to be their guest in a recent rehearsal of “Beauty and the Beast.” The show will be presented in Liberal High School’s James Maskus Auditorium next weekend. L&T photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Those looking to experience a tale as old as time onstage will soon have that chance thanks to the Liberal High School Drama Department. 

The LHS Drama Department will be presenting "Beauty and the Beast," with performances taking place at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, and all the performances will be in James Maskus Auditorium at LHS. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for people 18 and younger. 

As director Miriam Climenhaga tells it, the choice to put on “Beauty and the Beast” is a rather amusing tale. 

“We decided to do 'Beauty and the Beast' because last year, Matt [Rice] suggested it,” Climenhaga said. 

“And I suggested it because it's one of my favorite musicals ever,” Rice, who also serves as the assistant director, added. 

“And there are a lot of my students who grew up watching the Disney version of 'Beauty and the Beast,' so it has a lot of special meaning for them,” Climenhaga said. “I actually wasn't really that familiar with the Disney version, I was more familiar with the original fairy tale. But like I said, Matthew suggested it and basically campaigned to do it, and we ultimately decided to go for it.”