Friday, March 8, 2013

TRAILERS: Thor 2 The Dark World, The Croods, The Bling Ring, Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing, Disconnect & The Hangover III

The official trailer for Thor 2: The Dark World is rumored for online release April 2; in the meantime, Marvel Studios has released this teaser for the teaser trailer; the quality doesn't seem to be very good though?
Thor 2 is set one year after The Avengers takes place (rather like Iron Man 3), Thor has to do something that even Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and Asgard can't do: save the Nine Realms from an enemy older than the universe itself. "Older than the universe itself" is almost a joke, because something has to be "in time" and "in space" in order to exist (everything exists at both a place and time every moment of its existence) so to exist before a place is also to exist before time, so how can that be, unless,...?  We are seeing something similar to another Chris Hemsworth film, The Cabin In the Woods, and the Dark Elves are like the "Ancient Ones," that is, pure spirit, immortal, eternal, demons,... the two motivating forces at work include revenge and a desire to spread darkness over the universe and destroy everything because that's what villains do. The question is, my dear movie-lovers, what darkness is spreading over America that needs to be stopped? Answer that and we have the whole plot line all ready.
To answer that question, we have the newest trailer for The Croods:
Without a doubt, the "end of their world" is the end of the capitalist world in which America was a super-power, and these film makers want to insure that the audience knows how "pre-historic" we, the capitalists are (I am in this group, but perhaps you aren't), and that we are "crude" ourselves, as in "crude oil" and holding onto old ways instead of embracing the "new." Recall, please, that this is the exact same story line we saw in Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, and they are going to stay with it. Whereas some, like myself see the end of the world and the "darkness" Thor is fighting as socialism, the "ancient evil" that won't go away, the light-hearted liberals (did you catch the reference to "modern family," as in the television series, and the ways in which Dear-Old-Dad is undermined, just like in teh 1960s?) see it as a road trip to start a new world order that doesn't include us (Guy, voiced by Ryan Reynolds, invents all these things, in a dialogue to debunk capitalist claims that great things come from competition and the American spirit).
Think I am paranoid?
Watch the trailer for The Bling Ring:
Based on actual events, the group of teenagers rob from celebrities and steal from them. That's "redistribution of wealth," plain and simple. That's all it is, stealing. What's so ironic about the story line, and surely this is known to the filmmakers, is that it's celebrities supporting it in supporting Obama. It's due out June 7.
Chris Hemsworth as Thor on the set of The Dark World. Having just watched The Avengers for only the second time last week, and following my habit of having the subtitles on because I miss so much, I realized, in that first post-credits scene which sets-up the next Avengers plot, that the one talking is called The Other (and you can look at the official Credits listing and that's his name). Philosophically, this is imperative. "The Other" is also an expression of that which is different from ourselves, and "The Other," in usually always the villain in any work of confrontational art, just with different names and in different circumstances. "The Other" has undergone much critique in literary circles, usually because minorities were always considered "The Other" in politics and it was these groups (like women, gays, communists) who utilized deconstruction theory to show how arbitrary Western white male values were and how those values were really vehicles to keep them in power over "The Other" politically disenfranchised members of society. Well, it seems that disadvantage white men have allowed themselves to suffer since the 1960s is starting to re-shift because the very values "fringe groups" had used as weapons against white males are starting to show up again in major films, so we will have to keep track of this.
Going back to Thor and his world of darkness, the big rumor is that one of the major characters will die, though it hasn't been confirmed who. While many suggest its Odin, or Thor's mother, my bet is on Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston; I would love to see Loki again, but Hiddleston has confirmed that he is not returning to The Avengers 2 so I think the god of mischief has played his last joke in this one. But that's mere speculation. Oh, and this is a pretty good place to mention it: there is no Hulk Planet film being planned. According to both Joss Whedon, director of The Avengers, and Mark Ruffalo, who plays the Hulk, there are no plans to make a second Hulk solo film; however, there are plans to make a film for a new hero, Doctor Strange, who will most likely be included in the roster of heroes in The Avengers 2, which will feature new/different heroes,... that's all I know, but I promise, I will keep you posted. And speaking of The Avengers,...
To  be released June 7. Now, the question: why make a re-make? If you watch the trailer, and I believe the whole film is done thusly, that should answer your question. The film is shot in black and white, why? Don't we like the idea of romantic love that is black and white, clear as day, no fuzzy gray areas, but definite and sure? How often is love like that? It's not, is it? So visually, Much Ado About Nothing, we could say, provides Whedon with a canvas for experimenting and expanding his vuisual vocabulary he wouldn't get to practice with films like The Avengers, but working it out on a film such as this, will help him do better on a film like The Avengers because he knows what works and what doesn't and why. Trust me, this will be worth watching, if only for technical exercises we will get to enjoy.
We might as well speak of Joss Whedon.
Back in 1993, Thespian Kenneth Branagh released a fabulous version of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing featuring a stellar cast, from Branagh himself, to then-wife Emma Thompson, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves, Michael Keaton and a host of others you are sure to recognize, it is THE version most think of when they think of Shakespeare's play; Whedon has taken that on with his new version of Much Ado About Nothing; unlike Branagh's, you are sure not to recognize any main characters, except Agent Phil Coulson:
If it's from Whedon, it's worth watching.
Coming out April 12, Disconnect also looks well-worth watching: "A drama centered on a group of people searching for human connections in today's wired world" is also a very intense world:
They are promising it all ends here, let's hope they keep their word:
What I would like to say about The Hangover III, is that, at 1:00, we see someone running wearing a mask of a pig; I know you are tired of me harking on this, but really, this is rather an important motif in contemporary films and one we should be keeping track of.  I have seen GI Joe, from 2009, and hey--I will be the first to admit it--you throw some Nanotechnology into a plot line and I am totally there! I think the makers of GI Joe Retaliation are wanting to make the follow-up stand-alone so audiences don't have to watch the first in order to see the second this summer, but I am certainly glad I saw it and we will go over it before the film releases.
If you haven't seen GI Joe, the bad guy is the white ninja, Dark Shadows, and the good guy is the black ninja, Snake Eyes. If you have seen GI Joe, you are asking, "Didn't Dark Shadows die?" Yes, he was stabbed multiple times and in the heart and fell into an exploding ocean of arctic ice. This is an imperative theme for all film and art lovers to grasp: the resurrecting villain. You might remember a little film from 1987 called The Monster Squad. This theme of a villain's head being put in a blender and his body being shipped to Norway and buried in ice (or whatever) and still "coming back" is discussed because it is a device; why? Because evil is immortal, it is eternal, it doesn't die, it goes on living, and we have momentary victories over it, but then it comes back for our own good, because as long as we have enemies and a battle to fight (I am speaking spiritually) we are being strengthened and kept on the straight path so we become stronger with each battle we fight. That's the same metaphysics of the battle between Snake Eyes and Dark Shadows. GI Joe structured these two rivals exceedingly well, and I was quite pleased with it, so we will spend time on this topic before the second film is released in a few months. Well, okay, here's a bit of their importance: normally, we think of white as the symbol of the good guy, don't we? White is the sign of purity, and faith because someone is pure, like the Lone Ranger riding the white horse Silver; however, white is also the color of the exact opposite, death, because a decaying corpse turns white in the process of rotting, so Dark Shadows lacks all the qualities which makes a hero: faith, purity, self-sacrifice, innocence. So Dark Shadows is death itself in the film. Snake Eyes, on the other hand, wears black, usually associated with the color of death because we wear black in mourning. There are, however, two types of death: there is the death of the body and the death of the soul. Dark Shadows has experienced the "death of the soul" because his soul lacks virtue; Snake Eyes, on the other hand, has experienced the "death of the body" which has strengthened his soul and made him the hero because he has totally overcome himself for goals and purposes outside himself, not using his skills and powers for his own benefits and ambitions.
Supposedly, it has been "confirmed" that Benedict Cumberbatch does indeed "turn into" Khan, Kirk's traditional enemy,... I like that. Not having seen the original 2009 Star Trek film, I do have it, and hope to watch it next week so I am up-to-date, but director JJ Abrams confessed that parts of the trailer were intentionally meant to invoke the famous 1982 Wrath Of Khan, so, if we really want to be the "implied viewer," we had better watch that one, too. 
In the "glass cage," who else have we recently seen in a prison cell such as this? Silva in Skyfall and Loki in The Avengers; why? Hannibal Lector (Anthony Hopkins, The Silence Of the Lambs) was in a prison like this, and this example provides a perfect example of "visual vocabulary" at work: when we have seen something before--like this see-through prison--it's a reference to the original, it wants to trigger our memory, it's telling us, "You know that cannibal, Hannibal? We are putting our villain on the same plane as him by making you remember him and think of our villain in the same terms," so that three major films have sited this old villain (including Star Trek) will be worthy of our closer examination and comparing of all three. For example, both Skyfall and The Avengers have their villains locked in the glass cage, but in both circumstances, the villains want to be there; with both villains, even though they are totally "exposed" in these glass cages, they are still able to "hide" something from their captors, i.e., their real plans and true intentions. We will see if Star Trek Into Darkness plays the same game. Please note, in the image above, Kirk's somewhat clenched left hand seems "mirrored" by Khan's somewhat clenched left hand; what will Kirk have to do to avoid becoming Khan himself?
In the meantime, I am putting the finishing touches on Jack the Giant Slayer, and will see Oz the Great and Powerful today or tomorrow (we are having some emergencies in the family).
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner