Friday, March 28, 2014

The Hobbit: There and Back Again, Interstellar, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Purge: Anarchy

Saw Noah last night, and the stadium was about half full; within the first twenty seconds of the film starting, director/writer/producer Darren Aronofsky spits in your face, and it never stops during the entire film that was even worse than I feared it would be. There was a confirmed budget of $129 million, but estimates put the film closer to $200 million (like last year's World War Z) and for that kind of money, those were some lousy special effects. The CGI was so bad, it actually looked like the old days when they would have actors stand in front of a movie screen with a previously-shot scene playing behind them. In one part, Noah has the "window" of the ark open, and it looks like they super-imposed a clip of gray water. Have no doubts: Obama is their messiah and they are prepared to wipe out all us "sinners" who are conservatives and capitalists.
In more cheerful news,...
First footage of the final installment of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: There and Back Again played at CinemaCon this week. The trailer ended with Gandalf saying, "The time is upon us when all must choose which side we're on." If that's not a political manifesto, I don't know what is! No news on when the first trailer will be released. They usually release a trailer six months in advance of a film coming out (which is December) so we could imagine in June, perhaps? Given that, I expect the trailer to be attached to Transformers 4 Age Of Extinction or Edge Of Tomorrow, both of which come out in June (then again, it may decide on X-Men Days Of Future Past to nab a really big audience). On April 8, the Blu-Ray and DVD for The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug are released!
An entire event was dedicated to Christopher Nolan's upcoming Interstellar (November release). The director/writer said he wanted to make a film in honor of the movies he watched as a child. Nolan was born in London in 1970, so he grew up during the Cold War. Interstellar has amazed Hollywood with all the A-list actors he has included in the film, and it tells the story of a group of explorers who discover a wormhole and try to push the limits of human exploration. On a different note, the first trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been released; no, no, it really doesn't matter how immature and irrelevant you think they are, please, for my sake, just watch this video; in fact, you don't even have to watch it, just push play and listen:
Is there lawlessness in America? Are we wanting someone to restore order and save our great country, save New York City from the communist mayor? Do we need heroes? There's a joke going around from the presidential debates when Romney told Obama that Russia was still a threat to world security and Obama laughed saying, "The '80s are calling, they want their foreign policy back," because so many of the movies we are seeing now, are films from the 1980s when Soviet communism was a real threat (even though most of the films have dealt with the "communist" part, not necessarily the "Soviet" part).  Remember that film, The Purge? The sequel is ready to air this summer, but it's pretty intense (no, Lena Headey and her remaining family is not in this version, at least that they are showing):
The Purge: Anarchy, just like The Purge of last year, is a extreme metaphor for capitalism and "survival of the fittest"; how? Well, for example, instead of using taxpayer's money to bail out the auto industry a few years back, most capitalists would have made the corporations re-organize their debt and privately declare bankruptcy; not Obama, though. Well, socialists are horrified at how capitalists treated the auto industry, so the idea that the free market "weeds out" the weak companies so the strong companies that adapt to market changes can survive, is what is being targeted by the film (the exact same premise is used in The Hunger Games where, instead of companies competing in the free market, the free market has become the "arena" and the companies have become children, so capitalists know exactly how heartless they are).
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

TRAILER: Hercules & the Thracian Wars, Maleficent, Edge Of Tomorrow

Bradley Cooper at the 86th Annual Academy Awards.
We shouldn't be surprised.
When Disney makes a move to acquire something, it's because they see the future filled with dollars. In 2012, Disney bought the rights to all future Indiana Jones films (played heretofore by Harrison Ford in four films). It is now rumored that Bradley Cooper (not Shia LeBoef, who appeared in the last Indiana Jones film as Jones' son) is the top candidate to replace Ford, but others have not been ruled out. The studio is considering another film, but have not yet committed; it can be argued, however, that having bought the rights to the franchise was a commitment, because buying something so someone else can't buy it is rather expensive.
Official poster, film will be released July 25 in 3D. The purpose of all the multi-headed monsters in the film is to convey a sense of "duplicity." Is there someone in America who has presented one face, while actually being another? Is there someone who said they would do one thing, but actually did the exact opposite? Each "labor" or challenge that Hercules will face in the film will contain metaphoric dimensions of what is happening in our world today, because (before 2008, anyway) America was Hercules: we were a super-power, but we're not anymore, so as you watch the trailer, ask yourself if you can see elements of America's struggle in Hercules' journey.
Here is the first trailer for Hercules and the Thracian Wars with Dwayne Johnson (there was another Hercules film, Hercules the Legend Begins, with Kellan Lutz, that failed miserably at the box office but had some interesting elements to it). Do you recall our discussion on Dinesh D'Souza's America documentary coming out? According to D'Souza--and I agree whole-heartedly--America is currently facing an identity crisis, and I think that's echoed loud and clear in this trailer:
It's a good idea to keep your eye on The Rock: he's confirmed that he's going to portray a Marvel character who has "never been filmed before" and assures audience members that is not Green Lantern. The project is still in the early stages of development, but Johnson has also confirmed that the hero will have "Superman power levels." Well, that is interesting,....
Is it just me, or does this remind you of The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow? In some general film news, Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow and husband of ten years Christ Martin have split (no specific cause given). In other news, speculation has begun to mount that the new heroes of Star Wars VII will be the grandchildren of Darth Vader (who has four grandchildren in all, three by Leia and Hans [including a set of twins] and a grandson via Luke). In the books, one of the grandchildren, Jacen, through Hans and Leia, turns to the dark side and attempts to re-build the evil empire. All this is still speculation. It appears there is going to be a remake of The Breakfast Club for its 30 anniversary (that's not a good reason to remake a perfectly good 80's hit, because, quite frankly, there aren't that many). It has been confirmed that Kevin Spacey (American Beauty, House Of Cards) will portray Winston Churchill; in another move by the liberal left to destroy conservative heroes, Leonardo DiCaprio is supposed to portray President Teddy Roosevelt.
I think film makers for Maleficent must be nervous: they have released yet another trailer for the film due out in May 30, suggesting (like the makers of Noah and The Lone Ranger) that they are concerned about audiences going to see the film:
"Evil is complicated," well, actually, no, it's not. Evil is the abuse of our free will to ultimately destroy ourselves and possibly others with us; it's not complicated. I still hold out that it's possible that this won't be a pro-socialist film, but we just won't know until the film comes out. Here is an international trailer that has been released for Japan (only the initial voice-over is Japanese, the rest of the trailer is in English) and includes some new footage:
Again, the animated shots they depict are not going to be a part of the film, so the sole purpose in incorporating them into the trailers is to remind people of the original and make us believe the new version will resemble the original (which, by now, with all these trailers, we know better).
As you may know, CinemaCon is going on this week, with movie makers attempting to get theater owners to slate their films for release. Transformers 4 showed new footage, and is expected to be the biggest and best of all the films, even all "put together."  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aired its first trailer AND Fast and Furious 7 showed their first footage, including Paul Walker in a scene driving out of a flying helicopter and landing his car with an opening parachute. It has been noted that Christopher Nolan's next project, Interstellar, slated for release in November, has a whole event dedicated to promoting his film, so that is a hopeful sign we will be seeing another trailer out soon. It has also been confirmed that Prometheus 2 will be released in 2016.
We haven't discussed Tom Cruise's newest film coming out this summer, Edge Of Tomorrow because, quite frankly, it looked so confusing I had no idea what was going on, however, the second trailer has been released, so here is the first:
According to the official synopsis, “A soldier fighting in a war with aliens finds himself caught in a time loop of his last day in the battle {he unintentionally throws off the alien's power, which causes the time loop}, though he becomes better skilled along the way.” Here is the second trailer:
At about 1:00, Cruise's character says, "I died within five minutes of landing on that beach, along with every other soldier," and all we need ask is, what beach did soldiers die on? Operation Overlord, the US-Allied storming of the beaches at Normandy to start the counter-attack to the Nazis. This is validated by the first trailer when we see Emily Blunt's picture on the wall with VICTORY painted over her head, because that was the style of World War II posters. So, who are the aliens in the film?
Set picture taken in Italy of The Avengers 2: the Age of Ultron with Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Jeremy Renner returning as Hawkeye/Clint Barton. We will see Olsen's Scarlet Witch in one of two end credits scenes in Captain America: the Winter Soldier. Witch's costume has undergone considerable change and alteration, which we will devote time to when we know more about her character. Something we do see is that her eyes are smudgy-blurry, rather like the Winter Soldier's in the second Captain America film.
Well, you probably know that I am going to say "the socialists," because socialism has "invaded" America, most of us did not invite it in, and it wasn't announced that Obama was running on a socialist platform. Further, in other films such as Cowboys and Aliens, Men In Black 3 and Tom Cruise's Oblivion, we can say those aliens were socialists because socialism is "alien" to life in America, we're not used to it, look at what Obamacare has done to the insurance industry, and that's just one program. Besides, doesn't it seem like we have to keep fighting socialism over and over and over again, that it just won't die? Edge Of Tomorrow comes out June 6th.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Monday, March 24, 2014

TRAILER: X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST #2, The Amazing Spider Man #2, Star Wars, Ghostbusters 3, Pirates of the Caribbean 5

The first full pic of Dwayne The Rock Johnson as Hercules from this summer's release Hercules: The Thracian War.
I saw Divergent late last night and it was far more philosophical than I anticipated! Thoroughly pleased with the story line, acting and the entire scenario. The film pulled in $56 million this weekend, and Lionsgate snatched up the rights to the follow-up film, Insurgent. Again, this was far more anti-socialist than I even hoped for it to be, so I am very pleased. I AM ALSO VERY PLEASED that, finally, the second trailer for X-Men: Days Of Future Past has been released, but, let me tell you, it is worth the wait.
What a film this is going to be!
Sir Patrick Stewart predicted that X-Men Days Of Future Past would be The Avengers of 2014, and I think he's right. If you are confused regarding which film comes in which order, here it is: X-Men (2000), X-Men United (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), X-Men: First Class (2011), The Wolverine (2013) and then X-Men Days Of Future Past is the next, to be followed in 2016 by X-Men: Apocalypse and then The Wolverine sequel in 2017 (possibly not played by Hugh Jackman?). We've got to move on for now, but we will definitely discuss this in-depth later.
News has been officially released that Fast and Furious 7 will do remaining scenes with Paul Walker's Brian O'Connor character using four actors as body doubles and CGI. Soon after Walker's fatal car crash in November, it was rumored his brother Cody, a professional stuntman, would take his brother's place, however, it's not been released how involved, if at all, Cody Walker will be with the filming at this point.
The second trailer for Paul Walker's last, completed film, Brick Mansions, due out April 25, has been released and, this is going to be awesome. Watch for key symbols in this, because they are all there:
Who is the "law-enforcement father" that has been killed? The founding fathers. Who is the murderer of the founding fathers who has set up the ghetto? Obama (food stamps and unemployment, number of jobs permanently lost, increase in the deficit and his increasingly lawless administration). What's the ghetto that has been sealed off? Washington DC, because we can't break into it, but it is the place of ultimate lawlessness in the country. Why is there the line, "There is a difference between justice and revenge?" because there is. Obama, and the rest of Washington, must be held accountable for their crimes.
Brick Mansions will be released April 25, which I like because my birthday is April 27 and I like having a good film to look forward to when my dad takes me to a movie for my birthday. Now, the same weekend, the French version of the film, titled District 13 will be released world-wide. David Belle stars in both films.
Please note another important detail of the film: the song. Stand By Me was the theme song (a famous song in its own right) for the 1986 film about "coming of age" and doing the right thing, of changing your destiny and knowing who your friends are; given the agenda of avenging his father's death, and having to depend upon someone he doesn't know to help him accomplish that, I think all these elements fit for a compelling story line.
Absolutely, anyone can make the charge that a film is "not original" and just following an old story line; it's not original to make that charge. As we have discussed a number of times, however, "originality" isn't always a good thing, and it certainly should not be the primary standard against which films should be measured. Recurring images, motifs and ideas in films are essential to establishing the parameters of dialogue and issues at the heart of contemporary debates. For example, "another" possession film is coming out April 25 with Jared Harris:
It's not that it's "another" possession film, it's that possession is the vocabulary of choice for the horror genre right now and we have to ask why? Devil's Due, The Conjuring, Evil Dead, The Possession, The Devil Inside and The Apparition are all pretty similar, but they're not, not at all, only on the most superficial surface.
Penny Dreadful has a total of eight episodes,
which begin airing Sunday, May 11 at 10 pm (ET/PT).
Please, take the newest tease for the upcoming Showtime Series, Penny Dreadful as a case-in-point: the producers want you to know that, far from their "original" creations, the characters of the series all come from the great horror works of the Victorian era and are directly inspired by the likes of Oscar Wilde, Mary Shelly, Bram Stoker and Robert Louis Stevenson, that there is "nothing original" about these stories, but they are the modern children of famous parents:
None of the elements in this teaser are "original": the pages "stitched" together and bleeding, probably form the body of Frankenstein's monster, because every word written--then and now--has come together to form and shape the beast and our understanding of him; every artistic encounter we have had with Frankenstein's monster has "brought life" to the pages of Shelly's original story, the same with Stoker's vampire or meeting Wilde's Dorian Grey. There is a reason, in other words, for The Quiet Ones to be "another" possession film: something has taken possession of us, and film makers aren't done discussing it.
One commentator took the time to make a montage of all the latest film posters depicting the hero's back to the viewer (World War X, Divergent, Noah, Fifty Shades Of Gray, etc) and there were a lot of them. The poster for The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug and this poster for The Amazing Spider Man 2 are obviously similar, and it's not a question of "lacking originality," rather, wanting to build off the image to establish a wider range of vocabulary with the audience. Film makers aren't nearly as dumb as some dumb fans think they are: they know you have seen this poster and they want you to think of Smaug when you see the new Spider Man poster because this is the way--without any words--the film makers communicate that the two ideas, the two stories are connected in a way they want us to think about, so we should. The image has been reversed in that the dragon Smaug sees the hero Bilbo Baggins (whom we see reflected in his eye) who will ultimately be responsible for helping to destroy him, whereas the hero Spider Man sees his ultimate foe, who is desperately trying to destroy him, and the country with him.  The eye is the window of the soul, even if it's the soul of a fearsome dragon, so we can deduce how afraid Peter Parker (Spider Man) is of seeing this terrible foe if it's being put on the level of a dragon being destroyed by a hobbit (Spider Man is like the hobbit, and Electro [Jamie Foxx] is like Smaug).
This is the final trailer for The Amazing Spider Man 2 and, even though we have seen some of the stuff all ready at the start of the trailer, just watch it to the end, because this is going to be incredible, really:
Just a few notes: first, we have all ready discussed how Peter Parker, aka Spider Man, very much takes on the role of America-As-Super-Power in this film: everyone kind of hates Spider Man because he is who he is, but everyone kind of needs Spider Man because he is who he is. In other words, if you replace "I" when Peter reflects upon himself with "America" you get a very interesting political philosophy of identity (it doesn't go so smooth with Obama working on his basketball bracket instead of dealing with Ukraine; we all know Wichita State University is going to win, right?). On a similar note of Obama, we have also discussed what I think is a trend in big Hollywood films of casting well-known liberal stars in the roles of villains to help clearly establish what the enemy of the film looks like (which is why Jamie Foxx is in the film). But there is something very "Thor" like about a certain spot in the film,...
Pirates Of the Caribbean 5 does not have a greenlight to start production. It will not be produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and most of the cast is still up in the air. It has been officially rumored that Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Bastards, Django Unchained) will portray the principle bad guy in the film, and it's assumed Johnny Depp will be returning (Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom will not be returning, at least at this point, and there is some unofficial rumors about a farm girl and a farm boy taking their "place" in the next three films,... but that rumor is unofficial. At this point, numerous scripts have been nixed, including the last one by writer Jeff Nathanson who did Men In Black 3 (so I am terribly disappointed as that was an incredibly pro-America, pro-capitalist film). According to Disney executives, the storyline was too complicated and too many things were going on,... oh, wait, that was POTC 4. Originally scheduled for release in July 2015, Dead Men Tell No Tales has been moved to 2016.  
At 1:07, if you watch the trailer closely, we see glass cases with R&D weapons, rather like the glass cases we see in The Collector's (Benecio Del Toro) locale in the first post-credits scene. Likewise, with Jamie Foxx's character being, how should we put it, "fully charged," it might be a kind of Frankenstein's monster scenario with him (at 1:00, on the immediate left side of the screen, is a vat of electric eels which is sometimes associated with Frankenstein).
It has been revealed, but not much else, that Star Wars VII will take place 30 years after the events of Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi, and will feature a trio of new, young stars, along with the familiar faces of Hans, Leah (Carrie Fisher will be in London for 6 months of shooting) and Luke. Shooting starts in May. It is the running joke that the only actual cast member officially in the film--the only one confirmed by the studio--is R2D2. Ghostbusters 3 has lost its director: Ivan Reitman, who directed the first two Ghostbusters, has decided not to do the third installment after the death of fellow film maker Harold Ramis, At this point, Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie) are in talks to take over, which is disturbing to me because those were both liberal films, but that doesn't mean Ghostbusters 3 won't be good.
The Peanuts gang is coming to the big screen and has released this teaser to announce the November 6, 2015 of the 3D film; rumor has it that Charlie Brown's life-long crush, only referred to as the "Little Red-Haired Girl," will have her name revealed.
Now, if you haven't been to the movies lately, you probably haven't seen the3D trailer for Godzilla. Another trailer has been released, this one emphasizing Bryan Cranston's role. In anticipation of the film, and because I love the genre so much, I have just received my two-disc, deluxe Godzilla Criterion Collection which has both versions on it. For those of you who don't know, there are "two originals" of the Godzilla film:  the original 1954 Japanese version, directed by Honda, and the "American" "original" version from 1956 starring Raymond Burr which cut out nearly half of the Japanese footage and did some re-filming (both are on the Criterion edition you can get by clicking on the link to Amazon above). Why all this happened is incredibly important and I'm dying to talk about it, but we'll have to wait just a bit. In  the meantime, here is the latest Godzilla trailer:
There's a little detail. At 0:08, in the upper-center quadrant of the screen, you can see The Grand Hotel flashing on the building. In 1932, a huge film was made called The Grand Hotel, starring Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Lionel Barrymore, John Barrymore and Wallace Beery. Anyone who has seen the film knows money plays a huge role in the lives of everyone in the narrative, so it's something for us to keep in mind when we see the film. Before the film comes out in May, I promise to post on the "original" Japanese Godzilla and the Americanized Raymond Burr Godzilla because they are important films and detail how influential art can be. In the meantime, I am working on Divergent.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Game Masters & Revolution: The Hunger Games Catching Fire

I am actually going to use my mom's interpretation.
For new readers, I want you to know that I do not like this story; further, last year, "socialism" and "capitalism" were the two most-looked up words on the internet and that has been reflected in art, specifically, film, where so many in Hollywood are liberals/socialists/communists, but the capitalists have made a strong stand. Having said that, I would like to provide you with my mom's views of The Hunger Games, because I think it's her perspective--rather than the film's own agenda--driving people to see it. I know there are people who will deny this is a political film; revolution, riots, protests, spying, martial law and alliances are political, and all these factors are variants in the narrative; the real question is, who does The Hunger Games: Catching Fire support?
My original interpretation of The Hunger Games, which I stand by completely (The Hunger Games: Hitler & America's Anti-Socialism), is that 74 years ago, Hitler took actions that led to World War II, and America had been living off the socialist programs of President Roosevelt throughout the Great Depression until Americans saw the horrors of socialism and communism in Europe, making Americans vow we would not become socialist, leading to a massive surge in capitalist reforms and programs, which (according to the narrative) is synomous to the Great Rebellion memorialized by the enactment of the Hunger Games each year. Capitalism is based upon competition, and the arena of the Hunger Games, for socialists, illustrates the "free market" because what the film has done is turned a business into a human being (the other contestants) and they want to convince you that any time a business "dies," it's like a human being dies, because competition is bad (don't believe me? In Catching Fire, they want you to believe that shooting a turkey is as bad as shooting a human, and YES, they did know this would be coming out right before Thanksgiving, and they want you to be thinking of this at your family feast).  Socialists hate competition in any form, usually because they themselves are mediocrities and can't compete without affirmative action sticking up for them and forcing someone to hire them for tax incentives; in validation of this interpretation, both The Internship (Vince Vaughan, Owen Wilson) and Monsters University (Billy Crystal, John Goodman) agree with this interpretation and worked references of the Hunger Games into their story lines about competition. This continues in Catching Fire: Katniss wants to destroy the arena where all competition takes place because, to destroy the arena is to destroy the government (the Capitol is where all the capitalists live). Let's take a look at a dramatically different take on the "arena," 42, the story of Jackie Robinson. Had the great Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball player in the major leagues, not gone into that arena (or, had the arena not existed for Robinson to even enter in the first place) how much longer would real changes in racism have been prolonged? One of the best scenes of 42 is when the Dodgers' short stop Pee Wee--who has been threatened before because of Robinson--stands with Robinson looking at the crowd, so everyone knows what Pee Wee believes in, and that is the American Dream for all people (please see Real Racism: 42 & Dimensions Of the American Dream for more). In THGCF, people are uniting with Katniss to tear something down; in 42, people unite with Jackie Robinson to build something up; which side do you want to be on? 
When my mom (a baby-boomer) saw The Hunger Games, she said the sight of such poverty, hardship and want of basic necessities made her think of communism in the Soviet Union and Europe, because those are the types of things she thinks of when she thinks of dictatorships: black markets and people starving, there never being enough and people being forced to work jobs they don't want to do because the government has told them they have to; a rich elite that doesn't care about the suffering of ordinary people and lies while spreading propaganda, continuously feeding the population instead of real news. A socialist government would create a diversion like the Hunger Games, she said, because they don't value human life, but they have to keep attention away from the corruption and greed of the government, like the people living in the capitol. This article, Hunger Games Taps the Desire For Freedom, certainly agrees with my mom's interpretation and and even mirrors the environment of George Orwell's anti-communist novel, 1984.
What's the deal with the wedding dress? President Snow wants her to wear it in hopes it will convey to people that Katniss is "married" to the Capitol, to the Games, and to Panam. Cinna wants people to know she is married to the revolution that is coming. When Katniss turns around after her interview with Ceasar, the flames burn away the wedding dress and she wears a Mockingjay costume, which gets Cinna in so much trouble, we don't even know if he's still alive or not. To Snow, the white dress aligns Katniss to him (Snow and white go together, right?) but Cinna's black Mockingjay dress is an image of death meant to inspire Katniss' devotion to the revolution. Does Peeta lie when he says that he and Katniss were married in secret? No, because in the bonding of their friendship, they have "married" each other by vowing that the other should live if it comes down to it, but Katniss has also married herself to the idea of destroying the arena, and Peeta has married himself to the idea of keeping Katniss alive for the sake of the revolution taking place, which leads us to Peeta's "second lie": the baby bomb. Yes, Katniss is pregnant, but she doesn't know it, because that baby is the revolution taking place to which she has given birth in being a "beacon of hope." When Snow calls Katniss a beacon of hope, it's to compare her to Obama, who, for socialists, has been their beacon of hope to destroy America/capitalism and bring in socialism (although Barbara Walters admitted publicly that Obama was their messiah, but is no longer due to the disasters of Obamacare).
The spying President Snow does on Katniss will probably make most people think of Obama, not Reagan or Bush, since the NSA has been given all our data by companies such as Verizon and Apple, along with Google and Facebook providing all of our records of internet use and searches, not to mention drones spying on Americans. This hasn't happened in America before 2008. We could also site, for my mom's interpretation, the lavish party and constant guest appearances which echo Obama's own social life (remember, after Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas and blew off the deaths and console attack, rather like the big party at Snow's mansion while riots are taking place on the streets in the various districts). We certainly can't ignore the unprecedented use of talk show hosts Obama has made use of (Leno, Letterman, The View and other shows on stations like MSNBC) to elevate personages like Cesar Flickermann and grant them greater political levity than they should have. But there is an even greater reason for audiences seeing Snow as a metaphor for Obama,....
An image like this is meant to idealize those pictured--the image has obviously been airbrushed, but it wants us to know it has been airbrushed--because the idealized becomes the idolized. On one side of this debate, we know this is a critique of capitalism because capitalism does this with stars in all entertainment industries; on the other hand, we can also say this "idolization" of Katniss mirrors the idolization of Barack Obama and the "worshipful" measures his supporters take in conveying his persona (more on this below). On a different note, please, remember, Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is being a "dual-personality" in the story, and when an image of someone/something is presented, when "duplicity" is introduced as a narrative vehicle (like half of the contestants in the Games agreeing to help Katniss win and sacrificing themselves for her in spite of the rules and the fronts they put on) that single instance of duplicity is a warning that there are other instances of duplicity, like Snow pretending to be Katniss' friend even though he wants her exterminated, or Heavensbee pretending to be a Gamemaster when he really intends to start a revolution. Why is this important? It's the element of "self-awareness" we have discussed so many times, that the film knows you exist in a world outside of the film, and it's acknowledging that world and what happens in it; why? All art acts as a metaphor for our own culture, regardless of how fantastic or cruel or primitive that alternate universe might be, but when the film intentionally wants to communicate to you, the film bridges the divide so it's easier for the viewer to cross-over and see the "mirror imaging" taking place (exactly how the art provides a metaphor for the viewer to ponder) and that's how duplicity is being used as an agent of self-awareness: we think we look at a character and see one thing (like Heavensbee being the Gamemaster) but then look again and see he's the reverse, he's the Revolution Master. Likewise, the pattern being established by the film is meant to reflect that pattern of events we see in society; the question is, does it support or counter the way you see society, and in what ways?
It's Haymitch that tells Katniss and Peeta their job is to be a distraction, but it's Snow who insists Katniss play the good-girl who is grateful to the capitol so people will continue believing in the system. How does this reflect Obama? There have been, literally, countless scandals of felony proportions throughout his corrupt career, but--using the media, like Cesar in the film--Obama gets people to focus on things like Trayvon Martin, or the Big 8 basketball series, a party he's throwing with Beyoncé and Jay-z; we're not supposed to talk about what a failure Obamacare is, or where are the witnesses from the Benghazi attacks, or how the cartels got the American guns in the Fast and Furious scandal, or how a known anti-American terrorist (Bill Ayers) wrote Obama's memoir, or the employment of the IRS to target Obama's political enemies, etc., etc., etc., because anytime Obama is doing something, a "divergence" is created (I won't name specific instances here) for Obama to use as a political platform.
An interesting detail occurs when President Snow "visits" Katniss in the Victors' Village in District 12: he takes a bite of a cookie and asks Katniss if her mother made them, and Katniss responds, no, that Peeta did. We have seen "role reversals" in other films, and we could certainly say that even in The Hunger Games, Peeta's own mom knew Katniss had a better chance of surviving the Games than her own son, but we see Peeta acting like a mother to Katniss when he stays with her because she has the bad dreams about a little girl volunteering to go to the Games the way Katniss did, and in going to Haymitch 45 minutes before Katniss did to arrange with Haymitch that Katniss should be the one to survive the Games. Why is this important? Role reversal--or the castration of white men, to put it in another way--is necessary for feminists because without handicaps being placed on all others, feminists aren't capable of achieving anything because they believe they are entitled to positions of power because women have been historically oppressed by white men, just like other minorities. So, in achieving this role reversal (in this case, with Peeta being placed in a woman's role that we are supposed to think about because it's introduced by Snow, "Did your mother make this?" as opposed to Cinna possibly being in a "feminine role" as a fashion designerwith all these men elevating Katniss to the top of society) there is not only the reversal in sex roles, but of all nature: please recall those turkeys at the start of the show: "turkeys are people, too," they want you to believe, but actually, they want you to put turkeys above people just so they can start controlling you and demonstrating how far brainwashing has taken root. Do not take this lightly: in both Captain America the Winter Soldier and Oblivion, there is brainwashing taking place, so no, I am not crazy.
In conjunction with all this--including the NSA spying on citizens, politicians and the leaders of other countries--there is an even more sinister tie to Obama in Catching Fire that we have all ready seen in another film that viewers like my mom are sure to link to the current administration: martial law.
"Since the last games, something's changed," and Katniss asks her little sister what has changed, and Prim replies, "Hope." What was the political slogan of Obama? Hope and change. Prim, who does such a mature job of taking control when Gale is injured from the lashing, illustrates that--even though she is still just a girl--she's more capable than her mother (who, you might recall, Katniss reprimanded in The Hunger Games before she left her family and told her mother to take care of Prim, but it's obvious that Prim takes care of her mother). Why this role reversal? For at least two reasons. First, women symbolize "the motherland," and Mrs. Everdeen is the motherland that is under the control of President Snow: not productive, not aware of what's happening, useless. Prim, as a young women approaching child-bearing age, symbolizes the future of the motherland, one more active, capable and aware of what's happening, one ready and willing to sacrifice herself to make something happen.
"Daddy," the little girl asks Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) in World War Z, "what's martial law?" and he responds, "It's like house rules, but for everyone." Well, do the scenes of martial law in THGCF look like house rules to you? When did Bush or Reagan put Americans under martial law? My mother would argue, and I think this is substantial, that socialists put people under martial law because they want control, and this is absolutely correct, but to me, that's not what's happening here: they want you to associate martial law with the coming revolution so when Obama starts declaring martial law and using the federal government to seize any and all private sector industries deemed "necessary," martial law will be viewed as a good thing (again, this is brainwashing). For people like my mom, however, they are seeing through this and this validates that they don't want anymore Obama before he gets a chance at martial law or worse.
Why does Johanna take off her clothes in the elevator in front of Haymitch, Peeta and Katniss? One possible interpretation is that she's an exhibitionist, and her outspoken behavior at Cesar's show against being enrolled in the Games again certainly testifies to that; another interpretation, a solid one whenever a character's clothes have been removed, is they have been "exposed" in some lie or act of dishonesty. Towards the end of the film, when Volts is rigging the electrical shock, and Katniss and Johanna have to take the copper wiring to the water, and Johanna "attacks" Katniss we seem to see how Johanna has really behaved all this time (like in the image of her above, one arm is covered in a sleeve, the other arm is exposed) to go against Katniss, but it's not until Haymitch explains to Katniss what has happened that we understand, so, again, this is another example of duplicity: we thought we understood Johanna has being a character to "bare all" (even though her holding onto Katniss when the clock was spinning didn't make sense at the time) but this effort to save Katniss is really an effort to save Obama. Hasn't every major news organization sacrificed their self and ratings to "protect" Obama the same way Katniss is being protected? Think of all the Hollywood actors who have stood up and campaigned for Obama and now that Obamacare results are rolling in, look utterly foolish.
This is a great point: there is no such thing as being right or wrong in artistic interpretation/criticism; there are only interpretations that are more fruitful than others and, I will say, that even though my interpretation accounts for more details, I think my mother's response to the film accurately reflects more people's interaction with the events than does mine.  There is an important detail in the oldest player: Mags.
There are a number of characters to discuss in this film, but a real question we should be asking is, why does Haymitch choose Finnick O'Dair to be Katniss' ally when she doesn't choose him herself? Haymitch chooses Finnick for the same reason Katniss doesn't want him: he's bold. Finnick's strength makes him threatening to Katniss, but his strength wins Haymitch's trust that he can keep Katniss safe and lead her to her ultimate goal. This is a great example of where costume makes the character (for those who, like myself, are a fan of the SyFy channel's TV reality show competition Face Off that inspires future special effects designers, you know Ve Neill and Glen Hetrick, whose designs were used in the film). Finnick's pants and shirt, basically, don't match, but they don't need to because this costume is meant to communicate to us, not be a Effie Trinket fashion statement. Let's start with the shirt. The upper-half of the body is where our heart is located, so the upper-half are our hopes and dreams, that part where Finnick wears an open, natural colored shirt. The opening of the shirt is supposed to convey that--just as Katniss suspected him of being arrogant and vain--we think Finnick is an open book and we think we "see" him "exposed" but the strange necklace he wears around his neck is what really guides him. In the film, Katniss tells Peeta her favorite color is green, probably because green is the color of hope. The lower-half of our body symbolizes the appetites because that's where both the genitals are located and where we rid ourselves of waste created by our appetites.  Finnick's lower-half being covered in green suggests he, like Katniss, longs for hope, however, Finnick also has a lighter green, animal-textured bit of fabric, suggesting he has animal passions (like the sugar cube he offers Katniss even though they are really for the horses) mingling with his higher passions for political freedom. On his feet are black military boots: black is the color of death, either the death that comes from despair, or the positive death-to-the-world so the world doesn't control you; knowing Finnick doesn't kill anyone but in self-defense, we can deduce that his black military boots express his worldly experiences that have taught Finnick to be dead to the world even as he appears to relish and take it all in. He sits in the chair because, unlike Katniss, he has accepted the throne and place of honor accorded to him by the Capitol, even though they despise him. The white rose is the sign of Finnick's "friendship" with President Snow and his role as a victor.
Now, someone saw this commercial promoting Agenda 21 on television and started taping it. The woman is saying that the world is over-populated and can't handle the sheer number of people, and the elderly should want to leave a good world to their grandchildren:
"I have lived a good life," is another way of saying "Euthanize me." The majority of readers at this blog are Christians, as I myself am, so the idea of ending someone's life prematurely by means other than those decided by God in your destiny is repugnant and murderous. But we have to take note: the whole drive of denying the existence of the soul, of God, or "good suffering" (redemptive suffering) and following God's commands, are all designed to kill people and not think about it. Mags, when she "sacrifices herself" so that Finnick can carry Peeta rather than herself, she is acting out exactly what is in this commercial: we are a burden on the youth (they are carrying us) so we need to die in order for them to live. Forget history, role models and parenting (all that will be done by the state now, who is Nanny); the main drive towards "senior sacrifice" is to make any elderly person who doesn't want to die look selfish. If the elderly are living, history is living, and the knowledge of how things used to be and are supposed to be, that's one of two reasons why socialists love kids: one, they don't know anything and two, they don't have any property so they aren't losing anything.
Why is Katniss "the girl on fire?" Is it just because of the dress Cinna made for her? No, something about Katniss inspired him to create her to be that. Normally, to be on fire is associated with love/lust, in this case, it would be that Katniss loved her sister so much, she volunteered for Primrose so Prim would live; however, while fire is a "purging element," cleansing us of impurities through the trial of fire, fire dis also a destructive force, and Katniss "being on fire" is probably apt to unleash that fire on the capitol so, instead of being destroyed in the Games herself, she is going to destroy the capitol through the Games with the "fire of revolution," specifically, the gunfire and violence of revolution. When the film opens, we see Katniss alone, looking out over a barren winter landscape, the opposite of "the girl on fire" because there is only the cold of winter, and it's as if the narrative wants to tell us that, without the fury aroused in her by the violence of the Games, Katniss can't be the "girl on fire" because there is nothing there to stir up the burning embers that, otherwise, are just dying. This leads us back again to the importance of Cinna because he made tangible--through her costumes--the association between Katniss and fire. Why does Cinna design Snow's wedding dress to burn away and leave the black Mockingjay costume? I don't know if Cinna (probably not Effie) was in on the overthrow of the Games with Haymitch, Plutarch and Finnick, but the "catching fire" we are supposed to catch is the destructive fires of revolution to American society. 
Why is there the "Tick-tock, tick-tock" that Nuts reveals to Katniss? The pattern of when certain catastrophes are going to happen, which certainly spawns speculation about "false flag events" we have been witnessing, sponsored terrorism in our country by the federal government to advance their agenda, such as gun control. Socialists are in on all of this, but they think conservatives are too dumb to understand, so the "pattern" Nuts reveals to Katniss is really declaring that liberals are the implied viewers of the film, and not to get upset when TSHTF because it's all running on schedule.
Does this scene remind you of another film you have seen? It reminded me, at least, of Cecil B. DeMill's The Ten Commandments (Charlston Heston), when Moses saves the old woman, his own mother from the grinding stone that is going to crush her (symbolic, of course, of the "grinding labor" the Egyptians demanded of the Israelites and how the whole nation of Israel was being wiped out through slavery). Anyway, Gale saving the old woman, and being punished, then Katniss coming to save him, is supposed to invoke a Moses-like aura about her, that she will lead her people to freedom from the oppression of the capitol (remember, Moses is also associated with fire in the burning bush). Katniss as the Mockingjay, the Messianic figure, is supposed to invoke Obama who wants America to think of him as our Savior who is saving us from being Americans (we will see the same sort of Messianic conception in Darren Aronofsky's Noah with Russell Crowe). Now, on a slightly different note: does Katniss love Peeta or Gail? Well, she definitely gets closer to Peeta during this film, and seems to drift further from Gale (remember, it's Katniss' idea that Peeta and herself get married). This relationship is, perhaps, a sign that, indeed, Katniss has become "one of them" and a member of the capitol, rather than the squirrel-hunter from District 12.  Are we, as the audience, rooting for Gale or for Peeta? Perhaps Gale all ready knows he has lost and that's why he has started calling Katniss "Catnip," it's basically marijuana for cats, making them high, and in calling her this name, Gale recognizes that being famous has given Katniss a kind of high, regardless of whether she admits it or not, and he won't ever get her for himself.
Again, the "arena" is the most important symbol of the film, for the film itself and for those of us who are capitalists. Films such as The Internship, Monsters University, 42, Pitch Perfect, Moneyball and Battle Of the Year demonstrate the importance of competition and, not just because of the virtues we build up, but because it provides that chance for us to fulfill our destiny, whatever arena we may be participating in. THGCF and socialists deny that you and I have destinies because they deny that we have any being apart from that of common animals.
So, what does the film mean?
So, what's up with Gloss and Cashmere, the brother-sister team who won back-to-back Games? We have seen this all ready in The Hunger Game, The Heat, The Conjuring, Frozen and World War Z: family is a burden. In The Hunger Games, if Katniss didn't have a sister, she wouldn't have to take care of her and she wouldn't have had to volunteer to be in the Games. In The Heat (Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy), Mullins' family is a nightmare and she's constantly having to look out for her trouble-some brother (another example of role-reversal) and, if it weren't for him, she wouldn't be in the trouble she's in. If Mr. Perron didn't have so many kids, he wouldn't have had a problem finding someone to stay with in The Conjuring, and they wouldn't have needed such a big house, so they never would have moved there to begin with. Elysium blames overpopulation on the disease and problems of the world. If Ryan, Sandra Bullock's character in Gravity, had been born a boy instead of a girl, she wouldn't have a boy's name, and if she hadn't had a girl of her own, she wouldn't have gone into such a depression when the little girl died. In Frozen, if Anna's "boyfriend" Hans hadn't come from such a big family, he wouldn't have used Anna the way he did, while in World War Z, if Gerry didn't have a wife and kids, he wouldn't be going through all the troubles of having to save them from zombies, and his wife wouldn't have called when he was riding the bike and got everyone killed by the zombies. Family, for socialists, is nothing but a burden, so you better take your birth control pills, get lots of condoms, or have an abortion because you don't want to get stuck with a family. In the exact opposite direction, we see Dom and Lettie in Fast and Furious 6, "You don't turn your back on family," and even when Lettie shoots him, Dom is determined to save her at any costs (not to mention when Mia is taken as a hostage and Hobbs has to let Shaw get away to save Mia). At the end of the film, what do they want? To be back home, together as a family. In Oblivion with Tom Cruise, he sacrifices his life for his wife and (unknowingly) his daughter so his family can live. In Ender's Game, the family received special permission to have Ender because they wanted him, and having Ender--who, as a third child, was against the state's population control measure--actually ends up saving the world that would have said he couldn't even be born. In Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, the stakes are even higher. Tyson, the Cyclops and half-brother to Percy Jackson, is un-welcomed by everyone and the film goes out of its way to emphasize how clumsy, awkward and troublesome he is, but by the end of the film, both Percy and the audience realize how perfect Tyson is and that family is everything. Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters is the same: the brother and sister count on each other and would do anything to save one another. In Thor the Dark World, it doesn't matter how many times or how deeply Loki has betrayed Thor, Thor still wants to get his brother back and would do anything to save and protect Loki, no burden would be too heavy for Thor to bear to save his brother. Conservatives will value the family, whereas socialists and liberals will want to paint the family and family members in a negative light and as a burden; why? Population control. If either Gloss or Cashmere want to live, they face potentially having to kill each other to survive, or have their own chances of surviving threatened by the psychological loss of the other during the Games. The film wants us to think, if neither the brother or the sister had to worry about the other, if their parents had been smart and used birth control, they wouldn't be in this situation.
On a number of levels, my mom is right: all the aspects of the film making her think of communism are correctly associated with communism and being implemented by Obama. What socialists want to do, however, is make Americans think that democracy and capitalism is what has done this to us, that the socialists are trying to save us from want, from jobs we don't want, from being torn apart from our family, being forced to play little league, etc., and socialism will be the utopia to save us from it. How can I say this? Another film flipped socialism and capitalism this exact same way, The Purge, and, like The Hunger Games, replaces "business" in capitalist competition with "people" so when they are in the arena, it's not businesses competing to get your dollar, socialists see it as actual people competing to stay alive (I know, it's utterly childish) and they do this exact same scenario in The Purge (for more, please see The Hunger Games: Hitler & America's Anti-Socialism, and The New Founding Fathers: The Purge & Releasing the Beast). But, as long as we know about it, we can keep on the look out for it and be the wiser for it.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
We see Brad Pitt wearing a similar gray scarf in World War Z.

Divergent FYI

I went all the way across town to catch an early viewing of Divergent, and it was sold out. It's spring break, so if you plan on seeing it, or any film this weekend, you might want to get those tickets ahead of time.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Maleficent & Re-Writing Our History

I don't pause to say this often enough, so I am going to say it now in the hopes that you will remember it when I go a long time without saying it, without realizing that I haven't said it: there is no right or wrong interpretation. There are interpretations which are more fruitful than other interpretations, interpretations which can account for more of the information contained within a work of art and interpretations which do more to expand our engagement with the art. Different critics have different goals for their interpretations, and mine is always to account for as much of the information in a work of art as possible; I don't know that I actually accomplish that, but that's my goal.
When I feel that I am wrong, I apologize immediately and point out how I was wrong and why; if I am uncertain about something, I try to communicate that. Now, moving along, while I watched the promised Maleficent trailer about her wings today, a rotten feeling came over me and I don't think this film is going to be any good. In the newest trailer, released just today, the title card says, "You know the tale, Now find out the truth." It's a fairy tale. There is no "truth" to it, unless, of course, you are the object of the fairy tale's lesson, in which case, you are re-writing the tale and parading it as "truth" even though there is no such thing within the context of a fairy tale. Now that I have ranted, here is the trailer:
We now know there is a dragon.
The inclusion in previous trailers of animated clips from Disney's 1959 version, where they demonstrate how close to the original they want us to believe they are making the new version, now seems to have been rather mis-leading with all the new "updating" they have done. Permit me, dear reader, to be very clear about this: each generation has to have its own art because each generation has its own struggles and needs a means of exerting its own identity. I am not against updating Maleficent or the story of Aurora; what I am against, with this story and all of art and history, is the re-writing of the originals to make them say something they didn't. With this latest trailer, it's more like they are mocking the original version, which, I am afraid, is exactly what we will discover.
Why would they do that?
Why go to all the trouble to re-make a film, only to mock the original? If they thought the original was mocking them. I promise we will go in-depth on the Sleeping Beauty tales and the Disney animated version, but we can at least say that the original Sleeping Beauty was a counter-argument to the Sexual Revolution: it's 1959 and people are engaging in sexual activity increasingly outside the boundaries of marriage and even heterosexual unions. The pill and abortion will both soon be legalized, decreasing women's inhibitions about promiscuous sexual behavior and Disney was basically combatting that with Sleeping Beauty.  Again, we will go into greater depth later, but I don't think I will now find Maleficent a film that I can get excited about.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Monday, March 17, 2014

Naked Science: Thor the Dark World & the Infection That Protects Itself

Dr. Eric Selvig provides patients in a mental ward a lecture on the upcoming Convergence of the 9 Realms, explaining why the Convergence is of upmost importance, and how his special sensors are designed to stabilize the imminent play of physics so the earth will escape unharmed; why is this scene important? It's a device to tell us, the audience--not the patients in the film--what the film is truly about. The most famous example of this technique was done in in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, when the economics teacher, played by Ben Stein, gives his lecture on "Voodoo Economics,": the students in the class aren't students, they are us, the bored audience, preferring to watch Ferris rather than be told about the impending economic doom--according to the film makers--about to befall us from the effects of Reganomics (please see Abe Froman, the Sausage King Of Chicago fore more). So, what's the true danger the film makers are warning us the audience about via Selvig's lecture to uninterested patients? There are two important clues.
I had high expectations for the film going in and, to be perfectly honest with you, Thor the Dark World exceeded every one of them. It could not have been more spectacular, entertaining nor as artistically woven together. Every aspect of the story fits in perfectly with the next piece, and we should expect that: Marvel has assured fans that all their movies and television shows will impact one another and be a whole, so what's true in Thor will be true in SHIELD, and Captain America and Iron Man, etc. This is a feat, not only because it's difficult to keep up with this many story lines, but because it's difficult to maintain that massive of a "reality" without contradiction or sliding, in other words, it demonstrates that there is a strong, strong foundation upon which the Marvel stories have been built, and that foundation will not be abandoned, but strengthened even further. Perhaps the most important moment of Thor the Dark World is when Thor meets with Heimdgall and tells him that what they are about to do is treason "of the highest order. Success will mean our exile, failure will mean our death," and we have all ready seen this in 47 Ronin, when the Ronin are faced with exactly the same situation.
Pretending like we are Sherlock Holmes, the first clue is the shoe Selvig employs to help him illustrate the Convergence. One, of all the things Selvig could have grabbed, he grabbed a shoe (don't forget, shoes are important in this film: Darcy wants to throw a shoe into the physic anomaly the kids show them, then Jane and Thor discover the shoes when Richard calls on Jane's phone, so the shoe is a recurring motif in the film, a line of references we are supposed to note and connect together). It's a tennis shoe, a shoe worn by athletes (the person it belongs to is the other clue) for athletic activity. Why is that important? Competition. Shoes symbolize our will, because our feet--where we put shoes on--takes us places just as our will takes us to where we want to go in life, so this shoe communicates to us that the will power of the owner is that towards competition, which leads us now to the second clue: the shoe's owner.
The first time we see Selvig in Thor the Dark World, he's running around Stonehenge, naked, on the news. Why? Because, when we saw him in The Avengers, he was running around New York City (the most technologically advanced financial capital of the world, juxtaposing the ancient Stonehenge to NYC) but "clothed" in the evil intentions of Loki (and yes, it's right for us to be thinking of this, because Loki is mentioned immediately by Selvig when he sees Thor and, when Jane first meets Loki, she punches him and says, "That's for New York"). Selvig is naked because he was doing "naked science," as opposed to Jane who is not. In other words, Selvig doesn't have any agenda or motivation "clothing" his research, he doesn't have anything "up his sleeve" that he's hiding, he won't benefit from this in anyway: he is completely "exposed" and this is a good state for him to be in because it illustrates his honesty. Jane Foster, on the other hand, is not "naked" nor exposed. Jane wants to find Thor again, and she hides that personal desire underneath her scientific guise (more on this in the next caption). Now, why does Selvig "think better" with his pants off? We just discussed this with Bud Grossman (F. Murray Abraham) in Inside Llewlyn Davis: it's symbolic of the "creative act." Having his pants off situates Selvig in an intimate situation, like a groom with his bride, because that is what science is to Selvig, his bride, to whom he gives himself completely and in giving himself to science, that is when he is most alive and most involved in "the creative act." The next most important thing about Selvig is why he hugs everyone for so long: Darcy and Thor, he almost won't let go of them, and that, too, is probably a remnant of The Avengers when everyone came so close to annihilation (partly because of Selvig himself) and Selvig holding onto people, one, demonstrates he recognizes how fleeting life is (especially since he understands the dimensions of the Convergence about to happen) and, two, how dear to him these people are. Last point of discussion: Selvig's weird clothes. In this shot, he wears a gray sweater with navy blue basketball (gym) shorts; it must be fairly cool outside because everyone wears pants and jackets, so Selvig's clothes are more of a costume than regular street clothes (yes, yes, yes, of course he was naked in the previous scene and had to be given clothes to wear because he didn't have any of his own, HOWEVER, this is an exploitive point in the narrative [he could be wearing all an all white "inmate" jump suit or some other uniform, rather than random clothes) so, the question is, why is there a break in the plot to spend time showing the audience Selvig wearing this ensemble? The shorts emphasize what we just deduced with the gym shoes: athletics, Selvig is competing, and it's easy to see what he competes against when he, Darcy and Ian go outside and see the Starlings acting strangely: the Convergence is happening sooner than he thought, so he's "in a race against time" (the competition). He wears shorts, rather than a jersey or shirt that implies the athletic theme, because legs symbolize "our standing" in society, our reputation, so his reputation in the scientific world--and the world in general after what he contributed to in The Avengers--is at stake regarding how this "race against time" turns out because, if he's wrong, he'll be "left out in the cold" (wearing shorts when it's cool weather outside to reflect ostracization if he's wrong about the Convergence).  Why the gray sweater? It's a sweater because, right now, he is out in the cold: no one else knows about the Convergence but him, and he has to "keep himself warm" in assurance that he is right about what is going to happen, while at the same time remembering that, if he's wrong, he will be out in the cold permanently (the shorts in cool weather). The sweater is gray, then, because gray is both the color of penance and the color of the pilgrim: in earlier, days of history, people would perform acts of penance (symbolized by putting ashes on their head--ashes are gray--because that was an act of humility, "From ash you came, to ash you return,") and the pilgrimage, usually to Jerusalem or some holy site, was undertaken to remind people that the true purpose of being on earth was the pilgrimage to heaven (this holds true for the wizard Gandalf the Gray in The Hobbit). Now, Selvig, we can further deduce, is doing penance for what he did in New York in helping Loki (remember, it's the first thing he mentions when he sees Thor), and his pilgrimage, then is remembering the real purpose of science, again, that it's not a vehicle for someone's agenda (Loki's), rather, a pursuit all its own for its own sake.
The little old man who asks, "Can I have my shoe back now?" is the great Stan Lee, executive producer of Iron Man, Spider Man, The Avengers, The Wolverine, Thor the Dark World, and just about all Marvel's film projects. Why is this important? For at least two reasons.  First, such an appearance is usually called a "cameo," (the most famous cameos being those by director Alfred Hitchcock in all 50 of the films he made) but when it's one of the principal film makers, I think the term "self-portrait" better qualifies the appearance, because Mr. Lee and the other film makers, by inserting a "real world person" into the make-believe world of Thor, want you to know that the make-believe world isn't so make-believe (because real people can go there) and there are real people making this film (it didn't just pop into existence on it's own). Secondly, invoking the real world (as we have discussed with trailers for Muppets Most Wanted UK) reminds viewers of the world they live in, and that there are parallels between our world and the one we are watching, like when the Dark Elves' ship crashes into the Palace of Asgard, we are meant to think of 9/11 and the destruction of the World Trade Centers. So, what does Stan Lee's tennis shoe mean?
Whereas Selvig "gives" himself to science (in not wearing pants while doing research) Jane uses science to get to Thor in hopes of mating with him; this alterior motive makes Jane weak which allows her to be "possessed" by the Aether. Now, before it sounds like I am being too hard on Jane, let's look a bit earlier in the film before the scene pictured above. In Asgard, Odin commands Thor to go and celebrate with his warriors and advises Thor that he would do better to take what his before him (Lady Sif), and we see Thor, presumably in his room, washing himself and looking out the window; when we first see Jane in the film, she's with Richard, Jane alludes to Thor, and Darcy shows up, astounded that Jane is wearing clean clothes, she's bathed and smells good, she's done her hair,.... Both Thor and Jane think they have cleansed themselves of the other--Thor of Jane after his father tells him to consider Sif, and Jane of Thor because she's gone out with Richard--but, in the reality of the film, they have prepared themselves to see the other again. When Thor comes to Jane, he says he believes that fate brought them together, and while, moments before, they each thought they would never see each other again, here they are, back together after two years. This might seem like a side-track, but it's utterly important. The reason Jane and Thor have to "be cleansed" before seeing the other is because that is what Love does to us. Love cleanses us of our weakness so we can be made strong to carry out the labors of Love that make Love stronger within us and, thereby, make us worthy of Love (that is the key to why Loki has not been converted, the reason Loki is in a state of rebellion with Frigga, Odin and Thor, Loki won't give himself to Love, he wants to take power, which is the exact opposite, more on that below, and instead of seeing what's good in people, Loki sees what's bad in them, and instead of seeing how others love him, Loki sees how he can use them for his own ends). If Jane were not a good and strong character, then the Aether inside of her would destroy her (Thor and Loki have this conversation about Jane when Loki lustily says, "Oh, what I could do with the power in her veins," and Thor retorts that Loki would be consumed by it; Jane holds up under the pressure of the power, as Thor tells us, because she has strength and goodness within her that Loki can't understand). Now, just because a character is good and strong, doesn't mean they don't still have flaws and weaknesses, which is the case of Jane Foster. Whereas Selvig was possessed by the Tesseract to overtake the world in The Avengers, Jane is possessed by the Aether to overtake the universe in Thor the Dark WorldThe reason Jane can be used as a vessel is because she has opened up to being dis-ingenuous (just like Loki in his disappearing and tricking Thor all the time) because she uses science for her own ends (to find Thor, which she admits, I wouldn't have found the Aether if I wasn't looking for you, she tells him) instead of how Selvig is now in this film, trying to understand the Convergence to save the world. Before Jane "finds" the Aether, there is blowing wind and "whooshing," and the wind pushes her into the anomaly where the Aether is; what's that all about? The "winds of change," the very same "winds of change" that are in Mary Poppins (hey, it works because it works). So what's the big deal? In being "dis-ingenuous" she becomes like the Aether itself, not only being a vessel by means of which it can escape its hiding place, but also giving it greater power because she is such a "good" person (we all agree on that, she's a good person, she just committed a very human folly) the Aether feeds off her being a host and "host" should be taken as a political term (more discussion on the Aether below; you can also check the Marvel wikipedia here). Scientists doing experiments for their own ends, in other words, found science they shouldn't be doing, and in finding this science, they became hosts to the science and the political means needed to carry out that science.
The tennis shoes symbolize a will (the shoe) turned towards competition and drive (the shoes are athletic shoes, not loafers or house shoes or orthopedic shoes [which is what one would expect with an elderly owner], etc.); that the shoe belongs to Stan Lee, the executive producer, is meant as a not-so-subliminal message that his movies will support the competitive spirit of America, democracy and capitalism, and, if you don't believe me, you might want to just glance your eye over this article. But there are two more important instances of "shoes" in the film, and the first one is the strange case of Loki not wearing any shoes at all,....
Please click on the image to expand. It looks like Loki's feet are bleeding in this brief scene, however, that's not the case: there was some fruit that was turned over onto the floor (in the extreme foreground of the last frame, under the word "brother," you can see some of it) and he had stepped on that fruit, the crushing of it resulting in the juice staining his feet. Just a detail? I think not. Frigga, Odin and Thor tell Loki that his imprisonment is the result of his actions, his abuse of power; for those who think it's too harsh for someone to take responsibility for their actions--and that's sadly becoming common place in America---the film makers validate that Loki's imprisonment is the direct result of his assault on humanity. Feet, again, symbolize our will, and Loki's feet being bare means that his will is "exposed" and the crushed fruit (probably symbolic of "forbidden fruit" because Loki never should have gone anywhere seeking to rule) not only invokes the blood he caused to be spilt (the fruit juice looks like Loki's own blood) but as well the fruit that has been ruined (Loki can't do anything now or hope for anything because he is imprisoned for life so his life will "bear no fruit" that will last, in crushing the people on earth, Loki has really only crushed himself). Whereas Loki's feet are exposed--like his will to power being exposed--Thor, on the other hand, wears a dark colored wrap around his shoulders and chest; why? He's covering his heart so Loki can't see how much Thor still loves him, because Thor knows, sadly, that Loki will abuse Thor's love for him and hurt himself (Loki) even more. The dominant color associate with Loki is green, like the shirt he wears above. Green is the color of hope because it's the color of "new life" at spring time, but green is also the color of something that has rotted. Whereas all those who love Loki hope for him to turn away from his pursuit of power (myself included), Loki seems determined to rot. On a slightly different note, why is Thor the only one realizing that Loki has been putting up an illusion all this time? Because Thor still believes there is good in his brother's heart (which is why he believes Loki actually sacrificed himself to save Thor) and the sign of that good in Loki's heart would be, not only regret and remorse over what he did do, but the realization of how he has ruined his own life.
When Thor approaches Loki about helping him stop the Aether, Thor is the one who knows Loki has been putting up illusions, and Thor can see the symbolic significance of Loki being "bare foot," (Loki's will--symbolized by his bare feet stained with fruit he has stepped one, see above--is "exposed") that Loki will betray Thor because Loki is consumed with gaining power for himself ("When you betray me, I will kill you," he tells Loki).  
If you watch Thor the Dark World on disc, at 15:57, if you press pause, after Jane has gotten into the car with Darcy and they are going to check out the strange readings, there is a English World War poster in the upper-center of the screen that says, "Is your journey really necessary?" asking about driving and preserving gas. Why bring this up? It fits in with the question of "Who is Jane Foster's mom?" They keep mentioning Jane's lab, i.e., her mom's house, but we never learn anything else about Jane's mom, or see her. So, who is Jane's mom? England. Later on, film makers might want us to associate a real person with Jane's shadowy mom, but the absent mom corresponds to the "mom-to-be-absent" in Frigga who dies protecting Jane as if Jane were her own child (of course Frigga knows what is to be lost if Malekith obtains the Aether). When Jane, Ian and Darcy arrive at the site of the anomalies, the cargo cars are standing end-up, like the stones at Stonehenge in the previous scene (which means that's exactly what we are supposed to be thinking of); why? It's unnatural. It's unnatural when there is a ring around Jane where the rain doesn't fall (picture on the right). When Darcy, Ian and Jane goes inside the truck yard, they see little kids, all minority kids; Darcy exclaims, "It's okay, we're Americans," and Jane responds, "That's supposed to make them like us?" because, as Barack Hussein Obama has taught this country, and liberals have preached his gospel, the world hates us; but a miracle happens, and the kids come out, because I guess that does make them trust Darcy and Jane. "Are you the police?" the little girl asks, because America, back in the days when we were a super-power, in the days before Russia invaded the Ukraine, America was like a police force, making sure that no one over-stepped their bonds, but Darcy and Jane can't answer that they are police, they can't make sure people aren't over-stepping their boundaries, "We're scientists," and that's probably the worse answer they can give. Anyway, we have seen that little English-Indian girl before (not her exactly) in Star Trek Into Darkness: the little sick girl who was laying in her hospital bed dying when John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) approached her dad Thomas Harewood and said, "I can heal her," and giver her some of his blood so her father will spill the blood of Star Fleet command on his (Harrison's) behalf (please see The Enemy Of My Enemy: Star Trek Into Darkness for more). The reason this is important is because the little boy takes two fingers and turns over a huge truck. As Darcy says, "That doesn't seem right," and she's right, it's not right, it's unnatural. So what does it mean? Everything has been made so easy, there are no struggles so no one grows: the little boy doesn't have to become strong to turn the car over, he can do it because he's a minority so things will be made easy for him. This, and all these examples, are socialism. Not driving excessively (no freedom of movement), anti-American sentiments, for cargo trucks to be empty instead of full and taking products to a destination where they will be sold, instead standing on-end like Stonehenge rocks. These are all the signs that the "motherland," Jane's lab where the "socialist experiment is taking place," is rotting away England and that's why it's invaded and that's why Jane's the perfect political "host" for the unnatural, unholy power of the Aether. Now, why is it a bottle of pop and an old pop can are the items used to demonstrate the anomaly? "Sometimes they come back, sometimes they don't," the little girl explains to Jane, and residents in the US, under Michelle Obama's food regime, and the banning in NY of large pop drinks, knows that socialism is like a black hole: some things are going to get lost, maybe not everything in the "change" that is going to take place, but plenty of things will get lost that won't be recovered, like car keys, and the keys getting lost in the anomaly tie in directly with that poster we see at 15:57 about unnecessary travel and a socialist government limiting your movements so you are more easily controlled (please remember that George Orwell's famous book 1984 takes place in Great Britain).
So, the million dollar question: why then does Thor trust Loki? Is, as Loki suggests, Thor "truly desperate" for the help only Loki can provide? I can understand people supporting that interpretation, and there is nothing wrong with that, however, I think there is a much stronger possibility based upon what we see happen with Loki a bit later: Thor wants to give Loki another chance to redeem himself in spite of what Thor tells Loki (if Thor really believed it, he would have tried to find another way to succeed without Loki).
Why would Thor, the apparent heir to the throne, want to give Loki another chance, when it's obviously to Thor's advantage to have Loki out of the picture and out of the way, not causing problems? Justice. Thor knows that there is good in Loki, and he wants to give that good a chance to grow and become the dominant force within Loki, who, however, prefers the "darker side" at this time (more on Loki and his future below). Thor, however, can really only make decisions that are right for him to make, so, back to the quandary, if it's more advantageous to have Loki out of the picture, why bother giving him another chance? Potential, as we have said, but believing in someone else's potential, and being willing to sacrifice for someone else to have a chance, is one of the highest marks of character, and greatest strengths of a true leader (we see this in both Man Of Steel when Clark Kent breaks the neck of General Zod who is about to kill a family; Clark doesn't want to kill Zod because Zod has real potential to change and become a better person; killing Zod kills that potential. Likewise, we see this in The Dark Knight Rises with Bruce Wayne: Batman clearly tells Catwoman he doesn't kill people, because justice can't be exacted on the dead, and because that seals off the chance for their reform. Thor is in this same category). So, one recognizes a good leader based on their ability to see and encourage the potential of others. In the scene above, we see another trait of good leaders we have seen in other films lately, like The Legend Of Hercules: hand-to-hand combat between the champions. The scene above, with the abnormally large "champion" of the enemy coming out and knocking down one on his own side, is meant to invoke the Spartan film 300, not only to remind us of what a good leader is--as we saw in King Leonides (Gerard Butler)--but also to make us think of the same enemies and the threat the Persians posed to Greek freedom (remember, in about two weeks, we will be seeing 300: Rise Of An Empire, so all of this has been timed to tie-in and relate). Towards the end of Thor the Dark World, Thor battles Malekith and repeats the line he says in this scene above, "I accept your surrender." Why? For at least two reasons: first, Thor sates the line before it's clear that he has won because he knows, and has absolute faith, that right will always prevail over evil: evil can never win because evil doesn't have the qualities necessary to win and persevere, qualities like sacrifice, patience and trust (to name just a few). Secondly, Thor says this line to draw the audience's attention to this earlier scene, tying them together so we look for the similarities the film makers have planted: Malekith, like the huge stone monster above, is also "made of stone," having become so "hard of heart" he is permanently devoid of all virtues and refuses redemption. On a different note, why does this scene pictured above even happen? The hammer of justice. Thor, as we are reminded at the end, can yield the hammer because he is worthy to yield it (he had been cast out and exiled for irresponsible behavior at the start of Thor). Because Thor has been subjected to justice, Thor has the right to subject others, something Loki doesn't understand.
What is the difference, we should ask, between Thor wanting to give Loki a second chance, and Thor's grandfather Bor not giving Malekith a second chance? Malekith has given himself over to darkness and seeks to take the whole universe with him; Loki, as is revealed in his opening dialogue with Odin, has darkness encroaching upon his soul, but doesn't want to thrust the universe into darkness, he just selfishly wants to be king,... over anything. Loki, then, might be redeemed, as is evidenced when Thor and Loki have taken Jane to the Dark Elves' home planet, and Loki has saved Jane from being swallowed up by a vortex released upon them, but Loki is about to be swallowed up himself. A scene such as this characterizes Loki for us: Loki isn't bad enough to be destroyed (swallowed up in the vortex, which would symbolize the vortex within him, destroying all that might be good inside Loki), but he isn't good enough to save himself by his own strength, Thor has to save him (more on this below). But now, it's time to turn our attention to Malekith.
What is the Aether? The Progressive agenda to take America back technologically (Moonrise Kingdom, The Lone Ranger, Savages, Gravity, Jack the Giant Slayer, Pompeii, Noah). The Aether and Thor's red cape are the opposites of each other: both are red, but they symbolize the opposites of what red signifies. Thor's cape is red for the color of love: he loves his father/mother, his country, the people of the Nine Realms, the people of Earth, Jane and Loki. The Aether, on the other hand, is the red that symbolizes anger, because red is the color of blood (so red-as-love is that Thor would shed his red blood for any person he loved) but red-as-anger means a person would shed another's blood for appeasement (such as Malekith's anger and thirst for revenge against Asgard, and Malekith's willingness to shed the blood of his own people for his own survival at the start of the film). Why does the Aether speak to Malekeith, and talk to him so that he knows where it is? We have seen similar situations, like the gold coins speaking to pirates in Pirates of the Carribean: the Black Pearl, and the ring speaks to Smaug and Sauron in The Hobbit and The Lord Of the Rings. Why? The power of the Aether and the power of the ring, along with the treasure the pirates took and must replace, is the voice of temptation: the temptation to greed, the temptation to power, the temptation to anger. All these temptations can be properly attributed to the methodology of socialists trying to start revolutions through dissent and revolt in countries where it's trying to establish itself (yes, of course, we can find the same characteristics in capitalism, however, these traits are located in individuals within a capitalist system, capitalism doesn't need [nor desire] such characteristics within its structure because that's "bad for business" whereas these traits are necessary to the whole structure of socialism to attract its ruthless leaders, their minions and then the wretched of society to start the bloody revolutions for the leaders). We can see the distinction between the two styles of leadership in Thor and Malekith: Malekith sacrifices his people for his own survival, whereas Thor is willing to sacrifice himself for the survival of his people.
The Dark Elves, as we have noted previously, don't seem very,.... threatening. Come on, "elves?" We think of elves as being Santa's helpers (as in Rise Of the Guardians) or the wise elves who help Bilbo in The Hobbit, but not as enemies of humanity. This, however, might be the very reason "dark elves" were chosen to be the servants of Darkness: we don't have a natural fear of elves, we tend to trust them as they have been depicted to us in the past. Is there someone in our culture today whom we have trusted that has betrayed us to the Darkness? The Democrats.
It's the standard interpretation of the eyes that they are the "windows of the soul," and the Dark Elves have eyes completely blacked out, symbolizing that their soul, too, is completely blacked out or even non-existent. Is there someone in our world today who is waging war on America that does not believe in the soul? The liberals. All their most important policies (abortion, gay marriage, legalized drugs, free contraception, government issued health care) go against most religions in one way or another, or are meant to de-stabilize religion (please recall, at the Democratic National Convention for 2012, the Democrats booed having God part of their platform 3 different times, but was finally forced in by Obama standing off stage who was afraid of what it would look like if they didn't adopt it, and this was on national television). We've seen those same big, round blacked-out eyes in the natives of Nibiru, the planet facing destruction in Star Trek Into Darkness (the ones with the white faces, wearing the yellow robes) who also symbolized Progressives (one of the branches of socialism, those who don't believe in technology nor progress). Take another look at the elves; do you notice their ears? They look really big--the outer black part that curves--but if you look closely, there is really just a very small part of the ear for actual listening; sound like liberals you know? They brag about being tolerant, but refuse to listen to any arguments that counter anything they believe. The "ultimate Dark Elf" is the Kursed: ""You will become darkness, cursed to this existence until it consumes you. Until then, no power our enemies possess can be used stop you." Well, doesn't that sound like the Obama Administration and the liberal press? What is the first thing the last of the Kursed does? He releases the prisoners of Asgard; where have we seen that before? The Dark Knight Rises, when Bane (Tom Hardy) releases Gotham's prisoners to terrorize the populace. Why does the Kursed not release Loki from Asgard's dungeon? Even the Kursed can see that Loki has his own agenda and would not aid the Dark Elves' cause, that Loki is too dangerous.
Democrats--now known as the American  Communist Party or, alternately, Progressives--always stylize themselves as the defenders of humanity and the lovers of the poor and minorities, but have they really sought to return America to "Darkness" like that expressed in Thor the Dark World? At the start of the film, the very first thing we see is,... nothing. This is depressing for people who have paid to see "something." That "darkness" on the screen is meant to make us think what it was like before there were films, technology at all, because--to an American living with smart phones and the internet--that's what darkness is, a world void of technology. Odin tells us:

Long before the birth of light, there was darkness. And from that darkness came the Dark Elves. Millennia ago, the most ruthless of their kind, Malekith, sought to transform our universe back into one of eternal night. Such evil was possible through the power of the Aether, an ancient force of infinite destruction.

Obviously, this is completely made up, however, we know that art is a metaphor for actual things, events, people, places, so--we have to ask--what does the Aether and Odin's opening speech mean? What does it refer to, how can we identify with this force of such great destruction and come to fear it when we don't know anything about it? Unless, we do know something about it,...
Is there another leader we could understand as being "two-faced" in America today (like Aaron Eckhardt's character Harvey Dent becomes, Two-Face, in The Dark Knight)? The scars on the right side of the face (Malekith has scars on both sides, but the more extensive scars) come from Thor's hammer hitting him seconds after Malekith stabs and kills Frigga, Thor's mother. As Queen of Asgard and an older woman, she symbolizes the traditions of the country (like M [Judi Dench] in Skyfall, who also dies at the hand of the main villain). Is there a leader today that, in trying to destroy one of our own traditions, has revealed his "other" more baser side? Like the destruction of the US Constitution, perhaps (the 1st, 2nd and 4th Amendments, in particular)? The tradition of limited government that doesn't spy on its citizens? The tradition that the enemies of the country are actually the enemies instead of the citizens being the enemies, and the enemies being the "friends" of the country? Frigga is quick to act because, as Thor mentions, Frigga was the one who told Thor and Loki the stories of the Dark Elves, those who would bring ruin, she was the one who knew to look for the signs of ruin and how to protect against it. Frigga doesn't die, she sacrifices herself so Asgard will know the light that exists in each of them. Malekith happily destroys her because Frigga is light, the kind of like the Dark Elves hate and despise, and he wants all of her kind, the kind who can put a greater cause before themselves, dead. She doesn't die. Her soul, her soul forge, lives on and inspires.
What event signals the "birth of light?" Christ, who was the light that came into the world. I know you atheists out there are unhappy about this, but it's Loki who tells his father that he went to rule earth as a "benevolent god," just like Odin, to which Odin reminds Loki, that they are not gods, but have a birth, and a death, so it's Loki who brings up god/God. Loki also brings up God when Thor has released him from the dungeon and Loki creates the illusion of being Steve Rogers/Captain America (see more in caption below). Darkness, then, is what existed before the light, and that darkness, we could say, is exactly what Malekith intends to bring back: paganism.
When Loki has been freed from his cell by Thor, they walk down the hallway and Loki changes guises, including into Captain America. Loki calls the Avenger one of Thor's new companions that he likes so much and, as Steve Rogers, says: "The costume is a bit much. So tight. But the confidence, I can feel the righteousness surging. Hey, do you want to have a rousing discussion about truth? Honor? Patriotism? God bless Amer--" and Thor stops him. What does this scene mean? First of all, we see how quickly Loki "turns," and how deep his deception can be. We also see how he despises those he deems less than himself (the people from earth, Thor's "new companions"). Loki would especially despise Captain America because Cap was the first Avenger Loki met and the one who compared Loki to Hitler, so mocking Captain America shows Loki's baseness. When disguised as Cap, Loki uses the word "surging" to describe the righteousness he feels; "surging" is also used when the doctor tells Thor about the Aether in Jane's veins and how she won't survive it. Comparing the two energies, the power that sucks life out of the host vs. the power that empowers with good will and honor, Loki wants the power of the Aether, not Captain America's truthfulness or patriotism, because the suit is "so tight," that is, Loki would have to walk the straight and narrow path, and he couldn't bear to do that. Now, when Thor, Jane and Loki are "escaping" Asgard and Thor pushes Loki out of the plane and onto a ship, Loki says "You lied to me. I'm impressed," but Thor didn't lie, Thor was just protecting himself, Jane and all of Asgard by not trusting someone who has proven they can't be trusted.
We have seen it in The Lone Ranger (Tonto and his bird) and Pompeii (Milo addressing the exploding volcano as his "gods"), and going back to a state of existence where there is no technology (which is what we see in Gravity--at the very end when she gets back to earth--Savages, Jack the Giant Slayer, The Lone Ranger, Moonrise Kingdom, Noah, Pompeii, and the threat of being put back in the stone age by both Godzilla and Transformers 4) and, literally, no light because there is no technology to give light in the darkness, nor is there the light of individual genius in being able to invent because the darkness would swallow it up.
Why do Democrats want this?
No free market.
The Aether requires a host, as we know (please don't forget the ramifications from the anti-socialist film of last year, The Host) but it is a force, a power that cannot be destroyed. Why not? Well, when is the first time we see the "power" of the Aether? When a cop is going to put Jane under arrest for trespassing, in other words, when she has to take responsibility for her actions, the cop is blasted and the Aether "protects her" from being arrested. That's why the Aether can't be destroyed, there will always be people who will sacrifice themselves to being the host for socialism so they don't have to take responsibility for their actions or provide for themselves. The Aether forms a barrier around Jane the same way that Asgard puts up a barrier around itself to protect the city from attack (we see the same barrier in Oz the Great and Powerful and Percy Jackson Sea Of Monsters because it symbolizes how there was always a barrier protecting the US from the kind of attacks we are suffering today). So, there are similarities between the Aether and Asgard, but there is a huge difference, and we see it in Jane's conversation with the Asgardian doctor: Jane asks if that's a quantum field generator, to which the doctor replies, "It's a soul forge." Science sees humans as animals and energy, but capitalism sees people as forces to be reckoned, for example, in reading this post, my energy, my ideas and passion are being transferred to you, helping to forge your own soul (whether you agree with me or not) your identity is being solidified as you read these words, just as my identity is being solidified and forged in writing them; socialism would say,... I don't know what they would say, honestly, but they would never admit that I or you have a soul and neither would most scientists, which is why Jane is a perfect host for the Aether. One of the doctors tells Thor they do not know what is inside Jane, but they know she cannot survive the energy within her, but Jane is also giving energy to the Aether by basically denying that she has a soul. This is the reason why Frigga's sacrifice and her funeral are such imperative points in the plot, those moments validate this reading of the Aether, it using Jane and how it can be overcome. Odin tells Jane and Thor that the Nine Realms are not eternal, they have a dawn, and they will have a dusk, "before the dawn, the dark forces, the Dark Elves, reigned absolute and unchallenged. Born of Eternal Night, the Dark Elves come to steal away the light." Thor says, "I know these stories, Mother told them to us when we were young," and his mother, who warned about these forces, is just about to be killed by them. "Their leader Malekith," Odin goes on, "made a weapon from the darkness and it was called the Aether. While the other relics often appear as stones, the Aether is fluid and ever-changing. It changes matter into dark matter. It seeks out host bodies, drawing strength from their life force. Malekith sought to use the Aether's power to return the universe to one of darkness. But, after eternities of bloodshed, my father Bor finally triumphed," Odin tells Jane, and it's this grandfather of Thor's that will be decapitated when Thor drives the Dark Elves' ship they left in the palace of Asgard as Thor commits treason, just like the Dark Elves basically commit treason against all ten trillion living souls in the universe. The ship Thor uses to get out of Asgard, the ship that decapitates his grandfather, was designed to decapitate his grandfather, just as Obama tries to decapitate our grandfathers, the founding fathers, who gave us the Constitution. The head symbolizes the government, (in Christianity, Jesus identifies Himself as "the Head" of the Church) and the leader is the "head" of government; decapitating the grandfather of Asgard decapitates the rightful ruler; this is, subsequently, why all traitors and those who commit treason are decapitated: because they tried to replace the rightful "head" of government with their own head.  
The dominant driving force of technological development is the market for new and better technology; likewise, because of the free markets, technology is easily accessible to most of the free world (the not-free-world being China, North Korea, Cuba and parts of Africa). By doing away with technology, the Democrats/Progressives will (they believe) deal a death blow to capitalism forever and sink the world into the Dark Ages, which is exactly what they want, because people who don't have technology available to them are far easier to control. It's important to discuss this because the theme will come up again when we discuss Godzilla. Yet there is another characteristic important in properly identifying who Malekith is, which this clip highlights:
This clip provides us with the perfect evidence of why originality isn't always a good thing. For 5,000 years the Dark Elves have "slept," so basically, they are dead--Odin certainly believed them to be so--so who else raises the dead? The Necromancer/Sauron in The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug. The same darkness that is Sauron/the Necromancer (whichever you prefer) is the same darkness in Thor the Dark World and Star Trek Into Darkness. In other words, Bilbo Captain James Kirk and Thor are basically the same heroes, fighting the same threat: socialist revolutions. This is why originality isn't always a good thing: if the scenes in these films were much more different, we wouldn't be able to recognize that all these films are detailing the exact same threats: a foe we believed was dead (after the Soviet Union fell) but has been awakened by their master (Obama and the liberals) and is now ready to take over the world.
Odin doesn't fair well in the film at all. The first time we see him, a black bird comes and lands on Odin's arm, suggesting the bird is a pet. Now, the bird probably symbolizes death, not only because it's black, but because it's a predator; so, in what way does Odin holding out his arm for this bird to land upon foreshadow how he "falls" in the film? Thor tells us: in his arrogance about the Dark Elves, he is no better than they are. We can very much see Odin as King Thranduil of the Milkwood Elves in The Hobbit: the Desolation Of Smaug, and we will be comparing the two.
So, back to shoes.
The third instance of shoes being important is when Jane and Thor have failed to destroy Malekith and the Aether and have stumbled into a cave and Richard calls Jane on her cell. "What are all these shoes doing here?" Thor asks. Why is this scene important? Well, it's not important, it's imperative, because where the shoes are (the will) is also where they find the keys because the keys are for the "vehicle" that gets everyone together and working to stop the spread of darkness about to be unleashed. Once everyone realizes how real the threat to the universe is, they are ready to do something about it, and this realization is symbolized by the shoes that had been "lost." The Rubic's Cube key chain validates this reading, because--just like the Convergence with all the planets lining up--so the Rubic's Cube is all the "colors lining up."
Now, one may argue that the anomaly which allows the children to lift up the huge trucks is good because Ian uses that anomaly to lift up a car and save Darcy's life from Dark Elves, right? Wrong. The scene provides an example of socialism being used against itself, and we have also seen this in 300: Rise Of An Empire, and we see it again in Thor the Dark World when Malekith's ship falls on him at the end of the battle, and that's a good thing; when we see Darcy, however, kissing Ian, and Ian is in her arms, leaning back, the reversal of traditional male-female roles is a consequence of that anomaly existing and its effects upon society. Darcy is a good character, she provides a lot of comic relief, just like another character in the film, Loki. Darcy is on a micro-level what Loki is on a macro-level: a ruler over those who are less. Darcy bosses Ian the intern around the same way Loki had Selvig and Hawkeye doing his bidding in The Avengers. In other words, on a limited scale, Darcy is a character who embodies petty abuse of power.
There is, as always, far more that can be decoded and commented upon, however, let's now turn our attention to the two post-credits scenes. The second scene, where Thor has returned and kisses Jane, is the breath of life, love's reward; they are not finished with being made perfect, however, this is their rest before their next trial begins. The creature we see chasing after the birds as a food source, will prove to be important because what is true in one part of the Marvel universe, is true in another: it's possible that the beast turns up in Captain America: the Winter Soldier, of The Avengers 2. More importantly about this beast, however, is that it's lizard-like and it's not too much of a stretch to compare it to a baby "Godzilla" roaming Greenwich. Now, the first post-credits scene (someone taped on their iPhone in the theater but it will refresh your memory):
We have been introduced to a new character, Taneleer Tivan, aka, The Collector of the Marvel universe. Now, we can deduce that Sif and Volstagg could not have made the decision to bring one of the two Infinity Stones from Asgard and deposit it into his vaults, that would have had to come from the king of Asgard, either Odin or Thor. We know Thor has left to be with Jane on earth, so that leaves Odin, and Odin has been "captured" by Loki, so, following the chain, we can conclude that Loki sent Sif and Volstagg to the Collector with an Infinity Stone for Loki's own good reason (to be disclosed later, I am sure).
So, who is "The Collector?"
The one with "The Collection."
The glass cases in which we see "specimens" should make anyone feel leery about the motivations of The Collector, even if they can't quite articulate why.  What are the physical characteristics revealing about The Collector? The black line down the middle of his lips make them look as if they are split, so we could say it's to convey to the audience that what The Collector says is "split": he says one thing (the "Infinity Stone" will be safe in my vault) but means another ("One down, five to go," so he's actually collecting them for himself). Have we seen anyone else, recently, with unnatural blond hair? Silva (Javier Bardem) in Skyfall. We could say his thoughts are "dead" because his near white hair has lost color and the sign of life. His eyes are darkened, rather like what we see in the Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes) in Captain America: the Winter Soldier, and since the eyes are the window of the soul, his soul itself is dark.
Nearly no one saw The Collection in 2012 when it came out, but I would have voted it least appreciated film of the year. Granted, the Marvel character of The Collector has existed for decades, however, that doesn't mean the film makers of Thor the Dark World didn't want to bridge to The Collection through visual clues, because the "holding cases" of the "specimens" we see in the clip look awfully similar to the ones used in The Collection. Why would a horror film almost no one saw be in the mind of the makers of Thor the Dark World? To reward those who had seen the film (implied viewers), and to instantly know, upon seeing the "collection" of the Collector, that he can't be trusted (please see The Collection & Collectivization: the Horrors Of Socialism for more).

Thor the Dark World is packed, from top to bottom, with a deep, coherent narrative that knows what its talking about and communicates to its audience on a number of levels. What we have learned in this installment of Marvel's universe, will be applied to the others, so these are all lessons and techniques for us to keep in mind.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner