But at this blog, we aren't concerned about such things (well, not usually anyway, because when people really like a film, there is a reason for it; however, people don't always go and see a film they would have liked had they known they would have liked it, so just because something bombs doesn't mean I consider it to be a bad film). You might be wondering, however, exactly which movie is American Ultra? I didn't talk about it much because I wasn't sure which way it would go, but I am delighted that it was so pro-capitalist and so pro-America. Here's the trailer to refresh your memory:
|They both have terrible hair in this film; truly, really terrible, knotted, natty dry hair, until the end of the film. Why? Hair, as you will recall, symbolizes our thoughts, and for these two CIA agents turned pot heads, their hair perfectly symbolizes what has happened to their mental processes as they have been vegging out and not living up to their potential, which is what they are doing by the end of the film. If you will notice Phoebe's (Stewart) hair is red but has dark roots: the red coloring reveals that she is "covering" something up, specifically, that she, too, is CIA and not just some pothead girlfriend with a pothead boyfriend, and this leads us to an important issue for critics of the film which deserves addressing: the threshold of credibility. When we sit down to watch a film, we as individuals enter into a bargain with the film makers: tell us a story that will entertain us and, in exchange, we will willingly suspend our disbelief so we can enjoy your story. We don't ask if the Shire really exists, we just want to hear the story of Bilbo in The Hobbit; we don't question if vampires are real or can actually turn into bats, we just want the story and we will allow the creator any license they require to make that story appealing to us. At times, however, especially when a story seems more realistic (such as American Ultra which is set in Virginia and uses real people with real life possible scenarios) when that threshold of credibility is touched, it seems we the audience must rebel and question the methods of the film makers; it has been my experience, that we discredit the artists when we fail to be attentive audience members, that is, in other words, a perfectly good explanation for what has happened, we have just failed to explore what the story tellers wanted us to learn. For example, if Phoebe is also CIA, why did she think Mike would suddenly be able to leave town, even though he had been brainwashed so that he would get massive anxiety attacks whenever he did try to leave town, and trying to go to Hawaii was utterly pointless? Why didn't she realize at the very beginning when Mike told her he had killed two people that something was starting to sound suspicious? Why does Phoebe wait so long to tell Mike about their real relationship? We would go on, because--when Phoebe does reveal to Mike that she is CIA and his handler--like Mike, we hardly believe her, but that is because they have been smoking pot and doing drugs so much for so long! Their brains have been lulled to sleep and it's difficult to get them awake again. Proponents of drug use will deny this, stating that this doesn't happen with habitual marijuana use, and this is just a bad film; however, they are not the measures of intelligence.|
Mandelbrot sets are a branch of mathematics which is also a branch of chaos theory. We could go into self-recognition and all kinds of things, however, we won't; suffice to say, the easiest way to remember what a Mandelbrot set is is by way of Russian Babushka dolls: the large doll contains a smaller doll with the same features as the large doll, but on a smaller scale, which contains a smaller doll within it with the same features, etc., and that is, essentially in the genre of art, what is meant by Mandelbrot sets, that there is a play within a play, there are "films within films" and patterns of micro-organization reflected by macro-organizations.
Why should you care?
Because that's the message of the film.
They begin with the soup.
Pretty cool, huh?
|What's special about this image of Mike in Max Goods? Mike's "above" the ones trying to kill him, but it also suggests that the "Wiseman" (Mike's code name) will also be above the events and look at the situation from a different perspective. Again, look at how beautiful all those full shelves of inventory are; there's the "BAKING" aisle, then there is an aisle for "HOME LIVING," and that's in one store; this is the beauty of the free market, where market forces determine how much to make and when, where competition creates better and cheaper products; trust me, nothing like this existed behind the Iron Curtain, unless it was possibly or Party Members, but not for the Workers, who the system was supposed to be serving. During this scene, Phoebe is able to get a paper clip and use it to unlock her handcuffs, providing yet another example of "handiness" and, simultaneously, demonstrating how, we don't just need paper clips to keep papers together (although paper clips do that very nicely and there was a need for that) but paperclips also provide us with the means of unshackling us from government tyranny because the drive to develop the very best possible model of the paper clip for widespread consumer use occupied more than fifty inventors, and that kind of creativity and problem-solving keeps the population intelligent so it's more difficult to control them, unlike people like Rose who will believe whatever is put on TV.|
Claude Levi-Strauss formulated a theory of "handiness": when we have a job to do, but we don't necessarily have the right tools to accomplish it, we will use whatever items we have that are "handy" in order to accomplish the task. An example is when, much to men's horror, a woman needs to open the lid on a can of paint and she uses a screwdriver to do it; the screwdriver isn't the proper tool, but it will accomplish what it is she needs done: opening the lid. This reveals a sign of intelligence in being capable of seeing objects with greater value (the ability to use them for more than just one task) than they were initially designed for.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner