Bret McKenzie

burrellmuppets

Pretty much from the first moment the movie that eventually became The Muppets was rumored, fans were on board with the idea, and the reason everyone had so much faith in the project was simple: Jason Segel. Not only did he prove to the world that he could hit that right Muppet mix of heartfelt and hilarious by writing Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but he also showed some indication in that film that he had a rare talent for creating the goofy sort of puppet humor that makes you grin just as much as you groan. And after every interview he did while promoting the film made mention of the fact that said penchant for goofy puppet humor came from his lifelong love of the Muppets, and that his absolute dream project was to write a Muppet movie of his own—well, it was enough to create a perfect storm of good will. Ever since it was announced that the Segel and Nicholas Stoller-written and James Bobin-directed The Muppets would be getting a sequel set in Europe, the reaction to the project has conversely been met with a little bit of skepticism though, and that skepticism can basically be traced back to one root cause: the film’s decided lack of Jason Segel. This time around Bobin would be back in the director’s chair, Stoller would be back to help him put together a script, and  Bret McKenzie would even be back to do the music, but the man whose passion and sensibilities […]

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Austenland

Editor’s note: Kate’s review originally ran during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-running it as the film opens in limited theatrical release this weekend. Obsession with fictional literary heroes is nothing new, but Austenland’s Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) has taken her love for Jane Austen’s (again, fictional) Mr. Darcy and the Regency-era world he (as written in a fictional novel) inhabited in Austen’s (still fictional, Jane) “Pride & Prejudice” to new lows. While the source material for Jerusha Hess’s film, Shannon Hale’s very popular novel of the same name, found its heroine focusing her attentions on a still more fake Darcy – the one played by Colin Firth in the also very popular but not entirely true to Austen’s work BBC miniseries version of “Pride & Prejudice” – Hess wisely expands Jane’s obsession to apply more thoroughly to the rest of Austen’s work and her Regency Era. It is perhaps one of the few wise choices made in service to the adaptation, as Hess’s film, though frequently funny, is almost disastrously goofy and doofy, headed up by a poorly-drawn leading lady who, had she not been played by someone as lovely as Russell, would be the target of scorn by everyone she meets. We quickly learn that Russell’s Jane has been obsessed with Mr. Darcy for most of her life, with Hess kicking off the film with an amusing sequence of flashbacks that show Jane progressing through her teen years and on into adulthood with a moony-eyed stare […]

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Muppets_Kermit_BMcKenzie

James Bobin and Bret McKenzie first worked together when Bobin was a director on Flight of the Conchords, the HBO series that chronicled McKenzie and Jemaine Clement’s travels as “New Zealand’s 4th most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo.” Probably their best-known collaboration to date came when McKenzie worked as a songwriter on the Bobin-directed 2011 reboot of the Muppets franchise though, as not only was that film successful enough to breathe new life into Jim Henson’s classic felt creations and spawn a sequel, but it also earned McKenzie a Best Original Song Oscar for his heartfelt, existential tune ‘Man or Muppet.’ As one would expect, Bobin has once again brought McKenzie on board to write more songs for that upcoming Muppets sequel, Muppets Most Wanted, but in a recent interview with Collider, McKenzie revealed that there’s also another intriguing project they’re in the early stages of working together on, and it’s one that seems to be influenced by every awesome movie that children of the 80s grew up wearing out VHS tapes of.

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Adele Oscars

Adele is a mere two steps away from an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) having already won multiple Grammys (plus another this year making her a nine-time Grammy winner) and she just added an Oscar to that list. Adele’s now Academy Award winning song, “Skyfall,” was a perfect match for the James Bond franchise – bold, memorable, and just a little sexy. Adele’s powerful and commanding vocals seemed like a natural match for the film – and clearly it was an award winning combination. But what happens now? Adele is not the first mainstream artist to cross over into film and walk away with that coveted little gold man. Back in 2002, Eminem stopped simply telling people his story and put his lyrics on screen with 8 Mile and walked away with the Best Original Song Oscar for “Lose Yourself.” 8 Mile was Eminem’s first foray into film and while he now reserves his acting for music videos, Eminem has also worked as a musician on the 2012 film Love Written in Blood along with another well-known film composer, Clint Mansell, who created the film’s theme music.

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Bret McKenzie and Kermit

James Bobin’s relaunch of Jim Henson’s fuzzy felt creations, The Muppets, was one of the big success stories of 2011. It proved that The Muppets could still be box office draws, it won over fans who had loved The Muppets for years and were initially skeptical of whether it could be good, and it made a whole new crop of Muppets fans out of kids meeting the characters for the first time. A big reason for the film’s success was that it featured great songs like “Life’s a Happy Song” and “Man Or Muppet,” which were not only good enough to be put up in the pantheon of best Muppets songs ever written, but were also good enough to win their composer, Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie, an Oscar for Best Original Song (and they were also catchy enough that you’ll probably be humming them for the rest of the day now that you’ve been reminded of them).

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Editor’s Note: This article will be updated in real time as the winners come in during the Academy Awards broadcast. Please join us for our Live-Blog tonight (because we ask nicely), and while you wait for the winners, check out our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. It’s finally here! The time of year where I can write a paragraph that no one will read because they’ve already scrolled down to see who’s won. But even though this won’t be seen by humans, here’s a personal reminder that this night may be about politics and back-slapping, but it’s also about the splendor of cinema. It’s about the magic of movies. The genius of thousands of images all strung together with blood, sweat and tears to create characters and a journey through the heart of a story. There are some great stories on display tonight. That’s what matters second most. What matters most, of course, is crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you and hearing the lamentation of their women. Let’s get to the winning, right? And the Oscar goes to…

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In a couple of hours, we’ll start live-blogging our little hearts out as Neil pretends to know what “chiffon” is, and after the red carpet, we’ll sink into that fifth drink while reveling in the sheer majesty of the 2012 Academy Awards. Stifling cynicism can take a taxi outta town for a while, because no matter what, if you want to see it, there’s still something magical about this night. Part of that magic is being completely wrong. We’re confident now, but when the winners are announced, there’s always the tiny possibility of a big surprise. So who did you put down in your office pool to take home gold tonight? Our team spent all week tossing out their best analyses, and it all comes down to this. Here’s who we picked. Would you take us up on these bets?

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Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Original Song

While my feelings on the Best Original Song nominees (and my disappointment in the lack of songs nominated) are pretty clear, the two songs that have been nominated do tap into those universal feelings of figuring out who you truly are and where you truly belong. And come Sunday, February 26th, one of these songs will be an Academy Award winner. As we get closer to the big day, we here at FSR wanted to take a moment to give the nominees a final look and make our predictions on what should happen along with what we think will happen. Read on for the nominations and my predicted winner in red…

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Aural Fixation - Large

With the 84th Academy Award nominations announced last week (and me finally coming up for air post-Sundance), I wanted to give the five Original Score (and two Original Song) nominees a closer look. Each nominated score is full-bodied and as varied as the films they are featured in ranging from fun (John Williams for The Adventures of Tin Tin) to lush (Ludovic Bource for The Artist) to dramatic (Howard Shore for Hugo) to tense (Alberto Iglesias for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) to emotional (John Williams for War Horse) while each of the nominated songs are quirky and catchy (Bret McKenzie’s “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets and Sergio Mendes, Carlinhos Brown and Siedah Garrett’s “Real In Rio” from Rio.) While I am not going to propose to understand why the Academy makes their choices the way they do (the lack of Drive and Shame nominations alone had me scratching my head last week) and I do not think that the scores and songs that were selected are unworthy of their nominations, I was still left with some questions when looking into who may come out on top on February 26th.

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In today’s world of instant gratification and excess, enough is never enough. So if somebody makes two seasons of a TV show that you really enjoyed, it’s not a blessing that you got to experience the show at all, it’s a tragedy that the show didn’t last for six seasons and a movie. These days if a show gets cancelled or stops production the rumors of a feature film spin-off are inevitable and near-immediate. I blame Firefly for actually getting a post-cancellation movie made. Now TV shows can never rest in peace, we have to hear about the potential Deadwood movie and the potential Arrested Development movie ad nauseam. Today there’s a new show that you can add to the movie rumor pile, because Bret McKenzie just happened to make an offhand comment to a reporter about turning his HBO collaboration with co-star Jemaine Clement and director James Bobin, The Flight of the Conchords, into a feature. “We’re gonna try and do a movie,” he told THR, “We just need a story.”

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Bane in The Dark Knight Rises

What is Movie News After Dark? It has been happening (just about) every weeknight since the beginning of the year. One would hope that you have an idea about what it is by now. For those who still haven’t caught on, it’s about movie news… and it happens after dark. We begin tonight with the story of the wee hours of yesterday, in which Empire’s latest issue began shipping with two covers from The Dark Knight Rises, including the limited edition Bane cover seen above. Some of the folks around the web with camera have sent pictures in to Coming Soon, but more importantly, they’ve included details from the set visit piece within Empire. Especially notable is the part about The Dark Knight Rises being set 8 years in the future.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the thing your girlfriend is mumbling about during sex. It’s the thing that every nerd, intellectual and dweeboid demands before they slink off to sleep. It’s everything to everyone at every moment, every where. But really, it’s a list of the day’s movie news items. And some other fun stuff, thrown in for good measure. First The Muppets, now The Hobbit. Bret McKenzie, most famous for being 1/2 of the awesome duo behind Flight of the Conchords, appears to be making all the right moves. He’s been confirmed for a smaller role in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films. That’s all that matters.

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The Muppet Movie is already shaping up to be one of the most anticipated movies since the last movie featuring the lovable felt scamps, and now it’s even better. According to The Playlist, Bret McKenzie – a member of New Zealand’s 4th most popular folk parody duo – will be acting as music supervisor for the film as well as penning some songs for it. This is a fantastic marriage. McKenzie has the sort of childlike wonder and ridiculous instrumental prowess that could churn out some truly great songs to be sung by hands inside artistically shaped cloth. Hopefully he’ll suggest a massive ensemble of Mahna Mahna.

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conchords-header1

If there is one thing about Flight of the Conchords that I do not like, it is having to pay for HBO. It’s good news for me then, that FunnyOrDie has posted the season two premiere of Flight of the Conchords online, free for the public to enjoy.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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