Tag Archives: Flight of the Conchords

Velvet Goldmine: “G” Stands for Glam and Gay

To be honest, I had no idea what this movie was going to be about when I first started it. I searched Netflix for movies starring Christian Bale and/or Ewan McGregor and

The perfect glamster couple. (Collette + Meyers)

found this little gem. (I think gem’s the right word to use for this movie in particular.) Not a strong runner in the money department, this movie has a star studded cast but boasts the time and effort of an independent film with a message to put across. I was perfectly okay with all the homosexuality as well. And trust me, there was a lot.

And it wasn’t even a gay vibe from the outfits.

This movie exudes glam and glitter more than any other film I’ve ever seen. In the same documentary/journalistic vein of Party Monster (review a few entries back), this movie handles the earlier era of Glam Rock (back in the 70’s). Knowing not much about glam rock other than David Bowie, it was interesting to see a character based on him. This movie performs as an homage to David Bowie and Iggy Pop, but with less of a focus on the drugs and more on the sex. I wasn’t expecting as much of a straight edge film, but this movie doesn’t leave out the Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

And here’s something even weirder. I’m not that huge of a fan of glam rock. Sure, I have Gary Glitter’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Pt. II on my iPod, but that’s about as far as it goes. Oh, and this:

That’s the extent of my glam rock knowledge. But what surprised me about this film is how much I enjoyed the musical soundtrack of the film. The movie was right in informing me from the very beginning that I should turn up the volume on my T.V. I thoroughly enjoyed the songs of the 70’s, and had no idea how much I would enjoy glam rock. John Rhys Meyers and Ewan McGregor both lent their vocals to the soundtrack to give it a truer feel to the film, something I always

The fantastical outfits.

appreciate.

But let’s get into the story a little bit. Structured after what is considered by every film student as the greatest film of all time, Citizen Kane, this movie attempts to uncover the glittery veil on who Brian Slade (John Rhys Meyers) truly was. Arthur Stewart (Christian Bale) is a journalist and former glam enthusiast who has come full circle in what used to be his glory days. He has been charged with unearthing the truth on Slade/Persona known as Maxwell Demon. After he pulled a fake assassination stunt at one of his concerts, he fell from grace and landed in obscurity. Meanwhile, everyone around him give their opinion of what their lives were like with Brian Slade around.

The Glam-man Rises.

It’s interesting to see how involved Christian Bale’s character was with the glam scene and those who surrounded Brian Slade. In a world of blossoming bisexuality, all of the characters explore just what it means to be human through sexual interaction. At the same time that it could be discomforting to someone who is against abnormal sexual acts, this movie doesn’t play it up to more than it is, human interaction on a very base and carnal level. It is always amazing to see actors perform onscreen what they truly aren’t in real life. All three (Bale, Meyers, and McGregor) are straight men. They all simulate homosexual acts (kissing, suggestive thrusting, etc) on camera in front of what I would expect is a mixed morals cast and crew. When you slip into something you’re not and sell it, I give you props for that.

The costumes and personalities flair onscreen creating something pretty to look at as well as substance for a story about a form of music that swept both the U.K. and America. With this clash of countries (Ewan McGregor plays Curtis Wild, a glam rocker from Michigan) and love all over, this movie

Ewan McGregor, showin’ it all.

professes love and understanding, no matter what beliefs, morals, or nationality. I was impressed with John Rhys Meyers haunted acting (just as I was with Culkins in Party Monster) and everyone did their share. Christian Bale created a character conflicted with his sexual identity and his confused past, while Ewan staged an opposite character that embraced all life offers. It was a dazzling performance by everyone, including Toni Collette. Throw in Eddie Izzard to add some pizzazz and you have yourself a great cast of rockers.

A side you’ll never see of John Rhys Meyers.

And that’s what I loved about this movie. This isn’t your average film. Combining the worlds of musical and sexual liberation created something that an outsider like myself wouldn’t be able to acquire otherwise. The actors deliver superbly and the songs and colors create a fantastical cosmic journey you don’t want to end. If they couldn’t strung a series of glam rock music videos together, I wouldn’t have complained. So I say anyone looking for a change of pace to life should check out this film. It’s fab. 8.4 out of 10.

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Gentlemen Broncos

Hello, my name is Dr. Ronald Chevalier. You may not know who I am, but I am the successful author of over 30 trilogies in the Cyborg Harpies series. I love the use of mammary cannons and mind probes. It’s best to use characters with suffix names like -ainous. I draw all my own cover art and am currently working on a new series that “inspiration” hit me like a troll named Teacup. I am one of the greatest characters of all time. Who am I truly? I am Jemaine Clement of the folk rock comedic band, Flight of the Conchords. Welcome to my film, Gentlemen Broncos.

From the same creator/director who brought the world the tame/awkward comedy of Napoleon Dynamite comes another movie of the same caliber. In this version, Benjamin (Michael Angarano) is a young aspiring sci-fi writer. In his stories, Bronco (Sam Rockwell) is a hero of the Yeast, a material I’m not at all familiar with. In his pursuit of the evil Lord

Bronco on a battle stag. Nice.

Daysius, Bronco attempts to reclaim his stolen gonads. In his journey, Bronco encounters cyclopses, (?) pudding, and battle stags.

With this true potential inside of him, Benjamin hopes to have his work published, and he plans to do this in a contest at a local authorian convention, Cletus Fest. (Similar to a sci-fi convention, but nobody dresses up and everyone is a reclusive ego booster.) While there, Benjamin encounters the host of the convention, Dr. Ronald Chevalier, acclaimed writer in the aforementioned paragraph. Swept away by his presence and knowledge of cover art and troll clans, Benjamin submits his work, The Yeast Lords. Little did he know that in Chevalier’s current state, he was in need of some desperate inspiration. And it would come in the form of plagiarism. From this point on, it is a steady slope of failures and downtrodden feelings for little Benjy boy until he can pick himself up, trusty blowdart in hand and a mission to reclaim his creative piece of work.

Who doesn't love Dr. Ronald Chevalier and his "ainous"?

Now I’ve heard from other review sites and such that this movie was a poor attempt. For those who don’t like Napoleon Dynamite, I can see how that could come across that way. Hell, even for those who liked Napoleon Dynamite and hated this movie, I can understand trying to compare the two might be futile. But this movie is on another plane from the good old N.D. of our early high school years. It was all the rage (not trying to generalize a huge populace’s high school experience) back then to quote the bejeezus out of this movie, as it was with Anchorman. But what stood out to me about these films (and the lesser successful awkward cousin, Nacho Libre) is that these were wholesome films. There was no need for swearing or gross out humor that comes with a lot of F-bombs. This movies took a childen’s PG base and made an outlandish film out of toned down slang and some of the most awkward laugh out loud scenes I’ve seen in a long time. And I credit the shizz (see there, sample that) out of Jared Hess for these films. He’s brought a genre of film to the world that doesn’t need Hangover like situations and vulgarity to make it a piece of comedy. And that be the truth.

So let’s get back to the point of this film and just what makes it tick. Coming from a sci-fi enthusiast that may slightly phase me to be a bit biased about this film, (Dune all the way) there’s a certain charm to the science fictional. Set in worlds outlandishly unbelievable and yet endearing, this genre of writing is populated by the sexually deprived and socially awkward. I can’t remember the last time I read a sci-fi novel and marveled at how clinically nerds analyzed sex. (Being a nerd myself, word.) With no true substance of emotion (usually) we are given the world of a sci-fi writer from a logical perspective. And we are told this movie from the perspective of a young boy who, by the end of the film, truly learns how to stick up for himself and express emotions.

Surveillance Does. I hate those.

Accompanying this story of redemption comes two other stories. One, the truth of Benjamin’s novel, The Yeast Lords. Bronco and his journey of revenge goes hand in hand with that of Benjamin and his reclamation of creative property. Set in a world even I would watch, we are given cheesy graphics and explosions that endear an entire world of Star Trek and Star Wars fans for the pure effort the movie puts into the story is attempts to portray. Contrast this with scenes of the dialed up, transexual version of Sam Rockwell as Brutuss, the effeminate fighter of the cyclops and surveillance does. (He hates those.) Within these two extremes, the entire story of Bronco and his lynx that will rip your throat out comes to an end as we connect with a grow with the real world situations that Benjamin has to endure.

Lonnie, you strange bastard.

And with that real world comes some of the strangest characters I’ve ever seen. Starting with Jennifer Coolidge as Benjamin’s overprotective mother, Judith, and ending with Hector Jiminez as Lonnie Donaho, a strange-mouthed director/producer of the failed low-budget movie made from Benjamin’s novel, there are so many strange characters in between. There are few lulls in laughs in this movie (depending on your humor) and quite a few unexpected, crazy scenes that even I couldn’t handle. In comparing this to N.D. or N.L. ( Lonnie was also cast in Nacho Libre as another ridiculous character, go figure.) this movie goes farther than the other two. I mean, there’s a python pooping onscreen for godsake. At an unexpected moment too. It’s just all gold.

I could go on and on about all the ridonkulous characters and strange situations they find themselves in, but then I would be telling the whole movie. I’d rather leave that for you guys to go out and find out for

One day, Jemaine Clement will rule the world.

yourselves. I loved this movie. For a fact, I watched this movie 4 times in less than 3 weeks, if that means anything. I showed this to all my friends, and I hope you guys will go out and watch it too. It’s a bit hard to find (Damn you, Netflix) but it’s well worth it. Utilize your libraries and let me know what you guys think of it. Cause I thought this movie was an 8 out of  10. (About the same rating I’d give Napoleon Dynamite.) Sweet.


30 Minutes or Less: Aziz Ansari Hour!

Now, I’m not gonna lie, I’m not a big Parks & Recreation fan. But I am a huge Aziz Ansari fan, especially after this movie. 30 Minutes or Less is hilarious and a lot of things came together to make this movie near perfect as a comedy. A lot of things I think came together to make Aziz Ansari a tour de force of hilarity in this film as well. Starting off with a small acting career (or comedy first?), Aziz started with School for Scoundrels and moved on from there after a few shorts as well. (I’m using IMDB, not exactly sure on the details…) But, after a funny episode as a racist fruit seller in Flight of the Conchords, Aziz took off in the MTV show Human Giant. With some Scrubs work and a few more small comedy films, he made his way into Parks and Recreation, and this opened the door to a starring role in 30 Seconds or Less. And by God, was it phenomenal.

Let’s get to the story. Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) is a down in the dumps pizza

Hilarity ensues! Yay!

delivery guy who prides himself on his driving ability and speed in getting there, “30 minutes or less,” the slogan of his employer’s pizza business. He has a best friend, Chet (Aziz Ansari), now a school teacher and not lowlife like Nick. Nick and Chet are pretty good friends, other than the fact that Nick slept with Chet’s sister, Kate (Dilshad Vadsaria). This has created a rift between them and this pervades as comic throughout the film.

McBride and Swardson are fiends in this film! (Big Nick Swardson fan!)

Meanwhile, two friends, Dwayne (Danny McBride) and Travis (Nick Swardson) are two scummy friends who live off of Dwayne’s dad the Major (Fred Ward) and his winnings from the lottery. But he spends it like a bastard. So Dwayne and Travis make a plan to off the Major through an outside hitman, suggested by a hooker/stripper/prostitute. But it’s gonna cost 100,000 bones.

And that’s where Nick comes in. With their expertise in pyrotechnics and bomb making (more Travis’s forte…), they strap a bomb to Nick’s chest and demand that he rob a bank for their nefarious purposes. Nick enlists the help of Chet and these two groups are off on a wild ride of wild driving, destruction, and a string of hilarious jokes (one in particular about Facebook that Jesse Eisenberg delivers expertly.).

This Ansari face explains all.

From occaisional film director Ruben Fleischer (director of Rob & Big and Zombieland. Guess he really likes Jesse Eisenberg…) and first time writer Michael Diliberti, comes a fantastic film about love, betrayal, and all things ridonkulously funny. Aziz Ansari kills it in this film and I was literallly howling in the theater with laughter (my mom looking at me strangely). I gotta admit though that Danny McBride, although sometimes funny, ruined this movie with tons of sex jokes and random unfunny swear words. All-in-all, I give this film a definite top 5 best of the summer and a definite watch with a group of friends. 8.8 out of 10.


The Flight of the Conchords (Season 1)

I love Flight of the Conchords. They’re a great novelty band. They’re great comedians. They eek awesome. Ever since a few years ago when my friend played “The Distant Future” in the car for me, I’ve fallen in love with the entity that is Flight of the Conchords. I think it might have only been a few days after I heard that song that I went out and bought the first season of the show. And it became one of my favorite shows almost instantaneously.

So plot. Hilarity ensues. Done.

Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement are Flight of the Conchords, a New Zealand folk band, trying to make in New York City, living out of a small flat. With the help of their band manager/consulate worker Murray, (Rhys Darby) the band tries to find gigs, women, and on-stage glory.

Best part of this show? Music videos hidden in the show as plot. Yes. I don’t say this often but: FTW. Every song gets better and better as the show goes on. Besides The Distant Future, there’s The Most Beautiful Lady (in the Room). Rhymnocerous vs. Hiphopapotamus, Mutha’uckas, and Business Time, one of my all time favorites. In the middle of doing something or as a scene allows, the guys will break out in song, directing their attention to the outside audience, serenading watchers with their hilarious songs. I know I’m writing this many years after the first season and the subsequent release of the second two years later, but a review of the second season will be forthcoming. (I am reviewing this season on my 4th watch.)

Besides the hilarity of Bret, Jemaine, and Murray, we have an all-star backup cast. Arj Barker is ridiculous as the Indian bad ass pawn store owner Dave, Kristen Schaal is always creepy as the Conchords’ obsessed fan, Mel, and Eugene Mirman, a sort of obese Gollum look-alike, always delivers with his occasional lines as the guys’ landlord, Eugene. Even after I just told you all this, I haven’t even given the kicker. Demetri Martin guest stars in the last episode. Okay. Now you can cry with joy.

Every episode is amazing. The Sally episode starts the series off great. There’s the Mugged episode that makes me laugh every time when Murray says “He maybe dead (did).” The Bowie episode is fantastic with a spot-on impersonation of Jemaine as Bowie, Haziz Ansari guest stars as a fruit store owner racist against Kiwis, AND the guys go on tour in airport lobbies and hotels. There’s even an episode based around the Lord of the Rings, the stigmatized view of New Zealand and its association with Tolkien. (Fun Fact: If you own Return of the King, pop that sucker in and go to scene selections. Click on the third scene: Arwen’s Vision and watch it for a while. You should find an elf with two lines, begging Arwen to keep moving. That elf? Bret.)

So what more is there to say about this show. I can’t say enough. This show is redonkulous. Seriously. 10 out of 10. Go out, buy it. Watch it throughn 100 times. You’ll always laugh.

And for your enjoyment, the best song, hands down, from the first season.