Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stoker, Olympus Has Fallen, The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Evil Dead, GI Joe Retaliation

Stoker was released March 1, but I am finally going to get to see it this weekend. The entire plot summary can be found here (if you haven't seen the film and want to be surprised, please stop reading because there are spoilers below; I have NOT seen the film yet, but do this for the intellectual exercise) and, I don't mind telling you, it's rather disturbing but fascinating at the same time. This will provide us an opportunity of discussing a literary device of "relatives" and one way it can be exploited. In The Woman In Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, we saw the story of two sisters, relatives, and knowing a detail about one--in this case, Jennet has a rosary--and the nature of a conflict--her sister Alice adopted Jennet's son--we can search for a contemporary reference in which such conflict and identity exists. Because Jennet has Catholic symbols connected to her, we start there in the trail of clues, and look for the "sister" to the Catholic church, which could be the Anglican church and, behold, there is a conflict between the two: Pope Benedict XVI's invitation for Anglicans to join the Catholic church after controversial decisions by Anglican clergy (the film was so detailed I made two posts on it: Naming the Harlot: The Woman In Black and Queen Victoria, Monkeys & the Catholic Church-: The Woman In Black). The exact same type of set-up appears to be at work in Stoker because Charlie is a brother to deceased Richard.  
There have been numerous references by critics to the homages to Hitchcock the film makes and the artistic approach director Park Chan-Wook takes in filming his scenes. For example, a sexual shower scene is supposed to reference Psycho; the more obvious references are to Shadow Of a Doubt with Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright, a genuinely dark thriller were Hitch really delved into his theory of evil and sin.
Knowing that Charlie kills Richard with a staged auto accident (we have seen car "crashes" symbolizing the economic crash of 2008) and we know older men symbolize the active principle of the economy/founding fathers (and Richard could easily be both), we have to ask what "relative system" (they are brothers like the sisters in The Woman In Black) has been at work against the economy/founding fathers? But Richard isn't the only sibling Charlie kills: Charlie was locked up in a mental institution for killing their brother Jonathan.What other character have we seen kill a sibling? Ryan from House At the End Of the Street because he kills Carrie Ann. I know some of you will be upset for me saying this, but "Socialism" is the only answer because it is a system "relative" or "related to" capitalism that has "crashed"  or even been murdered--as some of us would argue--and has taken over. I will, however, be the first to admit, minor details could completely change this interpretation (even knowing the plot), but traditional symbols of "the motherland" which Evie (Nicole Kidman) symbolizes explains this "unnatural" monologue she has in the opening of this trailer:
"I hope life tears you apart," is not the natural sentiment most parents have towards their children, however, given how Obamcare's crippling taxation and the $16 trillion dollar debt being passed onto younger generations (India in the film, children always symbolize the future) Evie's statement is pretty accurate about what America today (Evie's character) has done to America tomorrow (India's character). So, why name the film Stoker? Knowing the references to Hitchcock, and the most famous "Stoker" of all time being author Bram Stoker of Dracula, and that numerous films and commentators at liberal news organizations describe capitalists as "vampires" (films such as Hotel Transylvania, Dark Shadows and Gangster Squad), the last name of the family will probably play off nuances of who is the worst vampire, or the vampire to be feared the most?
Also opening this weekend is Olympus Has Fallen starring Gerard Butler, Morgan Freman and Aaron Eckhart; here is a clip (red band, there is foul language in it) of the White House under attack by North Korean communists:
We have all ready discussed this film, and why it's only now, at this time in history, that we are seeing the "White House under attack" and we have never seen such a slap in the face to American dignity and security before, but this clip makes an interesting statement: garbage trucks. We can ask, "What garbage has arrived at the White House and is tearing it apart, and what events have made it possible for this to happen?"  This film is worth seeing because it's part of a three way dialogue between GI Joe Retaliation (opens March 28) and White House Down (opens June 28) regarding what has happened to the Executive Office in America.
Grug (Nicholas Cage) is the patriarch of the Crood family. We can clearly expect every characteristic of white males and traditional fatherhood (in general) to be under attack as he makes blunder after blunder and will be constantly upstaged by Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a new, younger generation. We have seen this exact situation in Skyfall, the opening credits, where the white male James Bond is a "target" of an unseen shooter (Bond appears as a practice target) and the exact same scenario happens in The Croods, but Skyfall supports Bond while The Croods will undermine and we have to ask, who benefits most from the downfall of fatherhood? The state. When men are not the providers for their families, families turn to the government to provide for them and that's what socialism wants. By labeling protection and prudence Grug might show as his natural ignorance and "over-protection," the film re-directs the public debate about the ideals of the founding fathers and tradition to that of ego-centered idiots who need to be protected themselves and who can't provide for their families. Why is this harmful? There are a number of reasons, but mostly to make white males feel bad about being white males and shrug off their responsibilities as husbands and fathers so more women will be single mothers and they will almost have to receive government assistance; further, it will make white males less desirable as political candidates and make their political rhetoric look as ridiculous as Grug.
Also opening this weekend is The Croods, and here is a clip which directly challenges what we see in Oz the Great and Powerful:
Just as conservatives remember Obama saying, "You didn't build that," so The Croods are now saying, "You didn't invent that."  This was introduced in The Odd Life Of Timothy Green with the invention of the peanut-butter and jelly sandwich issue, and was taken up by Oz the Great and Powerful in the championing of Thomas Edison. One of the points of debate dictating the fierce dialog between socialists and capitalists is that capitalism better facilitates discovery and invention; in this series of "accidents," where Guy is credited with inventing fire, which then makes him invent shoes, which then makes popcorn, the anonymity of these inventions have been plagiarized: fire, shoes and popcorn weren't invented under a corporation or brand name, therefore, capitalism does not "better facilitate" discovery and invention. I, personally, completely disagree with this statement, but it's important to analyze the types of arguments being introduced so we can better engage in battle.
Which leads us to another animated film being released:
Well, what do we have here?
The exact opposite depiction of fatherhood, or so it seems.
This is why we have to be so sharp: what was being mocked before--fatherhood--is being championed now, but only as a cover for a greater evil: evil itself.  By "humanizing evil," the villain being shown as a "good father," the dichotomies of "good" and "evil" are--at best--confused, and at worst, being eliminated to create a new "moral order" where morality is not ordered, but arbitrary, as in George Orwell's 1984. The villain is not being shown to be a villain, rather, a bumbling hero; this breeds "false compassion" and makes our discretion and prudence weakened by mis-identifying virtue and vice. A villain is a villain is a villain, but only if you are a Republican, conservative, Christian fundamentalist-racist, as the liberals would call you if you believe something like that, which I do. Again, as I have said too many times to count, films such as The Croods and Despicable Me 2 (due out July 3), are particularly dangerous because they are aimed at families--you are confident there won't be nudity or foul language so the whole family goes to see it--and you think because it's rated G that it's going to uphold your values, but it's teaching kids bad "values" in the most subtle of ways.
So what do we do?
We call "evil" by its name.
Why remake this 1981 cult film?
Because the same type of evil that was haunting us in 1981 is back today.
All we have to do is ask, "What is it that keeps getting worse and worse every second?" The economy, the $16 trillion dollar deficit and budget crisis. A film such as this might have a difficult time "scaring audiences," not because it isn't scary, but because we are being taught that evil doesn't really exist (lessons from films like Despicable Me), so why fear what doesn't exist?
To emphasize the 1981 threat being re-realized, we have to ask, why would a veteran have to re-enlist, and why would he?
This movie is going to rock.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner