Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spectre Trailer

I am still working on my post for this trailer, but just in case you haven't seen it, here it is, and I am getting the post up today!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

TRAILERS: Tenured, Maggie, 1915

I'm distracted. We lost and I am really sad.
I shouldn't be shocked to see a trailer from the Left for a film taking this position, however, I just can't believe anyone would REALLY take a position like this. If anyone doubts that films are a battleground for politics and the future this country will have, I dare you to watch this.
SO, everyone has to suffer, and kids don't get an education, and everyone gets exposed to unnecessary personal issues, so this guy can work out his failed relationship and still have a job at the cost of the entire society? Yea, that sounds like liberals. Let's take a look at the other end. When I first read the description of the next trailer, I thought, WOW, Arnold Schwarzenegger has really fallen! This sounds worse than a B film! But, BUT, if we look at this from the perspective of the Millennial generation slowly being infested with a disease that is killing them and causing them to kill others, the film suddenly becomes profound. Use all your skills when you watch this one!
Are Millennials attacking the older generations? Yes, and they are becoming more aggressive. Why? Because they are getting "hungry." If you stop the trailer at 1:59, we see Maggie (Breslin) in water (maybe the bathtub?) and her face is supposedly covered with blood or carnage, and her eyes are milky. Brown, the color of the stuff all over her face, symbolizes dirt: either a person is humble, and they believe themselves to be no better than dirt (like monks who wear brown habits) or a person has "dirty" morals and are themselves dirt because of the way they behave. Millennials have "dirty appetites" (because the mouth symbolizes the appetites) for sex, drugs and, in general, entitlement. Please note, when we first see that something is "wrong" with Maggie, it's at 0:54 when we see the doctor checking her heartbeat and we see the abnormal (to say the least) veining and skin condition that looks like decay; it's on her shoulder.
Why is that important?
There is only one real reason I am interested in this film. What we see is Tom Hanks, Mr. Liberal himself, and Steven Spielberg, filming Bridge of Spies, his newest, which he left Grapes Of Wrath (a very pro-socialist story line by John Steinbeck) to do. The Cold War drama was written by the Coen Brothers who are definitely pro-capitalist, making me think that, at least Spielberg, might be changing his mind, finally. An American pilot has been detained by the Soviet Union, and the CIA recruits an American lawyer to help get the pilot back. The "bridge of spies" was a real location during the Cold War between East and West Germany where spies were regularly traded back and forth (please note the barbed wire at the top of the wall to Hanks' right, yea, the "good ole' days of socialism!"). 
The shoulder symbolizes our burdens, our obligations and responsibilities in life, what we "have to shoulder" (the actual film might reveal a different sign earlier, so we will have to be mindful of that, but even the trailer sends a message, and this is the message it's sending); given that she has a disease here, it's not too far out in left-field to say that she hasn't had any burdens to shoulder, and that's why there is something wrong with her shoulder.
Oh, you know that animated film Home about the Booves and Oh, and I said I thought that was going to be a pro-socialist film? Here is the proof: Barack Hussein Obama going into the studio to visit with them. How much more proof do you need?
Technically, what is a zombie?
A zombie symbolizes a real, living person who has willingly abandoned the needs of their soul and their mind, which is why--traditionally--zombies could not see their reflections ("reflecting" being the act of self-meditation and realization so a person can mature and grow spiritually and emotionally). Throughout the decades, culture has called-out a number of causes of "zombie-ism" and we certainly have a share in today's culture. World War Z and Warm Bodies, two recent zombie flicks, both took the socialist side and look at conservatives as being zombies, but Maggie looks like it's going to be a good response to those films. In another trailer, we see history sadly repeating itself:
If you don't know, Armenian Genocide was waged by Muslims against Christians and was the first time the word "genocide" was used. On another note, the first teaser for the new James Bond film Spectre comes out tomorrow evening, so we will get that posted and critiqued asap! These are the last days before Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday this weekend, so I hope you have all have a blessed and holy Lent, and that we are all ready for the events of next week! God bless!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
And the word is in: the sixth season of Downton Abby will be the last,... however, while there are no plans as of yet, producers and creators are vocally hinting that they are open to doing a full-feature film with the cast and crew should that chance present itself.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

News: James Bond SPECTRE Trailer & Lex Luthor in Batman vs Superman!

This Friday, March 27, SPECTRE will release the first teaser trailer! We can expect about 60 seconds of footage that I am sure will be amazing! They are not completed with filming yet, they just moved to Rome to do the scenes there, so there is quite a bit of footage that won't be included, but that's fine, we'll be seeing James Bond again!
On this day, exactly one year ago, production blew up Skyfall Lodge for the special effects climax of Skyfall.
In other news,... Idris Elba is in talks to play the villain for Star Trek 3; while details have not been released, rumor has it that the film will center upon a battle with the Klingons. Both the X-Files (limited 6 series episodes) and Twin Peaks are getting nods to proceed with production and the horror film The Ring is getting a sequel entitled Rings that takes place 13 after the events in the original film. X-Men Apocalypse, which recently made big news when Jennifer Lawrence announced this would be her last X-Men film, has added yet another mutant: Lana Condor will be playing Jubilation Lee; while Fassbender and McAvoy will return as Magneto and Professor X, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan are not returning.
What do we make of it? Black and white (and this is highly stylized black and white, mind you) suggests that the character is "black and white," that is, they are going to be easy to read in terms of their morality and decisions. Please note the eyes, we have seen this at least twice before, where one is larger than the other: President Coin (Julianne Moore) in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and Insurgent when Tris (Shalene Woodley) meets her double. Each instance has their own "symbol-sensitive" context, but this suggests that Luthor doesn't see things "evenly," he has a tendency to see somethings and make light (the smaller eye) of other things. Please note the mole on his left side bridge between the eyes; his left eye is larger, and the mole, the "growth" suggests there was something all ready growing inside him before the events we will be witnessing in the film. His cheekbones might validate this perspective: to "turn the other cheek" is a popular saying, but when a character has strong cheekbones (like those we saw on Angelina Jolie's Maleficent last summer) that signifies that this is a character who is easily offended and far from turning the other cheek, they seek revenge for damages done against them. (If you are wondering about the incredibly pointed chin, that is natural to Mr. Eisenburg). Please note his ears: they are rather far back ancd even look "fuzzy," almost like they have been photo-shopped in; why? This might suggest that Luthor fails to listen, or isn't able to listen. If you look at his mouth, there is a think white line outlining the upper-lip, like his appetites (what the mouth symbolizes and invokes) are, literally. being highlighted. It's possible, although I wouldn't bet on it, that the clothes he wears in this photo is a prison uniform and this is a type of mugshot. Now, last, but certainly not least: the head. We really can't assume that Eisenberg will be a bald Luthor: the top of the head is cut-off, no doubt for building speculation. What would a bald head mean? Hair symbolizes the thoughts, so how hair is styled, what color it is, if it gets messed-up, etc., can all communicate a character's state of mind to the audience; a lack of hair CAN mean that the character has no thoughts (everything, then, is carried out on an instinctual or gut feeling level) but it can also mean that the character isn't going to let anyone know what it is they are thinking. For example, in The Kingsman: the Secret Service, villain Valentine (Samuel L Jackson) wore a hat throughout the entire film and when Harry (Colin Firth) is about to be shot by Valentine, Valentine says, "This is the part where I tell you my plan for taking over the world so you can escape and stop me, well, this isn't that kind of movie." Valentine, then, keeps his thoughts to himself and that may be what we are going to find with Luthor.
Jesse Eisenburg (The Social Network and Now You See Me) has been officially featured today via director Zack Synder's Instagram as Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman vs Superman. Have you noticed a trend? Black and white photos seem to be the norm at least with the "villains," and given that we first saw Ben Affleck's Batman and the Batmobile in black and white, I am confident that Snyder is providing us with a carefully crafted subtext message.
I love it.
Eat Your Art Out and GO SHOX!!!!!!
The Fine Art Diner
Granny chugging RockStar to stay up with all the excitement!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mission Impossible V: Rogue Nation and The Syndicate

The full first trailer for Mission Impossible V: Rogue Nation has been released and it looks amazing: sure, amazing stunt work (Cruise is actually on the outside of that airplane that flies up to 5,000 feet  in the air, and he only had two straps keeping him on), intriguing characters we know, love and can depend on, and witty dialogue, but the real hook for me is what we learn about The Syndicate and what is happening to the Impossible Missions Force:
"The IMF is uniquely trained and highly motivated." What does that tell you? In America, we like watching films about "the best of the BEST," we don't like watching individuals or teams who are mediocre or get shown up by others, or who just barely manage to do their jobs: why? We not only like identifying with "the best of the best" but we ourselves get motivated to do our best when we see others doing their best; with MI5, it's not just raising the standard of what is going to make a great film, it's raising the standard of what excellence is, and a perpetuation and dedication to simply raising the standards continually.
What does that tell you?
So, Benji opens a door, but it's the loading dock on the back, and Ethan yells, "The other door!" Why does this happen? To drag out Tom Cruise being stuck on the outside of an airplane? Possibly, but even that would serve a larger purpose, I mean, Benji's reputation and aura as a geek-supreme are jeopardized in not being able to open the right door for Ethan, so this is a scene with huge risks on numerous levels,... why take it? Benji symbolizes the audience, us, the viewers; how? We are the ones "opening the wrong door" and going into the "vehicle of the film" (the plane) the wrong way. There will be more to this interpretation when we see the film and the particulars, but this is the film's direct interaction with us the audience to indicate that, there is a wrong way to "open" this scene, and a right way to "open" this scene ("open" as in, "open for interpretation and decoding").  
The Syndicate, on the other hand, appears to not set its own standards, but uses the IMF as its standards; the "anti-IMF," as Benji calls them, has its existence only because the IMF first existed for The Syndicate to steal their identity, in other words, The Syndicate is a leech, a parasite on a host (IMF) that it's trying to kill. Why? Well, to answer that, we have to understand who the IMF symbolizes.
These bikers play a crucial role in understanding who The Syndicate is and why they are so deadly: these bikers are basically Storm Troopers, yea, as in JJ Abrams' Star Wars the Force Awakens and, yes, Abrams just happens to be one of the producers of MI5. This isn't a lack of originality, rather, this is the establishment of a pattern of cinematic vocabulary that the film makers are wanting to use to communicate with their audiences. 
"Specialists without equal, immune to any counter-measures," is a fabulous organization to belong to! "But it is an agency in chaos," and in another voice, "The time has come to dissolve the IMF," and a gavel hits the stand (a symbol of "justice") and that's supposed to be it. What if, and this is based on only 2 minutes of spectacular trailer footage, but what if we took the IMF--being dissolved with a counter-agency trying to destroy it in the shadows--as a symbol of the United States?
This scene, is a work of art! We know that eyes generally symbolize sight, but not the sense of being able to see, rather, our instincts, our "third eye" and intuition, that which we have to use our heart and mind to see, and interpret or discern. A "courier" (looking a lot like Ethan himself) delivers this message to Benji, like Mercury/Apollo who was the messenger of the gods, but also the god of prophecy (and prophecy means "deep wisdom," being able to recognize patterns of human behavior and apply it to what hasn't happened yet but probably will based on what has all ready happened). As Ethan tells Benji what he has learned, Ethan "opens Benji's eyes" to the wider picture. We saw something similar to this in Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows when Watson tells Holmes that what he has been drinking "Is meant for eye surgery," but that's exactly what Holmes has drunk it: to widen his gaze, to expand his sight and ability to "understand" through seeing what it is that Moriarty is getting ready to do. Ethan reveals to Benji what is happening, and so too, reveals to us the viewer what is happening. Benji, then, become the "eye piece" (or medium, if you will) for Ethan to communicate to the audience with. like with the "seat belt" comment discussed below).
This is a good exercise for us because there is no rule that "shadowy, secretive, elite operations departments symbolize the government of the home country" or anything like that; in this instance, the IMF is an "organic" symbol that is going to evolve and take on whatever information baggage and encoding the film makers want, so we will only be able to deal with this in its totality (of the film). But let's look at it this way, "Desperate times, desperate measures"; isn't that what the US is dealing with right now?
What is The Syndicate in reality?
This is a great scene in the film, and a fab image. What do we see? Ethan's identity being "dissolved" by the fog, just like the identity-less members of The Syndicate. There is a film reference for this scene, but I am probably making too much of it, and I want you to know it, but perhaps you thought of the same thing, so you be the judge. At this moment in the trailer, Just before the "fog" (poison or whatever) completely overtakes Ethan, he is watching someone shoot someone, and the room they are in is a record room, so it looks like Ethan is in a listening booth. The last time I saw such a thing (and this might be a totally different reference, but let's play with it) was in The Talented Mr. Ripley, when Ripley (Matt Damon) was watching Dickie (Jude Law) listen to jazz records and Ripley was trying to "dissolve" his own identity to become a person that Dickie would like to be friends with. This might not be connected with the actual film at all, however, if it is, it would make for a dramatic commentary on what Ethan goes through during this scene and offer a sub-text about The Syndicate.
Rebecca Ferguson has an interesting role in this film: when we first see her, she flashes a key to Ethan and helps him escape, then later, we see Brandt saying, "Can we trust her?" What does Ferguson do in this initial scene with Ethan, who has never met her? This minority female shows she has the key to releasing a dominant, power-holding white male who is the very best of the best in his field and she releases him. It appears that she continues to help him throughout the film, but the method of her helping is very interesting and we have seen it three other times before this (meaning, a pattern is being established): using the legs to attack the head of an enemy.
See? The white male under arrest, Ethan Hunt (left) and Superman (Man Of Steel, right) under guard as well. Why? Because the government, run by Obama, has turned on white American men. 
Black Widow in Captain America: the Winter Soldier, 47 in Hitman: Agent 47 and Legolas in The Hobbit: Battle Of the Five Armies, have all jumped up around the shoulders of the person they are attacking put the enemy down by damaging the head; at 0:46 and again at 1:43, we see Ferguson's character do this and that's twice in a two-minute video. Just as Brandt asks, "Can we trust her?" we should be saying the same thing because of what this motion could potentially symbolize: revolution.
If she is a member of The Syndicate, not having a name would support and validate the "faceless" and, therefore, identity-less motorcycle riders we see above. This is a rather ambiguous image: is Ferguson's character covering Ethan, or is she holding him at gunpoint? Ethan might be protecting her, or she might be getting ready to shoot someone as a threatening gesture for Ethan to cooperate with her evil scheme. On an entirely different note, when we see her in the second half of the trailer wearing a pea/lime green evening gown (and flashing quite a bit of leg, for symbolic purposes--her standing in society) that dress can either be interpreted as a sign of the hope the team has invested in her to pull off her job, or that she is rotten like the mold growing on last month's leftovers in the fridge. 
The legs, as you probably recall, symbolize "our standing" in society, our reputation, what people think of, that which we "stand upon." The head symbolizes the "governing function," not just of a person, but of an organization, group of individuals, etc. Being a woman, Feguson's character would technically be considered a political minority (that would be her standing) and attacking the "head" of her enemies would be manifestation of her obsession with attacking the "head of government" that is oppressing her as a political minority. Or not. It's interesting, however, that Ferguson's character hasn't been publicly named at the film's official listing; why?
On an entirely different note, a psychoanalyst would look at this moment, not in terms of politics, rather, sexual illumination. Ethan, bound up, half-naked to this pole, is in a "submissive position," and Ferguson "has the key" to knowing what it is that Ethan requires to un-restrain his sexual needs. Ethan working his way free of the pole, a phallic symbol, is going to be met by Ferguson's character using the flute as a gun late in the trailer. So Ethan is in search of a masculine woman (the flute is sexualized as a phallus and a gun) who can free him from the self-imposed sexual limitations he has set for himself (he frees himself from the pole, the phallic symbol, she doesn't do that, she unlocks the handcuffs, which are also, in this Fifty Shades of Grey culture, a sexual symbol).  
Well, the "good guys" have names, stable identities we know and trust. If, for example, she introduces herself to Ethan as Sarah, but The Syndicate knows her as Laura, she would have a double name entry, and that's a sure give-away of a villain because if our identity isn't stable, we can't develop our character in virtue and become good because we haven't committed our selves to good.  On the other hand, the studio could be keeping her identity a secret just to add to the suspense.
Rather like Ethan telling Benji, "The other door!" in the airplane sequence described above, when Ethan asks Benji, "Do you have your seat belt on?" that's a question addressed to us, the viewers. Why? The car goes upside-down, and when we see Benji, he is upside-down and Ethan has all ready taken off. If we don't have our perceptual seat belts on, then we, too, will end up, upside-down, stuck back in the destroyed car, while Ethan has gone onto the chase, and the motorcycle scene--while it's not the climax of the film--will have a lot to teach us about the film's message, so we don't want to stay behind with Benji.
I'm really sorry I haven't gotten posts up: this Lent has been excruciating for me. I wish you all the countless blessings of tomorrow's Annunciation Day! GO SHOX!!!!!!!!! (Beating KU was beyond AWESOME!).
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Sunday, March 22, 2015

TRAILERS: Mission Impossible V: Rogue Nation, Kurt Cobain, Hotel Transylvania 2, Pixels, Inside Out, Home

No, I have not taken off time to watch Wichita State University play, and I am not watching them play against Kansas University today.... I am sure that might have crossed your minds that is what I was doing,.... I'm not,... Really. Really. I assure you.
My car broke down and I haven't felt well, so sorry, as always.
On Twitter, Mission Impossible V co-star Jeremy Renner announced there is a big announcement that is going to drop tomorrow; what is it? Well, as I was writing this, a big announcement was made: the title is Mission Impossible V: Rogue Nation and a brief teaser, below, has been viewed during the basketball games, with a full-length trailer coming out tomorrow. Originally slated for a Christmas Day release, production was going so well, the release date for MI5 has been moved to July 31, and that's something pretty incredible. Until now: they have decided to re-write the ending. Which means also re-shooting the ending, before the premiere dates. Well, even though Cruise has produced a steady succession of great action films--since the release of MI4: Ghost Protocol in 2011, there has been Rock Of Ages and Jack Reacher, both under-performers at the box office (but a sequel to Jack Reacher has been announced) then there was the excellent Oblivion with Morgan Freeman (that did fairly well at the theaters) followed by another excellent film, Edge Of Tomorrow which didn't do so well in spite of being a great film--and has Top Gun 2 and Jack Reacher 2 on his agenda, the MI franchise has been his biggest money maker and Ethan Hunt his most popular role. Some are speculating that the MI franchise has become so successful, it's going to be difficult to out-do it's own record. I will happily be the judge of that. Oh, and by the way, in the image above, that's Tom Cruise, actually flying 5,000 feet in the air, with only two support straps to keep him on the plane, and you get a quick look at it in the teaser below, but he really did that stunt himself.
So, during the game, the very first teaser for Mission Impossible V has been released, along with the title, Rogue Nation. Again, the film has a July 31 release date, but they have to re-shoot some of the ending they decided to re-write, likely leaving the door open for future
"Where is Hunt?" when Alec Baldwin, head of the CIA, says this, it's to William Brandt (Jeremy Renner). The premise of the film is that The Syndicate (a group promoting their own agenda) is a group of assassins who kill on order and they are tracking down the Impossible Missions Force (not the International Monetary Fund, although that would be an interesting deconstructive reading of the film). With JJ Abrams producing the film, and the extended trailer being released tomorrow, let's not say anymore just now, other than, WOW! There are some trailers which have come out that are, quite frankly, depressing. We'll start with this one, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, because it's the most interesting, both in terms of subject and artistic depiction:
IS Kurt Cobain important?
Let me put it to you this way, if I had a book deal that was guaranteed to be published, and it was the first book I had ever written (which it would be) it would be about Kurt Cobain and the Alternative music of the late 1989-95 and Kurt Cobain would be on the cover. That is how important Kurt Cobain is.
Two movies really bring out the cultural transition from anti-socialist Rock and Roll, to the anti-we-and-everything-else music of Alternative, and Nirvana was the leading band in that movement. As we saw in Rock of Ages (Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones) even at its "heaviest," Rock music was about celebrating individuality, personal freedom, emotions and hope; as we saw in House At the End Of the Street (Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue) Alternative music revealed huge schisms in relationships (questioning the ability for people to relate at all) and a horrible confidence crisis in the self and reality. But, you might say, there wasn't any alternative music in HATES, oh, but there was: Ryan has a cassette of Stone Temple Pilot's Core, and--as a socialist and Obama figure in the film--that spoke volumes in helping me--since the falling of the Berlin Wall and simultaneous rise of Alternative music, songs fitting into the genre have taken on the anthem status (please see both Everything Is a Secret: House At the End of the Street and Tongues: Rock Of Ages for more).
Even as the US won the Cold War against the Soviet Union as it, and all its satellites fell and converted to democracy and capitalism, Alternative music was making it known loud and clear what the youth of America considered "the price" of that victory to be; what wasn't explored, of course, is if relationships, for example, would have been better in the Soviet Union. Why discuss all this now? Cobain committed suicide in 1994; it's taken twenty-one years to make his biography and, given that we have seen the artistic genre of music being linked to either capitalism or socialism, and socialism is now on the rise, I think what was just the angst of existential misery Cobain sadly experienced and couldn't escape, is being manipulated as an anti-capitalist position ("You better buckle up, because you are not ready for this," and "this" refers to the fame, money and demand of the music world). And now for something that is, actually, just as depressing, Hotel Transylvania 2:
A lot of people got upset with me for claiming that Hotel Transylvania was pro-socialist, but when the main character is a vampire, and he is a business owner (the only one, in fact, who has a job) and the "hero" is a Millennial who is a vegetarian and lives in youth hostels (please see Worm Cakes & Scream Cheese Hotel Transylvania for more). What we see in this trailer is a direct opposition to The Dark Knight Rises and The Pit Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has to cross in order to escape. How?
Rumors are being confirmed that the next season of Downton Abbey (the sixth) will be the last. Contracts for several of the main cast expire and while the series could continue without some of the characters, as they have proven, it can't continue without the whole family. Julian Fellowes, creator of the series, has all ready been lined up for a new show, The Gilded Age, and so it seems there is quite a bit of legitimacy to this one.
In TDKR, Wayne had to make a leap in order to escape The Pit (a symbol of poverty), but he was only able to escape it when he didn't use the rope, the safety net, because then everything would be lost if he didn't make it (we also see The Pit as the main area of life for Dauntless in Divergent). That "safety net" is what we see in the trailer above: the kids being raised by Millennials aren't going to be able to fly on their own, they will have to be caught, and there is something "monstrous" about anyone suggesting they shouldn't have to have a safety net and they should learn how to fly. But this only gets worse, much worse. Here is the trailer for Pixels:
There are several things we should notice about this trailer. First, the opening shot of the shuttle taking off, is a direct reference to the first trailer for Christopher Nolan's Interstellar where he reminds us of what we used to be and the challenges we faced and overcame. Secondly, the invocations of games such as Donkey Kong clearly invoke the decidedly pro-capitalist film Wreck-It Ralph from the same time period. Third, the inventor going up to Pac-Man to talk to him, is a direct reference to the science fiction films of the late 1940s to mid-1950s, when scientists wanted to save and protect the "thing" and make contact with it; why is that important? The "thing" usually represented socialism/communism, and the scientist, being a brain-in-a-vat, wanted to make it work. Fourth, at the end of the trailer, you have the idea that sending something into space probably isn't a good idea, so we probably shouldn't have anything to do with it, which is the exact same message of Gravity (with the mini-Coopers, there may also be a reference to The Italian Job that I am not getting). But if seeing the image of Ronald Reagan in that trailer didn't convince you that there is a definite agenda in Hollywood to undermine American values via socialism, then you aren't paying attention. Sadly, this is the worst of the trailers:
Where are these qualities inside Riley? Why is it, that Riley has only emotions and no reasoning or logic skills? Why is it that she has fear but no courage? Why does she have disgust but no enthusiasm? She has anger, but no patience? The answer to these questions is simple: because liberals made this film.
Please note that, from her mother, she gets sadness, but anger and fear from her white male, head-of-the-family father who shows how inept he is when he "puts his foot down" in a display of authority; the white male her mother wishes she had replaced with the Brazilian helicopter pilot instead (if you have no idea what I am talking about, here is the link for the first trailer). Again, the damage of this kind of scenario is, not only does it make other emotions look illegitimate--like the ones listed above--but it also over-emphasizes our emotions at the expense of logic and reasoning, which is exactly what liberals want: they don't want people to "reason" their way through the problems and ills of same-sex marriage, they want you to "feel" sorry for homosexuals and transgenders so you will "feel" guilty about withholding the right to marriage from them. They don't want you to reason your way through their race discussions, they want you to feel guilty about your class and white privilege and shut up so they can kill you. And lastly, I found this little hidden trailer that shouldn't leave any room for any doubt,...
Which political party made it socially possible for women to raise their children alone so men wouldn't have to take responsibility for their kids, and women would become dependent upon the government (hint: the "War On Poverty"; I greatly admire single parents who have chosen to raise their children, but please understand, there was also a definite liberal-backed government agenda that realized by increasing poverty, people would become more dependent on the government, and less dependent on themselves). Who is it that doesn't have a home of their own, but continues to "destroy" every place where they go? Who is it that destroys our sports (the football-eating)? Who is it always making threats they can't back up (shooting lasers from his eyeballs)? Why are all these animated films coming out that are pro-socialist? At least two reasons: first, Hollywood knows that if the film is animated, the parents are probably going to take their kids to it, thinking it will be "safe" because there won't be foul language, nudity, addiction, etc.; so animated films are the perfect vehicle for indoctrination. Secondly, the parents' own censorship and awareness is down because, hey, it's just an animated film, and so the parents become a part of the audience for the receiving the indoctrination as well. Do not be foolish and think they don't know what they are doing, because they do. But, the good news is, Sean Penn's The Gunman made around $5 million, that doesn't even rise to being classified as a bomb, that's like getting an "F - -" on your paper, ha ha!
Eat Your Art Out and GO SHOX!!!
The Fine Art Diner

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The New James Bond SPECTRE Poster & What It Says

The teased new poster for James Bond's SPECTRE has been released, and it's an elegant work. SPECTRE will be released at the end of October in the UK, and the first weekend of November stateside, so they are slowly indulging us with information about the plot, but what I am most excited about, and I think what really sets Daniel Craig and these film makers apart from earlier Bond films (and, IMHO, these are the best Bond films ever) is that there is more of a focus on Bond the human being than just the plot, because the plot follows what we know of the man, not the plot making the man. So, here is a poster that was released before even the title SPECTRE was released:
Here is the "social-media-created-anticipated" poster released today, just as promised:
And here is the first poster they released, with the film's title:
Before a poster was released showing Daniel Craig as Bond, this poster of the Bond 24 Aston Martin was released:
But this all makes significantly more sense when we compare it to the poster for Skyfall that is radically different from the newly released SPECTRE poster of today:
Let's start with Bond 24:
This is a title card, a calling card or even a business card, but it says something important: London. The typeface is a clean and classic business font that echoes street signs and advertisements classic to London's atmosphere and culture. Why go with this as an aperitif? SPECTRE is all about London, no matter where Bond is in the film, it's going to be about protecting London all the way. We have all ready discussed at length the SPECTRE bullet-hole octopus poster and, at this time, I don't have anything to add to it at this time. But, what's surprising, and I think it's going to reflect the film, is the way and time-line in which they have chosen to do things,,...
These artists are quite talented. In the image on the left, at the bottom, please notice how SPECTRE (which imitates the "split" font like in the John Wick poster) is perfectly balanced by 007 beneath it, like a see-saw or a teeter-totter; this is echoed in the image on the right and, as we shall see, in the new poster released today. 
As director Sam Mendes said in the featurette we watched recently (I am re-posting it below), the film starts out in full action of Bond on the "hunt" for something, but we don't know what (it's been leaked that we might be as far as half-way through the film before we even find out what Bond is doing or looking for). So we would expect to see, first thing, the name of the newest Bond film with its star,.... no, that's not what they did. First they gave us the title, which was also telling us who the villain would be. NEXT, they give us,.... the car. Now, as I stated, I think there is an imperative reason why the Aston Martin was the second introduction to the film that we were given,....
No one gets anywhere in this film without a car, and the vast majority of the trailers we have seen highlight the massive car chases, so for the primary poster of the film to have Max and his car is just and fitting. SPECTRE, however, is giving us--before the human hero of James Bond--the mechanical hero, and spotlighting the car in such as way, as not only to recall it's long and prestigious history in the Bond franchise, but the role that it is going to be taking in the upcoming film. No one really bothered to mention how important of a move that was, and I think that was a big mistake in the film community.
Coming out May 15, Mad Max Fury Road features a lot of cars, and the "people" that we see driving their cars like lunatics are supposed to be exactly that, lunatics. Why? It's an obviously liberal agenda, and liberals don't like people having cars because of the gas they use, but a socialist government doesn't like people having cars because it affords them freedom of movement and they are harder to restrict and control. Making a bespoke Aston Martin DB10 for the film, and throwing in some amazing chase scenes, will make the car look as beautiful, inventive and necessary as MMFR will try to make it look ugly, excessive and destructive.
Now for the real meat.
Please recall, when Skyfall opens, Bond is in a bad position: he has to retrieve the hard drive lost by M or agents all over the world are going to be killed. Half-way through the film, Bond is in such bad shape, he's not fit for the field but M passes him anyway. Seeing how M treats agents, including Silva who defected, or something like that, strains their relationship and then, throw in Bond having to return to his childhood home where he was orphaned, so, yea, Bond on the ground, shots spitting up dust all around him, that is a pretty good image for how Skyfall went down. Please note also how Bond isn't entirely in the poster--the top of his head, part of his right side and part of his legs have been cut off by the poster's edges, just as part of the 007 logo behind him has been "clipped." Losing M, the old MI6 building and his childhood home (regardless of what he thought about it) all "clipped" Bond in one way or another and he was mostly depressed through the film (the dark blue suit he wears). SPECTRE presents us with an entirely different Bond. All four posters released for the film so far have kept to this monochromatic palette of gray, white, black; even Bond's personal features are brushed over to neutralize them. In the Skyfall poster, there is a considerable amount of black and white, which easily translates to the "black and white issues" Bond faced in that adventure; with SPECTRE, it appears there are going to be more "gray issues" and matters that Bond will have to interpret for himself and take a gamble on.
First of all, in the new poster for SPECTRE, Bond is alone: no one else is with him; he's not in a "natural setting" of any kind (like the desert scene with Quantum of Solace) or an artificial setting (like a casino), rather, the image is largely monochromatic. We fully see Bond,... except for his legs. Legs, as we know, symbolize our "standing" in society, so that Bond's legs are "cut off" in the poster, we might deduce that Bond's standing in MI6, or society at large, is in jeopardy or goes through some changes. Apart from this, the poster is remarkably balanced: the gun in his right hand is balanced by the watch on his left wrist (a symbol of "time" or, more likely, "history," since what Bond is hunting down is something from his childhood) but also the light gray of the background is balanced by the much darker colors that he wears; the dark blue/gray of his turtleneck (it's guarding his neck, so he's being careful about what is going to "lead him" in the film, so nothing can arbitrarily put a leash on him) and his gray pants suggest that we have a Bond who is on a pilgrimage.
Speaking of "legs," Mr. White is coming back! Jesper Christensen has confirmed that Quantum's character Mr. White, which appeared in both Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, will be returning in SPECTRE; that is a big surprise! Having been captured by Bond, Mr. White's "standing" in the Quantum organization appears to be troubled at this point in the film since he has been "exposed" (the pant legging cut open to reveal his leg beneath). Having been taken in for questioning, White has also "lost face" (the abrasions on his face) and will have to manage something to regain his status within the organization, if he can.
As we know, gray is the color of penance, because it's the color of ashes, and that's what people would wear (as a sign of mortality, from ash you came, to ash you return) when they were repenting of sins; the larger purpose of making a pilgrimage was as a form of penance for sins, and we can see, if it's something from Bond's childhood and it has to do with London, that is an apt way for Bond to be dressed. What is highly unusual, at least as far as I can tell, is the gun-holster he wears. I've been going through pictures and can't find any of him wearing one (although that doesn't mean he hasn't, it just might not have been shown before), but for a item that would appear standard for a spy of 007's caliber, it makes a striking statement: our shoulders symbolize our burden(s) that we carry; the leather straps suggest that Bond's burden is balanced on his shoulder, and he's able to support it for the job that he has, but it's made of leather, animal skin, suggesting that "animal passions" or appetites might be involved in what he will have to shoulder in this narrative. The straps are balanced, however, by his stance: he's not moving, but he's ready for anything.
The dark colors Bond wears says something else: he's close to achieving the perfect "death" for his character and state in life: he is, in other words, dead to things of the world, but alive to things of the spirit (which helps him to keep his integrity and moral compass in situations). Black is the color of death, and we know there is one funeral scene in the upcoming film, so we will have to see how, if at all, that will reflect upon Bond's own personal gaining of ground to achieve the desired zen state. I am assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that the gun Bond has is the one made for him by Q, the one fit to his hand print so only he can fire it; as we learned in his discussion with Vespers in Casino Royale, he wears Omega watches, omega being the last letter of the Greek alphabet. If this has anything to do with the plot, it might be that the Bond will have the last word on this "historical" or long-standing issue from his past and this is the time for him to bury it forever. We also know, because of an image released via Twitter, that it's a Seamaster Aqua Terra model that has the Bond family coat of arms on it; like the gun with his personal hand print signature, the watch balances it with another, distinct signature. 
The last important detail to be discussed right now is the title. As we have seen above, balance is important in the patterns the visuals are establishing, and it continues with this image. SPECTRE is perfectly balanced across the chest and arms of Bond, right over his heart (suggesting this will have something to do with it, a matter of the heart, which makes sense). SPECTRE, however, is being balanced atop the 007 logo, like the teeter-totter again; why? Quite simply, James Bond can handle all of SPECTRE on his own, and that's going to make for one seriously impressive film.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
P.S.--Here is the Sam Mendes' featurette mentioned above. Mendes is only the second director to direct two Bond films back-to-back and, it sounds like, he might possibly be back for Bond 25. After Skyfall, Christopher Nolan had been approached about directing what is now SPECTRE, but he called Sam and convinced him to do it.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Do you like rain?
I love rain. I adore rainy days, it's like a gift. There is a site, Rainy Mood, that plays rain all day long, I love it!. I have started having Rainy Mood play, and also some classical music, like Beethoven over it, so it's been really peaceful and tranquil.
A few things going on: Insurgent opens this weekend (tickets are all ready selling out) and I am planning on seeing it Thursday late, or early Friday. I am nearly done with my post for Divergent; yea, I should have gotten this up a year ago, but you know what, it's been a good review for me, and the film is definitely worth watching a second time.
Posted on Twitter today. A new poster and image has also been released for Jurassic World, but I probably won't bother posting that unless I need some filler in-between paragraphs; why not? 
The image above is causing a big commotion: not because a lot of people are getting excited about the new poster being released, rather, that this seems to be a sign of "social media thirst," a "teaser for a teaser." I won't argue with this. We can also argue, how many bloggers are needed to blog about movies? Teases, such as the one above, and websites, such as the one you are reading now, are mutually beneficial: Hollywood officials know bloggers like myself will talk about this, generating the "free hype" that will surround their films, and bloggers like myself know that we need hype like this to talk about to give us material for our blogs (well, not mine so much, this is more like pertinent filler for the big, legit posts I should be getting up more often; oh, well). Is there another angle to this "hype?"
On the heels of this weekend's Cinderella's financial success, Beauty and the Beast makers have added Emma Thompson and Kevin Kline to their line-up with Emma Watson and Luke Evans and will be released March 2017.
There is an unimaginable amount of discussion that now takes place about minutiae of films, like tomorrow's new poster release, that increases the amount of knowledge throughout the community as a whole; what does that mean? We are becoming smarter and better informed viewers, and that's intentional because Hollywood wants the smartest viewers it can get to go to their films; why? It elevates their art, and it expands the possible range of devices they can use in making their films more interesting and exciting. But it also increases the dialogue between film makers and film fans, case in point,...
So, the new Sherlock stand-alone episode isn't really a Christmas special, it's a Victorian-era special that will not be a part of the regular series, but will air before the 4th season. It takes place in the 1800s and our heroes will have an adventure that will not effect, again, the rest of the season, please read more here.
When film makers know that there are people who are going to "get" that the bullet hole in glass resembles a octopus that is the symbol of Spectre, they are going to work harder to reward our patience for this kind of thing because they know it's going to be appreciated; it is appreciated on the blogging end, so we reward the studios for giving us cool stuff by giving advertising and lots of verbage. Other bloggers aside, having a slow, steady releasing of information like this helps me digest all the multi-faceted dimensions of film making better, but also assures me of the thought, time, energy and money that has been poured into making the film look the way the film is, and that it's intentional and not just, "Oh, well, that will do," which means that every facet of the film is taken seriously and for a reason; that gives us more to interpret and decode.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Kindness & Courage: Cinderella (2015)

It's ghastly.
I can't stand feminists. I can't stand how all they do is nit-pick over things they cannot even begin to understand. "Cinderella" is just a man's construct of his perfect, beautiful and brainless woman, they say; believing in only the material world, I would like to point out, causes significant problems for them, especially when it comes to art. Cinderella isn't about women, it's about the soul, which is often portrayed in the feminine, and Cinderella is about the choices we have in life, and whether we will turn evil, like the step-mother, or choose good, like Cinderella. Now, let us move along and study the wonderful film that Mr. Branagh and company have provided for us and what messages we are meant to take from it (I can't even begin to cover everything, so these are just some of the highlights).
What does the glass slipper symbolize? We know feet symbolize the will (and shoes, then, reveal to us what kind of will, or what problems with the will, the character is having) and glass symbolizes personal reflection and inner-meditation. Butterflies, culturally speaking, usually convey metamorphosis, as the caterpillar turns from an ugly bug into the winged creature of beauty and grace.  We also know, from our reading of the original, 1950 Disney animated version, that Cinderella has been through spiritual battles and much warfare, and the coach, the gown, the slippers, are a "down payment" for her "spoils of war" that she has accumulated for exercising virtue rather than indulging her desire for revenge and bickering, like her step-sisters. The glass slipper, then, symbolizes that Cinderella has done the will of God, rather than her own human will, she has reflected and meditated upon her actions, and the actions of others, and has worn "kindness and courage" as her will rather than self-promotion and greed. Just before Ella gets into the coach, the fairy godmother sees Ella's old black slippers, and asks, don't you have anything better? To which Ella replies, no one is going to see them. Ella is wrong, however, and it's not because she loses a slipper while swinging and Kit puts the shoe back on her, rather, everyone sees our will, everyone sees what determines who we are and what guides us in life. The black slippers, however, are the color of death, and a sign that Cinderella has "put to death" her own will, and--through her free will--given life to the will of God (kindness and courage). The facets of the glass slipper convey the multi-dimensionality of Cinderella's character, even though some people may argue that she isn't multi-dimensional at all. Just because a person has one response to every situation, whether that be kindness, in Ella's case, or sarcasm and superiority as in the case of Lady Tremaine,   doesn't mean that they haven't evolved past the shallow depths, rather, either good has been allowed to wholly transform them, or evil has taken root and utterly destroyed them. Again, with the case of Ella, she always uses her will to choose the higher path in life, and the glass slippers are a visualization of how Ella has grown over the years.
There are numerous places where we can begin this analysis, but let's start with the place where Branagh most defitely breaks with Disney's 1950 animated version: their meeting before the ball. This detail is a brilliant accomplishment of character development, if we only know how to read it. Ella has just been dubbed "Cinderella" by her step-sister because of the ash on her face, and told--in no uncertain terms by Lady Tremaine (the step-mother, Cate Blanchett) that she is a servant girl and will never be more than that. Ella gets on a horse and rides into the forest; why?
Because of what a forest symbolizes.
This was the first image released by the studio for the film, and it's a fitting characterization of Ella. Why? Horses symbolize the Holy Spirit. In depictions of St. George the Dragonslayer, for example, he is always on his horse because the Holy Spirit is the vehicle of God to take us where He wants us to be in life. The Holy Spirit is not just the Comforter and the Paraclete, but also our destiny in life who communicates to us the grand purpose and design God has for our lives. This is an accurate reading because it's in this scene that Ella meets Kit, her future husband. We know that blue, the color of Ella's dress and slippers, symbolizes both sadness and wisdom, because the path to wisdom is the path of sadness, and in the meeting with Kit, Ella expresses both traits. 
You may recall in Snow White and the Huntsman that the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) was the only one who had ever been in the woods and come out alive, and that's precisely where Snow White (Kristen Stewart) went into hide and, like Cinderella, she sees a great stag. In both films, the forest clearly symbolizes our dark, untamed and forbidden emotions that can be self-destructive (the Huntsman had gone in there after his wife's death). In Cinderella, after Ella has been dismissed from the breakfast table, she breaks a dish, and then rides out into the forest on the horse and encounters the stag, then meets Kit. What does the stag mean and symbolize?
The Prince himself.
After they meet at the ball, they talk about this moment of initially meeting and how neither one of them was truthful about who they are: the Prince tells Ella at this meeting, that he is an apprentice who is named Kit, and he works at the palace; Ella doesn't tell him even this much about herself, but she is obviously dressed simply. At the ball, the Prince accuses her of having hid that she was a princess so she wouldn't overwhelm a simple apprentice. In this moment, Kit sees Ella as she is: a simple country girl, with ash on her face and no money, nor family connections; so, you may ask, why doesn't Ella just stay past the stroke of midnight so she can continue to be with Kit and not have to rush off back home and hide her real identity? The answer is, because Ella isn't "finished." Just as Kit hasn't yet become king over the land, so he can execute his royal will, so Ella hasn't become the queen of the land of her own soul; the initial meeting, the dance at the ball, were both "down payments" on what God wanted to do for both of them if they would cooperate with His plan and will. Ella still had lessons and battles in faith, courage and kindness to win before she would be a worthy queen for Kit. When he sees her, at the end, as she is in the scene above, he doesn't see the simple country girl, he sees the woman that has been through abuse, neglect, sorrow and hardship but has won each of her battles and the war. In the image above, the horses each of them rides (again, a symbol of the Holy Spirit) conveys what we need to know about them and their point on their journey: Kit rides a dark horse because, like the stag being hunted, Kit is at the point of death. The Grand Duke has all ready entered into an agreement with the Princess Chelina that Kit will marry her, and without the meeting with Ella, Kit might be likely to go along with it. Ella's gray dappled horse reveals that she is on a pilgrimage (gray is the color of ash, like the ash on her face, and ash was "worn" as a sign of penitence when people would make religious journeys) and advancing in virtue, which she does when she shows more concern for Kit's problems than her own.
It may seem odd that the Prince would be hunting himself, however, that is exactly why it is such a powerful symbol. Remember, Lady Tremaine called Ella herself a creature, and not a human, so part of the power of the scene when Kit and Ella meet is that they are both in exceedingly vulnerable positions emotionally. Ella enters the woods on her horse and sees the stag; she then hears and sees the hunting party and urges the stag to run so it's not caught, and then, following the stag, she catches the eye of Kit who then stops her and they speak. It probably wouldn't do to show the Prince himself scared to death, but this can be conveyed through the stag's fear and running for its life. "It's what's done," he tells Ella, because that is what he has been told about marrying for advantage, rather than love. But there is also another way we can know, by the film, that the stag symbolizes Kit: Lady Tremaine.
On the left is The Swing by Jean-Honore Fragonard, c. 1767, considered to be the masterpiece of the Rococo era and one of the most romantic paintings in the world.  While the painting doesn't appear directly in Cinderella, I would like to posit that it's invoked when Kit takes Ella to his "secret garden" and pushes her on the swing (image on the right) and she loses her shoe, as depicted in the painting above (we have seen the painting directly referenced in a Disney film recently, Frozen). Why does Kit take Ella into his secret garden, and why is there a swing there? A garden is the exact opposite of a forest: a forest is where nature is free to grow as it wills, whereas a garden is designed and maintained by man. Symbolically, the forest, as mentioned above, is the land of our uninhabited nightmare, our emotions and fears we have no control over; gardens, on the other hand, illustrate our mental region over what we do have control over and how we "bear fruit" emotionally, intellectually and socially. Most of us, when we meet someone in whom we are romantically interested, put our "best face forward," and try to make ourselves look as attractive as possible on as many different levels as possible; that's not what happened with Kit and Ella. When they meet, both are in emotionally vulnerable states and that's probably why they are able to so quickly connect: they learn to trust the other person in this moment, even though neither one of them are being totally honest with the other. Now, if the garden is a sign of what Kit has "together" and going on for himself, why has he never shown this to anyone before? That question is easily answered by the ending, when the Grand Duke hears Cinderella singing, but doesn't want to give her the chance to try on the slipper, but Kit reveals himself to be one of the soldiers and saves Ella from Lady Tremaine. The only trade Kit knows, as he tells Ella, is being a monarch, and hiding your inner-strength and perception of who is really your friend, is a gift that monarchs need to survive their courts, just as inner-strength is a gift Ella needs to survive her step mother and sisters. So, just as the King was able to deduce that Kit had "become your own man," this is the achievement he wanted to show Ella as being worthy of her and why she should trust him. Why does she lose her shoe? Well, this is a garden, after all, and a garden where two lovers are is meant to invoke the Garden of Eden and Original Sin. After the death of her father, this is the first time Ella has had fun and being with Kit probably makes her want to have a bit more fun, in other words, dropping the shoe is a sign that she is dropping her will, and ready to go a bit further with Kit; the clock begins to sound the midnight chimes, however, and Ella's will is saved by her need to get away before the breaking of the spell. 
When Lady Tremaine has gone up to the attic and found Ella's glass slipper, Ella tells her, I may not have been able to protect my father from you, but I will protect the Prince from you! Just as Ella tried to protect the stag from the hunting party, so Lady Tremaine has become, with her daughters and the Grand Duke, a hunting party after the Prince. And Kit is a part of the hunting party after his (symbolic) self because he has bought into the brainwashing of who he must marry. Likewise, Ella is at risk for also becoming a member of "her own hunting party" in giving into the cruelty of her step sisters and Lady Tremaine. But there is an element that saves Ella: others.
This is a great scene because it sets up Ella going into the woods and seeing the stag and Kit, and helps us, as the viewers, to understand what is going on inside Ella and Kit. This is the breakfast table, and Ella went to sleep by the fire because the attic was so cold; when she awoke, she had ash and cinders on her face, which one of the sisters uses to name her Cinderella. Please note that Lady Tremaine wears a leopard print house coat, and an animal print is a sign that the person is taken over by their animal appetites, which is fitting at the breakfast table, i.e., Lady Tremaine fulfills her appetites for being an animal by "eating up" little, helpless Cinderella who can't defend herself (more on this below). Additionally, the abuse and scorn which is "served" to Ella as she serves breakfast is "eaten up" by Ella as the truth. Whenever a character is "eating" or "drinking" something, it's a sign that they are "taking in" whatever is being discussed and digesting it. Because Ella has digested the "mockery" dished out to her, she gets on her horse and rides into the forest, not being able to stomach what they have told her (the broken plate is a symbol for Ella herself, because it's a vessel, and the body is a vessel for the soul, so her spirit has been broken, just as the plate has been, but meeting Kit, and receiving from his generosity, puts her back together again). 
When Ella's mother dies, she looks after her father; when her father dies, she thanks the man who brought the branch she wanted from her father and then she is forced to look after Lady Tremaine; when she isn't given much food to eat, she looks after the mice; when her step sisters abuse her, she helps Kit; when Lady Tremaine destroys her dress, there is the "old woman" in the garden to give milk to. Ella exercises, whether she realizes it or not, the philosophy of the Other, i.e., that we discover who we ourselves are by giving to another. This is an important philosophy, because it is utterly subverting to feminism.
Perhaps the theory best suited to reading this film is Reader Response theory: most television watchers know Cinderella' (Lily James) as Lady Rose on Downton Abbey, as well as Sophie McShera as Daisy (so the role of the upper and lower class has been reversed in Cinderella).  There is a definite moment in the beginning of the film when Cinderella stands by a wall of can bells, nearly identical to those of Downton, invoking the show. Likewise, fans of Game of Thrones know Richard Madden (the Prince) as Robb Stark. You might also have caught the reference to Mel Gibson's Braveheart: when Lady Tremaine orders Ella to go to the seamstress and order her a gown in mode de Paris, Lady Tremaine makes the comment that Ella is probably too dumb to know what that is, to which Ella responds with a length reply in French that none of them understand, as when William Wallace is before the English Princess and she speaks in French because she doesn't think Wallace will understand her and he shows her up. When Ella is young, and her father has returned from a trip, he brings her a paper butterfly and teaches her to say papillon, which invokes the 1973 film Papillon starring Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen.I can't even begin to make a comprehensive "reading" of all these different characters and films coming together, but we know that William Wallace was facing an enemy trying to destroy his entire country; in Papillon, McQueen's character, who has a butterfly tattoo the way Ella's dress and glass slippers have butterflies, was in prison and driven to near insanity on solitary confinement and half rations. There are two points of Branagh doing this: first, when we see our favorite characters or movie mentioned, it acts as an homage and we are rewarded for being fans of that actor/film (the audience member has then become the "implied audience," meaning, something was done in the film for their sake, so they would catch onto it). Secondly, incorporating bits from other shows allows the film makers to expand the visual vocabulary for characters and the plot by referencing films that have done the same thing before and that the film makers know you have seen so they can tap into your previous knowledge and apply it to their films (Alfred Hitchcock was a master at this). 
Feminism seeks to make a woman the center of her universe, thinking that in doing so, she is being empowered, because that is what men tend to do. Ella, by continuously being concerned with "the Other," whoever or whatever that may be in her situation, proves that she is helping, healing and empowering herself when she does so, and it's only people with insufferably small characters who do otherwise, like Lady Tremaine. Even though someone might argue that Lady Tremaine is advancing her daughters' futures, she actually is advancing and securing her own. We could say there is another woman advancing her own agenda: the fairy godmother.
Lady Tremaine tells Cinderella "her story." Lady Tremaine initially married for love, had her two beautiful but stupid daughters, and then her husband died; then, she married Cinderella's father for the advancement of her two daughters, and instead, she had to face the daughter he loved every single day. She then demands that Cinderella make her the head of the household in the Palace (assuming she is going to marry the Prince) so that she can rule with a strong hand from "behind the throne" and her daughters will get good marriages. Cinderella refuses, then Lady Tremaine breaks the glass slipper. What do we make of this? Well, Lady Tremaine has red hair (Ms. Blanchett normally has blond hair) so we can deduce that her thoughts are those of love or anger, because red is the color of the appetites: either we hunger for love or we hunger for revenge against those we perceive have not loved us; likewise, her mouth (the symbol of the appetites) are always painted with bright red lipstick, so they are heavily emphasized. The faint color of green Lady Tremaine wears in the image above, is echoed throughout the film with all her outfits (rather like the lizards that are turned into the footmen for Cinderella's carriage). Green either signals hope (as in spring when everything is reborn anew) or that something is rotten. Given her treatment of Cinderella, and her willingness to betray the Prince, we should probably deduce that, what Lady Tremaine was describing as "love" with her first husband, was more like "lust" or "desire," a craving for a "good time" and "happiness" rather than the kind of sacrificial love that strengthens us and makes us more virtuous. 
Who is the fairy godmother?
Portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter, there is a very solid reasoning to base a theory that Ella's fairy godmother is actually, in some way, the deceased mother of Kit. At the end of the film, after they have been married, Ella and Kit look at their family portraits, and the portrait of Kit's mother looks very much like the fairy godmother when Ella gives her the bowl of milk. Why would Branagh do this? Kit has a conversation with his father about who he must marry, and the King tells his son he must marry a princess for the good of their kingdom, and then Kit reminds him of why the King married his wife, Kit's mother, which was for love, not advantage. If Kit's mother has been re-incarnated (in a very vague sort of way) to be the godmother of Cinderella, it would make sense that she would want her son to marry for the same reason she and the king married, and--having watched Cinderella and knowing of her virtue and goodness--has decided that she would be perfect for her son; that means, the Prince is still entering into an "arranged marriage," but one that his mother arranged, not his father or political advisers.
Why does the fairy godmother first appear to Cinderella as a beggar woman? For the same reason the Prince first tells Cinderella that he is only an apprentice: to see how she will treat her (this strengthens the argument that she is, in fact, Kit's mother). The fairy godmother has a habit of popping her neck, why? The neck is what leads us in life, it's like our leash; that she keeps "popping it" suggests that she is "aligning" her priorities to make sure they are not getting out of whack and she is leading Ella on the right path, i.e., not revenge against Lady Tremaine and her step sisters, rather, to see Kit and get to take the king up on his invitation to the ball. There is an important costume element in this character, and that is her "bustiness." In several shots, it looks like her breasts are going to pop out of her dress; why? Because she is a mother, and mother's nurture, and there is no better symbol of a mother's nurturing than her breasts from which her child feeds when they are a helpless infant. It's not wrong, in other words, that Lady Tremaine wants to advance her daughters, the way the fairy godmother is advancing Ella; what's wrong is, Lady Tremaine doesn't nurture them the way Ella's mother did, with the milk of kindness and love. This is important, because--at the end, when Lady Tremaine tries to forbid Ella from trying on the slipper because she is Ella's "mother,"--Ella replies, "You have never been my 'mother'" and that's because she had done nothing to love and nurture Ella. We can easily argue that Lady Tremaine has never been a mother at all because her daughters have turned out so badly that she hasn't even been a mother to either of them. 
This is a rather important question we should ask, since it is a deviation from the original story: how does Lady Tremaine know to look for the glass slipper, and how is it that she knows where to find it? Ella has been regulated to the attic (the higher up a person is in the building, the higher their state of consciousness; Ella, being in the attic, means that she regularly meditates on life and herself; Lady Tremaine, however, does not, but having gone up to the attic to see what she can see, she, too, enters a higher state of consciousness and that's why she tells Ella "her story"). The primary difference between Ella and Lady Tremaine is that, Ella has been hurt, but became stronger for it, whereas Lady Tremaine has been hurt, but became smaller, meaner and weaker for it. Ella hides the slipper in the floorboards because it's a lowly place that surely no one would think to look since they all have their noses up in the air; Lady Tremaine thinks to look there because those precious and intimate memories we have get walked all over (the floorboards) by others. Why does Lady Tremaine break the slipper? Because she thinks that will break Ella, and since Lady Tremaine herself has been broken, she wants others to be broken, too.
If the fairy godmother can create this amazing coach out of a pumpkin, why can't she create an amazing coach out of nothing? Or footmen out of nothing? Because only God can create something out of nothing, and it re-iterates Ella's tendency to see things, not as they are, but as they can be, which is how we should all see each other and every trial/cross that comes into our life. Why did this version not have the dog and horse turn into the footmen? Why are there lizards in the story? Just as the "transformation" takes place in the garden, and Kit takes Ella to his secret garden, so lizards, being cold-blooded animals, are a manner of serpent, i.e.. like the serpent who led Adam and Eve into sin. In one regard, the fairy godmother using "whatever" is around is a sign that we, too, should use whatever there is in our life to make us better people; in spite of Original Sin, we can still attain to virtue, and even because of Original Sin (which is why the lizards are part of the vehicle) and the help we receive from God, we, too, can and should become heroically kind and virtuously brave. On the other hand, especially in her ball gown, Lady Tremaine rather looks like a lizard so, in spite of God's help, she will sink even further than Original Sin.
What happens in the end?
Is this a satisfactory ending?
We have to ask if the Prince broke his promise to the Grand Duke to marry Princess Chalina if the Grand Duke would promise to find Ella, then he ends up marrying Ella? No, because the Prince knew that the Grand Duke was not entering into the agreement in honesty, that he had designs of his own, which is why the Prince followed them. We don't really know if "justice" is ever delivered to Lady Tremaine and the Grand Duke for their scheming ways; that they leave the kingdom and are never heard from again is still a happy ending, but is justice done? Absolutely. As Ella and Kit demonstrate, we have to live with ourselves, and we can either live a happy life by giving happiness to others, or a miserable life by making others miserable, and to have to live the rest of their lives with their own miserable selves if definitely the very best justice.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
I could have gone on at length about how pro-capitalist the film is, I just chose not to because there was so much else to discuss. I hope you don't mind this time.