Friday, May 10, 2013

300 Rise Of An Empire, Robert Redford Captain America the Winter Soldier, The Great Gatsby

Leave it to me to jinx something.
Just yesterday I was talking about the studio moving back 300 Rise Of An Empire because it seemed they were really cutting it close and, sure enough, it was announced today that the film will not open until March 2014. To be honest, even though this means a poor-close to the 2013 summer film season, and there will be more competition for its genre in March of 2014 with the Hercules films coming out, I hope they do this film well and to the best of their ability, because it could be quite powerful if they take their time and really concentrate on its potential. But I am disappointed. And of all the bizarre things, there is actually something else it appears I was right about,...
We discussed in some detail the point Oblivion seemed trying to make in Jack (Tom Cruise) being the lover of Victoria (English) and but being married to Julia (Russian descent); Captain America the Winter Soldier might make that point as well. If you will recall, in Captain America, Steve Rogers' love interest was Peggy (who was English) but has presumably died while Steve was under the icy water in a coma (she is expected to make appearances in the newest film via flashbacks). Natasha, aka "Black Widow" (Scarlett Johansson) is not only Russian, but her last name is "Romanoff" after the last royal family of Russia (not that she's any connection); this makes an interesting connection to another film we have seen recently, Oz the Great and Powerful because it takes place in 1905 and Oscar (James Franco) has a music box he tells everyone is from his Tsarina grandmother who died in a big battle, which we deduced referenced the big battles lost by the Russian royal family, strengthening the Bolshevik political program in Russia and lead, indirectly but significantly, to the October Revolution (please see Ghosts, Evil Spirits & the Undead: Oz the Great and Powerful for more). It doesn't appear at this point that there is a romantic relationship between Black Widow and Captain America (I think I read he might actually strike up a relationships with Maria Hill [Cobie Smulders] who had numerous scenes as a SHIELD agent in The Avengers) but their working relationship to tackle the "shadowy villain" threatening Washington DC is sufficient.
We discussed Robert Redford, whose new film The Company You Keep about the Weathermen, has come out, coinciding with his casting as a senior SHIELD agent in next year's Captain America the Winter Soldier, and I made the comment that--knowing it's both a political thriller and Steve Rogers' (Chris Evans) best friend Bucky is now an assassin for the Soviet Union--it might be an intentional casting of Redford (who has never appeared in a super-hero film before) that his public link to socialism and support of the Weather Underground movement might be used by film makers taping into what the audience knows about Redford to make him, in some way, a villain (and, I have reason to believe, the activities of this group was carefully being sited in Iron Man 3, so if you aren't really up on who they were and what they did, you might take a moment to familiarize yourself with their sordid history); Redford confirmed yesterday that he is signed to play a villain in Captain America the Winter Soldier; there are at least 6 known villains in the film at this time, and we know that Washington is under attack,... so,... what do you think that says?...
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Great Gatsby.
There are two things I would like to clarify: first, I don't like watching anti-capitalist films, but what is important is that the film is done well, like with Lawless (and I still can't believe there weren't any Oscar noms for that film). From what we have seen with numerous trailers, spots and clips of The Great Gatsby, is doesn't look well done, regardless of it's politics, and, sadly, the mainstream critics--most of whom are liberals and should be the ones supporting the films--are trashing it wholesale:

Despite timely relevance, enduring truths and Luhrmann’s earnest efforts to make ‘The Great Gatsby’ jump off the screen, he — and we — finally can’t help but fail to grasp it.” Ann Hornaday, Washington Post (the "timely relevance" no doubt pertains to the class warfare and assault upon the upper-class, whether inherited wealth or self-made wealth).

What is the difference between a film being bad, and there are plenty of bad films, and a bad job communicating? Undoubtedly, poor communication between film makers and its audience is inherent in the qualification of a "bad film," without necessarily being articulated as such; specifically, what we might say is The Great Gatsby appears to be "redundant." Hornaday's criticism quoted above about Lurhmann's failing to grasp The Great Gatsby, to me, signals his failure to see the obvious merit of the book in its depictions of human relationships--among many other merits--and focusing instead upon the obvious class battles between old wealth and new wealth, shallowness of individuals who never become individuals and the idea of a well-monied utopia; that is redundancy, if we wanted to know that, all we would have to do is stand in the grocery line to buy milk and read the headlines of tabloids about the most recent celebs to enter rehab. So there is something of a crime committed: Lurhmann has this amazing material that he only took the most general theme from to make a film (Fitzergerald's book was voted greatest novel in the English language on a list of 100 books; yea, that's pretty good). One can't take a deep approach at displaying shallowness, the whole thing drowns in shallowness if that is all you're aiming for and, sadly, that appears to be the case. I am not seeing the film this weekend, but will within the week to form my own estimation even though I am dreading it.
Secondly, I wanted to clarify my remark about seeing the Wrath Of Khan before Star Trek Into Darkness opens next week. You do not have to see Wrath Of Khan in order to know what is going on in the film--film makers realize they have to include all the elements of character, history and story line into a film today in order for viewers to engage with the film rather than feel isolated and out of the loop--and you probably don't even have to have seen Star Trek (2009); if you have time to catch Wrath Of Khan before STID opens next week, it will prove rewarding because you can catch the differences that have been changed so it's easier to interpret and decode.
That's what I meant.
Yep, still working on Iron Man 3.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner