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Oscars 2011

March 1, 2011

Howdy folks, it’s that time of year again where anyone who’s sat in a movie theatre at any point in time during the past 12 months thinks they’re a damn expert on cinema, and coincidently knows what it takes to be a “good film”. Well we here at The Mug Rack are no different. So that’s why I’m taking this opportunity to feel like a pretentious movie aficionado and give my picks for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards Ceremony tonight. In fact, I’ll even through in the possible upsets that could occur. I’m not going to go through the full list because quite frankly…who the hell seriously has the time to read through the best foreign film that no one has seen? Anyway, here we go!

Best Actor: Colin Firth from “The King’s Speech”. Say what you will, Colin Firth has always done a hell of a job so it’s going to be good to see him get this. If he doesn’t win it for some strange reason, Jesse Eisenberg will most likely take it from his role in The Social Network.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale from “The Fighter”. Hands down he’s got this, if not, pick up your jaw and give Geoffery Rush or Mark Ruffalo the applause they could very well receive for their respective roles in “The King’s Speech” and “The Kids Are Alright”.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman for her fantastic role in “Black Swan”. Truth be told this is going to be a runaway W for the Portman camp, but in the event the academy had a bout of amnesia and forgot how great she was, Annette Bening would be the next best choice from “The Kids Are Alright”.

Best Supporting Actress: Helena Bonham Carter of “The King’s Speech”. If not her, Amy Adams of “The Fighter” would take this.

Best Animated Film: “Toy Story 3″. No need for an upset choice here because let’s face it…it’s a Disney/Pixar film.

Best Art Direction: I really want to see “Alice in Wonderland” take this, but it’s going to be “Inception” or “The King’s Speech”.

Best Cinematography: “Black Swan”. If not, “Inception”.

Best Costume Design: This one is always a toss up, but “The King’s Speech” has a good shot. I want to see “Alice in Wonderland” walk away with the Oscar, but we shall see.

Best Director: This one is going to David Fincher of “The Social Network” as much as I want to disagree with that, I can’t. If he doesn’t get it, Darren Arnofsky of “Black Swan” should give David a run for his money.

Best Original Score: This goes to either Hans Zimmer for his work on “Inception” or Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for “The Social Network”.

Best Picture: It feels like the academy decided to include every freaking movie released this year, but “The King’s Speech” will be the won who takes this. If this film doesn’t, “The Social Network” will most likely pull the upset.

Best Adapted Screenplay: This one is another toss up, but the Cohen brothers always do a damn good job of film adaptation. So don’t be surprised to see “True Grit” to get this one. Otherwise it’s up in the air as to who could get the toss up, maybe “127 hours” or “The Social Network”.

Best Original Screenplay: This goes to “The King’s Speech”. Otherwise “The Kids Are Alright” would be the best option to pull the upset.

So there are my picks. It’s ultimately up to the Academy, but these are pretty safe bets if you’re a betting man and/or woman and you happen to put money on an Oscar spread…If you’re into that kind of thing, but I digress, round up the bros and girlfriends, get a dirty 30 of High Life and have yourself an Oscar party tonight!

-Walt

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Black Swan

January 31, 2011

The story revolves around Natalie Portman’s character Nina. Nina is a ballet dancer in a New York City ballet company, and her life is completely devoted to dancing. She lives with her controlling ex-ballerina mother Erica (played by Barbara Hersey) and is exactly what her mother wants her to be. Vincent Cassel’s character Thomas is the artistic director of the company and chooses Nina to be his next prima ballerina, replacing the former prima named Beth, played by Winona Ryder (yea, I know…didn’t think she was doing movies anymore either). Thomas announces that the company’s next season will begin with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. For those not familiar with Swan Lake, the main character (The Swan Queen) needs to embody the White Swan and Black Swan. Nina is the embodiment of the White Swan, delicate, sweet and innocent. Unfortunately, the Black Swan needs to be the opposite, she needs to be seductive and embody all that is sensual and wrong. At this point Lilly, played by Mila Kunis, steps in. She’s a new dancer to the company from San Francisco and is the human representation of the Black Swan. The two dancers become rivals forcing Nina to learn to shed her innocence and embrace her dark side.

Simply stated, this film blew me away! Natalie Portman’s portrayal of the perfectionist ballerina was absolutely convincing. She embraced and became that character and did it very well. The same can be said about Mila Kunis. She looks the part, walks and talks the part of the rebel and the chemistry between the two actors on screen is nothing short of magical. The story line can be described as absolutely beautiful in a sick and sadistic manner. Nina’s journey into her dark side takes the viewer on roller coaster ride filled with twists, turns and moments where you are literally asking yourself, how far can someone really go to achieve perfection? Darren Arnofsky, the director, has built a career around making films that leave you questioning the psychology of the world that we live in. His earlier films such as Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler are perfect examples of that. This time around you’re left with a list of some of the same questions about how dark the human psyche is willing to go to achieve what it wants.

Overall, I highly recommend this film. It was well put together, well directed and very worthy of the Golden Globe Nominations that it received (Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress). In short, if you don’t see this film, you better have a damn good reason because you’ll be missing out on one of the best films to come out of 2010.

-Walter

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Most Memorable Political Videos of 2010

December 23, 2010

Funniest, most memorable and most news worthy political videos of the year:

BP Coffee Spill 

In a Summer dominated by the BP Global PR twitter and the endless stream of bullshit given to us by BP, this pretty much sums up BP’s incompetence in under 3 minutes.

Funny or die had some memorable political videos this year, but none stood out more than the Presidential Reunion  The video reunites the best presidential impersonations from SNL – plus Jim Carey as Reagan saying “pendulous balls”

Palinception: 

It makes fun of Fox News, tea parties and republicans and I’m for those things but I can still take a joke. Plus it uses Inception, and that was one of the most parodied movies of the year. Even if some parodies were just rip off of others -Right South Park?

Is Obama Keynsian? 

We can all agree that the Rally To restore sanity/fear was a  train wreck and a bad Joke. What we didn’t know is how stupid people who went to the rally are. And yes for the record Obama is a Keynesian

Bob Ethridge (D-NC) Manhandles student reporter

Its a wonder why democrats lost in 2010.

Dale Peterson for Alabama Agriculture Commissioner  

We are better than that, Dale.

I’m not a witch 

How fucked is your campaign if this is the ad you need to run?

Jan Brewer Zones out 

Still not as bad as a witch

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50 Years Ago Today Marquette football died

December 9, 2010

Though the team was struggling and a financial burden, 50 years ago today, University officials at Marquette made the most short sighted decision that could have ever been made.

Bob Wolfley has the story:

Fifty years ago on Thursday, Marquette University gave up on intercollegiate football.

The news came as a shock to most everyone at the school, except perhaps for Rev. Edward J. O’Donnell, S.J., who made the announcement on a Friday morning that the school was dropping football.

Students, players and coaches were left stunned, bewildered and dismayed by the move. Some of those feelings morphed into bitterness, a taste of which survives today, at least for a few of the players on that team.

Students, players and coaches were left stunned, bewildered and dismayed by the move. Some of those feelings morphed into bitterness, a taste of which survives today, at least for a few of the players on that team.

“Back then we didn’t have demonstrations, we had rallies,” said Bill Johnson, 70, in a phone interview recently. Johnson was a junior quarterback then for the Golden Avalanche.

The Dec. 10 edition of the Milwaukee Sentinel carried a photograph on its front page, running the entire width, showing students surging along N. 5th Street.

“ ‘We Want Football!’ MUers Yell” the headline honked.

“We have exhausted all possible ways of retaining the sports,” O’Donnell said. The athletic department could no longer support football, track and cross-country programs, he said, because they cost too much. He mentioned that basketball was “the principal athletic rallying point for alumni in the future.”

During a press conference at his office, O’Donnell said he had reached the decision “with deep regret.” He said the programs had been operating in the red for five straight years. He said the athletic program was $50,000 in debt in 1960 and that the track program alone lost $8,000 in 1959.

The 1960 team was 3-6. The program was a power in the 1920s and ‘30s but had not had a winning record since 1953. From 1954-’60 the team was 10-44-3.

According to one report the total attendance for the four home games in the ‘60 season was 57,600.

Joe Schulte, 70, was a defensive back/quarterback for Marquette then, a junior who had just been elected captain for the 1961 season.

Schulte remembers him and Johnson trying to persuade the MU athletic department to honor not only tuition but room and board costs.

“They said no it’s a business decision,” Johnson said. “We’re not doing it. That was upsetting to hear that in a cold fashion . . . . We felt we were not treated properly.”

George Andrie, 70, a junior end and defensive end on the team, went on to have an impressive professional career with the Dallas Cowboys. With a year a eligibility left, Andrie considered transferring to the University of Tulsa. He thought about playing for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. He chose neither.

The Cowboys, who were interested in him, wanted him to transfer to East Texas State. He decided against that too, and returned to Marquette to finish requirements for his degree. He does to recall his time than at MU with fondness.

He thinks he would have been better off at Michigan State, which had offered him a scholarship.

“The more you found out, the more you kind of resented what they did,” Andrie said. “We didn’t have anyone we could talk to. My parents didn’t know anything about football. Hell, there were not advisers for us to turn to. They said we are going to take away part of your scholarship. That really pissed me off. It was a mess, a true mess. It really left a bad taste in my mouth.”

Andrie said his older brother, Stan, who also played at Marquette remembers his playing days there with more affection than he does. George Andrie said he is grateful for at least one aspect of his time at Marquette – he met his wife there.

Former Packers president Bob Harlan, 74, was the sports information director at Marquette in 1960. He said the program’s demise was hastened by a decision years before to play home games at County Stadium instead of the smaller, cozier Marquette Stadium, which was more accessible for students.

“Our attendance dropped tremendously,” Harlan said. “The students lost interest. Moon Mullins was the athletic director at the time and he was a Notre Dame man. His hope was to make Marquette another Notre Dame. He thought one of the ways to do that was to move to the bigger stadium. It was just brutal.”

Dennis Ferriter, 72, was a center, linebacker, kicker and senior captain of the 1960 team.

“A lot of the students were really upset,” Ferriter recalled. “There were marches in the street. I doubt very many students went to classes that day. What good it did I don’t know. There were a lot of disappointed people, myself included.

“I still have allegiance to Marquette,” Ferriter said. “I’m very committed. But if they had a football program, I would certainly be more committed. I absolutely would be, as I think a lot of other people would be. It’s different with a football. . . versus a basketball game. It’s not quite the same. I think (football) generates more interest. I think it generates more contribution dollars for the university.

A hat tip to Bob Wolfley for this tremendous article. He did a great job of hunting down former players and those that were involved with Marquette in the 60s. The article answers a lot of questions about the program and of course, provides a first hand account of how Marquette broke the news, and how the players reacted. There stills to be some bitterness there.

It’s unfortunate that Marquette Football was financially unstable and equally unfortunate that Marquette decided to cancel the program. Thought it will probably never come back, there always remains a shimmer of hope that Marquette will bring a Football program back to the university and the city of Milwaukee.

 

 

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47 Years Ago today…

November 22, 2010

John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas by a lone gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald who shot at him from the 6th floor  of the Texas School Book Depository with a Mannlicher Carcano rifle. He fired 3 shots. The third shot fatally wounded the President.

There was no conspiracy. The JFK movie is nothing but a farce.

For all the information you need on the Kennedy Assassination check this out.

Or just watch this video:

Most Conspiracy theories are about as logical as this.

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L.A. Noire Looks AWESOME!

November 11, 2010

I might be a little late to the game in declaring Rockstar Games‘  latest game, Red Dead Redemption is a masterpiece, but it is. Think Oregon Trail meets Grand Theft Auto in every amazing way possible. Even if I haven’t been able to ford the river yet. Once I take down Red Dead I’ll be aiming for the Undead Nightmare.

However Rockstar Games’ latest creation makes Red Dead Redemption and every Grand Theft Auto look like ET for the Atari.

L.A. Noire looks incredible. Game seems like a variation of Max Payne meets The Black Dahlia in a perfectly recreated 1940s Los Angeles. Check out all the new videos on Rockstar’s website because I can’t embed them here. Or you can check out Kotaku for information:

Because in L.A. Noire you play a detective in the Los Angeles of the 1940s. Rockstar says the game has you trying to solve crimes through a “blend of classic action, clue-finding and interrogation, allowing players to analyze every subtle nuance of an actor’s performance in order to get to the truth.”

Think of L.A. Noire more as interactive fiction than a video game. Moreover, it’s made by Rockstar. Have they made a bad product since GTA III?

It’s worth pointing out that the game will include Mad Men’s Aaron Stanton as lead officer, Cole Phelps, Fringe’s John Noble, and a cast of “esteemed actors,” working alongside director Michael Uppendahl (Mad Men), according to Rockstar.

 

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Bootleggers bar in Milwaukee is Closed

October 24, 2010

Yes- It’s official.
Walking around downtown last night, I saw that Bootleggers Bar in Milwaukee is official closed. It looks like they already have logos out on the windows for their new bar: Whiskey River. This is the only news I can find about the transition.

I have not heard anything official, but it sounds like we will not be having Wing N Sing on Oct 18th. I would expect that Wing N sing will return on November 8th (perhaps?) under the new name “Whiskey River Saloon”.

This is all thats left of the website.

Facebook has some posts about its closing

Perhaps Whiskey River is trying to latch on to the country bar theme that seems to be transforming another bar on Water St.

We’ll miss you Bootleggers. I got to hang out with Joe the Plumber there.

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