Monday, June 29, 2015

How To Eat Art: Point Of View & Unreliable Narrators

Anthony Perkins portrays Norman Bates from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. The problem with Psycho, which Hitchcock pulled off so brilliantly, is that we keep switching the point of view, which adds to the thrill of the film, as he knew it would. There are three types of narrators in a film: the hero, the tragic or anti-hero and the unreliable narrator. James Bond would be the perfect example of the hero (we will discuss him in the next post) because the viewer identifies with him and is happy to identify with him (in terms of his accomplishments and adventures); the tragic hero is someone basically doomed but you still listen to their story, like Dr. Frankenstein in Mary Shelly's novel. An unreliable narrator is one you question their motives or knowledge of the situation, such as Verbal Kent (Kevin Spacey) in The Usual Suspects
Point of view is probably the most boring aspect of art interpretation that we could begin with, since, after all, we learn it when we first start to learn reading in elementary school. With film, however, point of view becomes far more sophisticated than just the narrator's voice; take the case of Norman Bates. Are we listening to Norman talk, or is it his mother? Or is it a facet of his personality that hasn't even been diagnosed during the duration of the film? If we don't even know whose point of view the events and story are being told by, or at least the point of view of one of the main characters, the entire story becomes questionable.
But that doesn't mean it's chaos.
In an NPR interview, Dustin Hoffman revealed that the best piece of acting advice he ever got was how not to over-act: "You're on the big screen, you're all ready interesting!" a director told him. Trying not to step over that boundary was the job of the actor, he reasoned, not exceeding that boundary like he thought it was (and many do). Because the audience is so easily wrapped up in the plot of the narrative, we will basically buy into anything (how many times does someone go into a dark room in a horror film, and yet, we still watch it?). Are we projecting ourselves onto the actor? No, rather, the actor tries to emerge from us, they need us in the audience to realize that the character is a part of us, rather than the audience becoming a part of the character. This becomes difficult for some actors who have been in so many films it's hard to see their character instead of the actor.
Point of view works because of a sneaky bit of magic that takes place when the audience member buys their ticket, sits down in the theater and the lights go out: the willing suspension of disbelief. Without the audience member's entering into an agreement with the artist to not question the premise or the events, characters or plot, the viewer agrees that they are not going to question the probability or details of something being realistic or feasible, in exchange for being entertained (we know that not all viewers will suspend disbelief, but courteous viewers do). In The Graduate with Dustin Hoffman, we don't question how Benjamin Braddock can seduce Mrs. Robinson at the same time he's seeing her daughter Elaine; why not?
Oedipus Rex, and the solving of the riddle of the sphinx. In his play of  the same name, Sophocles tells the story of Oedipus who, running away so as not to fulfill a prophecy of murdering his father and marrying his mother, ends up doing exactly that. Oedipus is the perfect example of a hero that the audience could identify with, not because they wanted to kill their fathers and marry their own mothers (because this didn't happen) but because they wanted to throw off the burden of Homer and the Homeric heroes they had been dominated by for centuries (their father) and make Greece in their own image (marry the "motherland" and beget children in the form of art, war and treasure); and we can say this is an accurate reading because that is exactly what happened, called the Age of Pericles. Had the same events been told from the perspective of  Queen Jocasta, the mother of Oedipus, the film would have had a completely different moral angle to it, and that perspective from which we gain the ability of a cultural horizon permits the appropriate assessment of the morality carried in the hero's point of view and the experiences of the narrative, which translates as the experiences of the entire culture. 
Because the country as a whole was doing the same thing as Benjamin, and that's why understanding the point of view of a narrative is so important: Mrs. Robinson's seduction of Benjamin mirrored the young 1960's Americans' desire for the comfortable, materialistic lifestyle of the older generation (symbolized by Mrs. Robinson), but they knew they had to be with the goals and values of their own times, symbolized by Elaine (Katherine Ross). The movie was a success because viewers understood that the story line wasn't to be taken literally, but metaphorically, even if they themselves couldn't/wouldn't articulate what that metaphor was, they knew it applied to them. The voice of the hero, the point of view from which the film is basing its own moral decisions and judgments about the events taking place, determines the entire outcome and whether or not the viewer hazards to identify with the hero, and this is powerful stuff.
Enter Alfred Hitchcock.
Why do the films of Alfred Hitchcock work? Why was he the "master of suspense?" Because he realized how the audience member's mind works,... it doesn't. When we watch a film, most of us aren't thinking, we are willingly in a near-vegetative state, experiencing the events of the plot and visual imagery almost like they are drugs working on our emotions while our brains are quiet. We aren't required to keep up our end of the conversation when we watch a film, or interact with the characters, and we aren't responsible for what does or doesn't happen; we are obligated by nothing. This seeming lack of obligation is what leads many--if not all--to declare that film is "escapist" rather than "artistic." The level of engagement with the film, however, does not determine the status of whether or not it's art (it can, however, be used in determining the quality of the art, but that is not our discussion at the moment). When we see a trailer for a new film, the mind is actually working over-time in a 2;00 minute span determining, by the rapid succession of events and dialogue the viewer witnesses, if "it looks good" or if it "doesn't look good." The mind is able to make subtle distinctions which most viewers would not be able to articulate, but will cost the studio millions of dollars, or make them millions of dollars, and this is based on the viewer's ability to identify the point of view of the story and whether the morality matches that of their own or not. Once this all important decision is made, the potential viewer becomes the actual viewer when they go to the theater, buy the ticket, and then sit back to eat popcorn and "enjoy the show." Enjoying the show, however, is not a mindless activity, just as dreaming is not a mindless activity; it might appear to be passive, but it's not mindless. The more the mind works during a film, the more enjoyed it is by the viewer (consider some of Christopher Nolan's best films, like Memento or Inception); the deeper a film takes its viewer into the viewer's own sub-conscious mind, the greater the enjoyment level for the viewer, because films are the dreams of a culture, and just as The Graduate posited the coming-of-age relationships with Benjamin and a mother and daughter to relate to the young people of that day the decision that was before them, so the point of view of the narration of the story will relate an important truth, a moral testament, and either the viewer will agree with it, or disagree with it, and that is the formula of whether or not a person finds that film to be "good."
Great artists are always in control, even when we the audience is not (especially when we the audience is not). In Psycho, after Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) excuses herself from work for the rest of the day, and makes off with thousands of dollars she has stolen, she sees her boss crossing the street in front of her on her way out of town and he sees her after she told him she was going home; the moment this happens, we the viewer are as anxious as she is about the events because we are implicated in her crime with her, even though we have done nothing wrong.
In a way, our identification with Marion is easy, because we have been watching her since the beginning and we know she is in love with Sam and we have an emotional tie to her; what's impressive is how quickly Hitchcock manages to divert our sympathy to Norman, even with the seeming injustice of Marion wanting to give the money back and preparing to confess to the theft the next day, we are still relieved when Marion's car sinks into the pond. That's genius. And this film was shot with only a TV crew, it wasn't Hitch's usual crew he was working with, so it was a huge departure for him.
After Marion has been murdered, Norman enters her room, sees the body and begins cleaning up the scene, putting her dead body into her car and sinking it into the lake,.... but then, the car doesn't sink, it gets stuck, and we're thinking, "Oh, no, go down, go down!" because we are afraid of getting caught and what we are going to do; we are implicated in Norman's guilt because we have all done something where we didn't want to get caught. Even though we have only been watching him on the screen for a few minutes, we have switched our "viewer identification," i.e., the point of view of the narrative, and are now rooting for the character who is covering up the murder of this poor, beautiful woman who was in love.
How does this happen?
I will write about this image when we get to the symbols, because this is good.
In a very real way, film, just like any art form, will serve a moralizing faculty: it's safe to identify with a bad character for awhile so that you can see why you shouldn't make those decisions and do those things in real life. For Catholics, this is called "imperfect contrition": perfect contrition is when a person realizes they have offended God and, because of their great love for God, they are sorry they have offended Him; imperfect contrition is when a person realizes that the sin they have committed could send them to hell and they are sorry for sinning because they don't want to go to hell; there is contrition in this case, but it's not as holy as exercising the fear of offending God. Many times, films/series such as Breaking Bad or Penny Dreadful show characters in horrible circumstances so the viewer can exercise a degree of emotional contrition for themselves/society/religion and avoid the decisions the characters have made and, hence, their fates. Is it willing suspension of disbelief, however, when we think Walt White needs to kill off this girl because she's becoming a liability and is going to threaten to destroy his drug business?
No.
Verbal Kent (Kevin Spacey, far right) in The Usual Suspects. Verbal tells the officer a story and then, at the end of the show leaves; the officer then gets the intel that the man who just left was a notorious criminal who made up the entire story that we have just listened to from various random objects in the officer's office. The entire film that we just watched, was made up, on the spot, by Verbal, who wasn't even who he said he was. That's pretty unreliable.
We are not criminals because we start thinking like a criminal while watching a criminal show, just as (most of us) are not detectives just because we start thinking like a detective during a CSI episode. We are removed from the consequences of the decisions we are making as we (passively) watch the film, we are removed from the stress and emotional turmoil caused which would help us determine what path to take. "I feel like such a bad person for watching Breaking Bad, but I just can't stop!" someone told me. For this particular person, the show provides a safe release for her to deal with her emotions that she otherwise wouldn't permit herself to experience (catharsis), it's not about herself becoming a criminal, rather, allowing herself to become part of a larger cultural experience of shared emotions that aren't real, but teach something that is real, nonetheless. Unless, of course, we have a bad narrator,...
If you haven 't had an introduction into Japanese cinema, or haven't watched any of the Kurosawa films, this is always rated as one of the greatest films EVER MADE, so it's definitely worth your while. 
Akira Kurosawa's 1950 classic Roshomon is about as concentrated of a narrative from unreliable narrators as you can get. There is a bandit who meets a samurai and his wife on their way somewhere. The samurai is killed, and the bandit, the wife and even the dead samurai (through the medium of a kind of witch doctor) each tell a conflicting story of the events, then the wood-cutter who found the body also tells a totally different series of events. The film details the passing of blame and guilt for the cause and destruction of Japan in World War II, with the leaders (the samurai) and the soldiers (the bandit) arguing over who destroyed Japan, or if Japan inherently destroyed itself (was the wife raped, or did she want to leave her husband?) and then the commoners (the woodcutter) who had to bear the worst of the consequences for losing the war, had their side of what happened. This isn't a relative story, this is the actual events, and who did and said what that are being questioned; why is a unreliable narrator an asset to a work of art?
Another classic example of an unreliable narrator is Hero with Jet Li. He goes in telling one story, then another story comes out, and then a third story reveals itself. The moral wanderings of the lead character Nameless (Li) helps him arrive at the greatest moral state a warrior can achieve, the exact opposite of why he started out on the journey to begin with, to kill the man trying to unite China. The act of telling the different stories, and realizing his own story as it fit in with everything else, was what Nameless required to see the path he himself needed to take in order to achieve the moral point of view that would benefit him the most, laying down his sword. The different emotional and spiritual levels depicted in the film really communicate more about Nameless' own soul-state at that point in the story (where he is in the room with the emperor and is slowly realizing he's not going to kill him afterall) than about the other warriors who have decided to trust him. How? Because a story teller can only tell what they all ready know: Nameless starts out talking about the emotional immaturity of Broken Sword and Flying Snow because of his own spiritual immaturity; he ends up relaying the words Broken Sword wrote in the sand, because he has, like Broken Sword, progressed to the point that he can understand, so now, as a storyteller, he can give that version of the story to the audience as well. This aptly demonstrates why the point of view of a narrative is so important in identifying in a work of art, because it's identifying the well of morality the whole story is going to draw upon.
One, it demonstrates how unreliable we ourselves are in deciphering reality in our own lives, but more importantly, it slowly shifts us into taking a moral high road we might not choose for ourselves. When presented with events that the point of view disrupts in our own world view, we find ourselves doing some re-calculations about our own point of view in life. Ultimately, this is the point of every great work of art, and if we take time to identify something as simple as whose point of view are we being exposed to, then we are going to interact with the art on that deeper of a level and get that much more from the experience, thereby enriching ourselves.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
Owen Grady (Pratt) in Jurassic World demonstrates a main character who gives us a point of view that would appear to be feasible for an audience, but might actually be against the audience's morals when clearly broken down. Even as I was realizing that Owen was an anti-capitalist character, he is the character endowed with "common sense" that appears to be the wisest in the film and so the one that, like the kids, you want to stay with because you feel safe with him. In fact, he's the one who undergoes the biggest conversion in the film, even though it might not appear that way, but based upon his last line of dialogue. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Trix Are For Kids: Ted 2 & the Entitlement Culture

Legalizing Ted and weed are similar circumstances, because people who think weed is harmless also believe in make-believe things like teddy bears that come to life. Just as Ted isn't a real animal, he symbolizes our animal instinct for a state of existence that isn't real and which usually goes by the description of "utopia." There is a scene, about halfway through the film, where John (Wahlberg), Ted and their lawyer Sam (Amanda Seyfried) have crashed into a field of a particular strand of marijuana being grown and as they look at it, the theme for Jurassic Park wells up in the background and they re-enact the scene where the scientists see the dinosaurs for the first time (again, they are staring at weed). What's the purpose of this scene? In Jurassic Park, the scientists had done something important and constructive with their lives, as opposed to this threesome who do nothing but smoke their brains out on weed; comparing the weed to the dinosaurs, however, is a stroke of genius, because we know the dinosaurs get out of control and end of destroying everyone in involved (especially Samuel L Jackson's character, who Seyfried's Sam is linked to). They find a guitar and a cowboy hat in the barn, and wonder who they and the weed belongs to and it's Willie Nelson's, who is a supporter of this. The argument the film makers seem to be making is, just because someone makes good music, doens't mean they would make good public legislators (please see the end of the post with the song Mean Ol' Moon).  In another scene, The Breakfast Club is referenced; why? The kids in detention actually learned something, about themselves and each other; is that happening in Ted 2 with these potheads? No, they insist they know what reality is, but how can someone who is high all the time know what reality is? Another important reference, besides Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers IV (which was decidedly anti-socialist), is to Star Trek Into Darkness, when the USS Enterprise crashes into John as he saves Ted from being crushed, and--one of the black gay characters is dressed as a Klignon, who have traditionally been associated with socialism throughout the series many runs. John trying to save Ted from the USS Enterprise crashing into him is like trying to save Ted from the reality of America crashing into him: the Enterprise represents all that is enduring and strong about American culture, and a make-believe bear only concerned with getting smash-faced and sex can't stand up to the examples of excellence that Americans have always held dear in our culture. 
The central conflict of Ted 2 is whether or not Ted, a teddy bear that has come to life in the first film, is human, and so can marry, vote, drive and adopt a child, or if he is property. The arguments the film posits has to why Ted has emotions is because he feels so deeply, and if someone(thing) can feel love, then, surely, they are human. This is apparently how the film ends, unless you stay and watch the end credit scene that completely destroys the entire premise and arguments of the film. What is the end credits scene, and why is it so important?
The film makes it wildly apparent how liberals disregard the law, until they need the law on their side. For example, John and Ted are regular drug users; when the law states that Ted is not human, they decide the government isn't following the law and so they are going to sue the government for "Ted's civil rights." When the three of them meet civil rights lawyer Patrick Meighan (Morgan Freeman) and John tells him what a positive influence Ted has had on his life, Patrick says, like when you two were both arrested for marijuana possession? Everyone should have equal access to the law, but everyone should also follow the law, and the makers of Ted 2 aptly demonstrate how it is often those very people who break the law without a second thought that are always clamoring about their legal rights and trying to sue someone.
Towards the start of the film, Ted works at his grocery check-out lane at Bay Colony Grocery Store and Liam Neeson comes up to him with a box of the kids' cereal Trix, and Neeson asks Ted, are these just for kids? Am I going to be followed? Can I enjoy these too? And Ted answers that Neeson can take them home, no one is going to follow him or stop him from enjoying them; the scene is very over-played and seems to go on for a long time. The whole "punch line" of this scene (and it's not particularly funny) is the advertising slogan, "Trix are for kids!"
This is the scene where Ted and John go to Tom Brady's bedroom for a sample. I don't know about you, but dressed like this, Ted reminds me of Paddington Bear, the lovable bear that I enjoyed so much when I was a kid. If Ted hadn't been dressed like this, there is no way I would have linked the obnoxious, druggie, alcoholic, over-sexed bear with a childhood toy. This is important, because several films (The Woman In Black 2, The Conjuring, Annabelle, Wreck-It Ralph, Ouija, Poltergeist, Ant-Man (with the choo-choo train) and even Hotel Transylvania) fight over whether toys are important for kids or not. Because children generally don't have any property, socialists always target their indoctrination attempts at the younger generations because, in a socialist revolution, they don't have property to lose like their parents do who have worked hard all their lives. Even though Ted is technically a toy, he's still teaching us things, so toys are worthy possessions for kids to have because they do instruct kids (in the case of Ted 2, the audience members who are drawn to this kind of humor). We will be seeing this argument in more films to come. Now, let's talk about another issue the film brings up, and I do apologize because this is really offensive. Anytime any in the film does a Google search, instead of what they searched for, Google asks, "Did you mean black cock?" Why? The propaganda coming out of the White House, and the first black president, is being forced into everyone's every day routine and every facet of our lives, no matter what it is that we are doing. 
Because the conflict is, "Is personhood just for people? Can animals and toys be granted personhood, too?" At the very end of the film, after the catering credits, we see Leeson enter the store again, with the unopened box of Trix, and he's been severely beaten, with bruises and blood all over him; he puts the box of Trix on the checkout table and walks out; TRIX ARE JUST FOR KIDS. Personhood is just for people and civil rights have become so watered down, they mean absolutely nothing for anyone. But, it's even worse than that,...
This is a really important moment in the film, and one that is repeated throughout. In this situation, Ted has gotten on John's computer, and it is filled with porn; filled with porn. Later, when John asks Ted why he didn't just ask John for a sperm sample for his kid, Ted tells him because he thought John had wasted all his sperm on porn; this is the case with Flash Gordon who can't donate any because his count is so low. Likewise, Tami-Lynn, Ted's "wife," can't even receive an artificial insemination because she had done drugs for so many years, she destroyed her reproductive organs. This is an example of one of the "good" lessons the film teaches: people who engage in self-sabotaging behavior, like drugs and porn, end up in a cycle of nature's birth control because they have proven themselves too stupid to be worthy of being reproduced, so nature makes them incapable of bearing children. It's also a warning to those who engage in this kind of behavior of what they are doing to themselves and potentially setting themselves up for in the future. On a similar note, when Sam argues before the jury why they should recognize Ted as a person, she argues that when one type of life is devalued (in this case, that of a teddy bear's) then where is the line going to be drawn when it comes to all forms of life and all life being devalued? For conservatives, even as she's making this argument, we automatically think of the liberals' position on abortion, and how the Left devalues the life of the unborn child in the womb, and the film makers want us to think of this. When Ted and John are at the sperm donation center, Ted tosses John a container holding a donor's sperm and John drops it on the floor, the sperm going everywhere and John anxiously comments, "That's someone's kid right there!" on the floor. The film makers are recognizing life even before conception takes place and, again, attacking the liberals' hypocrisy on "valuing life" even though they uphold abortion. 
It's not just that people who have killed all their brain cells smoking weed automatically assume that, because Ted is alive, he deserves whatever he wants (the "entitlement" culture), these are people who have abused--through drugs and porn--their own personhood and so have no realistic conception of what "being a human being" is about because they have demoted themselves to the level of animals, rather than raising themselves up to be the best people they can be. The film isn't just about the abuse to civil liberties--perfectly timed as it were, to be released on the same weekend that the Supreme Court has announced so-called "gay marriage" is legal--it's about the abuse of arguments used to defend civil liberties and the abuse that has been endured by employers, which leads us to Steven Spielberg's Lincoln.
This is the actual headline in the film. If you click on the image and notice the date, it's Wednesday, August 26, 2015, so the events in the film haven't happened yet; why August 26? The 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote went into effect; what does this have to do with Ted being declared "property?" Two things. First, There are "real civil rights" that belong to every human being, and then there are civil rights that are so ludicrous, the people arguing for them, like "gay marriage," make themselves look ridiculous as they prostitute their knowledge and destroy the Constitution so they can have their way. A teddy bear not being human is the perfect metaphor of the Obama administration's ideas of "civil rights," because it waters down everyone else's genuine civil rights. Secondly, on this date in 1970, the second-wave feminism begins in an effort for sexual equality. Now, the film makes it clear that being "property" is a bad thing, and yet, Tami-Lynn is furious that she can't be Ted's wife, and Ted that he can't be her husband. Feminists have argued (and Sandra Fluke does still today) that they aren't anyone's "property," she claims she doesn't even belong to her brother. This is what love is though, "belonging" to someone, being their's and intimately theirs. Ted doesn't want to be property, but he wants to belong to Tami Lynn, and he wants a child that will belong to him. What's the difference? Slavery is certainly an issue, but Ted being enslaved isn't an issue in the film, so the film makers are making an important point about the definition of "property" and how we all long to belong to someone and if that doesn't make you their property, what is it? During Ted's bachelor party, Ted, John and a group of guys are watching two grizzly bears have sex (I guess this is bear porn) and they are making lewd comments, especially about the female grizzly, and John says, "That's someone's daughter!" We generally don't think of animals as being the children of other particular animals, but John has made the point that, even though she is a female grizzly, she has a papa bear and a mama bear, and by engaging in extreme intercourse with this other grizzly (remember, this is a bachelor party) she's disrespecting herself and her parents, and when we disrespect our parents and loved ones, we are also disrespecting ourselves and vice versa, because that is the nature of "belonging" to someone, which is, in a very real sense, being their "property."
If Ted isn't a person, the film lets its characters "reason," but only in the very lightest sense of the word, then he's property, and not a person, and who wants to be property? (Please see the caption above). The reason this "property" argument is so strong with liberals is because they think anyone who has a job is the "property" of that employer. Now, I have a job that I hate and wish I didn't have to do it; that I remain in this job, however, is my personal decision because, right now, I would rather endure than not have a job; that's my exercise of free will. Liberals, however, deny that anyone has free will; I am a victim, they would argue, because I am a slave to money but if the government were there to take care of me, I could do anything I want (unless, of course, you have read history and know what that really means). This property argument is the real socialist bent of the film, because the 14th Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation is quoted, just as in Speilberg's Lincoln, which was such a re-writing of history, Ben Affleck might have co-authored the script (please see Lincoln and the Masquerade Of History for more).
This is at the start of the film, and the impressive song and dance number just after Ted gets "married" by Flash Gordon to Tami Lynn. The scene isn't just an homage to famed choreographer Busby Berkely, it's also a political statement, just like the similar Berkely homage in The Kingsman the Secret Service: utopia is nice in art, but it doesn't exist in reality, and reality is reality, nothing else. We cut from this beautiful dance number to "One year later," and see Ted and Tami Lynn fighting about money and responsibility, all ready on the verge of divorcing. In other words, films depicting socialist utopias, like, say, Tomorrowland, can do so, because all the problems remain in the script, but the script doesn't reflect what really happens and so it's never going to be any more practical than a talking teddy bear or a big musical number.
So, in conclusion, Ted 2, has offensive as it is, seemingly strikes a liberal note, but only to show the audience, who otherwise wouldn't care about such issues, how devastating this cycle of entitlement has become, not only to the individuals who think they are benefiting from it (such as Bruce Jenner), but society as a whole. While I don't necessarily recommend seeing the film, it does utilize sophisticated devices that can keep you interested and which send a clear signal about the damaging self-sabotage America is committing today in the name of "justice," but you have to stay for the very end, because, without that end of the credits scene, the film goes liberal.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
P.S.-- There is a beautiful song in the film, Mean Ol' Moon, lyrics written by Seth McFarlane and sung--in the film--by Amanda Seyfreid, and on the soundtrack by Norah Jones; the pothead blaming the moon for the troubles she has had in love is the same as Tami Lynn and Ted blaming the government for Ted not being a "person." It's done well.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Trailers: Ted 2, Hitman Agent 47, The Secret Life Of Pets, Zootopia, Hotel Transylvania 2

This poster, really says it all: to indulge in drugs, and to want them legalized, is our "animal appetites" talking (Ted is a bear--i.e., an animal--and he doesn't discipline himself ever in anything he does). But Ted isn't just an animal, he's also a fake animal: teddy bears don't exist in reality, only as toys. We can say then, that the idea of a talking, teddy bear who does drugs is the kind of make-believe utopia that exists for liberals wanting drugs legalized and thinking no harm is going to come from them. What Ted seems to be pointing to, however, is that the kind of people wanting drugs legalized are exactly the kind of people who, all ready having bad behavior, will have even worse behavior because they do drugs and then it will be legal. Illegal drugs is the way that society protects itself from stupid people who follow their stupidity into the realm of drugs.
Ted 2 opens this weekend, and we can probably expect a big opening, as in, it's going to make a ton of money; why? To begin with, it's easy, accessible humor that lots of people find funny so they will go to this type of film to "escape" into "mindless" entertainment. However, humor always encodes some kind of message, and sometimes, humor is the only mechanism that can encode serious discussion of serious topics, which is why a film such as Ted 2 is important:
People who tend to enjoy humor of this caliber generally avoid politics and discussion of deeper, more meaningful topics in life; Ted 2, and films in its genre, communicate important (but encoded) topics in its narrative that the audience normally would try and escape from, such as, doing something to a stranger, then discovering they are blind, and blaming it on your five-year-old son. Only a five-year-old would have behaved like that, so we know that Ted, as an animal, has NOT had a good influence on John (Wahlberg). The plot of the film, the central conflict, is proving that Ted is human so he can be the father of the child he and "wife" Tami-Lynn want to have together. Why is this important? As we have discussed, and will continue doing so in this post with additional trailers below, the Liberal Left is dead-set on making people believe that we are animals, that we have not been created in the image of God and that we do not have a soul; this is an imperative platform for socialism because the State can't compete with God, it wants to replace God, and that means replacing Christian morality with socialist theories, which leads us to our next trailer, Hitman: Agent 47.
This trailer makes Agent 47 far more sympathetic than did the first trailer. Throw in that the lead female is also an agent, and the events this trailer adds seems to make an entirely different film,... "seems" to make a different film is the key. I am still confident, at this point, this is going pro-socialist, and this is why: several scenes invoke Kahn (Benedict Cumberbatch) from Star Trek Into Darkness and attempts to turn his socialist symbol around. In capitalism, and specifically America, it's our cultural heritage and identity to strive to be the very best that we can be in any field we participate in. What separates the agents? They are strong and intelligent, they were produced by a corporation (which was revealed in the synopsis) and the Left is using these agents as a metaphor for Americans in general, and wouldn't it be better if we could just live without having to strive to be so amazing all the time? The film looks interesting from the trailers, but I don't think the film itself will be so good. On basically the same note, here is the first trailer for Zootopia:
What is so liberal about this is it starts out with the premise that Humans Never Existed.... wow, liberals really hate reality. Clothes exist. Technology exists. Mannerisms exist. Humans? No, never existed. Ever. This is rather similar to the film Noah, which strongly suggested that God created the world for animals, man was just an after thought, and should never have happened, and it's regrettable that they have. Again, what's the strategy, on a national, cultural level, in investing millions and millions and millions of dollars in the making and marketing and distribution of an animated film that starts out with the assumption that humans never existed? To teach children that they are animals, not humans. You can't miss what the title suggests: Zootopia, where there are only animals and no humans, is also a utopia, so let's get rid of humans so we can have a happy world. Let's compare it to this trailer for The Secret Life Of Pets:
True, this is granting animals personalities, but they are also still animals, and the humans are humans. Humans don't like themselves like Mel the Pug, and even though the video game experience is big and important to people, they can't fly it like Sweet Pea the bird. Now, what's the difference, for example, between Zootopia above and, say, Bugs Bunny? Bugs has "humanistic" characteristics, he can talk, for example, but he doesn't exist at the expense of humans (Elmer Fudd exists as well, and they co-exist in the world). Further, Bugs Bunny has always supported the same traits, morals and values that America itself has supported, unlike Zootopia that just decides to erase (literally, it scribbles out) millions of years of humanity, like Ben Affleck erasing his slave-owning ancestors, or that the Iranian refugees were released the same day Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president at the end of his film Argo. Now, let's examine another way that liberals are "re-writing history":
Hotel Transylvania was a decidedly pro-socialist film; how? Count Dracula owns a hotel, hence he has employees that run the hotel and he is the out-of-touch dad that is a capitalist. Whereas earlier monster films (read: pre-2008) had socialists as the monsters because of, you know, Stalin, Pol Pott, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Pinochet, etc., now the Left has decided to make capitalists the monsters because, you know, they are bosses, and work sucks. So the grand kid is the future that the capitalists and Millennial population are fighting over: which way is America going to go? Trying to teach the kid to be a monster is trying to teach him how to be a capitalist, according to socialists.
So, Indiana Jones 5, with Harrison Ford, is being seriously rumored as slated for a 2018 release. You may have all ready heard, Ben Affleck is set to star and direct a stand-alone Warner Brothers Batman film, which totally confirms their liberal leanings and why Christopher Nolan was removed as the head of the DC comics department there. 
So, I've been a bit burned out writing this stuff, and if I am burned out writing it, I feel I can safely assume that you are burned out reading it. I am seriously starting the series that I have been making notes for and organizing on How To Eat Art: a serious breakdown of as many different symbols as I can possibly write about with as many examples as I can think of to illustrates it. So, for example, one whole post will be on the symbolism of the color "White," and it will have the positive symbols and the negative symbols with plenty of examples of each. What's the purpose of this? To help all of us better understand how art works so we can better engage and gain greater understanding. I'm actually excited about this, and it's not the only thing I will be posting, but it will give me some focus that I hope will be constructive for me and you.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

News Update Penny Dreadful Season 3 & New Streaming Showtime Options

The cast of Penny Dreadful Season 2. Season 3 will begin production later this year with the new season premiering 2016. All the original makers and stars are expected to return (provided they live through the current episodes) 
It's nice to get good news for a change.
Penny Dreadful has not only been renewed for a third season, which will begin production this year and debut its first of nine episodes in 2016, but Showtime is now making all its programs available through instant streaming beginning in July; in other words, Showtime will become like a Netflix instant streaming film provider and all you need is a computer and fast speed internet. They are providing bypassing the cable companies (who screwed me over so I wasn't able to get it this season like I had hoped) and providing customers with a free, 30 day trial, after which subscription to the service is $10.99 per month, which includes all of Showtime (movies and their original TV shows). You can find out more, and receive email updates, at this link here. HOORAY!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Crimson Peak Trailer & News

Jessica Chastain in Crimson Peak. You might notice, in the trailer, the very different and contrasting styles of dress that Jessica Chastain's character Lady Lucille Sharpe wears and those of Edith Cushing: Lady Lucille wears high collars and appears to wear darker colors that are textured (such as velvet). We know that the neck symbolizes what guides or leads us in life, like a leash we wear; when a character wears high collars, such as the one we see in this image, it's a sign that one, they don't want to be led by something/become loyal to something/someone, or two, that they are attached to something but they are keeping it a secret. Additionally, Lady Lucille has "leaves" around her neck, suggesting that she acts "natural" (the leaves from nature) about things that aren't natural (please remember that we saw leaf tattoos on the person of  Ma-Ma [Lena Heady] in Dredd, and it's possible that this might be a link between those two characters since both of them are women who are in control).  We know that Miss Chastain doesn't have a cleft chin, but she appears to have one in this image; why? The old saying, "Take it on the chin," means not to retaliate against something that has been done to you that you don't like; in this case, it appears that Lady Lucille has taken something on the chin, but it has scarred her and left the "cleft." On the other hand, characters who are good, like Superman, who is usually depicted with a cleft chin, are shown as "being able to take it." if someone wrongs them, they don't retaliate; I doubt we will see that with Lady Lucille. We also know that Miss Chastain has red hair, and it's been colored brown for this role. Hair symbolizes thoughts, so the darker hair probably means "darker thoughts," and she appears to keep it pulled back, indicating that she disciplines her thoughts, or doesn't think or question certain things. Like the name "Lucy," "Lucille" comes from the Latin word for "light," so we should probably be alert to how Lucille doesn't let in light, or even puts out light. On a different note, Miss Chastain has been cast as Marilyn Monroe in the upcoming biography Blonde
They are making Maleficent 2. But there is this good news: The Kingsman the Secret Service, which grossed an incredible $400 million, is getting a sequel, and Colin Firth is rumored to be returning; how? Knowing that Valentine (Samuel L Jackson) was probably going to try and kill him, I'm confident Firth's character took precautions,... to be disclosed. Oh, I don't really even care, just as long as he's back! Pitch Perfect 3 has confirmed both Rebel Wilson and Anna Kendrick for a July 2017 release, and there is a new trailer (and plenty of new images) for Crimson Peak with Tom Hiddelston, and I am very much looking forward to this!
Mia Waskikowska portrays Edith Cushing, a young, promising writer who turns away from her childhood interest (Dr. Alan McMichael, Charlie Hunnam) when she is intrigued by the mysterious outsider, Sir Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston). Trying to escape her own ghosts, she becomes ensnared with the ghosts of the house that breathes, bleeds and remembers. Just from what we have seen so far, this is loaded with psychoanalysis, and I can hardly wait for the film itself.  In the opening scene, when we see the house and the street lamp, that's rather an echo of the (arguably) most famous horror film of all time, The Exorcist (see below).
Why is this such a creepy poster? Because light and darkness have been reversed. The place where we know the evil is, Reagan's room, has the light coming out of it; the place where evil doesn't exist, there is darkness. Why, if this is a correct correlation, would the film makers want to associate Crimson Peak with The Exorcist? Well, it is a horror film, and The Exorcist is--by most standards--still the scariest movie ever made. There might be some other reference to the film that we won't know until we see Crimson Peak, however, both films are obviously largely based on psychoanalysis and that could be the main binding thread. The house in the opening scene appears to be the house where Young Edith grew up, so she's probably about the same age, generally speaking, as Reagan in The Exorcist, the age of puberty. 
In the next scene, when young Edith (not Mia) is in bed, and the black ghost comes creeping out and up to her, beds symbolize coffins/death, because we sleep in a bed the way we will eternally sleep in a coffin in the state of death; so it's rather fitting that "beings" of death are coming to her in her bed; since this is from her childhood, is this a portentous  sign of her later sexual life with Lord Sharpe? There is another interesting feature to this brief scene, did you catch it?
Note that this room is mostly green, so either there is hope for Edith in life, or there is something that has become rotten. Young Edith is in bed and this black "ghost" (since we don't know more about it at this point) comes and puts its "hand" on her shoulder/upper-arm; why? Hands can symbolize strength (but that is usually arms), our word (because when we give our word, we shake hands on it, as a sign that we are going to keep our word) or a deed that we do (because, being human, we can do things animals cannot because of our hands). If this scene is a omen of things to come in Edith's life, then it's going to effect her shoulders, which symbolize our burdens, what we have to carry (our cross in life, if you will). The hand is black, and as we know, black symbolizes death, either death to the spirit, or death to the world. Edith, wearing the white gown, and being so young in this image, is probably not dead to innocence, faith and purity, so this black ghost is probably a sign that she is dead to the world and worldly affairs, but alive to the realities of the world that is not seen, as she mentions in the trailer about having seen ghosts all her life; the black bows beneath the billowing shoulders of the gown, but juxtaposed against the grim hand of the shadow behind her, suggests that at this youthful age, Edith has an idea of what death is and that it's nice and peaceful, but she is going to learn that death can be terrible and gruesome (this discussion is continued below). 
The window.
At 0:05, as young Edith looks down the hallway, there is a grandfather clock at the end of the room (clocks symbolize history, sometimes the future, and sometimes eternity) and light and shadows on the floor, so there is a window there and we know that windows symbolize reflection/meditation. So either young Edith has all ready been "reflecting" and that has summoned the ghost (possibly a materialization of her inner-self/thoughts) or, again, this is something that she fears will happen in the future. How can we deduce this?
Her hair.
The design of this night gown is quite impressive, as it could be taken for either a kind of old-fashioned wedding gown (and we certainly saw several "wedding gowns" in Annabelle)  or a funeral shroud (death clothes). As we began our discussion above, arms symbolize strength, and the tight fabric around the arms suggests that Edith doesn't show off, she doesn't let just anyone know how tough and strong she is, she is disciplined about who she trusts and who she allows to come and know the real her; this appears to be validated in the trailer when Lucille tells Edith she had no idea she was "about" such things as ghosts. The excess, billowing fabric around her shoulders in her outfits (but not all of them) suggests that of her burden that she has carried with her since childhood (when she wears the similar white night gown with these sleeves); gone, however, are the sweet little black bows. Please note as well that Edith's long, wavy hair is parted down the middle: Edith tends to think in terms of polarities, good and evil, living and dead, rich and poor, pure and in-pure. She draws a line and has a standard of conduct, organizing events, thoughts, morality and people into one category or another. This is probably going to be a driving motivation for Edith to try and discover what is or is not going on in the house, because she needs to know. 
Unlike the darker, pulled back hair of her sister-in-law, Lady Lucille (Chastain), Edith has light colored hair that is long and flowing. In the opening scene of the trailer, Young Edith has her hair down and that suggests that she has given free reign to her thoughts (her hair) to do what they will and it is perhaps this wandering mind of hers (she is a writer, remember) has conjured this black ghost which foreshadows her own future.
This image linking the black ghost to Lucille playing the piano is probably going to be one of the key images and moments in the film. "Playing" something can also be translated as "playing someone" and taking someone for a fool or using and manipulating them. It appears that Lucille plays the piano on the same night she and Edith meet, so it will be fabulous to see how this is all tied in together.
Probably the most fascinating character will prove to be the house itself, which leads us to a important dichotomy: even thought Lord and Lady Sharpe appear wealthy and aristocratic, the house is obviously in poor condition, and either they are lousy homeowners, or they are cash poor, which the barrenness around the house seems to suggest.
What about Thomas Sharpe?
The name "Thomas"means "twin," and so it's likely that he is "two-faced," or he acts one way with Edith, and another way with his sister Lucille.
They certainly look like vampires, don't they? I think they are going to prove to be socialist figures, and Edith is a Millennial symbol who is getting to know the "ghosts of the past," like the Holocaust, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and all the crimes against humanity committed in the name of socialism in the Soviet Union. Because a house symbolizes the soul, but socialists don't believe in the soul (and those black glasses they wear in this image) suggests they don't believe/have a soul, I think the impoverished aristocrats will prove to be menacing in numerous aspects.  
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
Something behind his back, eh?

Friday, June 12, 2015

TRAILER: The Man From UNCLE #2

Elizabeth Debecki (The Great Gatsby) portrays Victoria Vinciguerra in the film, the wife of a billionaire. What does her name mean? "To conquer in war," or "to be victorious in war," because she is going to wage war on humanity. Director Guy Ritchie conveys the depths of this villain to us through the colors of her outfits: black and white. Normally, someone with less attention to details might decipher that as meaning, "She sees everything in terms of 'black and white,' there are no 'gray' areas with her," and that might be possible, however, I think Ritchie is giving us something far more sinister to contemplate. The majority of the outfits we have seen her wear in the two trailers have been black and white, and mirroring each other in opposition (like the outfit above). First of all, when she will stray from this color combination, it will be significant, and meant to communicate deeper meanings about her character and what she is going through. Secondly, the longer she wears these black-and-white outfits, the longer she is unable to undergo conversion, repentance, change. A great example of this is Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds with Tippi Hedren: she wears the exact same outfit nearly the entire film, except for the final scene, after she has finally achieved the state of conversion (The Man From UNCLE takes place in 1963, the same year The Birds was released, and is also the year the very first James Bond film, Dr. No, was released). So, what does it mean? "Black," as we know, always symbolizes death, but there is good death and there is bad death. The "good death" is being dead to the world, not being led astray from one's path, especially a spiritual path, by becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol, or drowning one's self in work, etc.; this is "good death" because it allows a person to fulfill their capacity for virtue and hence, their destiny, because they have not become distracted in life. "Bad death" is when a person has become enslaved to worldly pursuits, ambitions and pleasures (sex, drugs, alcohol, money, etc.). This is a "bad death" because the person is living for this world, the material world (and if Victoria's character is a socialist, then that makes perfect sense, because socialists only believe in the material world, not the spiritual world) rather than coming to understand their uniqueness as an individual (which, in turn, causes them not to understand the individuality of anyone else, or the singularity of the person, so they are ultimately divorced from all of humanity because they failed to embrace their own humanity). This "bad death" is what forms part of Victoria's character, and we can count on seeing these traits in her throughout the film. What about "white?" The good symbol of white is that of faith, purity/innocence, and that the person's soul and inner-most being is alive (or is at least coming to be alive) in these qualities and virtues so they can understand themselves and thus, all of humanity; on the other hand, the bad symbol for white is when the person is dead in their soul because there is no faith, purity or innocence left in them at all, they become, as it were, a corpse, because a corpse turns white when it's dead. Just one of these symbols--black or white--would be sufficient to describe Victoria's character, however, Ritchie--who also wrote the script--wants us to be thinking of both these descriptions of evil because she will embody both of them.
The second trailer for The Man From UNCLE has been released, and it's every bit as good as the first one, if not better! This trailer focuses a bit more on Illya Kuryakin's character (Armie Hammer) and we have also been given some more details of the plot. Gaby Teller (Alicia Vikander) is the daughter of a German scientist who has disappeared and Gaby is working as an auto mechanic in Berlin when Solo (Henry Cavill) goes to extract her so she can help the CIA find her father. Why is this detail important? We've seen this in another Cavill movie, Man Of Steel, when Clark Kent's (Cavill) earthly father, played by Kevin Costner, wants him to become a farmer rather than find a way to use his powers for good and peace; put another way, in socialism, you don't do what you are good at (in spite of what blind followers think) you do what the state tells you needs to be done, and that's what you do. If Gaby is the daughter of a nuclear scientist, we can bet she's probably highly intelligent herself, but working as a auto mechanic because, if allowed to develop her intellect, she would revolt against the government and escape, (trust me, being an auto mechanic is great, I would love to marry one myself, but she's probably meant for something else in life) so she's not living up to her potential in Berlin.
In this opening, as Solo speaks and thinks upon the situation, he's wearing an apron. Why? an apron is traditionally a woman's article of clothing, and Solo may, in fact, be actually cooking something as he speaks, but it probably also serves as a notice to viewers that, in his mind, Solo is also "cooking something up" or putting ingredients together, such as, how did Kuryakin know I would be there going after Gaby? We know that Solo is "an effective agent" and he knows how the game is played, so it appears to Solo that someone has cheated, and alerts the viewer to that possibility as well. As mentioned, the film takes place in 1963, which was the year Kim Philby and the Cambridge Five were discovered as Soviet spies; this leads us to Hugh Grant's character. 
I'm rather concerned about that little symbol above the "6" on the left side of the image,... I won't say anything about it now, but let's both keep it in our minds that it is there. Now, part of the film is this race that takes place; why? You might remember a film with Chris Hemsworth called Rush which may or may not be part of the commentary that The Man From UNCLE offers viewers. Scenes like car races are expensive and dangerous--especially when the cars are all original antiques, as is the case with this scene (people weren't even allowed to touch the cars they were so expensive)--so with the rather small budget of the film, just $75 million, this scene was a big investment and there is going to be a reason for it. 
"Waverly" (Grant) isn't a good name for a character because the name insinuates the character "wavers" in their loyalty or intentions. Add to this shaky character foundation the dark sunglasses we see him wearing in the trailer (as in the image just above) and how sunglasses tend to "block" the eyes as the window of the soul (that is, they either symbolize that the character has no soul, or that the character is attempting to hide a part of themselves they don't want hidden). To be fair, we also see Gaby wearing sunglasses, and Solo himself (but these scenes might actually build up this interpretation regarding Waverly, depending on how the film goes). There is one last point to be made,...
"It."
Jared Harris plays Saunders, one of the chiefs of the CIA who works with Solo. Since numerous names have double meanings, it might be appropriate for Saunders' name to also have a double meaning, and so it sounds like the word "sonder," that might be it, especially given the battle of ideologies in the film, and how an individual is going to be treated. This could be a huge, blind leap for this character, but let's at least keep it in mind. 
When Solo describes what happened with the extraction of Gaby, Solo uses the word "It" to describe Kuryakin and says, "It was barely human," and "It" ripped the back off of his car. The same "dehumanizing" tendencies we are bound to see in Victoria, we see in Solo, so this is going to be at least one point upon which Solo himself will have to face conversion. Does he? Well, at 1:27, we see Solo about to be electrocuted in the head; with what? A leather strap. Why? Leather is animal skin, so it symbolizes our "animal appetites" or passions; since it has been wrapped around his head, it suggests that the socialists are acting out one of their beliefs: that people don't have beliefs or higher causes, they are animals that respond only to animal appetites (sex, food, drugs, alcohol, money, shelter, etc.) and they are trying to use--what they believe to be--Solo's appetites against him, but by this point in the film, he has freed himself or them and that's why the torture device isn't working. To be perfectly honest with you, this is the summer movie I am most looking forward to, with Spectre in November, and Star Wars in December, there are still some great movies ahead!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

TRAILERS: Spectre, Mockingjay Part 2, Jurassic World, The Martian, MacBeth, Bridge Of Spies, Knock Knock

Yea, you know, having been trained as an Art Historian, I just prefer to start out a post with a visual rather than just naked words. So, what do we have here? The "little" raptors are being turned against the "big" raptor, Indominus Rex, the villain of the film (rather, one of the villains of the film).  Is there another instance where we see the "little" species of the race being turned against the larger, more dominant species of the race? Humans, in America, children are being turned against their parents, and when we consider these raptors running with Chris Pratt's character, on a search-and-destroy mission for the Indominus Rex, the film takes on a chilly and frightening dimension, but I am confident this is correct--of course, if I am wrong, I will totally own up to it. IMPORTANT NOTE: starting Friday (so I don't think this applies to the early screenings Thursday night) those seeing Jurassic World in IMAX theaters will be treated to a 6 minute screening of Marvel's Ant Man, opening July 17; being far more interested in Ant Man than Jurassic World, I am going to the Friday showing. 
San Andreas is nearly done; I'm sorry, I'm just massively depressed; it's not a big deal, I'm just burned-out on everything; thank you for checking on updates to the blog and being so loyal; I can never tell you how much I appreciate it. Opening this week is Jurassic World, which I am fully dreading; as you watch this final trailer, and then we will watch a very terrible clip, please mentally substitute the little raptors for Millennials, and the Indominus Rex for capitalists, and see what happens: 
Now, if you think I am jumping to conclusions, and I possibly am, let's watch this clip:
The villain of the film is white.
What does that tell you?
Actually, it doesn't look white,... not to me, at least. It's pale, but it's not white. Here is a clip that is probably the best full-body-length I can get at the moment, and you decide if it's white:
This is my perspective: if it were obviously white, they wouldn't have to tell us it's white, but they have to tell us because they want to tell us. The owner of the park, Masrani, is right in saying it will "give the parents nightmares" because the parents are the ones the kids are going to be turned against. We will probably see the exact opposite situation in Terminator: Genisys, as we did in Maggie, but now, let's look at something that has made my day, the first trailer for the final installment of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2:
"We all have one enemy. He corrupts everyone and everything. He turns the best of us against each other." Does this, my fellow Americans, sound like Obama and what he has done to this country? When Finnick Odair says, "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the 76th Hunger Games," we know that President Snow has turned their revolution into a deadly game, but they have turned their knowledge of the Games against the capitol. Given that this is the 76th Hunger Games, what happened 76 years ago that the film would want us to remember?
1939.
The start of World War II, the deadliest conflict in human history, which was started by socialism.  
This is a great image. What does white symbolize? Either faith, purity and innocence, OR that faith, purity and innocence are dead, because white is also the color a corpse turns as decomposition sets in. What does red symbolize? Red is the color of blood, either we are willing to spill our blood for one we love, or we are willing to spill someone else's blood because of the wrath they have stirred up within us. It can also mean both things simultaneously, and the people's love for themselves and each other, along with their anger over Snow and the corruption and cruelty he has created during his administration of Panem. The figure of a smashed statue of a tyrannical leader is highly reminiscent of the fall of communism in the former USSR. 
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 comes out in November, and also being released in November is Spectre, the 24th James Bond installment that has added a new TV spot:
This is our "second" introduction to Monica Belluci's character, Lucia Sciarra ("Lucia" is Latin for "graceful light," while her last name is Sicilian for "quarrel" or "dispute"). I have read (but don't know how accurate it is) that Lucia's father is the man Bond chases in Mexico during the Day of the Dead parade (which will be ladened with symbolism) so we can presume (though we may need to correct this) it's his funeral we saw in the first trailer. "If you don't leave now," she tells him, "we will die together," and Bond doesn't seem to be in any hurry at all to leave. This is typical of Bond, not because he's a womanizer, but because of what Bond himself symbolizes, and what the women he encounters on his journeys also symbolize: "arguing about the light," or "disputing the truth" are two possible translations of her name, so we can see her, at this point, as a symbol of the freedom of religion or the freedom to discuss religion; she is about to die (what she symbolizes, that is), she tells Bond, but Bond won't leave her.
Good.
He shouldn't.
Independence Day 2, not featuring Will Smith, has released a first poster and a brief synopsis: after the events of the first film, the nations banded together and, using alien technology, created a safety program to protect earth from future threats; now, however, the aliens have progressed with a far more advanced capability to destroy the world and there is a rush to prevent our extinction. It opens 2017.
Another trailer that has been released this week that has pleased me greatly is the newest endeavor from Ridley Scott, The Martian. As we know, these films are taking place in a very public, expensive debate (it's millions and millions of dollars to make a movie) and this newest film in the space genre situates itself nicely with what we have all ready seen:
This trailer starts out with the very best of humanity, in the very worst of trials; why? Because Scott obviously believes in humanity. Like Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, the trailer of which opened with a voice-over by star Matthew McConnaughey about how we have always defined ourselves by our accomplishments, and how space was our most important accomplishment, so Scott follows suit, to support what Nolan has established in that film, and to challenge what Gravity introduced: fear regarding space exploration and how it's too dangerous, and we should just stay on the ground (in a remote, technologically backwards Chinese village, which is where she ends up). No one likes to be in sucky circumstances--I, most of all--but they give us the chance to show the very best of ourselves and others, and we actually, to use the world lightly, evolve into better beings when faced with such difficulties and we set new standards of conduct and heroism, not only for ourselves, but every one after us. This is going to really be a great film.
We should remember that Steven Spielberg opted out of making the The Grapes Of Wrath, which is a novel heavily influenced by (though we can't really say it supports) communism and socialist politics. I'm not particularly interested in the film, except for one major detail: the Coen brothers helped to write the script. It's possible that, given the historical nature of the film, and it's blatant tension with socialism/communism, this film will mark a turn in Spielberg's politics away from the public support of Obama,... but I'm not holding my breath.
But it is possible.
William Shakespeare's play Macbeth is one of his most famous; what is it about? A murderous usurper. According to numerous Scottish historians, the events of the play are largely accurate, however, condensed in time to make the telling easier and more dramatic. It's interesting to note that the name "Macbeth" is not a sign of clan identity, as is usually the case, rather, it means "son of life" or "righteous man," as in, that is what he thinks of himself, because he obviously isn't any of these things. It looks like it will be absolutely spectacular, and I can't wait. Our last trailer is quite racy, but I think this is going to be an enormously important political statement:
We have a successful white man, with a family, helping out young girls, who are being sexually promiscuous; they steal the keys to his house and then terrorize him because of their idea, in other words, they have used their sexuality as a weapon, and are taking revenge on him for,.... being him. Being successful. Being married. Being a father. These two women in this trailer, are basically what young women in America are all becoming, and it's terrifying.
Nearly done with San Andreas, and going Friday to see Jurassic World, will tweet to you how bad it was.
Again, thank you for reading this blog!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
Last note, production has started on Pitch Perfect 3, with the successful writer of the first two scripts, Kay Cannon, hired for the third. It's unclear at this point if star of the film Elizabeth Banks will be directing or not, and if Anna Kendrick will return; Rebel Wilson has all ready been signed. PP2 has made over $160 million dollars.