Friday, July 20, 2018

Comic-Con Trailers Coming Out

As you may or may not know, San Diego Comic-Con is going on this week, which means a slew of new images and trailers!!! One of the most anticipated is that of M. Night Shymalan's Glass, and I promise, I am getting that up right now! Godzilla 2, the first trailer for James Wan's Aquaman and the second trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald are being released tomorrow (Saturday). As always, thank you for such loyal support of yet another prolonged absence! I am particularly excited about Glass and Godzilla 2; if you haven't seen Godzilla, you might want to refresh your memory with this post Erasure & Time: Godzilla.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Nun Trailer (2018)

At this moment, I am truly excited about this film. As you may recall, the first film, The Conjuring, was definitely pro-socialist, but then, the follow-up, Annabelle, was definitely pro-capitalist; then the biggest surprise came when The Conjuring II: The Enfield Poltergeist (made by the same writers and director as the first one) did a complete round-about and was pro-capitalist! There is always the possibility of making a mistake when I analyze a two-minute trailer from a two-hour film, so you and me need to keep that in mind, but I am excited and think this is going to be a really great film on several levels!
This is an interesting poster, most notably, the nun's face is cut in half by the boundary of the poster, and the eye that shows is yellow. When a character is presented in this situation, it demonstrates that there is a part of the character we are not seeing, a part of the character we can't see. Her eye is also yellow; as we know, yellow symbolizes our dignity so, as a nun, when she was alive, she was supposed to recognize the dignity of her calling in being a Bride of Christ, however, she failed to do that, so she became a demon instead. Also interesting is the visible eyebrow: we know that eyes symbolize our "sight," as in spiritual sight into ourselves/others, or even our ability to see things in a truthful light; the eyebrow, the hair above the eye, symbolizes our ability to think upon what it is our eyes have seen, so, when a character has "damaged eyebrows," or no eyebrows, that character lacks the ability to meditate upon the truth, which is the whole point of entering the religious life, to mediate upon God and the Truth He has passed onto us, and how we are called to manifest that Truth in the world.
We can also faintly see veins in the eye area, and this is a technique that has always impressed me (think, if you will, of the aged Louis [Brad Pitt] towards the end of Interview With the Vampire and how his pale face showed those same veins). The purpose of veins is to carry blood throughout the body and insure healthy circulation so there is a healthy body; when we see an emphasis on veins like this, it suggests the exact opposite: this is a "bloodless" person who doesn't have any healthy circulation, therefore, not a healthy body. When we examine a character's cheeks, we need to think of Matthew 5:39 when Christ tells us, whoever hits you on your right cheek, turn and offer them the left cheek as well. When a character has normal or fat cheeks, they tend to let things (like insults or harm against them) roll off, they don't hold a grudge; when we see characters with shard cheekbones, like Angelina Jolie's Maleficent, these are characters who hunger after revenge and don't let any insult or slight escape them, and it may prove to be true with the protruding cheekbones we see of Valak.
The face symbolizes our identity, because it's our face by which others identify us; the nose is the most prominent feature on our face, so our nose identifies our honor and whether or not we have an overall good or bad character; when we see a character who has something wrong with their nose, or something happens to the nose of a character, it's usually a sign that they have done something to disgrace or shame themselves. Below, I will discuss Valak's nun's habit (that's an entire subject in and of itself) however, this poster brings to light an interesting detail. Please note, if you will, the side of the face at her eye level and then to your left and the different "layers" of her head coverings: there is the layer closest to her face, then a slightly crinkled layer, then the outer layer of the heavier, black exterior head-dress (this has a proper name, and I am sorry I couldn't find what it's called). Note how that inner-layer is "crinkled," almost like it's shriveled, and because it's on her head, anything on the head is going to denote our thoughts or our thought processes, so something about the core of her thoughts is shriveled and distorted.
What about "The Nun" title? Obviously, the "T" in "The" is a cross, but what's the purpose of the cross? To fight the backwardness of the reversed "N" in "Nun." "Nun" is a palindrome--the same word spelled forwards or backwards--but with the "N" reversed the way it is, it's not just a palindrome, it's also a mirror-image, that is, if you held it up in a mirror, it would still spell "NUN" but with the first "N" reversed. This is going to be an important image for the film, for example, we know the nun who became possessed by the demon Valak killed herself, so it might be a commentary upon the way "death" is taken up by religious: when one becomes a monk or nun, they are called to "die to the world," but this particular nun died to God in killing herself, so she turned her vocations backwards. The same kind of device is at work at the beginning of the trailer when we see the painting of Valak which Ed Warren painted from his dream and then the lights go out and we still see the glowing eyes of the painting, the (photographic) negative, if you will.
Work has been absolutely crazy, please, please exclude another long delay in getting posts up, however, I hope this will excite you as much as it does myself! The first trailer for The Nun has been released, and it's loaded with material for us to discuss. The Nun is a part of The Conjuring universe based upon the real-life journals of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The third film in the series (after The Conjuring then Annabelle) was The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, and it was in the opening sequence that viewers were first introduced to the malefic but ambiguous figure of the demon Valak inhabiting the body of a Catholic nun (when Lorraine goes into the basement at the Amityville house they are investigating). Now, in The Enfield Poltergeist, I interpreted Valak/the nun as a temptation for Lorraine Warren that she should have done something different with her life rather than marry Ed, specifically, that Valak was tempting her to think that God wanted her to become a nun rather than marry Ed (please see The Conjuring 2 for more); that interpretation still holds because that is what the film makers decided to do with it in that film, however, we now have a significantly expanded body of information from which to draw (the trailer warns you to watch it until the end, however, after the release date is given, there is nothing else to see):
By the way, the woman portraying the young nun is Taissa Farmiga, the sister of Vera, who portrays Lorraine Warren in the other films (and, in The Nun 2, we are being promised that the stories of the nun will be linked to Lorraine and why she experienced Valak in The Enfield Poltergeist). Now, here are the two official synopsis-es providing us with some additional information the trailer has not yet provided:

In 1952 Romania, a nun, a Catholic priest and a novice, sent by the Vatican, investigate the mysterious suicidal death of a nun at the Cârța Monastery. (Wikipedia, The Nun)

When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together they uncover the order's unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of the same demonic nun that first terrorized audiences in 'The Conjuring 2,' as the abbey becomes a horrific battleground between the living and the damned.  (Written by Warner Bros., Internet Movie Database)
This is what remains today of Carta Monastery in Romania where much of the film's events take place; does it look somehow familiar? It reminds me of the monastery opening the first scene of last year's The Mummy with Tom Cruise. Both Carta Monastery (pictured above) and Waverley Abbey in The Mummy are Cistercian--emphasizing self-sufficiency through labor--so the similar aesthetic would have been applied to the construction of both holy houses. By linking up with The Mummy through visual and locational clues, The Nun--in effect--wants to "quote" The Mummy and remind audiences of what they saw in The Mummy so The Nun can join-in on that same dialogue. Another important link-up (although many films do this, it's not unique to The Nun) is provide us with a specific date of something taking place in a religious house (and, by the way, neither monastery nor abbey are still in use today): The Mummy opens in 1157 and The Nun takes place in 1952, which actions of those dedicated to the service of God had taken leading to the events being depicted in the film. 
Let's start with 1952 and Romania.
What was happening in Romania in 1952? Like the rest of Europe, Romania attempted to recover from the ravages of World War II, however, under the Paris Peace Conference of 1947, Romania fell to the Soviet Union and became communist (if you examine this brief but painful history of Romania post-WWII, you can see all the trade-marks of the brutal communist regime at work). In 1952, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej solidified his power and leadership of Romania as General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party through his party purge (getting rid of his rivals) making Romania the most loyal satellite of the USSR: this lead to the re-distribution of valuable Romanian resources to the USSR and the furthering of the communist agenda throughout the world. All of this, I am certain, is important for the understanding of this film (please see the caption below for more explanation). Now, let's turn our attention to the reason Sister Irene and Father Burke (Damian Bichir) go to Carta Monastery.
These two stills are seen in the trailer above when Sister Irene looks down a hallway and is then followed by the nun with the blacked out face (top image), followed by an attack from another nun (bottom image). We have no idea where in the story this scene takes place, but we can still make some important deductions about it. Sister Irene walks down a hallway, and this image hearkens us back to The Conjuring II: The Enfield Poltergeist when Valak appears to Lorraine Warren in Lorraine's home at the end of her hallway. Hallways--as we have seen in both Spectre and John Wick Chapter 2--have the same symbolic significance of a bridge, that is, the hallway/bridge shows a progression, something has changed or is about to change; whereas bridges are exterior to the character (symbolizing things which are likely beyond the control of the character) hallways are interior thereby communicating to the audience that a progression takes place within the character and their free will is at play, i.e., they are about to make an important decision which will effect their own outcome. Without the sub-titles on, it's impossible to hear/understand (an excellent strategy of "noise," that is, the interference with our ability to hear because the noise serves a purpose, for example, Sister Irene has a calling to fulfill, she can hear the calling, but we can't, and the "noise" of what the nun behind her says puts us in our place and why Sister Irene has been called); so, what does the nun tell to Sister Irene? "Sister, please, this way," and when Sister Irene begins to question her instead of going down that way, the other nun side-swipes her to force Sister Irene's will.
A word about Sister Irene: she's a novice, which means she has not yet made her final vows to become a nun, she's in the "courtship" stage and discerning whether or not the life of a nun is actually her calling. We saw Valak challenge both Ed and Lorraine regarding their calling to matrimony is The Conjuring II, and now Valak challenges Sister Irene about her calling as well (what was right for Ed and Lorraine is different compared to what is right for Sister Irene because of the individuality and gifts each have been blessed with by God; our vocations in life is how God wants us to use our gifts to glorify Him and gain salvation for our souls as well as, hopefully, the souls of others, so one cannot simply state that the religious life is absolutely the greatest good, nor the married life the greatest good; rather, the greatest good is for the one being called to a particular state to answer that call so their gifts can be maximized and their full individuality revealed: a woman might become a nun out of fear for not finding a husband, for example, and so her gift of faith is undermined by fear, while a woman who was called to become a wife might become a nun instead so she doesn't have to take care of a husband; this is what "discerning" is, not only understanding what God is calling you to do, but understanding your motivations for wanting or not wanting to do something). The name "Irene" means "peace," and we see her holding the lantern--the light symbolizes the inner "illumination" of her spirit, but also the light of illumination of her calling to be a nun and carry the light of hope to others. We see Sister Irene walking down this hallway, and we also see her looking down a hallway but not going down it; this might be a manifestation of a choice she has made or will have to make in the narrative. After she decides not to go down that hallway (what she is looking for--and this should be taken on a deeper level--isn't down that "path" the hallway represents) then the blacked face nun appears behind her, suggesting that Irene has made the right choice, so now evil has to come in and tempt her or, more likely, frighten her from taking the right path she has decided upon (the nun coming out from another hallway she didn't check). It's not a coincidence that the "tactic" the demon(s) use is reminiscent of Jurassic Park: the raptors, if you recall, hunt in groups of two, so one raptor acts as a decoy to draw the attention and focus of the desired prey, while the second raptor hunts the prey ("Clever girl"). What's the point of quoting this scene? So that we understand that, just like the raptors, these demons are hunters, and we are the hunted.
Now, what about the black-faced nun? I would like to suggest that this is an example of "erasure," that is, something is stricken out to show that far more is being implied than what is being seen, because what the artist/film maker wants to say, is impossible to say, but some means must be employed to achieve at least a partial understanding of what the artist/film maker needs to communicate (please see Sous rature for more, as well as scrolling down to the image of the Zero Dark Thirty poster in my post for The Man From UNCLE where I discuss "under erasure" extensively). So, to try and clear-up this muddled mess, the nun's face is blacked-out because the importance and true-nature of her presence, her being, cannot be communicated, so it's "erased" to show that she is an agent of evil, and we might even add, that Sister Irene herself is at risk for losing her identity if she makes the wrong decision (the "face" symbolizes the seat of our identity, it's how others identify who we are, which is why blacking-out the nun's face is such a serious concern, it means that her devotion to evil has completely over-taken her entire being; for more on this topic, please see the first caption under the mask of Michael Myers in Lessons From Horror Films: Why People Do Stupid Things). The nun with the blacked-out face "distracts" Sister Irene while another nun out-flanks her and pins her against the wall; this is the part I think will relate to Romania in 1952, and to the rest of the world today. Romania, like Sister Irene, were going down their path, when they themselves were distracted by Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej's rise to power and his purges, and--like the nun who out-flanks Sister Irene--the Soviet Union moved in Romania and took them by total surprise, pinning them down into a position from which they couldn't escape; similarly, we can interpret the nun with the blacked-out face to the distraction of identity politics throughout recent international elections (the face is the seat of identity) so that the real socialist-thrust of the movement could side-swipe us and pin us against a wall (for more on the role of identity politics in recent elections, please see this excellent article at The Intercept). 
One last note about this brief scene: when Sister Irene is about to turn to look behind her and see the first nun, she switches the lantern from her left hand to the right hand; why? The left side is typically associated with evil (practicing witches, for example, refer to the path of witchcraft and Satan worship as the "Left Path") so Sister Irene, sensing she is about to face evil, switches the symbolic "light of illumination" from her weaker side--the left hand--to her stronger side, her right hand. She knows she is about to face something evil, and she's preparing herself. It's not just that God has given Irene the gift of vision to "see" the spiritual battle against Valak that must be waged; we, the audience, have also been given the gift to "see" what is happening in our country and in the world by the under-handed ploys of socialists trying to destroy the world and bring in their New World Order, and because we can "see" the evil they manifest, like Sister Irene, we, too, must fight this spiritual battle on all levels.
At the time of this posting, it's scarcely been two weeks since the high-profile suicides of fashion-designer Kate Spade and celebrity-chef Anthony Bourdain, and we now have the fictional suicide of a nun in a distant land and a distant time. What I am about to say does not reflect suicide in real-life: it's a horrible dilemma in which a person finds themselves, and I am in no way judging them, so please, remember these two troubled people in your prayers, as well as their loved ones, and everyone facing the temptation to end their life. Art, however, is a experience both connected to reality but beyond it, where the discussion of events are real, but the arena is entirely sealed-off in by its own rules and purpose, so, again, this is a total and absolute disclaimer that what I am about to say applies only to fictional narrative and not real individuals and their souls.
Father Burke (pictured left) is portrayed by Damian Bichir, who was an interesting choice for the role (we'll discuss that later after we discover what Father Burke's "haunted past" means). Just as Sister Irene's name means "peace," I don't think "Burke" was chosen without purpose. I will be the first to admit this is a stretch and not a likely possibility, however, Edmund Burke (pictured right) was a political philosopher and conservative politician who was a defender of the moral fabric of society and the Church; when I saw that Bichir's character was named "Burke," this was my first thought, although it's probably just a stretch of my imagination. It's also possible, though not likely, that his name refers to Archbishop Raymond Burke, a staunch conservative of the Catholic Church, and one of the first leaders Pope Francis "moved" to a symbolic role away from real policy making and power. Hopefully, when the second trailer drops, we will learn more of his role, in the meantime, we will just have to keep our options open.
At least at this point, we don't know why the unnamed nun kills herself, nor do we know the method she has employed to end her life. What we do know, however, is that this demon makes a habit of possession, which has been the theme since the very first Conjuring film. "Possession," in The Conjuring was a play on words, because when the Perron family moves into the "haunted house," they take possession of it, and in taking possession of the house, Carolyn Perron becomes possessed because Carolyn wanted that house (please see The Devil's Hour: The Conjuring for analysis on how the film is pro-socialist). In the following films, however, "possession" became a device to illustrate how socialism "takes over" people and a system, in effect, the demon is a parasite feeding off the person and wrecking everything in its path. This is how I think (after having seen two minutes of a two-hour film) the role of the nun's suicide is going to be reflected by Romania in 1952: Romania committed suicide in allowing themselves to become communist, and were then over-run by the USSR sucking up all their resources for their own country and projects. So, where does Sister Irene come into play?
If you will recall, in The Conjuring, the Annabelle doll (which is real and actually kept locked-up in the Warrens' personal museum to this day) was dramatically changed from the original "Raggedy Ann" type doll that was the original Annabelle from which they exorcised a demon (you can find the original and The Conjuring doll at this link, scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will see it) and they had every right to make that artistic change; we can see the same being done with the habit of the nun on the left, vs the real Cistercian habit pictured on the right; again, they have every right to do so, however, comparison with the original helps us to draw out the differences and understand what the film makers wish to communicate with the stylized changes. So, the demonic nun's habit is predominantly black. Black, as we know, always symbolizes death: the "good death" of the devout, spiritual religious is to die to things of the world so they can nourish the spiritual values that will be their treasure in heaven; the "bad death" is to die to things of the spirit, and nourish the worldly appetites (power, sex, money, addiction, etc.). Knowing this is a demonic nun, we know she is dead to things of the spirit; why? The white piece surrounding her head and extending to her shoulders tells us. The shoulders symbolize the burdens we carry, whether we willingly take them on or they are forced upon us (super heroes, like Thor, for example, wear a red cape because he takes the burden upon himself and he is willing to spill his blood for those he has vowed to protect). The nun's white shoulder covering should symbolize the burden of faith, which is what white symbolizes; so, she wasn't willing to carry the burden of faith, and because the piece also covers her head, it might be a sign that she rationalized away her faith in God, or she didn't have sufficient faith to get her through her trials and temptations. The black belt she wears is meant to be a sign of chastity and the resisting to temptations of the flesh; when we learn more about her, we will be able to comment upon this further, but for now, it's interesting that they did, in fact, keep the belt as part of the habit. Just as a note, when we first see Valak confronting Lorraine Warren in the Amityville basement, Valak wears a brown habit (I think it's a Franciscan or Carmelite habit) because brown denotes humility in its virtue; when Valak wears brown, however, it means "dirty," of the earth, because Lorraine is being accused of Valak for marrying Ed (and having sexual relations with him) rather than becoming the Bride of Christ; they have since changed Valak's habit to make it black, however, that doesn't negate the symbolic significance of when Lorraine first encounters him wearing the brown habit.
Her face, of course, is deathly white; why? Because of Western funeral practices today, we often don't experience this, however, when a body begins to decay in death, it turns white, and that symbolizes that the person's soul has died, and her face is, after all, the seat of her identity. Her eyes are blacked out (black make-up surrounds her eyes) because she cannot tell the difference between "good death" and "bad death" (recall our discussion of the "yellow eye" we see in the poster at the very top of this post, and please also look at the very last image montage of this post for examples of women with blacked-out eyes from other films). Her mouth is also blacked-out; why? The mouth symbolizes the appetites, so since it's black, she has an appetite for death, or things which cause death (sin). Her hands are the only other part of her body visible; hands symbolize our honor, because our hands do our deeds, and if we have done honorable deeds, our hands are clean; if we have done dirty deeds, our hands are dirty. Her hands have blackened nails and are shriveled and bony, because she's a corpse, but she's also one who has done the work of the devil, rather than the honorable work of God. This is just a superficial, general analysis, once again, when we learn more about the story-line, we can complete our understanding of why they have dressed her in this specific way. 
Sister Irene can see the nun, Valak, the same way Lorraine Warren can see spirits, that is why Sister Irene is chosen to go on the mission with Father Burke; however, I predict at this point, that it's also Sister Irene's ability to "see" (in the meditative, spiritual dimension) which is why God has granted her the visions so Irene can accept the mission, do battle and claim victory for her soul. We can't know what gifts God has given us until He sends us the test or battle to put those gifts to work. It's of critical importance that it's the Vatican which has sent Burke and Irene to the monastery because that demonstrates the authority of the Church, the Hand of God at work, the obedience of the two Catholics and not the whim and self-direction of two individuals who have decided what they want to do on their own.
Why is this important?
Finit hic, Deo, Latin translating roughly, "Here ends God." Now, we know that God is, literally, everywhere because nothing exists without God willing or allowing it: God is even "in hell" in the sense that it's His divine justice enacting the torments of the damned and not just some random, accidental chaos. It's not to say, "God ends here" and there is no one to protect you, rather, this is the section of the battle grounds, the testing arena where God is with you, but you will sink or swim on your own; God has allowed this evil to exist because, as Pope Saint Leo the Great wrote, "There is no great victory without great battles."
There is, however, a second meaning to "God ends here." Think of socialist/communist countries where God and religion are outlawed, such as Cuba, Vietnam, China, the former USSR and its satellites; God is still there in those countries, but God is illegal; why? The government tries fulfilling the role of God to the people, and the government doesn't like competition.
Well, there was a great film made (completely panned by everyone but myself) called The Devil Inside about two young priests being trained by the Vatican to do exorcisms, but the two priests started doing exorcisms on their own, which means they were committing the sin of pride in thinking they knew better than the Vatican did; even though people make mistakes--including those in power--God allows these trials for us so that we can become like God (which was the promise the serpent made to Eve in the Garden in eating the forbidden fruit) but God wants us to become like Him in holy obedience because Jesus was obedient, even obedient to death on a cross.
This is an interesting scene for a couple of reasons. First, a "forbidden hallway," like we have above, is a passage (as discussed earlier) but one guarded by the cross. Now I don't think the director is Catholic, or has a Catholic background because to Catholics, two pieces of wood nailed together are just two pieces of wood nailed together; the reason it's a Cross and not just a cross is because Jesus died on it for our sins and paid the debt we could not, which is why Catholics always have a Crucifix, that is, a cross with a representation of the body of Christ upon it, that's where it's power to fight evil and protect us comes from. Be that as it may, this image looks a lot like the scene from Monster Squad when one of the kids has to go into a room that has been protected by crosses to guard the amulet so Dracula can't get it; the same kind of theory is used throughout the recent Tom Cruise version of The Mummy, when quicksilver guards the tomb of Ahmanet from being opened, and specifically, the four watchers statues surrounding her sarcophagus, but in terms of Christianity, it's at Waverly Abbey that the Knife of Set was kept in the reliquary (a statue containing one or more relics of saints to guard over the church and alter) and the Stone of Set being buried with the Crusader monk at the start of the film. What's important about this image is the validation that it's the visuals of Christianity which protect from evil and have power to keep evil from creeping out into the rest of the world, especially at a time when there is such a powerful, secular war being waged against Christianity and Christians.
On the last note, we should remember that "Valac/Valak," the name of the demon possessing the nun, and whose name was given in The Conjuring II, is "an angelically winged boy riding a two-headed dragon, attributed with the power of finding treasures." The "angelically winged boy" is the "good" that appears to people that allows Valak to deceive them: for example, becoming a nun is a good thing, however, it's not what God intended for Lorraine Warren, and that disobedience to God's will, or the lack of faith that God will direct your path and where you need to go, is the two-headed dragon, the doubt or indecision (the head is where our ability to think and reason comes from, so two heads means confusion and not able to make up the mind). The ability of Valak to "find treasure" is the demon's ability to see good, Christian people and the "treasure" they are storing in heaven, and steal it from them. Remember, we see the same treasure-thief in Smaug the dragon from The Hobbit, and it's up to little Bilbo Baggins to steal back that which was taken, specifically and symbolically, our relationship with God that was robbed from us with Original Sin. For our own world, we can see Valak as presenting himself to be some good, e.g., universal income, because you don't want people to suffer, do you? And then the two-headed dragon sweeping in of people not working at all and prices rising. So, at this point, I am very excited about this film, and I all ready can't wait for the second trailer!
Oh, wait, did I actually just get a real post up? Miracles do happen! Thanks for always stopping by!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
At the very top of this image we see Valak as painted by Ed Warren in The Conjuring II, and the same image which opens the trailer. Below that is Charlize Theron's character from Mad Max; next is Cate Blanchett from Thor: Ragnarok and, at the bottom is Katheryn Winnick as Lagertha in The Vikings. Besides being all females, each of these characters has their eyes blacked-out; why? The eyes symbolize our ability "to see" that not readily available to regular sight, it's our spiritual vision, our ability to look at ourselves and see our motivations, fears, hopes, dreams, sins and faults; we know that black symbolizes death, but none of these women are actually seeing "good death," (dying to themselves) rather, they have become the vision of death (quite literally for Cate Blachett who actually portrays Death, and of course the Valak-possessed nun). What's so eerie about these images is that woman symbolize life, women give birth, but not these women, they have become vehicles of death and death is what they see, but death is also what we see when we look at them. This is a fairly recent strategy in make-up (to black out women's eyes) as far as I know (if I am wrong, kindly drop me an email and let me know!!!) so what recent development regarding women can we say has given rise to this trend of painting their eyes out? Feminism. Feminism doesn't advocate women giving birth--rather, birth control and abortion--feminism doesn't advocate women looking at themselves and improving themselves, rather, looking at everyone else (especially white men) and blaming them for all their problems and demanding that everything be changed to accommodate them. There is a lot more to say about this, however, I am going to wait until the second trailer.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Grinch Trailer #2

I am working on the post for The Nun, but the second trailer for The Grinch just dropped so here it is to tide you over, enjoy!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Friday, June 8, 2018

I have been working 12-15 hour days. I am SO SORRY. I am exhausted and trying to catch up. Please forgive me, but thank you so very much--as always!!!--for stopping by and always checking in. I have a great post on John Wick Chapter 3 I am trying to get up (filming has started and there is some rough footage) but just to give you a good laugh, enjoy this trailer for Destination Wedding:
What will be so awful is if all the funny lines in the film were in this trailer. It's good seeing Reeves in a comedy role, but I didn't even recognize Winona Ryder, even after I saw it was her, I still didn't recognize her.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Sherlock Holmes 3 Is Happening!

It is official.
Sherlock Holmes 3, starring Robert Downey Jr. as the famous detective, and Jude Law as Dr. Watson, has officially been scheduled for release December 25, 2020. SH3 will open the same day as Sing 2 and a week after Avatar 2,... which means, Avatar 2 is happening,.... No word as of yet if Guy Ritchie will be returning as the director (just rumors he will) or if any of the other leading characters--such as Mrs. Watson played by Kelly Reilly, or Mycroft Holmes, played by Stephen Fry--will be returning; there does appear to be a rumor that Rachel McAdams will return as Irene Adler, based on the billing at Internet Movie Database. I hope this brightens your day as much as it did mine!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Ant-Man & the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp is set after Captain America: Civil War but before The Avengers: Infinity War; Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is on house-arrest after Captain America's team was arrested in Civil War.
I don't deserve you.
It has been nearly a month since I posted anything, and you just keep coming back, and you will NEVER know how much that means to me. Thank you, with all my heart.

As any blogger knows, our normal, daily lives often interfere with our commitment to post; I don't know of any blogger who says they post enough, but I know I have severely fallen short of even the most basic of expectations, and I am sorry. Again, there have been countless and important interferences which have been unavoidable: I haven't even been able to go watch The Avengers yet, that is how much interference there has been.

So, the second trailer for The Ant-Man and the Wasp has been released (film coming out July 6) and, with Mission Impossible: Fallout and The Grinch, it's one of the last three remaining big anticipations of the year (by the way, Daniel Craig has confirmed that Bond 25 is his next film project). So, just to refresh our memory, here is the first trailer released for Ant-Man and the Wasp:
The first trailer is an introduction to Evangeline Lilly's Wasp heroine; we don't really see the villain. Now, recall, if you will, in Ant Man, there is a short scene when Hope (Lilly) tries teaching Scott (Paul Rudd) how to control the ants, and the light above her shakes and fades in an out; that's an omen, a prophecy, communicating to us that she has "control" issues and "dark places" in her soul; why? Not just the disappearance of her mother--which we have reason to believe will be rectified in this second installment ("Janet" is being played by Michelle Pfeiffer)--but her relationship with Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), which might have been the reason he gave Hope wings and blasters, overcompensating for her mother not having been there all her adolescent years. This might backfire. It's quite possible that Hope simply doesn't have the emotional maturity or even positive self-image she needs to be a hero (remember, she kept trying to get Hank to let her get into the Ant-Man suit, and he refused; she thought it was because she was a girl or not powerful enough, so she has something to prove, not only to her father, but to herself and even her long-lost mother, and these are probably going to be deep issues), but that is exactly why the villain, Ghost, is introduced in the second trailer:
"Ghost" is an interesting name, because it might describe how Hope felt growing up; Marvel has a way of employing the "mirror villain," that is, they take the negative traits of the hero and embody them in the nemesis the hero must fight and overcome, thereby purging himself of those traits so he can advance to greater virtue; we saw this in Ant-Man with Yellowjacket (please see Margins Of Power: Ant-Man for more). In other words, Ghost (and since the villain is being played by a woman) will likely be the embodiment of Hope's vices so she will have to overcome them in order to progress to joining the Avengers,.... or what's left of them. What is interesting is about this is that, while Hope appears to be stronger and better armed than Ant-Man, Pym tells Scott Ghost can only be defeated by both of them.
This is awesome!
We don't know a lot about Ghost, but that she steals Pym's technology and she can go through walls and other objects; we can make some other deductions as well. As in Ant-Man, we know Yellowjacket Darren was a mirror-image of Scott because "yellow," the color associated with the villain, symbolizes kingship: the only gift worthy of a king is gold (the yellow color), but if a king doesn't live up to his duties, he's a coward and unworthy of being a king. Scott, then, had to deal with issues of self-worth and his ability to provide for his ex-wife and daughter and prove to them he was a man worthy of them and could provide for their needs (and overcome Scott's own poor self-image and bad habits of turning to crime when things got tough). If we look at the image above of Ghost, it's an incredibly non-human suit; at least Yellowjacket was a living being, Ghost doesn't resemble any living thing; this actually fits Hope. Please recall that throughout the first half of Ant-Man, Hope wore only black: black always symbolizes death; "good death," is when we are dead to things of the world (our worldly appetites) but alive to things of the spirit (virtues, like Hope); "bad death" is when we are alive to our worldly appetites--fame, fortune, drugs, sex--but dead to the things of the soul. Hope was like dead to both: we can't say she pursued things out of her appetites, but she certainly didn't have any virtues either, she was just dead, and her mother's disappearance, then her father leaving her alone at school, probably made her feel like she was a ghost who didn't belong to the world since she didn't have her parents giving her any guidance or love. Now, what about the eyes? Ghost's eyes--the windows of the soul--are tiny, red; red symbolizes blood, either because we love someone so much we are willing to shed our blood for them, or we have so much anger and wrath against someone that we are willing to shed their blood. Since this is the villain, we are probably safe in betting on the later interpretation. There is also some red,... "thing" on the forehead and between the eyes. It's interesting because Laurance Fishburne's character and Scott discuss the "Goliath" program, and it was between the eyes (like where that red thing is on Ghost) that we see another symbol of Ghost's anger. Ghost also doesn't have a mouth. This might well symbol that Ghost doesn't have any appetites--appetites are actually necessary, because they lead us in life, and we need to have a healthy appetite for love and virtue, otherwise, we won't pursue them--but it can also be interpreted that Ghost feels she doesn't have a voice. Ghost's costume is an ashen gray, even a grayish-white. Gray symbolizes the pilgrim and the novice: the pilgrim puts ashes (which are gray) upon their head and body as a sign of penance and humility (from dust I came, to dust I will return) and the traditional color of the novice (the beginner) is gray because they have not advanced to a state of virtue/accomplishment in their field (like Gandalf the Grey in The Hobbit and The Lord Of the Rings: it's not until Gandalf fights that Balrog and falls into the abyss that he advances to Gandalf the White. Hope, of course, is just beginning her career as a hero, so we will have to keep these details in mind and weigh different aspects of the narrative to see if we are right. 
It's my pet theory, so far supported by the women warriors in Black Panther, and the Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok, that Marvel is slowly but surely drawing a "new" feminism, the kind we see Guy Ritchie arguing for in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and even in DC Comics Suicide Squad: ditching men doesn't make a woman strong, being strong with a man is what makes women strong; feminists make themselves strong at the expense of others (exactly what they argue men have done over the centuries), rather, women are stronger when they help everyone become stronger (for greater discussion on this issue, please see the wonderful video below by Praeger University). Hope most likely wants to go it alone, she probably feels she has something to prove, but I am guessing the film will demonstrate that even if she is the stronger of the two heroes, she still needs Scott for what he has to offer her and she can't give herself: love.
In this image, we see the van which has become super small, but will enlarge again in just a moment. The oscillation between the very big and very small demonstrates that the writers are staying in the current they began in Ant-Man, namely, "the margins." In terms of criticism, "the margins" are the places to where we push what we don't like or understand; imagine a child learning to read and coming upon a word they don't know; what do they do? They skip over it, and we do the same when engaging with the world or art and encountering something that "doesn't make sense," so we push it to the margin of our mind and forget about it. Jacques Derrida, however, argued that such spaces are usually where the really important stuff takes place, and we recognize that something doesn't "make sense" because we are meant to be drawn into the illogical to explore it, not dismiss it. So, in Ant-Man and the Wasp, we see things that are incredibly small and incredibly large--both "spaces" which we aren't used to seeing being employed--so the question is, why are the film makers using this vocabulary? Well, from Hope's perspective, we can see her as going from being really small and insignificant (a bureaucrat at her father's company) to a super-hero with incredible powers; that makes for a dizzy trip. What I expect to happen--but of course I could be wrong--is that, through the events and her journey of discovery, Hope will accept having "been little" so she has a better grounding to now being powerful. Why should we care? Mostly because we ourselves are little. Most of us are rather insignificant and don't matter (or feel we don't) so understanding how important it is to "be good at being little" is important to us the audience and our real lives, recognizing that being a good parent, spouse and friend is necessary, and our own souls are the most important battle front where we have to "fight the bad guys" who want to convert us to their own vices by becoming bitter over being small and insignificant. 
We are likely to get either a few clips or another trailer before the release of the film, so having that "head start" on the film will help us to know what to look for. In the meantime, I have at least caught up on the Marvel films I missed (Spider-Man: Homecoming--which was much better than I anticipated--and Thor 3: Ragnarok--which was awesome!) but, as excited as I was that The Avengers was opening on my birthday, I was so bogged down with obligations that I missed it; maybe this weekend. But, as promised, here is an excellent video on Feminism from a former Feminist.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Friday, April 6, 2018

Fahrenheit 451 Trailer #2

We see these types of shirts frequently in communist "fashion" because the person wearing the shirt can't wear a tie, and the person wearing the shirt can't be judged because he's not wearing a tie. In Western, capitalist societies, men wear a tie to work to show they are "white collar," they have a upper-end job dependent more upon sets of mental skills usually acquired in college rather which usually leads to higher-paying jobs and the tie denotes that. On the other hand, men in communist societies wearing the shirt shown above don't have a "bare collar" revealing that they aren't "white collar employees" (the absence of the tie might reveal the absence of college training, for example), so in communist societies, the "lack" of a collar reveals the so-called "balance and fairness" of education, training and employment if everyone looks alike and no one can use their clothes as a status-symbol. Now we know that the neck symbolizes what leads us in life, and for many men, to say that their career-choice in life leads their decision-making (how much money they can or will make in a given-profession) is a legitimate concern (studies have shown that men, especially men with families, tend to choose higher-paying professions to provide for their families, or families they hope to have). In communist societies, the lack of a collar is meant to show freedom, that now you don't have to worry about making a living because the government is going to take care of that for you, and you can do what you really want to do, like burning books all day and starting fires.
HBO has released their second trailer for what looks to be an excellent adaption of Bradbury's novel. Here is the second trailer for the series that will air sometime in May on HBO:
The question, "Didn't firemen use to put out fires?" illustrates an important concept about socialist societies: they turn everything upside-down. In the mockumentary, No Men Beyond This Point, it's clear that since men were the engines of creation in capitalism, the new world of praising nature where men are slowly dying out has exalted women in a socialist, matriarchal society. In another Micheal B Jordan film, Black Panther, when his character Erik Killmonger takes the throne, the camera shows the Wakandan throne room upside-down to illustrate how Erik is going to turn the world topsy-turvey by releasing high-grade weapons into what might be considered terrorist regions. Then there's the Sofia Boutella film, The Mummy, where Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis have their characters turning upside-down in the plane as The Mummy nears where the sacred knife is kept and she begins regaining her powers (to establish a socialist matriarchy). Last but not least, the most anticipated film of the year, The Avengers: Infinity War, gives us a trailer with the world being upside-down as Thanos enters New York City so he can wipe out half of universe to "balance" things, just as we see un-equally created people being "balanced" by being dumbed-down so they can't read anything.
As a young woman, Sofia Boutella's character symbolizes the motherland, and the future of the motherland, what the country can still become, so what happens to her character, and the threats her character faces, reveals what the course of America should be for a more natural balance leading to genuine happiness for the greatest number of people. 
"We must be made equal by the fire and then we can be happy," That's a classic lie in socialism, there is always a delay of happiness which socialist leaders make any number of excuses to the people: we have to purge the ranks of all these hiding capitalists, then we can be happy; we have to educate ourselves more to cleanse ourselves of Western culture and then we will be happy; we have to kill the old people who remember what really happened in history, instead of what we tell you happened, and then we can be happy, etc., etc., etc. Socialism always promises happiness, but it never delivers it. Never.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Trailer: The Grinch

A happy, blessed and holy week to you all!
In spite of having purchased my ticket for Pacific Rim: Uprising Wedsnesday afternoon, my car broke down Friday so I was unable to see it, and because it's still not fixed, I am, basically, still grounded. I have just watched Murder On the Orient Express and absolutely loved it, so this is the post I am currently working on! In the meantime, the first trailer for The Grinch with Benedict Cumberbatch has been released, and this is going to be excellent!
Can't you just see Cumberbatch saying, "Nooooooooooooo," so, how do we know this will be good? First, it comes from the geniuses at Illumination, they have consistently provided audiences with excellent work, so no fears there (which we cannot, unfortunately, say of Disney as of late). Secondly, the snowman hitting the Grinch. First of all, compound symbol (snow, then man): snow is a form of water, hence, it symbolizes reflection which has been completely realized (the Grinch knows how bad he is; how do we know that?
Costumes reveal a great deal about characters: for example, how they change, how often they change, or even how they,.... don't change. The Grinch doesn't change. What do we know about his "costume?" The "pants" he puts on symbolizes his "standing" in Whoville society (legs symbolize our "standing" and reputation). There are two dominant characteristics: first, the color green, secondly, the fur. The color green either symbolizes hope or that something has gone rotten, and we know the obvious answer here; but this is the purpose of symbols having a "dual nature" to them: at the very moment we see the bad side, we know it's bad because we see what the good is supposed to be. For example, when we see the Grinch being rotten, we know he's supposed to be full of hope (and Christmas, the final arrival of the long-awaited Messiah, is the ultimate hope fulfilled); however, it can also be the exact opposite. When we see a character full of hope, we know how precarious that fragile position is and how quickly hope can turn to despair. What about the fur on his "pants?" Fur, of course, symbolizes "animals," and our animal instincts (seeing a woman wearing a fur coat, for example, suggests she lives by her animal instincts or she's wrapped in animal appetites; it can, however, also mean she's overcome them, depending upon the context). So, the Grinch lives according to animal instincts, not Christian instincts, and we can of course site Christian instincts here because it's Christmas--the birth of Christ--which is the vehicle of the story. Now, in The Grinch, the Whos in Whoville have announced they are going to make Christmas three times bigger this year, and this is the impetus driving the Grinch to "keep Christmas from coming." The "three times bigger" will manifest in louder instruments and bigger feasts, but also in the way the Holy Trinity (represented by the number 3) manifests itself in Christmas.
What about Max? Max has a red collar because Max is led by love. When the Grinch goes to town, we see him wear a scarf with red and white stripes; the white stripes indicate that the Grinch is dead in faith and purity; the red indicates that he is full of anger and is going to take it out on someone,... on everyone. Max, on the other hand, like any good dog, is full of love for his master,... so why does the Grinch keep Max? The Grinch is lonely and the truth we are likely to discover is that the sweetness, loyalty and devotion we see in Max is actually in the Grinch as well, but the Grinch wants to suppress his own love and goodness--no doubt the film makers will give us a reason why--but goodness has to come out in some way, so the Grinch expresses his own goodness in having Max. Remember, when the Grinch,... "does his hair" while looking in the mirror, he also does Max's hair the same way. The mirror symbolizes the Grinch's ability to "reflect" upon himself on a deep, inner-level; the Grinch's hair symbolizes his thoughts, so he and Max think the same way, although he's not going to admit it until later.
The act of eating means we are taking something in and digesting it, as in, seriously thinking about it; the pickle jar he takes from one woman's shopping basket symbolizes he himself--remember, the song compares him to a greasy black banana peel, so to compare the big green Grinch to a big green pickle is no stretch of the imagination--and when the Grinch takes a bite of the pickle, it disgusts him, because it's the Grinch seeing himself as he truly is), this is the reflection upon himself in the symbolism of the "snow" in the snowman. The "man" is the Grinch's capacity to be fully human (and no, it doesn't matter that he's a Grinch, he's still called to be human because he lives in a world of humans, there are no other Grinches at the market, for example).  So, the snowman hitting the Grinch in the face is a sign that the Grinch has realized what a bad egg he is and he's not doing what he should, i.e., being a good person. In order for the Grinch to "do mean things with style," he has to know what the right thing to do with kindness is, so he can NOT do the right thing.
I have no way of knowing at this point, however, it's interesting that we first see Grinch in the first trailer for the film in bed; why? "Sleeping" symbolizes a type of death, and beds a type of coffin; death is eternal sleep and coffins the place wherein we have our eternal sleep, so sleeping and our bed can symbolize death, but usually a "symbolic death." Well, I'm glad that's perfectly clear. Seeing the Grinch asleep in his bed tells us that the Grinch is in a state of death; he's not alive, not the way he should be (alive with faith, hope, charity). Again, we see the colors red and white on his bedding that we saw in his scarf when he went into town: white to be alive with faith and purity, red for having love instead of anger. This is what the Grinch wants, because he's surrounded himself with the symbols of it, however, he can't get to it, none of us can, we have to have Grace, and that's why this is such a perfect Christmas story, because without the coming of Christ, none of us would have been able to achieve these things, we all would have been doomed to be Grinches. 
Another reason we can know the film will be good is because of the figure skater. Now, it would have been easy for the film makers to make an animated figure skater, but they intentionally didn't do that; they had a real human, at a real Olympic event figure skating, and then had the Grinch enter into that world; why? The Grinch is being inspired by the skater to become great himself. Who hasn't done this? Seeing your favorites accept an Oscar or a Grammy, and pretend you're getting one yourself? Why not? When a person "dreams," they are being inspired to achieve greatness, and that is a part of our human potential (socialists, for example, prefer to see all the bad things in a person so they can offer excuses why they themselves don't do anything great), and the Grinch is allowing himself a moment to be inspired by someone else's greatness.

I AM working on Murder On the Orient Express. I hope you have a beautiful Holy Week and, please remember, pray for those who have no one to pray for them.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
This definitely suggests we are getting a back story for the Grinch.