MasterChugs Theater: ‘Iron Man 2’

For those with Netflix (and if you don’t have it, then shame on you, and shame on me for my completely unsolicited plug), Iron Man 2 will soon be available to watch streaming. This is something to keep in mind, as there are worst ways to kill time. But should you put at the top of your queue, or should you just meander around to it? Hit the jump button to find out. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Iron Man 2’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Piranha 3D’

It’s not as scary as it needs to be or as clever as it thinks it is, but Piranha 3D (or just Piranha, though not to be too confused with the Joe Dante movie of the same name) is at least as gimmicky as those fabled 3D films of yore. With all the pointless 3D cartoons and joyless 3D Clash of the Titans conversions, at last here’s a picture that tosses its cookies, its coffee cups and its D-cups right in your lap.

And that’s okay. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Piranha 3D’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Red Cliff’

John Woo has set himself a new challenge in Red Cliff, and that’s to be as old-fashioned as possible. Returning to his roots after a stint in Hollywood, Woo has made the most expensive film in mainland Chinese history, a pleasantly traditional picture that marks a new direction for one of the world’s premier action maestros.

Woo’s classic Hong Kong films with tough-guy titles like Bullet in the Head and Hard Boiled featured intense, focused, almost balletic contemporary gangster shootouts that seemed to redefine what these kinds of movies could do.

Though it stars Woo regular Tony Leung, Red Cliff, by contrast, is a both throwback and change of pace, a massive historical epic that used four writers, three editors, two directors of photography, 300 horses and a cast and crew that came close to 2,000. And oh, how it is epic. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Red Cliff’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Predators’

In 1987, in the midst of his heyday, Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in Predator, an action sci-fi mixed genre film that won over both critics and movie-goers. But just like everything successful in Hollywood, the studio system attempted to build it into a franchise. The first sequel, Predator 2, was made in 1990 and both Alien vs. Predator and AVPR: Alien vs. Predator – Requiem arrived in the last six years. A mixed bag commercially, the films received a common line from the critics: a big thumbs down. While containing the same alien species, there was no linear connection between the sequels and the original film (the final two films merely an excuse to get two of cinema’s classic creatures to do battle). With Nimrod Antal’s Predators, the fifth film in the line, that pattern comes to an abrupt and blissful end. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Predators’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Mystery Team’

Movies from sketch comedy groups can be dicey propositions. The formats aren’t really conducive to each other. Sketch comedy can be hilarious one moment, then the next moment it’s crickets chirping. If the group is good, they can move on quickly and forget about things. But movies are a whole other monster to tame. what could sustain three to five minutes can be awkward in this new format. Some groups can pull it off, and you get great films like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Brain Candy and Super Troopers. Mess it up, and you’re stuck with Miss March.

And there’s not a lot on this earth that’s worse, cinematically speaking, than Miss March.

Now we have Derrick Comedy, an internet sensation full of gentlemen whose names all begin with a “D,” though curiously, none named Derrick. Whether you find this clever or stupid will help determine whether or not you will enjoy Mystery Team. Going by this scale, however, it pleases me to no end that Mystery Team is a rather clever and hysterically funny movie with its heart in the right place that potentially puts the Derrick boys at least on track with the Broken Lizard fellas. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Mystery Team’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Born On the Fourth of July’

Hey kids and kittens. Chug is absolutely booked solid with work this week. As such he’s running a MasterChugs flashback to tie in with this coming weekend’s events. Enjoy.

Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July is not an adaptation of the memoir by Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic, though that’s what the credits indicate. It’s most certainly based on it, but it’s not necessarily an adaptation of the memoir. It’s an indulgent style showcase for Stone, who, with his longtime cinematographer Robert Richardson, employs every act of film trickery imaginable that doesn’t involve CGI effects. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Born On the Fourth of July’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Be Kind Rewind’

In its sweet, lackadaisical way, Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind illuminates the pleasures and paradoxes of movie love. Its two main characters, a pair of Passaic, N.J., loafers named Mike and Jerry, are devotees of the Hollywood mainstream, paying tribute to well-worn classics like Ghostbusters, Driving Miss Daisy, Rush Hour 2 and The Lion King. The way they express this affection lands Mike and Jerry in a spot of copyright trouble, but they (and Gondry) provide a welcome reminder that even the slickest blockbuster is also a piece of handicraft, an artifact of somebody’s nutty, unbounded ingenuity and the potential object of somebody else’s innocent, childlike fascination. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Be Kind Rewind’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Slither’

An alien meteorite falls upon a small town and infects a man who can’t seem to showcase his love for his wife. The man slowly, but most assuredly, begins to turn into something that cannot be described other than to say a “really horrible monster but totally awesome effects”, and slowly infects other townspeople who all turn on the mayor, sheriff and others, who are attempting to escape and kill the lead infected. Got all that? Great, now sit back and enjoy the show!

If you’ve seen or heard anything for Slither, directed by James Gunn, any pictures from some of its gross-out moments, you pretty much have a solid idea of what it’s all about: fun, horror and really gross stuff. If you enjoy those elements, as well as homages to cool horror flicks of the past, the typical 50s “small town” set-up, mixed in with some memorable dialog (with the best clearly being unprintable) and enjoy the acting stylings of Nathan Fillion, the great Michael Rooker and Gregg Henry, this film is sure to twinkle your horror toes, particularly if mutating monsters, slugs, zombies and really disgusting scenarios are your bag o’ chips. The film starts off with your typical small town set-up, establishing all of the characters slowly, but surely, and teasing us with some effects as the “alien” being lands in a field outside of town; however, once the extra-terrestrial being infects Rooker’s character, the fun really begins as he mutates and the fit hits the shan.

Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Slither’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Cashback’

British filmmaker Sean Ellis turned his 2004 short film, Cashback, into an indie feature of the same name in 2006, and his expansion of an intriguing premise turns out to be a moving exploration of the universal need for human connection.

His daily life refracted through a magical realism inspired by creative artistic viewpoint, protagonist Ben believes he has gained special powers of observation. But ultimately his particular carnival ride through the landscape of romance teaches him far more about the salvation possible in human relationships than what can be gained or protected by avoiding them.

I only just recently discovered this movie on my own, and for that, I feel shamed. It is THE emo-drama movie for guys. Why? Because we’ve been there before. Also, it’s got boobers, which is always a good thing. I don’t really know what it was about the synopsis of Cashback that made me want to put it in my Netflix queue. Even now, when I go back to reread the synopsis, there’s nothing that jumps out at me. Whatever it was, I’m glad it caught my eye because this is a gem of a film. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Cashback’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’

Wes Anderson’s latest film, Fantastic Mr. Fox, is an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic novel of the same name. Dahl’s novels, which have helped usher many a disgruntled kid through childhood, don’t condescend to the young, but there’s an element of whimsy that makes readers want to live in his world. Wes Anderson’s movies, on the other hand, can be hit-or-miss for most people, though if you’ve read the past few weeks for me, you know that they’re hits with me. His films tend toward the pretentious, with hints of the war of mid-life crisis and he uses a broad cast of actors repeatedly in his movies. Understated line delivery, artfully composed shots, and a focus on dysfunction alienate some viewers while drawing ardent fans from the other end of the spectrum. Nonetheless, the combination of Dahl and Anderson proves a winner in this film, with Dahl’s fanciful novel providing a great backdrop for Anderson’s regimented directorial style. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’