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Yefim Fedotov
Yefim Fedotov

The Great Wall (2016) BEST


I admittedly steered clear of this for years due to long being sick and tired of movies tainted by the white savior trope and all the implications it carries. And unsurprisingly, Damon inevitably becomes "the great white hope" figure in this, which is annoying as fuck. But...




The Great Wall (2016)



It is a great week on the home market with two monster hits coming out: Logan and Get Out. However, both have previously been named Pick of the Week. Fortunately there was one other release in competition for Pick of the Week, My Life as a Zucchini on Blu-ray. Thank goodness this film comes out this week. Otherwise, John Wick: Chapter Two would have become the third Video on Demand release in a row to win Pick of the Week.More...Home Market Releases for May 9th, 2017May 10th, 2017


William (Matt Damon) and Tovar (Pedro Pascal) are two strangers in a China that resembles the Wild West a lot. Adventurers with a shady past as mercenaries, they move around the country in search of the precious black powder (gunpowder). The two have just escaped an attack in which William killed a mysterious green monster and kept its hideous claw, hoping that someone could reveal to him what kind of beast it belongs to. On their journey, the two come across a massive army, stationed along a majestic wall and, reluctantly, they find themselves involved fighting alongside it, in a violent attack by a horde of ferocious monsters called Tao Tei that correspond to the one previously killed by William.


William and Tovar learn from Commander Lin (Jing Tian) and strategist Wang (Andy Lau) that the Tao Tei monsters originally generated from the impact of a meteorite; they are driven by greed and appear every 60 years, always attempting to cross the wall to conquer the capital city. The Chinese army is powerful and well organised but it is slowly giving in to the monsters that are becoming more and more evolved and cunning.


Qiao Guohua patrols a 5-mile stretch of the Great Wall of China. Roughly a third of the wall's 12,000 miles have crumbled to dust, and saving what's left may be the world's greatest challenge in cultural preservation. Anthony Kuhn/NPR hide caption


During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Jielingkou was a walled garrison for soldiers guarding the wall at a strategic pass. It's now a simple farming village of some 800 residents. Other sections of the Great Wall were built during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.) or earlier.


Qiao Guohua, a resident of Jielingkou village, is paid a small sum of money by the local government to patrol a section of the Great Wall. He's come to know every feature of the wall and its surrounding landscape intimately. Anthony Kuhn/NPR hide caption


"Every stretch of this wall was built with the blood and sweat of the working people," he says. "After I tell folks how many people died building it, they begin to get in the habit of protecting the wall."


For nearly two millennia, until the 1600s, the wall marked the frontier separating the agriculture-based civilization of China from the nomadic peoples of the Eurasian steppe, including the Mongols, Manchus and Xiongnu. The wall was designed not so much to keep the peoples apart as to regulate their commerce and interactions.


Kilns like this one were used to bake bricks for the construction of a section of the Great Wall dating from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Resident Xu Guohua, the descendant of an official who helped build the wall, discovered the kilns and included them in a museum he founded to display Great Wall artifacts. Anthony Kuhn/NPR hide caption


One summer not long ago, a stretch of the wall near his home collapsed. In the rubble, Xu found a stone tablet. He uses a towel to wipe dust off the 4-foot-long slate-gray slab, revealing several carved Chinese characters.


But he estimates that a third has vanished completely, and that the remaining 60 percent is in various degrees of disrepair. Most of that is from natural erosion, but development projects also have damaged the wall, or even replaced parts of it with gussied-up replicas.


The job of saving what remains of the wall is too big a task for China's government alone, Dong says. China has enacted regulations to protect the wall, but many local governments are in impoverished areas and can't pay to maintain it. Dong's plan is to get companies and individuals to sponsor sections of the wall.


"See these bricks in the wall? Each one is very ordinary, but together in large numbers, they make a magnificent wall," he says. "Protecting the wall is the same idea. Each person or company we get to contribute to the effort is like a brick."


Dong Yaohui, vice chairman of the China Great Wall Society, walks on a relatively intact section of the wall near its eastern end. Dong was among three men who, in the 1980s, were the first Chinese known to have walked the wall's entire length from east to west. Anthony Kuhn/NPR hide caption


Dong recently launched pilot sponsorship programs; the money will be used to pay local communities and governments to patrol and repair the wall. He envisions planting markers along the wall with information about each particular section's history and sponsors, and is pressing China's national government to adopt his sponsorship plan nationwide.


Tovar is a bit of a scoundrel. Pedro Pascal plays him wonderfully. He is a mercenary who is used to being taken advantage of. Tovar also has had practice not trusting anyone around him. While he is a character who is not going to sacrifice his life for the greater good, Tovar is still, strangely, deeply likable. I was rooting for him to survive.


Commander Lin Mae is another main character. She is the chosen successor of the General. Lin is a character who grows and changes throughout the film. She commands a squad of female warriors, who dive off of the wall with spears to attack their enemy. This led to some of the coolest parts of the first big fight scene. Though, to be honest, the whole fight scene on the Wall was pretty amazing.


The wall conceals twelve apartments, excavated from the side of a natural hill on the site, which are used as short term accommodation for cattle musterers. The below ground setting of the apartments was chosen to provide the inhabitants respite from the extreme temperatures and harsh climate of North Western Australia.


But today, those early walls are barely discernible, if at all. Better constructed portions of the wall only came into existence much later -- and over many centuries, said Lynn A. Struve, an East Asian historian at Indiana University and author of Time, Temporality, And Imperial Transition: East Asia From Ming To Qing..


"Almost every dynasty contributed to building the wall," said Arthur Waldron, an East Asian historian at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of the seminal 1992 volume, The Great Wall of China: From History to Myth. (The bottom portion of the figure below shows the full historical timeline.)


In citing this figure, Trump can point to an official statistic. In 2012, China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage released a five-year-long study that the wall is 13,170 miles long -- much longer than the previous estimate of 5,500 miles, which was limited to the Ming-era structures.


Major unifications of early portions of the wall did occur about 2,200 years ago. However, the wall was built over the course of many centuries, and the best preserved, most iconic portions of the wall are a lot younger -- roughly 500 years old.


Principal photography for the film began on March 30, 2015, in Qingdao, China, and it premiered in Beijing on December 6, 2016. It was released by China Film Group in China on December 16, 2016, and in the United States on February 17, 2017 by Universal Pictures. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who said it "sacrifices great story for great action." Although it grossed $335 million worldwide, the film was still considered a box office bomb due to its high production and marketing costs, with losses as high as $75 million.


Captured by a military garrison and brought to an outpost along the wall, their lives are spared when they produce the severed arm of a green, scaly creature that looks alarmingly familiar to their Chinese captors.


Tasked with keeping these overdesigned beasts from advancing deeper into China are tens of thousands of elite, color-coded troops stationed along the wall. They are, collectively, The Nameless Order (which, if you think about it, is a name), an anonymous bunch played by top draw Chinese talent including Zhang Hanyu, Andy Lau (House of Flying Daggers) and ex K-pop idol Lu Han, whose character, a timid soldier turned valiant warrior, proves to be the only one with a heartbeat.


Tethered to the top of the wall, members of the all-female Crane Corp walk to the edge of the platform, dive down, spear any nearby Taotie, and snap back to safety. It seems too much effort for too little result, much like the movie itself, especially when there are reams of soldiers armed with spears, bows, and catapults standing atop the wall.


The Greatwall kinase/Mastl is an essential gene that indirectly inhibits the phosphatase activity toward mitotic Cdk1 substrates. Here we show that although Mastl knockout (MastlNULL) MEFs enter mitosis, they progress through mitosis without completing cytokinesis despite the presence of misaligned chromosomes, which causes chromosome segregation defects. Furthermore, we uncover the requirement of Mastl for robust spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) maintenance since the duration of mitotic arrest caused by microtubule poisons in MastlNULL MEFs is shortened, which correlates with premature disappearance of the essential SAC protein Mad1 at the kinetochores. Notably, MastlNULL MEFs display reduced phosphorylation of a number of proteins in mitosis, which include the essential SAC kinase MPS1. We further demonstrate that Mastl is required for multi-site phosphorylation of MPS1 as well as robust MPS1 kinase activity in mitosis. In contrast, treatment of MastlNULL cells with the phosphatase inhibitor okadaic acid (OKA) rescues the defects in MPS1 kinase activity, mislocalization of phospho-MPS1 as well as Mad1 at the kinetochore, and premature SAC silencing. Moreover, using in vitro dephosphorylation assays, we demonstrate that Mastl promotes persistent MPS1 phosphorylation by inhibiting PP2A/B55-mediated MPS1 dephosphorylation rather than affecting Cdk1 kinase activity. Our findings establish a key regulatory function of the Greatwall kinase/Mastl->PP2A/B55 pathway in preventing premature SAC silencing. 041b061a72


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