Tuesday, January 28, 2014

X-Men Days Of Future Past, Super Bowl Trailers & RoboCop Viral Video

St Thomas Aquinas receiving the Mystical Belt of Chastity by Diego Velazquez, 1632. One of the reasons Aquinas is so powerful as a doctor of the Church is due to his chastity: while imprisoned by his family (to keep him from becoming a Dominican) his brother sent a prostitute to tempt Aquinas; taking up a red hot poker (in the image above, it's a smoldering piece of wood on the floor to his right), he ordered her out. It has often been speculated that she ran out because Aquinas threatened her with the poker, but personally, I believe he threatened to use the poker upon himself to insure his passion didn't rule over him, in the same vein as when St Francis, in the heat of lust, threw himself into a snow bank to cool down his desires. Mary rewarded Aquinas with a belt of purity around his waist that protected him from all such temptations ever again. Why? Why is that story tied to the great Doctor of the Church? Knowledge and wisdom are the greatest treasures there are, because it never betrays you, everyone benefits from it, and you can take it with you when you die, but it also illustrates the virtue of the person who holds it. We have love in direct proportion to how much wisdom we have, and our wisdom is directly proportionate to how much love we have: a person who has not much love, has not much wisdom. People might have great knowledge, but not great wisdom, or even any wisdom at that. The belt of chastity for St Thomas demonstrates that he had a proper love for himself in not abusing his body or abusing others to fulfill the lusts of his body, so he was full of love, so that he could become full of wisdom.
A most happy and blessed feast day to all of you! Today, the Church celebrates the Feast Day of St. Thomas Aquinas, my patron saint. In the Church, we say the feast day of our patron is our "name day," because when we are confirmed in the Church, we chose a patron saint to specially watch over us and depend upon for prayers and a model for our own life. Just as religious will "take a new name" when they enter their religious home, so each Catholic takes a "new name" when they enter the Church, so my Catholic name is Thomas Aquinas, which means he HAS to pray for me, ha ha. For all my brothers and sisters who also try to glorify Christ with our mentor St Thomas, I wish you a day of great joy and blessings!
One of many Sentinels that threaten the existence of both mutants and humans. Why is this a big deal? Why take the time to do this? Because each and every character, each and every gift is important. As we see the individual cover, for the individual character, we are reminded of their story, their struggle, their individuality and our bond to them is strengthened. This works on an individual level and with the group as a whole. Why is it important to do this? Sure, the film makers want to make money, but ultimately--what this strategy achieves--is to undermine the strategy that robots are trying to achieve: dehumanization. Seeing the uniqueness of the traits of the individual X-Men, we are reminded of our own individuality, our gifts and our purpose, and that builds up a resistance to Sentinels taking over the country and limits our dependence upon robots. This is a theme we are going to see again.
It's been haunting my thoughts but I haven't mentioned it until today, because today, it seems solidified: Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) will not be in X-Men Days Of Future Past. It's a little thing, but somehow, I was rooting for Wolverine, like maybe that would make things right, if he's all ready going back in time and things,.... well, like EVERYONE is going to be back, and each character gets their own Empire Magazine cover, for a grand total of 25. Yea, that's pretty huge. You can view a selection of the upcoming magazine covers at this link, and not only are all the old characters back, but there are some new ones as well, including Magneto's son, Quicksilver. Now, with a different actor, Quicksilver will also be appearing in The Avengers 2: the Age Of Ultron (along with Scarlet Witch) and--not knowing more regarding the comic universe--I know there is some controversy about this decision, but it's not such a big deal that I actually remember any of it,.... well, moving right along,....
Case in point: even Toad is coming back (played by a different actor) and how important was he? You know, the guy with the really, really, really, long and strong tongue? NONE of this is arbitrary, it has all been carefully choreographed and arranged, and film makers have promised that all our questions will be answered, so let's hold them to it.
EVEN IF you are not a sports fan, there might be plenty of reason to watch this year's Super Bowl on February 2: the 5 new trailers that will be debuted! Captain America: the Winter Soldier will get its second trailer, FINALLY! Expendables 3 with Sly Stallone and the crew will release a full-length trailer, Need For Speed, the first trailer for Transformers 4 with Mark Wahlberg and a new trailer from the soon-to-be-released Robocop. I've been planning on going to see Robocop when it comes out, but haven't given a whole lot of thought to it, until I saw these two promotional vides:
Everything about this video, including how the woman enters, acts and the words she says is intentional; so if you get frustrated, please, suffer through, this is going to be important:
Do these two videos remind you of anything you have seen? Maybe the Prometheus video with Guy Pearce introducing himself to the world as a businessman and innovator in science? It should also remind you of Guy Pearce's role in Iron Man 3 and the end-credit scene of Wolverine (as he walks through the airport, before he sees Magneto, Logan sees a commercial for Trask Industries on the television, which is similar to these two videos). It's not just that we are seeing the same theme, but these movies are invoking the same theme intentionally to draw our attention to the dialogue in which they want to engage us about our culture. So, what do all these films want us to talk about?
The line.
Yea, this is pretty much an epic moment in film: Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton.
There is a line, as we saw in Iron Man 3, with the wounded soldiers getting replacement limbs for lost limbs, but then being used as suicide bombers and weapons of destruction. There is a thin line, where something designed for our good, crosses over and becomes a means for our destruction. Samuel L Jackson stars in Robocop, is there another Jackson film where we see this issue? Yes, Jurassic Park, when Goldblum's character says, "Just because we can, doesn't mean we should." What about these two specific videos for Robocop? What do they contribute to the conversation?
There is a small branch of mathematics called catastrophe theory: which person running out of the burning theater created "a stampede," which hair did the man lose that makes him "bald?" We could apply such a theory to these issues being discussed: how much of our humanity can we "sacrifice" before we are no longer human? These are the issues being brought up (which would make for great discussion with the family or at work or with friends) but they are being brought up for a reason: there must be, somewhere in our society, the THREAT of this actually happening (and the great number of films engaging in this discussion makes it definite that this threat lurks somewhere) so the question we have to ask is, Where does the threat come from and why? Is there something "posing" as a great good for society that is actually going to be used against us?
The woman walking in, her loud footsteps echoing, suggests that she's alone. The sounds echoing through the room alerts us to how empty it is. When you are advertising something, at least in today's advertising theory, you want people to believe that everyone is "on board with this," and everyone loves whatever idea is being proposed. With her loud footsteps, it's like they are telling us before a word is ever spoken, what you are about to hear is a bad idea no one wants to be a part of. Around her neck is a single pearl; why? Pearls are usually the sign for wisdom, because wisdom does not come quickly, and a pearl is note developed quickly, but takes a long time of unseen interior observation, just like wisdom. There is, however, a pearl, so it's like they are saying, this is some wisdom in what she is saying (the help given to people to replace lost limbs), but only some, the rest is a bad idea. Her whole speech is basically "canned": it's a script, that has been formulized, and we can recognize elements of that speech because we have heard it numerous times (like the opening commercial in The East). These redundant clich├ęs are meant to make us suspicious and not invest faith in them because the real dialogue we need to be listening to is what's not being said.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner