Monday, December 31, 2012

Flesh For Cash: Django Unchained & 'Awakening'

"Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Vengeance." We cannot underestimate this violent change of familiar wording to the US Declaration of Independence, intended to make a declaration of a new independence, a socialist revolution. This is graphically illustrated when Django guns down the Brittle Brothers (discussed in detail below). While Tarantino is a bit of a shock artist, we also should not underestimate his genuine beliefs with which he invests his films, giving them his unique signature style but also packed with his own liberal manifesto. For examples, some of the criminals the two bounty hunters take down, have changed their names and pose as regular citizens, such as the sheriff Schultz kills and the Brittle brothers; why? It's Tarantino's way of telling us that just because someone like (let's say) Bill Gates has done a great deal to aid children in third world countries with immunizations, he's a member of the 1% and should be shot down like a dog in the street because he is a dog in the street because he is an employer of people and that's evil because it makes people slaves, his personal property. The problem with this is (besides some other obvious issues) would this also apply to Oprah Winfrey? How much money does she have, and how many people does she employ? We know the same French Revolution memo doesn't apply to someone like her--not because of the answers to those questions--but because Tarantino is motivated essentially by party politics and sees a "slave uprising" (the rebellion of the poor) as an efficient means to mass murder Republicans and conservatives. I am NOT joking about this.
Quentin Tarantino is an excellent director, innovative writer and visionary for the potential of an actor to break their type-cast and explore their most distant horizon of talent; it takes talent to get those rare performances from an actor, but Tarantino does it with easy perfection. I have nothing but respect for the artistry Tarantino has achieved and, just as importantly, continues to achieve and stimulates all other film makers in their creative endeavors (please see my analysis of Pulp Fiction at Pulp Fiction: A Study In Plato and Aristotle for more). While our politics and tastes in subject matter differ radically, Tarantino says what he means and in a way no one can imitate, only invoke, having achieved a level of singular style of film making rivaled only by such as Charlie Chaplain, Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean, Robert Bresson, among many other greats; I consider this film a great achievement for him, but also wildly dangerous.
What's the point of making a pro-socialist/anti-capitalist film?
Why bother? What does it accomplish?
Why should we be concerned?
Perhaps the greatest benefit is that of acclimating people to images and concepts they are not familiar with, or even better, that they are inherently against, so when they continuously re-appear in political discourse, our resistance wears down and we begin to question exactly why we are against something like socialism; when the government is ready to act upon it, a platform has all ready been created. There are plenty of ways to arrive at the same conclusion regarding Quentin Tarantino's latest film Django Unchained: it's violently socialist. It's not just socialist, it's calling for violent revolutions. The racial violence isn't what Tarantino wants (blacks killing whites, but trust me, there is plenty of that), rather, he wants class warfare, and just like The Help, Lincoln and Abraham Lincoln Vampire HunterDjango Unchained wants the audience to identify with characters who are slaves so we stir up our own bitter experiences with employers, dead-end jobs, and resentment against the upper-class.
What does the name 'Django' mean? "I awake."
Trust me, it's a political awakening, of those who are in chains, and that would be anyone "chained" by a employer.
Why is "the D silent" in the lead character's name? It's deliberately spelled for the audience in the film (included in the trailer above) and time in the narrative given to point out that the "D is silent," why? Because there is something "silent" about Django. When Dr. Schultz (Waltz) and Django agree to work together, they are in a clothing store and Schultz tells Django, "We will be putting on an act, you will be playing a character and you can't break character," and that reflects the entire film, it's not just the actors playing characters, rather, the film is putting on an act of what it's meant to say, realizing it can't break character either. Why is this important? It's the film telling the audience it's encoding itself and inviting us to be watching the "performance within a performance."
To me, the most striking--and risky--endeavor Tarantino ventures on this film is supporting the radical branches of socialism in both the French Revolution and, even, the National Socialist German Workers' Party, better known as the Nazis. I don't want to be extreme about this, and I don't want to discredit your trust in what I write, and I don't want to make outlandish claims because these are serious issues which is why I couldn't believe Tarantino did it. First, let us consider how the character of Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) is constructed in the film and the reasons why.
We know that a character never dies unless there is something "wrong" with them, there is something all ready "dead" within that character or something morally objectionable. In spite of Schultz seeming to uphold justice, follow the law, aid Django and try to do "the right thing" in helping Django find his wife, why does Tarantino let Schultz be shot by a minor character in the film over a petty dispute about shaking hands? Because of how Schultz got Django to shake hands with him on their arrangement. Schultz tells Django that even though he has moral conflicts about slavery, he is willing to make Django's status as his own purchased slave work to his advantage to compel Django to help him find the Brittle brothers. In other words, Schultz treats Django like a slave--regardless of the apparent equality, partnership and even friendship between them--because he denies Django his own free will in making the decision himself; although we really don't notice this at the time, the absurdity of Calvin Candie's insistence that he and Schultz shake hands after the sale of Broomhilde, leading to the demise of them both, is the same dimension of denying free will (as between Schultz and Django): just as Candie denies Schultz's free will to not shake his hand, and takes advantage of the county law saying they must, so Schultz took advantage of the American laws enslaving Django to Schultz when he paid $125 for Django (it's perhaps in this light that Tarantino uses Schultz's horse Fritz as a bit of extra-topical commentary: when Schultz introduces himself, he also introduces his horse Fritz who bows his head in response; it could be said that this minor detail reveals how .  In other words, Tarantino has mirrored the two situations to demonstrate to the audience that there are all kinds of slave holders in America and once you have denied one person their freedom, your freedom is denied as well.
Most of us recognize Christoph Waltz from previous, Oscar-winning work with Tarantino in the 2009 hit Inglorious Bastards as the Nazi Col. Hans Landa, a genuinely terrible character. As an accomplished actor, Waltz is in control of his accent (he doesn't have one in Carnage, for example), but the German accent is retained in Django Unchained, and Schultz's German ancestry is constantly referred to, even in the name of Django's wife, Broomhilde, from the German legends of Brunhilde (the Germanic legends were supported by the Nazis to propagate the superiority of the Aryan race, specifically the Germanic peoples).
The first thing we really notice about Dr. King is that he drives a wagon with a great big tooth on it. He later mentions to Django that he hasn't practiced dentistry in five years, so why does he continue to drive the tooth wagon? What does the teeth symbolize? As a part of the mouth, they refer to the appetites, and Schultz is the man who knows the most about controlling people's appetites, which is in line with how he approaches others when going after what his own appetites want, like the Brittle brothers, or the elaborate scheme concocted to get with Calvin Candie (read: "candy"). One critic has gone after Tarantino for the way Schultz constructs the plan to get Broomhilde but--given how Schultz's character is set up--it makes perfect sense for Tarantino to do that because when we want something, our appetite for that makes us vulnerable and we can be controlled by anyone who has that knowledge (like after Candie discovers Schultz wants Broomhilde and he uses her to get what he wants; Schultz uses Django's desire to be re-united with Broomhilde to get Django to help him ).
When Schultz meets Broomhilde, he speaks with her in German so in case their enemies are listening, they can't understand what they are plotting just as in Inglorious Bastards Landa speaks English so the Jews hiding under the floorboards can't understand they are about to be blown apart. Taking such care to remind audiences of Landa's character, and the "adjustments" made by Schultz's character, it seems Tarantino wants Americans to espouse the Nazi cause and, again, replace the mass-murdering of Jews with the mass-murdering of Republicans and conservatives.
Be not of small mind, dear viewer, the horrible violence of this scene is meant to show  (according to Tarantino) employers treating their employees (symbolized by the Brittle brothers) and how slaves (employees) should treat employers: with the gun. Whereas a pro-socialist film such as Dark Shadows argues in favor of the more"enlightened" side of the French Revolution, Tarantino is saying violence is the revolution.
Now, let us turn to the French Revolution.
In the image just above, Django wears a blue suit in the French style; just to make sure we know Django is in the French style at this point in the film (like Calvin Candie will be later in the film, wanting to be called "monsieur"), Schultz calls Django his valet to Big Daddy, the French word for personal attendant (servant). One of Big Daddy's female slaves ask Django about being a slave and Django tells her he is a free man, to which she replies about the blue outfit, "You mean you want to dress like that?" because it's so ridiculous and out of place. Two things: Django picked this outfit for himself and it was just before he picked it that Schultz gave the little talk on "putting on an act" and "being in character and not breaking character." So, we know characters by their costumes and, just as Django wearing the cowboy outfit is meant to characterize him as "all-American" (and thereby, Tarantino's concept of what "all-American" activities are) so Django wearing the blue, French outfit is meant to characterize him as the French Avenger, the Decapitator, the Horror of Bosses.
But there's another outfit Django wears,...
Django twice wears the clothes of "dead men," the first being the coat of the brother Schultz kills to free Django so Django can join him; the second time is after Calvin Candi is dead and Django puts on his burgundy outfit shown above. It's doubtful that Tarantino intends this, however, it can' be helped to consider George Orwell's Animal Farm in this context. When Django puts on Candi's clothes, it's like when the pigs in Animal Farm start taking on human characteristics, in other words, you start to take on the traits of the enemy you took down. Capitalists are good at seeing this in socialism, but socialists always deny it (even though Orwell was a democratic socialist, he saw it in the Soviet Union's Communist Party).
Towards the end, Django comes out wearing Candie's burgundy suit and says that the color burgundy suits him; why? In the legend of the Nibelungenlied which Schultz tells Django, he compares Django to Siegfreid who is descended from the Burgundians; Django wearing a "burgundy" outfit is Tarantino reminding us of the legend and how Django achieved his end he sought; at least, this is one way to understand it.
A superb performance by Don Johnson as Spencer Bennet, aka, "Big Daddy." Who is "Big Daddy?" He might just be a reference to the Burl Ives' character of Big Daddy Pollitt from the 1958 adaptation Cat On a Hot Tin Roof  (Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor) among the many possible film references Tarantino makes. Symbolically, Big Daddy is, literally, the father of all on his plantation and through the production on his plantation he gives them life and sustains their life. This corresponds to an image socialists have of how capitalists view business owners and corporate managers, that they give us life through their companies and factories. To drive home this point, it may not have been too much of an accident that Big Daddy looks like of the mega-franchise Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. On the other hand, capitalists see socialists as wanting the government to be a "Big Sugar Daddy" and making us slaves to the feds (this is a great exercise in how the same symbol can be used two different ways by opposing philosophies).   
What about the ridiculous scene of Big Daddy leading a KKK-styled charge?
After Django and Schultz have taken out the Brittle brothers, Big Daddy and a KKK style posse decide to kill them that night. Again, Schultz and Django plant dynamite inside the tooth on top of the wagon because the appetite for persecuting blacks is going to "be the death of" the men coming after them. What about the "eye holes" in the masks? The masks--as we have discussed in Savages--actually reveal who someone is in their essence rather than hiding their identity (in this case, they are not Southern gentlemen, rather, murderous racists). Ultimately, what Tarantino wants to do (and we saw this in Anonymous with Ben Jonson's play making fun of the upper-class) is make fun of how stupid the upper-class/whites are and thus, how deserving of retribution so as to spark a revolution.
The eyes, of course, symbolize the window of the soul, that the masks' eyes are too small aptly reveals that the actions the men are going to take wearing these masks covers their inner-sight, their wisdom, and the capitalist jab is twofold: first, that this terrorist meeting is held like a board meeting in deciding to wear the mask or not; secondly, as with Christoph Waltz and most people recognizing him from Inglorious Bastards, most people recognize Jonah Hill from his Oscar nominated performance in Moneyball, a film that was a wonderful take on reminding Americans about what capitalism is and how it works (please see my post Moneyball & the Great American Economy for more). It's like Moneyball was such a great film detailing how capitalism has a place for everyone, and works so well, that Tarantino takes particular aim at the film's premise (Jonah Hill is an accomplished actor, but let's admit it, anyone could have played that little part, so there is a reason why Tarantino wanted him in that scene) and Peter Brand, the whiz kid who not only created a great job for himself by his creative approach to baseball, but helped to change the game and get jobs for athletes who otherwise would have gotten squeezed out, Peter Brand suddenly looks ridiculous and horrible for siding with the KKK (which didn't start until the late 1860s, after the Civil War and Django Unchained takes place before the Civil War).
Which brings us to Broomhilde.
First, please note the way in which Tarantino changes her name from Brunhilde to Broomhilda, emphasizing the tool of an indoor servant, the broom. Traditional symbols are all we need: she is a woman of child-bearing age who has been taken away from her husband; he is a strong male, symbolizing the active principle of the economy: their interrupted state of marriage is a commentary on how blacks in America have not had access to the "motherland" and blacks have not been allowed to contribute to or run the economic decisions of the country, but they will if they "rise up" and "awaken" and kill all the whites. Except Tarantino, of course. Again, it's not even really about the blacks, it's about anyone who is not in the 1% or a business owner.
Why does Django call her his "little trouble-maker?" Because she is the reason Django does everything he does. As symbolic of a motherland devoid of slavery, to get her, there is going to be a lot of trouble, namely, revolution.
Two last notes.
In the start of the film, when Django and other male slaves are walking across the bare landscape, music plays, then stops suddenly and Schultz turns up; it's probable that this is a reference to Margin Call, and the metaphor that film used to illustrate the economic collapse of 2008 which was also employed by The Iron Lady (please see Deconstructing Volatile Risk: Margin Call and The Iron Lady & Iron Economics for more). In other words, the "music stopping" (the economic collapse) made possible all the events about to be narrated. Second note: Calvin Candie's property is called "Candie Land," obviously a reference to the childrens' game, and--even though, as a slave holder, Candi would have been a Democrat, like the rest of the slave-holding South at this time--Tarantino uses Candi Land to show the appetites of the capitalists. In The Campaign, reference is made to a communist manifesto involving (in joking terms) a land of unicorns made of fudge and cotton candy and everything is free, which could be the same thing, and in the upcoming Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters, the candy cottage the witch lives in might also be a possible link to the same concept.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Who's Your Mommy? Looper

When I was a graduate in the philosophy program at a Catholic college, one of our favorite Thursday night discussion group questions was, "If you had a chance to kill the anti-Christ baby, would you do it?" the anti-Christ baby being a child who's destiny is to set in motion a chain of cataclysmic events particularly harmful to the world and Christians (depending on which denomination you adhere to colors this concept one way or another). Generally, speaking, all of us nearly always said, "No, that would be a sign of lacking faith in God, I wouldn't do it," whereas someone would always argue, "But God gave you that chance to stop what you know will hurt people and you have a moral duty to save the greatest number of people," etc. If this kind of debate interests you, Rian Johnson's Looper, out on video this week, will make you debate yourself, because that's what happens in the film.
First of all, the film is done quite well and, if you enjoy a cerebral challenge, you might enjoy this one; it's violently anti-capitalist, as much as Django Unchained and more so than Lawless. It's well done and has been nominated at least once by a critical group for screenwriting honors. Secondly, it does something unusual: it takes place in Kansas, 2044. Why? Spielberg's Lincoln opens in Kansas and the upcoming Oz: the Great and Powerful starts in Kansas (it seems like I am forgetting one?), so, with a state that has little film making history, why would there be a definite trend being set to incorporate this state into main stream films? Kansas is slow to change, politically and morally conservative, it offers a steady vision of picturesque, small-town America (if you recall William Holden's and Kim Novak's Picnic of 1955, it was filmed in Halstead, Kansas) and when most people hear "Kansas," they instantly think of Dorothy and Toto. Seeing Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) against a Kansas wheat field, premeditating on killing someone about to appear, accentuates how "dirty" this job is against the clean and natural Kansas roads and open sky. What might be going on here, in using Kansas in all these films, is the same as if you had one dress (Kansas) and were putting several different women into it (different arguments and economic models for the country) to see who would look better in it and which dress would best accentuate certain features; in other words, what is best for Kansas is best for the country, and we certainly can't overlook the "reader-response" of an audience hearing "Kansas," thinking of Dorothy's trip to Oz, and putting the viewer in that same travel-mode: we are going to take you over the rainbow in our film, too, so sit back and hear our tale, and see if you think this is a good idea,...
"The Rainmaker" is a small child during Joe's (Levitt) life as a looper; when Joe's time is up (Old Joe played by Bruce Willis) Old Joe realizes he has to put an end to "looping" to save the life he created for himself in the future and the only way to do that, and save the world from the reign of the mob-boss the Rainmaker, is to kill the kid now. Joe, on the other hand, has to kill Old Joe and keep him from carrying out his plan so Joe can live out the rest of his life with the money he will get from killing Old Joe. So, the film centers around the age-old question: do you kill the anti-Christ child? (No, he's not referred to as the "anti-Christ child" but all the main characters involved know this kid is trouble).
Old Joe and young Joe meeting in a diner in Kansas, discussing what they are going to do with themselves. Old Joe located three possible children who could be the Rainmaker and he goes to kill two of them, with Joe going to find and protect the third. Joe is a drug addict, saving his money and learning French to move to France after his loop has been closed. The film shows us, in the life of Old Joe, the decisions Joe makes and how messed-up he gets; what is confusing about the course of actions is, Old Joe marries a Chinese woman in China but Old Joe is definitely pro-capitalist. To me, China is a symbol of communism, but to the film makers, it appears they want to distinguish between the "capitalist tainted" communism of China (I guess?) and a purer form of socialism in France where Joe intends to go.
It might seem dramatic to some, however, time travel is always a collapsing of identity with the past, present and future, because it helps concentrate the decisions we will make today, insuring we end up where we want to be in the future. In the case of Looper, Old Joe is a capitalist because he wants to hold onto what he has and has earned; young Joe becomes a participant to socialism because he willingly gives up everything because he has grown disgusted with his consumer life-style of drugs, sex and money. So who is Cid? To answer that, we need to understand who--or, rather, what--gave birth to Cid: Sara.
There is an interesting device used: remember the priest hole in Skyfall? The same kind of "tunnel" exists in Looper (but it's not called that), their grandpa dug it.
It's a difficult issue, discovering who is the mother of Cid, because Sara (Emily Blunt) cares for Cid but Cid tells Joe that his mother died. Sara tells Joe her sister raised Cid until she died, then Sara cleaned up her wild act to return and take care of Cid herself. Why is this important? Because we know that young women of child-bearing age (Sara and her sister) symbolize the future of the "motherland," but there are "two" possible "motherlands," Sara and her deceased sister, meaning a conflict in Cid's identity. Sara had a wild past; Cid is a mutant with outrageous telekinetic powers to destroy anything or anyone without mercy when he gets upset; in one of these "telekinetic outbursts," Cid killed Sara's sister.
What do you think about all this?
This is very much like Cloud Atlas, in that employees are having to kill themselves to earn a living, the way employees are fed to themselves to keep working in Cloud Atlas. The non-linear, or intentionally complicated history and time frame of events both films present for the audience, clearly exhibits how lousy socialists are at understanding history and the lengths they will go to in order to mis-align information to make a point that real history does not substantiate. This is the inner-contradiction of socialism: they believe workers are stupid enough to enter into a working arrangement like the one described in Looper and that "the masses" (which is you and I and everyone else) is totally mindless and lacking in free will and the ability to make rational decisions. THEN, the theory that teaches this about you and I (socialism) expects us to believe they are the ones who will take care of us, even though they think of us as being animals. Who would you trust?
Part of what makes this difficult to discern in the film's message is that Joe's motivations for killing himself to "close the loop" isn't really knowable, or important, or sensible, or practical; there are a lot of ways to interpret the film, and Joe's end is one of those aspects of the film needing attention, and this is what makes the paragraph above into such a twisted knot, but I think, in my estimation of having thought long and hard about this scenario.Sara, and her dead sister, reveal that problem we have been seeing in film over American history, and those who say America was created and intended to be a capitalist country, vs. those who say America was intended to be a socialist country. Sara and her wild past (and we saw this in both of the two mothers in The House At the End of the Street) probably refers to socialism because of the type of people who usually embrace socialism (hippies and radicals who have wild pasts of their own) and because of what happened to Sara's sister: Cid killed her.
Who is Cid? Obama because Obama killed America.
"Sara" was the wife of Abraham in the Bible, and in Looper, we have an Abraham, "Abe" the father of the loopers. Just as Abraham was the father of a multitude, Sara is the mother of a multitude, so from the one socialist Cid she gives birth to, all the others will come. The telekinetic powers? "The power to move things," is the political experience of changing things and moving things around on a cultural, social and economic level. Putting Sara and Cid in the clean, fresh, innocent, familiar atmosphere of Kansas makes the violence of Cid's political importance stand out, accentuating how unnatural Cid is against the wheat fields and lending to the idea that Johnson weaves a satire, showing the audience how our greed and lack of moral practices has made "Cid" possible.
Cid symbolizes Obama in the "infancy" of his presidency who has wrecked havoc on everything just like Cid's outbursts and Cid will be in charge in the future just like the socialists will (in 2008, America was in a recession, but Obama's policies and "unpatriotic" $16 trillion in debt has intentionally kept the country lame and dying every day instead of being able to make a recovery). The Rainmaker, in the future, closing all the "loops" (which might be a reference to taxation on the upper-class and "closing their loops" because it's really only the wealthy who have tax loops) is closing the loop of capitalism so we can't make a return to it and we are forced with the kind of mafia-run communism that dominated the Soviet Union and which was also implied in Total Recall. These are strange things for a socialist to be saying, isn't it? I mean, if you want to persuade someone of something, if you want someone to "buy into" socialism, why would you present "your man" (Obama) as a psychologically disturbed power-trip who is going to ruin everyone's life in the future but, oh, well, that's how it goes,...?
Unless,...
I don't think this is much of a possibility, however, we have seen Project X be a satire on the Democratic Party and the way they are running the country, so either writer/director Rian Johnson is really stupid--writing a screenplay in which he encourages conservatives and capitalists to just roll over dead and let a future no one wants take place just because--or he's really smart in showing us what we are doing if we don't do something and trying to get us worked up (this came out before the 2012 election) and show us the lives we are throwing away if we don't take actions to stop the socialist revolution in America.
The moral structure of the film is so conflicting that it's difficult finding a cohesive position from which to understand all the elements the film presents. In art, multiple interpretations are always possible, but each needs to be consistent in incorporating as many elements of the film as possible. Again, if you are looking for a good mental challenge and a narrative to "really enter into," Looper would make a great film to see with someone else (there is some topless nudity, violence and drug use, foul language) because you are going to want to discuss this one with someone, and please, when you have seen it, leave your own interpretation in the comments section to help us all the more access we have to the greatest number of possible meanings, the greater our understanding and engagement!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Les Miserables: Enrichment

I can't believe they did this.
I know you are sick to death of hearing me talk about socialism and capitalism, but when the opening lines of a film sweeping the awards circuits starts out with "1815, 26 years after the French Revolution and a king once again on the throne," you have to know that socialism is on the film makers' minds; when the work shop women sing, "At the End Of the Day," complaining about their tedious work, you have to know that capitalism is on the film makers' minds; what is also on the film makers' minds is the salvation of the soul and the qualities of the souls of all in society. You can't be a good socialist if you are a lousy person, nor can you be a good capitalist if you are a lousy person, but if you are a good person everyone will benefit from it, yourself included. Tom Hooper's Les Miserables is an examination of what it takes to be a good person.
Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) was arrested and convicted 19 years ago for stealing a loaf of bread; he was only sentenced to five years, but he tried to escape, so is sentence was extended under the watchful eye of Javert (Russell Crowe) the captain of the guards who hunts Valjean down the rest of his life. Upon his release, Valjean can't find work because the curse of his past haunts him; given refuge one night at a Church, Valjean steals all the silver. He's caught and dragged back to the priest who says, "I gave it to him," blesses Valjean and sends him on his way to do good, which he does:
Valjean transforms himself, starts a company employing a hundred women and becomes mayor, a saint. Throughout the course of the film, Valjean forgives Javert three times: the first time is after Valjean steals the silver and he has his own conversion; even though it's not specifically mentioned, it's common in the spiritual life to be flooded with grace and in realizing your own forgiveness from God, you forgive all others (case in point: Valjean could have used the money from the silver to hunt down Javert and kill him, but he doesn't, having regained a sense of his own dignity, he also realizes Javert's that continues to deepen throughout the film).
From the opening scene: Valjean and other prisoners pull ropes to save a wrecked ship, symbolic of the wrecked ship of state in the world today. We have to ask, why silver? Of all the things Valjean could have stolen, why was silver what he took (the golden or even jewel-encrusted sacred vessels would have been options)? If you have been around this blog awhile, you might remember discussions on werewolves and why only silver can kill a werewolf: in Hebrew, the word for Word (as in the Word of God) sounds like "silver," which is why so many Crucifixes depict the Body of Christ in silver because He was the Word of God (because a werewolf is a man driven by his "animal appetites," the wolf in him can only be killed by something silver, i.e., the Word Of God; please see The Bright Autumn Moon: the Wolf Man for more). So, since they are in a Catholic church, and "stealing the silver" is really "stealing the Word of God," and why Valjean says the priest "gave it to him" and why the priest validates that answer to the authorities; the authorities don't understand--they only see a bag of stolen silver--and that's what Valjean sees, too, but the priest sees that Valjean has taken the Word of God and it will "enrich him" and we see that in two ways. First, he becomes rich in wealth and, secondly, he becomes rich in spiritual wealth, the inner-life of Grace because the spiritual life is similar to the principles of capitalism as Jesus discusses in the parable of the three talents. Valjean learns to properly invest his love in love of heavenly things instead of love of earthly things and everyone benefits from this great wealth which is exactly how it should be in society. This is why Valjean has such tremendous strength, because his soul is able to bear great burdens.
The second time Valjean forgives Javert is when Javert comes and says, "I accused you falsely." The point can be made that Javert was actually right and so Valjean isn't forgiving anything, rather, just not drawing attention to himself but dismissing Javert's apology, yet this isn't the case because Valjean could use the situation to his advantage to put Javert out once and for all but doesn't. Thirdly, the deepest and most complete forgiveness takes place when Valjean releases Javert the prisoner behind the barricade. Why are these three examples so important? It illustrates for us the principles of correct and proper self-interestedness in capitalism. It would not seem that preventing Javert from hunting him down is a way for Valjean to show self-interest for his own welfare, yet Valjean discerning the consequences of killing Javert would do exercises true self-interest because Valjean's a better person for not killing his enemy and Valjean prevents becoming like Javert, which would mean death to Valjean because it would destroy the life of Grace he has cultivated.
Why does the priest say, "You left without taking the best?" The silver candlesticks symbolize "illumination," wisdom for someone who is en-light-ented, and Valjean keeps those candlesticks (we see him praying with them later in the film) which brings us to the gold Crucifix we see later: IF we are correct about the meaning of "silver," then why do we see both Javert and Valjean pray at the same gold Crucifix later in the film? For Valjean, Christ has become his gold, the Cross is his greatest good and his treasure; for Javert, gold is his greatest good, and he twists his Christianity to justify his worldly pursuits, namely, how he views Valjean and his ruthlessness in pursuing the ex-convict. Just as the same act of mercy is seen by the two men in completely different ways--Valjean sees sparing Javert's life at the barricades as an act of Christian mercy, while Javert sees it as death itself--so they see Christ's great Act of Sacrificial Love on the Cross differently. One of the important reasons for Valjean not killing Javert when he has these chances is a theme we will discuss in Hitchcock: adversity makes us stronger. Valjean would not be able to achieve the spiritual perfection (Marius [Eddie Redmayne] calls Valjean a "saint,") he achieves without the great battles of moral dilemmas Javert presents.
Valjean is the hero for those reasons.
Why, then, is Javert the villain?
Like Fantine (Ann Hathaway) and the Thenardiers (Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter), Javert symbolizes bad capitalism. Just as Valjean depicts for us a good example of true self-interest, Javert illustrates bad self-interest in his mindless pursuit of Valjean and never minding the poor when investigating various incidents (like Fantine scratching that other captain). Javert, while confessing to Valjean that his father was a gutter farmer, and he rose to captain from being nothing, never fulfills his destiny the way Valjean fills his. Because Javert kills himself, we can say with confidence that Javert's philosophy of life is self-destructive, the simplistic views of self-interest Javert takes kills him because he hasn't been living a true Christian life; that Javert falls to his death (symbolic of a "Fall from grace," which Javert ascribes to Valjean earlier) is the opposite of Valjean "rising up" to God and the waters into which Javert throws himself is the opposite of a Baptism (Valjean, on the other hand, has a genuine Baptism when he drags Marius through the sewer because he's motivated only by love and suffers the way Christ did).
How is Fantine an example of "bad capitalism?"
It's not because she has the terrible job, it's because she sells all her assets instead of capitalizing on them: cutting her hair, letting teeth be removed, selling her body, degrades her dignity so she can't another job, maybe even a better one. Fantine had a dream of love and marriage, but because she gave herself to Cosette's father who then left them, she obviously failed to pursue her dream properly, which is also bad capitalism.
The Thenardiers also offer us an example of bad capitalism: their thievery keeps them in the level of poverty instead of advancing them up the social ranks because no one trusts a crook so--like Fantine who sells her hair once for a few Franks, then won't be able to take advantage of her beauty to get a job--the Thenardiers rob a customer rob a customer so the customer won't come back again hence, having to work harder to get new customers instead of retaining the old ones.
And the student revolutionaries, what about them?
We know they mean something in the film because they interpret the meaning of color in a song they sing. Even though they are devoted to the cause of revolution, the people aren't (we can take this as a message to socialists that they should not try a socialists revolution in the US because the people aren't behind it).
Perhaps the most important feature of the story is that it validates suffering: whereas the socialists really aren't doing anything to aid the poor who turn to them for aid, the suffering of the poor, Fantine, Cosette, even Valjean himself, demonstrates to the viewers that, no matter how bad it gets in life, things will get better and suffering has a purpose, designed by God for your good and mine.
When Valjean dies, we see him with the dead student revolutionaries; why? It can be argued that Les Miserables is a pro-socialist film based on that scene but the socialists were, literally, a "dead end" when they were all killed by the soldiers. Marius tells Valjean that he is his father, that Valjean is the father of them all because nothing else has "given birth to" anything that will last beyond their own life except Valjean being the spiritual father of Cosette and Marius. When Valjean dies, it's also apparent that he is the work (the spiritual child) of the priest with the silver because Valjean sees him after he dies.
Les Miserables is a far more politically ambitious film than I anticipated because it answers the question that neither socialists nor capitalists can answer: What good is it to choose an economic model when no one is sane enough nor honest enough to fulfill their duties to the Constitution? Socialists will have you believe, once the government converts to the new program (socialism), all people will be pure and honest and trustworthy and each will have everything they want. Capitalists, on the other hand, point out how corrupt the current system is and no one can suddenly become pure and innocent. Jean Valjean could be said to be that "man for all seasons," because when he gave up his life and abandoned it, he truly did regain it.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pre-Review Django Unchained & News: Iron Man 3, Thor 2, The Great Gatsby, Gangster Squad

I saw Django Unchained and it was exactly what I thought it would be: a manifesto for a violent socialist revolution. Quentin Tarantino is an accomplished director, and I much prefer Django to Spielberg's Lincoln, in spite of the clever manipulations Tarantino makes on the plot to make his point, the film (at nearly 3 hours) is difficult to swallow,k especially if you are white (full review coming). In film news, some points for Iron Man 3 (to be released May 3) with Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow have been released: Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) takes down the government and attacks the President and his cabinet in Air Force 1 so Iron Man saves them all by making a human chain out of them.
In news for Chris Hemsworth's and Tom Hiddleston's Thor 2: The Dark World (to be released November 8) Thor and Jane (Natalie Portman) are re-united, but shes possessed by a dark spirit: when the Dark Elevs attack Asgard, Thor loses the battle so badly he must completely rebuild Asgard and must seek out Loki's help to cross the Dark World to save Jane. Scheduled for release a week after Iron Man 3, The Great Gatsby has released their newest trailer (which is in 3D and why some shots look strange):
If you haven't read The Great Gatsby since high school, I can strongly suggest you do. Gatsby (DiCaprio), as a young man who had nothing but makes a fortune, then creates lies to hide his humble background, tries to "break in" with the born-rich group and never quite makes it, making him look bad for trying and the born-rich look bad for being born rich, so it's anti-capitalist no matter how you look at it. Likewise, due out in January is Gangster Squad and here's a little featurette we need to discuss:
What do they say?
After World War II (when America emerged victorious defeating socialism and became a super-power) Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) took over LA; because he "owns" the town, he's probably the symbol of corrupt capitalism if not all capitalism (Cohen cites manifest destiny and the will that made Americans develop the land and build it up, so all American history is probably going to be taken to the garbage in this one) and to battle Cohen the cops have to become gangsters themselves,... that's important (in the film and outside the film/in Hollywood generally) because the generally accepted moral equation is that to must be morally superior to the evil you are fighting; if you're not, it will bring you down with it. We will have to see what the film does with it, but that will be one thing to watch for in just a couple of weeks.
On a side note, I have been terribly sick and unable to get all these half-finished posts finished; I am terribly sorry, and thank you for your patience. When I was waiting to see Django last night, all the Les Miserables showings were sold out, but a guy was talking after getting out and said, "Yea, it's about the miserable ones," and he sounded pretty miserable himself. Django Unchained goes up next, then I will return to The Hobbit posts.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Monday, December 24, 2012

Lincoln & the Masquerade Of History

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Now, in today's context, when there is a communist in the White House, and liberals in Hollywood are pushing for socialism (and, again, socialism and capitalism were the two most searched words of 2012) the important words "slavery" and "involuntary servitude" could mean--again, in today's context--any labor(on February 15, 2013, Rush Limbaugh discussed the film--which he didn't like either--and you can read his comments here). Yes, any labor at all. Do you recall a film from last year called The Help? Liberals want the people of the United States to identify with the black maids of The Help--because they are the main characters and an audience always identifies with the main character--and in so doing, we are meant to conjure up our own memories of bad stories, practices and unfair treatment which employers have waged against us; yes, this is called "class warfare," and The Help was the first part of a series of films intended to change the mind of middle-class Americans from capitalism to socialism by making us make ourselves victims and the upper-class/employers criminals; Steven Spielberg's Lincoln follows through with this strategy. Please consider these words below (emphasis added):

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Daniel Day-Lewis' portrayal of President Abraham Lincoln (from screenwriting to directing to acting, all facets of him) is laughable: Lincoln tells so many corny stories that, at one point, one of the men in his cabinet says, "He's going to tell another story, isn't he?" and runs out of the room and I wanted to join him! I am angry with Spielberg's ridiculous reducing of one of the greatest Americans who has ever lived to this kind of hillbilly status and mentality. Yet this is quite intentional. Please remember this for the films coming up this year, because those who have been formally educated (rather like the young engineer in the telegraph office who didn't know Euclid but Lincoln did,... okay, sure) the elevation of the dumb and simple will start to take precedence over those with higher educations, we see this in the trailer for Jack the Giant Slayer, when Jack tells the princess, "I'm just a simple farm boy," and she replies, "Not at all."In emphasizing Lincoln's self-taught status, as opposed to his formal education he did receive, Spielberg and the film makers want to make socialism appear logical, so rational that anyone could come up with these conclusions on their own, socialism--in other words--is not the brain child of Karl Marx per se, but is really the way America would have evolved had capitalists not turned up another way (we saw this in Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter as well) and we will continue to see this line of analysis from socialists, although they can't offer a shred of proof.
The first text quoted above is from the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution abolishing slavery; the second text is Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. What Spielberg's Lincoln does is remind us that history films are never ever never ever never EVER about history; they are always about the here and the now; art is created, not to reflect upon a people who are dead and a culture that is gone, rather, historical art (such as history films) are used as vehicles to express how something then is similar to what we are going through now an to reflect upon our own situation in the world. In this case, both the Civil War then and America today have had to endure slavery, the question we are arguing in our culture is, are "employees" slaves and are business owners "slave holders?" Spielberg's answer is yes to both.
Tommy Lee Jones as Representative Thaddeus Stevens (Republican). Rep Stevens is a socially liberal Republican pushing for total equal rights between blacks and whites. Of course that's a wonderful thing, but that's not what the film is talking about. Just as Lincoln tells Mary (Sally Fields) his dreams and they try to interpret them, so we are invited to interpret Spielberg's far less interesting film, and it doesn't take nearly the effort. Stevens' position about all men being equal gets him into trouble and he clarifies by saying he knows the dim-witted representatives aren't equal to himself but they are both equal before the law (this is a stream of thought constant throughout Arbitrage); after the 13th Amendment is passed by Congress, and slavery abolished, Stevens returns to his home where we are shown that the bald-headed man (he's revealed, what he really thinks) is having an affair with his black housekeeper. This isn't about inter-racial marriages/affairs; that's common nowadays, why bother with something so prevalent throughout society? Rather, in the last four years, when class hatred has been so stirred up by Occupy Wall Street and the White House, it's far more titillating to have this affair be about the gulf--not between their skin colors--but their class standing: the Representative and the house keeper. When they are in bed together, she reads Section 1 of the 13th Amendment (quoted in full at the start of this post), so the part about "involuntary servitude," can be taken as anyone not liking their job is being illegally bound to it because they don't readily volunteer themselves to do it (the way, for example, young Robert Lincoln [Joseph Gordon-Levitt] volunteers to join the army). Stevens being in bed with her is NOT a man being in bed with a woman to whom he is not married; it's not a white male being in bed with a black woman, but it is the upper-class (US Representative) "bedding" the lower-class (a housekeeper) and any member of the upper-class not willing to follow this path might follow the way of the French during their little Revolution,...
I never thought I would see such an image from Steven Spielberg, but the film opens (much like the entire story of Django Unchained) with blacks killing whites. This isn't racial tension being expressed, rather, like Timur's Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Lincoln calls for a violent, French Revolution style of "cleansing the country" and healing it of the "disease of slavery" plaguing us which the black soldiers (anyone who is an employee and not a business owner) purging the ranks of class and wealth (the conversation Lincoln has with one of the black men after the battle is about receiving equal pay, equal benefits, equal voting rights, equal chances of advancement (which is actually the basis of capitalism) but the man asking for equality--even though he is black, is actually a plot because--just as in The Help--we identify with the main characters (black soldiers) and what they are doing--killing white people. Yet that is not the most surprising thing about the story; I rather think the focus is on Lincoln's own personal corruption and his willingness to break the law to get the 13th Amendment passed, among other things; why?
This scene is important for two reasons: first, look at how terrible this scene looks; it looks even worse in the film (like green screening that isn't green screening) and there are several of them throughout the film. Secondly, two young white soldier boys come up to Lincoln in this scene and one of them (Dane DeHaan, Chronicle, Lawless) asks Lincoln how tall he is. Lincoln's giant stature is something we might remember when we go see Jack the Giant Slayer this summer and, also from this scene, we find out that the black regiment killing the white regiment takes place in Kansas, like Oz the Great and Powerful; so we need to be sharp and keep alert to these and other themes re-appearing.
I mean, Spielberg really sets himself up here: Abraham Lincoln, the most popular president in American history, and Spielberg spends all this time showing him breaking the law and being (nearly) a tyrant; well, what do you expect from someone who supports President Obama who has 21 impeachable offenses (before Benghazi) to his first term in office? Spielberg is validating and justifying what Obama has done by demonstrating all the corruption Lincoln took part in, and how the ends justify the means, so as long as Obama thinks he is doing the right thing, Spielberg thinks Obama should be allowed to do it and the heart of that conflict lies in the conflict between state and federal government.
I am actually glad they made this film because--like Cloud Atlas--everything is just becoming a formula for these socialist actors and film makers and quality slips through the cracks of their agenda like radiation through the walls of Chernobyl. Supposedly, Ms. Field gives a powerful performance but instead of being sensitive to her mental health, the film makers turn it into a means of power and manipulation used by her over everyone, especially Lincoln. Funny, isn't it, if this character were in a Republican film, that director would get hell for portraying a female like this, and showing Lincoln obviously superior to her instead of his equal the way the Democratic/Communist Party always yells.
While Spielberg could not have known that so many states would file petitions for secession after Obama's "second win," Spielberg did take note of all the state lawsuits against Obamacare being lodged, and Spielberg sides with Obama: states cause war, but the president has the right and duty to freely interpret the Constitution to find the powers he needs to implement the policies he wants to. I, personally, completely disagree with this, but it's important to see how liberals make these kinds of arguments because a film such as Lincoln mirrors perfectly how the liberal mind works and thinks and how best to attack them.
After the first fifteen minutes, I was ready to walk out of the theater (which I have done on only one occasion); I was so sick of Spielberg trying to ram down my throat that Obama (who used Lincoln's Bible at his inauguration) is waging a new war for American freedom from capitalism, a reconstruction of America with total redistribution of the "slave holders'" property (employers and the wealthy), Obama's right to any and all powers he wants, including circumventing Congress (all this is in the film, we see Lincoln doing this) and making all people totally equal in every way, Mr. Spielberg succeeded only in bringing himself down to the level of mediocrity, down from the creative heights all so richly beneftted from; he has ceased to be Spielberg, and is now just a two-bit director, and this is what will happen to all the greats in American society if socialism continues.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Hitchcock In One Corner, Spielberg In the Other,...

I started getting sick over a week ago and a couple of days ago, it took me down. I am so sorry that I am so behind. I have seen Hitchcock and Lincoln and I just happened to be right about both of them (which doesn't happen very often, as you know). Lincoln is so pro-socialist that Spielberg is intentionally reminding Republicans of how our party ended slavery, and so we should be in favor of socialism because that's true equality for all people whereas capitalism is the slavery of all people. On the other hand, Hitchcock, like last year's Best Picture The Artist, is definitely pro-capitalist and while this is probably just a good movie-night rental for you, there were several aspects of the film quite well done. Of course, I am going into more depth on both films, but just so you know on how to plan your holiday movie-going.
Again, all apologies for the long silence!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pre-Review of Life Of Pi

There are only two types of people in the world: those who have seen  Ang Lee's  Life Of Pi, and those who haven't; of the people who have seen it, there are only two types: those who love it and those who hate it. If you read this blog with any regularity, you are probably the type of person who does or would love this film; but you probably know someone who--unlike yourself--does not consider film to have any meaning, views cinema solely as entertainment, not meaning anything, a picture on the screen and a story,...
This is the movie you want them to see.
Ideally, instead of going to dinner before the film, go to dinner afterwards, and that way, you can really discuss it; or, if they are impossibly pragmatic, go to dinner, then plan on going to coffee afterwards, but insure, for your own satisfaction, that you can talk to this person after they have seen this film, because you will regret it if you don't (and also, if you go to coffee afterwards, save dessert for then, too, so you can really drag out the discussion),...
If you have all ready seen this film,...
Do NOT be content that the film tells you everything you need to know; it has only told you enough to deepen the mystery, because even the decoding requires decoding, don't for one minute think the film is giving you the whole story because the real meat that our Richard Parker wants is hidden throughout the story, reflected in the larger whole, and we must find it, so search it out (we have to get The Hobbit up first, and I had to see Life Of Pi tonight because it's leaving town tomorrow, so it will still be over the weekend before I can get the review up, but I also have to see Hitchcock this weekend because it leaves town Monday; in other words, you might want to check your own theater listings to insure the films you want to catch are still playing)... Ask yourself, what is the real lotus flower hidden within the forest?
If you haven't seen it,...
I don't blame you; really. Granted, it has been nominated and awarded a ton of honors, and will most likely be nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, etc., by the Academy (not to mention everyone else), and that is a reason to see it (as we have discussed many times, the films and film makers getting awards this year will determine the types of films and makers of films in the next two to three years). But, if you read this blog, then you are interested in films which offer you more than just entertainment (although we both know they are never just that) but Life Of Pi directly verbalizes what it is you want out of a film, and--even if, like myself--you know what is going to happen (the whole plot is laid out at this link, if you really want to know) you will still be caught off guard; I assure you two things. First, there are many beautiful things in the film; secondly, nothing is simple.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

The first image of Bilbo from Peter Jackson's second chapter of the cinematic trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. It's okay to consider a few things about this image now: first, Bilbo wears a blue jacket and, secondly, he is in the midst of a great treasure. Aren't you glad you take time to read this blog for all the information you glean? But seriously, we know that blue is the color of both wisdom and depression: it's from our difficulties in life, often leading to sadness, that we gain wisdom about those things greater than ourselves and those things above nature (knowledge, on the other hand, is about things pertaining to ourselves, things about nature). It's easy to deduce that the troubles of the journey has created a great wisdom in Bilbo because of the sacrifices made and fear overcome. What's important about this image is, knowing what the blue coat symbolizes, we know it's (wisdom) not only protecting Bilbo in the dragon's lair, the wisdom is his weapon, and it's through his wisdom he is able to overcome the dragon within himself (more on this in the next post on Tolkien's The Hobbit), leading us to the issue of  the gold. Just as Frodo has to overcome the power of the ring in The Lord Of the Ring, so Bilbo has to overcome the power of treasure in The Hobbit, but it's not gold: Bilbo has to overcome the lure of home, friends, safety and security, comfort and warmth, his pipe and armchair, bacon and eggs. Each of us face temptations in life, and because it's so difficult to see how Bilbo's attachment to home could be anything harmful, this is a point of the story we are apt to overlook, yet it's precisely his desire to stay home that nearly causes Bilbo to miss his destiny in taking the adventure offered by Gandalf. The image above, then, teases us with the conflict of the real treasure Bilbo will have to find within himself by overcoming the obvious treasure he can see (the gold) in favor of the lofty, higher ideals the journey has given birth to within himself (the inner-gold of bravery and selflessness).
As I busily work to get the next two posts up, we have a bit of news on the next chapter of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyThe Desolation Of Smaug will be released next Christmas, December 13 with the third and final chapter, The Hobbit: There and Back Again coming out July 18, 2014. The image posted above has revealed that the "rest" of Tolkien's story appears to be completed in the second film; so why a third? It's being suggested that the additional material from The Lord Of the Rings (the hundred page appendix in which Tolkien explained events not elaborated upon in the actual stories) is going to be the bulk of the third film of the series and that Jackson intends to "tell more of the story" than what Tolkien did,... okay, I'm just not going to say anything: I am quite pleased with The Hobbit and will just wait.
Concept art for The Desolation Of Smaug.
Cinematic Awards: there are numerous awards being given, and nominations named, but nothing really worth your time at this point, so I am keeping track, but we'll consider all that a little closer to Oscars, but when short lists are made public, that will be posted.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Monday, December 17, 2012

Trailers: Pacific Rim & GI Joe Retaliation; Out On Video: Total Recall & Pitch Perfect

While this particular image doesn't show up in Total Recall, Rekall is about changing your identity and becoming what you want to become in spite of anyone else holding you back or deciding you are going to do something different. "Don't let them blow your mind" is a government warning to its citizens (under socialism) to stay away from imagining yourself as something the government has told you you are not, for example,  Doug (Colin Farrel) goes to Rekall to find out who he really is, because who he really is is the same as what it is he wants to become; we are our hopes, our dreams, our fantasies, and that's why capitalism in America has been so important, because a nerd like Bill Gates deciding he was more than a nerd and that he was going to do something great could and did happen in America, whereas the world of Total Recall shows us how their greatest agent, Doug, is caught in a job where he's wanting to advance and he has done he work to advance but he's not allowed, the government is going to keep him in the exact same position they put him in and there is nothing he can do about it. This film was well scripted and executed.
Out on video this week is one of the films which proved to be the biggest surprise for me: Colin Farrel's Total Recall (my review at Recall/Rekall: Memories Of Dreams & Total Recall). The film depicts a socialist government in the future manipulating the minds of its people, particularly Doug (Farrel) who, as the police force's leading agent, switched sides in the fight and went from being a socialist supporter to a guerrilla fighter against the changes taking place (but the government catches him and make him undergo mind surgery so he forgets switching). The dominant vehicle of the film, to me, was the role of "dreams," because there is not only the dreams we have as we sleep, but the dreams we have to keep alive our hope that we can achieve and accomplish something better and greater, dreams that don't exist in a socialist system. Again, this film was the biggest surprise for me, in not only choosing to support capitalism, but the angle from which it attacks the socialist system.
No joking, this film just left our theater two weeks ago, and it's out on video now? I'm glad to hear it, because I was really intent on seeing it. You can find my brief analysis of the film's trailer at this link here.
The film I did not get to see, but most desperately wanted to, was Pitch Perfect. Why? Obviously, this is just a throw away film for a girls' night out, or date night, or just a solo rental over the weekend from Red Box, but we've been keeping close track of the debate in socialism and capitalism over which economic model takes better care of the world of art, and being primarily concerned with singing, this film certainly qualifies to "take note" in that debate. Like I said, I really wanted to see it, so I might get to watch it this weekend, but when I do, either way, I will post on it!
 If you went to see The Hobbit this weekend, you saw this great teaser for Pacific Rim (July 12 release):
 "Today, we have chosen to believe in each other!" (rather than the government). Like Mirror, Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman, Total Recall, Skyfall, Battleship, Men In Black, and so many other films, Pacific Rim shows us our world falling apart because a ruling force that doesn't belong is trying to assert itself over us. On the title card in the trailer, it reads, "To fight monsters, we created monsters," and usually, that connection would not be made: the mechanism used to fight a monster would be called a "weapon," a "new weapon," an "important weapon." a "new, important weapon," you get my drift, but it would not be called a monster; so why do it? To establish that what the "weapon" is is the same as what the monster is, i.e., if the monster is socialism, an economic model, than the weapon is also an economic model, capitalism. Can we see that, so far thus, in this trailer?
Absolutely!
Does this publicity still for Pacific Rim remind you of anything? It should remind you of World War II: "Now is the time to join!" (sounds like Captain America, doesn't it?). It's because WWII will be invoked throughout the film that such a visual imagery is being employed, linking up the great historical defeat of socialism to us, today, having to make the same choice to defeat it once more. You may be saying, but the Pacific Rim battle in WWII was against Japanese Imperialism, not socialism, and that's correct, although WWII was, in general, a fight against socialism, and other wars (North Korea and Vietnam) were waged in the Pacific Rim, where socialism spread more readily; the film might also be readying us for the concept of a communist attack from across the Pacific from the Chinese.
When the soldiers enter the giant robots, and control the movements with their own movements, that becomes (at this point, it may change in the greater scheme of the film, but we can see it this way right now) a new metaphor for the difference between the way capitalists respond to changes and demands in the marketplace, and the way the beast, a socialist government, responds. As in the case of Obama's multi-billion dollar failures into the "green energy" domain, artificially trying to generate a business that wasn't there in the market, capitalists have a tighter, more secure sense of what the market will do, thereby allowing them to reap greater benefits for their exertions. I expect--though, as always, we all know I could be wrong--that the robots will become a metaphor in the battle for the well-run company by capitalists vs. the clumsily run monster of a socialist government.
And the newest trailer from GI Joe Retaliation (release date March 29):
"They didn't say anything about re-enlisting," Joe says, and the same men fighting the same battle--and helping the younger generation--is a theme we have seen several times all ready (Red Dawn, Expendables 2, Men In Black III) but, let's take a quick look at that "new weapon" we're shown. If you noticed, it didn't blow up the buildings in London, there wasn't an explosion, rather, the new weapon broke up the foundation of the city; BUT in the meeting of world leaders, North Korea--a communist country--is mentioned as having their country destroyed fifteen times over by this new weapon; so what's going on? It appears we will have to actually wait to see the film! This might be a scathing critique on Karl Marx that, even though he thought socialism would put an end to nationalities and patriotism, GI Joe Retaliation may suggest that the Chinese (Cobra and Zartan) will use communism to enslave the rest of the world, regardless of which economic model they are based upon (including fellow socialist countries like North Korea).  But I will be watching GI Joe before going to see this new installment!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner,