Monday, November 14, 2011

A Few More Upcoming Films...

BY THE WAY... I saw Immortals last night and it was pretty good; it wasn't 300, but it was far better than I anticipated and I feared some really bad moral problems but it was surprisingly good, so I will be getting that post up this week, too. I am working on Destiny and the Wizard of Oz, and, if Grandma can stay out of the hospital, it should be up by tomorrow. There are a few more trailers which I wanted to post for you, keeping you in the know. This one for Snow White and the Huntsman, to be released June 2012, actually reminds me of film noir, but not for the traditional reasons that films have been described as "film noir":
"Mirror, mirror,on the wall..." a mirror, of course, means "reflection," the deep meditation on our own being. That it is twice invoked can either mean the "twice depth" of reflection (going down really deep) or that we are going in the opposite direction, from a micro reflection to a macro reflection, from a specific individual to the macro of... a country. When the raven is first one raven and then breaks into hundreds of smaller ravens, or the queen turns into ravens, this "form alteration" habit the movie is developing invites us to also "break the forms" of the images and see them for more than they appear to be.
This is the reason the main themes of film noir are coming to the surface for me in this trailer: when film noir (literally "Black film" because of the way the scenes were shot in gritty black and white) was popular, America was coming out of the second World War and, quite frankly, all those femme fatales were actually bad views of America itself, and the kind of "woman" America had become being in the war. Snow White and the Huntsman invokes war, and the Queen likes war which seems to me to be a most definite political statement. So, "mirror, mirror," gives us the view of something from the individual to the level of the whole country; and the wall?
Note that the film advertises that these are the producers of Alice in Wonderland; the poster has the same aesthetic, doesn't it? Note the organic elements, the vines and "mushrooms," they have a unnatural appearance although they are supposed to be natural, and I imagine the whole film will be similar to that.
"On the wall" means, what separates one from another, if, for example, there are two rooms, there are two rooms only because there is one wall that creates two rooms; take away that wall, and you have one room; symbolically, a wall is what divides or separates one from another. So, "Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who is fairest of them all?" is a question which we can translate as, "In world politics, who is the greatest, most powerful and influential country in the world?" Snow White and the Huntsman, then, seems to be offering us competing modes of political systems, and the queen "sucking the breath of life out of young girls to keep herself young" is an instance of infanticide, killing the next generation and we have seen this in The Ides of March and the killing of the baby (please see The Ides Of March: Assassinating the Democratic Party) and we will see it in the Disney film Tangled (I had almost decided not to post on it, but now I see that this is developing a trend so I will get Tangled: the Ancient Struggle up asap). 
One last item: reader response.
We are all viewers of film and we know what we know and the film industry knows that we know and they are happy to exploit that. What is it that we know? We know that Cherlize Theron is a  Monster, we know that Chris Hemsworth has traded in his hammer for an axe (Thor) and that both the vampires and the werewolves are in love with Bella Swan (Twilight). When we come to a film, we already have a body of knowledge about films in our minds, a system of reference because, if we didn't, films would not have progressed beyond The Great Train Robbery of 1903 because we would still be happy to watch films like that. That network of reference means we are bringing in outside information when we watch a film, read a book, look at art or listen to music, and I have a feeling, this is going to be a strong undercurrent in this film.
Julia Roberts in Mirror, Mirror.
A showdown in Hollywood is always bad, and now we have one between Cherlize Theron and Julia Roberts:
When fairy tales are the purpose of a story, it means that we are going back and re-writing who we are as a culture, what our morals are, what we value, our most basic identity. When it happens that two films choose the same topic, but are obviously different films, it belies a deep chasm of split personality in the country; for example,  Tombstone and Wyatt Earp were released within less than a year of each other and both took Wyatt Earp as their subject but were very different films. The purpose of films is to entertain us, but what is the magic formula for entertainment? It has to teach us something about ourselves. If it's not showing us who we are, we don't have any interest in it, and that will be the point of the battle between Snow White and the Huntsman and the March 16 release of Mirror, Mirror, which is the better mirror for us today?
Mirror, Mirror appears to be more comedic and Snow White and the Huntsman far more dramatic. Both, however, have decided to "militarize" Snow White: in Snow White and the Huntsman, we catch a glimpse of Kristen Stewart as Snow White leading an army and in Mirror, Mirror we see Snow White... with... uh...militarized midgets. Julia Roberts' queen is aging and, supposedly, there's nothing she can do about it but cast a spell on a rich young prince; in Snow White and the Huntsman, beauty is power, but what is that beauty, symbolically, coming from and how is it defined? It seems to me that in the original, the Huntsman brings the Queen the heart of a pig to deceive her with; if that device is kept in Snow White and the Huntsman, that will symbolize that the Queen's powers is based on the appetites (a pig symbolizes the lower passions and the appetites) and the beauty is going to be the glamorous lure of material wealth and comforts.
The "swan" is actually interesting. In Pirates of the Caribbean, Keira Knightley plays Elizabeth Swan; in Twilight, Kristen Stewart plays Bella Swan so, that Snow White is being linked with those two symbolically should be an interesting dimension to explore.
There is an additional concern here: the prince.
I believe there is a prince in Snow White and the Huntsman, but juxtaposing the two, the Huntsman and the Prince of Mirror, Mirror, they seem to represent extreme opposites: the Huntsman is very gruff and rough and the Prince of Mirror, Mirror "needs to be saved himself."  I really hate it when they do that. The reason both Snow Whites have been militarizes is because the Feminist movement has militarized women (I am not talking about women bravely serving in the military, rather, the "philosophical" and social and cultural movement since the 1960's that has been responsible for birth control, abortions and the transformation of women from women into men). There is a symbolic purpose for this: the Evil Queen symbolizes one generation, and the young Snow White symbolizes the next generation, and they will fight for the right to exist. (Lily Collins of Mirror, Mirror, discusses the two similar movies in this article from Total Film here).
And speaking of fairy tales, . . . 
Not the fairy tale you remember...
 Hansel and Gretel: Witch Huntersscheduled to open March 2012, has this tag line: "15 years after their traumatic gingerbread-house incident, siblings Hansel and Gretel have become a formidable team of bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world." Starring Gemma Arterton (Casino Royale, Prince of Persia, Clash of the Titans) and Jeremy Renner (Hurt Locker, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol and upcoming The Avengers) this re-telling makes it an absolute plethora of fairy tales being "re-born" for consideration by secular society. Is this good or bad? In one sense, it's very good, because society is realizing it needs to be taught lessons (fairy tales are the secular Bible of social norms and protocol) and just can't continue going on its amoral way, which also means that society realizes it has made mistakes. The re-introduction of fairy tales, however, could be bad if they work to justify bad morals or don't try to make a point at all. My guess is, some will and others won't.
The Hunger Games, to be released March 2012, seems to be tying itself into these streams of thought as well:
The more I watch this trailer, the more the basic principles of Game Theory come to mind, not in terms of the "Hunger Games" themselves, rather, how the principles of survival the actual games are supposed to be highlighting will be played out in the society watching the games. The games we play and patronize say a lot about us: our degree of violence, art, gracefulness, the physical characteristics which are valued, stamina and above all, above all those attributes, intellect. What do we consider to be signs of intelligence? I have never watched the Survivor series, but I have caught glimpses of it and the decision making process of who to vote off and leave, says more about the United States than the Constitution and if we don't like it, we had better do something about it.
From preliminary reviews that I have read, the whole film resembles the trailer...
Martha Marcy May Marlene is going to be released in my area, although it is generally on limited release, so I will try to get in to see this. What intrigues me is the cult like-situation in which Martha finds herself and what it is that breaks the bond with that. What critics are complaining about is, the acting is fabulous but the story is getting lost and there are too many loose ends; I am hoping that I might be able to piece them together and that other critics are just not wanting to see what the film is trying to show them, but we'll see.
What I am seeing is that I don't like Albert Nobbs at all:
Are apparances deceiving?
Absolutely not.
In Albert Nobbs, we have a very obvious case of taking a unique, singular individual case, and making an entire system of thinking out of the exceptional. This is homosexual propaganda and we have to take it for what it is, and when we know that Sinead O'Connor, the pope hater, is involved in a film, it's not going to be upholding traditional values and morals. But knowing the means by which enemies of traditional marriage attack it helps us to better defend it.