Monday, April 28, 2014

Catching Up!

Yesterday was my birthday, so for the last three days, I have had blessings poured out upon me with the love of friends and family. Two days before that, I was cursed: my new laptop broke (yes, the "new" one I got to replace the stolen one). The laptop, of course, had all my notes for The Hobbit, which I can not now access (it will all be saved, but someone's trying to fix it so I just can't get to it right now) however, I did get some catching up done, and you might want to take note because it will be important for you in the upcoming films we will be discussing (and you might rightly be saying, right, when was the last time you got a "real" post up? You are totally justified. That's all I can say, except after downloading the Windows update 8.1, I think that's what screwed up the computer,).
I watched all of the episodes for The X-Men. I had actually only seen two of them so now I am all caught up for the May 23 release of X-Men Days Of Future Past. Now, let's say you maybe saw the very first X-Men that came out in 2000 and you don't want to watch all the episodes to get caught up for the new one, what do you do? AT LEAST watch X-Men: First Class from 2011 (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender) because the trailers are making it obvious that you have to have at least that much background (and if you haven't seen any of the X-Men, it's preferable that you see at least these two, or at least First Class). THIS IS A SPOILER: the only thing (I think at this point) that you need to see from last year's The Wolverine, is this mid-credits scene: Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is in an airport, walking through (this is pirated from the theater, so it's not great quality, but we can always trust someone will break the rules and post it on the world wide web):
IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE X-MEN FILMS this is a huge spoiler for you, so please, be sure that you want to continue reading. The reason this end scene is such a huge deal is because, during X-Men the Last Stand, Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) died, like he was totally disintegrated into air (even though, in the end-credits scene, it offers that Xavier's still "around"). Another big spoiler from X-Men: the Last Stand is Magneto's powers: this was the episode when a "cure" was invented for mutants to suppress their powers, and Wolverine and Beast applied the cure to Magneto who lost his powers but then was able to move a chess piece, so this scene confirms that either the cure "wore off" or wasn't strong enough to stay active (which begs the question about Mystique's mutant powers, has her cure worn off, or was she permanently cured?). So, given this, you can understand why Wolverine is so shocked at what takes place in this brief scene. You have until May 23 to get as many of the films watched as you can.
I also watched Walt Disney's original 1959 animated version Sleeping Beauty. That is truly an incredible film. Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie, comes out May 30, so before then, we will review both Sleeping Beauty by Disney (the animated version from 1959) and the folk tale by the Brothers Grimm, not the French versions. So, if you haven't seen Sleeping Beauty, that's another one to add to your list. There are two reasons we are going to do this: first, Maleficent wants to invoke Sleeping Beauty to audiences, so it's assuming we have seen that film, which means those who have seen the original are the "implied reader" of various branches of reader-response criticism. Secondly, Sleeping Beauty has proven it has "staying power," that every generation will interpret the story to project their needs and identity (and the folk tales are a great chance for us to break away from the politics of today and exercise some of our other intellectual muscles for awhile).
Theatrical film poster for the original Godzilla. Godzilla was a financial success when released in Japan, although it was received negatively by critics, not only because of the devastation being insensitive to what the country was suffering from the nuclear attacks, but also because of the film's style and aesthetics. Recently, however, a survey of 370 film critics in Japan placed Godzilla at 27th out of 150 greatest Japanese films of all time.
I also watched the 1998 version of Godzilla (Matthew Broderick). The newest version, which I am terribly excited about (I am a HUGE fan of those 1950's sci-fi-radiation films) is coming out May 16, so before then, we will go over the original Japanese version from 1956, as well as the "original" American version with Raymond Burr, from 1954. Most film critics agree about Godzilla being a metaphor for the destruction Japan suffered during World War II from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, however, I don't think that begins to touch the surface of what the film explores, and that will be the basis for our readings. Additionally, because it's subject matter is so similar to Godzilla's (although the aesthetics are completely different), I would also like to visit Akira Kurosawa's 1950 film Rashomon. Most film critics have this film in their top ten list of greatest films ever made, and if you haven't seen it, the mere 82 minutes it takes to tell the story will change your standard of films forever.
Last but not least, the second episode of SALEM aired Sunday night. Again, the free pilot episode from iTunes, as well as all the images I have collected, are on the laptop, so I managed to get behind on a series that has only two episodes out. The second episode is also available for $2.99 download (52 minutes). This is the problem: at internet movie database, 9 episodes are listed, but I am uncertain if they are actually going to release the 9 episodes, or just five. You can purchase a season pass for $32 from iTunes for all the episodes, but I will probably just download them one at a time for $3. Knowing how often I am wrong about things, this is probably the wrong decision.
Oh, well.
This weekend, The Amazing Spider Man 2 opens, so first and foremost on your "homework list" is to watch The Amazing Spider Man if you didn't see it when it came out (my post on that excellent film is here: Decay Rate Algorithms & Cross Species Genetics: The Amazing Spider Man). I am trying to finish up The Hobbit (book) post and pray my computer gets back asap. As always, thank you for your patience!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Hobbit #3 Title Change: Battle Of the Five Armies

A scene from The Desolation Of Smaug. I am nearly done with my post on JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit, the book; it's such a masterpiece, however, that I keep going and going and going, and I am sorry (I am also making numerous notes between the book and two released films, for differences and how things tie in, which adds its own burden). I could easily write a thousand pages on the book alone, so I do apologize that it is taking so long.
Last week, we received word that director Peter Jackson had changed the third installment of The Hobbit's title from There and Back Again, to Into the Fire. Today, on his Facebook page, he made an announcement that they have changed the name again: The Battle Of the Five Armies. According to Jackson, after watching the film, all involved felt The Battle Of the Five Armies was the most appropriate title for the last edition to the trilogy, so it is official; no, they are not quite done with cutting the film, not just yet. Jackson hinted that the subtitle There and Back Again will probably be used on the box set that will include all three films together.
If this were meant to just denote "blindness," we would probably see the eyes but something would be wrong with the pupils; this character, like so many of the scenes in the trailers for the series, is pretty extreme, which is why I am so intrigued by it: I have written many times that originality isn't always a good thing because when we see themes and the same ideas turning up in film after film, it demonstrates the "dialogue" taking place between these films and that they are aware of the other films being made and that those films are being used for agendas as well. With a character such as this, and the historical vehicle of SALEM being a subject still highly sensitive to most Americans, it's probable that the eyes with skin grown over them is an accusation, that because this character refused to see light (a metaphor for Truth) for so long, she has become willfully ignorant in refusing to ever see what is right in front of her (the facts) so now she can never see them. Another possibility is that this character is meant to invoke Dante's The Divine Comedy. In Purgatorio, on the second terrace, where the envious perform their penance, those who envied others during their lives must now have their eyes sewn shut so as to block out all others and they will see God and His Will alone; it's possible, given that we see the eyes of a lizard sewn shut in the trailer, that it might be a reference to this passage, we will have to wait and see.
Star Wars 7 news: they are close to finishing the casting, budget will be around $200 million and older films may be re-released on the big screen to promote. Pirates of the Caribbean 5: nothing is happening. They are still working on the script, and hope to start production this year, but that's all at this time. Meanwhile, here is a trailer for the second episode of SALEM, The Stone Child (the first episode, The Vow, can be downloaded for free from the iTunes store) and does it look wicked! As soon as I can get The Hobbit done, we will do SALEM:
It's possible that there are as many as 9 episodes for this (each one being about 52 minutes), which I saw on their Twitter account but things happen and it's possible it gets pulled; regardless, I think this is terribly daring and pointing directly at our current political situation in America today. Back to The Hobbit, I am working as fast as I can!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Monday, April 21, 2014

SALEM & Godzilla

This guy is in the stocks for fornicating, and he's being branded on his head for his sin; harsh? Well, what I am hoping is that SALEM will anticipate the Left's views of sexuality--I have reason to believe it does this--and the branding taking place, as if he was a cow or other animal, fits because in having sexual relations outside of marriage, he has acted like an animal, an animal that is void of the Life of God, which is why blood comes from his mouth, so illustrate that he is losing life interiorly. This is quite a bold statement, given that more than half of the US population is co-habituating rather than living in a state of matrimony. The hands and head being separated from the rest of the body illustrates for us what we ourselves do when we commit sin: we have cut off our governing function (the head) and our ability to build and perform righteous deeds (the hands) from the rest of our being, so we become dis-located in both reality and eternity (hence, why Jesus said it was better to cut off your hand and enter Heaven with only one hand than to go to hell with both hands). A punishment like this is seen by the Left as unacceptable and ridiculous, but on the other hand, we will see what happens if we don't discipline ourselves: we become the instrument of the devil.
It ends up, the new TV series SALEM from WGN America is only available on DISH, and a handful of local TV stations, which isn't good for this global audience. IF, however, you go to the main page of the iTunes store, and scroll down to where they have TV shows listed, then go to the right just a bit, you will see the main poster for SALEM (pictured beneath) and you can watch the pilot episode for FREE! Hooray! To get a "season pass" is $31.99 US dollars but at this point, they are still not certain if they are going to go ahead with the whole series or not, which appears to add up to about 3 episodes (you can download the episode now, which might take 45 mins-2 hours depending on your connection, and watch it later).
This is the official image of the show. Green, as we know, either means hope--as in the re-birth of nature at spring, when all the world is re-born with new life--or that something is rotten and has gone bad. The "fog" hanging over the town in the background suggests that there is a fog in the minds and hearts of the people which has enabled the witches to take control. The dominant figure in the foreground--the female body/tree trunk, is probably a reference to Judas: Jesus was hung upon the Tree of Life, but Judas hung himself on a tree of death (hence, the hangman's noose dangling down). The "wings" of the barren trees reveal that this is a state of death, not the fresh-budding life of spring which trees are supposed to signify, especially in a Christian context like the Puritan village of Salem.
In other news, some information has been released on Godzilla, making it even more interesting than before: there is more than one monster in the film. It's Godzilla vs. the Muto: "Muto" is a human engineered mutation, as opposed to Godzilla which was a "natural mutation" from the radiation of World War II. This is not only better than I anticipated, but even more anti-socialist than I anticipated, which you will have to wait for me to get the Godzilla post up, which brings us to The Hobbit post,...
This poster summarizes why I am so interested in this series: the witches want their own country, so they are going to take over Salem. John Alden (on the left) is the descendant of the founder of Salem, so as a symbol, we can say that he's a continuation of the "founding father" (usually not, however, the script has intentionally constructed him as thus, because our own founding fathers are under attack). John was in love with Mary--the main witch--and they made a vow to each other before John left to fight in the French and Indian War (probably a nice metaphor for the War on Terror); they slept with each other before he left and Mary got pregnant. It's in the process of getting an abortion that Mary turns to being a witch. Coincidence? It just so happens that sex outside of marriage and abortion are two of the positions of the Left (sex doesn't have to be confined to marriage). I am very excited about this.
I was nearly done with the post, however, it's been so long since I worked on it, the material from the two films is causing me to do a lot of reviewing, which has slowed my progress. The Hobbit is the post I am working on now--I won't watch SALEM until I get it done--but it could be tomorrow before that happens, ugh.
The Amazing Spider Man 2 has all ready opened over seas and is box office gold. If you haven't seen The Amazing Spider Man, you will want to, and you will want to plan on seeing #2 in IMAX 3D (it was one of the trailers for Captain America the Winter Soldier so I saw the trailer in IMAX 3D and it will be awesome, one of those films that naturally takes advantage of the virtues of the "immersive film experience"). So, I am working on The Hobbit as you read this and will get it up asap!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Saturday, April 19, 2014


I was happily wrong.
SALEM doesn't premiere until tomorrow night, 10/9c time. I have been heavily thinking about this show and think this is quite a revolution in the works. It appears to be tackling a number of issues that are predominantly supported by the left, including the "war on women" which, in my humble estimation, is really a war on white men (as you can see in the caption above, SALEM appears to be brining this out as well). Because of Easter and my birthday being next weekend (it was easier for everyone to celebrate it this weekend, so I haven't gotten anything done, but there are good reasons for it, so sorry, as usual) I am still really behind. I feel compelled, however, to follow this series and really analyze this. Maybe this would be a good one for us to do together, since we can all get in on it at the same time? The iTunes store has the apps you can download for free, so I am hoping they will also post the shows as they air so, if you can't get them via TV, you have the option of downloading them.
The "witch hunt" significance obviously refers to the "great witch hunt" in American history, known as McCarthyism, after Senator Joe McCarthy who was determined to flush out communists from America; it's not that anyone ever disputed that there were communists, just that McCarthy should not have gone after them. Here is a featurette talking about Tituba, who appears to be the main witch but not the dominant female in power:
I am really excited about this, I would like for us to go through this and do this each week, if it can be downloaded from iTunes. We'll watch for this one!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Hobbit: There And Back Again Name Change & Salem

Peter Jackson, writer and director, with Ian McKellan, who plays Gandalf. If you have seen The Desolation Of Smaug, did you catch Jackson's "cameo" at the very start in Bree? He's the man stepping out of the house into the rain, biting down on a carrot, then he walks off into the dark and mud. Why? We have discussed this lately, and of all the things Jackson could do, of all the places he could be, physically and at different points in the film, why choose this moment? I would like to suggest, as I am doing in the upcoming post on the film, that it's because Jackson wants us to "chew on" what we are going to be seeing (the biting on the carrot, which carrots are high in vitamins that improve/protect our eyesight, so the carrot is supposedly symbolizes that we are both "digesting" and taking in what we are seeing, and Jackson wants us to have good vision in what we see in the film). But Jackson is also "coming out," rather than going into some place, so we might deduce that--throughout the film in general--Jackson is coming out and he wants us to note ways, particularly in Smaug, that he's doing it.
I am so sorry.
I saw Oculus this weekend, and truly believed I could get the post up by Sunday night. I am sorry. It's a pro-socialist film, however, there are interesting ways in which it makes its case, something worth our discussion time. It has just been noted that Peter Jackson has filed for a new title for his third installment of The Hobbit, which was going to be titled, There and Back Again, to indicate Bilbo Baggins' return to the Shire. The new title has been taken from one of the chapters from JRR Tolkien's book: Into the Fire, which might indicate the expansive role Smaug the fire breathing dragon will play in the film. Still no word on when the first trailer will be released, but I am working to get them done: what happens is, I just keep going and going and going, and I don't know when to stop.
This final trailer for X-Men Days Of Future Past is just,.... awesome. It is going to be amazing!
There's a lot to discuss with all this new footage, but for the moment, let us just point out two things. First, at about 0:20, Wolverine says, at first the Sentinels just targeted mutants, then they started targeting everyone. This is basically the same set-up for safety we see being critiqued in Captain America: the Winter Soldier, when SHIELD has developed the machines that will take-out 20 million Americans who will oppose HYDRA. Secondly, at 1:40, we see Magneto "bringing down the house," the stadium; why is this important? This is basically what we see Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss do in The Hunger Games, and we saw Bane do it in a football stadium in The Dark Knight Rises. Except, at 2:20, we see that Magneto isn't destroying the arena, like Katniss and Bane, rather, Magneto is using the arena to block the police (probably because America has become a police state, now, where did they get the idea for that?).
Premiering tonight, April 16, was the series Salem, which I obviously missed, not having known about it (besides the fact that I don't really watch television). However, I would like for you to watch this trailer, WHICH IS SOMEWHAT GRAPHIC, but please pay particular attention to what is said at 1:01, because this probably defines the entire season:
I would actually really like to watch this; if you caught the season premiere, drop me a line and let me know how it was; if you would like to find out more about the series, more information and videos are at this link here. I am working at getting some real posts up, again, I do apologize! Happy Holy Week to you all!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Hail Hydra! Captain America the Winter Soldier & the New World Order

After the fiendish plot of Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford) and the new HYDRA has been revealed, Captain America, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) gets on the loud speaker to announce to all SHIELD employees that the time has come to take sides, and the lives of more than 20 million people are at stake to introduce a new world order controlled by socialism; "Cap" tells his fellow Americans that he's willing to sacrifice himself for freedom, and he knows others are, too, and he's right. This "announcement" is a subtle, yet powerful, literary device to us, the audience, so that we know the time of taking sides is at hand, that we have to choose what is going to happen to us and our country. From start to finish, it's clear that "pirates" have overtaken the "ship of state" and it's not a compromise that can save us, rather, it's the utter devotion to the very highest ideals and standards of American patriotism.
One of the means by which to distinguish a good film from a bad film is when inanimate objects--such as Rogers' shield, or Nick Fury's eye patch--takes on importance and becomes its "own character," which is exactly what happens in Captain America the Winter Soldier (CAWS). With the shield, there are at least two ways we can interpret the red coloring. We know red means either love--because you love some one so much you are willing to shed your red blood for them--or anger--because they have angered you so much, you are willing to shed their red blood to appease your sense of justice. We know Cap is willing to die for America, he says that on the intercom system at SHIELD to his fellow workers, however, Cap doesn't die. We also know he has the chance to kill Bucky Barnes, the "Winter Soldier," but Rogers' commitment to his friend wins over and he would rather die for Bucky than for Bucky to die for America; but, I ask, if this were what Cap's shield meant, why would the red be "eroding," or "disappearing" from the shield? I would like to suggest that the shield is "converting from the red," that the virtue of love is good, but silver is better, and the red disappears as the silver reveals itself. What does silver mean? Traditionally, silver symbolizes the Word--because in Hebrew, the word for "silver" is so similar to the Hebrew word for "word,"--so whenever you see a Crucifix, the Body of Jesus is usually silver, to denote He is both God and the Word of God--that silver became the symbol for Word. Even though "God bless America," would not be unusual to hear Steve Rogers say (remember, in The Avengers he said, "There's only one God and he doesn't dress like that," and Loki has him start to say that before Thor covers his mouth in Thor the Dark World) I don't think the Christian Word of Scripture is what we are meant to think about. I think the "Word" we are meant to associate with Steve Rogers, Captain America, is the Constitution Of the United States. He would make the greatest sacrifice for his country, and for the Constitution, and he calls upon his fellow SHIELD agents to do the same, and he calls upon us through the medium of the film. The appearance of Rogers' shield, then, is not that the red is eroding, or fading, rather, that the silver is converting the red-of-love to the silver-of-the-Word of the laws and Constitution of this country. Anyone could fight against Hitler in World War II, where we first met Steve, but only a great patriot would do what Steve did in this latest adventure which serves as an example for us all, that is why the star in the middle has always been silver: it symbolizes Steve's heart--the reason he was chosen--but it also symbolizes that he is our role model and we are to follow his lead in upholding the standards of the country (like the Wise Men following the Star of Bethlehem to the Christ Child's Nativity). We have to remember, however, that the star is surrounded by blue, the color of both wisdom and sadness, because the road of wisdom is paved with sadness, as Steve is experiencing, and probably always will.
When the film opens, we see Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) jogging alone, and then Steve Rogers fast approach from behind and say, "On your left," to alert him that he's coming, then Rogers passes Sam; a few seconds later, Rogers is running so fast, he does it again, then a few seconds later, he does it again, saying, "On your left," each time. Towards the end of the film, when Steve is in the hospital recovering, he has been "out of it," but Sam dutifully stands guard by his bedside, listening to Marvin Gaye; when Steve sees Sam, he says, "On your left," again.
It's a political encoding.
Any time someone is running--a race, jogging, for their life in a horror film--it's a metaphor for how they have lived their life, and how well they run indicates how well they have lived, so someone in a horror film who can't outrun Jason because they trip and fall, has "fallen" in their life through bad moral decisions, and their heart has become weighed down by sin so they cannot escape the justice and punishment coming after them. In CAWS, the opening scene is one of running: in Washington DC, Sam and Steve are the only ones out running (the only ones, metaphorically, trying to "run the good race" and stay in moral shape). If we in the audience are lucky, we are in Sam's position--not able to even pretend to keep up with Steve--but at least we are out there trying, and the purpose of this scene isn't to make Sam look bad, or Steve to look good, it's to show what socialists would never admit: everyone has a talent, and even those who are no where near the top, still have an important role to play in society (Cap and Widow need Falcon to help them, they can't do it by themselves, but they can as a team, with each contributing their unique, individual skills. If Sam hadn't been out jogging that morning, he wouldn't have met Steve, and Steve wouldn't have remembered him so he could go to him when he needed help later on.
Running through the Washington Mall (with the Capitol building behind them, as we saw in Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters), it's inevitable that such a word like "left" would take on a political meaning, rather like "satellite" taking on a political meaning in Gravity (please see Gravity: Buddha & Da Vinci fore more). Do we normally associate Cap with the Liberal Left? No, he's everything that's good about the conservative Right, which means, this is a foreshadowing technique throughout the film: Cap keeps telling Sam "on the left" because that's where the film is going to take place, in the issues, problems and conflicts created by the left. So, if Cap is running circles around Sam, why does Sam even bother helping?
Because of us.
When Sam and Steve first meet, Sam talks about how it's hard adjusting to civilian life because "the bed is too soft" and this is clearly a judgment about how suffering and roughing it builds up our character. No one likes to suffer, it's true, but conservatives recognize that there is value in suffering, whereas the Left does not, and Sam discussing it with someone who is suffering so much--Steve Rogers--is a validation that his time in the paratroopers built up his character, but also that it caused problems, like what we hear the vets discussing in the support group meeting Sam holds. It's the character building which poses the biggest problem to HYDRA, as we shall see below, because weak people willingly surrender their freedom, however, people of strong character will never surrender their rights.
Sam offers some great comic relief throughout the film, like when Cap and Widow have come to his place and Sam walks in and says "Breakfast is ready, if people like you do that sort of thing," and that line summarizes his entire role: to show that this isn't a fight just for "people like" Cap and Widow, rather, all of us normal, breakfast-eating, Constitution-loving Americans have to join in this fight. We see this in the controller who, after Cap makes the announcement about HYDRA and their plan, refuses to launch the three helicarriers that will employ the algorithm to determine who would oppose HYDRA before the plan is even revealed. That controller, not used to such life-or-death decisions, made a stand not to aid HYDRA even at the imminent risk of his own life. HE is the example most of us should follow, because there are Agent 13s, Widows, Falcons and Caps that will do the rest for us, which now leads us to who and what exactly HYDRA is,....
Before the release of the film, the Russo brothers who directed it, mentioned that Robert Redford's Three Days Of the Condor inspired certain decisions they made. In that film, "Condor," played by Redford, reads books to distinguish patterns and sees if something is cropping up in novels that they can use as material in the CIA, or if someone outside has gotten ahold of CIA material (think of Tom Clancey's novels). In CAWS, it seems to be reversed: the Russo brothers, and Stan Lee, are hoping the White House watches the film to pick up that we the people know what the White House is doing. When Alexander Pierce (Redford) dies, he first falls through some glass, symbolizing meditation, and he says, "Hail Hydra," with last breath, saying, ultimately, that he regrets nothing of what he has done to bring about the demise of America. Now, it's a theory of mine that films such as CAWS are casting well-known liberals as villains in films so audience members will think of those people (like Jamie Foxx in The Amazing Spider Man 2, Ben Affleck as Batman in Superman vs Batman and the entire liberal cast of Christopher Nolan's upcoming Interstellar) and associate the villain they are portraying with their liberal ideologies. Likewise, from Three Days Of the Condor, at the end of the film, Condor has told the New York Times what had happened--that the CIA killed some people to protect US oil interests--and Condor hopes the CIA will be punished/dismantled as a result; we see Natasha do the same thing when she dumps the internet files online, including her own (more on that below). Another element shared is that, in Three Days Of the Condor, Condor runs from an assassin, but in CAWS, he tells the assassin to go and get Rogers, and gives Bucky a timeframe similar to the one used in Condor. Why is this important? In many ways, it highlights the differences between the liberal agendas and conservative: nota  single person should lose their life, however, to bring about the world liberals want would require the murder of upwards of 20 million people.
 HYDRA, rather like COBRA in the GI Joe franchise, is depicted as a snake with multiple heads (it's possible we will see a hydra in Hercules and the Thracian War this summer with Dwayne Johnson). Since it was founded just after World War II to protect America and the world, SHIELD has been infested by HYDRA agents creating international catastrophic events to create a fascist New World Order; in real-world terms, that's employing Agenda 21 to decrease the world's population and take complete control over humanity's rights. We just saw this in Noah last weekend: the "flood" is just a metaphor for the massive destruction about to be unleashed to destroy all those who won't live according to NWO principles. And there is something important they have in common,....
This is truly a great scene in the film, not just because of the intense action, but its metaphorical significance as well. As men slowly fill the elevator, after Rogers has met with Pierce and refused to tell him about the flash drive Fury gave him before Fury "died," Pierce has declared Rogers a fugitive and orders him to be killed. What is this a metaphor for? The Tea Party and genuine conservatives. Just like Rogers making the announcement later in the film about who has really been running SHIELD, so Tea Party members have tried to tell fellow Americas who is really running America and in what direction they are trying to take us. In exchange, just like Rogers, we have had hand-cuffs put on his through the excruciating application of political correctness, so that half of our discourse isn't even allowed and, like Steve being electrocuted with the cattle prods, we, too, are being treated like animals because liberals like Bill Mahr and Sean Penn are permitted to call for the mass execution of conservatives, whereas conservatives can't even present facts without being accused of being racist, as most of you know. This is the same elevator that Fury took Steve up in earlier, but now Pierce is sending Steve down in; what is the significance? "Up" symbolizes higher conscience, whereas down symbolizes the appetites, or at least a dulling of the senses, a lack of sharpness. Pierce orders the attack on Steve because he doesn't think Steve is as sharp as Pierce himself is (funny, that's the same mistake made in Three Days Of the Condor, Condor isn't given credit for being very sharp by his assassin). How does Steve get out of this situation? After properly putting everyone in their place, Steve can only break through the glass of the elevator--like we will see Pierce breaking through glass at his death--but Steve lands on his shield and survives the jump to escape. How? Why? The shield is symbolic of the Constitution, and Steve knows that his rights are protected only as long as everyone's rights are protected, and that's the purpose of his breaking through the glass, that "reflecting" on how he got in that situation and the protection of rights must be absolute or it doesn't exist at all to "catch us."  
Snake skin.
Remember that "relic" from Noah, the skin the serpent in Eden shed that was passed down through the line to Noah? Well, that snake is probably a metaphor for Satan, yes, Satan. Please recall, during the Democratic National Convention of 2012, the Democrats publicly (on national TV) booed three times and denied making God a part of their platform! There are undoubtedly Democrats who are Christians, however, the party itself has definitely made its platform that it is anti-God (not to mention all their other positions which are against God's teachings). So Noah wants to look like the party of the "Creator" (they never say "God" in the film) but in reality their creator is Satan, identified by the snake skin "relic," which is exactly what we have with HYDRA which leads us now to the Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes.
Steve starts the show by wearing the "new uniform," pictured on the right; when they decide to go after SHIELD and Pierce, Steve visits the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian and "steals" the original Captain America uniform he wore in the first film in which he was fighting Hitler and in The Avengers when he fights Loki who is identified as Hitler by Steve. When the Smithsonian guard walks in and sees that the Captain America uniform has been taken, the guard says that he's going to lose his job; that guard is portrayed by the film's producer, Stan Lee, who also made a similar appearance in Thor the Dark World (the man in the ward who asks for his shoe back after Eric Selvig uses it to explain the Convergence). So, does Stan Lee just like appearing in films? No, these are very poignant appearances. The "old suit" of Captain America that was used against the Nazis has been brought out again because once again, we are battling the Nazis who just happen to be occupying the government the way HYDRA (which is led by a former Nazi officer who we meet in the end-credit scene, von Btrucker) occupies SHIELD. Lee's statement that he's going to lose his job over this is potentially prophetic: not because the suit has been "stolen," but because of what the suit symbolizes, and Lee standing for that, i.e., being against socialism; Lee is fully aware of the way Obama uses the IRS to target anyone he doesn't like, and Lee could potentially be thrown out of Hollywood for this pro-America, anti-Obama film. All of this matters because of history, which the Left is desperate for us to forget, but Rogers is always "on your left" to bring the weapons to the fight that are going to win the fight. You can't defeat your enemy if you don't know who your enemy is, and Cap wearing the same suit from World War II communicates to the audience that he knows he's fighting the same socialists again.
Why is he called "The Winter Soldier?"
Because he is a soldier of the Cold War between the capitalist West and the socialist East. We know Alexander Pierce is mentally unstable when he says, "Your work has been a gift to mankind," but he says it to Bucky, not to Cap, like what we expect him to say from the trailer, and that's why the trailer was sequenced so that way, so when the film came to that part, there would be maximum shock value so we could clearly understand how perverse Pierce and HYRDA really are, and what they represent in the real-world, which now leads us to question how Bucky is controlled.
Why does the Winter Soldier appear? This is a standard question to be asked in every narrative about the villain arriving on the scene and how the villain will be overcome, because it reveals to us the most about the main character. In this scene aboard the ship taken by the pirates, we get our answer. Rogers fights Georges Batroc in the scene above, and before the actual moment of the fight pictured, Rogers had been using his shield to fight the formidable foe. Batroc tells Rogers, in French, "I thought you were more than a shield," and Rogers responds, and then puts his shield on his back and fights without it, and that, dear reader is why the Winter Soldier appears in this film: the WS is the symbol of pride that has started to grow in Rogers' heart (again, the good heart which was why he was chosen to become Captain America). To a selfless heart, it doesn't matter "how" you fight to free hostages, as long as you don't do anything dirty or corrupt, it just matters that the hostages are freed and everyone unharmed; Batroc makes it personal, which is why Rogers removes the Captain America helmet he was wearing. Hair and hats symbolize our thoughts, because they are close to the head, where our thoughts originate; when Steve takes off the helmet, he stops thinking like Captain America and thinking of the hostages, to think about himself. This isn't that different at all in the way Rogers accuses Natasha of doing her own mission when she goes to save the hard drive, because Steve proving he can beat Batroc is Steve's own personal mission, which means he isn't serving his country, rather, himself. Again, this is an act of pride, and had Steve not committed this "sin," the Winter Soldier wouldn't have appeared, but villains can only appear because of weakness exhibited by the hero/main character.
The Winter Soldier must be controlled with brainwashing because everything HYDRA wants Bucky to do is counter-intuitive so he has to be controlled on the deepest, most intimate level; no, this is not a mistake, because socialism believes it has the right to every single aspect of a person (because you are not a person, you are an animal to them because you do not have a soul). We just recently saw this in Divergent with Tris overcoming Four's brainwashing by holding the gun to her head, knowing he wouldn't be able to shoot her. Steve Rogers, in saving Bucky and then not fighting Bucky anymore, proves to Bucky that Steve loves him and there is a deep bond there, one that doesn't exist with HYRDA; for example, when Bucky shows up at Pierce's house at night, when the house-keeper is leaving, Pierce asks Bucky if he would like some milk. That's not an accident: milk is the nourishment we are given by our mothers to grow, and Pierce wants to give Bucky some good 'ole socialist doctrine for Bucky to "grow strong on." When Pierce shoots and kills his maid Renata he is, in fact, "nourishing" Bucky with the lesson that no one will stand in their way and life is cheap.
Why does Bucky, the Winter Soldier, have a metal arm? Why not two metal arms? Why not a metal leg, instead? Arms symbolize strength; the right side usually symbolizes our logic and ration, whereas the left side usually symbolizes our emotions, vulnerability and weakness.  The left arm being turned into something "unnatural," humans are not made out of metal, means that the inherent weakness in humanity is being driven out, right? In other words, by replacing what Bucky's left arm symbolizes--his weakness as a human being (and please recall, that when he reports back and tells the doctor and Pierce that that man on the bridge knew him, and Pierce orders more brainwashing, that's a testament to what the left arm symbolizes because brainwashing is also unnatural, and a typical technique socialists use to control people)--is replaced by the unnatural, the strong and the non-feeling. Johnny Depp's latest film, Transcendence, has the tag line, "Yesterday, Dr. Will Caster was only human," and that's because the left wants to divorce humanity from nature as much as possible (but wait! You might scream: aren't the socialists the protectors of the environment? It doesn't make sense that they want to divorce us from nature while protecting the environment! And that is a correct diagnosis of the situation. Socialists actually don't care about the environment, communists are always the largest and worst polluters because the government runs everything and there is no one there to enforce rules and laws over the government; further, the environment is a scarecrow issue socialists use to try and gain the support of the masses, because it can't gain support for most of its issues, but they use the environment. Because socialists don't believe in God, they don't believe in the sanctity of the human body--which is why they push sexual promiscuity, to destroy the idea that we are souls, and brainwash us with the idea that we are only bodies like animals--so the human body has to be manipulated and controlled so it becomes of the greatest benefit to the state in what ever way the state deems necessary). By giving Bucky a metal arm, they are starting the dehumanization process that will essentially culminate with the state of "existence" that we see in Arnim Zola, the guy who "lives" in the computer at the old military base where Steve received his serum injection (consequently, we saw something similar to this in Skyfall when Silva, trapped in the glass cage, takes out his jaw and his face "collapses," granted, he claims it was from the cyanide pill he took that didn't kill him, however, it's the same thing as what we see with Bucky; likewise, Bond and Rogers are both in the same battle to not become what they see in the villain). We should compare and contrast the two stars associated with Steve vs. Bucky: Steve's silver star is on his chest, Bucky's red star is on his arm. As we discussed above, the color "red" either invokes love, because you are willing to spill your red blood for love of the other, or it denotes anger because you are willing to spill the other person's blood to appease the wrong you think they have done. Being an assassin clearly means that Bucky's red star is a sign of his anger/the anger of those who control him and use him to aide them in bringing about the downfall of America.    
Let's pause for a moment and, before we leave Steve and Bucky, examine how both of them end up at the Smithsonian Institute. Why? We see Steve sneaking in early in the film, wearing a baseball cap, then later Bucky sneaking in during the second end-credit scene, also wearing a ball cap, looking at the Captain America display. The Smithsonian is the American conscience, it holds everything that tells us who we are and why we are the way we are. Material objects--like Cap's suit--hold meaning, they aren't just desirable because they are material and valuable, but instead, they serve a purpose (which socialists would deny). Both men are suffering identity crises and need something with which to identify themselves and understand the future through the past; we could say this is "mother's milk." We know hair and hats symbolize thoughts, so that both men are wearing baseball caps suggests they are learning/thinking about their position in "the game" as Pierce points out ("You know how the game is played," he says). The point is, whereas conservatives look to history to discover the truth that shapes the future, socialists want the truth destroyed and they do that by re-writing history (like Noah re-writing the Bible and Gangster Squad and King Candy in Wreck-It Ralph).
It's being predicted that Agent 13 is one of those Marvel characters who will come out more in later episodes, but is being invested in now. Whether it's a relationship with Steve or a bigger role to play in later Avengers or Captain America films, we need to keep in mind the idea of her being a nurse and how she handled herself towards the end of the film. In the comics--but that doesn't mean in the films, but possibly--Agent 13 is the niece of one of the founding members of SHIELD, Peggy Carter, that's right, and Agent 13 and Steve Rogers are "together" at times in the comics, so we shall see.
On a different note, let's discuss Agent 13, Kate. We discover she was put across the hall from Steve to protect him by Nick Fury (more on him below). When Steve offers to let her use his laundry, she mentions--upholding her role as a nurse--that she had been in the infectious disease area of the hospital and doesn't want to leave germs in his wash. What does this mean? It's probably a reference to SHIELD and her being infected to the point that Steve won't trust her, or she is as blind as everyone else at SHIELD in not realizing what Pierce and HYDRA have done to the organization.
I couldn't find an image of Peggy Carter from CAWS, so this one from Captain America the First Avenger will have to suffice. It completely threw me for a loop that Steve went and saw her (that she was still alive). As we know, women symbolize the passive motherland while men symbolize the active economy/production. Young women will symbolize the future of the motherland, whereas older women will symbolize the traditions or culture of the motherland; Peggy is English, so we can say she, like M (Judi Dench) in Skyfall symbolizes the history/culture of England. Whereas Peggy has grown old (and appears to be ailing), Steve is even stronger than before. London has not faired well in films the last two years, always getting blown up, as in GI Joe Retaliation, Star Trek Into Darkness and Thor the Dark World. Is Peggy's illness and the state of England--which we also see in Skyfall with M's death--a commentary upon how weak England is because of policies it has adopted? What we can speculate upon is that Peggy will likely play some sort of role in a later film (either Captain America 3 or The Avengers: the Age Of Ultron).
What about Nick Fury?
This is quite a film for him. When he shows up at Steve's apartment, he tells Steve that his "wife" kicked him out, and Steve responds that he didn't know Fury had a wife, but Fury does have a wife: SHIELD, and in ordering the hit on Fury, his "wife" has "kicked him out" of the organization. Fury has devoted his life to SHIELD, which ties him in with Steve whose titanium shield is so important in helping him fight. With the death of SHIELD, we can say, Fury becomes another "Black Widow" because his life-long work appears to be finished, but it isn't. Several sources are making quite the ado about SHIELD being dismantled--because that applies to the television show Agents of SHIELD as well--but I don't think it's that serious of a situation, because now the Avengers and company are "invisible" to HYDRA and it's going to be harder for HYDRA to fight SHIELD if they can't see them, which leads us to how Fury "sees" and his eye,...
Pierce really pulls a fast one on Fury when Pierce tells Fury, "our enemies are the same, disorder and chaos," but the truth lies in how each side defines those terms: for socialists, "disorder and chaos" are analogous to individuality and people being allowed to do what they want, people not being controlled by the government; to conservatives, disorder and chaos is what we see in the image above: an abandoning of the law which is what Obama and his entire administration have done. When debating a liberal, just start asking them to define the words they are using, and then give specific examples of it and they will get flustered and give up, or change the topic real fast.
The eyes are, as everyone knows, the "window of the soul," and Fury has kept his covered; additionally, however, the eyes can symbolize our ability to "see" on a deeper level--like Fury being able to "see" that Pierce was a HYDRA agent, or Steve being able to "see" that the elevator filling up with men was an assassination attempt in the making--so when Fury lifts up his eye patch to reveal his blind eye, it's like Fury's confession that he has been blind to what SHIELD had become (we shouldn't be surprised, the same kind of thing happens with Thor and Loki [remember, Odin, too, wears an eye patch, because he turned a blind eye toward both Thor's bad qualities and Loki's past], and we can say--in light of what Sam tells Steve on the bridge--that Steve is "blind" as to what Buckey has become and won't let that deter his love for his best friend). Don't forget the all-too-obvious: the name of the program that Fury tries to stop is called "Insight." But there's another level to Fury's eye patch,...
Nick doesn't have such a good relationship with technology in the film: he can't access any of the information on the drive, then everything goes wrong on his car when he's under attack, except the air conditioning, then the medical equipment can't resuscitate him in the operating room (given, this was set up, but for the audience, they set it up with technology). This obviously isn't to say that technology is bad, but perhaps Fury has been trusting technology rather than trusting people. With Nick "going off grid" by the end of the film, it appears he has achieved a complete conversion and is more willing to trust those who have proven themselves loyal.
Nick has lost the ability to trust others, and we can say that the eye he "lost" is symbolic of that; with the dismantling of SHIELD, he now knows who his true friends are, his true "brothers in arms" and perhaps he has started regaining the ability to trust those who have proven themselves worthy. He doesn't see perfectly, and that's the point of him putting on the dark glasses: this gesture foreshadows that he will se the world in a darker view from now on, but he's going to do what needs to be done. This scene at Nick's "grave," is important for two reasons: first, as we predicted, Nick has obviously been resurrected (we saw Pepper Potts be "resurrected in Iron Man 3 after her fall into the fiery furnace, as well as Loki's "resurrection" in Thor the Dark World after he supposedly died saving Thor, not to mention James Bond's numerous resurrections in Skyfall, where he tells Silva that "Resurrection" is his hobby, the resurrection of both Khan and Kirk in Star Trek Into Darkness and the resurrection of the Nine and Sauron/the Necromancer in The Hobbit series) but we aren't just talking about Nick being resurrected from his surgery where he supposedly died, but as a director and team member of the Avengers, he has found a new will to live and a new purpose, which leads us to what is written on his tombstone,...
This is a better shot of the red star, which acts as a statement of ownership (like writing your name in a book you own, or embedding the name of the manufacturer on the product); this idea is accentuated by the face mask Bucky wears hiding his identity. Just as Fury takes off the eye patch, so Bucky takes off the metal arm, and both of them find freedom interiorly by the shedding of these exterior devices.
If you paid close attention to when Sam, Steve and Nick are standing at Nick's gravesite, there is a quotation on the stone from Ezekiel 25:17 (and no, this isn't what it says in the Bible), reading "The path of the righteous man," which, of course, is the "Scripture" that Samuel L Jackson recited as Jules in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. There are at least three important reasons for this reference being made (which, by the way, is a perfect example of both reader response theory--the film makers know we have seen Pulp Fiction, so they include a reference to it--and the implied reader, because those who have seen Pulp Fiction are the implied readers for this scene because they have the necessary knowledge to "read" what is there).
Are the sunglasses worse than the eye patch, since the patch covers up only one eye, whereas the glasses cover up both eyes? We'll have to see about it, because we do know that Fury (pretending to be dead) looks at the world through "dark colored lenses," however, he's closer to people by the end of the film than he was at the start of the film, so only the next appearance of Fury can really tell us what has happened.
First, Nick Fury is a righteous man, we are not to mistake his troubles in the film as being his fault, he did his best; secondly, like Jules at the end of Pulp Fiction, we can understand that Nick will be going "off gird," as he told his car during the intense action sequence, to "walk the earth, and be a shepherd" specifically in Eastern Europe, specifically to look for HYDRA cells, and probably "shepherding" the likes of Thor and Iron Man. The third reason why the reference to Pulp Fiction is important is because in that film, Jules believes a "miracle" has happened, which leads us to the first post-credits scene and what exactly is happening in it (in Pulp Fiction, Jules and Verne were shot at several times but they weren't hurt, and Jules calls that a "miracle," prompting him to "wander the earth" until God puts him where he belongs).
Not being big into comic books myself, I found this morsel of information from and wanted to share this with you:  Crossbones, also known as Brock Rumlow, has an incredibly important role to play in the saga and history of Captain America, and that ball really started rolling with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Played by Frank Grillo, Crossbones is introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as an undercover field agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. who is actually allied with HYDRA and simply waiting for a moment to show his true colors. He is an important antagonistic force in the movie, with key battle scenes against both Captain America and Falcon, and his final scene leaves the character in a fascinating place. After HYDRA’s plan has fallen apart, Crossbones is left as a charred, barely-alive mess of a man – plenty of motive to look for revenge. The writers also mention how Red Skull--the villain played by Hugo Weaving in Captain America the First Avenger--was teleported off the planet by the Tesseract and they expect him to show up somewhere in one of the next, upcoming films.
The character we see speaking in the mid-credits or post-credits scene, is Baron von Strucker, the Supreme HYDRA commander (no one is above him) and a former Nazi officer who hates everything about freedom and now has Loki's scepter which Loki left on earth in The Avengers and von Struck somehow got ahold of. The power of Loki's scepter is part of the plot we will see in The Avengers the Age Of Ultron, but also part of the plot will involve the twins, the "terrifying miracles," as von Struck calls Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).  Now, the question is, what exactly makes these two "terrifying miracles" in a universe where there is a Loki, a Thor, Dark Elves and a American hero who can survive being frozen for sixty years?
A sign of a great director is the use of reflection to communicate what is or is not going on within a character. Throughout the entire film, especially in scenes within the SHIELD office, glass plays an important role about who is reflecting on what they are doing and who is not.
Quite simply, to von Strucker, Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver are "terrifying" because von Strucker can't explain them, they are abnormalities of science, which they didn't believe could exist (socialism is all about control, which is why they worship science, because it only reflects a world based upon their knowledge, there is nothing they can't know or control, unlike God who is beyond their control); they are "miracles," not because they prove the existence of God--they way miracles demonstrate God's interaction in our lives for Christians like myself--rather, they are, to von Strucker, exactly what HYDRA needs, at the exact moment, to destroy the Avengers and take total control over the world. IF, however, these two "miracles" are possible, that means other miracles are possible too, does it not? The problem will be if the twins become uncontrollable--like, they decide to join up with the Avengers to stop HYDRA--and then, of course, they will have to be destroyed. In Scarlett Witch's darkened eyes, we can all ready see the correlation to Bucky Barnes when his eyes were darkened, referencing their darkened souls and limited sense of self.
Natasha is in a bad position, to say the least. Having defeated the foe of SHIELD, she revealed her past that could land her in jail (this might happen in The Avengers: the Age Of Ultron). What are we to make of it? That the American system works. Natasha could not have gone straight had SHIELD not presented her the chance, and had America not existed so she could turn her skills and talents toward a greater good rather than just being a mercenary for hire. Given that Fury is "dead," it will be hard for her--if she's pressed by lawmakers--to prove that she shouldn't have to go to jail for past mis-deeds.
In conclusion, Captain America the Winter Soldier was far more than I dreamed it would be, but everything it needs to be in the next order of Marvel's line-up. I can see some--especially people from other countries--quaintly denouncing a film such as this as America's obsession with the comic book; that's far from true. It's not the comics selling at record pace, and if there were a lack of narrative technique or poor film making, the films would not do well. The powerful storyline, reflecting the troubling situation we face with our government today, and our frustrated will to do anything (even just the need to have our worst fears validated, that what is happening is actually happening, instead of the media and press lying for Obama all the time) is a massive, cultural-catharsis that makes this a top-notch film I can't wait to see again.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Latest News: The Hobbit There and Back Again

The Hobbit: the Desolation Of Smaug is available to own on instant HD at Amazon, and will be available in stores Tuesday, April 8. There is still no definite word on when the first trailer for the third film is to come out, however, we know the main substance of the film: the epic Battle Of the Five Armies. Sauron has gathered the orcs and is marching to destroy Middle Earth; the Elves, Dwarfs, Wizards, Eagles and humans must rally together to defeat them. Usually, it's a bad comment to say the film wildly diverges from the book--and there are certainly Tolkien fans who would say that--however, a film is always its own work of art, separate from the book: first because there are two separate artists interpreting the material (the first artist is the author, the second artist is the group of film makers) and, secondly, because there are things which can be accomplished in print that can not be accomplished on the screen, whereas there are things which can be accomplished on the screen that one can't even begin to consider for print. Having established these reasons for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit series being different from JRR Tolkien's book, those who have read the book "know" what to expect, but that doesn't mean Jackson and company won't put their own spin on it: case in point, Thorin Oakenshield. Tolkien doesn't go into his character as much as Jackson does, but Jackson has his reasons, as we will explore, but will Thorin's story end the same way as it does in the book? 
Well, this is rather disheartening news: the third installation of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: There and Back Again, "doesn't even exist," according to producer and co-writer Philippa Boyens, discussing the project with Empire Online news. “Pete’s cutting it," she said in answer to questions, "As an entity, it’s coming together. Actually that’s not true - we have a rough assembly, so to speak, of the shape of the film and the performances. I am excited, because one of the storylines I care a lot about is the Thorin one." She also addressed why the second film ends the way it does, but more importantly, that splitting up the Dwarf Company--leaving part of them with Kili in Lake Town--gives a perspective to the destruction Smaug will cause there.
One of the big questions plaguing fans is, "Does Bilbo have the Arkenstone?" and my answer is yes. After I get the post for Captan America: the Winter Soldier up, I will then do The Hobbit the book, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation Of Smaug; all three posts are close to being done, rather like Jackson's film, but there is a controversial line of analysis I have been thinking over that I think I finally have solved that surprises even me, namely, that it's not Bilbo Baggins who is the main character of the book/films, rather, Bard the human of Lake Town, and all the characters--including Biblbo, Gandalf and Thorin--are just fragments of Bard's own soul that each symbolize a spiritual journey they are on so Bard can kill the dragon Smaug. I am working out a rather complex visual to go with it, so that's why I don't have it done yet, among time restraints.
So, whereas I hoped the trailer for The Hobbit: There and  Back Again would be attached to The Transformers: Age Of Extinction (opening in July) just because it's a huge film lots of people are apt to go and see, but we might not see the trailer until August; however, we know enough of the film has been ensembled for a trailer because of reports from CinemaCon and the trailer shown there, including Gandalf saying that the time had come to pick which side you are on (things will probably get pretty nasty in the circle of wizards). Anyway, the three posts I owe you on The Hobbit are forthcoming, and there is a tremendous amount of symbolically-rich material for us to sort; in fact, I would even go so far as to say that The Hobbit (in both book and celluloid format) is the very reason for us to sharpen our skills at decoding and decrypting because of all the incredible discoveries we are going to make. In the meantime, enjoy watching this short but engrossing video of what Benedict Cumberbatch contributed to bring Smaug alive:
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

UPDATED: Symbols & Intrigue: Captain America the Winter Soldier

It is being teased in trailers that Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) dies in the film (mainly because we see him in a car crash caused by the Winter Soldier, and at some point, Steve Rogers says, "His last words to me were, 'Don't trust anyone,'" as well as seeing Rogers and Black Widow standing beside a dead body). Does Fury die? Probably not. Even if he does die in the film, please recall that "Resurrection" has been a popular theme (we discussed it in Iron Man 3 [why Pepper got the huge rabbit from Tony for Christmas, and her falling to a fiery death only to "rise again] and in Skyfall when Silva asks Bond, "What's your hobby?" to which he replies, "Resurrection." We also can't forget Loki's "resurrection" in Thor the Dark World [after he seemingly dies saving Thor, only to disguise himself as a soldier to kidnap Odin]). Even if Fury dies, he might be resucciated by the end of the film (he is certainly in The Avengers 2: the Age Of Ultron). And we shouldn't forget the "resurrection" of the film's villain, Bucky Barnes, who "died" when Steve couldn't hold onto him in Captain America: the First Avenger, so "resurrection" is all ready a theme within the film.
UPDATED: Let me be clear: I have not yet seen the film at the time of this posting (I all ready have my ticket to the Thursday showing), so these are deductions based upon trailers, spots and spoilers released through interviews; this post contains a major spoiler, so if you don't want to know, please, stop reading; thank you.
Captain America's outfit changes at some point in the film and these elements are going to be important. The star remains where it is; why? Because it's over his heart, and it was because of his heart that Steve Rogers was chosen to become Captain America. Please, remember, in Thor the Dark World, when Loki and Thor were "escaping Asgard" and Loki briefly changes into Captain America to mock him, it's because Steve--more than any of the other Avengers--most aptly pinned what Loki was, in Berlin, when Steve called Loki "Hitler."
As of Sunday, March 30, Captain America the Winter Soldier has done $75 million at the foreign box office,.... why is Captain America not being released in America first? It's expected to do about that it's opening weekend in the US, so get your tickets in advance. And remember: there are two post-credit scenes, so be kind and don't let people leave the theater without seeing them, even if you have to tackle and hog-tie them, I am sure they will be grateful for it. Why should you see it this weekend? Well, the events of this film are setting us up for the next big Marvel release, The Avengers 2: the Age Of Ultron, so without see CAWS, you really won't know what's going on, but you should see it this weekend so you don't have it ruined for you. Here is the official synopsis:
This could be the most important moment of the film: the Winter Soldier using Captain America's own weapon against him. We have seen something similar in Olympus Has Fallen, when American nukes were going to be used against us, but ask yourself, could the shield of Captain America stand for SHIELD being used against us (like the NSA supposed to be protecting us, but policing us instead?) or even the Constitution protecting our enemies and being used against us? On a different note, there are two "identity" features of the Winter Soldier we must take particular note of, his blacked-out eyes we see in some scenes, as well as the face mask he sometimes wears (as in the image above); why? Those two features are part of his costume to communicate to us something tangible about the intangible: his soul. When we see part of any character's identity covered up or damaged, it means that some part of their being we can't see has been damaged, and the face mask over the Winter Soldier will reveal to us more clearly how he is being controlled and the consequences of it.
After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier (Captain America the Winter Soldier, Cinemablend). 
Why is the loss of Peggy Carter such a big deal for Steve? On one level, she was his dream, and when we lose our dream, we lose the biggest part of our own self (we will see this in X-Men Days Of Future Past) but it also becomes difficult to "dream again," and that's regrettable, because America is known for chasing its dreams. If Steve can't fulfill his own dreams, why should he be fighting for others to fulfill their dreams, isn't America, then, just an illusion? On another level, Steve not connecting with a woman is a sign that he's not connecting with "modern America," because women often symbolize the "motherland," whereas men symbolize the economy. On still a different level, Peggy--whom one American soldier called "Queen Victoria,"--is very much a symbol of the US-British alliance that fought and won World War II together and whether or not that alliance is still alive. This was, I believe, an issue visited in Iron Man 3 with Happy and the episodes of Downton Abbey. Tony tells the nurse that Happy likes it because he thinks it's elegant, but there is a British character in the film who is far removed from "elegance," and that is the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) who is just an actor, so we have the image of the elegant and powerful England of days gone by in Downton Abbey, and the sad reality of what England has maybe come to be today in the Mandarin because of their increasing socialist policies (for more, please see Season Of Terror: Iron Man 3 & the Sand Creek Massacre).
Here is the big spoiler, even though we have all ready discussed the possibility of it: Steve Rogers discovers that Russia has taken over SHIELD from within SHIELD, in other words, there is a double agent working in SHIELD who has betrayed Rogers and America,.... sound like any current events you are familiar with? I think the rat is Robert Redford's character, because conservative Americans see him as being a liberal, and one who wouldn't hesitate to hand over America to any communist; I could be wrong, however, but this is one of the big jolts of the film, that America has been betrayed.
I could be wrong about this, however, there are ships in the film, and one of those ships has the number 42 painted on it, looking exactly like what we see in the poster for the Jackie Robinson film, which was a huge platform for the American Dream and capitalism. IF CAWS references 42 using the ships, we will have to pay attention to the moments when we see the number, and details of the dialogue to see if there is any connection to be made between the two films.
Along with major plot lines there are also sub-plot lines, and Steve Rogers' longing for Peggy Carter will be one of those (we have seen the clip of Black Widow trying to hook Steve up with Kristen in Statistics). Another not-so-sub-plot-line will be when Captain America goes from being Captain America to a fugitive in America because he found out "too much" and now the enemies of the state, who have made themselves "the state," are using the resources of the state to destroy the very ones it should be protecting and honoring (does that sound familiar?).
Rumor has it that Falcon (Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker, Pain and Gain) meets Captain America while they are out in DC jogging. This is important not only because of the landmarks we will be seeing (like in Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters when they arrive in Washington and Tyson sees the Capitol building and thinks it's Olympus, because it really is, like in Olympus Has Fallen) but also because of what it means to symbolically "run the race": these are two men who are in shape, not just physically, but morally and ethically, unlike the villains we will be seeing in the film. They have done with St. Paul commended Christians to do, "run the good race" so we would receive our reward, because if you aren't in good "moral shape" to meet the daily challenges of temptations, sin and sacrifice, you won't make it to heaven; likewise, these two men, instead of intriguing and advancing their pocketbooks, are actually exercising "genuine" self love in building up their hearts and souls to be strong--exhibited by their strong physique--so they can always make the right choices, even if those are the hard choices to make (at one point, Fury tells Rogers, "Looks like your calling the shots now," and that's because Rogers has the moral command of himself to make the decisions best for all, not best for himself.
In short, if you can make it, I hope you go out to see Captain America this weekend to support America. Marvel seems to really be sticking its neck out on the line with this one and trying to make a political point of how reversed our world has become since World War II (when Steve Rogers went from being a skinny kid to Captain America) and how we are at grave risk for becoming the very socialist machine Captain America vowed to fight.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
Robert Redford as Joseph Turner ("the Condor") in Three Days Of the Condor with Faye Dunaway, from 1975, directed by Sydney Pollack. I am watching the film tonight, actually, because the Russo brothers (who have directed the film) have said they were very consciously stylizing CAWS after this film, which just happens to be a Cold War spy movie. Why bother watching it? There might be subtle references--it's always nice to be the "implied audience" who is in the know, rather than one who doesn't know what's going on--and there is probably some connection like, what Agent Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford in CAWS) is doing (probably in trying to usher in socialism by "tearing down the old world") is equivalent to what Higgins and Atwood did in killing people so they could get more oil, and now Steve Rogers is in the position that the Condor was in.
In short, if you can make it, I hope you go out to see Captain America this weekend to support America. Marvel seems to really be sticking its neck out on the line with this one and trying to make a political point of how reversed our world has become since World War II (when Steve Rogers went from being a skinny kid to Captain America) and how we are at grave risk for becoming the very socialist machine Captain America vowed to fight.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner