Wednesday, November 29, 2017

TRAILER: The Avengers Infinity War Part 1

Marvel has released the first, official trailer for Infinity War which will be released in two parts. I have been trying to get one simple post up all week, and haven't managed, so I might just keep "adding onto" this one as I have the energy: the poster, for example, is surprisingly complex, I just don't have the physical strength to write about it, so here is the trailer:
Several of the Avengers look different: Captain America and Winter Soldier, for example, have aged, while The Vision has turned more "human looking," having lost the Infinity Stone which gave him materialization (actually, I'm not sure "materialization" is the proper existential state to describe Vis, but you know what I mean, when he went from being a digital AI assistant to Tony Stark to being his own "entity") while Thor now has the Odin-eye-patch and Black Widow is blonde (we don't see Hawkeye or Ant Man at all, yet, but rumors suggest Hawkeye has the most dramatic transformation of any of the other Avengers, which will probably be introduced in a separate trailer). Why has Black Widow gone blonde?
Here at the outpost of Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) we see the former neurosurgeon, Wong, Dr. Bruce Banner and Tony Stark, as well as a huge hole in the staircase. Stairs, we know, symbolize ascending or descending, we either attain a higher level of thought about something, or we descend in our ability to recognize a greater meaning (however, descending can also mean going "deeper" into a situation, as in the case of John Wick [Keanu Reeves] when Wick goes "down" into his basement to retrieve or bury his hitman supplies). What's important about the image above is the hole preventing any ascending or descending upon the stairs at all. It's possible Banner himself created the hole: when we first see him at the start of the trailer, he's lying on his back amongst debris and Strange and Wong appear to be looking down at him, so it's possible he feel into Strange's, but we just don't know until we know, but we can say there is now a problem with "knowledge" and accessing knowledge as a result of what happens in this scene.
The blonde color is close to white, like it's been "bleached," (and I don't mean she's bleached her hair in a literal sense) rather, the red hair--"red" symbolizing the thoughts of love of fellow men, Avenger, country and Banner which provided her motivations for doing what she did--has now been "lost," the red, the love, has faded, due to events which have transpired and she's "dead" in her understanding of why she is still fighting, and for what she's fighting. I will be expanding this post, I just don't have strength to do more at this moment, but please, watch the trailer again, and note your own observations.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Justice League Opens This Weekend,....

If you haven't noticed, Affleck's picture is on the cover of People this week, reminding everyone how horrible he was to ex-wife Jennifer Garner. This might be a reason for Justice League not doing well--reminding people why they don't like Affleck and he doesn't deserve to play a super-hero--but also his own bad press for having criticized Harvey Weintstein and then Affleck had at least two groping accusations brought against him, then there was the press conference where someone asked the cast what they thought about Supergirl being brought into JL and Affleck replied, "Are you kidding? Have you read the news lately?" referring to the sexual harassment charges plaguing Hollywood, Affleck obviously assuming that if a woman was brought in, she would start making accusations,... regardless of what you and I think about what is going on, Affleck supports whole-heartedly this ideology and mode of operation, so it's possible fans will do what they did with Batman vs Superman and wait until it appears on cable.
I still have not made it to the theater. I am so sorry, I have just been so sick. Please, forgive me. Justice League opens this weekend and is on track to do about a $110 million opening, which will be good if it meets that (even a $100 million opening weekend would be good, considering how Batman vs Superman "under performed" according to expectations). First of all, I think a lot of people watched B vs S on disc and cable and realized they liked it, so they are more open to seeing Justice League in the theater and ignore reviews panning it; however, the reviews seem to be generally positive, which actually scares me. I just have a bad feeling, a really bad feeling, that--given the direction Wonder Woman went--JL is going to be liberal.  I don't know that for sure, it just seems that Warner Brothers has done everything it can to court liberals and craft a liberal persona to the public, and it's certainly working on me. If you go--and I am going to really try myself, again--but if you do, please note that several cities are reporting tickets being sold out for days, so get your tickets now. Secondly, there are two end credit scenes for the film, so stay until the very end. If you don't mind a potential spoiler regarding the way Superman "comes back from the dead," then keep reading; if you would rather not know, then stop now.
It seriously bothers me that Aquaman (Jason Momoa, far left) holds that trident upside-down. We just saw the Trident of Poseidon being broken in the pro-socialist Pirates of the Caribbean, and Aquaman holding it upside-down suggests he's basically doing the same thing by disrespecting the power and authority with which he has been entrusted, rather like in King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword when Uther Pendragon is about to go kill Mordred and he hands his crown to Vortigern (Jude Law) and Vortigern casually handles the crown, to which Uther commands him, "Hold it steady!" Of course, I hated Wonder Woman, and I fear that, like Steve (Chris Pine) Superman is going to be castrated and turned into a feminist toy.
Word on the street is, Bruce Wayne (Batman, Ben Affleck) studies Lex Luthor's (Jesse Eisenberg) notes on how he brought back Doomsday (Michael Shannon) to life in B vs S and uses the same technology to resurrect Superman (Henry Cavill). We have seen this before in Iron Man 3, when technology symbolizing socialism emplyed by Guy Pierce's character is used to save Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) from her plunge to death, and then again to save Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) himself from having to have that think on his chest so he can be normal again. We could even recall the "magic" used in Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters: what these Iron Man and Hansel and Gretel were definitely saying is, "It's not the technology in and of itself that is bad, rather, how it is being used," and then we can even add the staff of Merlin to this and the last Transformers film. There was also resurrecting Bond in Skyfall; so what am I worried about? The conversion of Superman: that now he's no longer an American icon and hero, he's a liberal ideological mouthpiece. I sincerely hope I am wrong, as always, but I am guessing that there is going to be a smattering of both capitalism (from before Zach Snyder exited) and grated liberalism (when Joss Whedon was brought in to make it a watch-able film). Really, I am going to try and see it this weekend.
Really.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Friday, November 10, 2017

Murder On the Orient Express Trailer #2

Details are imperative in this film, and there is a particular detail we must note, because we have to remember, when there is a character looking for clues, that is an invitation for us, the viewers, to also "look for clues" regarding what the film is really saying. Please notice, as you watch the film, the costumes involved: we have all ready analyzed some of the costumes in detail, but one aspect we haven't considered in this image of Hercule Poirot above: his coat. Because his arms are not in the sleeves of the coat, we may suspect that Poirot all ready has a clue about the play on the last name of "Armstrong," and I won't say anything else about that here, however, it also does something else to Poirot's coat: it turns it from a coat into a cape. A cape, like what Thor or Superman wears, is a sign of a burden willingly taken upon one's self, and their capes are red because they are willing to spill their (red) blood for those they love and the just cause. In the image above, I can't tell if Poirot's coat is blue--like his suit--or black, but Poirot has taken upon himself the burden of the case. 
Opening this weekend is a film I have greatly anticipated since the release of the first trailer: Kenneth Branagh's Murder On the Orient Express. The Agatha Christie story has been remade successfully numerous times for cinema so we have to ask, why again? The answer is never, ever, that someone thinks, "I can make a better film," rather, it's because this is such a good story, I want to make sure that cinema audiences today get to enjoy it (because few bother to watch films older than 2000, and certainly not films from the 50s, 60s or 70s). So, Branagh believes that something in this murder mystery is applicable to the world we live in today; how are we going to watch this film to deduce what his thesis is? (Don't worry, I'm not giving away any spoilers in this post, I would let you know if I were; the second trailer is at the end of this post if you need to see it again).
This is actually genius, doing it this way. Please note, that both hero (Poirot on the left) and villain (Ratchett on the right, Depp) have a scar on their left eye (Ratchett's isn't as visible in this shot, but you've noticed it in the trailers); why? To begin with, we know that a character's eye symbolizes their ability to see "beneath the surface," their "spiritual eyesight," because the eyes are the windows of the soul, so their ability for spiritual perceptions reflects how advanced or decimated their soul is. A wound suggests that one isn't able to properly see, but with Branagh having villain and hero share this trait, he's teasing us to "see" something else, specifically, that the wounds which have caused Poirot's eye to look strange have caused him to have deeper spiritual sight--he's the one who notices everything--whereas Ratchett's wound has caused him to ignore everything, giving him, at best, a shallow soul and one filled with crime and sin. In other words, the same (type of) misfortunes happened to both men, but they chose to handle it differently, Poirot growing wise and Ratchett becoming small and selfish (or worse). So, what about their mustaches? The mouth symbolizes our appetites, be they for food, sex, power, etc., and a man's facial hair (usually) accentuates that he has particular appetites (facial hair is associated with not shaving, and not shaving--no offense gentlemen, this is a broad historical portrait we are painting--was a sign to the well-groomed Romans of a barbarian who didn't shave, hence, facial hair has always had a negative connotation to it). So, what appetites can we deduce about Ratchett and Poirot? We actually see Ratchett eating when he joins Poirot at his table, while Poirot, who should be eating, reads instead (an appetite for knowledge). Poirot's mustache is intricately fixed and maintained, meaning he has an appetite for precision, and--because it's so obnoxiously big, like, really obnoxiously big--it means that Hercule (Hercules) Poirot has a "godly" appetite for justice, for avenging the innocent, for truth. Poirot also has some hair on his chin (sorry, don't know the proper grooming term for this, but I'll find out): the chin--being part of our jaws--suggests how we deal with justice towards ourselves: do we "take it on the chin" when someone insults us, or do we develop an appetite for revenge and resentment? Last, but not least, the gentlemen's neckties: Poirot's is a delicate, intricate knot, whereas Ratchett's is just flipped over, as if it's hiding something; what? We know the neck symbolizes or reveals that which leads us in life, so for Poirot, it's order, it's social norms and expectations (his tie is a traditional knot) whereas with Ratchett, it's something he can hide, something shady (and until we know more, we can't be specific, but as you watch the film, be looking for a thesis of "what leads him"). When we see Poirot with his tie slightly askew, that's a brilliant means of communicating to us that Poirot himself is askew in what guides him: either--depending on the place in the narrative--he has difficulties tracing down what clues should be leading him, or he sees exactly where the clues lead and that disturbs him, even to the point that he wants to avoid the proper conclusion to the case.
To begin, we know the film takes place in the 1930s; why? No, because Agatha Christie set the story in the 1930s is never a legitimate answer because that's a detail which can easily be changed to make something present day; what was happening in the 1930s? The Great Depression and the rise of socialism and fascism across Europe, which is exactly what is happening again today (although, since Trump took office, the economy has finally started booming, but during the Obama "Administration," it looked like the economy was going to completely die). So, we have the same "historical ingredients" in place in America which were historically in place in the 1930s.
What else?
These sweeping landscapes we will see are probably similar to our viewing of the sublime scenes in Dunkirk, in which Branagh also starred.Why? First of all, there is a symbolic significance in the landscape, especially the snow: either people have conquered their sins, so now they can reach up, closer to God (because the "hardness of heart" is symbolized by a mountain) or people have so hardened their hearts by sin that their heart has become a wilderness. Notice the vastness of this mountain range, then the small track of railroad upon which the world-famous luxury Express runs. That is civilization. That is progress. That is capitalism. We have seen a similar shot to this, in fact, in Fast and Furious 7 when the Toretto family drive their amazing cars through a winding road of desert and camel herders; which world would you rather live in, both film makers ask us, the world where nature enslaves us to our surroundings, or the world where we have mastered our surroundings and we can exert our will and do as we please?
This is where it gets a bit tricky, but we all ready have the tricky part figured out. The "snow" and the vapor from the train is really water, and we know that water symbolizes the different stages of reflection (we'll go in-depth in the post for those who don't remember/know). Snow is the third and final stage, meaning the person(s) has accepted what has happened but now they have to heal,... or they refuse to heal, which is why I'm stopping at this point, because when we first see snow appear is going to be critical to understanding the trauma the film explores and how that trauma relates to our own events in today's world. There is an avalanche which stops the train, and that avalanche is a "collision of reality and meditation," in that the train is reality and the snow is the meditation, the spiritual awakening or insight. When the avalanche stops the train, it's going to be a massive symbol of how to "dig out" of the larger trauma being exposed in the film.
The train itself will be a "character" in the film, and we will discuss this further after we have seen it, however, keep in mind, that a "vehicle" is a "vehicle" of the Holy Spirit, and as such, will symbolize the "movement" of the soul(s) of those aboard it. In other words, how do the people aboard the Orient Express change over the course of the film's events? Are those changes for good or bad regarding that character's soul?
The film begins in Jerusalem, the Holy City, the Old City. Why? There is a "religious nature" to Poirot's mission (Kenneth Branagh). Jerusalem is sacred to Muslims, Jews and Christians, so it's a location which binds and unites us--and trust me, "united" is the last thing anyone can say about the United States today.From Jerusalem, Poirot travels to Istanbul,... and now we have an interesting detail: at least three films that I can think of from the past couple of years have featured Istanbul, specifically The Blue Mosque which was featured in Taken 2, Skyfall and Argo. In both Taken 2 and Skyfall, the white heterosexual men are seen pursuing the enemies with courage and determination; in Ben Affleck's Argo, his Canadian hero (socialism) is seen sneaking around, terrified and impotent. We'll see how Poirot makes out when he's in Istanbul (which used to be Constantinople). Lastly, pay attention to class dynamics: which social/economic class is each character from, and how do they interact with other characters from different classes? I plan on seeing Murder On the Orient Express Friday afternoon, and will do my very best to get a post up this weekend,.... really, my very best.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Blessed All Saints Day To You

There is a lot we can discuss with this poster, however, let's just consider the tagline, "Terror is building." I have to admit, that's a good one, very witty, clever. People who are about the future want to build the future, people who are self-sufficient want to build for themselves, and it's through the act of "building" that America and the West in general has become great civilizations (cultures who are not considered "great" are not considered so due to a general lack of "buildings" in their countries: where there are no buildings, there is no other signs of greatness, such as learning, discovery, finance, leadership, resources, trade, etc.). So the very act of constructing is going to be part of the villany of the film.
Dear Readers,
As always, I can't begin to thank you sufficiently for your continued presence at The Fine Art Diner. I have every intention of returning to posting regularly, however, I am still quite sick. Thor: Ragnarok opens this weekend, it's expected to do quite well, and while I am looking forward to it, I simply don't know if I will be able to make it or not. In case you want some prepared material going in, here is our analysis of the Thor trailers, especially featuring Darryl, Thor's Australian roommate. In the meantime, just about every major film coming out has released a trailer, and I simply don't have the energy and focus necessary to post them. Here is one (obviously pro-socialist) but it's likely you have seen the others, but this has some interesting features.
If you remember The Woman In Black, you are seeing "echoes" of the film: the way Helen Mirren's Sarah walks and dresses, sits in an abandoned room, etc. There are also the echoes of The Conjuring: the face of a ghost behind the mirror when it's turned, for example (I know this post isn't up to par and what you expect, I am sorry, I am trying). Anyway, the most important aspect is this note: Sarah believes she is cursed by every single person ever killed by a Winchester rifle. She was fantastically wealthy, making approximately $25,000 a day in today's economy, adding to the nearly $500,000,000 fortune her husband left her. So, we have gun rights and gun control being targeted (hauntings by the victims) and a "lunatic" who is the 1% of the 1%. So, I am trying to get well as quickly as possible, and I thank you with all my heart for your continued presence here in spite of my absence. Just because I haven't posted on Annabelle, The Dark Tower (which is now out on video, excellent, I loved it!!!), IT and Blade Runner: 2049 doesn't mean I don't want to. I hope to get caught up on those films, as they are highly important and will have impacts on future films coming out. So, a happy and blessed All Saints' Day to you and your beloved, and I will do my best to see Thor this weekend!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Monday, September 25, 2017

TRAILERS: The Shape Of Water #2, Murder On the Orient Express #2 & Blade Runner 2049 Short No Where To Run

Well, it appears that Lex Luthor (portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg) has been one of a couple of characters axed from the Justice League film by the "new director" Joss Whedon (replacing Zack Snyder who took personal time off). There have been numerous re-shoots and lots of clipping of video, and I am wondering if Superman is even going to be in the film at all. At the end of the last trailer released, we see Jeremy Irons' Alfred look up and see someone who he talks to about being "not too late," and while this was a tease for Superman, a very good theory has suggested that the person whom Alfred addresses is actually Green Lantern, and given that Steppenwolf--the villain of the film--says that earth doesn't have any Lanterns to protect it, that makes perfect sense. Iris West has also been cut from the film, and someone else that I didn't know who they were, but it's going to be a very different film, and likely a pro-socialist film under Whedon.
I have been so sick.
I am still sick, but at least trying to get something up to let you know I am still alive and will be posting as soon as my brain gets its space in my head back from all the congestion.  Two awesome trailers have been released, the second for Murder On the Orient Express and the second, red-band trailer for The Shape Of Water.
At about 0:31, we see a rather remarkable shot: the train has completely stopped on a bridge. Why? Bridges, like hallways in a house or building, symbolize a "crossing over," a transition to a new state of mind, being or belief (etc.; just because the trailer makes it look like the train stops at the time of the murder, we shouldn't deduce that automatically; the film may have the train stopping on the bridge for a very different reason). The bridge is incredibly high in the air and even looks like the very last car might be about to fall off (if you look closely, it looks a bit crooked). So a transition takes place, and part of the train (the vehicle of the film) is going to be lost in this transition,.... or saved, depending upon the action of the characters. I'm not in any shape at all to go in-depth into anything, so let's go onto The Shape Of Water:
Oh, I can't wait.
Unfortunately, not every trailer makes me so happy. Here is the first trailer for the re-boot of Tomb Raider with Alicia Vikander, and it's devastating.
"A tomb called Mother Of Death."
"If Trinity succeeds, our world is in danger."
"Close the tomb once and for all. The fate of humanity is now in your hands." Okay, so "Trinity" refers to The Trinity--Father, Son and Spirit--and the necessity of closing the tomb is the Tomb of the Resurrection, the Tomb of Jesus wherein He rose from the dead, and in which Christians around the world believe because we, too, shall rise from the grave, as the Church (Mother of Death) teaches, not like the socialists teach (you are animals and when you die, you die, there is nothing after that). So,.... yea, rather disgusting. But, here to save the day is another Blade Runner 2049 short which I promise we shall delve into quite deeply, but it's like a fine wine, it deserves time for us to linger over it in thought:
The Power and the Glory,... I'm not a fan of Graham Greene, however, The Fugitive of 1947, starring Henry Fonda and Dolores Del Rio is an official adaptation of the novel and probably my favorite Henry Fonda film of all time. At this point, I'm confident (but we all know that I have made mistakes before) that Dave Bautista's character is a replicant (we see his "form" in Niander Wallace's museum on display) so that he's a replicant introduces a whole host of problems: if he's a machine, why is he feeling so much stress? Stress comes from the emotions, why would Niander program replicants to have stressful emotions,.... or did he? Bathroom scenes are always interesting (where the short opens) and when we see Bautista's character look in the mirror, then put on his glasses, then look back into a mirror obviously dirty, scratched and dark, signifies "double reflection" (his eyeglasses and the mirror both symbolize reflection, so he's "doubly reflecting" on what's happening to him, which may be causing him his stress). It's not just the title of the book which he gives to Hannah that ties Bautista's character to the religious dimension, but Hannah herself: in Scriptures, Hannah is the mother of the prophet Samuel, which means "Heard by God," because God heard Hannah's prayer for a son so the shame of being barren would be taken away from her. So, what do you think? I am desperately trying to get well. Thank you, as always, for continuing to stop by and check to see if there is a new post.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Monday, September 11, 2017

IT: Pro-Socialist

Without a doubt, IT is definitely pro-socialist, but it's also re-writing significant historical facts; we shouldn't be surprised, Liberals must re-write history, but what's so perverse--and I do mean twisted and turned upside-down--about IT is the length to which it's distorting reality and yet collapsing in upon itself. The good news is, however, that The Mummy will be available this Tuesday, hooray! If you haven't seen it, it's a must. There is another piece of good news: The Shape Of Water has won the Golden Lion award, the highest honor given at the Venice Film Festival, and one of the greatest honors in cinema in general (you can watch the trailer and read the analysis of it here). What does this mean? More screens will be showing it, so a greater number of people will get to see it, and del Toro--who wrote and directed it--finally has the laurel wreath he so richly deserves. Such an honor, then, will mean del Toro will get to pick the projects he does, and will have a greater control over (what might be controversial within the industry) his creative direction. I will get IT up asap!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Thursday, September 7, 2017

TRAILER: The Man Who Invented Christmas & Blade Runner 2049 Nexus Dawn

Do we really need another version of A Christmas Carol? The easy answer is: the better a work of art is, the more versions of it culture will produce. "But it will never be as good as the original!" I hear people lament, but the truth is, it's not supposed to be; the "versions of the original" are meant to remind people of why the original is so good, not to suggest that the version of the original is any better, or even as good as the original. Versions are also meant to introduce a wider, newer audience to the original; an audience who might otherwise not encounter the original at all.
There are plenty of things we can say about this poster, but for the moment, let's focus on what's in front of Dickens (Dan Stevens) on his desk: a lamp and ink well on his right, two dancing frogs in front of him and a few books to his left. Why is this important? The dancing frogs symbolize evolution. Darwin's Origin Of the Species was published in 1859, Dickens hadn't even been born, but by the time he began writing, the idea that we "evolved" from lowly animals had taken hold of Victorian society and artists and Christians desperately fought back against the "Left" of their day, which is why there are books on Dickens' "Left," it symbolizes the books from which the Left take their ideas (Origin of Species and the Communist Manifesto of 1848; however, books are not reality, reality is reality, and the author of reality is God (the definition of reality is "God seeing Himself"). This is the reason the lamp and ink well are on the right side of Dickens: they symbolize God. In the trailer, Dickens is going through writers' block, and says, "My lamp has gone out." Why does he say that? Because light symbolizes truth, and that his lamp has gone out means his ability to see God using him as a vehicle, an instrument, to do God's work has gone out, and that happens to us all from time to time, so we appreciate it when that lamp burns brightly. 
Thank you, with all my heart, for your patience.
I am back, promise, and we have a busy week. It comes out tonight, and industry estimates are putting its opening around $60 million; what does that mean? We need to get our tickets now. There are so many complications with this story line that, as always, I want to say it's going to be pro-capitalist, because the children involved are being forced to face their fears instead of being victims, however, the director did a film called Mama, starring Jessica Chastain (in case you missed it, don't worry, everyone else did as well) and it was decidedly pro-socialist, big time. We've seen this before, however, specifically with the changes that took place between The Conjuring (pro-socialist) and then the sequel, The Enfield Poltergeist (pro-capitalist): same screenwriters, director and production crew, but a total turn-around in political positioning. However, It will heavily depend upon some key elements--such as the old, haunted house, the sewers, and word play--so we can still glean quite a bit out of it regardless of which way it goes; I will be seeing it Friday afternoon, and will post my immediate reactions, then get that post up asap (I am going to see Annabelle: Origins as soon as possible and get that post up after I finish those last two captions for The Dark Tower). Let's start with an absolutely delightful story about a story, The Man Who Invented Christmas, about how Charles Dickens came to write A Christmas Carol:
We can see echoes of Shakespeare In Love, and that's fine, because it takes us into a rarely seen but utterly important focal area of artistry: the genius of business. When you watch movies about making movies (the exception being Hail, Cesar! by the Coen Brothers) it's probably going to show how tedious business is and how much better films would be if the genius of the director, actors and other film makers were freed from the vice and greed of the financial backers; The Man Who Invented Christmas, however, appears it will take the road that, indeed, necessity is the mother of invention, and that necessity is money, and that money--far from being the sole indicators of greed and vice, as socialists would have you believe--is the "necessary evil" beating, tormenting and torturing the stories, ideas and beauty from the soul of the artists, writers, film makers and dreamers, who--without that torture of making the dollar and meeting deadlines and conforming to real-world expectations--would not produce nearly as much, nor of the quality because there would be no audience for it. But then, there is also the role of genius,....
Why would Dickens have a miser be the center of a story about Christmas? Because a miser is the exact opposite of what Christmas means: the heavens were opened and the Love of God poured out upon us at the birth of Christ, instead of God keeping His riches, Love and goodness to himself (like Scrooge) He lavished us with His bounty. We are misers, however,  when it comes to returning God's love: like Scrooge loving his money, we love the things of this world, our families, our leisure, our hobbies, jobs, etc., better than we love God, and so we can call A Christmas Carol a love story, the romance of God's love for us and calling us back to Himself. When the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to visit his earlier life, he realizes the good relationships he had with others, like his fiancee Belle, with whom Scrooge could have found a greater understanding of God's Love for him (because the love we have for others, and the love they have for us, is meant to mirror God's Love for us and the love we are supposed to reciprocate to Him) but he rejected her love for the love of money; when God blesses us, He blesses us so we can love Him more, but when we deny those blessings with worldly pursuits, our ability to truly love diminishes because the image of God within our souls diminishes.
As we also discuss below with details about the replicant, the color gray we see Scrooge wear in this image is telling: gray symbolizes the color of the pilgrim/penitent or the novice (the replicant below symbolizes the novice), and we can say Scrooge is both the pilgrim (the ghosts take him on spiritual journeys so he will be converted) and a penitent (he will do penance to overcome the consequences he has brought upon the world and himself). Now, we can't ignore that it would be very easy for socialists to take advantage of Scrooge's end--when he goes around Christmas morning, throw money at everyone--as a vehicle for wealth redistribution, something like: if you don't want to be a Scrooge, then you need to give up all your money to the poor. This is a real possibility, and we really won't know until the film comes out. 
We know the man who invented Christmas is Jesus Christ, by his birth, love and willingness to sacrifice Himself and pay our debts, and that is why A Christmas Carol ends with, "God bless us, everyone!" because Scrooge is on the wrong side of the debt, not realizing that it's not the debts he holds over others, rather, the debt God holds over him, the debt God paid for Scrooge, and that's why Scrooge endures as a "hero," because we can all see ourselves in him, the times we fail to be grateful, the times we are wrapped up in worldliness rather than the spiritual side of life. The film celebrates, then, how Dickens was the vehicle of invention for what God wanted to communicate to us, and through Dickens, and how Dickens opened himself up to God and cooperated with God's agenda. The film opens November 22, and I can't wait!
"Light" is an incredibly complex symbol, and yet it's also incredibly simple: truth. Light will always symbolize truth, however, the source of that light will "color" what kind of truth it is the character/audience experiences. For example, when we have clear,bright sunlight, it's a clear and apparent truth, a natural law to which all can have access. When it's a cloudy day, but still light, that indicates a truth more difficult to discern, and partially shrouded in mystery. Artificial light means an artificial truth, something manufactured, etc. In the image above, it appears this is sunlight, but the blowing dust and sand "filters" the truth, because the earth is going to represent reality, and so we have "truth" filtered by the reality that Officer K (Gosling) exists within: the yellow color symbolizes dignity, so it could be K's dignity in the reality of a world of replicants who have been denied dignity; the barrenness of the scene, however, depicts that K doesn't have anything to measure his dignity against so he can't understand what his dignity is or what it means (this is a super-simplistic reading of what will prove to be a complex image, so I don't want to go further with this now).
I have a copy of Blade Runner, which I haven't watched since my first year of film criticism--yea, it's basically required viewing, so you need to see it--so I am very much looking forward to posting on Blade Runner prior to the October 6 release of 2049.
In anticipation of Blade Runner 2049 opening, the production team has put together three short films which explore what happened in-between the last Blade Runner and 2049; here is the first, Blade Runner 2036: Nexus Dawn, and it's amazing.
We can discuss this at length because it's self-contained--we have the whole thing presented for us--so even if it happens that the full Blade Runner 2049 goes socialist (and I am confident it won't) what the director Luke Scott (son of Ridley Scott; Luke also did that awesome prologue to Alien: Covenant called The Last Supper) put together Nexus Dawn as its own creation. We will discuss this at length next week, however, I wanted to give you some time to think about it, so here are a few points. When the film first opens, we see an empty seat; why? What references to "empty chairs" have we had which we might draw upon? Obama. Clint Eastwood's 2012 Republican National Convention address was about an empty chair running the country being better than Obama sitting in the chair running the country into the ground, so we can see Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) as an Obama figure. "Niander" sounds like "neander," as in Neanderthal, the sub-species of ancient humans, why? For at least two reasons.
The replicant wears gray, which, we know, symbolizes both the pilgrim/penitent or the novice, because gray is the color of ashes, and it's ashes which the penitent puts upon themselves in humility (from dust I came, to dust I shall return) whereas the novice receives humility in entering a new state of life and learning from others and hoping for their acceptance. This gives us a rather sinister view on the replicant: he seeks the acceptance of those before whom he stands, hoping to be accepted because of his blind obedience; the replicant we see in this video is only the "entry level" replicant which Niander intentionally designs to be obedient to him and him alone, but more advanced versions--past the novitiate stage--will likely not behalve the way the replicant in the video does (not be slavishly obedient). What else? The hair is pulled back, perfectly: the head, or anything on the head, such as hair, hats, etc., materialize the immaterial thoughts of a character, so the perfectly pulled back hair (a sign of discipline) illustrates the thoughts of the replicant, that they are perfectly disciplined (instead of hair going every which way).
When Niander first speaks to the replicant, Niander tells him to find a weapon. It's infinitely interesting that the replicant chooses a glass pitcher for water; why? Water is a symbol of Grace--Grace being God's own Life He infuses into our souls--but the replicant isn't interested in Grace--how can he be, he's a machine? But Luke Scott brings out that those who are not interested in God's Grace are like machines, like the mechanical voice of Niander. Then, there is the fact that the pitcher is made of glass. Glass symbolizes reflection, and our ability to reflect/meditate upon circumstances, our choices, our will, events outside of our influence, etc. That the replicant takes only a shard of glass perfectly illustrates for us that he has only limited abilities to reflect (a shard of glass instead of the whole pitcher, or "picture" for the points on word play); that there is no natural light coming into the room where all this takes place also indicates that those witnessing this "crime" also can't accurately reflect upon what's happening because they don't have the "light of truth" against which to measure the events (there are windows, but it's dark, and only neon lights and flashes of incandescent light enter the room from outside; of course, there is only lamp light within the room).
Now, why does the replicant stab himself in the neck? Because that's the most sensitive area and the easiest to inflict injury, yea, sure, but we also know that the neck symbolizes that which leads us in life, that which guides us (like a leash around our neck). In Blade Runner, the four replicants which cause all the problems (portrayed by Rutger Hauer and Darryl Hannah) wanted more life; Niander, in having his replicant stab himself in the neck, subliminally proposes that his replicants will be led by death, not life. Again, there is a ton more to discuss, this merely scratches the surface, but we will discuss this in greater depth next week.
First, Niander isn't thinking as people benefiting from two-thousand years of Christianity and the doctrine of Redemptive Suffering, so to him, hunger is just hunger of the body, not hunger of the soul. We can see this in the way he sounds like a robot, like Stephen Hawking who doesn't need the robotic voice, but uses it anyway. Secondly, Scott makes it clear this is a step backwards in our growth as a species, not a leap forward. When Niander speaks to the replicant, Niander imitates language Jesus used during The Last Supper, and when He was arrested: Niander telling the replicant to find a weapon is the opposite of Jesus telling Peter to put his sword down; Jesus did not tell Peter to hurt anyone, but Jesus healed the man who had his ear cut off, in spite of the man coming to arrest Jesus, whereas Niander tells the replicant to hurt himself to show obedience to Niander. One of the people watching tells Niander he's committing a crime, but he's not arrested nor stopped; Jesus, however, did not commit a crime but was arrested and killed, though innocent. When the replicant holds the glass up to take his life, Niander says, "Do this now," as when Jesus told Judas, what you are going to do, do it now (to betray Him and sell Him). Niander, however, thinks the replicant killing himself will actually make Niander look good to those witnessing what takes place and Niander will be elevated for his genius, whereas Jesus was elevated on the Cross in His humility (there is a ton more to this clip, but this is as far as we are going to go in this post, more next week!). What Luke Scott presents to us is an image of the god atheists would like to have in Niander Wallace: this is how atheists think God should behave, i.e., this is what a socialist state would be like, when the State takes the place of God. This was just released, so I will go ahead and post it although we will discuss it later, the third trailer for Flatliners:
So, I'm going to see It tomorrow, and will get that up asap, promise. Again, thank you, as always, for your patience!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Thursday, August 17, 2017

NEWS: Bond #25 & Thor 3 #3

Daniel Craig has confirmed that he is returning as James Bond for Bond #25, but has also confirmed it's the last time he will portray Bond, which means--according to contracts--Christoph Waltz will not be back as Blofeld (because that was going to take three films to follow that lead) and no word as of yet if Lea Seydoux, who portrayed Madeline Swann will return; so, if we want to know what is going on, those are the two casting announcements we should be listening for, which means, IF they are going to happen, they will probably be the last ones announced,.... On a different note, I don't understand why they decided to do this in Japanese, but they did: the Thor 3: Ragnarok trailer has been released (in Japanese) but we have our first look at Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the film.
I have an apology to make: I was in great error over a detail, specifically, the end credits scene for Dr. Strange, where we see Thor visiting Strange inquiring where Odin is. I thought at the time, that "Thor" was actually Loki, and Loki was there to collect the Infinity Stone in Strange's keeping, as it turns out, however, "Thor" was actually Thor, so, we have the bridge from Darryl to Strange. I am getting back to posting again, so I promise I will have something up tomorrow, hopefully, The Dark Tower. Thank you so much for your patience, as always!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Monday, August 14, 2017

Removing Statues=Rewriting History

Is the flag of the Confederacy really offensive? No, nothing is really offensive, because "offensive" is a reaction. I am a Christian, I could easily be offended by Andreas Serrano's Piss Christ but I'm not offended: this piece reflects Serrano's spiritual state, because he can't hurt God, he only demonstrates what is within his own soul, not how God actually is; likewise, the Left, in being "offended" by every single thing, demonstrates that they have no backbone or priorities, that they don't believe in free speech or the right of others to have any freedom; they only believe in their own weakness and want everyone else to suffer for it. THE CONSTITUTION DOES NOT PROTECT EMOTIONS, AND IT DOES NOT SHELTER PEOPLE FROM BEING OFFENDED, IT PROTECTS PEOPLE'S RIGHT TO SPEAK FREELY. This is our social contract to which we bind ourselves. So there is nothing offensive about any of these statues or symbols the Left has been crying about, there is only the power grab being waged by the Left, and unfortunately, they are winning it. For example, they want the names of presidents removed from a memorial because they owned slaves and in Brooklyn, there is a push to rename streets at a army base named after Civil War generals.. Civil War-era monuments are being torn down in a Hollywood cemetery because "some" activists are offended by them. So far, The Trump Administration's Interior Department seems to have the right, balanced idea and is refusing to remove the monuments. In Baltimore, however, the female black mayor had crews remove four statues overnight; no one knew it was going to happen, so how about that for democracy?
UPDATE: after posting this article, it has been reported that Southern Poverty Law Center has declared three of America's largest Army bases to also be Confederate monuments that need to come down, because they are named after Confederate generals; it's not about re-naming the bases, no, this is about tearing down the bases completely; why? In their words, "they have the potential to unleash more bloodshed and turmoil" if activists don't take them down. That might reference two things: first, that SPLC views America's activities as that of an "empire," and anything America does anywhere is a sign of power, therefore, "Confederate." Another possibility is a reference to an upcoming civil war in America between the Left and conservatives, and the Left is fully aware that the bases will support Trump and conservatives, so they are trying to disarm the bases before they start a civil war. 
The Left has undertaken what appears on the surface to be an exceedingly popular and sympathetic gesture to blacks: the removal of Confederate symbols (such as the Confederate flag, above, or statues of the famous Confederate General, Robert E. Lee, below). The Left argues the Civil War was a period in history that is offensive and any symbol of the Confederacy is a sign of white supremacy and a desire, in the words of former Vice President Biden, to put blacks back in chains. The removal of these symbols, however, accomplishes two important tasks for the Left, and the veneer of self-righteousness does wear thin indeed when we realize the advantages (there is an interesting poll I have posted towards the end of this).
The statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, which was recently graffitied  with Black Lives Matter. A further advantage for the Left in removing such statues is, the statues depict white men, who were immortalized by white male artists, so when an invasion of conquest takes place, the conqueror will eradicate the art and cultural symbols of the conquered so the conquered forget who they are and what their history is (for example, the English did this with the Welsh and Scottish). This is exactly what the Left is doing with American (capitalist) culture and identity: the capitalists and Republicans proudly remember that we fought against slavery and for the Union, whereas the Democrats fought to keep slaves and for dissolution (the same way they are trying to dissolve the US now, not just in terms of values and culture, but literally with the petitions of California to leave the US). The Left realizes their role in the Civil War reveals what they are really after and makes them look bad, since they want to get blacks to support them, so they are doing away with the "cult of white men" by getting rid of these statues which detail the history of the Democrats, as well as showing signs of the modern Left's power by achieving whatever they want by putting pressure on authorities and crying. It is difficult to take Black Lives Matter seriously when they are obviously so ignorant of such an important era of their own history, and if they argue that the Democratic Party of the Civil War was in the past and no one should pay attention to history, then so, too, was slavery, and the idea of "modern day reparations" for blacks because of slavery is just as ludicrous. 
It was the Left that was responsible for slavery. It was the Left that was responsible for the Civil War. The Republican North wanted freedom for slaves and wanted to keep the Union as one. Removing the public monuments begins the necessary steps the Left obviously wants to take in erasing from their history their role in enslaving black people and attempting to destroy the country through war (they are determined to destroy America, always, that just doesn't change).
And this is from NPR and PBS.
So the first advantage is the first step to erasing unsavory aspects of their personal history so the Left's role in the Civil War and slavery can't be used against them: if there is no record of the Left's involvement, then there is no crime (just like Hillary's hundreds of thousands of deleted emails). The second advantage the Left has in waging this public monuments war is power: if they can get these monuments removed, then that gives them power to censor and rewrite history the way they see fit. Anyone resisting this can easily be labeled a bigot, racist, a "Reb," and white supremacist, and who wants to be called names by the bullies of the Left? That has been the massive push to power and bulldozing of policy which they have managed to accomplish since Obama took office, and they are trying to hold onto it.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Saturday, August 12, 2017

UPDATED: Trailers: It, The Kingsmen & Death Of Stalin

UPDATE: IF you have a moment, check out this article from the New York Times; yea, I know, The Times, but the turns and twists this guy takes, are interesting, and as he himself (seems to be) fully aware of his tight-rope balance, makes it an interesting article for those of us, like myself, who have come to abhor "identity politics."
I have no idea which way this film is going to go (pro-socialist or pro-capitalist) however, that it's a comedy and depicts chaos, and everyone constantly being afraid that they are going to be killed, I think the October 20 release (in honor of the October Revolution which took place October 25, 1917) is going to be at least mildly anti-socialist because no one wants to live in such paranoia:
This is quite an impressive cast, and I am thrilled to see Rupert Friend (Agent 47 in Hitman: Agent 47) as Stalin's son, and Penny Dreadful fans may have spotted Simon Russell Beale who portrayed the aesthete Ferdinand Lyle (and portrays Beria in The Death Of Stalin).  Steve Buscemi, who is good in whatever he does--is there a better compliment for an actor?--portrays Khrushchev, Michael Palin is Molotov. It will be interesting to see if the film takes the path of assassination by Beria and Khrushchev (for fear of being swept away in Stalin's most recent purge of Party members) or if it takes the path that he died from stroke and other conditions caused by stress. Anyway, I'm looking forward to it and think it will be interesting. And we have a new trailer for The Kingsmen:
Remember, Julianne Moore's character, Poppy, is the leader of the world's largest drug cartel, and in order to continue selling drugs, she kills off the Kingsmen. Also note that Mark Strong's character (Blackwood in Sherlock Holmes and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) is named Merlin, providing us with yet another link to the legend of King Arthur; why? Because Arthur still means something today, and those wanting to embrace nationality and masculinity are ones calling to mind the greatness of Arthur and his court. Last but not least is a new trailer/clip for It which looks terrifying.
We will do a detailed post on It before it comes out, I just need a bit more material; I have a theory, but I don't have much proof for it. Since Blade Runner 2049 comes out this year, a Final Cut version of the original Ridley Scott Blade Runner has been released in anticipation of the sequel. That would probably be the version to watch, rather than the theatrical version; I don't say that often,... okay, I never say that at all, because the theatrical version is the one (the most) people are going to be able to relate to and call upon for a frame of reference (so, if there is a scene in Blade Runner 2049, for example, which utilizes information from the Final Cut version, how many people will be able to get it?) however, I think Blade Runner 2049 will be different; why? Scott likes debate about his films, and I can absolutely see him putting in references for Blade Runner 2049 that weren't in the theatrical version of Blade Runner so a few elite film critics can say, "Ah, I have the Final Cut, and this scene no one understands regards this extra footage interview only available on Final Cut version." I will also (promise) get a detailed post of Blade Runner up before Blade Runner 2049 comes out.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. They are going to take Grandma off life support Sunday night at 10 pm and I am utterly heart-broken. Thank you for your prayers, for her and us.
God bless!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Blu-Ray: King Arthur Legend Of the Sword

King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword is out on Blu-Ray and DVD!!!! This is the only good thing that has happened this week, but I am glad for this at least. If you didn't get a chance to see it, or can't wait to see it again (me) this is a great film! I just picked up my Blu-Ray today, so I haven't gotten a chance to review it, however, I can't wait to watch it.
This is going to be a very difficult weekend/week for me: the decision has been made that, Saturday or Sunday night, my grandma will no longer be receiving life-sustaining medicines; she might rally and pull through--I certainly believe in miracles with all my heart and soul--however, it's likely she will only survive a few hours. Please keep her, and the rest of my family, in your prayers. Taking care of Grandma has been a big part of my life for the last five years and this is incredibly difficult and soul-wrenching. I will be with her tonight, and depending on how she is doing, I will be working on The Dark Tower post to finally get that up. Thank you so much, for you prayers and patience!
God bless!

Luke & Rey: Star Wars The Last Jedi

It's anticipated to be the biggest film of 2017, so no details are being released--and hardly any images--so when something like this still is released, it's basically being treated like a golden nugget. Is the image that good? It's pretty good, there is certainly information there we can pan to get to the good stuff, so let's put our noses to the grindstones and see what we come up with.
Rey wears a gray, formless cloak; why? Gray is the color of ashes, so it symbolizes both penance (from dust we came, to dust we shall return, let me do penance for my sins by pouring dust and ashes all over myself as a sign of humility) and the color of the pilgrim, because pilgrims would often go on a journey in penance and to seek after greater holiness. The site they are at, Skellig Michael (which we discuss more below) is a holy site--in reality and the Jedi universe--so the idea of a pilgrimage is suiting. Why is it so formless? What do we really know about Rey? Costumes are meant to communicate to the viewer about the character, but the film makers are keeping Rey "under wraps" (like the wrap she wears) so we aren't going to be allowed to know much about her, at least at this point.
What about her staff? The staff, or rod, is a sign of strength: not only strength because she has been disciplined by the rod--think of how hard life was for her at the junkyard settlement on Jakku; so life has disciplined her, but that discipline has become her strength, it makes her less vulnerable and less afraid ("less afraid" is carefully chosen, in spite of what you may think of my writing skills :)  she's still afraid, quite afraid, but she's all ready been through so much, she knows she is also tough). Unlike Kylo Ren (Han and Leia's son) Rey hasn't been pampered and given ego boosts, telling her she's going to be a great Jedi someday, knowing that her uncle and mother are galactic royalty and her father and his wookie heroes of the Resistance,... Rey has grown up, literally, in the desert, so the desert we see in the image above (rocks and salt water) is a comfortable and familiar surrounding; she isn't going to need a babysitter the way Kylo Ren obviously did.
Rey's hairstyle is quite interesting,... even bizarre. Completely pulled back, that suggests discipline, again, she is disciplining herself in her thoughts: she's not going to gush to Luke, "You are my hero! You are the greatest legend EVER! Can I have your autograph?!!? What about a selfie?!!" There are three "pony tails" (in spite of a better description) and, given that this is such a holy site, I would suggest the hair being parted into threes is a sign of her thoughts of God (Holy Trinity) and she realizes how important this temple is and she wants to make the most of it. In other words, she's not just her for the Resistance, for the galaxy, but she's also here for Rey. Now, look behind Rey: it's like a stone bench, which is probably what it is, but it also looks like a bridge, very much like the stone bridge we see The Mage on when she and Arthur discuss what he holds back and why he can't use Excalibur in King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword and, given that the lightsaber is also a sword, this connection isn't out of the question In other words, Rey acts as a bridge for Luke to go from exile to the forefront of the Resistance once more. The problem with bridges, people walk over them, and this suggests that Rey's relationship with Han is going to look cozy and warm compared to her relationship with Luke.
Look to Rey's left and, from our perspective, behind her: on our left there is green and growth (life and new hope) and on our right there is rocks and barrenness; this is utilizing the landscape to illustrate what we find in these two characters. Rey is young and full of hope, but Luke is old, craggy and barren. Whereas Ben Kenobi had stayed on Tatooine to watch the progress of Luke, and made use of the desert for his own personal growth and advancement as the years passed, Luke choose this barren planet to escape responsibility and probably even blame, so Luke's heart has hardened, however, with Rey, she is what Luke needs to become that Jedi hero once more: hope.
Perhaps the most important, fundamental element of this image is that Rey (Daisy Ridley) stands opposite of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). This is the first time in approximately 30 years that Luke has encountered another human (there are some aliens on the island, we'll look at them in a moment). So, for Luke, we can say that looking at Rey is like looking in a mirror: in Martin Buber's theory of I and Thou, we require other humans, not only to know ourselves, but God as well. So what do we see Luke doing? He's standing at the threshold. While we know events in the film progress, understanding this moment, and the moment at the closing of Star Wars: the Force Awakens when Rey approaches Luke and holds out his lightsaber to him, we also don't know what has happened to the galactic hero in those 30 years, and these few moments of intense communication--verbally and physically--is what the film makers will use to describe a character we know, but don't know who he has become.
Skellig Michael is dedicated to the Archangel St. Michael, whose name means, "Who can compare to God?" It's fitting, therefore, that Luke would retreat to such a place, as he is, very much, like St. Michael and his nephew, Kylo Ren, like Satan: so favored but who fell so low. Why was this such a good place for monks dedicating their lives to holiness? This is one of the great paradoxes in Christianity: we are meant to become "living stones," but we can also let our hearts become "hardened" with sin to where our hearts are no longer natural, but like stone... so how do we manage to become the living stones? To be a living stone means you are rock solid in your foundation of beliefs: you are solid in believing in the importance of love, for example, and you are advanced in practicing patience. A "living stone" is not going to chip easily when the world turns hard on you and makes your journey difficult. On the other hand, we harden our hearts against love and relationships when we have been hurt, and don't want to suffer anymore; then our hearts slowly become filled with poison which causes our hearts to die. Rocks also have a tendency to symbolize sin for this very reason of "hardening our hearts" against God and our fellow man. For someone training in holiness, however, the rocks can become a symbol of how to be tough, dedicated and purge yourself of softness which might cause an aversion to discipline (like sleeping in, or skipping prayers, not fasting or staying comfortable instead of mortifying the flesh). So, just as the Force symbolizes balance in the universe, we can see how delicate the balance within our own souls can be. 
We do know, however, that it could not have been a very pleasant journey: Luke is surrounded by stones, and this suggests that, the son of Anakin Skywalker, has let his heart turn to stone as well. Why? We're probably not going to find that out, or just get a tasting of it, but the giant rock we have seen as Luke's home is a reversal of "wise and healthy living": Luke should have been there to be Leia's rock in her times of hardship, and Luke should have let Leia be a rock for him in his own times of trouble; in other words, instead of running away when Kylo Ren turned, Luke should have stood and either fought his nephew, or at least been there to help Leia lead the Resistance against the First Order. Instead, Luke has become a rock, and this is likely going to be very difficult for Rey to manage.
This has been released as the "nuns" who care for the Jedi Temples on the island where Luke resides; according to sources, they don't really like Luke being there. They can communicate with him to some degree, but they wish he would go away. This seems utterly bizarre to me, and I simply don't know what to make of this.
Skellig Michael was a monastery, but it was also a community, so even though the monks there lived in a kind of hermitage, they had the socialization of others, they weren't alone, and this is true even today of the religious life; why? Because being cut-off from you fellow man mangles your outlook. As we have said before, it's good to go into the desert to fight your demons, because there is no place for the demons to hide; sometimes, however, the demons win, especially if the person is going through depression (like the loss of his nephew to the Dark Side) or is prone to depression: you can't see reality properly without guidance, and if this has happened to Luke, it will be difficult for him to come back to the Resistance and fight.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Analysis & Symbols: Annabelle Creation

This is an interesting poster: whenever a face is hidden or covered, or we don't have access to it, it's a sign of mystery, that we cannot have access to that part of the person/character/thing, even though we know it's there (for example, in a portrait when someone stands in profile, the artist wants to communicate that there is something inaccessible about this person, mysterious and unknowable). We see this with the doll in the poster above and the left side of the face; again, as we have had opportunities to note, the "left" side of something has always been considered evil (the left hand of Dr Jeckyll (Russell Crowe) in The Mummy, Strickland's left hand (Michael Shannon) in The Shape Of Water, and Solo and Illya looking to their left in the poster for The Man From UNCLE, among other examples). The wooden lid to the box is very interesting and introduces and element of "play" into the poster which--given that this is a doll and dolls are meant to be "played" with--is entirely appropriate. On one hand, we see the wooden box as the packaging of the doll but because it's a wooden box, and it was created to be a reminder of the little girl who died, the box also becomes a coffin. Deconstruction tells us that such "play" with words, images and ideas, where you can't really decide on what something is (is it a box or a coffin?) is inherent in all words, sometimes it's just easier for us to pick out than other times. I suspect we will see this "ambiguity" (not being able to decide between "A" or "B" what something is or means) throughout the film: for example, we see the "ghost" of Bee, the little girl who died, with her back to the door when Bee's mother enters and wants to know if it's Annabelle or not; the "girl" sets at a child's tea party set and pretends to be having a party with her animals. Food and beverages in a scene always mean that it is us, the viewers, who are being "served" something to digest: in other words, we are the stuffed animals sitting at the table, the film is the party, and the tea and other refreshments are the meaning and purpose of the film you and I are being asked to "digest," to engage and really understand (like everything here at the Fine Art Diner). Another good example of this is Clary (Lily Collins) in The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, when she keeps making this symbol, and then she "draws it" in the foam of her coffee with the sugar and she doesn't want to drink the coffee; why not? Clary doesn't really want the symbol "clarified" and she doesn't want to digest what it means to her that she keeps making it.
The reason this "play" on words is so important is because of something Janice says in the trailer we examine: the evil one is haunting her because she is the "weakest." "Weak" is a generally negative connotation, at least in America, because being "weak" implies that you can't take care of yourself, you are helpless, a victim; in Christianity, however, we are supposed to brag about being "weak" because it is the weak that God chooses so people will know it is God doing great and mighty deeds and not the person who is merely God's instrument, so what is the difference? Janice uses "weak" in the social, political and economic context of today to describe herself, and this is exactly what the devil and socialists want: look at yourself as being weak, crippled and helpless; Janice is probably also the weakest in her faith (or one of the virtues, like hope--even though we see her wearing green--humility, Christian love, etc., and it is likely we will see the same type of weakness in the Mullins). God wants us to become weak along the path of humility: I don't do anything; I am not the one writing this blog, for example, it's God. I can't come up with a single idea on my own if it is not for God granting me the Grace and gifts to see and properly use this knowledge to glorify Him (I am not bragging that I am a perfect example of Christian humility and weakness, but just trying to use an example). When we realize that we are mere humans and can do nothing on our own, then we are weak, and when we are weak, then God is happy to work in us and through us, because we glorify Him rather than glorifying ourselves (or even some other person or thing). There seems to be a dramatic lack of prayer in these trailers which have been released so far, and even though we see people holding the Crucifix, it's almost like they cover the Body of Jesus--which is what gives a Crucifix its power--rather than revealing it, which might be the whole answer as to the sin Samuel and Esther Mullins commit. 
Annabelle: Creation opens this weekend and the reviews are unusually strong: while The Conjuring universe based on upon the investigations of Ed and Lorraine Warren serve as the basis of the stories, this quick featurette trailer points us to something imperative we can't forget about these stories: reality.
The reason it's important to remember that these are actual case histories that involved the supernatural (literally, that above the explanations of science and natural phenomena) is because of the spiritual battle each of us is called to fight everyday; what I think Annabelle: Creation is going to examine, is how we each fail in that battle. Before we discuss that, let's look at the teaser Warner Brothers released, featuring how the Annabelle doll was created:
Why is it that the first thing we see is an eye? "Eyes" symbolize our spiritual sight, our ability to see "beyond" the mere surface, deeper into the matter or the person/character, to understand (motivations, for example), so the first thing the teaser tells us is to "see what we are trying to tell you, what we want to warn you about." The second thing we see is the back of a man, wearing a light brown/tan shirt, and we don't notice much else about him because of his back; this is important, trust me. Next--and this shot really is genius--we see the eyeball held under a magnifying glass. So, what do we have with these three shots? We, the audience, are being called to examine closely what we will see, because we see God as the master craftsman (the man's back is to us so this is a male figure we cannot know very much about, but he's a craftsman, hence, a God figure/metaphor) but we also have to examine how and why we see what we see (the eye under the magnifying glass) because we are apt to see things that are only beneficial to us, and not the critique that we ourselves need to experience (how we are likely guilty of the same sins we will see in the film).
Originally when I saw this teaser, I was very concerned about a certain element of the doll's characteristic: the limited edition. Why? That means it's more valuable, and if a socialist were making this film, the "value" (as in monetary value) of the doll would be a sign of "possession" and someone wanting the doll because it's valuable, so they are "possessed" with "possessing material goods," we saw this in The Conjuring and the mother's desire to have their own home. (While the first film, The Conjuring, was pro-socialist, Annabelle was pro-capitalist, as was The Conjuring II: The Enfield Poltergeist, and I expect Annabelle: Creation to be pro-capitalist as well.
How do I arrive at Mr. Mullins being a "god figure" in this clip? There is a lot of light, coming from the right side of the screen; light, especially natural light--but it doesn't have to be--indicates illumination from within. His back is to us, so we can't know who this is, although we have some idea; we know it's a craftsman because we see all the parts, pieces and tools; there might also be the idea that in heaven, we are like the dolls which God puts together. Unlike the doll maker we see above, however, God gives us a heart, a soul, and a mind along with free will, so we are not empty. Socialists, on the other hand, contend that we are created empty because we are animals, not the children of God. I am guessing, but I could be wrong, that the Mullins' sin is idolatry: they worship their little girl over worshiping God who created her. This would be an apt sin to examine because people who worship their material goods (and we aren't talking about building an alter and offering incense to a car or a great set of gold clubs) because they have an unhealthy amount of love/desire for those material goods, are easy fodder for socialists who claim that getting rid of material goods will make society a better place. No, it won't, only worshiping God and giving Him the credit due Him will make society better, because our hearts will then be balanced and natural instead of loving things in an unnatural way.
On a different note, we know that Mr. Mullins' name is "Samuel," which invokes the prophet who anointed both Saul and David; Samuel was an only child of his mother, Hannah, and his name means, "God has heard," because God heard Hannah's prayer asking for a son,... Mrs. Mullins' name is Esther, after the queen. Esther was originally born "Myrtle," because she was meant to bear fruit, like the trees we will discuss below; "Esther" means "star" but can also mean "hidden one," which we certainly see when she puts on her fake face piece. Both of these names we will need to keep in mind so we can "mull over them" and understand why the film makers chose these two Biblical names for their characters. 
The next shots are of the dis-embodied doll parts: an arm here, a torso over there, etc. Why is this so creepy? The body parts are de-contextualized and, even though they belong to a doll, it's creepy because those parts resemble human parts closely enough that it makes us think, "That could be my arm. That could be my torso." We actually saw this way back in Resident Evil: Retribution and the clone factory: we could even say this is the place where "golems" are made (those clay figures into who the name of God is breathed and so they take on life, since "Bee" the little girl who dies asks to be allowed to live in Annabelle the doll and give the doll "life." This scene, however, becomes more "sinister" when we see "the empty face," the face with no eyes, mouth or mind behind it; why? It's like a zombie.
We will probably have to watch this film several times to even begin to capture the majority of details being offered for our "intellectual consumption" in Annabelle: Creation. Let's take a look at this seemingly unimportant transition scene. First, in the top image, we see the bus pulling onto the Mullins' property; so? Notice how dusty it is? That's a sign of the desert, where nothing grows, there is no Grace (it seems the Mullins are good people who wanted to do penance for their sins, however, there is something they have held back or won't let go of which continues to separate them from God). Please notice, on the right side of the top image, the dead trees: dead trees symbolize sin, because where God is, good things grow (You know a tree by the fruit it bears, and every tree is supposed to bear some sort of fruit, even if just shade, so trees which bear no fruit are dead because of the root of sin). However, on the left side of the house, the trees are alive because there is some sin nurturing them to grow. Again, notice how dusty it is and the "desert conditions" which are the opposite of the Garden of Eden.
Janice's bad leg is her left leg. Legs symbolize our "standing" in society, so either Janice feels she doesn't have any standing in society, and that cripples her, or she let's her bad leg keep her from having a standing in society (or, of course, something else entirely the film will introduce). But watch for how she got her bad leg and how she responds to it.
In the bottom image, we see her dress is green, and the bus is green, too. This is important because the Mullins' truck we see--just as their daughter gets run-over--is green and Esther Mullins wears a green dress just as Janice wears a green dress in this image above. "Green" symbolizes new life, and hope, or that something has gone rotten and is no good. Is Janice a metaphor of Esther Mullins and the sin Esther has harbored in her heart all these years? There is a very good chance of that, but it's not necessary.
Now, on a different note, Janice's best friend, Linda, portrayed by Lulu Wilson, was recently in another horror film, Ouija: Origin of Evil, which I am confident is a pro-socialist film, unlike the first Ouija, which was pro-capitalist. If you have time to watch Origin of Evil, I would suggest you do before Annabelle Creation because the casting of Lulu is likely meant to invoke that film (when the demon-as-Bee stands at the window, and Janice comes up behind it and the girl says, "You help me, I'll help you," and then it turns to show Janice its real face, that looks nearly identical to the demon we see in Origin of Evil, meaning, the Annabelle creators wanted to make commentary on Origin of Evil and did so by creating a bridge of reference with the casting of Lulu. 
This is likely the "eye beneath the magnifying glass" part the trailer warned us about: are you a zombie, or are you going to see and understand what we are telling you? Well, what is it telling us? You are one of a kind (the limited edition). There is no one else like you. God made you with love, to be loved and to receive love. If, however, you abuse love and the life you have been given, you become a curse, not only to yourself, but to all others as well. We see the exact opposite of this with the appearance of the armadillo on the island in Wonder Woman, because armadillos have young that are all genetically identical, so the makers of Wonder Woman are saying, you might think you are special and unique, but you aren't (please see God-Killer: Wonder Woman for more). People who are not filled with the dignity of love and individuality are empty, like the dislocated limbs we see hanging up in the shop, and they are zombies, because they do not recognize the love God has for them (we get a good sense of this when Janice--the little girl with the bad leg--tells the nun about feeling God's presence vs feeling the presence of the "evil one"). Let's watch the second trailer for the film:
As Ed and Lorraine Warren taught us in The Conjuring, and we see carried out even in this trailer: evil requires our consent. Little Janice--whose bad leg just happens to be her left leg--will somehow acquiesce to the demon which takes the form of little Bee (the dead daughter). The parents agree to let Bee live in the doll; why? Because their daughter has become an idol to them, and the Annabelle doll becomes a "golden calf," which they can see and enjoy her presence. At 1:55, we have the most important line of the film: It's coming after me because I'm the weakest. What have we seen in the real world that goes after the "weakest" in society?
Socialism.
This film is going to be loaded with symbols. Let's start with the image above, seeing as this is a "fateful moment" in the film. Their truck is green, so that means their "natural vehicle" as a family unit is hope (vehicles symbolize the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit is the Will of God, and we go where God wills and then green symbolizes hope and new life); there is a problem though: they have a flat tire. This means, and I am sure the narrative will supply it, that there is something within the lives of the Mullins family which causes them all ready to be depressed (even before their daughter dies) or not completely cooperating with the will of God. In the foreground is a mailbox; why? Mailboxes hold messages, and in this scene, we are being given a "message" from the film makers if we are smart enough to collect it. I will pick up on this theme in the body of the post, however, we need to point this out here: is it the oncoming truck that kills the little girl, or is it the little girl running out in front of the truck that kills her? Do you blame inanimate objects--like the truck--for taking the girl's life, or that the girl made a mistake and went on the road that is meant for trucks, not little girls, and was accidentally killed as a result? Socialists will say, "It's the truck's fault: if there were no trucks, then the little girl would still be alive," because socialists want to do away with the personal freedom vehicles provide; capitalists, on the other hand, who believe in free will, will argue that the fault lies with the little girl because roads are made for vehicles not for playing, so she was somewhere she wasn't supposed to be. In America, we have seen this argument with guns and gun control. Later on, we will discuss the line of Linda (Lulu Wilson) who says, "This doll is hurting Janice!" and drops it into the well; can the doll hurt Janice, or is it the presence haunting the doll?
In the second image down, when Esther Mullins sees "Annabelle" being transformed into the demon and she drops the Crucifix, we briefly see the shoes she wears: red. This should have sent off alarms, dear reader. We know the color red symbolizes the appetites, because our blood (which is red) is the most valuable thing we have, so we are only going to spend our blood on what we crave most in life: either we will spill our blood (red) for someone we love, or we will spill their blood to appease the wrath we have against them. Shoes symbolize our will, because our feet take us in life where we want to go the way our will decides where it is we want to go. So, as we watch the film, we will have to decide, did Esther Mullins agree to let the demon enter the doll because she loved her daughter so much, or because she was mad at God for taking their daughter away (remember, in the trailer, she says their daughter was "taken" from them)?
In the bottom image, we see what will surely be an excellent device in the film: the face mask of Esther Mullins. Besides indicating that she has become a "doll zombie" like our discussion above (because the face symbolizes our identity, and part of her identity is fake) it's also on the left side of her face, like Janice's bad leg, and the flat tire on their truck in the image at the top. Just as Esther has lost a part of herself in the battle against the Annabelle doll, so, too, has Samuel, even though his "sacrifice" might not be so obvious (like he quits making dolls, so he loses his professional identity, for example; I don't know if he does quit making dolls, this is just an example of a possibility).
Socialism wants everyone to believe they are weak and victims. Socialism doesn't want anyone to believe they are strong and self-sufficient. Here is another trailer. Let me point out, that Linda (Lulu Wilson, the one who ditches the doll into the well) is Janice's best friend:
So, what is the "mistake" that each character makes that we can see all ready in this trailer? They entertain evil. They do what the evil wants them to do; why? Because they can't "see" that it is going to lead to evil. For example, Mr and Mrs Mullins let the demon move into the doll; Janice follows the notes--who in their right mind would follow notes from someone they can't see?--and then we see Linda going back to peer into the well after she has thrown the doll down into. Each character interacts with evil because they are not interacting with God. Rather than praying to God to deliver her, the one girl simply covers her eyes and says, "It's not real, it's not real!" but she knows the devil is real, and pretending he is not won't do anything to save her.
This is the real Annabelle doll (on the left) of which the real Lorraine Warren speaks in the opening featurette of this post; on the right is the Annabelle doll created for The Conjuring, when we were first introduced to her. For analysis on the differences between the two dolls, and why the one of the right is so incredibly different from the one on the left, please see The Devil's Hour: The Conjuring, at the very bottom of the post.
On a different note, thank you, dear readers, for your patience: my grandma is still battling sepsis, it's a terrible infection, and she's in horrible pain; she is not expected to survive. Thank you so much for remembering her, my aunt and dad in your prayers. She might pull through, I am praying for that, I know her life isn't over yet, but when the Lord calls, He calls, so if this is her time, we will have the funeral, family planning, packing of personal belongings, etc., which will have to be done; she may pass tonight, it might be in a couple of days. I don't particularly feel like seeing a horror film this weekend--the past week has been a horror film--but I do want to see Annabelle Creation, but because of events beyond my control, it might not be this weekend. I am still working on The Dark Tower and will probably get that up before the review for Annabelle. Thank you so very much for your patience!
God bless!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner