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