Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2012: Ronald Cheng in Vulgaria

Ronald Cheng did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Tyranosaurus in Vulgaria.

Vulgaria follows the misadventures of a film producer To Wai-cheung (Chapman To) attempting to get a movie made.

The film itself starts out fairly well but flounders as it continues partially due to its leading man, partially due to its wavering tone with these semi-serious moments ill-fitting to the irreverent style of the overall film, and because Ronald Cheng is only in three scenes in the film with two of those scenes being rather brief. His first scene comes as our producer To goes about seeking a Chinese mainland investor to fund his film, unfortunately the man is Tyranosaurus a member of the Triad. Not unfortunately for us though as Cheng is incredibly entertaining in the role offering the flamboyance fitting to the man's name and his over the top manner of dress. Cheng is clearly having a blast but he lets us in on the fun as Tyranosaurus begins as the most gracious of hosts towards To offering him all the strange meats he could dream of. Cheng brings the proper ridiculous swagger to the role of such a gangster who is interested in making a most peculiar film, as everything he does is rather overt though importantly most hilarious. Cheng makes it go even further though in that there is a certain menace in this humor.

That is particularly in the way Cheng depicts the ease in which Tyranosaurus brandishes his gun. He plays it all just as a rather casual thing for the crazy man. Unfortunately for To, Tyranosaurus is easily offended and if one does not eat one of his stomach turning dishes they must commit a bit of bestiality. Now that is most absurd and Cheng's performance brings the best out of it by the conviction he brings in his delivery of the man's madness. Unfortunately Cheng disappears after the sudden conclusion of that scene, to avoid the actual depiction of bestiality,  and we are not graced with his presence again until basically the finale of the film. Thankfully we are given a bit more of him as Cheng continues to derive some comic gold from the material in his portraying such intense disgust at not getting the film he wanted, then later just pure unabashed sleaze as the man takes far too many liberties with one of the actresses at the premiere. Cheng goes all in and is such a delight in this approach. Now here's a film where just about everybody is going over the top. The film would have benefited from a true straight man since Chapman To does a bit too much clowning for his own good. The film also needed a few more comedic performances that worked, but at least there's Ronald Cheng who absolutely succeeds. He's such a fun bit of insanity in his 10 minutes or less of screentime, and I wish the film had given us more of him. 

46 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Ratings/Thoughts on the rest of the cast.

If Tom Hardy could potentially go up for The Drop, would I be able to request him for a bonus review.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: And thoughts on your top 5 FOTR pieces.

Charles Heiston said...

He's genuine here. The film should've given him more to do.

Charles Heiston said...

R.I.P Christopher Boykin. I actually used to watch him.

Calvin Law said...

He's brilliant here and yes, the film suffers for a lack of him overall. The film would have worked much better with a more deadpan leading man, as you said, I think someone like Alex Fong, or Francis Ng, could have made something rather special out of it.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if this is the place to make them, but here's some winning request recommendations -

Pete Postlethwaite in Distant Voices, Still Lives - Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1988

Harvey Keitel, Yaphet Kotto, and Richard Pryor in Blue Collar - Alternate Best Actor 1978

Calvin Law said...

Saw The Promise. Decent, though could've used a more intimate focus on the conflict itself. Isaac is really good.

Ngoc Toan Nguyen said...

Louis:

What's your thought on James McAvoy in Split?
Also can you tell me your top 10 supporting actress of 2016?

Tks in advance! :)

94dfk1 said...

Louis and everyone: Michael Fassbender said he'd like to take on some comedic work in the future. What type of said roles do you see him excelling in?

Luke Higham said...

94dfk1: I'd like to see him play more off-kilter roles like Frank Sidebottom or work with the Coen Brothers. And he was great in Inglourious Basterds, so I hope he'll work with Tarantino again before he retires from filmmaking.

94dfk1 said...

Luke: I read somewhere that he auditioned for the part of Llewyn Davis so I wonder what he could've done with that part. I can't picture anyone other than Oscar Isaac playing him at the same time though.

Luke Higham said...

94dfk1: Isaac was perfect, nuff said.

Alex Marqués said...

I agree with Luke.

RatedRStar said...

Chapman To is such a poor actor nearly all the time, also Louis good thing you dont have to watch him at the Hong Kong film awards each year, my god is he is bad. I agree on with Calvin on Alex Fong, he is perfect at deadpan, Francis Ng is a great actor but I wonder if he would have just pulled a shotgun on Ronald Cheng over the course of the film lol.

Ronald Cheng is actually usually the best host along with Eric Tsang.

RatedRStar said...

Sandra Ng is a great host as well.

Calvin Law said...

RatedRStar: Nah Francis would pull the shotgun but just shoot a bunch of glasses haha

I'd love to see Fassbender do some comedy, he has some of my favourite subtle comedic moments in Basterds.

Charles Heiston said...

Fong would've been a perfect lead for Vulgaria. Him and Cheng would've had great comic chemistry together.

Charles Heiston said...

As far as Fassbender i think him working with Tarentino would be the best.

Calvin Law said...

I have to admit based on what I've heard about Alien Covenant I won't be rushing to see it anytime soon.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Same reaction as Prometheus and Fassbender's the highlight again. I'm seeing it only for him.

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: What are your top 10 Game of Thrones episodes. It feels like you gave them before though.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: I think his No. 1's still Hardhome then Rains Of Castamere, Winds Of Winter and Baelor.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the cinematography, the screenplay and the art direction of Dr. Strangelove.

Alex Marqués said...

This week's episode of Fargo was pretty great. Thewlis is killing it!

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the direction, screenplay and cinematography of The Godfather and The Godfather Part II.

Also, have you ever considered giving Pacino the win, or giving a tie, for 72 Lead? And, if Brando were in supporting, would he be a 5?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis and everyone else: What's a hairstyle that you guys saw on a film/TV show, that you wanted to replicate in real life. I've wanted my hair to look like

Clark Gable's hair in Gone with the Wind
Al Pacino's hair in The Godfather Part II
Montgomery Clift's hair in every film he's done

Calvin Law said...

Jake Gyllenhaal in Prisoners
Lee Byung-hun in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Brad Pitt in Fury


And I would love to yet probably never will grow long manes of Dev Patel/Andrew Garfield hair.

Luke Higham said...

Seeing Alien Covenant tonight.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I have replicated Jake Gyllenhaal's haircut from Prisoners, and it was a terrible, terrible mistake. Mostly because that haircut is Anton Chigurh-level awful.

94dfk1 said...

I find it kind of funny how Garfield, Driver and Neeson (to an extent) all play Portuguese priests where hair care is the least of their worries whilst in Japan and yet their hair looks amazing in the movie.

Charles Heiston said...

Lee Byung-hun in The Good, the Bad and the Weird
Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I love Peter O'Toole's hair (and everything else he does) in Lawrence of Arabia. Also-
Andrew Garfield-Hacksaw Ridge and Silence
Michael Fassbender-Shame and Inglorious Basterds
Ryan Gosling-Drive

Luke Higham said...

Alien: Covenant
A minor improvement over Prometheus, yet felt like a greatest hits collection of Alien & Aliens.
Fassbender - 5 (Brilliant reprise)
Waterston - 3.5
Crudup - 3.5
Bichir - 3
McBride - 3

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Luke: I can live with that. Also, you giving Fassbender a 5 means I must see it.

Luke Higham said...

Tahmeed: I'd be surprised if anyone went below a 4.5 for his performance here.

Calvin Law said...

Is Fassbender lead or supporting?

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: He's definitely lead. I think he had more screentime overall than Waterston.

Also, Pearce was pretty effective in his brief appearance at the beginning of the film.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

To - 2(Miscalculation to put such an unfunny actor in the lead and again as the wrong type of lead. Seeing him try to match Cheng or a few of his other co-stars in terms of being funny doesn't work out very well. His slightly dramatic moments are really his strongest since his comedic timing really is off, and he so often resorts to again the worst type of clowning in an attempt to be funny.)

Chan - 2.5(Her shtick was mildly enjoyable at first but got tiresome by the second pop rock blow job.)

Wit - 2.5(Mildly amusing at times but I think if someone brought a bit more of an acerbic bent it would have been far funnier.)

Chow - 2.5(Eh seemed like a wasted opportunity since he was over the top but I would have preferred something a bit more original. He just sort of fell into the same type of goofiness as a few of the other members such as.)

Lawrence Cheng - 2.5(Again a little restraint would have gone a long way. Would have been funnier I think if the professor had been a truly stuffy type therefore his reactions to the story would have been far more amusing I imagine.)

Suet - 3(He was pretty funny around Cheng being a pretty good second plain stooge, I particularly enjoyed the moment where the gun just kind of clumsily pops off of him.)

Well I could review him as my original thoughts were pretty brief.

Many Meetings - (Downright beautiful work in the combination of strings and voices with voices so eloquently rising and falling with the strings a constant until being overtaken by the woodwinds. Then transitioning back to concerning the "shire theme", back to those beautiful scales before returning again. Just captures the sort of both the mystery and grandeur of the fantasy at hand.)


The Shadows of the Past - (Again what this score does well is evoke the feelings of this ancient past so effectively that again so prevalent in the quietly somber style of the intro that shifts to sort of the fire and brimstone of the full orchestra as Sauron's theme comes in which builds so well towards the Nazgul's charge theme, which sounds like hell itself is coming for you. Until it softens back again to that quieter yet still unsettling musical representation of the unknown. An amazing piece.)

Concerning Hobbits - (Love this piece and sums up the importance of the variety which isn't all the grand style of orchestra. As this is such softer use of strings and lighter horns, rather baroque in style, such a more unassuming yet such brilliant piece that just seems to be a representation of "quaint" and I mean that in the best of ways. You can just sort of breath the fresh air and feel the warm sun listening to this piece.)

The Breaking of the Fellowship - (This piece is some sort of perfection as the piece itself plays like a climax for the entirety of the overall score. I particularly love the falling and rising of the strings early on that are infused with such strong emotion, reminiscent of James Horner's best from Braveheart. It's a brilliant as it combines the shire theme representing the Hobbit and the Fellowship theme to such a powerful effect rising together until leading to the sung ending.)

The Bridge of Khazad Dum - (Opening with the main theme for the Fellowship which is iconic in its own right up there with a William character theme to be sure, as the moment you hear you know it's Lord of the Rings without a doubt. The piece is beyond the great use of that unforgettable motif though as it segues into the building action until its purposefully abrupt fade away, leading to the low vocals and the horns offering the fire and the darkness needed for the Balrog. Every moment of the piece matches the intensity of that sequence within the film. Until ending on the poignant choir of loss that ends the piece.).

Louis Morgan said...

Charles:

Top Ten Game of Thrones Episodes:

Hardhome
Rains of Castamere
The Winds of Winter
Baelor
Watchers on the Wall
The Mountain and the Viper
Kissed By Fire
Battle of the Bastards
Blackwater
Winter is Coming

Anonymous:

Cinematography & Art Direction - (The cinematography acts in part as a great aid to the downright brilliant art direction of the film. That war room is a legendary iconic set which has basically influenced every film war room from there on. In that the cinematography frames that room beautifully so one can admire it all its glory, though it also amplifies it through its often brilliant lighting though by just how sparely lit it is. This grants it a very distinct appearance fitting to sort of the dark dealings of the world leaders who in a way play with the lives of billions. Every lighting choice in the room is brilliant in some way whether it is the single halo in the center of the table, the explosions on the "big board" or the shadow in which Dr. Strangelove originally rests in. Now technically speaking the rest of the scenes are technically less impressive in terms of both production design, well except of course the bomb itself, and cinematography. That's not really saying much as there are still unforgettable moments in the cinematography particularly in the lighting on Ripper's face in his close up as he monologues, or of course Major Kong's sendoff, and the art direction is always great the war room though simply is one of the greatest sets ever made.)

Screenplay - (I have not read the original novel but apparently it is a mostly serious take making the fact that Fail-Safe was a ripoff all the more evident. What apparently holds it the plot outline yet it was Kubrick and the other writers who took it upon themselves to make Nuclear War funny. Well job well done, though in a way the genius of the screenplay isn't just that they pull that off but also in the fact that they made the decision to do so. The nuclear holocaust is obviously not a pleasant subject matter yet Kubrick's film makes it digestible, without making it feel unsubstantial. The serious themes are there and explored effectively you just get to laugh your way through it as well. The characters are of course absurd yet never are they too far gone from reality to turn the film into a simple farce. It creates stakes while still subverting them. Also would should never forget the dialogue which has several lines that have become almost essential aspects of culture itself whether its about no fighting in the war room or one's special bodily fluids. The screenplay is a masterful.)

94dk1:

Well almost anyone should work with Coen Brothers at least once, and I'd have to imagine he's going to be working with one of the McDonagh's brothers sooner than later.


Ngoc Toan Nguyen:

I have not seen Split.

1. Taraeh Alidoosti – The Salesman
2. Felicity Jones – A Monster Calls
3. Imogen Poots – Green Room
4. Jean Malone – The Neon Demon
5. Abbey Lee – The Neon Demon
6. Nicole Kidman – Lion
7. Janelle Monae – Hidden Figures
8. Viola Davis – Fences
9. Lupita Nyong’o – Queen of Katwe
10. Angourie Rice – The Nice Guys

Louis Morgan said...

Alex:

Loved it as well. Would have loved to have seen even more of Winstead who has been great so far, though they seem to be building up her character for something special.

Tahmeed:

The Godfather Screenplay - (In terms of their screenplays it is notable as both adapt and expand on the original source. The first film obviously being far more connect though thankfully eliminating many nonsensical elements, Sonny's genitalia for one, but carrying over the strongest elements in terms of the revealing the complexity of the mob world, and creating the detailed family of the Corleone. Coppola's screenplay surpasses that within the family, and especially in the sequel where he furthers the connection between father and son, despite not sharing any time together as adults, as well as expands brilliantly the role of Fredo into one of the strongest elements of the series. The sheer heft of information in both films never feels overwhelming nor does it every compromise the more intricate intimate details of the family dynamics or the characters. Part II technically stretches it all the more with its dueling narratives which manages to amplify each other rather than diminishing them while also presenting to distinct and separate mob tales. The major character are brilliantly realized though this is also amplified by the dialogue which manages to aim for a realism though with just the right touches of style to grant the work a unique voice.)

Direction - (The funny thing is I feel like I'm probably less of a fan of the films than so many, though in only terms of I think there are many great films that exist and I don't feel the two films should be defined as THE great films. In that I know many who would consider it blasphemy to even possibly consider Chinatown over it 74, and I prefer both Chinatown and Coppola's actual passion project the Conversation. Those are two great films, but so is part II and is the first film. Coppola's direction of the film is what took the film to be treated with such reverence through his larger connection to sort of the American experience itself, which is largely through his direction. Take the opening scene of the first film where we have king mobster Vito dealing in favors. There is the mob scene there, which in itself Coppola allows to have more emotion than gangster deals of old. Around though there is warmth of the family celebration outside where Coppola pays as much attention to as the mob dealings. He does not disassociate the two elements. That family life is made an essential part of what is the texture of the film. In Part II, in the rise of the Vito, the arrival to Ellis island in new York is not treated as a quick setting of the scene. Coppola takes the time to invest in the experience of coming and growing in America even if it is a mobster's story. That choice though is one of many that essential created the legend. So many sequence have come into individual legend that one could be forget to remember that Coppola had to conceive such a moment originally. Such as the killings set the to the baptism, the toll booth assassination, the door closing final shot of the first film, Vito's tracking across the roof, the Cuban revolution, Fredo's demise. The choices made by Coppola are perhaps worthy of such praise and that is not even to mention his ability to bring uniformly strong performances in both films, and ensure that every technical element of the film came together to craft the film's iconic style. I could go on really but I'll stop there.)

Look up my thoughts on Gordon Willis, as his work in the two parts and All the President's Men, were mostly what my thoughts were based around.

I considered the win certainly. He'd still be a 4.5.

My hair, if not cut, actually grows into an infamous movie haircut so I'm kind of in the habit of avoiding such things

Luke Higham said...

Louis: God help you, if it's Anton Chigurh.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Which five fictional locations, would you've loved to live in.

My #1 is Hobbiton.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Definitely somewhere in Harry Potter.

Charles Heiston said...

Mount Doom.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: LOL, Mount Doom. :)

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Hobbiton
Rivendell
Innisfree
Twin Peaks (Just for a visit for some Coffee and Pie)

Charles:

Really love a good sauna eh?