Film Review: “Chuck”

Starring: Liev Schreiber, Elisabeth Moss and Jim Gaffigan
Directed by: Philippe Falardeau
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hr 36 mins
IFC Films

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

A couple of weeks ago I came across a scrapbook I put together when I was 14 and living in Cleveland. The big news, apparently, was the opening of the Coliseum in Richfield, Ohio. Elton John was there. Many windows were broken when a riot broke out during Led Zeppelin. And, on March 24, 1975, little-known club fighter Chuck Wepner fought the great Muhammad Ali for the Heavyweight Championship of the World.

“Who cared about me a month ago? Nobody!”

This quote, from the film “Rocky,” opens the new film about Chuck Wepner (Schreiber, absolutely losing himself in the role). Known as the “Bayonne Bleeder,” a nickname the New Jersey native dislikes, Wepner is popular in the ring because he can take a punch. He is so popular that he has been told her will receive a shot at the title once Champion George Foreman defeats Ali in Zaire at the famed “Rumble in the Jungle.” Ali won his belt back in Africa but he decides to give a “white” guy a shot at the title. And that white guy is Chuck Wepner.

If you’ve ever seen Chuck Wepner on a talk show, you know the man is always “on.” Here he is no different. Schreiber plays him with a confidence that’s off the charts. Yet he still manages to exude the sadness inside, which Wepner feels whenever his wife (Moss) or others are disappointed by him. Things begin to look up after the film “Rocky” is released, with Wepner being hailed by the press as “the real Rocky.” He begins to associate himself so much with the film that, the night after “Rocky” took home the Academy Award for Best Picture, he is telling people that “We” won the Oscar. However, things begin to slowly unravel, both in his marriage and his life, giving Wepner one more fight to win.

As mentioned above, Schreiber is outstanding as the title character, but he also has a great supporting cast, including Ron Perlman as trainer Al Braverman, Michael Rappaport as his brother, John, and Pooch Hall as Ali. Wepner even has some interaction with Sylvester Stallone himself, played by Morgan Spector, auditioning for a role in “Rocky II.”

As a final note, I’ll add that Stallone has never said he based Rocky on Wepner. He has said that he saw the Ali/Wepner fight and alluded to it when “Rocky” was released. However, as he continued to make more Rocky films, he distanced himself from the Wepner-inspired story. In 2003, Wepner sued Stallone for basically using his story for financial gain. The case was settled in 2006.

Testament’s Chuck Billy talks about signature line of vaping pens “The Chief”

Chuck Billy is probably best known as the vocalist for the legendary bay area thrash metal band Testament. However when not performing with the band around the world Chuck keeps himself busy with several business ventures. His latest is that of his own signature line of vaping pens “The Chief”. Together with Lord Vapor the leading provider of high-quality custom vape pens Billy is set to create a product line just as intense as his music. Media Mikes spoke with Chuck recently about the new product line, his experience with vaping and also touched on the upcoming plans for Testament.

Adam Lawton: What was your first exposure vaping and what was it that you found appealing?
Chuck Billy: I tried vaping years ago when I was in Amsterdam. After I got back I bought my own volcano just like I had seen in Amsterdam. There’s certainly a different feeling that comes with vaping. For me being a singer and trying to keep my lungs healthy vaping always seemed a little easier and I enjoyed that. ==

AL: How did the opportunity to create “The Chief” line of herbal vape pens?
CB: I had talked with Adam from Lord Vapor quite some time ago about doing a product line but it never really got hooked up. About eight months ago we met up and really started talking and working on designs. We had to figure out how to make the product better than it already was and also to have it stand out among the other pens like this. We went in and looked and things like temperature. We found that the hottest current temp wasn’t enough to throw the size of cloud we wanted. We worked with some things and got the temps hotter and also worked with the overall look of the pen. Once we got all that stuff down we ordered the first run of prototypes. It did take awhile but once we got it things worked great. We hit the market in March with the first run of “Big Chiefs” and we are currently working on the second line which will include slim line pens both in rechargeable and disposable models.

AL: What did you find to be the most difficult part of developing this product?
CB: The graphics and the design seemed to take the longest. There was a lot of back and forth between us and the manufactures because we weren’t right there while they were being made. Upping the temperature was certainly the easy part but getting things to look right with not only the pen but also the packaging certainly took some time. You need everything to look correct right out of the box because once you go into production if things aren’t right then everything comes out wrong. It was a bit of a gamble but we learned through the process and we have a really great product.

AL: What do you think has caused the recent rise in vaping?
CB: It’s an option people have to where they can go out in public and not cause a scene from smoking. I have used mine in movie theaters without anyone ever saying a word. One of the days on the recent tour we went out with the Exodus guys and we were all vaping during dinner and having a great time without any problems. Those are definitely some of the advantages over being out and smoking say a pipe or joint. You are a bit more inconspicuous. Also again for me personally it’s less harsh on my lungs than other methods.

AL: Are there plans to increase the line outside of just pens?
CB: I’m not sure if we are going to try out liquids or not at this point. That is something that I am not really a fan of. We are working on the rechargeable and disposable pens right now and wrapping up sales on the first 1000 signed and numbered special edition Chiefs. Once those are gone we have plans to change the packaging making those first run Chiefs really special. I think this the Chief signature line is something that’s going to keep growing. Adam has opened the door for me on this and within the next year or so I may venture in to a signature accessories line as there are just so many different accessories you can get.

AL: Aside from your vaping products can you give us an update on Testaments current plans for the coming months?
CB: We are pretty busy. We recently wrapped up one tour and will be heading out on another which is overseas in Europe. After that we will be taking three or four months of to finish the writing of the new record. We really want focus on the album and getting it done. Being that we all don’t live near one another these days that can be a little difficult. There’s a lot of emailing and getting together when we can so it takes time. We are very fortunate at this time that our label Nuclear Blast isn’t breathing down our necks to get it done. They don’t do that as they know when it’s ready it’s ready. That’s been the beauty of things as we can make the album right and we are happy with it.

“5 Film Chuck Norris Collection” DVD Giveaway [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

Who doesn’t love Chuck Norris!? Media Mikes to teaming up with Echo Bridge Home Entertainment to giveaway THREE copies of the latest “5 Film Chuck Norris Collection” DVD. If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great DVDs, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite Chuck Norris film? This giveaway will remain open until December 6th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

The ultimate man of action, Chuck Norris, is bringing explosive thrills to the screen in these three favorites. Includes two bonus Charles Bronson movies.

THE PRESIDENT’S MAN
With his protégé and daughter in tow, covert operative Joshua McCord (Chuck Norris) heads to South America on a high-stakes rescue mission he can’t fail: to recover the First Lady, held hostage by a terrorist group in Rio de Janeiro.

THE PRESIDENT’S MAN: A LINE IN THE SAND
When a group of terrorists threaten to detonate a nuclear bomb somewhere within U.S. borders, Joshua McCord (Chuck Norris) is called back into action. With the bomb’s location unknown, he must infiltrate the group’s compound and capture their mastermind leader before time ticks out.

LOGAN’S WAR: BOUND BY HONOR
Chuck Norris stars as martial arts extraordinaire Jake Fallon, who, after the execution of his brother and sister-in-law, adopts—and trains—his orphaned nephew, Logan. After fifteen years of careful instruction, Logan is determined to avenge his parents’ deaths…and he’ll need Uncle Jake’s help to do it.

BONUS FEATURES: MAN WITH A CAMERA: STRING OF PEARLS
Mike Kovac (Charles Bronson) meets a woman at a party whose uncle, a first class swindler, is trying to get his hands on a pair of rare and valuable pearl necklaces.

LOLA
Charles Bronson stars as a middle-aged American writer named Scott who is visiting London and is captivated by a much younger seductress.