Tag Archives: liberation

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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Bunny and the Bull

This movie came to me as a change of pace from jolly ole London. Straight from the director of The Mighty Boosh and Come Fly With Me (two BBC series I love, can’t go wrong with Noel Fielding or Matt Lucas) Paul King, this little movie, Bunny and the Bull is the story of agoraphobia. Stephen (Edward Hogg) travels through his past and towards his front door to face the past that created his fear of leaving his house. Hurt feelings are uncovered and adventures in the weirdest ways are had, and I loved every minute of it.

So let’s see… Stephen goes on a cross-Europe adventure with his friend and gambler Bunny (Simon

Bunny & Stephen on their outrageous adventure.

Farnaby). For all you Boosh fans, Farnaby played pie face and Howard Moon’s twin in The Mighty Boosh. His outlandish acting is required again as Bunny, an unlikeable character needed to drive Stephen from his rut and his home. There are some great parts to this movie. Like, first of all, Stephen’s England flat doubles as a OCD’er’s paradise. Every item used in his home, every routine, is boxed and categorized for later sentimental value. Its quite a sight to see. And what comes in contrast to this to bring Stephen’s life to a screeching halt?

What's going on here, Julian Barratt?

The most amazing animated backgrounds and interactive panels. Stephen and Bunny slip into couches, ride around in crabs, and cross maps in search of what Stephen has been missing. This quirky comedy comes with a dark side that is finally faced at the end of the film. And, although you may not like the way it ends, it brings a conclusion that Stephen, and hopefully the audience can live with. Liberation.

There are some great cameos in this film! Richard Ayoade (former Boosh shaman and now IT Crowd

The Amazing Noel Fielding!

star) plays a Museum Curator in Germany, specializing in cobbling and shoes. There’s Julian Barratt as Atilla, the Russian madman obsessed with dog’s tit milk, and Noel Fielding, as Javier the failed Spanish matador. With all these Boosh actors, what could be wrong with this quirkily dark film? Yes, you end up hating Bunny. Yes, you feel frustrated with Stephen’s insecurities. But it all comes together in the end. This movie deals with standing up for yourself. With taking a chance. With getting up after love and loss, sadness and fear strike you down. Because, as this movie would suggest, it’s always important to bet again on the long-shot.