Tuesday, July 28, 2015

13 Hours: the Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi (Film)

I didn't even know this was being talked about being made, but Michael Bay has finished work on a true story account of the Benghazi killings based on a non-fiction book of the same name. Does this look good?
This looks amazing.
Zero Dark Thirty?
Sure, there is (artistic) noise added to this. With the subtitles we see in the beginning, like at 0:08, when the words blip out for a second and become distorted, that is noise, an artistic device that needs to be interpreted. Why? Noise indicates that there is something you are not hearing/seeing. Consider when your screen gets all pixeled-out, and blurry, the "noise" of the pixels and blur, things that don't make any sense, are covering up the real images that do make sense and that you do want to see. When we first see the line of text that says, "To protect CIA outposts and personnel in unstable regions," we think we can believe what we are seeing, because that is all there is to be seen; when it blips out, we know there is interference.
Why is interference important?
"Interference" means that something is distorting the information (the signal conveying your YouTube video or Netflix streaming, whatever you ware watching) and that interference, the source and it's motivation--whether or not it's intentional---itself becomes a source of information. For example, is there "political interference" in us knowing fully what happened that night a US Ambassador and others were killed? I don't know about you, but I didn't know there were elite soldiers there are Benghazi that night; I knew there were Navy Seals, and some of them died, defying commands to stand down (rather like police officers being told to stand down in Ferguson and Baltimore and let rioters loot) but I didn't know there were these elite soldiers there; does it make a difference? Yes, that these brave men were an additional resource to save those who died, and yet they were not allowed to help them, is not just murderous, it's treasonous.
I just saw The Vatican Tapes, an exorcism thriller, that I thoroughly enjoyed; it was done very well. This weekend is the opening of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. I don't want to give anything away, however, I am betting that Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) is a villain in disguise. Her last name, which has been heavily protected, has been revealed has being "Faust," which indicates that, like the mythical character selling his soul to the devil for earthly pleasures, she has too. I was guessing this, based on her wardrobe (lots of black, and then rotten green) but I will be the first person to admit I am wrong if I am.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Thursday, July 23, 2015

James Bond 2015: First "Official" Spectre Trailer

The saddest news EVER: Sam Mendes, who directed Skyfall and is helming Spectre, has said he will not be returning for the next Bond film. I AM SO SAD.
No, no, those weren't trailers, those were teasers: THIS is the first Spectre official trailer, and I am in love:
How would you feel, dear reader, if you met someone and they told you, "It was me, the author of all your pain," the death of your parents at the age of 12 (or thereabouts), the author of the death of the woman you loved (Vespers), the author of the death of M (Judy Dench),... how would that make you feel that there had been someone following you around inflicting pain and death on all you loved and cared for? In Christianity, we say "loved." That, dear reader, is the role of the devil, to "destroy" us over and over, until God is pleased that we have been perfected. I don't think, however, even with the numerous Catholic symbols included in the film (such as the Catholic funeral taking place in Rome, or the celebration of the Day Of the Dead in Mexico City) that God and the devil is what is meant here,...
When M (Ralph Fiennes) asks Bond what he was doing in Mexico City, and he responds, taking an overdue holiday, that "holiday" is, literally, the "day of the dead." In Skyfall, Bond told M that he had been "enjoying death," so that, when Madeline Swann (Lea Seydoux) asks Bond about being hunted and getting lonely, and he replies he never thinks about it, it's practically true, because if he's not "in the game" and catching crooks, he's dead. We saw this in Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Holmes A Game Of Shadows, when Holmes is only alive when he's on the hunt and solving a case. Now, on a different note, Monica Belluci's character and Seydoux's character are two totally different women: the woman of light (Seydoux) and darkness (Belluci) based on their hair, eyes and skin tones. This is a typical device within the Bond canon, so we can expect that in these two women as well. By the way, at 2:14, that is Andrew Scott who portrays Moriarty in Sherlock (Cumberbatch and Freeman). 
It's not a coincidence that major films right now are all circling around international organizations spreading crime and sophisticated mayhem: the Marvel franchises (The Avengers 2, Ant-Man and Captain America 2 with HYDRA), The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Mission Impossible 5 with The Syndicate, just to name a few in addition to Spectre. Whether you believe there is some international organization attempting a new world order or not, a faction of Hollywood certainly does. This is where un-originality is more important than originality, because in tracing the patterns, and following the links (just like Bond in realizing that all the people that have been mentioned have him in common in the trailer above) so we are seeing the patterns that reveal the larger context of dialogue taking place publicly between films that, otherwise, would not seem related.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ant-Man: 2 Reasons To Go and See It

"Margins" is a literary device, as well as a political term. The film artfully weaves a new margin in the Marvel universe, comparing Tony Stark's research (Robert Downey Jr.) to Hank Pym's work (Micheal Douglas) and bringing out the comparison between the two. In the image above, when Scott still learns how to use the suit and utilize the ants as allies, he's been literally going "underground" (also a political term, think of the resistance movements doing World War II) because that puts him at the, literally, "grass roots" level (also a political term).  Ant-Man is definitely a part of the Marvel universe, but Scott is his own type of hero, with his own personality and that will impact the events of Captain America 3 in a huge way.
Marvel's newest installment in the cinematic universe is Ant-Man, and permit me to say: it lives up to the audience expectations of super-hero entertainment in every way. There are two reasons to go and see it for yourself: first, if you don't, you won't have any idea of what is going on in Captain America 3: Civil War. There are 2 mid-credit scenes, so tell anyone you know going to see it, because most of the audience walked out after the first one was over, and in one of them, Captain America (Chris Evans) appears with Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and another character who will have a huge impact on the Marvel universe.  The second reason to go see Ant-Man is because it's an excellent film, full of humor and courage, but also great narrative strategies, like "margins." Ant-Man doesn't just provide great entertainment, it continues the long, detailed public accusation against socialists and their "mental instability."
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Saturday, July 11, 2015

King Bob: Minions & Stealing To Fill the Void

Who are the Minions? They are us. We are all Minions, and some are just bigger Minions than others. There is a scene in the film where Keven, Stuart and Bob are watching The Dating Game, and the female contestant has to choose between three human male Kevin, Bob and Stuarts, and right before she chooses one, the cable goes out and there is static (another get example of how noise is used in the film) and, in playing with the antenna, Stuart picks up the Villain Network Channel and they find out about Villain-Con. These three human "mirrors" of the Minion characters validate how we are to understand them, as mirrors of ourselves, but what are we to understand about them? They are simple, but happy; they are silly, but united; they work hard and are loyal, they like to have a good time, but they are not greedy. Why is it important to establish these characteristics? Because the Liberal Left would have us believing something far different.  I would like to point out, and I readily confess, this may be a stretch, that Kevin the Minion is a reference to the highly-troubled teenager in We Need To Talk About Kevin with Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller. Why would a Minion be compared to someone so brutal and heartless? To show that most people aren't brutal and heartless.
It's a deceptively simple--even silly--story line, and yet, while it's been marketed to children because of it's make-believe characters and it's animated, the adults in the audience are the intended audience; how can I say that? How many kids know who Napoleon Bonaparte is? Or would recognize the iconic photograph of the Beatles Abbey Road album cover just by the feet of the band members? How many kids know the legend of the Sword In the Stone? How many kids would recognize Andy Warhol's painting of the Tomato Soup can? These are just a couple of the adult-themed nuggets placed in the Minions film for the adults in the audience and, when we put them together, they spell an impressive political agenda for everyone to note. Let's begin with the most sophisticated artistic device used: noise.
The very opening animation, showing the beginning stages of life, may look to passive viewers like "social Darwinism," however, it's not: it's chaos theory. How can we say that? Darwin postulated that the species best suited to survival did survive and evolved into ever greater examples of their respective race; chaos theory, on the other hand, deduces from an abundance of historical and archaeological artifacts that the strongest and best adapted didn't always survive, and that's what we see happening in this opening sequence: these tiny Minions follow the biggest fish in the ocean, and each time, that biggest fish would look like it would be best suited for survival, but it doesn't; the Minions, on the other hand, shouldn't have lasted a day, but they do and they prosper. So, why is it a big deal that they are positing chaos theory rather than Darwinism? "Social Darwinism" is often used by the Left to describe American capitalism because they want to spread the belief that only enormous corporations like Coke and Pepsi survive the grueling challenges of a free market economy (which isn't so free in America nowadays). Chaos theory, unlike Darwinism, allows for there to be a God, whereas Darwinism attributes all life to the mechanisms of nature (and no one has a soul).  By beginning the story with a rather scientifically subversive statement (most scientists still ignorantly cling to Darwinism and its off-shoots in spite of the archaeological record not supporting it), which also subverts the atheism of socialist thought, the film makers, like those of The Penguins Of Madagascar, take a clear stand which they consistently uphold for the entire film.
We can't understand what the minions say, only an occasional word will be recognizable, such as "Bob!" but for the most part, all we hear is noise. Noise, as an artistic device, acts to encode a message beneath the noise. Why? Just as humor usually takes a controversial or disagreeable topic, and encodes it in a contradiction or mirrors the actions of a person or group in a different light, so noise will distort something to the point that we are actually receiving more information than if there were no noise at all.
For example,...
These images aren't in the film, but they were released in addition to the other film stills; why? For at least two reasons. First, to demonstrate that those great artists humanity holds in such reverence are Minions just like the rest of us, and there isn't anything any more special about Vincent Van Gogh or Salvador Dali than you and me, they just acted upon their talent and underwent the suffering that came with their free wills so they could produce great art. Secondly, in demonstrating that they know what great art is, the makers of Minions challenge us to claim that their film isn't art; it is art. Imitation doesn't make great art--Minion Monroe will never be the same as Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe (bottom right corner)--but Minions are a unique creation all of their own, just like each of these works were in their own time, and in making the case for their film to be art, it also demands engagement with it, and a serious dialogue with the noise they have intentionally introduced to encode a politically explosive thesis. 
When the film first opens, the Minions are the ones singing the Universal Pictures theme song; we also saw this in Pitch Perfect 2 with the A Capella judges singing the theme song as the intro to the film.We're often told, especially if you listen to the commentary tracks on the film discs, that the views of the commentary in no way express the views of the studio; with the Minions singing the Universal theme song, however, they are making the point that they, the Minions, are UNIVERSAL, and not just the studio. Even though their message may be garbled in noise, the opening mimicry of the theme song suggests, we know what we are saying, and we want you to hear it, if you care to listen. So, what are they saying? We don't find out until the post-credits scene.
This is New York in 1968, and my father has said a number of times that those years were so violent, they thought the world was going to end. What is wrong about this image is that Bob holds a "hippie" sign, done in the aesthetic of the "flower power children," but he wears the work overalls they have just put on as their official uniforms. How does this contrast? This is one of the great signs of serious art in the film, that it sees the overwhelming hypocrisy of the hippies wanting "freedom" and liberation for everyone, the watered-down ideas of socialism, but condemning the "working-class" (which the overalls identify the Minions as, rather than the political class or 1%, etc) which the hippies claim to support, but reserve their strongest bile for. 
Like Ted 2, the post-credits scene, at the very, very end of the film (and there is quite a bit of additional animation thrown in at the end of the film) solidifies the entire message of the film; how? The Minions "sing" (again, we can't understand them, but we know the tune) Revolution by The Beatles which they recorded in 1968, the year of the events depicted in the film. At the time, Revolution was a rather middle-of-the-road political statement for The Beatles, suggesting that, violent revolution wasn't a good idea and they didn't want any part in it; it acts as a warning song to the New Left (which became the Democratic Party Left in the US) about how to NOT cause a revolution. How does this song fit in with the film?
Enter Scarlet Overkill.
On two different occasions, Scarlet has to pull up her dress to keep it from falling down; why does she do this? It symbolizes that, in the male-dominated field of crime, Scarlet has a difficult time holding onto her femininity (her breasts) and she is at risk for becoming a man. Recall, at both Villain-Con and her "coronation" the man with the mustache dressed like Scarlet who yells, "I love you, Scarlet!" he is at risk for losing his masculinity, as Scarlet is for losing her femininity. What about Scarlet's husband Herb? When he's in the torture chamber, and wearing the mask, Kevin calls him "Herb!" recognizing him, and Herb denies it, and says that his name is actually, "Blurb." At the end of this scene, he takes off the mask, says he doesn't even know anyone named Blurp, and leaves. The mask Herb wears is another form of "encoding," so what does the torture scene symbolize? Who is it that isn't being hurt by the torment being hurled at them, in spite of the nastiness of those trying to take over the world hurling it at them? Conservatives. In spite of the degrading and disgusting means the Left continues to use against Conservatives, just like the Minions, we come out unscathed. 
Scarlet's plan is to get new henchmen (who turn out to be the Minions who are looking for a new boss), have them steal the Queen of England's Crown Jewels and be made Queen herself. Over-throwing the monarchy is definitely a revolution, and through various means, it happens, Scarlet Overkill is going to be crowned queen; one news broadcaster states what a catastrophe it is that Scarlet Overkill is going to be crowned queen (which itself is an example of noise, because he says "If I weren't polite I would tell you exactly what I think," and then he leans in and tells the viewers the horror that is going to happen, then he leans back and goes on as if he didn't say anything at all).
How does it happen?
Changing the law.
Why introduce the legend of the Sword In the Stone, and why have it be Bob who pulls it out? When we think of Excalibur, we probably think of those who would be purest of heart and intent, those who would be loving and kind, those who wouldn't show any greed but exercise wisdom. Bob fits all those descriptions, since he volunteered to set out on the journey with Kevin to save his tribe and no one else would. We also see that those are the same qualities that make Bob a bad king. He's terrible, in fact. The ideal king wouldn't be someone who would be king in an ideal world, but--like Elizabeth herself--is a realist in a real world. 
Why would anyone want to change the law? Well, they would if the law prohibited them from doing something that was going to be bad for everyone else; in this case, Scarlet is going to be made queen, not to uphold the laws of the land, but to do away with laws for herself and villain friends, so, this is a perfect example of why the law cannot be changed or suspended. Are there examples of the law being changed today?
Elizabeth comes out of this looking really good. When she is replaced because Bob has pulled Excalibur from the stone, she simply hands him the crown and doesn't make any fuss over it at all. When Kevin ends up at the pub where she is drinking everyone under the table and telling jokes, she refers to Kevin as one of those who "stole" the monarchy from me. This is a different kind of stealing than what Scarlet does, because Scarlet steals just to steal, but Elizabeth recognizes that the Minions aren't legitimate rulers, even if they did pull the Sword, and her country doesn't have a legitimate ruler, rather like America today. In the pub scene, the Queen tells this joke: "Why did the Queen go to the dentist? To get her teeth crowned." This little joke introduces word-play which can be both noise or humor. In the scene above,w hen Stuart tries stealing her crown, Elizabeth says, "Gentlemen do not steal ladies' crowns," and I think we can take that to be a sexual innuendo, that women are crowned with virginity (remember, this time period was one that saw the rise of ultra-feminism, discussed below) and a gentleman doesn't take that crown from her unless they are wed. Even though Elizabeth is female, and one of few crowned Queens in English history (as they have preferred the male line) she isn't a symbol of feminism, like Margaret Thatcher, rather, she's antithetical to feminism because of her strong sense of femininity and strength she draws upon from herself and character, rather than demanding political equality just to demand equality. 
Thomas Aquinas wrote that there are two parts to any law: first, it must be passed through legal means (that is, the recognized law-making body of a government must be the one passing it, and not under threat or bribery, etc.) and, secondly, in order for that law to be a real law, it must be enforced. When people riot, for example, in cities like Ferguson or Baltimore, and police are given the order not to arrest anyone, that is changing the law and making it acceptable to riot and destroy property because the law isn't being enforced. When a person withholds information about having broken laws, like Lois Lerner, and they are free to go rather than being prosecuted for their crimes and covering up other crimes, that is a changing of the law; when a Secretary of State is guilty of not keeping up security standards at a US Embassy, and Americans die, and that Secretary of State is not prosecuted, that is changing the law because anyone and everyone who commits such a crime is guilty and punishable. It's a crime, therefore, to change or suspend laws because it undermines the entire foundation upon which government is built.
There are two types of hunger: there is the hunger of the body for food, and there is the hunger of the soul for fulfillment. Everyone faces the hunger of the body and the hunger of the soul, but the later is done in different ways and to different degrees. The Minions, and their fascination with "Banana!" throughout the film is a reflection of the hunger of the body: they just want to support themselves and keep from starvation. Scarlet Overkill, on the other hand, is fascinated with the never-ending gnawing pain of her ego, and that is how most villains are: they need their egos satisfied, whether Scarlet Overkill or Lex Luthor, they want everyone else miserable so they can be happy,... at least for a moment. 
After being crowned king for pulling out the Sword In the Stone, King Bob then changes the law and names Scarlet Queen. Now, the question is, "Why does Scarlet Overkill want to be Queen Of England so badly?" Because she is filling the void. When she first takes the Minions to her mansion, they pass through a room with gold and priceless art, and she says that these are a few of the things she has stolen to "fill the void," and then she goes onto charge the Minions with stealing the Crown. What happens when Scarlet prepares for her coronation is even more interesting,....
This is maybe the most important scene of the film, because it properly identifies Scarlet's motivation for what she is doing: self-hatred. She wants the crown so everyone will love her, but the problem is, Scarlet hates everyone that she thinks she wants to love her. That's not an equation for happiness, and it never is, and yet, that is the greatest illusion that people fall into. 
The film makers have gone to great lengths to incorporate elements into the narrative that were actually happening in the violent, turbulent year of 1968, one of those being  the protesting of the Miss America competition by the New York Radical Women group (not to be confused with the New York Radical Feminists or Radical Women, which were two separate groups). Now, when we first meet Scarlet at Villain-Con, she talks about how "they" (whoever that is) said a "woman could never become a super-villain," and so this makes Scarlet a bit of a feminist symbol, to say the least, since she is "seeking equality" with her male counterparts in her chosen career field. As Scarlet prepares for her coronation, guess what she is wearing? Just guess,....
A corset.
The corset scene with Herb helping Scarlet get the tiny waist she wants is, undoubtedly, a reference to Scarlet O'Hara in Gone With The Wind. Even though Scarlet Overkill puts on an air of being "liberated" and free, wanting a small waist at her coronation betrays her vanity. Likewise, we rather get the idea that Herb, filling in for Hattie McDaniels' Mamie, is Scarlet's slave rather than her husband as he has taken the place of the "corset string puller." The name, "Scarlet," comes from the color red, which symbolizes blood: either we love someone enough to spill our (red) blood for them and their welfare, or we hate them enough to spill their (red) blood to appease our wrath and anger; Scarlet "Over-kill" doesn't hesitate to destroy the Minions once she has what she wants. The importance of this is, it demonstrates that, far from seeking social justice or economical equality or civil rights and liberties, the Left is really a group of mentally dysfunctional people trying to inflict change on the world so they themselves don't have to change, rather, they can remain anti-social, self-hating brats and burden us all with their unsavory presence. 
A corset is perhaps the ultimate evil for feminists because, to them, it's women slavishly trying to make themselves appealing to men, whom feminists hate. Scarlet has her husband, Herb, pulling the strings, tighter and tighter because, "Must,... have,... tiny,.... waist!" the moment of her coronation is a revenge, a payback to all of those who said she could never do it and wasn't good enough, and this is really the point of the film: people trying to topple the institutions that have come to exist in order to protect society and the general population, don't want revolution for the good of anyone else, just to momentarily fill the never-ending void with what looks like "love" but, because they don't love themselves, they can never understand expressions of love from others and so won't accept it, which is the very sad lot of being criminally insane. Am I right about this?
If Scarlet's name references the 1929 film Gone With the Wind, there might be another reference to another 1929 film and that is The Wizard Of Oz. Towards the end, when Queen Elizabeth is giving gifts, it's rather like the Wizard in Oz giving gifts to Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion; at the start of the film, Kevin, Stuart and Bob setting out on their journey to save their tribe is very much like that of the trip down the Yellow Brick Road. There is an important trait about Bob (left): he's a mutant. With one green eye and one brown eye, anyone who has seen X-Men: First Class knows that is the result of a mutated gene. Kevin is going on this journey because he is a leader; Stuart is going on the journey because he's the dreamer (wanting to be a rock star musician) and Bob is going on the journey because he wants to preserve his singularity, his uniqueness and individuality. Note, please, the red and white knapsack Bob holds over his shoulder; the red is his willingness to die trying to save his tribe and the white is the color of the faith he has that, even though he's scared of setting out on this journey, he believes good will come of it and so he goes.  
Kevin is the exact opposite of Scarlet, because what he is doing, he is doing for the good of his people, his tribe, and trying to save them. Kevin, we can say, is motivated by an abundance of love (for the other Minions) and Scarlet is motivated by a lack of love, for herself and everyone else. Why does she want the Crown of England? "Then I'll be a princess and everyone loves a princess!" Contrasted with The Beatles' Revolution (as a song of noise, rather than lyrical) and the events set in 1968, Minions could not be making a more direct political statement regarding the shallowness of the Liberal Left today and the real reason for them pushing revolution: like Scarlet Overkill, they want to get revenge on everyone they have harbored a grudge since their childhood; in other words, the Liberals never grew up. At the end of the day, Minions want someone they can serve and love, be loyal to and take care of; liberals want to be served and they want to rule just to rule. If you don't believe me, listen to Revolution.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
This is interesting: please read the very top credit line: "Sandra Bullock is Scarlet Overkill." Well, she isn't Scarlet Overkill, she portrays Scarlet Overkill, so saying "She is Scarlet Overkill" suggests that, indeed, Scarlet is modeled on Sandra Bullock. Why would they do this? Bullock starred in Gravity and Heat, both radically pro-socialist films so tying the character and actress together works to instill in the mind of the audience what Scarlet is like beyond the Minions because we know what Bullock herself has done (this is an example of Reader Response theory).

Monday, June 29, 2015

How To Eat Art: Point Of View & Unreliable Narrators

Anthony Perkins portrays Norman Bates from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. The problem with Psycho, which Hitchcock pulled off so brilliantly, is that we keep switching the point of view, which adds to the thrill of the film, as he knew it would. There are three types of narrators in a film: the hero, the tragic or anti-hero and the unreliable narrator. James Bond would be the perfect example of the hero (we will discuss him in the next post) because the viewer identifies with him and is happy to identify with him (in terms of his accomplishments and adventures); the tragic hero is someone basically doomed but you still listen to their story, like Dr. Frankenstein in Mary Shelly's novel. An unreliable narrator is one you question their motives or knowledge of the situation, such as Verbal Kent (Kevin Spacey) in The Usual Suspects
Point of view is probably the most boring aspect of art interpretation that we could begin with, since, after all, we learn it when we first start to learn reading in elementary school. With film, however, point of view becomes far more sophisticated than just the narrator's voice; take the case of Norman Bates. Are we listening to Norman talk, or is it his mother? Or is it a facet of his personality that hasn't even been diagnosed during the duration of the film? If we don't even know whose point of view the events and story are being told by, or at least the point of view of one of the main characters, the entire story becomes questionable.
But that doesn't mean it's chaos.
In an NPR interview, Dustin Hoffman revealed that the best piece of acting advice he ever got was how not to over-act: "You're on the big screen, you're all ready interesting!" a director told him. Trying not to step over that boundary was the job of the actor, he reasoned, not exceeding that boundary like he thought it was (and many do). Because the audience is so easily wrapped up in the plot of the narrative, we will basically buy into anything (how many times does someone go into a dark room in a horror film, and yet, we still watch it?). Are we projecting ourselves onto the actor? No, rather, the actor tries to emerge from us, they need us in the audience to realize that the character is a part of us, rather than the audience becoming a part of the character. This becomes difficult for some actors who have been in so many films it's hard to see their character instead of the actor.
Point of view works because of a sneaky bit of magic that takes place when the audience member buys their ticket, sits down in the theater and the lights go out: the willing suspension of disbelief. Without the audience member's entering into an agreement with the artist to not question the premise or the events, characters or plot, the viewer agrees that they are not going to question the probability or details of something being realistic or feasible, in exchange for being entertained (we know that not all viewers will suspend disbelief, but courteous viewers do). In The Graduate with Dustin Hoffman, we don't question how Benjamin Braddock can seduce Mrs. Robinson at the same time he's seeing her daughter Elaine; why not?
Oedipus Rex, and the solving of the riddle of the sphinx. In his play of  the same name, Sophocles tells the story of Oedipus who, running away so as not to fulfill a prophecy of murdering his father and marrying his mother, ends up doing exactly that. Oedipus is the perfect example of a hero that the audience could identify with, not because they wanted to kill their fathers and marry their own mothers (because this didn't happen) but because they wanted to throw off the burden of Homer and the Homeric heroes they had been dominated by for centuries (their father) and make Greece in their own image (marry the "motherland" and beget children in the form of art, war and treasure); and we can say this is an accurate reading because that is exactly what happened, called the Age of Pericles. Had the same events been told from the perspective of  Queen Jocasta, the mother of Oedipus, the film would have had a completely different moral angle to it, and that perspective from which we gain the ability of a cultural horizon permits the appropriate assessment of the morality carried in the hero's point of view and the experiences of the narrative, which translates as the experiences of the entire culture. 
Because the country as a whole was doing the same thing as Benjamin, and that's why understanding the point of view of a narrative is so important: Mrs. Robinson's seduction of Benjamin mirrored the young 1960's Americans' desire for the comfortable, materialistic lifestyle of the older generation (symbolized by Mrs. Robinson), but they knew they had to be with the goals and values of their own times, symbolized by Elaine (Katherine Ross). The movie was a success because viewers understood that the story line wasn't to be taken literally, but metaphorically, even if they themselves couldn't/wouldn't articulate what that metaphor was, they knew it applied to them. The voice of the hero, the point of view from which the film is basing its own moral decisions and judgments about the events taking place, determines the entire outcome and whether or not the viewer hazards to identify with the hero, and this is powerful stuff.
Enter Alfred Hitchcock.
Why do the films of Alfred Hitchcock work? Why was he the "master of suspense?" Because he realized how the audience member's mind works,... it doesn't. When we watch a film, most of us aren't thinking, we are willingly in a near-vegetative state, experiencing the events of the plot and visual imagery almost like they are drugs working on our emotions while our brains are quiet. We aren't required to keep up our end of the conversation when we watch a film, or interact with the characters, and we aren't responsible for what does or doesn't happen; we are obligated by nothing. This seeming lack of obligation is what leads many--if not all--to declare that film is "escapist" rather than "artistic." The level of engagement with the film, however, does not determine the status of whether or not it's art (it can, however, be used in determining the quality of the art, but that is not our discussion at the moment). When we see a trailer for a new film, the mind is actually working over-time in a 2;00 minute span determining, by the rapid succession of events and dialogue the viewer witnesses, if "it looks good" or if it "doesn't look good." The mind is able to make subtle distinctions which most viewers would not be able to articulate, but will cost the studio millions of dollars, or make them millions of dollars, and this is based on the viewer's ability to identify the point of view of the story and whether the morality matches that of their own or not. Once this all important decision is made, the potential viewer becomes the actual viewer when they go to the theater, buy the ticket, and then sit back to eat popcorn and "enjoy the show." Enjoying the show, however, is not a mindless activity, just as dreaming is not a mindless activity; it might appear to be passive, but it's not mindless. The more the mind works during a film, the more enjoyed it is by the viewer (consider some of Christopher Nolan's best films, like Memento or Inception); the deeper a film takes its viewer into the viewer's own sub-conscious mind, the greater the enjoyment level for the viewer, because films are the dreams of a culture, and just as The Graduate posited the coming-of-age relationships with Benjamin and a mother and daughter to relate to the young people of that day the decision that was before them, so the point of view of the narration of the story will relate an important truth, a moral testament, and either the viewer will agree with it, or disagree with it, and that is the formula of whether or not a person finds that film to be "good."
Great artists are always in control, even when we the audience is not (especially when we the audience is not). In Psycho, after Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) excuses herself from work for the rest of the day, and makes off with thousands of dollars she has stolen, she sees her boss crossing the street in front of her on her way out of town and he sees her after she told him she was going home; the moment this happens, we the viewer are as anxious as she is about the events because we are implicated in her crime with her, even though we have done nothing wrong.
In a way, our identification with Marion is easy, because we have been watching her since the beginning and we know she is in love with Sam and we have an emotional tie to her; what's impressive is how quickly Hitchcock manages to divert our sympathy to Norman, even with the seeming injustice of Marion wanting to give the money back and preparing to confess to the theft the next day, we are still relieved when Marion's car sinks into the pond. That's genius. And this film was shot with only a TV crew, it wasn't Hitch's usual crew he was working with, so it was a huge departure for him.
After Marion has been murdered, Norman enters her room, sees the body and begins cleaning up the scene, putting her dead body into her car and sinking it into the lake,.... but then, the car doesn't sink, it gets stuck, and we're thinking, "Oh, no, go down, go down!" because we are afraid of getting caught and what we are going to do; we are implicated in Norman's guilt because we have all done something where we didn't want to get caught. Even though we have only been watching him on the screen for a few minutes, we have switched our "viewer identification," i.e., the point of view of the narrative, and are now rooting for the character who is covering up the murder of this poor, beautiful woman who was in love.
How does this happen?
I will write about this image when we get to the symbols, because this is good.
In a very real way, film, just like any art form, will serve a moralizing faculty: it's safe to identify with a bad character for awhile so that you can see why you shouldn't make those decisions and do those things in real life. For Catholics, this is called "imperfect contrition": perfect contrition is when a person realizes they have offended God and, because of their great love for God, they are sorry they have offended Him; imperfect contrition is when a person realizes that the sin they have committed could send them to hell and they are sorry for sinning because they don't want to go to hell; there is contrition in this case, but it's not as holy as exercising the fear of offending God. Many times, films/series such as Breaking Bad or Penny Dreadful show characters in horrible circumstances so the viewer can exercise a degree of emotional contrition for themselves/society/religion and avoid the decisions the characters have made and, hence, their fates. Is it willing suspension of disbelief, however, when we think Walt White needs to kill off this girl because she's becoming a liability and is going to threaten to destroy his drug business?
Verbal Kent (Kevin Spacey, far right) in The Usual Suspects. Verbal tells the officer a story and then, at the end of the show leaves; the officer then gets the intel that the man who just left was a notorious criminal who made up the entire story that we have just listened to from various random objects in the officer's office. The entire film that we just watched, was made up, on the spot, by Verbal, who wasn't even who he said he was. That's pretty unreliable.
We are not criminals because we start thinking like a criminal while watching a criminal show, just as (most of us) are not detectives just because we start thinking like a detective during a CSI episode. We are removed from the consequences of the decisions we are making as we (passively) watch the film, we are removed from the stress and emotional turmoil caused which would help us determine what path to take. "I feel like such a bad person for watching Breaking Bad, but I just can't stop!" someone told me. For this particular person, the show provides a safe release for her to deal with her emotions that she otherwise wouldn't permit herself to experience (catharsis), it's not about herself becoming a criminal, rather, allowing herself to become part of a larger cultural experience of shared emotions that aren't real, but teach something that is real, nonetheless. Unless, of course, we have a bad narrator,...
If you haven 't had an introduction into Japanese cinema, or haven't watched any of the Kurosawa films, this is always rated as one of the greatest films EVER MADE, so it's definitely worth your while. 
Akira Kurosawa's 1950 classic Roshomon is about as concentrated of a narrative from unreliable narrators as you can get. There is a bandit who meets a samurai and his wife on their way somewhere. The samurai is killed, and the bandit, the wife and even the dead samurai (through the medium of a kind of witch doctor) each tell a conflicting story of the events, then the wood-cutter who found the body also tells a totally different series of events. The film details the passing of blame and guilt for the cause and destruction of Japan in World War II, with the leaders (the samurai) and the soldiers (the bandit) arguing over who destroyed Japan, or if Japan inherently destroyed itself (was the wife raped, or did she want to leave her husband?) and then the commoners (the woodcutter) who had to bear the worst of the consequences for losing the war, had their side of what happened. This isn't a relative story, this is the actual events, and who did and said what that are being questioned; why is a unreliable narrator an asset to a work of art?
Another classic example of an unreliable narrator is Hero with Jet Li. He goes in telling one story, then another story comes out, and then a third story reveals itself. The moral wanderings of the lead character Nameless (Li) helps him arrive at the greatest moral state a warrior can achieve, the exact opposite of why he started out on the journey to begin with, to kill the man trying to unite China. The act of telling the different stories, and realizing his own story as it fit in with everything else, was what Nameless required to see the path he himself needed to take in order to achieve the moral point of view that would benefit him the most, laying down his sword. The different emotional and spiritual levels depicted in the film really communicate more about Nameless' own soul-state at that point in the story (where he is in the room with the emperor and is slowly realizing he's not going to kill him afterall) than about the other warriors who have decided to trust him. How? Because a story teller can only tell what they all ready know: Nameless starts out talking about the emotional immaturity of Broken Sword and Flying Snow because of his own spiritual immaturity; he ends up relaying the words Broken Sword wrote in the sand, because he has, like Broken Sword, progressed to the point that he can understand, so now, as a storyteller, he can give that version of the story to the audience as well. This aptly demonstrates why the point of view of a narrative is so important in identifying in a work of art, because it's identifying the well of morality the whole story is going to draw upon.
One, it demonstrates how unreliable we ourselves are in deciphering reality in our own lives, but more importantly, it slowly shifts us into taking a moral high road we might not choose for ourselves. When presented with events that the point of view disrupts in our own world view, we find ourselves doing some re-calculations about our own point of view in life. Ultimately, this is the point of every great work of art, and if we take time to identify something as simple as whose point of view are we being exposed to, then we are going to interact with the art on that deeper of a level and get that much more from the experience, thereby enriching ourselves.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
Owen Grady (Pratt) in Jurassic World demonstrates a main character who gives us a point of view that would appear to be feasible for an audience, but might actually be against the audience's morals when clearly broken down. Even as I was realizing that Owen was an anti-capitalist character, he is the character endowed with "common sense" that appears to be the wisest in the film and so the one that, like the kids, you want to stay with because you feel safe with him. In fact, he's the one who undergoes the biggest conversion in the film, even though it might not appear that way, but based upon his last line of dialogue. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Trix Are For Kids: Ted 2 & the Entitlement Culture

Legalizing Ted and weed are similar circumstances, because people who think weed is harmless also believe in make-believe things like teddy bears that come to life. Just as Ted isn't a real animal, he symbolizes our animal instinct for a state of existence that isn't real and which usually goes by the description of "utopia." There is a scene, about halfway through the film, where John (Wahlberg), Ted and their lawyer Sam (Amanda Seyfried) have crashed into a field of a particular strand of marijuana being grown and as they look at it, the theme for Jurassic Park wells up in the background and they re-enact the scene where the scientists see the dinosaurs for the first time (again, they are staring at weed). What's the purpose of this scene? In Jurassic Park, the scientists had done something important and constructive with their lives, as opposed to this threesome who do nothing but smoke their brains out on weed; comparing the weed to the dinosaurs, however, is a stroke of genius, because we know the dinosaurs get out of control and end of destroying everyone in involved (especially Samuel L Jackson's character, who Seyfried's Sam is linked to). They find a guitar and a cowboy hat in the barn, and wonder who they and the weed belongs to and it's Willie Nelson's, who is a supporter of this. The argument the film makers seem to be making is, just because someone makes good music, doens't mean they would make good public legislators (please see the end of the post with the song Mean Ol' Moon).  In another scene, The Breakfast Club is referenced; why? The kids in detention actually learned something, about themselves and each other; is that happening in Ted 2 with these potheads? No, they insist they know what reality is, but how can someone who is high all the time know what reality is? Another important reference, besides Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers IV (which was decidedly anti-socialist), is to Star Trek Into Darkness, when the USS Enterprise crashes into John as he saves Ted from being crushed, and--one of the black gay characters is dressed as a Klignon, who have traditionally been associated with socialism throughout the series many runs. John trying to save Ted from the USS Enterprise crashing into him is like trying to save Ted from the reality of America crashing into him: the Enterprise represents all that is enduring and strong about American culture, and a make-believe bear only concerned with getting smash-faced and sex can't stand up to the examples of excellence that Americans have always held dear in our culture. 
The central conflict of Ted 2 is whether or not Ted, a teddy bear that has come to life in the first film, is human, and so can marry, vote, drive and adopt a child, or if he is property. The arguments the film posits has to why Ted has emotions is because he feels so deeply, and if someone(thing) can feel love, then, surely, they are human. This is apparently how the film ends, unless you stay and watch the end credit scene that completely destroys the entire premise and arguments of the film. What is the end credits scene, and why is it so important?
The film makes it wildly apparent how liberals disregard the law, until they need the law on their side. For example, John and Ted are regular drug users; when the law states that Ted is not human, they decide the government isn't following the law and so they are going to sue the government for "Ted's civil rights." When the three of them meet civil rights lawyer Patrick Meighan (Morgan Freeman) and John tells him what a positive influence Ted has had on his life, Patrick says, like when you two were both arrested for marijuana possession? Everyone should have equal access to the law, but everyone should also follow the law, and the makers of Ted 2 aptly demonstrate how it is often those very people who break the law without a second thought that are always clamoring about their legal rights and trying to sue someone.
Towards the start of the film, Ted works at his grocery check-out lane at Bay Colony Grocery Store and Liam Neeson comes up to him with a box of the kids' cereal Trix, and Neeson asks Ted, are these just for kids? Am I going to be followed? Can I enjoy these too? And Ted answers that Neeson can take them home, no one is going to follow him or stop him from enjoying them; the scene is very over-played and seems to go on for a long time. The whole "punch line" of this scene (and it's not particularly funny) is the advertising slogan, "Trix are for kids!"
This is the scene where Ted and John go to Tom Brady's bedroom for a sample. I don't know about you, but dressed like this, Ted reminds me of Paddington Bear, the lovable bear that I enjoyed so much when I was a kid. If Ted hadn't been dressed like this, there is no way I would have linked the obnoxious, druggie, alcoholic, over-sexed bear with a childhood toy. This is important, because several films (The Woman In Black 2, The Conjuring, Annabelle, Wreck-It Ralph, Ouija, Poltergeist, Ant-Man (with the choo-choo train) and even Hotel Transylvania) fight over whether toys are important for kids or not. Because children generally don't have any property, socialists always target their indoctrination attempts at the younger generations because, in a socialist revolution, they don't have property to lose like their parents do who have worked hard all their lives. Even though Ted is technically a toy, he's still teaching us things, so toys are worthy possessions for kids to have because they do instruct kids (in the case of Ted 2, the audience members who are drawn to this kind of humor). We will be seeing this argument in more films to come. Now, let's talk about another issue the film brings up, and I do apologize because this is really offensive. Anytime any in the film does a Google search, instead of what they searched for, Google asks, "Did you mean black cock?" Why? The propaganda coming out of the White House, and the first black president, is being forced into everyone's every day routine and every facet of our lives, no matter what it is that we are doing. 
Because the conflict is, "Is personhood just for people? Can animals and toys be granted personhood, too?" At the very end of the film, after the catering credits, we see Leeson enter the store again, with the unopened box of Trix, and he's been severely beaten, with bruises and blood all over him; he puts the box of Trix on the checkout table and walks out; TRIX ARE JUST FOR KIDS. Personhood is just for people and civil rights have become so watered down, they mean absolutely nothing for anyone. But, it's even worse than that,...
This is a really important moment in the film, and one that is repeated throughout. In this situation, Ted has gotten on John's computer, and it is filled with porn; filled with porn. Later, when John asks Ted why he didn't just ask John for a sperm sample for his kid, Ted tells him because he thought John had wasted all his sperm on porn; this is the case with Flash Gordon who can't donate any because his count is so low. Likewise, Tami-Lynn, Ted's "wife," can't even receive an artificial insemination because she had done drugs for so many years, she destroyed her reproductive organs. This is an example of one of the "good" lessons the film teaches: people who engage in self-sabotaging behavior, like drugs and porn, end up in a cycle of nature's birth control because they have proven themselves too stupid to be worthy of being reproduced, so nature makes them incapable of bearing children. It's also a warning to those who engage in this kind of behavior of what they are doing to themselves and potentially setting themselves up for in the future. On a similar note, when Sam argues before the jury why they should recognize Ted as a person, she argues that when one type of life is devalued (in this case, that of a teddy bear's) then where is the line going to be drawn when it comes to all forms of life and all life being devalued? For conservatives, even as she's making this argument, we automatically think of the liberals' position on abortion, and how the Left devalues the life of the unborn child in the womb, and the film makers want us to think of this. When Ted and John are at the sperm donation center, Ted tosses John a container holding a donor's sperm and John drops it on the floor, the sperm going everywhere and John anxiously comments, "That's someone's kid right there!" on the floor. The film makers are recognizing life even before conception takes place and, again, attacking the liberals' hypocrisy on "valuing life" even though they uphold abortion. 
It's not just that people who have killed all their brain cells smoking weed automatically assume that, because Ted is alive, he deserves whatever he wants (the "entitlement" culture), these are people who have abused--through drugs and porn--their own personhood and so have no realistic conception of what "being a human being" is about because they have demoted themselves to the level of animals, rather than raising themselves up to be the best people they can be. The film isn't just about the abuse to civil liberties--perfectly timed as it were, to be released on the same weekend that the Supreme Court has announced so-called "gay marriage" is legal--it's about the abuse of arguments used to defend civil liberties and the abuse that has been endured by employers, which leads us to Steven Spielberg's Lincoln.
This is the actual headline in the film. If you click on the image and notice the date, it's Wednesday, August 26, 2015, so the events in the film haven't happened yet; why August 26? The 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote went into effect; what does this have to do with Ted being declared "property?" Two things. First, There are "real civil rights" that belong to every human being, and then there are civil rights that are so ludicrous, the people arguing for them, like "gay marriage," make themselves look ridiculous as they prostitute their knowledge and destroy the Constitution so they can have their way. A teddy bear not being human is the perfect metaphor of the Obama administration's ideas of "civil rights," because it waters down everyone else's genuine civil rights. Secondly, on this date in 1970, the second-wave feminism begins in an effort for sexual equality. Now, the film makes it clear that being "property" is a bad thing, and yet, Tami-Lynn is furious that she can't be Ted's wife, and Ted that he can't be her husband. Feminists have argued (and Sandra Fluke does still today) that they aren't anyone's "property," she claims she doesn't even belong to her brother. This is what love is though, "belonging" to someone, being their's and intimately theirs. Ted doesn't want to be property, but he wants to belong to Tami Lynn, and he wants a child that will belong to him. What's the difference? Slavery is certainly an issue, but Ted being enslaved isn't an issue in the film, so the film makers are making an important point about the definition of "property" and how we all long to belong to someone and if that doesn't make you their property, what is it? During Ted's bachelor party, Ted, John and a group of guys are watching two grizzly bears have sex (I guess this is bear porn) and they are making lewd comments, especially about the female grizzly, and John says, "That's someone's daughter!" We generally don't think of animals as being the children of other particular animals, but John has made the point that, even though she is a female grizzly, she has a papa bear and a mama bear, and by engaging in extreme intercourse with this other grizzly (remember, this is a bachelor party) she's disrespecting herself and her parents, and when we disrespect our parents and loved ones, we are also disrespecting ourselves and vice versa, because that is the nature of "belonging" to someone, which is, in a very real sense, being their "property."
If Ted isn't a person, the film lets its characters "reason," but only in the very lightest sense of the word, then he's property, and not a person, and who wants to be property? (Please see the caption above). The reason this "property" argument is so strong with liberals is because they think anyone who has a job is the "property" of that employer. Now, I have a job that I hate and wish I didn't have to do it; that I remain in this job, however, is my personal decision because, right now, I would rather endure than not have a job; that's my exercise of free will. Liberals, however, deny that anyone has free will; I am a victim, they would argue, because I am a slave to money but if the government were there to take care of me, I could do anything I want (unless, of course, you have read history and know what that really means). This property argument is the real socialist bent of the film, because the 14th Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation is quoted, just as in Speilberg's Lincoln, which was such a re-writing of history, Ben Affleck might have co-authored the script (please see Lincoln and the Masquerade Of History for more).
This is at the start of the film, and the impressive song and dance number just after Ted gets "married" by Flash Gordon to Tami Lynn. The scene isn't just an homage to famed choreographer Busby Berkely, it's also a political statement, just like the similar Berkely homage in The Kingsman the Secret Service: utopia is nice in art, but it doesn't exist in reality, and reality is reality, nothing else. We cut from this beautiful dance number to "One year later," and see Ted and Tami Lynn fighting about money and responsibility, all ready on the verge of divorcing. In other words, films depicting socialist utopias, like, say, Tomorrowland, can do so, because all the problems remain in the script, but the script doesn't reflect what really happens and so it's never going to be any more practical than a talking teddy bear or a big musical number.
So, in conclusion, Ted 2, has offensive as it is, seemingly strikes a liberal note, but only to show the audience, who otherwise wouldn't care about such issues, how devastating this cycle of entitlement has become, not only to the individuals who think they are benefiting from it (such as Bruce Jenner), but society as a whole. While I don't necessarily recommend seeing the film, it does utilize sophisticated devices that can keep you interested and which send a clear signal about the damaging self-sabotage America is committing today in the name of "justice," but you have to stay for the very end, because, without that end of the credits scene, the film goes liberal.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
P.S.-- There is a beautiful song in the film, Mean Ol' Moon, lyrics written by Seth McFarlane and sung--in the film--by Amanda Seyfreid, and on the soundtrack by Norah Jones; the pothead blaming the moon for the troubles she has had in love is the same as Tami Lynn and Ted blaming the government for Ted not being a "person." It's done well.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Trailers: Ted 2, Hitman Agent 47, The Secret Life Of Pets, Zootopia, Hotel Transylvania 2

This poster, really says it all: to indulge in drugs, and to want them legalized, is our "animal appetites" talking (Ted is a bear--i.e., an animal--and he doesn't discipline himself ever in anything he does). But Ted isn't just an animal, he's also a fake animal: teddy bears don't exist in reality, only as toys. We can say then, that the idea of a talking, teddy bear who does drugs is the kind of make-believe utopia that exists for liberals wanting drugs legalized and thinking no harm is going to come from them. What Ted seems to be pointing to, however, is that the kind of people wanting drugs legalized are exactly the kind of people who, all ready having bad behavior, will have even worse behavior because they do drugs and then it will be legal. Illegal drugs is the way that society protects itself from stupid people who follow their stupidity into the realm of drugs.
Ted 2 opens this weekend, and we can probably expect a big opening, as in, it's going to make a ton of money; why? To begin with, it's easy, accessible humor that lots of people find funny so they will go to this type of film to "escape" into "mindless" entertainment. However, humor always encodes some kind of message, and sometimes, humor is the only mechanism that can encode serious discussion of serious topics, which is why a film such as Ted 2 is important:
People who tend to enjoy humor of this caliber generally avoid politics and discussion of deeper, more meaningful topics in life; Ted 2, and films in its genre, communicate important (but encoded) topics in its narrative that the audience normally would try and escape from, such as, doing something to a stranger, then discovering they are blind, and blaming it on your five-year-old son. Only a five-year-old would have behaved like that, so we know that Ted, as an animal, has NOT had a good influence on John (Wahlberg). The plot of the film, the central conflict, is proving that Ted is human so he can be the father of the child he and "wife" Tami-Lynn want to have together. Why is this important? As we have discussed, and will continue doing so in this post with additional trailers below, the Liberal Left is dead-set on making people believe that we are animals, that we have not been created in the image of God and that we do not have a soul; this is an imperative platform for socialism because the State can't compete with God, it wants to replace God, and that means replacing Christian morality with socialist theories, which leads us to our next trailer, Hitman: Agent 47.
This trailer makes Agent 47 far more sympathetic than did the first trailer. Throw in that the lead female is also an agent, and the events this trailer adds seems to make an entirely different film,... "seems" to make a different film is the key. I am still confident, at this point, this is going pro-socialist, and this is why: several scenes invoke Kahn (Benedict Cumberbatch) from Star Trek Into Darkness and attempts to turn his socialist symbol around. In capitalism, and specifically America, it's our cultural heritage and identity to strive to be the very best that we can be in any field we participate in. What separates the agents? They are strong and intelligent, they were produced by a corporation (which was revealed in the synopsis) and the Left is using these agents as a metaphor for Americans in general, and wouldn't it be better if we could just live without having to strive to be so amazing all the time? The film looks interesting from the trailers, but I don't think the film itself will be so good. On basically the same note, here is the first trailer for Zootopia:
What is so liberal about this is it starts out with the premise that Humans Never Existed.... wow, liberals really hate reality. Clothes exist. Technology exists. Mannerisms exist. Humans? No, never existed. Ever. This is rather similar to the film Noah, which strongly suggested that God created the world for animals, man was just an after thought, and should never have happened, and it's regrettable that they have. Again, what's the strategy, on a national, cultural level, in investing millions and millions and millions of dollars in the making and marketing and distribution of an animated film that starts out with the assumption that humans never existed? To teach children that they are animals, not humans. You can't miss what the title suggests: Zootopia, where there are only animals and no humans, is also a utopia, so let's get rid of humans so we can have a happy world. Let's compare it to this trailer for The Secret Life Of Pets:
True, this is granting animals personalities, but they are also still animals, and the humans are humans. Humans don't like themselves like Mel the Pug, and even though the video game experience is big and important to people, they can't fly it like Sweet Pea the bird. Now, what's the difference, for example, between Zootopia above and, say, Bugs Bunny? Bugs has "humanistic" characteristics, he can talk, for example, but he doesn't exist at the expense of humans (Elmer Fudd exists as well, and they co-exist in the world). Further, Bugs Bunny has always supported the same traits, morals and values that America itself has supported, unlike Zootopia that just decides to erase (literally, it scribbles out) millions of years of humanity, like Ben Affleck erasing his slave-owning ancestors, or that the Iranian refugees were released the same day Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president at the end of his film Argo. Now, let's examine another way that liberals are "re-writing history":
Hotel Transylvania was a decidedly pro-socialist film; how? Count Dracula owns a hotel, hence he has employees that run the hotel and he is the out-of-touch dad that is a capitalist. Whereas earlier monster films (read: pre-2008) had socialists as the monsters because of, you know, Stalin, Pol Pott, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Pinochet, etc., now the Left has decided to make capitalists the monsters because, you know, they are bosses, and work sucks. So the grand kid is the future that the capitalists and Millennial population are fighting over: which way is America going to go? Trying to teach the kid to be a monster is trying to teach him how to be a capitalist, according to socialists.
So, Indiana Jones 5, with Harrison Ford, is being seriously rumored as slated for a 2018 release. You may have all ready heard, Ben Affleck is set to star and direct a stand-alone Warner Brothers Batman film, which totally confirms their liberal leanings and why Christopher Nolan was removed as the head of the DC comics department there. 
So, I've been a bit burned out writing this stuff, and if I am burned out writing it, I feel I can safely assume that you are burned out reading it. I am seriously starting the series that I have been making notes for and organizing on How To Eat Art: a serious breakdown of as many different symbols as I can possibly write about with as many examples as I can think of to illustrates it. So, for example, one whole post will be on the symbolism of the color "White," and it will have the positive symbols and the negative symbols with plenty of examples of each. What's the purpose of this? To help all of us better understand how art works so we can better engage and gain greater understanding. I'm actually excited about this, and it's not the only thing I will be posting, but it will give me some focus that I hope will be constructive for me and you.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

News Update Penny Dreadful Season 3 & New Streaming Showtime Options

The cast of Penny Dreadful Season 2. Season 3 will begin production later this year with the new season premiering 2016. All the original makers and stars are expected to return (provided they live through the current episodes) 
It's nice to get good news for a change.
Penny Dreadful has not only been renewed for a third season, which will begin production this year and debut its first of nine episodes in 2016, but Showtime is now making all its programs available through instant streaming beginning in July; in other words, Showtime will become like a Netflix instant streaming film provider and all you need is a computer and fast speed internet. They are providing bypassing the cable companies (who screwed me over so I wasn't able to get it this season like I had hoped) and providing customers with a free, 30 day trial, after which subscription to the service is $10.99 per month, which includes all of Showtime (movies and their original TV shows). You can find out more, and receive email updates, at this link here. HOORAY!