Jemaine Clement

What We Do in the Shadows

Vampires have to be so cool nowadays. They must be sexy and sparkling and shirtless, or preppy young girls at a hip school for blood-drinking. And I, for one, am tired of it. I don’t need vampires to reflect the trends of my modern, youthful generation — if I wanted any of that, I’d actually leave the house and spend time with my modern, youthful generation. What we need more of are the old, decrepit vampires; the ones who spend most of their time in coffins and can’t perform a single action without giving off an unpleasant musk of sexual tension. And that’s exactly what What We Do in the Shadows provides — weird, old, sexually ambiguous vampires. Also funny ones, but that’s beside the point. It’s a mockumentary horror comedy, written, directed and starring Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi (the guy behind Eagle vs. Shark), and it promises all the laughs that one normally associates with draining human bodies of blood for sustenance. Seriously, though — the trailer offers up twelve different quotes of “hilarious,” all from different film-y publications. At that point, I’m willing to venture that it might actually be hilarious.

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what we do in the shadows trio

It’s remarkable that vampire mythology can still be mined for great comedy. Just when you think the Seltzer and Friedberg team closed the book on lampooning the creatures of the night and the overabundant amount of movies about them (with a terrible chapter), another duo prove there’s still actually hilarious potential in this subgenre. Jemaine Clement makes his directorial debut alongside occasional collaborator Taiki Waititi (Eagle vs. Shark; Flight of the Conchords) with the mockumentary What We Do In the Shadows, in which they didn’t necessarily find a ton of fresh jokes and gags in the material but still managed to execute each bit to perfection. Even Twilight provides fodder for new laughs here, not so much as parody of the franchise but of an amusing idea around it. The humor there stems from something bigger than vampires to make fun of general trendiness, treating the Edward Cullen character as a kind of hipster asshole in the context of the history of iconic vampires. He’s represented by a newly turned bigmouth (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) who obnoxiously clings to a foursome of flat mates, one of whom resembles Nosferatu (Ben Fransham), another with a Coppola-style Dracula/Vlad the Impaler thing going on (Clement), a dandyish Anne Rice type (Waititi) and, rounding out the group, a less definable vampire (Jonathan Brugh) who used to be the “young blood” of the group. He has history as an undead Nazi and now takes pleasure in ordering around his human servant (Jackie van Beek) and pranking people with […]

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Men in Black 3

Men in Black II is one bad sequel. Everything the first film got right the second film painfully got wrong. Will Smith played Will Smith, the funny-for-two-minutes pug from the first film sang because someone thought it was funny, a two-headed Johnny Knoxville showed up for some reason, and Rosario Dawson was just, well, kind of there. That’s what the second installment was in a nutshell: “just there,” a limp and lifeless blockbuster. How does this 10-years-later sequel fare in comparison? Saying it’s a vast improvement is too easy, since even if this third installment is utterly banal, it’d still look favorable in comparison. For the most part, Men in Black III corrects past mistakes, even going as far to capture some of the original film’s magic. The film begins with Boris, played by an unrecognizable Jemaine Clement escaping a prison (which is on the frickin’ moon!). Once Boris has broken out, he plans to get revenge on the man who took his right arm: Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). The villain travels back to 1969 in attempt to kill the younger K (Josh Brolin), who also foiled his world domination scheme. To save his partner, a much older J (Will Smith) travels back in time as well, where he enters the world of a less advanced MIB and less grumpy K. And, of course, he runs into other 1960s staples: racism and Michael Stuhlbarg as a kind-hearted alien named Griffin.

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In just a few weeks we will be getting our first Men in Black film in nearly ten years, and hopefully the Men in Black sequel we deserve. Director Barry Sonnenfeld‘s first installment was a real head-turner, a rare type of blockbuster that could be touted as being something like a modern day Ghostbusters, though it was its own original breed of film. The 2002 sequel, however, was not that, forgetting nearly everything that made the first film unique. Thankfully, Sonnenfeld is well aware of this. The Get Shorty and Addams Family director is hoping to bring the series back down to where it all began: character and plot-driven action, not another aimless gag after gag sequel. From his different 3D approach to having what he calls a real nasty villain again, Barry Sonnenfeld declares Men in Black III a return to where the series started off so well.

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What is Movie News After Dark? Like The Wire creator David Simon, it doesn’t think you should worship it. Except that it doesn’t think you’re a dummy for liking it. That actually makes you quite smart. We begin this evening with a look at Jemaine Clement and Nicole Sherzinger in Men in Black III. The formerly flying conchord and the pussycat doll will be the film’s duo of baddies, both looking very much as the higher powers intended for them: one is creepy, the other is hot.

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Jemaine in Men in Black 3

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column born exactly one year ago today. And it’s very happy to still be around and well on its way to taking over the planet. It is convinced that it will have a very productive 2012 in that area, especially once humanity’s reign of terror ends later this year. In the mean time, it would like to thank you all for reading. Now enough of that mushy stuff, lets do the news. We begin this evening with an image of biker Jemaine Clement in Men in Black III. He’s playing an alien biker who turns out to be the villain in this time-traveling storyline…. And we wonder why that movie has had so many production problems? Either way, I’ll watch Jemaine Clement eat soap if I have to, as that guy is quite funny.

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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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Stop me if you’ve heard this all before. In the world of big screen animation, there’s Pixar and there’s everybody else. There’s something special about those Toy tale telling animators from Emeryville, something that indicates up front that each of their films has the potential to be a deeply emotional experience for an audience of any age. This review is not about one of those kinds of movies, nor is it about Pixar. It’s about Blue Sky Studios and their new film Rio. But it’s important to note the difference that Pixar films have up front, because the desire to compare and contrast is unavoidable. And it’s that emotional element that could be the only differentiator between this, Blue Sky’s best effort to date, and the industry’s gold standard.

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Culture Warrior

Hipster is a term that is difficult to define, mainly because its definition has changed so much over time. The term (arguably) first entered mass culture with the publication of Norman Mailer’s 1957 essay, “The White Negro: Superficial Reflections on the Hipster,” which recounts the rise of the jazz-age hipster from the 1920s-40s and its later manifestation in Beat culture. In this controversial piece, Mailer states, “You can’t interview a hipster because his main goal is to get out of a society which, he thinks, is trying to make everyone over in its own image.” Thus from the very outset early in the twentieth century, the hipster remains elusive in terms of providing a self-definition. The hipster thus became defined instead by those observing from the outside. To self-identify as a hipster in early-mid twentieth century subcultures was to, in effect, not be a hipster at all. Thus, the very definition of a hipster, if we can even call it that, becomes a self-contradicting Catch-22. In the age of jazz and the Beats, hipsterism was a means of deliberately constructed self-identification within an authentic counterculture (though such identification remained purposefully vague to those outside that culture). 20th century subcultures and countercultures have continually defined themselves through association with a certain brand of decidedly non-mainstream music. While the term “hipster” has moved in and out of use, the notion behind it has remained through each decade with each major shift in countercultural expression, from psychadelia to punk to goth to grunge […]

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Say what you will about the Men in Black franchise, but don’t say that they can’t get talent involved. In addition to the already cast Will Smith, Flight of the Conchords star Jemaine Clement and Josh Brolin (who, after seeing Jonah Hex, may sign on to any project that offers him a free meal) for Men in Black 3, reports are now coming in saying that former Bond girl Gemma Arterton, microwave executive Alec Baldwin and silly South African Sharlto Copley are in talks to join the cast. According to Pajiba, Copley would play a “fast-talking Yoda type alien,” Baldwin would play the head of MIB in 1969, and Arterton would play is undoubtedly tortured, but tight-skirted secretary. Shooting is scheduled to begin in November.

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Dinner For Schmucks takes a while to get going, but once the laughs do start coming, they reach all the way back from the land of the absurd and fly out at a brisk pace. It’s as if all of The Funny had been frustratingly bottled up for the first half of the film and is now allowed that sweet, sweet freedom to run rampant all over the theater. Tim (Paul Rudd as Paul Rudd) is inches away from getting that corner office after taking a leap of faith and impressing his boss (Bruce Greenwood). It’s all his, if he can impress the entire executive staff on Saturday night at a dinner party where each colleague brings the biggest idiot they can find. The rest of the group makes fun of them, and someone goes home with a prize. Tim’s girlfriend who won’t say yes to his frequent marriage proposals, Julie (Stephanie Szostak), hates the idea, but Tim sees a sign from God when he crashes his car into dead mouse hobbyist Barry (Steve Carell). He’s destined to go to this party.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr is all giddy because he’s been invited to a “Dinner for Winners” (though no one has the heart to tell him it’s really a Dinner for Schmucks). He also puts on his 3D glasses to take a gander at some furry spies in Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Finally, he squeals with excitement about the new Zefron film, but then weeps uncontrollably because Universal didn’t screen it in advance for him.

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Despicable Me

I’ve been looking forward to Despicable Me for a while; having seen trailers, the 3D animated film out of Universal looked like it had the potential to be a lot of fun. While I was far from unhappy with the final product, what seems increasingly to be a universal truth surfaced once again — all computer animated film fare is measured against the visual and storytelling juggernaut that is Pixar… and they remain the unwavering king of the mountain. Despicable Me is the story of Gru (Steve Carrell), a past-his-prime villain heavy on unsavory aspirations but lacking in execution. One day Gru learns that every baddie, himself included, have been left eating dust when a mystery evil genius steals one of the Great Pyramids. Not content to be outdone, Gru devises a plan to infiltrate a secret base, swipe their experimental shrink ray, and steal the moon.

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If there’s one thing the Men in Black franchise has done, it has certainly convinced a few legit actors to play villains. So the fact that Flight of the Conchords star Jemaine Clement is in talks to play the villain in Men in Black III shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

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RonaldChevalier

We managed to sit down with Dr. Chevalier to talk Gentlemen Broncos, being a pompous asshole, and the future of science fiction novellas.

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JemaineClement

We managed to sit down with Jemaine Clement to talk Gentlemen Broncos, playing a pompous asshole, and the future of Rock Band: Flight of the Conchords Edition.

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ff-deathsquadfooter

After attending a writing camp, Benjamin hopes that his science fiction novella will win the top prize being judged on by his idol Ronald Chevaliar, but the pompous has-been ends up plagiarizing it and earning a best-seller.

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ff-gentlemen

The first trailer for the Fantastic Fest 2009 opening night film, Gentlemen Broncos, from Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess is here. And if you’re down with the twisted, odd mind of Hess, this is going to be right up your alley.

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ff-gentlemen

Fox Searchlight just dropped a line into Reject HQ to give us a few sweet updates on Jared Hess’ upcoming film, Gentlemen Broncos, including a hot new poster and details on a trailer debut.

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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: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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