MasterChugs Theater: ‘Oscar 2011 Wrap-Up’

The Oscars for twenty-eleven (we are nothing if we don’t follow Rick’s rules) are done and over with. I’m sure you’ve woken up from watching them by now. You probably read my column from last week, right? It had my picks in it. If you didn’t, go ahead now. Go on, I’ll wait.


Okay, you’re done? What? No? Fine. Keep reading.


Okay, now you’re done. Keep those picks in mind-they reveal that I’m the smartest person on the planet. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Oscar 2011 Wrap-Up’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘The Fighter’

When previews and trailers for The Fighter came out across the nation around the beginning of November, I didn’t really think much of the movie. Mark Wahlberg? Yeah, he wasn’t too bad in The Departed, but for every one of those movies, there’s The Happening. I can imagine some audiences shying away from the movie, reluctant to see a film about boxing.

We really need to stop going with our gut reactions. As a boxing movie, The Fighter is one of the best. It’s a spectacular entertainment that’s every bit as rousing as Rocky. But it’s much more than a meager “boxing movie,” as some might label it. The Fighter is also a great character study about family, addiction and ego. It’s an incredibly uplifting movie and, at times, a very funny one. There’s not an instance in The Fighter where you can sense that the filmmakers have anything less than absolute respect for the art of boxing and the people who inspired this project. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘The Fighter’

Take it from Snee: Dickens couldn’t take this

Not Another Christmas Carole would make a great Wayans movie ... for a Wayans movie.When it comes to movies, I can see where I come across as a bit of a jerk. In the past, I’ve accused Roland Emmerich of international terrorism (twice), Harry Potter movies of insidious Britishness and Michael Bay of not understanding the sounds and shapes that make up the world as we know it.

So, yeah, maybe I’m equal parts film alarmist and snob. And you know what? I’m trying to become a better man.

But, then I have to sit through previews for:

  • Another remake of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
  • Another unsettling motion capture flick from Robert Zemekis.
  • Jim Carrey embracing his inner Eddie Murphy … and Eddie Murphy … and Eddie Murphy.

All in one movie. (F#%k off, self-improvement.)

That’s right, coming this November, the worst elements of modern film, brought to you by the most repetitive actor in comedy and Disney are going to force you to sit through Charles Dickens’ most boring morality tale, yet. Continue reading Take it from Snee: Dickens couldn’t take this

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Terminator Salvation’

25 years.

That’s how long we’ve been hearing about humanity’s war against the machines, a battle James Cameron first initiated in 1984 when he sent Arnold Schwarzenegger back in time to terminate an unsuspecting Linda Hamilton. Armageddon was averted—and then triggered—in subsequent sequels before arriving at this movie. But our predestined, apocalyptic future looks a lot like products from Hollywood’s past. Specifically, imagine the love child of Mad Max and The Matrix as delivered by Michael Bay, and you’re beginning to get the picture.

McG is a director with an above-average eye and an original instinct for camera placement. To his credit, he’s not one of those lazy types who think they can generate excitement in an action sequence by shaking the camera or kicking it. But he has a major weakness as a filmmaker, and that weakness is all over Terminator Salvation: His grand, elaborate visual sense is completely detached from his brain.

So what we end up with is a filmmaker who gets it right in all the small ways, meticulously crafting bits of action – showing what it might be like, for example, to be inside a crashing helicopter. But in all the big ways, he’s so lost that the movie becomes comical. He piles action blowout on top of blowout. When in doubt, he increases the scale. Explosions get larger, fireballs bigger. The machines become increasingly resilient, as the soundtrack goes right up to your ears and keeps pounding.

Yet nothing he does can distract us from the fact that he barely has a story to tell. The only question is, was he covering for the absence of story, or did he actually not notice the lack of one? Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Terminator Salvation’

You Missed It: Eights are wild edition

It’s Friday. More than that, it’s an 8/8/08 Friday. Does that mean something special to you? It should, because it’s the last time we are going to see all three date categories matching up until 9/9/09, and we all know that is way too far in the future to comprehend. Anyway, if you were busy airing fake political ads this week, odds are you missed it.

Lucius Fox will not drive the Batmobile anytime soon
Actor Morgan Freeman and his wife’s friend were involved in a car accident in Mississippi. Reportedly, Freeman was driving at night and the car left the road, flipping into a ditch. He had surgery and was released, but it turns out he and his wife are getting divorced. It just so happens Freeman has been rumored to have a mistress that was one of his wife’s friends. Draw your own conclusions on the cause of the accident, if you know what we mean. Freeman’s accident is the latest in a series of mishaps and tragedies that have befallen the cast of The Dark Knight. First Heath Ledger’s death, then Christian Bale’s assault charges, then Maggie Gyllenhaal’s droopy face.

The Olympics are seeing red
Today marks the first day of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This means that we can expect a great deal of sports coverage on television for the next couple weeks. Security is said to be very tight at the event, so that means all the athletes have to worry about is smog, SARS and possible jail time for even saying the word “Tibet.”

Georgia on Russia’s mind
In a military operation totally not planned to happen the same day as the beginning of the Olympics, because that would just too conveniently take the world’s eye off the ball for a little while, Russia has invaded Georgia, making it the first time since General William T. Sherman in 1864 that an invading force has–wait, I’m being told there is more than one Georgia. Apparently there is one in Asia, too. Russia says next it will invade New Jersey, the one in Asia.

Packers send Favre packing
Brett Favre (pronounced FAV-ree) has been traded by the Green Bay Packers to the New York Jets this week after being reinstated in the NFL and a drama that has been going on since the end of last season and Favre’s (supposed) retirement. Favre is clearly going through the classic mid-life crisis, where a man looks around at his life, at his NFL records, his Super Bowl rings and his piles of money and asks himself “Is this really all there is?”

MasterSchools Theater: ‘The Dark Knight’

NOTE: Chugs is too cool for school this week, so Schools is filling in.

Yeah, we get it.

You’re cool, hip, deep and brooding. You’ve gone to see the new Batman flick for all the right reasons. You read the comics, still revere Michael Keaton as the best, and in noooooooooooo way let Heath Ledger’s death influence you on your own personal opinion of the film.

Bravo. Now on to the real results. Continue reading MasterSchools Theater: ‘The Dark Knight’

Great Ledger’s ghost!*

The ghost of Heath Ledger still refuses to move on.

While alive, he lingered around, making us watch horrible movies like 10 Things I Hate About You with our girlfriends (or A Knight’s Tale with our boyfriends).

In death, he haunted the Internet through creepy necrophiliac fans. Then he nightstalked his ex-girlfriend. (Sorry, Heath. If marriage ends at death, then dating ends at the pill coma.)

Now, he’s angling for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his performance as ICP in The Dark Knight. Look, it’s bad enough that Hollywood is dangling his reanimated corpse in front of us this summer, but rewarding zombie labor? They’re stealing our jobs (and accolades)!

*Bonus Headline: