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December 06th, 2021

shang chi spotlight pageSimu Liu in a scene from Marvel’s newest “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four projects have started off quite successfully, and this past weekend, I was lucky enough to hit the movie theater for the phase’s latest installment, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” The movie follows Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) as he is forced to confront part of his past after he is drawn back into his father's Ten Rings organization after several years.

One of the first things about this movie that deserves praise is the visuals, because they are absolutely stunning in every scene. There’s so much great use of color and lighting throughout the movie, and it’s all extremely effective, particularly in the scenes set in the village where Shang-Chi’s mother grew up. The lighting helps set each scene pretty perfectly, and the use of the bright colors is also pure eye candy. Other movies I’ve watched that are set in Asia have used similar effects, and I was happy to see it here. 

Another part of the visuals that was also rather stunning were the fight scenes throughout. Each move is very precisely choreographed and executed, and each of the fight scenes were extremely fun to watch and stunning at the same time. My overall favorite fight scene in the movie is the fight on the bus that happens a short time into the movie, and the climactic fight between Shang-Chi and his father near the end was also very well done. I also liked how there was a bit of mixture with the fighting styles – some of them were more graceful and fantastic (think along the lines of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) and there were some that were more quick and forceful, like what has already been seen in past MCU films with Captain America and Black Widow. Overall, the fight scenes and other stunt work were done really well, and it made the movie extra fun to watch. 

encanto spotlight pageA scene from the upcoming movie “Encanto,” one of many movies set to be released as part of this year’s fall movie season. Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


The summer saw many great movies released in theaters for moviegoers, and the coming fall season is expected to also have some great releases. 

“The summer season started off with 'A Quiet Place II' around Memorial Day, and that kicked off the summer box office stuff. Then throughout the summer, more movies came out including 'Black Widow' and 'Jungle Cruise' and 'Space Jam: A New Legacy,' and those helped the box office numbers quite a bit,” Mitchell Theaters Owner Brian Mitchell said. “And even though they were also offered on Video On Demand (VOD) sites, people still wanted to see them in the theatre. Then just last weekend, the fall season began with the release of 'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,' which actually shattered a few Labor Day records, so things are definitely getting better in the movie business.”

Overall, Mitchell said, moviegoers should be pleased with the films slated for release. 

“This fall, we'll see the release of Clint Eastwood's new movie 'Cry Macho' and then it was just announced the release of 'Venom: Let There Be Carnage' would be moved up two weeks because of the box office response to 'Shang-Chi,' so that's good news. Then in October, there's the releases of 'The Addams Family 2' and 'Halloween Kills' and a few other ones that should be really good, including the next James Bond movie 'No Time To Die.' One setback we did see was with 'Maverick: Top Gun,' and there are some movies that are still being delayed. I also went to a convention in Las Vegas about two weeks ago when they premiered the 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' trailer, and that pretty much wrecked the Internet with views, and it looks amazing. 'The Addams Family 2' and 'Halloween Kills' are also going to be good movies for Halloween, which will be here before everyone knows it.”

Special to the Leader & Times


Monday, Governor Laura Kelly announced new grant program designed to help non-profit arts organizations in Kansas recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These grants will provide immediate help for non-profit arts organizations across Kansas,” Gov. Kelly noted in a release from the State of Kansas. “My administration will continue supporting our arts community to create new tourist opportunities and recruit new families and businesses to Kansas. I encourage any organization that would benefit from these funds to apply now.”

The Short-Term Operational Support program provides immediate on-time grants to arts non-profits facing financial hardship due to unforeseen circumstances beyond their control. Funding for this program comes from the National Endowment for the Arts through the 2021 Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Nationally, $54 million has been allocated for 62 state and regional agencies to grant.

Grant funding can be used for:

• Salary support

• Fees to support the services of contractual personnel for specific activities required as part of annual organizational operations

• Facility operational costs such as rent and utilities

• Costs associated with health and safety supplies for staff and/or visitors

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