Friday, January 22, 2016

Thank You!

Dear Readers,
Thank you so much for all the beautiful emails you have sent! I am terribly sorry: I had a nasty set-back, but am nearly recovered,... again. Thank you for your outpouring of concern and love, your prayers and wishes, it means more than I can tell you. I am trying to respond to them all, so, as always, be patient, but thank you so very, very much for your kindness and concern. The next post that will be up will be Spectre, promise. In the meantime, here is a little quiz for you: the song Donna Lucia (Monica Belluci) plays when she arrives home and pours herself a glass (just before Bond dispatches her would-be assassins) is Antonio Vivaldi's Nisi Dominus (Largo) performed by Andreas Scholl, a German countertenor. Why, at this moment in the narrative, would director Sam Mendes have Psalm 126 playing in the background just before she is saved by Bond?
All my love and gratitude,
The Fine Art Diner

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Trailers: 13 Hours, The Witch, Hail Caesar, Penny Dreadful Season 3

Michael Bay is no stranger to sophisticated narrative devices, and given the massive risk he's taking in making this film--directly contradicting both (then) Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton's denial and the White House's denial that there was any stand-down order--he's going to use every resource he has to make an impact on the audience. Sadly, 13 Hours has some rather serious competition this weekend: Ride Along 2. When Ride Along opened, it had sold out showings and an impressive opening weekend. I don't want to begrudge Ride Along 2, however, I worry for my fellow Americans that, rather than get eyewitness accounts of what happened at this horrific act of war and terrorism, and see the revelations of who is lying and how, people going to the theater this weekend will rather get laughs and entertainment than examine what has happened. I don't think it's ANY coincidence that Bay choose to open it the same week as Obama's State of the Union Address, which will definitely be his most difficult one after seven years of destroying this country. Anyway, I am feeling better and am going to see the film Friday at an early showing. As always, I will be tweeting my initial reactions and working as hard as possible to get up the review, even if it's not as in-depth as I would like.
Yea, I'm still alive.
I can say that I am finally getting better and feel like I have come through the worst of it. I am so terribly sorry, thank you for your incredible patience. Several new trailers have dropped, so let's just run through them real quick. First, the last trailer for 13 Hours which opens this weekend:
Remember Zero Dark Thirty? I think Bay has been influenced by that--excellent choice--and we will be graced with seeing quite a bit of "noise" as well as erasure. What's even more difficult about a film like this is, it appears that the story is going to be straight forward, but that's when symbols and sub-texts come into play even more, because of what can't be said but only implied. This is going to be a great film, and I really can't wait to see it. You might remember a film called The Witch that we looked at several months ago, they have released a second trailer:
Again, a "witch hunt" in America is a not-so-secretive way of saying "communist hunt," because of the "witch hunts" led by Senator Joe McCarthy during the 1950s (and, obviously, he was right). I have no idea how The Witch is going to play out, but I'm quite confident there is going to be a massive political subtext at work. Now, maybe you need a good laugh?
Being the smart viewer you are, you know they are talking about the film, right? The film isn't going to be simple, but I am confident that the Coen Brothers, just as they are juxtaposing the Western accent and English accent (a Western accent simply can't say what an English can, much the same way that a Western country simply can't become socialist the way England is doing). Anyway, this has certainly made my day: the first trailer for Season 3 of Penny Dreadful has been released, with a premiere date of May 1:
Okay, I will be posting this weekend. Thank you for your incredible patience with me while I recover!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Theory About the Second Funeral in Captain America: Civil War

I hope you enjoyed the Sherlock special, I certainly did, and immediately started working on a post which I fell asleep during. Here is a bit of news, however. As of today, you can purchase The Abominable Bride on iTunes, and it will be available to order via Amazon on DVD and Blu Ray January 12. Yea, that's pretty cool! I can't believe it's so fast! Anyway, there are some huge questions the film leaves us with (Why is Mycroft so fat? Why does the bride say, "You!" before killing people? Why does Molly dress as a man? What's the "list" Mycroft is really after from Sherlock? Among many others). 
Several films open this week, but I'm not interested in any of them. I'm still sick, probably until next week at least, which gives me time (still) to finish Spectre, which is truly a masterpiece, as well as the Sherlock episode that was so much fun. Next weekend, however, I am determined to get to see 13 Hours: the Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. In the meantime, just to let you know that I haven't kicked the bucket yet, here are the latest trailers that have been released. First is the highly anticipated The Conjuring 2: the Enfield Poltergeist from returning director James Wan:
Long-time readers will recognize the importance of the children's toys being used: the idea of "possession" is that, for those who have "possessions," as in, material objects, property and other goods belonging to them, they will in turn be "possessed." We tend to think of children's toys as being innocent, but the film wants to instill in us that the desire to own and possess toys begins and is encouraged at a young age (according to the socialist position). The film Annabelle, on the other hand, while about the same topic, was written and directed by a different group, and that film demonstrated how toys teach and instruct children on how to behave and what is expected of them. The second trailer for High Rise with Tom Hiddleston has been released, and now, I'm thinking this is probably going to be more pro-socialist rather than my initial viewing of only the first trailer.
Now, it's possible, and I do hope so, that I am also wrong about Zootopia (please, note, however, that incorporating "utopia" into a title is begging for a political interpretation,.... thank you. For noting that).
Okay, I'm worn out. There was a rumor that The Jungle Book had released a new trailer today, but I haven't been able to find it. This next bit is some news regarding Captain America Civil War, and it's the last of the post, but containing potential spoilers; if you don't want to have any idea of what is going to happen (this is just my conjecture) then stop reading now, otherwise, go ahead.
One of the new looks at Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange. According to a brief synopsis being released, Strange, a neurosurgeon, loses the use of his hands after a surgery accident. He travels to Tibet and encounters the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) who gives him great wizardy powers to fight against evil. Dr. Strange will be released Nov. 4.
News has leaked that Captain America 3: Civil War begins with a funeral and ends with a funeral; we knew, when filming basically began, that Agent Peggy Carter, Steve Rogers' love from the first film, passes away, and that's the opening funeral (which will have incredibly deep symbolic ramifications for the film). It is being speculated that the funeral ending the film will be that of Captain America himself, given that, in the comic book version, Steve Rogers does die in the Civil War series. I would like to suggest another possible person for whom the final funeral might be held:  War Machine.
Here is the supposed funeral booklet for the start of the film. Part of what I am going to base my theory off of, that it's not Steve Rogers' turn to die just yet, is that Chris Evans has signed a six-movie deal with Marvel. Captain AmericaThe Avenges, Captain America Winter Soldier, The Avengers 2 Age Of Ultron and Captain America 3 Civil War tallies to five films (and no, I'm not counting that three-second cameo in Thor: The Dark World where Loki has just been released from the dungeon by Thor and pretends to be Captain America for a few brief, hilarious seconds; if that was one of the "movie deals," either Evans got took, or Marvel paid out a huge sum for that cameo,...). So, my point is, while we know that Sebastian Stan, who plays the Winter Soldier, aka, Bucky Barns, has signed like an 8 movie deal contract with Marvel, Chris' contract is running out, but it's not out yet. Yea, it's possible that the "movie contract" is only to appear in a flashback or something of that order, however, that, again, would be a pretty shady film deal. For fans as well as for Evans. So, I am going to predict that Steve Rogers makes it out of CA3, but probably doesn't make it out of The Avengers 3: Infinity Wars Part 1.
Rhodie (Don Cheadle) is seen in the trailer lying on his back with Tony Stark holding him and Stark looking pretty dismal; while it's possible Rhodie just has a black out session, it's possible that he's also dead. The purpose of Civil War mirrors that of Ragnarok, which Thor will be undergoing: to purge the heroes as deeply as possible so they will be as strong as possible to face Thanos. Could we really expect there to be a smooth transition for Bucky Barnes becoming an Avenger?
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year

In Bed, 1878, Federico Zandomeneghi. While this girl isn't necessarily labeled as being "ill," the motif of the sick girl in bed was gaining in popularity at this time, building up to the political crisis known as World War I. While the subject isn't particularly unusual--American Impressionist painter Mary Cassat and French painter Edgar Degas (and sometimes Renoir), were popularizing the details of daily routines and life "behind the scenes," such as getting ready to go into public, or relaxing after one had been in public--the pose of the woman is unusual. We know that women symbolize "the motherland," and younger women in particular denote the future of the motherland, that land which "gives birth" to us and is responsible for us being the way we are, so the subject of young women who were ill (mostly terminally ill with a malaise or some undiagnoseable disease) offered a quiet but definite political commentary on the social and cultural state of the state. In this particular image, the coverlet is blue: blue, as we know, symbolizes both depression and wisdom; given the small blue flower bouquets on the duvet, we can deduct that the girl/woman has grown in maturity and reaped the "benefits" of her experiences (another possible interpretation is the sexual: the young woman has not yet been "de-flowered," i.e., is still a virgin, but her languorous pose suggests a sexual awakening; that her face is turned objectifies her, that is, she is understanding the role of sex in relationships, however, she sees herself as an object to be desired, not a sexual being in her own right). Let's pause at this point to look at the frame of the bed: black. Beds are traditionally associated with coffins, not only because there was a long-standing tradition of religious sleeping in coffins for beds, to remind them they would soon be leaving earth, but because our nightly repose mimics the permanent repose of the body in death. Another important detail of the painting is the sun: please notice all the light in the image, with bright light reflecting off the wall. It's well into the day, as opposed to early in the morning, and still, the woman stays in bed, not getting up and being productive. With these two details, we can now understand the white bed sheets and her gown: white is either the color of faith, purity and innocence, or it's the color of a corpse who has no faith, purity and innocence. If we interpret the bed to be a coffin, and the woman's reluctance to leave in spite of the advancing day, then we have an image of a young woman resigned to death, being held up artificially by the bolster pillow behind her (this would translate to some social norm or political mechanization "holding up" the Belle Epoque in France at the time). There is a great deal more to the interpretation of this image, however, I myself need to be getting back to bed.
I have had viral pneumonia since Monday, December 21, which means I have been confined to bed and have felt horrible. I am terribly sorry. It's really no fun at all, especially at Christmas and New Year's. I have been so sick, my mom had to remind me that tonight is the airing of the Benedict Cumberbatch/Martin Freeman Sherlock Holmes Victorian Christmas special, The Abominable Bride. If you don't get PBS, on which it shall be airing, you should be able to watch it online at PBS at this link.
Unfortunately, the virus appears to be taking 3-4 weeks to run its course, but I am not feeling as badly as I was, so I hope to work on a post this weekend. I am terribly sorry. Please accept my warmest wishes for your joyous and prosperous New Year, that our Lord will shine His Face upon you and all you love, and give you the peace that is His alone to give. Happy New Year!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner