I caught British director Peter Greenaway's film Nightwatching at the RPL Theatre Sunday night. I wouldn't say I'm a fan. But when I was just getting into the arts in the late '80s the Dunlop Gallery held a mini-Greenaway festival. He's a very visual director, and like a painter really knows how to work with colour and composition, and his surreal style really broadened my perception of film.

Nightwatching has a really neat premise. It suggests that when Rembrandt did his famous painting of prominent Amsterdam militia members The Night Watch in 1642, he inserted several visual clues that accused them of murdering a fellow militia member a few months prior to the portrait being painted. Kind of like Emile Zola's J'Accuse in France 250 or so years later, but in the form of a grand painting.

At 134 minutes, I found Nightwatching a bit long. The visuals are certainly stunning. Bone up on your Rembrandt catalogue before you go and you're sure to recognize several famous tableaux as they distill from live-action scenes. Greenaway, through his characters, also does a reasonable job of discussing the symbolism inherent in the style of representational painting that was in fashion then.

The film shouldn't be mistaken for a documentary. It is highly stylized, and in certain sections feels more like a stage play that's been filmed than an actual movie. But there are many graphic reminders of the brutality of life in the 15th century. Not to mention numerous F-bombs -- most dropped courtesy of Rembrandt. Overall, definitely worth a look. Here's the trailer. (YouTube)

There is a bit of nudity, so be warned.

Saturday Night Live

I haven't watched the show in ages, but for those who do, the first guest-host for season 35 (which starts Sept. 26) has been named. (Celebrity & World)

Michael Jackson Death: It Was Murrrderrrr!

The Associated Press says Michael Jackson's coroner has ruled the pop star's death a homcide. Will charges be laid against Michael's injection-happy doctor? Stay tuned for the next dramatic installment of As The Jacko Turns.

Stephen Harper's Conservatives Gain Support: Poll

Good news for the many fans of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Party today. The Ottawa Citizen reports that a new Ipsos-Reid poll puts voter support for the Tories firmly in front of the Liberals, NDP and Greens. If an election were held today, the Conservatives, whose support is at 39 per cent, would be flirting with a majority. But all is not lost. If you're one of the one or two Dog Blog readers who hates the Tories' guts because you think they're a bunch of bigots, morons, radical ideologues and religious lunatics who can barely run a caucus let alone a country, there's hope. A smart person I know points out that the Conservatives are benefiting from the annual politics off-season and without the opportunity for Tory MPs to say insane things in public, politics-bored Canadians will be inclined to support the status quo.

Give Ignatieff the floor in the House of Commons and the NDP a shred of charisma to go with their (secretly) populist policy platform, and Harper will slink back under his bridge. Just wait and see.

Then again maybe my smart guy is wrong and we're all dooooooomed.

Blasphemy Blues

After making tremendous strides over the last few decades to escape its divisive religious past, is Ireland poised for a return to the Dark Ages with a silly new law (Guardian) that would impose a 25,000 euro fine on anyone who "publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion"? If so, the keepers of the Blarney Stone better be on guard that it doesn't get put to another use. (YouTube)

Six In The Morning

1 LOVE IS A PRETTY STRONG WORD Local filmmakers are shooting a movie about this town, but the Leader-Post's headline writer apparently didn't read the story. The pertinent line is this quote by organizer Mark Wihak: "This isn't a public relations exercise or an advertisement for the city, it's filmmakers responding to the city they live in." (Leader-Post)

2 CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION INTO CIA UNDER BUSH? I'm not holding my breath but I guess the Guardian's writer thinks it's going to happen.

3 PALESTINIAN PARTS FOR PROFIT A Swedish newspaper makes the shattering claim that Israeli soldiers killed Palestinians for their organs. Israel's finance minister unhelpfully says this is "anti-Semitic blood libel". Well no, actually, it's a claim that there's some heinous organized crime going on. Right thing to do: launch an investigation. Wrong thing to do: give a crazy person rant about "blood libel". (CNN)

4 STICKING TO HIS GUNS Colin Thatcher still says he didn't kill his wife. Thatcher is currently on parole after a jury convicted him of killing his wife. (CBC)

5 FUGITIVE MURDER SUSPECT FOUND DEAD Ryan Jenkins, a former reality-TV person who was accused of killing his ex-wife and packing her dismembered body in a suitcase, has apparently hanged himself in a hotel. Creepy is an understatement. (Globe And Mail)

6 GOD THINKS LOVE IS GOOD AND SO DO LUTHERANS Hey, how about we end on a happy note: American churches open the door to married/partnered gay clergy. (New York Times) Lutherans, Dog Blog salutes you.