Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Repo The Genetic Opera

I first heard of this film from the podcast The Biz. It's an interesting way to market a film and something I think will be the norm in the not so distant future. I've always said how do you rise above the noise, and this is one example. The guys at Lionsgate are pretty shrewed in their attempt to market a film that has a core audience, yet the film needs to break out from that core and into some of the mainstream.

The film is a Gothic opera, and from the clips, and the trailer it looks quite interesting. The soundtrack has been a top seller at Amazon, so there is money in them there hills. Being that it's Halloween I would think that this would be the opportune time to release this film, but the films release date is November 7th at selected theaters. Why on November 7th rather then October 31st is any body's guess. The one thing I don't like is that I can't put links to the trailer. I would think viral marketing would be a GOOD thing for this movie. After all it's rabid fan base would be the ones to try and sell it to others. Why the studio doesn't use it's fan base is a mystery to me. Instead it uses MySpace & it's own website for the film located here: http://www.repo-opera.com/

In the interview with the director of the film on the biz he mentions illegal downloads of the movie, and maybe it's the studio who is being overly cautious since they have some money invested in it. Maybe the best idea would have been to open it in theaters and release the DVD of the film at the same time. Being that sometimes impulse buys by consumers are more prevalant on occasions or holidays. Hence the Halloween season. After all Hallmark has said that Halloween is the second biggest shopping holiday after Christmas.

The director Darren Lynn Bousman and the two writers of the film Darren Smith & Terrance Zdunich are putting their heart and soul into the movie with this short tour. From the look and some of the songs I've heard they have an interesting film which I hope doesn't get lost in the vapor of the Internet

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Film analysis

There is no one better then Matt Zoller Seitz in talking about film and film analysis. The above is proof of that. I'm always astounded to find articulate men and women who really love what they do. Mr Seitz seems to be one of those people. I could link the various articles and films he's done and examined, but there are too many. So just google his name and follow the above analysis to his Youtube account, and find out for yourself how good Mr. Seitz is.

Film has always meant more to me then an entertainment vehicle. Mr. Seitz shows us that film can be more then entertainment, but art in itself.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rudy Ray Moore 1927-2008

From the LA Times obit section by Jocelyn Y. Stewart :

Rudy Ray Moore, the self-proclaimed "Godfather of Rap" who influenced generations of rappers and comedians with his rhyming style, braggadocio and profanity-laced routines, has died. He was 81.

When antiheroes and pimp suits ruledMoore, whose low-budget films were panned by critics in the 1970s but became cult classics decades later, died Sunday night in Toledo, Ohio, of complications from diabetes, his brother Gerald told the Associated Press.

Though he was little known to mainstream audiences, Moore had a significant effect on comedians and hip-hop artists.

"People think of black comedy and think of Eddie Murphy," rap artist Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew told the Miami Herald in 1997. "They don't realize [Moore] was the first, the biggest underground comedian of them all. I listened to him and patterned myself after him."

And in the liner notes to the 2006 release of the soundtrack to Moore's 1975 motion picture "Dolemite," hip-hop artist Snoop Dogg said:

"Without Rudy Ray Moore, there would be no Snoop Dogg, and that's for real."

When it came to his own sense of his accomplishments, Moore was never burdened by immodesty.

"These guys Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer and Bernie Mac claim they're the Kings of Comedy," Moore told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2003. "They may be funny, but they ain't no kings. That title is reserved for Rudy Ray Moore and Redd Foxx."

The heyday of his fame was in the 1970s, with the release of "Dolemite" followed by "The Human Tornado," "Petey Wheatstraw: The Devil's Son-in-Law" and "Money Hustler."

The way Moore told it, his introduction to Dolemite came from an old wino named Rico, who frequented a record shop Moore managed in Los Angeles. Rico told foul-mouthed stories about Dolemite, a tough-talking, super-bad brother, whose exploits had customers at the record shop falling down with laughter.

One day Moore recorded Rico telling his stories. Later Moore assumed the role of Dolemite, a character who became the cornerstone of his decades-long career as a raunchy comedian, filmmaker and blues singer.

"What you call dirty words," he often said, "I call ghetto expression."

But long before "Dolemite" debuted on theater screens, Moore had found fame -- and fans -- through stand-up routines and a series of sexually explicit comedy albums.

Not only were the album contents raunchy, the album covers featured women and Moore nude and were too racy for display. So store clerks kept the albums under the counter. Without airplay or big-studio promotion, the so-called party records were underground hits.

"I put records in my car and traveled and walked across the U.S. I walked to the ghetto communities and told people to take the record home and let their friends hear it. And before I left the city, my record would be a hit. This is how it started for me," he told the St. Louis Post Dispatch in 2001.

Although contemporaries such as Foxx and Richard Pryor found success with a broader audience, Moore's stardom was bounded by the geography of race and class: He was a hit largely in economically disadvantaged African American communities.

According to his website, Moore was born in Fort Smith, Ark., on March 17, 1927.

In his youth Moore worked as a dancer and fortune teller and he entertained while serving in the U.S. Army. But his big break came with the recording of his Dolemite routine:

Dolemite is my name

And rappin and tappin

that's my game

I'm young and free

And just as bad as I wanna be.

By the time Dolemite appeared on film, he was the ultimate ghetto hero: a bad dude, profane, skilled at kung-fu, dressed to kill and hell-bent on protecting the community from evil menaces. He was a pimp with a kung-fu-fighting clique of prostitutes and he was known for his sexual prowess.

For all the stereotypical images, Moore bristled at the term blaxploitation.

"When I was a boy and went to the movies, I watched Roy Rogers and Tim Holt and those singing cowboys killing Indians, but they never called those movies 'Indian exploitation' -- and I never heard 'The Godfather' called 'I-talian exploitation,' " he told a reporter for the Cleveland Scene in 2002.

Late in life, Moore saw his work win fans far beyond his African American audience. There is a "Dolemite" website and chat room that boasts a cross-cultural collection of young fans. Such interest won him mainstream work in an advertisement for Altoid Mints and a commercial for Levi's jeans.

Though Moore built a career on talking dirty, he was very religious. He took pride in taking his mother to the National Baptist Convention each year and often spoke in church at various functions. He rationalized his role as a performer.

"I wasn't saying dirty words just to say them," he told the Miami Herald in 1997. "It was a form of art, sketches in which I developed ghetto characters who cursed. I don't want to be referred to as a dirty old man, rather a ghetto expressionist."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Taking the next step?

Okay so it's been awhile, and still I haven't really done anything film related for myself or my company. In fact I've been toying with closing the company and just giving up, but part of me is screaming no, and so I've decided not to. At least not right now. So much of the filmmaking landscape has changed since I was in school. Now anyone can make a video, and post it. There is so much out there that it's hard to cut through the clutter, and that's what it ALL is clutter.

Movies to me or just films in general exist to tell a story. What is out there a lot is just little vignettes of people jumping up and down saying "notice me please". It's always been about the work for me, and lately I can't do it justice. My little funny video gets a ho-hum, and a smile, but it was just to prove a point. The point being that making media is easier now more then ever. It's being relevant that is much more difficult.

Aren't movies suppose to entertain? Aren't they suppose to tell a story and touch an audience? Well of course they are. There is nothing wrong with short funny videos or even serious ones at that. It's kind of neat to have a new venue for short films. The only time you really saw any shorts were in film festivals, and that was only a limited audience at that.

I would like to make a GOOD film I can be proud of and that says something long after I'm dust. Call me weird I guess, but that's how I feel about it. That doesn't mean I'm against making comedies or horror films for the masses. In fact I think more and more that the next BIG genre will come from the web in a very interesting way. SOmewhere someplace someone is working on a new an interesting way to present new and different stories. The Farm girl that Coppola talks about is happening right now. We just need to find itr through all the clutter.

I've just been stagnant, and the day job burns a lot of energy from me as well as being involved with the family. It a hard balance to maintain, and some days I feel pretty drained. So there is little time to do the traditional filmmaking that I so love. Time is always at a premium, as well as resources. But I'm still here enjoying the changes in the weather. I always loved this time of year, and the mind is always brimming with new ideas and thoughts.

Writing is a good way to keep motivated, but I miss production. I never thought I say that, but I do. The chaos that comes with making a film is sometimes exhilarating, and can be very addicting. I hope to do at least one more film in my lifetime. Something that means a lot to me. Deadly Obsessions was a film that I wanted to prove that I could do, and now my second film would be an affirmation of the things I learned on my first film. The bug is biting, and I'm still here, and this isn't the end, but something of a new beginning. At least that's my hope.