MasterChugs Theater: We interrupt your normally scheduled MCT

People, I’ve been busier than I’d like and I STILL haven’t had a chance to see Zero Dark Thirty yet. This angers me greatly and unfortunately, I haven’t been able to see anything new. But, if you’re reading this when it posts (5 pm EST on Thursday, 1/24) and you’re in the Roanoke Valley area of Virginia, then I’ve got a deal for you! A good friend of mine, Rod Belcher, has now become a published author this week thanks to his debut novel, The Six-Gun Tarot. Drop by the Books-A-Million near Towne Square Shopping Center in Roanoke at 7 pm tonight and you can meet Rod, along with purchasing his new book and having him sign it! You might even get a chance to see me!

Look down to do so.

There will a new movie review next week. Thanks for your patience everyone.

MasterChugs Theater: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

Before we begin, let’s get the disclaimer out of the way. This is a review of the movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and if you haven’t seen it yet and somehow managed to not know the details of a movie based on a book originally published in 1937 which has sold as many as 100 million copies, you should be forewarned that spoilers may be involved.

I won’t say that I’m a lifelong fan of The Lord of the Rings series. My first experience with them were the Ralph Bakshi animated versions of The Hobbit and Return of the King (for those who’ve seen them, you know the pain I speak of). After that, it was a long time before I even thought of them, certainly not until Peter Jackson brought out the The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, a series of movies that I find beautiful and enthralling, my personal favorite being The Two Towers.

With all that stated, I braved the crowds at the theater this week and settled back to take in the spectacle. As with the previous outings, it was a spectacular epic of technical achievement. There were sweeping landscapes, wonderful scenery, great music and special effects to take your breath away. It’s just not great. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘The Queen of Versailles’

The Queen of Versailles began as a documentary about a time-share billionaire, his ditzy wife, and their grotesque quest to build the largest house in the United States of America. It ended as perhaps the single best film on the Great Recession.

If that and just that is not enough to sell you on this movie, then read on to find out why you need to look at one of the 10 best movies of 2012. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘The Queen of Versailles’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Django Unchained’

Let me get right to the point: Django Unchained is easily Quentin Tarantino’s worst movie. Oooh, such a controversial statement. Allow me to clarify that a bit: it’s still a great movie.

Here is the particular brilliance of Quentin Tarantino: He can rip a horrific page out of history — slavery in the pre-Civil War era South — put it through his favorite grindhouse mill, kick in biting comedy whose sheer audacity and searing irony demands laughter, and yet never for a moment diminish or let us forget the brutal reality.

It’s a brutal movie at times and it’s a hilarious movie at times. Yeah, that sounds like standard Tarantino. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Django Unchained’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’

For many people, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is the best Christmas-themed comedy ever filmed. Personally, I make it habit to watch this movie approximately a gazillion times between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Even after seeing the film so many times, Christmas Vacation remains as hilarious and entertaining as the previous holiday season. More than just a seasonal film, it’s one of those rare comedies that’s near perfect from beginning to end. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Casa de mi Padre’

A quick-sketch routine stretched — amusingly, absurdly, thinly — to feature length, Casa de Mi Padre stars Will Ferrell as Armando Alvarez, the eldest son of a rancher down Mexico, or rather down telenovela, way, where the men are brave, the women beautiful, the villains venal, the passions inflamed, the prose flourished, the sunsets honeyed, and the dangers as numerous as the clichés.

Any Will Ferrell/Adam McKay team-up is worth checking out, and Casa De Mi Padre is no exception. While never hitting the heights as some of their previous efforts, this Spanish language parody by debut director Matt Piedmont is well-made, full of actors and comedians clearly enjoying themselves, and is unlike any American comedy you’ve ever seen.

Unfortunately, it’s just not consistently funny enough to earn itself the mark of a classic, and will probably be remembered for its technical accomplishments and soundtrack rather than its laugh-out-loud moments. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Casa de mi Padre’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Rise of the Guardians’

Rise of the Guardians is based on a premise so simple, it’s brilliant: what if all our cherished childhood figures knew each other? And what if they banded together to face the forces of darkness, in much the same way The Avengers do? But for kids!

That may sound like a bad thing or come across as me putting the movie down. Don’t begin to look at it that way at all. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Rise of the Guardians’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Skyfall’

Change. Transition. While they seem to mean the same thing, the devil is in the details and for those that are being affected, they’re quite aware of which word is being used.

One fortunate consequence arising from Hollywood’s unfortunate lack of action movie creativity is the paradigm of the old-guard-action-hero and technologically-savvy-youth pair. Visible in previous films such as Live Free or Die Hard, this idea seems to result from Hollywood’s need to rehash old classic adventure series in lieu of viable new ones. Once an old “hero” like Bruce Willis is placed into the modern day police force or secret service, he naturally confronts a changed contemporary landscape. Wars are now fought digitally, not physically. Hence the technologically savvy youth, and the contrast between the symbolic physical decline of the hero and the digital power of the scrawny hacker.

But what happens when the villain being fought is both a man of declining physical prowess and a powerful hacker? You have Skyfall, the latest Bond film. Is this along the quality lines of Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace or Thunderball? Hit the jump to find out. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Skyfall’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Wreck-It Ralph’

For just a mere moment early on, Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph looks like it’s attempting to ape Pixar’s Toy Story. There are certainly superficial similarities: Both animated films initially focus on the relationship between children and their playthings. Both address what those playthings do in their downtime, when no human beings are looking.

But Wreck-It Ralph has loftier ambitions than imitating a previous success. It’s a wildly exciting ride that’s also a surprisingly ambitious, crafty film that piles subplot upon subplot, building a teetering tower of ideas that seems more suited to a full season of television than a single feature film. And it works. Boy howdy, does it work. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Wreck-It Ralph’

MasterChugs Theater: Hurricane Relief

As we can only assume a third of you, our readers, were struck by the recent Hurricane Sandy that hit the east coast earlier this week, you should know that it’s no fun with nothing to do. It’s fairly horrid, but we’ve given you clear and logical tips for making it through. Yes, the power is out, but we live in the era of the smart-phone! Thanks to that nifty little device, no matter whether you’re of the Apple or Android family, you’ve got the power of movie-watching at your fingertips, especially if you have a Netflix or Hulu Plus account.

But sometimes you get hit by the storm, and while it’s terrifying as can be outside, it does a ton of damage, just not to you.

That happened to me in July. My area, southwest Virginia, was crushed by a tornado the night before the heatwave that hit the east coast this summer. Surprisingly enough, I managed to retain power, making me the lucky one and able to survive the heat. BUT! My cable was out for almost a week. No internet! No television! What would I do?!

And then, I looked at my movie collection, and it hit me. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: Hurricane Relief