Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

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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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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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For the record: I called out Meghan McCain before it was cool

October 19, 2010

Kirsten Fleming and I were ahead of our time. We knew Meghan McCain was an idiot. We knew she her faux hipster rebel attitude was toxic to the Republican Party… Hell we knew she wasn’t even a Republican.

Now others are jumping on the girl with d cups and a pea brain.

First it was Hot Air posting a video of George Will taking Meghan to task

Two key moments. The first comes at around 2:45, when MegMac lays into Christine O’Donnell. The other starts at around 7:35 and runs through 9:30, when Will replies to her point that the tea party is “intolerant” and losing younger voters rapidly. In fact, it’s The One who’s lost 16 points among college students since last year; tea partiers do skew older demographically, but if the movement was as repugnant to young voters as Meg seems to think, the Democrats shouldn’t be having trouble motivating them to turn out next month.

This got the attention of the Weekly Standard’s Mary Katharine Ham via twitter, who took to McCain bashing too.

Then Red State got involved

Cheri Jacobus at The Hill put out this piece:

The spawn of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is doing herself, her father and the GOP no favors. On ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, the 26-year-old Meghan McCain (R-or-D, of absolutely nothing) tore into Delaware’s GOP Senate nominee, Christine O’Donnell, sharing with a national television audience that “in my group of friends, it turns people off because she’s seen as a nut-job.” In truth, many Republicans share that view, which should not come as a surprise to anyone. But why is it that we are listening to a 26-year-old with no political or professional accomplishments of her own?

Meghan McCain is certainly entitled to her own opinion, but for a major network like ABC to be providing this forum for her should raise questions, along with eyebrows. The Sunday morning shows have historically and traditionally been reserved for serious, experienced, proven political and policy experts and journalists with credibility whom viewers can trust. Please tell us why the musings of a young woman with no accomplishments or experience of her own, other than sitting on the Straight Talk Express between her parents, warrants a spot on the serious political news shows.

By Jacobus’ standards, or that of ABC’s This Week, I should be on television sharing my views. But I think I have more political experience that MegMac but my last name isn’t tied to a twice defeated RINO presidential candidate. So thanks for the endorsement, I’m waiting for ABC to call.

Meghan McCain has never held a job and is sitting at the table on Sunday morning with the serious grown-ups, slamming O’Donnell for not having enough job experience.  I guess you could say Meghan has no real history, not real success in any kind of business and that it’s a bit of a problem when one day you can just wake up and find yourself on “This Week” chatting as an “equal” with Christiane Amanpour, George Will, et al. Is ABC doing this for ratings? Is it to invite gawkers? Or is it to try to paint the entire GOP with such silliness and make America believe silly young things represent the entire party?

How will O’Donnell ever respond to such insurmountable intellectual vigor?

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Not the Whiteman’s bitch meets The Daily Show

September 16, 2010

John Oliver had the story:

​Since Wisconsin won’t let Ieshuh Griffin her put her campaign slogan, “NOT the white man’s bitch,” on the ballot in her run for a seat in the state Assembly, she’s looking for other megaphones.

Last night, John Oliver gave her one on “The Daily Show.”

“My statement of principle is, ‘Not the white man’s bitch,'” she tells Oliver.

“Let me just check. I asked you for your statement of principle, didn’t I?” Oliver deadpans. “I didn’t say, ‘Suggest a possible title for the next Li’l Kim’ album.”

Audience laughter aside, Griffin says she’s serious about doing a better job representing Milwaukee’s 10th District than her Democratic opponent, Stephanie Findley. And Findley’s not amused.

Her statement?

“I specialize in results.”

But that’s only four words, Oliver says. Add one more: “I specialize in results, bitch.”

Findley wasn’t laughing.

Griffin, meanwhile, is looking for some results from the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where she’s appealed a lower court’s decision to keep the slogan off the ballot.

That judge “has a judicial disability because he refused to apply the law.”

Here is the video

Ieshuh Griffin actually across as somewhat intelligent and made a decent argument.

And the political commercial is hilarious!