Saturday, April 13, 2013

Images: 300 Rise Of An Empire, Thor the Dark World, World War Z, The Bling Ring & The East, Rush trailer

The first look of Eva Green as Xerxes' second-in-command, Artemisia in 300: Rise Of An Empire, due out August 2. An important detail regarding her character has been revealed, although one that some might call "cliche":  she wants revenge for her family's death. Why does this happen? It is true of Kang in Olympus Has Fallen, of Nameless in Hero, you could even say it's true of Snake Eyes wanting revenge for the death of Hard Master (because Snake Eyes didn't appear to have any other family) in GI Joe, the Black Mambo in Kill Bill (death of her baby), as well as countless other films. Why is this a "standard" plot device, motivation via revenge of the dead family? As we have discussed elsewhere--and this isn't necessarily true in this case, but it can be applied generally, so it will help us know what to look for--like systems are a "family," as with religion (various denominations of Christianity could be said to be a "family" because we are all related by the bond of Christ, so the Anglican Church and Catholic Church could be depicted as sisters because they have a "family resemblance" by both being of the Christian faith, as in The Woman In Black).
Miracles do happen.
A dear friend from work who has tried desperately for years to conceive a child has finally done so; trust me, no one thought she could, then, she finally did. Regrettably, she has miscarried and has required rest, so I have been working more. The old saying, "It's a mixed bag," is certainly true, so I apologize for not getting more up, but there was a good reason for it and the doctor is confident she will be able to conceive again.
Thor the Dark World will be released November 8.
In other news,...
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire trailer will be released tomorrow during the MTV awards. I will post it immediately. It has been confirmed that the first trailer for Thor: the Dark World will be released at the opening of Iron Man 3. Some details have been released (Hollywood is really good at this, aren't they?) which includes people on earth in the streets running away from,... "something." Thor suddenly flies down and rescues Jane (Natalie Portman) and takes her to Asgard, where Thor must face the threat coming from the Dark Elves. He goes to Loki for help, promising he will kill Loki if Loki betrays him, and Loki agrees to help. 
In preparing for World War Z starring Brad Pitt coming out in June, I got the book and am about one-third of the way through. I will be going through the book thoroughly before the film release because, just with two trailers, I can all ready see significant differences between the book and film (not that the book is better than the film, however, performing a comparison is a great way to accentuate details which might go unnoticed otherwise) but I have got to tell you, I am impressed with the book. Brooks is an intelligent writer, and he reads intelligent material; you can always tell what a writer reads by the details they include in their own stories. The novel is well-conceived, being a compilation of interview notes by a UN worker (played by Pitt in the film) and covering all classes of people in different countries with different religions and experiences of the zombie outbreak. If you are looking for your next book to read, I would suggest this one (if you haven't read The Great Gatsby since high school, read that first, then World War Z). Again, we will be examining this book in-depth before the film comes out!
Because of the theater and films leaving town, I made time to go see Emperor with Tommy Lee Jones (and I am ecstatic to inform you I was completely wrong about that film, it was excellent!), Spring Breakers and Dead Man Down (which no one else really saw either of these two films). While I was correct in my prediction of Spring Breakers re-defining the American Dream, I was not correct about Dead Man Down, which summons Casablanca to call for a "purge" in America. We have all ready seen the trailer for Elysium, the Matt Damon-Jodie Foster film about the rich living on a Utopian space station and everyone else living in the garbage heap called earth. We have also seen the trailer for The Purge with Ethan Hawke and Lena Heady, where--one night a year--all crime becomes legal for 12 hours; here is The East:
Have we seen something like this before?
Sort of, in the "trial" staged in Gotham City, led by Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) in The Dark Knight Rises. In The East, due out May 31, Brit Marling (Arbitrage, Another Earth) plays a private investigator in a private firm that protects company's interest. The East is an anarchy group targeting pharmaceutical companies because of the side effects their drugs are having on people who use them, like some who committed suicide when they used a drug to help them quit smoking. Marling's character is supposed to infiltrate the anarchists and stop the attacks on the corporations but she falls in love with the leader of the group. 
The film also stars Alexander Skarsgard (Melancholia, Battleship), Julia Ormond (Legends Of the Fall, My Week With Marilyn) and Ellen Page (Inception, X-Men the Last Stand) and Shiloh Fernandez, (The Evil Dead, Red Riding Hood). You might be interested to read some of the production notes and snippets of creation here, which inspired the writing and making of the film. 
Like Marling's character, we the audience are also supposed to fall in love with the leader of the group and what drives him, we are supposed to be swayed to this ideology because that's why there is a romance in the film, for you the viewer to fall in love with an idea, a virtue, a way of life and to wish it for yourself. Consider, if you will, this trailer for Summer In February:
(We will discuss Summer In February another time, but you probably have a pretty good idea in your head all ready) I am actually excited about The East because it's leaving out an imperative aspect of the relationship: the consumer's free will. I quit smoking in 2002 and again in 2006 and, let me be perfectly honest, I wanted to commit suicide because I missed smoking so much! (Actually, I still miss smoking and have to fight it everyday). The decision to start smoking, the decision to quit, the decision to stop again and the daily decision to not start again comes from my exercising of free will, not the tobacco companies' drugging of me; it's not their fault, it's mine. You would never hear a socialist say that because they don't believe people have free will (socialists have free will, but me, being a consumer and a capitalist, I don't have free will), and that "blame game" is probably going to form the entire structure of the film, so it will be nice to have that target I can point out for future reference.
All ready, the second trailer for Rush, due out in September, has been released (again, this will be anti-capitalist):
This trailer doesn't make it seem anti-capitalist, does it?
"More powerful than the fear of death, is the will to win," and if a director other than Ron Howard was at the helm, I would have a lot of hope for it: the "drive" to be your very best and the thrill of winning the race because you have worked so hard to overcome your weakness and beat yourself before beating others; it's possible this will be a pro-capitalist story (a film never reflects the philosophy or values of one individual because so many people go into the making of the film, so that's why films are so valuable as a reflection of aspects of society, it's not just one person thinking on the topic, but several), but I think it will have an effect on viewers rather like The Hurt Locker with it's opening statement "War is a drug." Although we deconstructed the film to show that a drug can be a therapeutic (war as a healing drug instead of just a pleasure drug for escapism) that doesn't mean everyone watching the film came away thinking "going to war is good for the health of America." Hopefully, I am wrong, but I think this film is going to take a subtle "turn" on the racetrack.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
Emma Watson posing for a promotion still from her upcoming film based on real events, The Bling Ring, during which teenagers rob the homes of celebrities. Like Spring Breakers, The Bling Ring targets a group of young people who probably don't pay much attention to politics, nor have they studied much history; Emma Watson has a solid fan-base who love her as the studious Hermione from the Harry Potter series, and her casting in this role as a pole dancer was intentional: Ms. Watson has a very prim and proper persona, in her film roles and real life, and juxtaposing the image of the "good girl" and the very naughty girl should strike a cord in the audience about how dramatic "stealing" from someone else is, rather like Selena Gomez in Spring Breakers. This role might be heart-breaking for fans of Ms. Watson, however, I think its going to serve a greater good in "revealing" why good girls are better than bad girls and how we don't want the future of America to be like a pole dancer, rather, a prim and proper miss.