Saturday, September 15, 2012

Resident Evil, Arbitrage, Cold Light Of Day, Looper

This is the first of the Resident Evil series I have seen; fans who have seen them all might be privy to implied viewer moments which I missed, however, Alice (Milla Jovovich) does give a brief historical explanation in the start of the film to bring viewers, like myself, up to speed on pertinent events leading up to this installment. Having seen this one, I am now curious to see the others because, I am guessing, heretofore, the "battle" had been against the Umbrella Corporation and its bad policies, which is fine, however, I would like to see how much, if at all, the franchise intentionally altered its focus to battle socialism post-2008 or if these are narrative lines long embedded within its discourse.
Resident Evil: Retribution was awesome! Perhaps the most pro-capitalist and anti-socialist film yet released! The opening, reversed battle sequence was carefully executed and each and every fight scene was loaded with symbolic meaning and mirrors the "ultimate battle" taking place between socialists and capitalists today. Yes, it does critique capitalism, but capitalism always needs that, but it also clearly demonstrates how the ills of socialism far outweigh the temporary woes of capitalism. The battle/fight sequences were perfectly choreographed, and I could have gone through, punch by punch, decoding each breaking bone! There are parts where the acting does leave a bit to be desired, mostly because of the character of Leon doing such a bad job of delivering his lines, but it's so anti-socialist, it's worth it! On the other hand,...
I won't even begin to pretend to know anything about the nomination process for the Oscars, however, Richard Gere was in top form in each scene and, depending on the mood of the Academy, I honestly would not be surprised to see him nominated for Best Actor.  Gere had various highs and lows and he perfectly realized his character's deepest pains, fears, anxieties, desires and despair. Brit Marling, playing Gere's daughter Brooke, also did a well-rounded job in revealing how her character was hiding grief and disappointment over her father's failures and fraud. Nate Parker, Timothy Roth--the incomparable, excellent Mr. Roth--and Stuart Margolin all gave fabulous performances in a well-paced and tense story that works overtime to make sure you don't feel an ounce of sympathy for the main character.
Nicholas Jarecki's Arbitrage was carefully crafted and brilliantly acted and vehemently anti-capitalist. While it appears this is the story of just one family and one billionaire, it's not, art is never a specific statement about isolated incidents--and there's plenty of art in the film--rather, it's a general statement about the corruption within capitalism and America and it does a good job at specifically aiming at what capitalists--such as myself--hold up as the virtues of capitalism and tries to undermine why capitalists cling to the system that for the film makers doesn't work; the film does deconstruct itself--holding up a value that actually undermines what it wants to say--but we'll get into that in my review of it.
Mabrouk El Mechri's The Cold Light Of Day was surprisingly good!
Leading actor Henry Cavill (Will Shaw) did not impress me at all with his performance in Immortals, but he certainly did with this one (and Immortals had several technical flaws most likely due to poor directing) but Mechri is such a creative explorer of character and context, that if I were teaching a class on film, I would probably use this as an example of contemporary (philosophical) erasure and noise to advance character and plot ( of course I will be going into this more in the review). Culturally, what's the film about? That the relationship the US has with Israel is more important than our current economic woes, and the defense of Israel--being jeopardized from within the US--is a bedrock of American and global democracy; pretty impressive stuff. Yet that's certainly not all it's doing and I will be referencing this film in the future!
Disney's Wreck-It Ralph, due out November 2,  is just too complex for me to say anything right now,... except for what I am about to say. First, this takes place in the world of games, so what does that invoke for us? Game theory, one of my favorite approaches! It can't be ignored that Mr. Fix It is blue (Democrats) and Ralph is dressed in red (Republicans) and it certainly shouldn't be ignored that the big wrestler in the Bad Guys meeting has a thick Russian accent (like the Tiger in Madagascar 3 who condemned the Bolsheviks). It's animated and it's from Disney and it's about video games and it's appealing to children, but I promise you, this will be a sophisticated statement on politics and life in America today:
I am seriously looking forward to Rian Johnson's Looper coming out September 28. This is the newest trailer and we have only one question to ask to know how important the statement of this film is: who is it in today's political world that would be interested in getting rid of their opposition?
Time travel isn't the only way to go back in time, making a historical film is, too. American writer Jack Kerouac's 1957 On the Road became a thesis for the restless spirit and troubles of youth in that generation and has been remade by Walter Salles (being released in France next May). Here's the second trailer which could either attempt to serve as a re-animating of the wild, liberal ways of utopia and socialism, or serve as a warning for the dangers of shrugging off responsibility and living by your emotions:
I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and I am working at getting these posts up asap!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner