Red Dog, a possibly unsubtle but apparently likable Australian-made flick about a bright orphan dog who gets adopted by a community, has become a hit since opening in Australia on 8.4. By Australian standards, that is. It’s earned $8.5 million so far, which is apparently an excellent haul for that market and for a locally-made film. No U.S. distributor has snagged the rights so far, presumably for a reason. Too on-the-nose? Too “Australian” in some way?
The Red Dog trailer does a decent job of selilng what seems like an okay lovable-dog popcorn movie. There’s nothing wrong with a film about a smart dog and several blokey characters responding to him emotionally, etc.
For whatever reason the Essential Entertainment press release has made no mention of director Kriv Stenders. The dog, whose coat was dyed red for the film, is called Koko. (You’d think they’d let the gorilla have that name and come up with something else.) The costars are Josh Lucas, Rachael Taylor, Noah Taylor, Whale Rider‘s Keisha Castle-Hughes and Luke Ford.
“Trying to orient yourself in a work of chaos cinema is like trying to find your way out of a maze, only to discover that your map has been replaced by a reproduction of a Jackson Pollack painting,” says critic Matthias Stork in a video essay called Chaos Cinema. It’s must-viewing, this piece. It articulates and clarifies a lot of things that many of us have been feeling for a long while. “The only art here,” Stork declares, “is the art of confusion.”
Action films of the late 20th Century embraced classic cinema language, he explains. They were “coherent, understandable, riveting, economical, stabilizing — classical cutting. But in the past decade that’s gone right out the window. Commercial films have become faster, over-stuffed, hyperactive. Rapid editing, close framing, bipolar [something or other] and promiscuous camera movement now define commercial action films.
“Contemporary blockbusters, particularly action films, trade visual intelligibility for sensory overload…a film style marked by excess, exaggeration, over-indulgence, a never-ending crescendo with no spacial clarity…chaos cinema. The new action films are fast, forward, volatile, an audio-visual war zone.”
Stork approves of the cuting in The Hurt Locker. I’m sure he also admires the way Drive is thrown together.
All my life I’ve been asking myself, “What does it mean for somebody to be ‘crockin‘ all the time?,’ which is how Elvis Presley described some guy he doesn’t like or respect in the 1956 pop song “Hound Dog“. When I learned this morning that Jerry Leiber, the guy who co-wrote the song with Mike Stoller, had passed at 78, I checked the Hound Dog lyrics and read that the lyric is “cryin’ all the time” and not “crockin’.”
Jerry Leiber (l.) and Mike Stoller (r.)
You know something? The hell with that. It is “crockin'” that Presley is singing, and I don’t want to hear any differently.
Lieber co-wrote “There Goes My Baby” (I love Cat Stevens‘ version, which Wes Anderson used in Rushmore), “Kansas City,” “Yakety Yak”, “Poison Ivy”, “Stand By Me” (with Ben E. King), “Jailhouse Rock”, “Love Potion No. 9”, “Searchin'”, “Young Blood” (which Leon Russell covered well in The Concert for Bangla Desh), “Is That All There Is?” (wait…he co-wrote that Peggy Lee song?), “On Broadway” (with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil) and “Spanish Harlem” (Leiber co-writing with Phil Spector).
In the annals of ’50s rock, late ’50s to early ’60s doo-wop and AM pre-Beatles ’60s rock, Leiber and Stoller are/were absolutely legendary, world-class songwriters on the level of Irving Berlin or Rogers and Hart or Rogers and Hammerstein or whomever….right up there, voices of a generation, lightning in a bottle.
It’s important to read their co-authored “Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography.”
Jon Huntsman is the only sane, more-or-less reasonable-sounding Republican candidate for the Presidency outside of Mitt Romney, who has disqualified himself for being a slithering, say-anything shape-shifter. Huntsman’s mildly thoughtful, fair-minded mentality, however, is presumably going to cause him great difficulty with the impassioned wingnuts who are expected to vote heavily and devotedly in the 2012 Republican primaries. Some commentators are saying Huntman is dead — he’s way too measured and logical to make it with the wackos.
I’m going to suppress my anger and vote for Obama in 2012, but if a Republican were to win, I could at least tolerate Huntsman. Tolerate, I say — not support. The country needs more than just a good-looking, to-the-manor born Mormon…please. But at least he’s not a reality-denying, corporate-fellating primitive and Christian-visionary wackazoid like Rick Perry or Michelle Bachmann.
Martin Scorsese‘s George Harrison: Living In The Material World, a 208-minute documentary portrait of the late musician and one-time Beatle, will play at the New York Film Festival before premiering on HBO and then becoming available on 10.10 from Amazon.
It’s fairly astonishing that in 2011 — 49 years after the debut of Dr. No, the first James Bond film, and 46 years after the first wave of 007 spoofs — that there’s still a market for another Pink Panther-meets-Austin Powers film. Tens of thousands will pay to see Johnny English Reborn (Universal, 10.28) and go “hah-hah-hah!” and wipe tears from their eyes, etc. The first Johnny English (’03) cost $40 million to make and only made $28 million here, but the worldwide gross was $160,583,000.
I’ll admit that the chopper-trimming-the-tops-of-cypress-trees bit is funny.
Tall can marry short…it happens. But the “birds of a feather” rule is obviously the basic universal aesthetic — super-tall lanky guys hooking up with extra-tall or at least sizable women, shortish women with guys who aren’t much more than three or four inches taller, etc. It therefore seems not just odd but borderline perverse to see a couple that is 19 inches apart — the almost-freakishly-tall New Jersey Nets basketball player Kris Humphries and the under-sized Kim Kardashian — get married.
What kind of bizarre pyschologies would lead these two to hook up, much less tie the knot? Proportionately-speaking the 6’9″ Humphries marrying the 5’2″ Kardashian is like a six-foot man hooking up with a woman who’s four-foot-five, or a 5’8″ guy going out with a woman who’s 4’2″. From a size-alone perspective it’s like a moderately tall man having sex with a second- or third-grader. It’s kind of sick. Kardashian’s apparent need for security and submission (i.e., taking comfort from being protected by a guy who’s almost as big as Richard Kiel‘s “Jaws”) needs to be written about by a psychologist who knows more than I do.
If I had my druthers, I would lead a guns-blazing Libyan-styled revolution (metaphorically speaking, of course) against the 21st Century ditzoid female psychology that celebrates the reality-show nothingness of Kim Kardashian.
Some truly ghastly and horrific acts have been committed against civilians by pro-Gaddafi forces. Now that the conflict is coming to an end with rebels holding most of Tripoli and the last of the loyalists fighting back as we speak, decisions are being made about how to deal with pro-Gaddafi brutes (including the militant pro-Gaddafi female news anchor Hala Misrati, who was taken prisoner two or three hours ago). War is cruel, and the one centuries-old constant whenever a tyrant is overthrown is that the rebel forces will know the satisfaction of payback.
Gaddafi and the worst of his thug militia must pay for their sins, and I mean pay through the nose with all kinds of screaming and howling, if you catch my drift. If they were characters in a Tony Scott or Oliver Stone film, you know what would happen to them. The Gaddafi guys have made their blood-stained bed, and now they must lie in it.