Reviews: Chess the Musical, Iron Man, The Painted Veil

Capsule reviews on Chess: The Musical, Iron Man and The Painted Veil.

Chess: the Musical.  An amateur production (but I didn’t really notice this as it was in little type at the bottom of the poster.)  Not worth what I paid for it, but still entertaining.  Three leads could sing well, but I couldn’t buy the Anatoly/Florence romance.  Svetlana’s actor kept yelling her lines like Shirley Bassey, ruining “I Know Him So Well”. Florence was performed quite well. Wobbly orchestral moments here and there and some mis-timed choreography.  I still think a movie of this would be good – perhaps if Mumma Mia is a hit, Tim Rice and Co may tackle a Chess movie after that.

Iron Man.  Wow.  Really good superhero film, washing the foul taste of Spider-Man 3 from my throat. Action! A cute lead (I heart Robert)! Pseudo-science that felt plausible/consistent (in a gonzo SF sense) rather than being outright stupid (i.e. Sawfish). An American film tackling the US war issues and seems to be successful doing that (unlike Rendition).  The third act was clunky (“Quick! Let’s glue in the supervillain fight!) but it was quite an enjoyable romp.

The Painted Veil. Romantic film based on Maugham’s novel, about two people who marry without really knowing what the other is like. Slow, but I found it quite enjoyable (and sad), with some not-quite subtle examinations of Britain’s role in exploiting China.  I also found the portrayal of the cholera epidemic quite horrifying and convincing (although could Kitty really sleep next to her dying husband and not get infected? Wikipedia confirms Cholera’s rarely spread through direct contact.)  I resolve never to catch the damnable disease!

Rise of the Runelords Campaign: This is my new Friday night C&C game. It went rather well and it’s quite a cracking group that’s come together.  Pleased with speed of C&C combats over an equivalent encounter in D&D.  The work in tying the PCs to the campaign is paying off.  Converting from 3.5 -> C&C is going well, with the only kludgey thing being the XP conversion, which I resolved by zapping all 3.5 XP generated via CR with a multiplier to fit the more languid and varied C&C XP progressions.

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