Thursday, May 31, 2012

What Is 'Freedom?' Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

(This review is for the book; the review for the film, which I thought was actually better than the book, but far more socialist is Radical Socialism: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter & the Question Of American History). Please permit me to preface, at the behest of a reader, that I am completely willing to suspend my disbelief to enjoy this story; however, all art is an expression of the society from which it comes and the unconscious needs of its individuals; it's art's duty to express those needs and, while I had hoped the vampires would symbolize the "blood-sucking politicians" in Washington, not just anyone and everyone who has made money in this country. I This preview is for the book, not the upcoming film with the same title:
Abraham Lincoln.
It would be easy to forget the president were he not the quintessential icon of the American dream: self-taught, poor, raised on the frontier, the self-made president was known as Honest Abe, "With charity towards all, and malice towards none." When I saw the initial trailers for the upcoming film Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, based on Seth Grahame-Smith's novel (who also penned the socialist screenplay Dark Shadows), these were the popular conceptions of Lincoln I believed a successful novel would draw upon, and the vampires he hunted would be symbolic of the corrupt politicians sucking the country dry of honor, leadership and resources for their own self-advancement, contrary to Honest Abe's devotion and self-sacrifice to keeping the union one at a time--like today--that the country is so divided on issues.
I was wrong.
If I were a Democrat--which I am not--as a woman, I would be feeling really persecuted by the Democratic Party. On the back cover, Lincoln holds the head of a female vampire; he kills only two female vampires in the book, against the multitude of male vampires, so why was a female's head singled out to be on the cover? Again, I am neither a Feminist nor a Democrat, but this seems to be one more hypocritical stance on the "war on women" Democrats claim Republicans are waging on women when it appears that male Democrats really are the ones who despise women. The first vampire Lincoln goes to hunt in the book is a woman, an elderly woman, who has been stealing children and killing them. This is an interesting image because women are meant to give life to children, not take life from children, rather like pro-abortion women in the Democratic party. Lincoln isn't strong enough to overcome her, however, and she nearly kills him. Symbolically, we could say that old woman was America, the "mother land" that had aged (like the old woman in the bath tub in The Shining) and the children she was killing was the "future generations of Americans" who would have prospered in the land, but the land took their life instead of giving them their life (they became slaves to capitalists instead of becoming their own "masters"). This is important for us to consider because this is the language that Democrats/socialists/liberals are re-writing history in, the identity of the country that they are re-casting to fit their own agendas; do you agree with this as being an accurate assessment of American history?
The book touts that it's the "real history" of President Lincoln, and I hope by now I have adequately proven that I am pro-art, and my posts of last fall demonstrate the diversity of vampire iconography and the importance to which I attach to the fanged beasts in cultural depictions. On the first page of his novel, Grahame-Smith lists as a "Fact," that "For over 250 years, between 1607 and 1865, vampires thrived in the shadows of America. Few humans believed in them." I believe in them. I don't believe that I will walk down the street and be attacked by a blond Brad Pitt-esque sorrowful vampire, but I know there are humans who have the traits of "sucking the blood" of others and living off humans and the morphed creatures of the night serve to remind us how easily we lose our humanity and what we become when we do.  That's not what Mr. Grahame-Smith believes, however.
He believes that if you have money, you are a vampire.
This image captures the "reality" the book presents best for someone who hasn't read it. Yes, that is supposed to be a photograph of writer Edgar Allan Poe and Abraham Lincoln. The poor quality reflected in this photo-shopped image reflects the poor quality of the theories of the book. I mentioned in my post, The Raven & the Raccoon: Edgar Allan Poe & Karl Marx that both Democrats and Republicans would be appropriating the image of the great American writer for their own sides, and this "photograph" is proof.  Like Men In Black III citing Andy Warhol in the relationship between capitalism and art, The Raven created a strong opposition between socialism and capitalism and the role consumer tastes--even when they are wrong--serve in the production of great art. Not everyone is meant to be an artist, not everyone can write, not everyone can make a film; that's called "life" not the French Revolution and killing everyone so you can spend your life writing mediocrity. If one is truly called to be an artist, in whatever medium, you suffer for it, you make the choices to be that and nothing else and that's how it is, unless you are Mr. Grahame-Smith and you believe it should be handed to you, which he obviously does so he can produce art as low in quality as this "image" of Poe and Lincoln. In the film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the figure of Poe has been "axed" out of the story (there is a Harriet Tubman, however, who does not appear in the book) but the reason why Poe appears in the book is because, Grahame-Smith reasons, someone who wrote about "so much darkness" must have known something of vampires. Great logic,...
Having said that, Grahame-Smith's novel suggesting that it is the "real history" of President Lincoln is a terrible, terrible lie; Lincoln never did nor would he ever, advocate the anti-capitalist sentiment Grahame-Smith does by his vampires. Grahame-Smith proposes the Lincoln was a socialist, which he wasn't, ever, and that Lincoln went around busting up capitalists, which he never did, and that Lincoln hated the founding fathers and the founding purpose of this country, which he didn't. I believe completely in the license of art, but I also know that there are such things as blatant lies, and in this election year, one of the greatest Americans in our history has been given a plastic surgery to make him unrecognizable and it's important to know how and why this has been done and it basically revolves on how Democrats and Republicans define "freedom."
Auction Negro Slaves, a truly terrible thing. The man and woman, owners of the establishment outside Atlanta, Georgia, and hence the sponsors of the slave auctions, are vampires, according to the book, and you can tell by the way they wear the dark glasses to protect their eyes from the sun. I would absolutely agree with Mr. Grahame-Smith that the DEMOCRATS who supported slavery and slave auctions, and started the Civil War, breaking off from the Union and electing a phony government, are absolutely vampires that Abraham Lincoln bravely fought off. While some in the book fit this description, it's not just because they were pro-slavery that these auction house owners are vampires; they are vampires because they have money. Mr. Grahame-Smith casually skips over what won the Civil War--the Union's capitalist industries, the factories, the money, the railroads built by companies that could ship goods and soldiers to battlefields--and suggests that the war was won simply because it was won, not having to do anything with the very reality of this country that he wants to do away with. Democrats tend to not like history, and the Civil War (and the role Democrats played in tearing up the country) is one reason why.
First, how do we establish that this is pro-socialist and the vampires are symbolic of capitalists? Two aspects of the story lay claim to this perspective. First, the main character in the book is a struggling writer and his situation is:
I'd always known I'd end up in the store after graduation, just like I had every summer since I was fifteen. I wasn't family in the strictest sense, but Jan and Al had always treated me like one of their kids--giving me a job when I needed it most; throwing me a little pocket money while I was away at school. The way I saw it, I owed them six solid months, June through Christmas. That was the plan. Six months of working in the store by day, and working on my novel nights and weekends. Plenty of time to finish the fist draft and give it a good polish. Manhattan was only an hour and a half by train, and that's where I'd go when I was done, with four or five pounds of unsolicited, proofread opportunity under my arm. Goodbye, Hudson Valley. Hello, lecture circuit.
Nine years later I was still in the store. (page 5)
Then he goes onto complain about people who come into his store, and what he's had to do to keep the store going.
The slaves Grahame-Smith hopes will revolt are the middle-class people who will be-head their employers.  The reason why all the vampires are rich in the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is because, after taking the blood from their victims, they then take all their property, too, which is supposed to stir up in all of us a riot like the French Revolution. What does this presuppose? What does Grahame-Smith have to rely upon to build up this kind of thesis? That none of us have free will, that we are indeed slaves and trapped. This is the reason why, in Dark Shadows, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) hypnotizes the ship captain (Christopher Lee) to get him to come work for him instead of Angelique (Eva Green), Grahame-Smith sincerely believes that the ship captain doesn't have a will of his own, that he's only a puppet to be bought by the highest bidder, even after the captain refuses Barnabas' offer out of "loyalty."  On a similar vein, the main character in the book, the one at the five-and-dime, (weep, weep, sob, sob) he doesn't have free will either: he was forced into working at the store, he was forced into getting married, he was forced into taking on a mortgage, and because of his will being enslaved by wealthy capitalists, he can't come up with any idea for a new novel better than To Mock a Killing Bird.  Just as Seth Grahame-Smith's books are parasites on truly great people (Abraham Lincoln) and a truly great great book (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) so he wants to be a financial parasite as well, because he can't make it on his own merit, and so everyone else should have to suffer for that. "Beheading," as long-time readers of this blog will surely remembers, carries another connotation: the removal from government. The government is the "head" of a country, so to behead someone is to remove them from a place of leadership.
Okay, I feel for the guy, but it's called "LIFE." (Mine hasn't worked out, either, by the way, but I'm not going to go to the richest neighborhood in town, massacre everyone, take their stuff and claim they were vampires). Next example, Lincoln's mother is killed by a money-lender that Lincoln's father couldn't pay back, so the money-lender sucked the blood out of Lincoln's aunt, uncle and mother in consequence citing his inhuman actions as "business" to deter others from taking advantage of him. These are the two reasons why vampires symbolize anyone with money, not just the slave owners on plantations in the south. The slave owners in the book aren't the historical slave owners we think of say, in Gone With the Wind, rather, the slave owners are employers everywhere in the country today, and we are being called to storm into places of employment and literally behead them, then steal their wealth so we can all become mediocre writers and thinkers like Mr. Grahame-Smith.
Yes, another fake photograph, just like the fake book. Jefferson Davis, DEMOCRAT and president of the Confederacy that broke away from the Union, and John Wilkes Booth, actor and assassin of President Lincoln that Mr. Grahame-Smith claims was a vampire.
It's important to point out--I just LOVE THIS ONE--that everyone who has money is a vampire, but not all vampires deserve to go to hell as quickly as some of them, and since Mr. Grahame-Smith and Mr. Tim Burton (the producer) are obviously rich because of capitalism, they would be included in this category, so since they are vampires with hearts, so to speak, when we rise up in a French Revolutionary style revolt, we shouldn't behead them or take THEIR MONEY because they are really on our side... we wouldn't know we were enslaved if it weren't for them telling us we are slaves...
Another fake photograph, this one of the White House during Lincoln's presidency, and vampires that were hired to protect him so he could bring the "bad vampires" to justice. This is like all the rich socialists who support Obama because they want their rich capitalists rivals to be taken out so they won't have anymore competition. And the book supports this. At one point, Lincoln does question why Henry, his mentor that is a vampire, tells Lincoln who the vampires are that Lincoln should be killing, but then Lincoln decides it isn't important, just as long as he is killing vampires. Lincoln leaves vampire killing for a while, but then takes it up again later.
These are important points because the tagline of the film is "Are you a patriot or a vampire?" Originally, I believed with all my heart that this tagline demonstrated the film would be capitalist and pro-America, because those are the principles upon which America was founded, and to be a patriot means that you love your country and the principles it stands for and practices, not to be a person that wants to take an axe and destroy everything about your country, including the constitution, and being inhumanly dis-respectful of the founding fathers (The Gabbler has the audacity to suggest Lincoln was gay).  IF this film proves to be socialist, then that's one more way Sacha Cohen Baron's The Dictator proves accurate about Obama's Party, because that will be a re-doing of the political language of the country.
A shot from the film, to be released June 22; this doesn't happen in the book. It's possible that Mr. Bekmambetov, the director, has more influence over the subtle arrangements of the film's story that will switch it from being a socialist vendetta to being a truly patriotic film; funny if it would take someone born in the former USSR to show Americans what patriotism is all about... no, it wouldn't be funny, it would be a thoroughly revolting day, but at least he could do it.
Note, please, that I said "If," there is a chance that, in spite of Mr. Grahame-Smith's socialism and advocacy of mediocrity, and (producer's) Tim Burton's blatant hypocrisy over the very system that has permitted him to fulfill his dreams and become wildly successful, there is a chance that the film will not be as bad as the book; why? Director Timur Bekmambetov was born in the Soviet Union, there weren't any theaters in which to show films after the collapse of the communist state; perhaps Mr. Bekmambetov has half a brain to know that his financial success wasn't from socialism but from capitalism and he'll support that. Here's a quick featurette:
What still has me worried?
Please note at 0:52, when "Abe" turns around and there's a vampire standing there, and Abe throws him up, the sign on the building the vampire hits says "BARTS SHIPPING," which refers to the money-lender (from the book who was named Barts) that sucked Lincoln's mother dry. The identity of the manufacturer is retained, meaning it will probably still be anti-capitalist. In some cases, I can absolutely agree with an anger about millionaires and billionaires who don't do more public works with their surplus of wealth (I would love to see celebrities banning together to help the Katrina victims, the way they all did to help the 9/11 victims, with so man of them donating $1 million, that was great! but they rarely do that and that's flaws in human nature), there are--without a doubt--people in the capitalist world who are so driven by greed that they will do anything to anyone to make a buck. The collapse on Wall Street is perfect testimony to this; but what president was it who ordered the Wall Street bail out?
From the book: a skull of a vampire fighting for the Confederacy. I wonder if Grahame-Smith ever attended an American history lecture in his life, and knows who it was that started the Civil War?
In the book, this question is really the thesis of the socialist agenda: "Why would any man conspire against himself? Why would any man hasten his own enslavement?" (emphasis in the original, page 270). From a capitalist view, we can say that socialism is enslavement because the government is given total control over all individuals in society and there is no mobility, upwards or downwards, there is no choice of job, there is no freedom of selection. In socialism, the enslavement comes from having to have a job, from having to work, to having to actually be good at something and be responsible for yourself rather than have the government taking care of you. These are imperative concepts, because this is exactly what the civil war in this country is about right now and what will be decided in November. They are also patriotic concepts because we are now--thanks to Mr. Grahame-Smith--arguing about what this country was founded upon, who founded it and why (because there was too much government control in countries they were fleeing, there was no personal freedom and people wanted to be responsible for themselves and have a chance at mobility, that's why). If you will, please watch this latest trailer, not from a realistic perspective, rather, as if it's anti-capitalist and pro-socialist:
Liberals have many times accused me of seeing only what I want to see in film interpretation, but to save my life, at this point in time, having read the book (which, thankfully, I bought second-hand so as not to contribute to Mr. Grahame-Smith's accumulation of wealth so he doesn't become a vampire like the ones he wants murdered) I just can't see how there is going to be a lick of sense in it. Additionally, at the end, Abraham Lincoln has been raised from the dead and has become a vampire. Yes, Abraham Lincoln has been raised by the dead by the very political party that hated him so much, they seceded from the Union and started the Civil War, and have turned him inside-out against what he really believed and stood for.
God help us.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Men In Black III & the Victory Of the Cold War

It was a make-or-break year for America, a year when we would either win the Space Race against the Soviet Union (then Communist) or lose it, and possibly lose everything else, too, because if we had lost the race to the moon--an important plot sequence in the film--the Soviets would have been in a dominant position to potentially invade America and start the push towards socialism that Men In Black III makes us fully aware of by highlighting the socialist invasion we are dealing with today. As the credits song at the end reminds us this Memorial Day weekend, "To understand the future we have to go back in time," and that's exactly what films such as The Avengers, Battleship and The Chernobyl Diaries are chiming in as well.
In many ways--if not all of them--the audience is asked to identify with Agent J (Will Smith) because there are things going on in the film that we might not understand unless someone explains it to us, for example, Agent O (Emma Thompson) gives a eulogy about Zed and talks in a high-pitched, fast, alien dialect that is in-comprehensible; once more, dear readers, this is a perfect example of "noise" as an artistic medium to alert us the viewers that something is going to be said that we aren't entirely going to be able to understand, but they are going to say it anyway; why? Why bother if we aren't going to understand? Because just like Agent J finally coming to realize why his father couldn't be there for him as a child, we will come to realize what the film is trying to say, even if it isn't immediately accessible to us right now, it will be at a later time when we can use it for a greater purpose.
When the film first opens, we see a pair of women's black boots walking, and a highly done up woman carrying a pink birthday cake; we find out that "Boris the Animal" has been locked up for 40 years and his girlfriend has brought him the cake; we also discover that Boris has only one arm. Feet, as we know, symbolize the will because feet take us where we need to go just as our will directs where we want to go, so that Boris' girlfriend (as she is officially called) has her feet in black shoes, zipped up tight and Boris' name tattooed on her back, we know she is completely devoted to him and getting him out of the moon-based prison. The question is, who is this woman, really? And the answer depends upon who Boris the Animal is really.
The two guards behind her do a scan to insure there's "nothing inside the cake" and the guard says, "She's clean, well, not clean, you know" and laughs as we can be certain that something is certainly "dirty" about her. The way she is dressed suggests that she is an alien prostitute (or worse). Because Boris comes from the extinct Boglodite race, and the guards make it clear that Boris' visit from his girlfriend is not a conjugal visit, we can deduce that she is there to beget a child with Boris, i.e., the "child" of a new future in which the Boglodites take over the earth as originally intended, just as socialism/communism always intended to take over the US. The cake she carries, while it registers as 99% organic hides something evil; is there something in the US today that looks like a gift (entitlement programs, free birth control) but is actually hiding evil (increasing government dependency/control)? Boris' girlfriend is anyone "helping to free" socialism from the stigmas of failure and corruption in which history and experience has imprisoned it.
Seeing that Boris the Animal has only one arm, and hasn't had a visitor in 40 years, we are tempted to ask, what happened 40 years ago? In 1972, American chess player Bobby Fischer defeated Soviet champion "Boris" Spassky  to become the first US World Champion Chess player. Arms symbolize strength, and Boris the Animal losing his arm invokes that loss of prestige. Later in the film, Boris will attack Agent J, Agent J will go back in time to re-do the sequence, and come back to re-do the encounter with Boris; because Agent J uses a "creative interpretation" of the possibilities of time travel, he can use it to his advantage, which is what game theory is all about. Like Bobby Fischer, Agent J has the "better moves" that kills his opponent and we ourselves need to remember "moves" because we are in the exact same political battle this year that MIB3 illustrates for us in the film.
Because he has lost his strength (his arm) Boris requires a second person--an assistant-- to help him escape, that he can then easily discard (Boris lets his "girlfriend" slip out into outer space and death once he's finished with her). Boris does this with Obadiah, one of the prisoners who gave him the secrets to time travel in exchange for Boris helping him escape; Boris kills him instead. This is the first of four references to Iron Man, because Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) had Obadiah (Jeff Bridges) as a leader in his company who betrayed him, just as Obadiah in MIB3 betrays humanity by helping Boris the Boglodite escape to destroy the earth. Obadiah was an Old Testament prophet whose name meant "servant of Yahweh" and is used to name these two characters (from Iron Man and MIB3) to denote who they did not serve.
Throughout the film, Boris the Animal keeps saying, "Let's agree to disagree." Why? It's a disguise, essentially positing that two differing modes of thoughts can exist simultaneously. When Agent J kills Boris the Animal (repeating this line back to Boris who has said it all throughout the film), it's clear that what Boris stands for and what Agent J fights and sacrifices for, are mutually exclusive, only one of them can exist, and we have to remember that, because either the traditional American way will prevail in this country, or the new socialist threat invading our government will prevail and we have to decide which it will be.
To finish killing off the guards preventing him from getting out of his prison on the moon (rather like Lockout with Guy Pearce released earlier this year) Boris says, "Let's open a window" and, blasting a hole into the prison walls directly into outer space, all the guards get sucked out, including Boris' girlfriend (pictured above). Why is this important? Just as Boris' eyes are always covered in dark glasses, and everything getting sucked out the "window," Boris/socialism is incapable of reflecting. The eyes and windows are both symbolic of the soul's ability to mediate upon itself, and Boris mis-uses the window to get rid of his opponents and keeps his eyes covered so he doesn't have to see himself. Later, when the future Boris meets up with the past Boris, they get into an argument and nearly kill each other, and that's an effective symbol of the brand of socialism today meeting up with the socialism of the Soviet-era. Like the aliens (symbolic of socialists) in Battleship, Boris has human features, but he's clearly an animal, meant to alert us to the distinction between looking like a human and being a human (we see this again with Wu the restaurant owner).  The distinction is important because we are being tricked into the government's policies that look like they are supposed to help the country, but are in fact disabling the economy.
MIB3 is clearly saying, we can't--on the political level--just say that socialists and capitalists disagree, we can't just lock up Boris the Animal again like Agent K did in 1969; Boris the Animal has to be killed, just like socialism, and regardless of some people thinking it's just a matter of taste, thought or orientation, MIB3 is saying that Boris the Animal--and what he symbolizes--is as much a genuine threat to the life of this country as to the life of Agent K himself, and it's not sufficient to just cut of his arm and disable his strength; he (socialism) must be completely killed, terminated, destroyed. When Boris goes back in time to kill Agent K, that is socialism today going back trying to re-write history but we, like Agent J, have to be ready to protect and defend what we love and believe in.
Isn't this an interesting pose? Who else do we see striking this position with a weapon coming out of his hand that is a part of his body? Iron Man.Why would film makers of Men In Black III want to invoke Iron Man II? Because Tony Stark confronted another Russian threat in that film, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), the second of four references to Iron Man. It's imperative that, unlike Sir Roger Moore 007-James Bond days, Russians are not the enemy being invoked in these films, rather communism/socialism is the enemy dressed in the Soviet-era guise that many in the audience will recognize (the same is done with the recently released The Raven with John Cusack: Edgar Allan Poe's villain is named Ivan, a common Russian name, who invokes a communist threat in that film). In MIB3, Boris has a scorpion/crawdad-like animal that stays in his hand, but can dislodge and cause havoc as well as Boris being able to release darts to kill his enemies. Would you rather have Iron Man's arc-reactor power coming out of your hand, or that gross animal? The difference in the weapons is a way of drawing upon the differences between what the Soviet-era "accomplished" and what the MIB3 and Iron Man 2 both have arcs (the third of four references): MIB3 has an "arc shield" that protects the earth from invasion--much like Ronald Reagan's Star Wars program from the 1980s--and Iron Man of course has the arc reactor which is the source of Tony's power that stabilizes his heart. Both of these "arcs" are also "arks," that is,capitalism is a vehicle (like the boat of Noah's ark) that both takes us where we need to be in terms of technological advancements and protects us from the kind of destruction experienced by Soviet-era socialism/communism. The comparison to Iron Man's technology and Boris' demonstrates--like The Chernobyl Diaries--the lack of technological advancement characteristic of socialist/communist states.
In a similar, substantiating vein is Wu's Chinese Restaurant.
Agents K and J get a call that "intestinal worms" have been showing up in customers' stomachs, so they go to investigate and Wu tells the two agents that if they arrest him, since he's Chinese, it's a hate crime, but Wu isn't Chinese, he's an alien, and he's an alien because he's a communist and Wu's throwing out at them the US law to protect himself from a "hate crime" is typical of liberal thought in the US and is used by socialists to counter arguments from conservatives against socialism (they don't actually argue for socialism, they argue against capitalism).
Wu on the far left and Agent K holding up an alien fish being served to earth people. Agent K is especially upset about this particular fish because he knows from experience that it's a favorite of Boris the Animal's. As in The Dictator, released just last week, the Chinese presence invokes an alien/communist presence and Wu's willingness to help Boris in MIB 3 means the film makers want to alert the audience to the Chinese willingness to take over the US via our debt they keep buying up and Congress keeps racking up, as mentioned in The Dictator. That Agent K is able to sense Boris the Animal's presence because of the food being served means that Boris is a man of appetites (as if looking at his all-molar smile didn't all ready tell us that) and that he is a Boglodite, a rogue race that eats up other planets. This is the dominant trait by which we can understand Boris being symbolic of socialism/communism: he eats up everything, because that was the agenda for socialism, take over every country. Last summer, I posted on the bubblegum pop song Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, and how it's lyrics revealed the difficult position of the United States fighting the war in Vietnam, which and the Eisenhower's view of the domino effect of socialism, one socialist government causing its neighboring country to become socialist, etc., if you would like to read more on it there (please see Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini & the Vietnam War for more).
The "intestinal worms" which Wu's customers have been infected comes from the alien doctrine some people have been "eating up" about the "good" of socialism/communism and which they can't stomach. When Agent K rips off Wu's "skirt" and reveals his alien body underneath, it's the film makers ripping off the facade of Chinese communism to reveal the alien body of doctrine to US voters. This is also the fourth of four references to Iron Man, Iron Man 3 (to be released May 2013): Tony Stark will be going to China to battle Mandarin, his fiercest foe yet. It's not that the Chinese themselves are an enemy, but the socialism/communism we are slowly being fed in the US just as Wu replaces earth fish with alien fish.
One of the alien fish at Wu's Restaurant he's been serving earth people. Again, just as in Battleship and Boris the Animal, the alien has human "features," just as socialism has "acceptable features" but it's really alien. There's another film MIB 3 references through Agent J going to the Roosevelt Hotel, named for President "Teddy" Roosevelt and that film is Man On a Ledge, because it was on the ledge of the Roosevelt that Sam Worthington's character threatened to jump to his death. Just as Roosevelt's views and policies meant to make the American Dream available for a greater number of Americans, he also intended America--specifically the Navy, as in Battleship--to be a world power, which is probably the point of Agent J going to it because if America had not been a world power post WWII, we would have been unable (or at least seriously hindered) to stop communism.
There is an interesting facet of "alien-ness" discussed in the film: models.
When Agents K (Josh Brolin) and J go to Andy Warhol's (Bill Hader) Factory (his art studio) they discover that all models are aliens, and that's pretty accurate, because the way the women treat their bodies is alien to how women are meant to treat their bodies. This also adds an interesting twist on interpreting Warhol's pop art, which was a commentary on how products had become so integral to the daily lives of Americans; now, in MIB 3, the suggestion that Warhol is one of the agents, and the agency has been telling "Warhol" what to paint, recasts the pictures of soup cans and money as those products being available to Americans when they weren't to the rest of the world, and reminding Americans of the high standard of living we enjoy compared to other parts of the world, i.e., those being taken over by socialism.
In the film and in the trailer above, there is an interesting reference to another film being invoked from 1967, In the Heat Of the Night with the great Sidney Poitier. In MIB 3, after "Warhol" calls Agent J dumb ass, Agent J responds that he doesn't have a problem with "pimp-slapping the schznick out of Andy Warhol" and Warhol responds, "What?" Just as Warhol doesn't understand the slang (noise to him) being employed by Agent J, so many audience members won't understand the reference to the film In the Heat Of the Night when officer Virgil Tibbs (Poitier) slaps a prominent member of the Mississippi community.
It's at Warhol's Factory (another reference akin to The Raven's tying the production of art to capitalism, I mean, how many great socialist/communist artists can you name?) that Agents J and K meet up with the most interesting character of the film, Griffin, from one of the planets devoured by the Blogodites (Boris the Animal's alien race) and Griffin wants to help save the world from his planet's fate. He has a unique gift: Griffin can see the future, and not only the future, but all the possible combinations of the future based on different ways that we chose to act on our free will. For example, if K forgets to leave a tip, an asteroid hits the earth.
Agent K in 1969 (Josh Brolin) and Griffin with the green jacket and hat.
Griffin symbolizes an important and culture-shattering aspect of MIB 3 that is also invoked in The Avengers: Chaos theory. Why is this important? Well, chaos as a theory proper completely undermines the understanding of various theories of evolution (Darwinism). Whereas evolution generally states that a species does what they have to in order to survive, and that the strongest or most adaptable survive, Griffin's ability to put the future in terms of people's choice and free will, in terms of this or that happening, reflects what popular culture knows as the Butterfly Effect (please, don't accuse me of dumbing these scientific theories down; MIB 3 knows it has a general lay audience that it is presenting this to, not a committee of paleontologists). Griffin shares this chaos tendency with another major character this summer, Clint Barton, i.e., Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) from The Avengers.
Griffin opens a "window" into history (the opposite of Boris opening the window into outer space) to show Agents K and J the "miracle Mets game" when they were behind all season and then everything worked out perfectly for them to win it all. The continuous reference to "miracle" does not make Griffin a god figure, it's intended to make us god figures, that everything we do with our free will either is for the good of humanity or the destruction of humanity, one decision at a time. Just like Griffin, each of us is given a gift to use for our own good and the good of others, and when we use our gifts for good, we follow God and become as Christ commanded us to become, "Perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect" because our wills are aimed at the goal of love, not self aggrandisement. Griffin shows them the game to increase their faith, because when their faith is increased, they will be able to have a greater commitment to what they need to do to fulfill their mission. This increase of faith is why Agent J is able to see his father dying and not--as he did with Boris--go back in time and be there to deflect the bullet or warn him, but understand the sacrifice and the burden that Agent K would carry as a result. As mentioned above in the (possible) invocation of the famous Bobby vs Boris chess match, the Mets game adds another dimension to the level of game theory being summoned by the film to remind us the viewers of the victory--and all the other victories--that were achieved in this film against socialism/communism so we don't become enticed into believing false accounts of history and, hence, reality, that would make it look as if socialism is really the winning form of government when it's not.
I had wanted to discuss this in my post on The Avengers, but couldn't really decide how it fit in, so just left it out, until I saw Griffin and then I understood a larger trend that both of them signify. Remember in The Avengers how Hawkeye seriously over-aims his target with his arrows, releases his arrow and the target flies right into the path of the arrow, making a direct hit? That's an application of a branch of chaos theory discovered during World War II, that bullets being aimed by anti-aircraft guns on the ground weren't hitting their targets in the air because wind speed and direction, the plane's speed, the gunner's quickness on the trigger, etc., all were variables contributing to a bullet's success in hitting the target in the sky (I know this seems like common sense today, but it had to be discovered in World War II). Why is this important? Like Griffin's (basic) application of the Butterfly Effect, Hawkeye's tracking system are trends of supporting a chaotic universe which undermines the (Darwinist) evolutionary universe which is an atheist universe.
How can I prove this?
Well, in the beginning of the film (included in the trailer above), Agent J "flashes" a group of people to erase their memory of what they had just seen and tells them about their kid winning the gold fish at school and then it was flushed down the toilet and the giant fish being hauled off in the background was the flushed gold fish "evolved" into that creature. That "evolutionary" understanding of the universe is how the film begins, but because of the character of Griffin, and Agent J's own conversion to understanding what happened to his father and American history, the battle is won by a chaotic universe instead of the evolutionary one; why is that important?
Note, please, that in the vicinity of Wu's restaurant, all these people are of Asian descent, where socialist/communist countries are most prevalent. Agent J flashing them and then telling a story to them (as they have no expression on their face or emotional interaction with him) provides an accurate depiction of the government telling people something--specifically about evolutionary process--and people just accepting it. Are we going to be like this?
Socialist and communist governments (to say the very least) discourage religion (they usually prohibit religion and persecute those practicing any religion) because when the state is in total control of the government and the allocation of resources, it wants to be able to decide who should get what and make people do what they want them to do instead of citizens being able to site their "conscious" as a reason for not following the state's mandate (the forced issue of Catholic employers paying for birth control and abortions is the perfect case in point).
Boris the Animal on his motorcycle. Please note how the mechanical object--the motorcycle--is made to have an organic feel about it, the shape and the "scales", the slithering aspect on the handle bars. Like the animal living inside his hand, his motorcycle becomes a part of him because that's what he needs for power, in other words, in his quest to control and dominate others, he sacrifices his won being, making his motorcycle a part of himself by making it organic and making himself like a monster in letting his hand be a home to that scorpion creature. The greater power Boris tries to have, the less of himself he is because he has to sacrifice more and more of himself to get that power, like sacrificing his arm. When K "takes off" Boris' arm, he doesn't slice it off or shot it off, he freezes it off, because that's a reference to the Cold War and the Soviet Union's strength that was lost when we won the race to space.
Socialist and communists advocate, therefore, the evolutionary universe as the proper paradigm, instead of a religious understanding of creation, because evolution leaves no room for a person's soul (we evolved from apes, not the image of God, and apes don't have souls) or God's role in the development of humanity. When we came from animals, we can be treated like animals; if we came from God, we have to be treated like God's children, and socialism doesn't like that. By undermining an evolutionary universe, MIB 3 weakens another weapon of socialism so it can regenerate itself and spread once more.
Agent K (Josh Brolin) and Agent O (Alice Eve, The Raven, playing the younger version of Emma Thompson's Agent O) strapping K into a jet pack suit because they have to get to Cape Canaveral for the Apollo launch and this is the only way to do it in 1969. Agent J makes an interesting statement, that if jet packs were safe, they would have them in the future, and from a capitalist angle, that makes sense. The two agents arrive in Florida without any difficulty, bringing us to a quandary if we look at things solely from a (strict) evolutionary process: why weren't jet packs developed as a dominant mode of transportation? In a chaotic universe, sense can be made of this, that it really posed serious damage except in extreme circumstances to not use them, so they weren't developed for mass production (I am just putting this line of thought out as an example to use), and this simple moment of the film shores up one more aspect against evolutionary perspectives, especially in a region (the economy) where most of us expect to see it and don't have any problems with understanding it as a useful paradigm in that region.
It's not that a chaotic universe includes God, but it doesn't exclude God the way evolutionary processes do (the attempt to explain how man came to be without God). The possibility of understanding a better scientific approach to the creation of the universe (even before I became a Catholic, I never subscribed to any of the camps of Darwin's thought) compatible with America's long held religious affiliations and capitalist program enhances the victory of the Cold War over socialism/communism that those ideologies "alien" to what America has been founded upon and is built upon will always win for individuals and the greater good.
Agent K (Brolin) has decided to put Agent J into a big mind flash "thing" (to erase his entire memory) because Agent J won't tell K why he's there and what he's doing. J is ready to scream out everything he knows for fear of what K is going to do. Are we being put in a similar device today to have our minds and memories erased of what has happened throughout American history? Who benefits, today, from re-writing our history?
In conclusion, Men In Black III, centering the plot around the Apollo launching of putting a man on the moon, intentionally means to remind Americans of who we are and why we are, the victories that we have won and the enemies we have fought against; the story means to teach us that history is a part of us and nothing was accidental and, by knowing our history, we can protect ourselves today, and our future tomorrow.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
"Do you have these in the future?" Agent K asks J and no, we don't, and while they work efficiently well (and look totally cool) Men In Black III offers another example of how even our economy doesn't work along the strict likes of "social Darwinism" as it is often called (the survival of the fittest/the best) rather, there is more of a story to why or why not something doesn't get developed, like the faulty baseball that is thrown during the "miracle" Mets game, which had to do more with the tanner's wife than a great hit or throw. This is the human element in history, and an element that we can never forget.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Extreme Tourism Through History: The Chernobyl Diaries & the Pulling Back Of the Iron Curtain

"You might actively root for their collective demise, if you could rouse yourself to care one way or the other. Go gallivanting in Chernobyl and you get what you pay for, nimrods," wrote one reviewer; reality, however, is not the point of The Chernobyl Diaries; reality is never the point, a deeper, greater truth is, and if that reviewer is upset for the kids "gallivanting in Chernobyl" we, as Americans, should be furious that our government is on the road to mimicking the same epic disasters, and that is the point of the film.
"Experience the Fallout." When the group arrives in Pripyat, Uri tells them that if any of them gets hungry, he has beef jerky; why is this important? Anyone who has ever watched Alton Brown knows that jerky was one of the first, hence, most primitive means of early humanity preserving food. This provides us with one example of the lack of progression made by the Russians because of the handicap of socialism and a thoroughly corrupt government. At one point, they go by the river bank and Uri plays a joke on them (seen in the trailer) but then there really is a dead... "fish" there that's even trying to breathe. The "fish" looks so strange, they aren't even sure it is a fish because it looks like the monsters about to be released in the newest Piranha film, and this prehistoric beastie is one of the examples fostering an understanding of the primitiveness created by socialism in the country (not to mention the pack of dogs running wild; dogs have been domesticated... forever, but not in the communist setting of Russia, they are still running free and savage hunters of men).
The "ghosts of Communism" lurking throughout Pripyat, the city inhabited by the workers of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant are meant to remind us that some ghost stories are true; reactor number 4 failed a test and vaporized, putting extreme amounts of radiation into the air (it's still considered the worst nuclear disaster to date). After 25 years, the radiation levels have dropped sufficiently to allow people into the area for a couple of hours, but reactor number 4 is still so toxic, just seconds inside and radiation starts to kill you (reactor number 4 isn't part of the tour, they just see it from afar, but after two days there and being hunted, they accidentally stumble into it).
The group, minus the tour guide Uri (taking the photo) posing for a group shot in Pripyat. From left to right: Amanda, who had recently broken up with her boyfriend and didn't want to make the trip. Natalie, the blond, who is dating/engaged to Chris next to her who is the younger brother of Paul, the dark haired guy next to him; next to Paul is Michael, an Australian, with his wife of one month Zoe (Michael and Zoe didn't know the others before this tour). Amanda, Natalie and Chris have traveled to Kiev to meet up with Paul living there; apparently, he somewhat up and ran to Kiev, hardly letting anyone know where he was. The four of them plan to go onto Moscow, but Paul gets the idea of going to Chernobyl, instead. They all meet at Uri's shop and he takes them on a two-hour drive to the outskirts of Pripyat but they are denied access by check point guards because maintenance work is going on; Uri takes a short cut into the city. Uri is the first to die, supposedly from attacking dogs, but Chris had gone with him to "investigate" and while Uri died, Chris practically had his leg bitten off. They slowly get picked off, one by one.
Oren Peli, creator of Paranormal Activity, is quite clever, and intentionally mixes up traditional role models and stereotypes so things are more confusing as we try following the story: compare, for example, The Chernobyl Diaries to The Cabin In the Woods, when each person meets a certain requirement and has to die in a particular order; Peli intentionally frustrates this kind of structural logic in The Chernobyl Diaries so there is more of a chaotic feel to it: no one is really getting punished the way they would in a traditional horror film, and there's no real reason for one character to out survive another or any poetic justice to how character's do die (at least not that is accessible to me) but again, I think this is intentional because anyone who has studied the history of the Soviet Union knows that you could be given a medal for being an outstanding "Party member" (communist) one week, then the next week be dragged out of bed in the middle of the night and sentenced to Siberia for the rest of your life on treason charges! (Similar situations have recently been discovered in communist North Korea where there have been executions and staged accidents to rid the Party of undesirable opposition to Party lines).
Pripyat as the tourists see it. To be fair to the city, it has been abandoned and did not have any improvements beyond the year the reactor blew. When the group arrives, the first thing they see are bumper-cars and a Ferris wheel, Uri tells the tourists they were getting ready for the May Day celebrations in the city but never got to enjoy it. This "celebration of the arrival of spring" might have been a spring time for Russia, even a springtime for socialism but because of the terrible disaster, it spelled the beginning of the end and the government's inability to overcome its own inner-corruption sufficiently to develop technologies that were safe for the people and monitor its own monitoring of the situation revealed what was truly inside the USSR as the radiation began eating away at the "Iron Curtain."  Murray Feshbach's terrifying book Ecocide In the USSR demonstrates the terrors that the Soviet government wrecked on the environment. My Russian history professor was there on her sabbatical and told me about visiting with another Russian professor on the train. As they passed the countryside (no where near Chernobyl, but the heartland of Russia) the native professor said, "Look, you don't see any animals, you don't hear any birds. The government has killed nature." My professor got proof within the same week (again, no where near Chernobyl) because she was bitten by a bug (she still doesn't even know what kind) and she got so sick that she would have died within hours had penicillin not been an over-the-counter medicine. The Soviet doctors wouldn't help her because she was an American, so she had to wait a month to be flown out (because of the bureaucracy, the government was afraid the story would get out so they weren't going to let her out to keep it secret, rather like Amanda in The Chernobyl Diaries) and then spent three months in critical condition in hospitals in the US, then several more months just being nursed back to health, then she couldn't even return to teaching for a year because her system was so shocked; from a bug bite. They believe it was mutated from toxic waste in the area where she was at the time because the government didn't monitor dumping of waste. Not to mention that every time she turned the water on in her hotel room, the water was rust-colored, and she couldn't leave her hotel room without hiding everything because hotel rooms were regularly ransacked by the employees looking for money and valuables.
There are several well-constructed scenes, one of which is the group looking out the window of an apartment building, reactor number 4 in the distance, and Uri, in another room, sees where someone had been in there and built a small fire; kicking the remains of the fire off to the side (literally pushing the fact of someones existence into the margins) they then hear something. The audience thinks it's the people who built the fire, but instead, it ends up being a great bear, the traditional symbol of Russia itself, running through the halls of the abandoned apartment building where thousands of families once lived. What does this scene mean?
Uri, in the blue on the left, and Natalie in the brown jacket with Chris standing on the extreme left, looking at the nuclear reactor number 4 in the distance; in just a moment within this scene, Chris will have his picture taken holding Natalie (to whom he plans on proposing the next day in Moscow, he has the ring in his pocket) and as the picture is being taken, he says, "There's a metaphor going on here, our love exploding," and there is a metaphor, and their love will explode just as their future will if Americans don't realize that reactor 4 is the supreme symbol of socialism and what it does (and doesn't do) is trying to be introduced into America.
There is a metaphor going on here, the Soviet government, charging through the lives of its people and posing a threat to them rather than protecting them (the same happens in the end with Amanda being "saved" by the Russian guards only to be locked up). As Uri tells the tourists, the people had only five minutes to get out, no time to collect anything; looters came afterwards and sold items on the black market, not realizing they were contaminated; all those who came in contact with the stolen items became sick and died. This is one of those great inverted lessons, because if we the audience don't take something from The Chernobyl Diaries, we will become sick and contaminated and die.
The little girl... we never see her face; after someone in the stairwell has grabbed Natalie--after she's been rescued--and the group looks the other way, when they look back, the girl is gone. What does she mean, why is she there and why is she important? She's the embodiment of the Russian people just as the bear is the embodiment of the Soviet government. Without a face (because she never turns around) she has no identity of her own and she's stuck in childhood, not having attained adulthood (like Uri's beef jerky being a primitive means of cooking that hasn't advanced, the prehistoric looking fish and the wild pack of dogs) the little girl hasn't advanced into maturity because of the limitations of communism upon the people. I have a minor in Russian history, so there's quite a bit I am drawing on, stories specifically from my Russian history professor from when she would go and spend the summer there. For example, during communism, different factories and areas of towns would be responsible for making one thing and once or twice a month, they would release whatever product they had made to the people standing in line and whether an old woman needed diapers or not, she would get them (standing in line for hours) then barter for whatever someone else had that she needed (just like in the different districts in The Hunger Games and Katniss bartering with the game she had killed). My professor got behind a woman standing in line one day, because wherever there was a line, that meant there were products/goods, and she asked the woman in front of her, "What are we standing in line for (to get)?" and the woman said, "I don't know." This is the reason why, in The Chernobyl Diaries, the group never makes it to Moscow (like the group in The Darkest Hour starts out in Moscow and then tries to get out) because Moscow has been capitalized, at least to a degree, far more so than Kiev or some of the other places, because The Chernobyl Diaries doesn't want to confuse us with what capitalism has accomplished in the country (even though it's still heavily restricted by the government and corrupt oligarchies) even though Uri owns his own business and Paul calls Uri's tourism office "very professional." (Uri's level of customer service is questionable, however, because of his "working alone" and shows that there is a far greater degree of savvy-ness required in capitalism than just making money and getting customers). 
The audience I watched the film with were the most obnoxious audience I have ever had to deal with; in a way, however, that gave me an insight into what I would have missed otherwise. That guy with the dingy T-shirt yelling out, "Don't pull back the curtain!" drew my attention to the standard devices of horror films and how film makers made a conscious decision to stick with those devices, but dropped others. Why does Paul pull back the curtain? Why does Michael open the door? Because we as a country are doing the same thing to socialism, and the stupidity we see being exhibited by the tourists in the film reflects our own stupidity as voters "taking a tour" through the Democrat Party's brand of socialism when they keep pulling back horror after horror that can only jump out and kill us, sooner or later, in this political horror show. Paul is pulling back "the Iron Curtain" to see the deterioration that has taken place and to be reminded of why communism failed and fell.
This is one of the photos taken by Amanda of a doll left in the evacuation. In many ways, she is the exact opposite of the little girl in the scene discussed just above, but this doll also reveals a terrifying reality of life in the Soviet Union: during the 1970s, due to rampant alcoholism, infant mortality began to rise and throughout the 1980s the abortion rate climbed each year, women believing it a mercy to kill their children in their womb rather than bring them into life in the USSR (this was especially true in regions around Chernobyl after the disaster because women saw so many children being born with birth defects from radiation drift that would-be mothers decided to "spare" their children the misery of life). With easy access to abortion, however, sexual norms became exceedingly lax and the doll not wearing any pants/covering over what would be the genitalia of a woman literally "reveals" the increasing prostitution and promiscuity of women in Soviet society.
Something the film makers cleverly employ is that the audience never sees the faces of the "inhabitants" of Pripyat, even as they attack the group of tourists.Why is this appropriate? We could simply say it makes the "monster" scarier if we never see the face, and while that is true, it also invokes that we don't see the true face of what is attacking us here in the US.  Like the tourists, we are "touring" the intimate diary (the homes and memories of the families) of what communism did to its people and we will face the same fate as the tourists in the film if we allow "Chernobyl" to become a part of the United States.
In every way, Uri's van is like socialism: dead. The "vehicle" of Chernobyl, socialism, not only had the "leads" been ripped out (the leaders being corrupt--and I am not making a blanket statement about all socialist leaders being corrupt... it just happens that it happened that way in the Soviet Union) but when good leads were found, the van was "turned upside down" and all the windows busted out. When a leader such as Mikhail Gorbachev came to power, the vehicle (the government) was perverted (literally turned upside down) and could no longer be salvaged. According to my Russian history professor, this happened a lot in the Soviet Union: because there was a gap in communications between factories, one factory would make ten thousand guns but the bullet factory would only make a couple of hundred bullets because resources weren't properly allocated by corrupt officials (the gun maker wanted to look good to the local officials so he would pay someone to not deliver materials to the bullet maker) so then there were a whole lot of guns but no bullets. And one never ever bought anything that had been produced close to the end of the month because of production quotas having to be fulfilled, they would hurry out and do poor quality work just to get stuff packed in boxes so it looked like they had done their job (this was caused in some areas by a lack of supervision over the workers, or corruption in other areas; the CIA and MI6 discovery, for example, that even though the Soviets might have said they had 10,000 warheads, only a small percentage of those actually would have been of high-enough quality to actually survive the launch, travel and detonate).  The group of tourists being so far away from the checkpoints and not being able to get signals out for help accurately reflects the Soviet Union which had isolated itself internationally and really had few options for getting help once Gorbachev started perestroika and glasnost.
Which brings us to the very beginning of the film.
Amanda, Natalie and Chris take home movies of the travels they are making to London, Rome, France, Venice, Germany, Prague and Kiev (reminding us of how easily and freely we can travel, and how limited and suspicious travel was in the Soviet Union, the government keeping track of anyone wanting to escape to the "free world") but we are also reminded of the success of capitalism in the places where the three tourists start out, and their willingness to be lead astray by Paul to "the center of communism" is what destroys them all. Why Paul? Symbolically, Paul "left home," and had no intention of returning (defecting in a sense) and, as Paul himself says, "Chris has always had to pay for my bad ideas," and so Chris has to pay this time around, too, with his life, because he didn't want to be called a pussy. This is the challenge being thrown down to us: are we going to be called "cowards" by Democrats and cave in to their socialist agendas or stand firm and learn the lesson from The Chernobyl Diaries?
Amanda and Natalie in the home video on their way into Russia... doesn't look like there are very many other passengers wanting to go with them...
What happens at the end?
Why is Paul shot?
Paul being shot summarizes everything I learned in Russian history: even if you managed to survive the day-to-day struggles of just living, the Soviet system could decide to kill you just to keep everyone else on their toes and living in fear so Paul is basically shot "for no reason" other than to remind us that once the government starts to take over your life, it owns your life and can do with it what it wants.
Why do the film makers "save" Amanda?
So they can demonstrate that even had the tourists gotten help, there is no help. A joke earlier in the film when the van first dies is, "I guess there is no Triple A out here, huh?" and "out here" isn't just in Chernobyl, but in the land of socialism, because to Triple A, people matter, but to socialism, you are no better than an animal the government has to pay to keep alive, so you are better off being dead to the government. It matters more by far to keep "contained" the fact that there are "people" still living in Chernobyl than to rehabilitate Amanda and help her (to say nothing of reclaiming the bodies still inside Pripyat).
Throughout the film, I couldn't help but be reminded time and again about the Will Smith film, I Am Legend. In this shot, at the river bank when they have found the prehistoric looking fish, there's a shot of the water as the tourists leave of albino like fish swimming unnaturally fast (we see this again when Amanda, Michael and Paul go looking for Uri's body) and the unnaturalness of something as low on the food chain (in intelligence level) as fish being so profoundly effected (even 25 years afterwards) drives home how unnatural Chernobyl was and the system that created it like the unnatural virus released into the air that "turned" so many people into those zombies in I Am Legend.
When Uri takes the group to Pripyat, he tells them that the city has been "Reclaimed by nature," but that's far from the truth, because there is nothing "natural" about Pripyat or the system that gave rise to it.  When they have been running, but find the engagement ring Chris was giving to Natalie when they were attacked, and Paul hopes he has found his brother, they discover some child-like "merman" instead, because that's what the "engagement" of Chris and Natalie would have born in such a system: a freak of nature as unnatural as the system begetting it. In the United States right now, we are with the group at the table taking a vote (in November's elections) of whether we want to go the way of Chernobyl or the way of capitalism, and the makers of The Chernobyl Diaries want to make sure we fully understand how history repeats itself.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
Reactor number 4. Paul and Amanda stumble in here as they are being chased by the inhabitants of Papiyat and they immediately lose their eyesight (Paul is unable to "see" what is happening to them) and Amanda's face begins burning (like the little girl who stands with her back to them, Amanda loses her identity, the face is the location of our most basic identity).  Reactor number 4 wasn't just a science experiment that went bad, it was a political experiment that went rotten.

Trailers: Hyde Park On the Hudson, The Appartition & Men In Black a la Wes Anderson

Bill Murray, portraying Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt, stars with Laura Linney in the December release of Hyde Park On the Hudson (while I am a big fan of Bill Murray, I don't like the looks of this film):
Due out in August is The Apparition about a college experiment to "produce" a supernatural event simply by thinking about and the consequences arising:
Lastly, just a fun little take for Wes Anderson fans to see Men In Black III as if it were Moonrise Kingdom, opening this weekend in select theaters (it is really kinda funny, if you fall for Wes Anderson's humor, which I do):
Please enjoy this great weekend of movies and God bless the USA!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Friday, May 25, 2012

Men In Black III: Go C It!

This is what socialism looks like in New York City...
I am so grateful I was wrong!!!!  
Men In Black 3, opening today, is a GREAT capitalist film, done extremely well, really, really enjoyed it! Working on getting that post up tonight and later going to see Chernobyl Diaries!
What a great way to spend Memorial Day!
Regrettably, I am not getting to see Moonlight Kingdom this week (it is coming to my area, just not opening here). It has a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (unusually high) but there is something you can be looking for: when Sam asks Suzy, "What kind of bird are you?" (and then the Scout Leader says, Sam "flew the coop") it references the big event of 1965, the first "early bird" telecommunications satellite was launched, beginning America's love affair with direct and nearly instantaneous contact between Europe and North America, and allowing for television, telephone, and fax transmissions.
Citing this piece of communications history, the way people in the film communicate with each other (and fail to communicate) will be the history lesson Anderson wants to teach us about how we are today because of what we did in 1965. Has all our advances in technology been for nothing if we have to use a bull horn to communicate with people in the same house as us? It looks to be another great work from Anderson and I can hardly wait to catch it!
GI Joe Retaliation is not opening until March 2013. Despite the success of the original GI Joe, the supposed failure of Battleship at the box office has forced the decision so the film can be adapted for 3-D. That's really upsetting to me, it's not going to be nearly as relevant next year.