Saturday, March 2, 2013

Lenten Suggestions & Trailers: The Great Gatsby, Erased, Oz the Great and Powerful, The Conjuring, Now You See Me

The Cardinals begin meeting next week in the election porcess for the next pope; many of us know little, if anything, about the process, and since this is Lent, I would like to suggest two of my favorite films you might enjoy: The Shoes Of the Fisherman from 1968 stars Anthony Quinn, Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Oskar Werener, and many other actors you are sure to recognize and details the process of papal elections. If I had to make a list of the best films ever made, The Decalogue would be included for its unsurpassing skill of story-telling. Comprised of 10-one-hour episodes, each story details one of the Ten Commandments and how it effects our lives with a setting in Soviet-era Poland.
Both films are available through Netflix. 
The newest poster released for Iron Man 3.
March 5 is the date set for the next trailer.
If you have not read F. Scott Fitzergerald's original The Great Gatsby (ever, or just not since high school English), it would be most useful in understanding changes made and original aspects kept, as this trailer for the newest remake, starring Leonardo DiCaprio due out May 10 demonstrates:
Without a doubt, this will be an anti-capitalist film; mostly, the story itself is anti-capitalist. This is important because, like Cloud Atlas and Jack the Giant Slayer, The Great Gatsby will tackle the idea of the it being addressed as the capitalist myth of the "self-made man" and class mobility (no matter how much money Gatsby accumulates, he is never one of the upper-class, one can easily argue, menaing that money isn't the vehicle of class mobility, but those born into the upper-class prefer to keep it a matter of prestige by closing out self made men).
This "Jason Bourne With A Daughter" or, if you prefer, "Taken 3," film starring Aaron Eckhart probably won't make it to the big-screen in the US, but Erased has ome interesting elements (like the title) we might want to keep track of; it's also another film making our own government agencies look like they are trying to kill us:
Oz the Great and Powerful opens next Friday; here is the latest trailer. What should we be looking for in this film? For things "repeating themselves." Since this is a prequel to the original The Wizard Of Oz, when we see something--like the green-faced Wicked Witch appearing in Munchkin City--or the crossroads in the corn field, it's historically out-of-place, because those things--speaking in terms of linear time--don't happen until Dorothy arrives, but the film makers want to intentionally have a "history repeating itself scenario" with audiences today, so the forces at work then will be understood to still be at work today:
The point of the film, like Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman, is to take back the throne and lift the spell from the land. Audiences aren't going to see a film that doesn't resonate with them, and given that both Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman did well financially, we can deduce this is a topic audiences want to see. Here is an interesting clip featuring China Girl, whose character from Kansas is a little girl in a wheelchair at the carnival where Oscar performs:
There are a lot of women in this film and their demonstrations of power and how they fulfill or debunk the passive role will be worthy of note (for example, Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters, there are a lot of powerful women in that). China Girl not wanting to be left out of the "witch hunt" is interesting because she claims not to be delicate but acts like a delicate female when she starts crying (a stereotype). The "Dark Forest" is exactly the same name given to the Dark Forest in Snow White and the Huntsman, so we should be looking for Oscar's spiritual maturity to take place at this point in the film, if it will take place at all. This scene above takes place in the cornfield, something absent from the Great Plains during this time-frame because not only was the Great Depression going on, but the Dust Bowl as well, and the lush fields weren't lush at all, so these kinds of polar opposites will be worthy of our attention as well.  
This doesn't happen often, but audiences reacted so positively to The Conjuring, that it was moved from a January releases date to July. "Based" on a true story (how true?) a family of seven move into a Rhode Island farm house during the 1970s only to become haunted by demonic spirits who become increasingly violent.  
The Conjuring joins Dark Shadows and Argo for being set in the 1970s. What is going on in the trailer? They are playing a game, someone is blindfolded (can't see, probably a literary device to signal lack of foresight, and the blindfold is red, which means "love" or "anger") and something is hiding in the closet and something is deciding to "play" by their own rules instead of the rules of the game. The owners of the house hire professional ghost hunters (rather like Hansel and Gretel being professional witch hunters, someone who makes their living with a specialized skill when the market demands a need for them) but even the professionals (according to a brief synopsis) realize they are in over their heads. Being locked in the basement is never a good thing (we just saw the same thing in House At the End Of the Street). As always, the house will symbolize the soul, and the "ghosts," or "demons," whichever they prove to be, is something or some event causing self-destruction within the soul (or the family, depending on the presentation, but that family will be a metaphor for the US). So we will need to keep an eye out for this one.
Think I have been beating a dead horse about socialism? What happens in this trailer?
Who knows which way Now You See Me, due out June 7, will go, but I am going to bet, ... anti-socialist. Redistribution of wealth, as the assistant suggests on the stage as money pours down upon the audience, really doesn't benefit the masses, only the master minds pulling the strongs to higher taxes.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner