Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Trailers: Pitch Perfect, Resident Evil, Farewell My Queen

First view of Angelina Jolie as Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, no release date.
I AM SO SORRY: I am so close to getting the Rock Of Ages post done, but others have needed a great deal the last couple of days, and so I may grow in the fruits of charity, I have put off what I wanted to do to assist those in need; thank you so much for your patience! Here are some of the latest trailers,  I hope you enjoy them!
Since last year, we have been talking a lot about expanding the vocabulary of film and film's use of various means to communicate to audiences; Pitch Perfect, due out in October, incorporates a number of subtle and interesting means of communication:
There's a number of interesting issues being brought up here, for example, the "rape whistle," which, according to the rules of Shakespeare, you do not introduce a device in the first act unless it will be used by the third. It won't be an actual, physical rape: for example, just the lead character being in the shower and being "imposed upon" by the other girl refusing to leave until she hears some singing is a form of "rape" because the lead girl is having to do what she doesn't want (that she's naked and a naked guy walks out just emphasizes that).
There's an interesting case of reversed censorship going on: "You call yourself  'Fat Amy?'" "Yes, so skinny b*** like you won't do it behind my back." Amy is bringing out what is usually kept within one's mind or under one's breath so, by bringing out what is usually kept hidden--commentary about her weight and figure--we may discover how this is a trick for Amy to cover up something else.
Resident Evil: Retribution, being released in September, is going to be important because of what is NOT original about it, in other words, we should be looking for similarities between this and other films:
1). Destabilized sense of her personal identity and reality; 2). the zombie face-sucker exploding through the door is similar to the alien face-sucker we just saw in Prometheus and a weapons being developed against humanity; 3). end of the world scenario which it would be easier to relate the films not talking about the end of the world than all those that have; 4). like the postponed G.I. Joe Retaliation, both films talk about international organization that have gained power (Umbrella and Cobra) which are going to destroy/take over the world; just as the Joes are going to (eventually next year) retaliate for something, so Resident Evil is going to seek retribution for something, and those are probably the same thing.
Asking us, "What is real?" Total Recall due in August asks us many of the same questions we just saw in the Resident Evil trailer:
What other film this year has had "recall" as its topic? The Vow. The Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum film had the wife lose her memory of the last five years, so it will be interesting to see if there are other similarities between the two films.
In the meantime, God Bless America was released in Russia in May (I have no idea at this point about a US release date). Synopsis: On a mission to rid society of its most repellent citizens, terminally ill Frank makes an unlikely accomplice in 16-year-old Roxy... come on, admit it, we have all wanted to do this before (there is a lot of bad language in this trailer):
Who's the one with the tumor?
The medical condition of Frank mirrors the moral/social/cultural condition of parts of American society. Frank and Roxy going on a murdering spree also mirrors those same conditions in society, because the people they are targeting as deserving to die (by what we see in the trailer at this point) are people who are all ready dead because they have "killed" someone by their actions. For example, the man who parked his car in two spaces and then refused to move it to take up only one, has failed to recognize other people as being equal to his own humanity; Frank and Roxy have committed the same act of failure by forgetting that people can grow and be converted. It will be interesting to see, then, which side wins: will some American display redeeming virtues, proving that Frank and Roxy are the ones who have lost their humanity, or will Frank and Roxy choose to see good in people, even when it isn't readily seen?
But speaking of bad people, there is no one "badder" than Marie Antoinette (at least to the French); in Farewell, My Queen, which was released in Belgium in March, let's keep in mind that history/period films are never ever never about history, but about the present, the here and the now. The film stars Diane Kruger who you might remember from Tarantino's Inglorious Bastards and Lea Seydoux who was the blond female assassin working for diamonds in Mission Impossible 4:
Marie Antoinette was not gay, nor bisexual. This is a political metaphor for the government today (by the way, the Socialists just gained power in the French elections). Lea Seydoux plays the "reader" to Marie  Antoinette and several people have been curious about that: why would anyone need a reader? It's the status of luxury that the queen would not do that herself but have someone do it for her. What's important is what we see the queen reading herself: the names of people to be beheaded and she's the second name on the list. What is being read, by whom, at what point in the story and what the audience is asked to read (including anything we have all ready read about the French Revolution and are bringing with us to the film) is going to be of crucial importance to interacting with it.
But, speaking of The Queen Of Versailles, please know that if you are currently suffering from the financial woes in the country, you are not alone:
Being released in the US tomorrow, The Queen Of Versailles was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize and won the directing award. I hope to see it, I think it will be important, politically and financially. Due out in October is Ethan Hawke's new film Sinister which is is scary, I couldn't even finish watching it!
The Angel's Share, all ready released in Ireland, is winning a lot of critical acclaim; it's a bit difficult, though, to understand what's being said:
Also being released in Ireland (in August) is one I very much hope to catch, not just because of Clive Owen starring in it, but because of the intense atmosphere of the film: set in Belfast in the 1990s, an IRA agent agrees to turn double for British intelligence to protect her son in Shadow Dancer:
The next trailer is perhaps the one I am most excited about. Released in director's Bela Tarr's native Hungary last year, The Turin Horse looks to be a masterpiece although it won't be for everyone. Tarr is internationally acclaimed (this is the first encounter I have had with his work, but I am deeply impressed) but those who have seen the film write that the entirety is like the clips in the trailer (which I, personally, am grateful for!). The story is about a rural farmer who has to face the death of his horse (the loss of his livelihood) and an epic gale storm:
Where does the title come from?
I am so glad you asked. The basis of the story comes from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who, traveling through Turin, Italy, witnessed the brutal beating of a cart-horse by its master; Nietzsche threw his arms around the horse to protect it from the beatings; in a month, Nietzsche would be diagnosed with a mental disorder that would leave him speechless for the next eleven years (until his death). What happened to the horse? The Turin Horse is the fictionalized accounting of that possibility.
A large part of the film is about going to draw water. The daily routine of drawing water in the summer, in the fall, in the winter, and this repetition is what Tarr uses to create a sense of heaviness about life but also give us information, because repetition like this is meant to startle us when that repetition is broken.
Like other films, this film is about the "end of the world," at least for these farmers. Horses usually symbolize the Holy Spirit because, just as horses were the primary means of transportation in earlier times, the Holy Spirit is the means of transportation for the heart, the will and the soul. How have we beaten to death the Holy Spirit (the calling of God) within us? How is that connected to our "livelihoods?" (It is life, because without the Holy Spirit, there is no life). The wind you hear in the trailer is like the wind Elijah hears when the Lord passes by Mt Horeb (but the Lord is not in the wind) and this destruction is what we ourselves have created. Below is the first scene of the film, which might seem ridiculous, a beluga whale listening to Mariachi music, but there is a delicate point being made:
The whale seems to be responding to the rhythms. It can't respond the way you and I do, but even a dumb animal (without rational and logical thought processes) can understand a movement and the pattern of the notes being played. The whale will mirror the horse in the film, and perhaps we are going to see how much greater the horse's understanding is about life than our own.
Himizu, released in Japan earlier this year, is much like God Bless America, in that two teenagers who just wanted normal lives go on a violent spree in a post-tsunami Japan:
Even the Rain, which is just now making the international critical rounds, is about the production of a film about Christopher Columbus being shot in Bolivia at a time when plans to privatize the water supply is causing outrage and protest (very similar to what we saw in James Bond's Quantum Of Solace):
Chris Rock's new film being released in August, 2 Days In New York, mixes the French culture with the American and paints disastrous consequences (a metaphor for socialism and capitalism?):
Again, terribly sorry about the delay in getting Rock Of Ages up, but I can't thank you enough for your patience. This Friday, June 22, is the one year anniversary of The Fine Art Diner, (it was June 22 last year that I fully committed myself to keeping up the blog although I had been posting a little longer, I was still considering bailing out on it up to that point) and you could say that I am celebrating it with the release of the film I am most anticipating and fearing: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, which has not been reviewed critically at all by anyone... a sign of its poor quality?  I won't know until I see it but the wait is almost over!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner