Saturday, January 28, 2017

Symbol Analysis: King Arthur Legend Of the Sword Teaser

Well, well, well,... This is one tough looking villain. Clearly, this is a demon, a devil, a spirit of pure evil; why is this important? Because we live in a time when such a villain is called for. Ten years ago, it would not have been so practical of a film pitch to have a demon at the axis of a political drama--which is what King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword really is, because Arthur was the political king who lightened the darkness in the Dark Ages--but it is appropriate today: not only because of the nightmarish public revelations of "leaders" like Hillary Clinton and high-ranking members of Congress in relation to the occult and child sex circles, and not only because of public schools in the US allowing "After School Satan" programs, but also because of the very Americans who voted for Hillary how demonic they have behaved in the proliferation  of sin and immoral behavior. (If you haven't seen the full-length trailer, or need to watch it again, it's at the very end of this post). So, what is the most striking feature of this demon above? Perhaps the fiery cape. A cape is a part of the back, so capes act as metaphors of the load a person is carrying or willing to carry: for example, heroes like Superman and Thor have red capes because they love humanity and are willing to carry humanity on their super-strong backs. Fire symbolizes, on the other hand, either the fire of damnation or the fire of purgation; the figure above is clearly demonic, so he carries the burden of spreading damnation across the earth (we will compare this to Vortigern's cape below). There is also the notable feature that there are no eyes to this demon, which makes perfect sense, because eyes are the windows of the soul (the soul houses the body the way the body houses the soul) and demons give up their souls to darkness and depravity, losing the ability to "see" reality accurately. Arthur, on the other hand, with his striking blue eyes, has a greater ability to see than do most: at the moment he pulls the sword, he "sees" the consequences and what is going to happen because he has pulled the sword (this will be compared to Guinevere, who is a magician/wizard in the film and has her own "sight" because she has yellow eyes). At one point in the full-length trailer, Vortigern says, "I know what kind of man you are," and what he's basically saying is, "I can see what drives you and what demons haunt you, and I see how to use that against you for my own ends." When Arthur sets in Vortigern's prison, and Arthur asks, "What happens now?" Arthur confesses he can't see what is going to happen next, even though Vortigern insists, "You know what happens now," you die at my hands because I am a tyrant and that's what I do. So, "sight" and who can see what, will be an important part of power in the film. 
One of the great qualities of Guy Ritchie films is his ability to take a story we are quite familiar with and, some how, actually make it better than the original: Sherlock Holmes, The Man From UNCLE and now King Arthur Legend Of the Sword. Ritchie's newest epic to hit theaters must be good, because it was moved from a lackluster opened in March, to Mother's Day weekend in May, so the studio has had its expectations surpassed with this one. For us film-goers, even though we are going to have to wait longer to see the 3D film, it validates the building anticipation that this is definitely one to look forward to. This isn't much of a trailer, only about 0:45 seconds, however, we do get a better look at some things we have all ready seen, and this provides an opportunity to discuss some of the details we didn't in our post on the full-length trailer. (For those who are new to this blog, I would like to mention for the sake of the discussion below, that I am female, but I have never, not for one single minute, ever, ever been a feminist):
At least to some degree, we can all ready see Ritchie using demarcations: the divine and the earthly, the rich and the poor, the fated and the usurper. These demarcations are radically important political signposts; how? Once upon a time, in an era when women burned bras and men sang folk songs, "minorities" (those who identified themselves as suffering from the inherent racism of America) got a hold of Jacques Derrida's work and decided that Western civilization's tendency to create binary oppositions--man and woman, black and white, rich and poor, right and wrong, straight and queer--meant one side of the opposition was always all ready in a losing position (woman, black, poor, wrong, queer), while the other side was always all ready in a winning position (man, white, rich, right, straight); what we are beginning to see slowly re-emerge (e.g., in Marvel films, especially those directed by the Russo brothers) is the re-introduction into public discourse of these binaries; why? Because people now realize how foolish we were to let the Left censor us (political correctness) into abandoning them in favor of some fuzzy gray area which gives them all the power and robs us of our own freedom of speech and expression. SO, how does this relate to King Arthur Legend Of the Sword?
In at least two ways.
Why, in the teaser above, do the letters slowly appear, in a seeming array of nonsense, like a puzzle on Wheel Of Fortune? Because the film is a puzzle. That is how the narrative will "come" to us. Just as one letter appears here, and another, seemingly unrelated letter appears over there, so, too, with events, characters and details of the narrative, until we can make sense of it; why? As usual, dear reader, there are at least two reasons. First, we know the story of Arthur, so we are the implied audience (we have the necessary background required to watch the film and know what is going on) as such, Ritchie needs to make sure we don't get bored with the film, so he has to use a creative editing technique--both narratively and visually--to keep us engaged with his story (an example of narrative editing is, in the main trailer, when Arthur asks the man questioning him about his nightmare if he's writing a book; we engage with that as viewers because we know lots of books about Arthur have been written; an example of visual editing is when Arthur is fighting and Ritchie rewinds the action when GooseFat Jack says, "Back up," and the events, literally, back up. We don't see that technique often--if at all--employed in film, yet it's visual enticement which will hold our interest). The second reason is because this method reflects life: we don't always have the whole answer before us, we only a part of what might be an answer, but we have to act anyway, by a leap of faith--and we have all ready seen plenty of those in the trailers--and that is what will be the basis of the film. Now, on an entirely different note, let's go back and add some additional commentary to the long explanation we have all ready gathered. As we stated previously, the idea of a "sword in the stone" is very much a phallic one: Uther Pendragon, the father of Arthur, lusted for the wife of another man, and so he planted his "hard phallus" within her; just before dying, Uther plants his sword into a stone realizing that, just as a sword does not belong in a stone, neither does a man's penis belong in the wife of another man. The long period of lawlessness and darkness reigning over the land during that time, was England paying the price for Uther's sin, as Israel paid the price for David lusting for Bathsheba. Making a film about knights and King Arthur is possibly the most masculine subject matter Guy Ritchie could have picked: is there anything more masculine than a knight, who was, by very definition, supposed to represent manhood? When colleges begin offering classes as "safe spaces" to discuss "toxic masculinity" there is a war against masculinity in general. King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword could instead be rightfully entitled, King Arthur: Legend of the White Man and His Manifold Accomplishments For Civilization. And that is a good thing! With King Arthur being brought into the public forum of discourse, Ritchie re-introduces three major topics for discussion: "Englishness," masculinity, and the law. First, is there any single person who embodies being English more so than King Arthur? Why is this important? Brexit. The English wish to remain English and not be swallowed up, either by the European Union or, even more so, the flood of immigrants surging throughout European countries and the US (which is caused by EU laws on immigration and Obama's policies on following the EU). Secondly, there is masculinity, and the order of chivalry which Arthur creates to embody masculinity and structure it so men have an ideal and standard by which to measure themselves. Thirdly, there is the law. The last eight years, in the world and especially the United States, has seen an unprecedented break-down in law enforcement: from the war crimes of people like Obama (remember, Egypt, Syria, Ukraine, Benghazi, and no telling where else), the heads of the Department of Justice Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder, the heads of the IRS, Hillary's constant lying and obstruction of justice, and crimes against law enforcement officers, there has never been less law in the civilized world than today. Why? Because "the law" is largely seen to be an extension of white male rule, not the "laws" of those identifying themselves as minorities. By committing crimes and getting away with it, the Left is slowly but surely undermining the law of the Founding Fathers and the rule of "logic" in the West in general. Ritchie, then, in being himself the man "who pulled sword from stone" by reminding audiences of what we all ready know, as it is, once again, "embodied" in King Arthur, is the man who wants to re-establish order
First, we see clear examples of such oppositions in play in these two trailers in spite of the "ban" by the Left; secondly, all the values which have suffered because of this "ban" are being highlighted by what we see in the trailers (the Divine, for example, as well as white men with big swords). The opening scene of the sword tip dragging across the floor is a perfect example: that sword tip is THE sword (I don't know if they will refer to the sword in the film as "Excalibur" or not, as we saw in the first trailer, Arthur is introduced with the words, "Behold, the man who who pulled sword from stone," not as the chosen of Excalibur or something like that,.. anyway). The sword is an instrument of the divine, because without the divine, Arthur would not have been able to pull out the sword from the stone, when every one else struggled but was unable to budge it. So the sword tip is the divine, and it's touching the mundane, the earth, the floor upon which Arthur walks, and this intersection of the divine and mundane illustrates one of the highest (if not THE highest) opposition which can exist: God and man.
This is an interesting scene for at least two reasons: first, Vortigern (Jude Law) acts like he's blessing the people by extending his hand out over them; given that Vortigern has sold his soul to the devil to have power (this is my interpretation, we don't know this for sure, but it certainly looks like it), this isn't the act of blessing, it's cursing. The curse upon his soul which Vortigern has accepted in exchange for power will now be passed onto the people he rules over. Secondly, Vortigern acts as if he's in a position to bless, but as the voice over of the teaser demonstrates, it's Arthur who is actually in a position to bless: since we can never give that we have not first received, Arthur acknowledges that, in blessing Vortigern (for creating him, by being such an oppressive dictator that the people revolted and accepted Arthur, a basic street punk, as their king), Arthur, too, has been blessed, even with all the battles, problems and demons he has to face in the story. Vortigern, on the other hand, brings all the war, problems and demons upon the people, because Vortigern's power is a source of destruction for all the people of the kingdom. And now for something completely different: please notice Vortigern's cape: it's fur. This is an important comparison with the first image at the top (the demon with the fiery cape): as we said, the shoulders and back symbolize what burdens we carry, how we carry them and why; Vortigern has a cape made of white fur. White, we know, symbolizes the soul alive with faith, hope, charity, purity, innocence; white also symbolizes when the soul is dead to these virtues because a corpse--the house of the soul--turns white in decomposition. Animals and animal fur symbolizes the "animal appetites" within us: the lust for sex, opulence, gluttony, greed, power, any sin that erodes the dignity of our own soul and our ability to see the inherent dignity of others and reduces us to animals rather than elevating us as the children of God. So, knowing that Vortigern has likely sold his soul to the devil to gain power, Vortigern's white fur cape symbolizes the how the burden of his animal appetites has led to a loss of faith in him that he is now spreading throughout the kingdom. Arthur, on the other hand, will have to demonstrate incredible faith in order to overcome Vortigern.
This is terribly important because there is obviously a demon involved in this narrative, but we shouldn't be surprised: from Devil's Due, Ghostbusters, Independence Day, The Witch, The Circle and at least one other film I can't think of, the accusation about "devil worshiping" and the Left joining the devil to overcome and undo the Christian Right. So, we have the traditional opposition of "good and evil" as well (another way we will see the opposition of "good and evil" play out will probably be in the opposition of "light and darkness," which is noticeable as we watch the surrounding scenery of Arthur's feet as he walks). We know Arthur is on the side of good, not just because he drew the sword, but because of the wisdom he exhibits in the voice over of this teaser: "I bless you," he says, and then we see the startling words spelled out for us on the screen: FROM NOTHING COMES A KING. That is actually pretty awesome!
There are two types of "nothing": there is, first of all, the "nothing" that is evil: evil is the absence of virtue, the swarming of vice. The reason "nothing" can be allied to evil is because evil cannot create anything (the act of creation is a role for God, and for those to whom He bestows creativity; likewise, "life" is a virtue which evil cannot mimic). But wait, says you, dear and wise reader, in the teaser above, Arthur himself says that Vortigern created him, so you are wrong.  It's not that Arthur is wrong, rather, it's that Arthur argues from his "nothing," (the second example of "nothing" we haven't yet spoken about). Think of evil as being a black hole that is a complete and total vacuum, and emits nothing (yes, I know black holes emit radiation, but take even that out of the equation of this metaphor, and don't think about wormholes, either, or event horizons, just a plain, basic... black... hole...). "Nothing," on the other hand, is quite different. The "nothing" from which Arthur, the king, comes, is the "nothing but virtue." Arthur will be reduced to nothing, all his sins will be purged from him (maybe not all of his sins, there is quite a bit of talk of a franchise with this film, so there will probably be some "leftover sins" that will populate future installments) but Arthur will be sufficiently purged to overcome Vortigern. How can we tell that this is a correct definition of "nothing" for both Vortigern and for Arthur? The darkness of the demon reveals the "nothingness" into which Vortigern has fallen, while the gold in the lettering (a sample in the image above) for Arthur: gold must be tried by fire to lose its impurities and the same will happen to Arthur, making him worthy to be king. Without this "nothingness" Arthur will undergo, it's impossible to become a good king. This is, essentially, why Arthur blesses Vortigern: had Vortigern not acted so unjustly in killing Arthur's parents and, later brother (I read the synopsis), Arthur most likely would not have gone down the path of righteousness, remaining, instead, on his own gently sloping, sinful path to hell. In other words, Arthur would have become like Vortigern had Vortigern not been an important element in bringing England to the brink of devastation.
What might be most memorable about this teaser visually is the scene of the man jumping the white horse across a dead-end bridge into the abyss (about 0:35). There appears to be quite a bit to the "abyss" from what we have seen: the two men who run off the cliff and jump into the water, men fighting on that extremely tall bridge and falling off, into the abyss below and even the "abyss" of nothingness from which Arthur will emerge, and bring England with him.  
As we said earlier, the sword in the stone is an instrument of the divine, and the opening of the teaser is where we see the divine (the sword) touching our mundane existence (the earth/floor). Bear with me, if you will, as we take a little trip. In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Jyn wears a crystal around her neck that is used in making light sabers (which is very much like a sword). Jyn, however, dies, she does not go on in the story (she gives up her life in sacrifice to help save the universe, so she is a hero) but Jyn is a common vessel because the crystal she wears has not been refined. Princess Leia, on the other hand, is a light saber: her all white gown we see her wearing is the same color as the light saber which Obi Wan gives Luke a few scenes later. As Leia speaks to Darth Vader and then Grand Moff Tarkin, when they question her about the Rebel Alliance and base, she is unflinching in her bravery and her harsh words. Leia, then has been through the fire which Jyn would not have been able to pass through. Now, back to King Arthur: just as Leia is a light saber, so Arthur will become the sword,...or, at least he's meant to. No one is perfect, but this is Arthur's destiny, as it is the destiny of each of us. As Scripture tells us in 2 Timothy 2-22, there are vessels of gold and vessels of clay. We can see this in the image above: we see the sword, and to the right of the sword is a vessel: the vessel isn't as grand as the sword, but the vessel serves a purpose, just as you and I might not be president someday, but we serve a purpose still. 
Last point: why do we see a bleeding chess piece? Chess, as we know from Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows, is an important game for Ritchie, and the game will undoubtedly be important in King Arthur as well. The piece we see bleeding is the knight, so it's likely this foreshadows how the knights of Arthur will be called to sacrifice themselves for the kingdom and Arthur, which is what men have always been called upon to do. When, however, men fail in their duty, when they behave in ways which fail to earn them respect so that they even don't respect themselves (like sleeping around, getting women pregnant and then not helping to raise the child(ren), divorce, pornography, drugs, etc.) not only are men not happy, but they instead earn the scorn of all society and fall in the estimation of the people, as with what is happening today.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
Here is the link to the original post discussing the first trailer that was released and here is the original, full-length trailer:

Monday, January 23, 2017

TRAILERS: Logan #2, Power Rangers #2

There are two great songs used in this trailer: Jim Croce's I've Got A Name, which we hear on the radio in the background at the gas station, and Kaleo's Way Down We Go. This is a great example of "marginalia," that is, important details we tend to sweep to the side (the margins of the experience) and don't allow those marginalia details explain the rest. I've Got A Name explains what all three main characters are going through, to a greater or lesser degree: the girl is simply being referred to as X-23; even though they are famous and part of the Marvel Comic Books we see in the trailer, being "Professor X" or "Logan" or "Wolverine" isn't really a name, it's a character, it's what is expected. Think of it like this: your identity at work, vs your identity at home. Work only knows a certain part of you, but not the real name to which you answer, not the name that contains all the life experiences you have ever had. This leads us to the second song, Way Down We Go. Where is the "down" that we are supposed to be going "way" into? Within. We have to go way down within, and we have to do it with others. That's why we hear Professor X saying, "This is what life looks like." Most of us actually don't know that. Life is where we go deep within ourselves, and it's with those we love and who love us that we do it. THAT is what gives us life, anything else is just passing time and wasting away.
"In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hideout on the Mexican border. But Logan's attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces." I loved Wolverine, I thought it was an incredible film, and at this point, I am trusting the film making talent behind Logan. I have to say, this second trailer looks pretty good, as now, we finally know what power the new young mutant possesses in terms of, uh, powers.
Okay, what do we see her doing in this first clip? She eats junk food--not an apple, or something nutritious--then she drinks a carbonated beverage--not water or juice--and she covers her eyes with a cheap pair of sunglasses and then looks at herself in a very narrow mirror, eating. When confronted about "paying," she runs away. When "confronted" for not paying, she bullies the helpless clerk until Logan comes and "disciplines" her, but then demonstrates he is just as bad as she is because he takes the cigars. So, what do we have in this opening scene?
The future.
"We've got ourselves an X-Men fan. Maybe a quarter of this happened, but not like this." Why introduce the comic books at all into the narrative? Obviously, we haven't seen the film, however, it suggests, rather strongly, a self-consciousness and--believe it or not--dedication to reality. First, Logan becomes self-conscious of what he has done, seen and been a part of when flipping through the comic book pages makes him realize and confront the way society sees him and the other X-Men. When Logan says, "It didn't happen like this," it doesn't matter, actually, how it did or did not happen, what matters is, there are X-Men, and the world knows about them, and the world made them into heroes. Why? Through them, we not only see our own struggles (in terms of metaphors) but we also see the possibility of heroic virtue: through adversity comes the chance for greatness, even if it's only in our own little world of influence, we do not remain mediocrities and we do not remain a passive, unthinking blob upon which things are acted, but has no will or freedom of its own. This leads us to dedication to reality: the pain, suffering and sacrifice is real: this isn't about whipping out your claws and taking all the Pringles and soda you want, whenever you want; no matter who you are, and what power you have, there are laws by which you must still abide and consequences you will have to pay if you make certain decisions. Logan isn't forever young, he's suffering, he's in chronic pain and he can barely take care of himself and Professor X, and now he has to take care of this young girl, too. Isn't that what generally happens in life, you have more than enough, and then God puts another big scoop onto your plate? The film takes place in 2029, so that the girl is 11 means she hasn't been born yet, she won't be born until 2018, and so her actions we see her taking--taking the food and the glasses, engaging in self-reflection as she watches herself in the mirror, but only with the "shades" covering her eyes (the glasses covering her soul so she can't look down too deeply) and in only a narrow slit of a mirror--proves that Professor X is right: she and Logan are a lot alike. 
We know that children symbolize the future, and young girls specifically symbolize the future "motherland"; Logan is a difficult call at this point: when a man is in his prime and of child-bearing capabilities, he symbolizes the economy, the active principle of a cultural identification, compared to women of a child-bearing age who symbolize the passive principle of the "motherland." Older women, past child-bearing age, symbolize the cultural heritage and traditions of a people and culture, whereas senior men symbolize the founding fathers, the law, history and continuity. It's easy to see Professor X in this role, but is Logan--who is centuries old, yet still looks younger than Professor X, in spite of his decreasing ability to regenerate his wounds--still of "child-bearing age?"  At 2:07, when the girl and Logan are in the car (Professor X presumably dead at this point) they very much look like father and child, and given the girl's unique trait that is shared only with Logan, we can say, yes, she is meant to be Logan's "daughter" in some symbolic way.
So, where on earth did this limo come from they are driving around in? (They aren't in the limo in this scene, I don't think, but you know the limo I mean). I'm not sure, but I do know that all those busted windows refer to Logan's smashed attempts at self-reflection (when Logan leaves the car and Professor X wants him to talk and Logan doesn't; Logan's refusal is what busts up those windows, and somehow, Logan is going to have to teach the girl how to NOT be like him and refuse to self-reflect). So, what role does Professor X play in the film? For one, he literally is the "founding father" figure because the X-Men are named for him. So his insistence that the girl needs their help, and the confrontation with Logan, "Someone will come along," and then, "Someone has come along," is the conflict of Logan vs everything Professor X taught all of his X-Men: duty. There is not one of us who face, probably on a daily basis, the same conflict we see enacted between Professor X and Logan: let someone else do it, be the one who does it. Basically, Logan hasn't learned anything. He's done great things, he has helped a lot of people, but after everything, Logan won't let anyone help him, and he really doesn't want to help anyone either. That is the basic narrative conflict we are going to be seeing, and that's why Logan is relevant to us today.
Having discussed that, let's consider the second trailer for The Power Rangers. Growing up as a kid in the 80's, the Power Rangers weren't one of the shows I ever watched, but they have obviously gone to a great deal of trouble to create the best film they can:
In numerous ways, this looks a lot like Thor and Chronicle,...okay, it's like any other film we have ever seen, but in its incredibly concentrated package of reluctant-young-and-unprepared-heroes-who-are-in-a-race-against-time-to-overcome-their-differences-to-save-the-world, we see the golden nugget which compels us all to strive for heroic virtue: excellence. There is no such thing as a loser in America, unless you desperately want to be a loser, in which case, you become a Liberal, but anyone and everyone in America has opportunity, to fight and destroy the evil that wants to destroy everything, which is, YES, you guessed it! Mediocrity! How do we know that? Each power ranger is a different color, and each color symbolizes a virtue. Either they have difficulties in embracing that virtue, or that is the virtue which they most easily excel, however, the green we see Elizabeth Banks' character wear will threaten each of them; how? Green symbolizes that there is something "rotten," and she will mirror to them that which is "rotten" within them and which they have to use their particular virtue to overcome. A new teaser has been dropped for King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword, so we will discuss that next!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Opening This Weekend

The Season Finale to Sherlock, The Final Problem, was far more than I imagined and I absolutely could NOT have been happier with it! Opening this week is both Split, starring James McAvoy, and Vin Diesel's xXx: Return Of Xander Cage, along with Micheal Keaton's "biography" about the founder of McDonald's, The Founder. I think BOTH Split and xXx are going to be good, solid, pro-capitalist films, with The Founder being a typical anti-capitalist film, being released just after the inauguration of one of the greatest capitalists of all-time, Donald Trump (I cannot believe he is really the president, I am so excited, and so grateful! HOORAY!). I don't know if I am going to have any time this weekend to make it to the theater, so I am going to focus, instead, on getting the post for Sherlock The Final Problem up. Wow, that was an incredible episode!  In the meantime, it would be worth your while--just to keep abreast of the cultural battlefields in the US--to read this article about colleges offering "safe spaces" to discuss toxic masculinity." What is "toxic masculinity?" Personal responsibility. Self-sufficiency. Being the head of one's household and family. Having a job. Doing what you do, because you enjoy doing it, not because you have been bullied into liking My Little Ponies by a pack of Nazi-Fems to show you are in touch with something they shout about called "your feminine side." Why does it have to be done in a "safe space?" Because a "safe space" is a designated area (but anywhere a lib is they are going to make a "safe space") where Liberals are "safe" from the truth and having to face reality.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Sunday, January 15, 2017

FINALE: Sherlock, S4, E2 & the Play Of "Miss Me?"

Scientists are rather arrogant, you know? During a "scientific experiment," the scientist is always all ready a part of the experiment being conducted, from their footsteps walking across the room, to the dirty lens of the microscope they use, or their preference for the blue dye which may, in some way, alter the findings, chaos theory revels to us how impossible a "scientific experiment" is, by scientists' own standards, because you can never remove the scientist from the experiment and still have an experiment. We can say the same of a narrator in a story, as in Sherlock: Sherlock is always a part of the story, and so we can't know what might have been different, what else there was to know, because his ignorance is our ignorance, his forgetfulness is our forgetfulness, and the impact of his psychotic, missing sister, is also the impact of our psychotic, missing sister:
To be perfectly honest, this is likely the last episode of Sherlock: "likely," not definitely, but we will probably know by the end of tonight if the show will be renewed or not, if there are more adventures down the Baker Street road. Why? Like the scientist being humbled by their realization of the inherent failure in their scientific experiments, so, too, Sherlock will realize that he is just as predictable as everyone else, and as easily read, as Mycroft tells us, everything you have ever done, has been because of Euros, just like Watson choosing a therapist because of the distance and time. So, how do we watch The Final Problem?
This is an incredible image. So much so, I have refrained from saying anything about it until I could know more about it. So, what do we have? I'm not quite sure, but here are a few things. First, we know water is typically a "feminine" symbol, and that the masculine residence of 221B Baker Street has been flooded with the feminine (masculine referring to 221 B as one of the most famous residences in the world, and that for a man). The water is clearly destructive, and threatening, not only Sherlock and Watson, but what they represent: the law. Please notice the violin floating in the front ground of the image; typically, the violin is associated with the woman's body (I previously linked it to Sherlock himself, since Sherlock does play a violin, but now, it appears, Sherlock has been "played upon" as if he were a violin). 
It's likely that "Miss Me?" the encrypted message reappearing since the end of Season 1, has been the inner-demon of Sherlock trying to bust through the restraints of his psyche, breaking the bonds of incarceration to accuse him of wrong-doing before the whole world,... just like the "ghost" of Emelia Ricoletti, because Sherlock was "recollecting" Euros in his dream sequence entitled, The Abominable Bride. Proof of this is when, at the end of Season 3, Episode 3, as Sherlock says good-bye to John, he mentions the "east wind" that is coming, signfiying to us that he is, somewhere in his mind palace, "missing" Euros. How can he miss someone we haven't been introduced to?
They certainly look different now, don't they? Knowing there is someone lurking behind the scenes who should be in the picture yet prefers murder to family.
Generally, we have been interpreting "Miss Me?" as, Are you wishing I was there? yet, we can also interpret "Miss Me?" as, I am a target and you have "missed me" again, haven't you? That which is "missing" from the picture was, for example, immediately picked up by Holmes during Episode 1, The Six Thatchers when he went to talk about the death of the son and noticed the "missing" bust of Margaret Thatcher. As Euros unmasked herself at the end of Episode 2, The Lying Detective, and talked to Watson about how easy it was to fool him, did we "miss" the other women who complained of the same things Euros did during the narrative of The Abominable Bride? How many women appearing in that episode would have taken the side of Euros as she listed her grievances against Watson and the Holmes brothers?
So, why is Moriarty the vehicle of "Miss Me?" Moriarty is just, as we saw at the end of Episode 3 of Season 3, a "talking head," a Pinocchio while it's likely Euros is Geppetto, or one more sinister, rather, pulling the strings. Why, then, has Sherlock been so obsessed with him? Because we become obsessed with what we can't control. Moriarty, as dead, could be controlled, but Sherlock knew there was someone behind Moriarty, and that's why he was "obsessing" over him, because he couldn't figure out how Euros was using Moriarty against him, or would use Moriarty. Before we speculate any further, we should just watch the episode. I have finished my post The Abominable Bride, and was going to post it last Sunday, but given the shock introduction of Euros, I decided it would be better to wait and get the whole scoop.
So, whenever we have seen, "Have you missed me?" (even on the disc Mary Watson left for Sherlock after her death) we can interpret that as, "Have you missed the feminist movement that has been brimming over in your psyche, and threatens you as a white male, but have had no idea that it's been coming to defeat you at your very core? Did you miss that?"
Eat Your Heart Out,
The Fine Art Diner
This moment, wherever it is taking place, and whenever it happens in the narrative, is basically happening to every single man in the world today, whether they have realized it or "missed" it. Their world is being blown to bits and pieces. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

UPDATED: Euros, the East Wind: Sherlock, S4, E2

So, this is the thing: Euros has established herself as an "unreliable narrator": by lying, she has compromised her credibility to tell the truth. When did she lie, in The Lying Detective? She lied to Watson after their bus ride about him "having nice eyes," because she wasn't interested in him for his eyes, but because of his relationship to Sherlock. She lied the entire evening with Shelock because she pretended to be Faith Smith when she wasn't, but also that she was on the verge of suicide. Then she lies about being a therapist, having killed the real therapist who lived at the residence where she was meeting Watson for his sessions. Then she lies about Watson having mentioned the "secret Holmes brother" and then says that maybe Sherlock told her about him, when in fact, we know he didn't. So, all these lies, and disguises, compouds to create Euros as someone who has a version of reality which shifts like the wind (after which she is named) and who may not have a grip on reality at all. So, taking a step back, the episode is called The Lying Detective: how does Holmes lying differ from Euros? Afterall, we can say that both Holmes and Euros incorporate "entrapment" to get what they want from someone else (Euros gets it from both Holmes and Watson, while Holmes gets it from Culverton Smith and Watson [intenionally inducing Holmes' drug addiction so Watson will save Holmes]); but first, we need to estalish the "lie" in The Lying Detective. On one hand, like Euros, Holmes puts on an act--wears a disguise--as a drug addict--to get Watson's attention just as Euros wears disguises; at this point, however, and I may change my mind after further reflection, I think the real "lie" of Sherlock revolves around what he tells Culverton Smith in the hospital room: "I want to die." I think that is the "lie" our attention is meant to be drawn to; why? Well, there is the "why" of why that is the lie, and then there is the "why" of why Sherlock doesn't want to die. First, while Sherlock may have bouts of genuine misery, Sherlock Holmes likes himself too much to want to die; although Holmes feels genuine guilt over Mary's death (partly because of his provoking Vivian by his unnecessary running of her into the ground, causing her to pull the trigger, and then because Mary sacrifices herself to save Sherlock) Holmes--as he tells Euros when she visits him disguised as Faith Smith--our lives are not our own, they have a value and our death affects others. When Culverton Smith asks Sherlock about dying, Smith assumes that Holmes' drug binge is a kind of inadvertent suicide, and Holmes really does want to die. Why is this the "lie" our attention is meant to be drawn to in the narrative? Well, this isn't the first time, is it, that a villain has tried to get Sherlock to die, right? Think of Moriarty trying to get Sherlock to jump to his death atop tha building, because this is a very close proximation to that. We also have the scene with Faith when Sherlock spirals out of control and nearly jumps off the bridge, then looks behind him, and "Faith" has disappeared, then Sherlock doesn't remember the police bringing him back to Baker Street. It's possible that at that point, Sherlock unconsciously realized that "Faith" was really Euros, and Euros' hatred of Sherlock is what prompoted Sherlock to want to kill himself, because killing Sherlock is what Euros wants to do. I think it's also possible that, as Mrs. Hudson points out, when Sherlock has something on his mind, he "stabs" it or shoots at it, because I think that's probably what Euros did to him at soime point. So, from The Abominable Bride, we know how deeply Sherlock can and will go into the mind of Sherlock Holmes, and because Euros has obviously been playing mind games with Holmes, Watson and now the audience, we shouldn't be surprised by anything we learn from Euros, but also not necessarily believe anything we learn from Euros. 
As Watson and Sherlock shook hands before Sherlock boarded the plane of certain death, Sherlock told Watson (a quote from Conan Doyle's His Last Bow):

There's an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's God's own wind none the less and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.

Euros is, of course, that "east wind" that was hiding in plain sight the whole time. I will write more on this fabulous episode, but I want you to be thinking of something: is Euros THE other "brother" which the series has been leading us to believe they are going to introduce (Euros could easily be a transgendered twin, I mean, why not? and the fact that this is Sherlock's birthday in the episode means something or someone is being born, and Euros is certainly being born) or is Euros actually Sherrinford but still wearing a disguise even when all the "disguises" have been removed? In The Abominable Bride, Sherlock emphatically insisted "It's never twins," but, could it in fact, be twins in this case? Euros and Sherrinford could be twins, Euros and Sherlock could be twins, or, Euros could be Mycroft's twin, or it could be something else entirely,...
This is a particularly important moment because,... what do you see? You "see" Mycroft "seeing." In other words, Mycroft is "reflecting," note the reflection we see of him in the far right hand of this shot. We know that Mycroft might not be given to "outbursts" of "brotherly passion," but we do know there exists within Mycroft a steady stream of compassion for his brother, like the list of all the narcotics Mycroft made Sherlock write down before his doping; why? The list would be a kind of suicide note when Sherlock wouldn't write one anyway, and it's not that Mycroft would need to know how much Sherlock overdosed, rather, it would make Sherlock contemplate if he really wanted to die or not. This is brotherly compassion, but certainly not an outburst. 
Euros could be a stalker.
Someone who is lonely and has nothing else to do, and isn't a part of the Holmes family in any way (rather like the "Holmes" Culverton mentions who ran the hotel just so he could kill people, but Sherlock says they aren't related), rather, someone who wants to belong in some way, be a part of a case just to be a part of something. What's the point of doing an exercise like this? It expands our horizons and makes us engage with the art ever more deeply, which causes us to engage with ourselves evermore deeply. And speaking of looking into ourselves ever more deeply, we must be aware that Sherlock has been doing the same thing, which is where Euros may gave come, from within Holmes,... how can we say that? Shouldn't Sherlock Holmes have noticed when he went into the therapist's house, that the therapist was the same woman "Faith" who he had spent an entire evening with? Like by her earlobes, or nose? There is a subconscious reason Sherlock blocked that out, or refused to acknowledge it.
Ear Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Go To Hell, Sherlock: The Six Thatchers, S4, E1

Because my mother is such a big fan of Sherlock (she is the one who introduced me to it) I thought she would have loved the Season 4 premiere, but she wasn't particularly happy with it, especially the first half of the show (if you haven't seen the episode, you can watch it at the PBS website at this link; I do suggest you see it before reading this post as there are plenty of spoilers and I don't want to spoil it for you!). I think that's important for us to review, because it's an elegant demonstration of good writing when the beginning of a film is matched up with the very end of the film, and in case you missed it, that ending was the recording of Mary Watson telling Sherlock to "Go to hell."
So, how does it match up?
Why call this The Six Thatchers? I think this is actually going to be a pro-capitalist argument,... Yes, I would say that, wouldn't I? No, no, really,... Please recall when Sherlock talks to the hacker Tobey about tracing down the owners of the six Margaret Thatcher busts, and Tobey says there is a real market for that Cold War stuff, and how can there be anyone who wants to live under communism? Now, contrariwise, the character being portrayed by Toby Jones (there is a poster of him in the bus stop where Elizabeth waits for Watson to get off the bus, that image is below) is a business man that at least one other writer has compared to Donald Trump; I would like to point out that--before we even know anything about the character--George Soros is also a successful business man who could be the role model of the villain. Had the film makers wanted to take a critical look at capitalism, I am of the humble opinion that there would not have been a "shrine" dedicated to her (and don't forget, in The Hound Of the Baskervilles episode [although I don't think they called it that in Sherlock, but you know which one I am talking about] the general had a book on his desk about Margaret Thatcher and his password was "Maggie," or something like that). Of course, this is only the first of three episodes, but we will see how this ties in together, as always.
At the start of the film, Sherlock has just avoided certain death. "#ohwhatabeautifulmorning" is the tweet Sherlock sends out; ironically, he wants the world to read it, but he doesn't want his own brother Mycroft to read it out loud; why not? We were just reminded on the TV screen in the conference room where the scene takes place that Sherlock is a "high-functioning socio-path," and why is that? He can't express his emotions in a healthy, normal way; what emotions are Sherlock trying to express? Gratitude, relief, joy (the hashtag #ohwhatabeautifulmorning comes from the musical Oklahoma! by the way, when Curly sings how everything is going his way so, Sherlock's tweet about being back on "terra firma" is kind of like the cowboys singing how much they belong to the land in the musical, which makes sense that Sherlock would site a musical because that is what musicals are for: giving voice and expression to emotions we normally don't express; if you would like to watch the song, click here, and just imagine Benedict Cumberbatch singing instead). Sherlock was on a mission that would insure he died as punishment for murdering Charles Augustus Magnussen, and now Sherlock has, literally, been pulled from the grip of death. If Sherlock seems dis-genuine or even perhaps "fake" in this scene, it's because he really can't believe he's getting to eat gingernuts again, when--just a few hours before--he didn't think he would ever see a gingernut again for the rest of his (guaranteed short) life. This leads us to the very last scene filmed by Mary.
For those who didn't stick around until after the credits, this was the--mysterious--last scene they saw. "Sherrinford" was the name Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was originally going to give to his star detective, then decided against it; in a "non-Doyle story" (meaning it is not included in the official Sherlock Holmes canon) another writer created a third Holmes brother with the name of Sherrinford, who Mycroft calls in this scene. The "13th" on the post-it note under the menu has been suggested that the "menu" of Season 4 is that, in the 13th episode, The Final Problem, the third Holmes brother will appear (which would explain why, at the start of the film, they show Mycroft mournfully saying to someone, "You know what happened to the other brother," and then close out the episode with another reference to him. On a slightly different note, we see the interiors of Mycroft's dwellings twice in the show: first his office when he and Sherlock meet, and then, at the end, we can assume this is Mycroft's kitchen (nothing at all like what I expected). What do we notice? Well, to begin with, how very bare it is: there is nothing in either one. When Mycroft opens the fridge in the scene above, there is nothing on the inside shelves (I suppose Mycroft doesn't like Grey Poupon). I don't know how they are going to elaborate upon these details, but I do know they are important, and we should keep them in mind.
What does Mary say, over and over again, in her final message? "Save John Watson." So, if Mary trusts Sherlock to save John Watson, why, then, does she end her message by saying the seemingly contradictory, "Go to hell, Sherlock,"? Because, in order to save John, Sherlock will have to go to hell interiorly, on this spiritual journey to save John, himself, and England. That is why the opening and closing of the film are so ingeniously tied to each other: in the beginning, Sherlock believes he has just been saved from hell in being pulled from the "suicide mission" as a punishment for killing Magnussen; in the end, Sherlock is going to have to go to hell anyway, maybe even a worse hell, then he was saved from at the start of the film. So, why does Mary believe Sherlock will have to go to hell to save John?
Of course, Mary could be telling Sherlock to "Go to hell," because she hates him, but given that this was recorded before her death, and Mary sacrifices her life for Sherlock's, I don't think there is any reason to understand the statement as "Go to hell, you dirty bastard!" rather, it's a directive loaded with the metaphysical foreboding that Sherlock is, in fact, going to face his toughest case, just as Sherlock himself predicts at the start of the film, and a large part of that is going to be saving John Watson. The background behind Mary is interesting: there is a window covered with blinds. We know that windows mean "reflection" and meditation, and we can see easily that Mary would have been reflecting before this recording, but the blinds suggest that, literally, Mary is "blind" to exactly what she tells Sherlock (for example, why didn't she leave a message for Watson, telling him, for example, not to start having an affair with a vampire?); in other words, Mary has a "feeling," rather like Sherlock does when he is meant to tell the parents of the dead boy how their son died and, instead, "By the pricking of my thumbs," he knew the empty spot where the broken Margaret Thatcher bust had been was going to prove important; Mary has that same "thumb-pricking" urging her to make this video. The blinds in the background, however, probably tell us something about us, the audience, because we are also "blind" to what is really going on in this scene as well. Given that you and I are my prone to observing and studying than the average film-goer, our acknowledgement that we are "blind" is still a greater insight than those who doesn't even notice the blinds there are all, however, it is simply a realistic fact that there are aspects of this scene which we can't possibly know at this point but, we can say with confidence, that we know we will have to re-visit this scene at least once by the end of this season. I think a last note to make, at this point, on Mary's directive, is to remember what Sherlock told Moriarty in The Reichenbach Fall (Season 1) that "I am on the side of the angels, but don't think for one second that I am one of them." A lot has happened since Sherlock said that, and he has given up his life at least twice since then for those he loved: when Sherlock "dies" in a few moments in that same episode so Moriarty's henchmen don't kill those that Sherlock cares about, and again in accepting the consequences of certain death for killing Magnussen. These events and decisions which Sherlock has made have affected his soul, for the better, and while Sherlock went into a "shadow world" at the end of Season 1, when he was officially "dead" but just living in the shadows, now, Sherlock will have to actually go to hell, not only to save the life of his dear friend Watson, but Rosie and the others, and possibly his beloved England as well.
Even though Mary knows she must be dead if Sherlock is watching the video, she doesn't know the cause of her death and she, apparently, doesn't know that John has been texting "E." or Elizabeth (Sian Brooke). Just because we haven't seen Mary pick up John's phone and scroll through, or noticed him texting someone in the middle of the night while she tended baby Rosie, doesn't mean it hasn't happened in the narrative and we will be made aware of it later (for example, we never saw Mary sit down to record the video message she leaves for Sherlock); so it's entirely possible that Mary does know John has been "seeing"--to a greater or lesser degree--another woman. This woman, Elizabeth, is the "hell" Sherlock is going to have to go through to save John Watson.
How do we know?
Elizabeth tells us herself.
Do you recall how, in Season 1, Watson couldn't get a date? He would ask women to go out with him, and  usually they said no, or didn't even bother to say no. So, that they have introduced a woman suddenly so taken with John Watson, one must be suspicious. Given that we don't see what happens in this scene--I'm sure we will be treated to the event as a flashback--we have to make deductions now. For example, when we see Elizabeth, at the far right of the screen is a poster of a man with "BUSINESS" written underneath, and that is Tobey Jones plans Culverton Smith, so, it's clear as the plastic covering the poster that Elizabeth is doing "business" for Smith which involves Watson. Why would Watson fall for Elizabeth to begin with when he is all ready married? John feels "left out" of the marriage and, possibly, even emasculated by Mary's super-spy skill set that John obviously doesn't possess meaning that Mary is more of an asset to Sherlock than is Watson. So, what does Elizabeth mean to Watson? In this scene, we see her bright red lipstick, which rather resembles the "crimson wound" of Emelia Recoletti in The Abominable Bride. Red lips are meant to invoke the appetites, so Elizabeth is looking to Watson to fill her own "void" in her appetites (and don't forget, she referred to herself as a "vampire"). She wears a yellow dress, and as we know, "yellow" symbolizes kingship and dignity. So, I personally think, that when Watson looks at Elizabeth, he sees himself as being "re-instated" as a "king," and regaining his masculinity he has lost because of Mary; Elizabeth wears yellow because she is an ambassador of a "king," the business man who we see in the poster, Culverton Smith, and because Elizabeth--in intentionally leading Watson astray in his marriage--is acting beneath her dignity by playing a whore. On a different, but still similar note, just as we see the lingering image of Culverton Smith behind the poster glass in this scene, so we see "him" again in the scene at the aquarium: he's the sharks, also behind the glass. In other words, Culverton Smith is fully aware of every single thing going on, just like Big Brother. This would be a good time to mention some of the James Bond references, like Mary making a video recording of herself and it being watched after she dies, just as M (Judi Dench) does at the start of Spectre. Why reference Spectre? The New World Order. The new "M," played by Ralph Fiennes, calls it by name in Spectre, and Andrew Scott, who plays Moriarity in Sherlock, is the vehicle of the NWO implementation, so there are seriously close ties here Sherlock advances. Why? Because the two films will share this same theme and that's what we need to watch "in development" over the next two episodes. 
When it's really late, and Mary tends to Rosie while John texts Elizabeth, John asks her if she's a night owl, and Elizabeth texts back, "Vampire." Sure, it's a cute, if melodramatic reply (and the melodramatic is totally at home in Sherlock) but we are going to be seriously caught off guard if we don't take that as the clue it is (again, she's sitting by the poster of Toby Jones at the bus stop). Strangely enough, this leads us to Vivian, the secretary. When Sherlock interprets her "love life," i.e., reading the placement of her old wedding band and how she's likely widowed rather than divorced, because if she was divorced, she would want to fill "the void" quickly; what do Mary and John talk about in bed when they hear Rosie crying in the other room? "Is it to soon to get a divorce?" Then we see John taking a text from Elizabeth. THIS is the reason why John needs to be saved and THIS is the reason he is so upset with Sherlock when Mary dies,....
This is, absolutely, my favorite image of Mary Watson: they are in the church for Rosie's christening and Mary glows with pride, joy and love; why? Since Rosie is named after Mary (Mary's real name, that is), and baptism symbolizes the "new life" we are given, Mary herself is being "reborn" in her daughter (please note how the color of Mary's coat matches the color of Rosie's blanket and christening gown suggesting a "physical fusion" between mother and daughter, as well as the spiritual fusion in them sharing the name). I think it's important to also note how large the watch on Mary's wrist is, so that it's obviously noticeable; why? We don't realize it in this scene, but Mary's time is "running out." The wrists can symbolize what chains us, what binds us, and Mary is, at this point, a slave to her time remaining. The christening is an important scene because, without it, we can't discuss why Mary dies and, I can guarantee, that be the end of Season 4, we will be coming back to this scene (there are other aspects, like the godparents, Sherlock, Molly and Mrs. Hudson forming a "trinity" to protect Rosie and raise her in the Christian way of life, but we will wait to explore that meaning later).
Why does Mary Watson die? As long-time readers know, no one in a work of art dies unless they are all ready dead, meaning, that they have qualities, characteristics or actions they have taken which the artist (in this case, the film makers) have deemed "bad" and undesirable, and so need to purge their art and its message of what that character stands for. Please recall that the other AGRA agent, Ajay, tells Sherlock to tell Mary that she is a "dead woman walking," and this can perfectly fit in with the symbol of her death. So what is exactly "dead" in Mary Watson? Love and trust. It's not that Mary doesn't love, and it's not that Mary isn't trustworthy, but she doesn't believe others, i.e., John and Sherlock, love her enough to sacrifice themselves for her (even after the events of Sherlock killing Magnussen to free Mary of his blackmailing of her) nor does she trust them to tell them the truth about her or share her plans with them (when Watson accuses Mary of telling him "so many lies" and then has the flashback about receiving texts from Elizabeth in the middle of the night). So, that's why Mary is "dead," and she dies because she is all ready dead. HOWEVER, we know that Mary sacrifices herself to save Sherlock: Vivian's gun is clearly aimed at Sherlock and it's only by acting quickly and taking steps to intercept that bullet that Mary saves Sherlock. As she is dying, she reminds Sherlock, I am sorry for having shot you, I think this makes up for that. When this scene happens, Mary wears a gray shirt, because gray is the color of the pilgrim or the novice, hence, gray denotes penance (pilgrims and novices are pilgrims and novices because they undertake self-imposed penance, and penance is associated with gray because it was popular in ancient times to take ashes [which are gray] and cover one's self in them, as a reminder that, from dust you came and to dust you return). So, because Mary has these "sins" of not believing she is loved nor being able to trust others, her destiny is diminished (because our destiny is our ability to fulfill our capacity for virtue, and any sin which we have upon our soul diminishes that ability to fulfill that virtue so we can accomplish in life what we were meant to). As Jesus tells us, "No greater love hath a man than to lay down his life for his friend," and we can say that Mary loved Sherlock as her dear friend, and in understanding how Sherlock was willing to lay down his life for Mary, not to mention Sherlock murdering Magnussen so Mary would be free--in taking it upon himself to travel to wherever they meet in the Middle East so Sherlock could protect Mary from the danger she was confronting--Mary was than free (from the sin of doubting his love for her) to lay down her life for his. This is an act of great redemption for Mary. Unfortunately, Mary's sins means she isn't strong enough in virtue to be able to "go to hell" to save Watson herself, and that is what Sherlock has to do. I think, at this point, that Mary--realizing how Sherlock laid down his life for her (being sent away to certain death for killing Magnussen)--knows Sherlock is the only one who is strong enough in the virtue of love (despite being a high-functioning socio-path) to do for Watson what Sherlock did for Mary. 
John, in his heart, had all ready begun divorce proceedings from Mary and was "filling the void" with Elizabeth (it doesn't matter if he would have actually filed legal proceedings, in his heart, they have drifted apart); why? Sherlock tells us when he deduces Vivian's motive for setting up AGRA: jealousy. John is jealous of the relationship Mary and Sherlock have developed (which, ironically, is the exact opposite of Sherlock having been left out when John and Mary got married and Sherlock left the wedding early). When Mary dies, John knows he has committed a kind of "murder" to his marriage just as Vivian has murdered Mary, and in John's inability to face his own guilt for his adultery--whether he and Elizabeth have actually had sex at this point doesn't really matter, because Watson was dallying when he knew he was married and wrong to "intercourse" with Elizabeth in texts--is re-directed to Sherlock who basically acts as John's scapegoat for John's own sins at this point. This is why Sherlock has to "go to hell,..."
Now, I understand this next theory will probably make you think I am slicing the bologna awfully thin, however, this theory is exactly what I immediately thought of watching this scene. When Sherlock babysits little Rosie, we don't know it until we see the toy fly in Sherlock's face; when Sherlock looks at John Watson's chair, and addresses "Watson," (instead of "Rosie") we believe that Sherlock is speaking of John Watson, when in fact, I would like to suggest, this is actually what is happening. Just as Rosie throws the toy away from herself, so John Watson is doing the same thing by throwing Mary away to "be" with Elizabeth. Sigmund Freud had a rather famous chapter in his study Beyond the Pleasure Principle detailing his grandson's behavior very similar to baby Rosie in Sherlock. We can say that the traumatic event which Watson is enacting by throwing Mary away is Watson himself being "thrown away" by the Mary-Sherlock bond that has formed, making him feel like the "odd man out" (of course, Mary complains about the exact opposite of this in The Abominable Bride when she shows up at 221B Baker Street wrapped in her black dress and her face covered). I would like to draw careful attention to the obvious: "You see, but you don't observe," meaning, we the audience should in particular be observing what is happening in this scene and not let the humorous element distract us off of our course in understanding what is unfolding before us. 
Hell rules over our sins, and if John Watson is to be saved from his sin (which adultery is) then Sherlock will have to go to hell to save Watson. The "first step" of this was done in The Abominable Bride when Sherlock went to a "de-sanctified church" to confront the group committing the Emelia Ricoletti murders, because the church, which should have been sacred and thus, a gateway to heaven, had been de-sanctified and became, through the sin of murder, a gateway to hell.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
P.S.--when Sherlock and Mrs. Hudson talk at the end about Vivian, and Sherlock asks Mrs. Hudson to say her name, and Sherlock listens and responds, "As easy as that?" I believe the film makers intend to reference Cleopatra and the death of Mark Antony (Richard Burton); the scene starts in the video below at 5:55 (not that Sherlock thinks Vivian's name should be shouted from the corners of the universe, but that the name comes to bear a weight for Sherlock as it does for Octavian):

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Films Coming In 2017

Tom Hollande portrays the new Peter Parker in Spider Man: Homecoming. There have been three good things about the Obama Administration: first, we have learned how genuinely corrupt our government "leaders" really are. Had it not been for the OA, we might have continued allowing the same evil mediocrities to run the country for decades more. Secondly, we have learned more about our Constitution during this last eight years than many of us during our entire lives, including when we were studying it in school. We now understand why we have a Second Amendment, and what the First Amendment was really about. The third good thing to come out of the OA are all the incredible films protecting, elaborating upon, glorifying and reminding us of the values of our culture which we share with our neighbors and ancestors. There have been an incredible number of films coming out that are changing the way films are made for the better. Having said this, just because a mega-capitalist is now going to be president, doesn't mean we are going to stop seeing "pro-socialist" films; unfortunately, the exact opposite is probably closer to the truth. It takes about two years--as the rule of thumb in Hollywood--for a film to go from concept to completion and being shown on screen. This means that films being made pre-November 8, the day of the election results, will still be shown until 2018. Films being made post-November 8, probably won't have much of an impact until late 2018. The point is this: the majority of films we will be watching this year, won't know about the election results, so November 8 didn't happen, and these films will still be doing mostly of what they have been doing for the last six to seven years: either propping up socialism, or defending capitalism.
I spent Christmas Eve in the Emergency Room with my aunt who was having a stroke, then most of Christmas Day in the hospital or on stand-by to go to the hospital. Then she had to go again for another stroke. Fortunately, she's fine, however, as usual, the plans I had didn't go according to projected reality at all. As the poet wrote, "The plans of mice and men, often go astray,..." I do hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and a bright, happy New Year's celebration.
Hidden Figures, about the "hidden figures" of the black female engineers who helped NASA figure out the "hidden figures" of the math that didn't exist yet to win the space race, opens January 6, and I am very much looking forward to seeing it; why? It's not a victimization film, like Birth Of a Nation, or 12 Years a Slave, rather, I expect the film will display what TRUE racism is, its source(s) and how best to beat it. Additionally, I expect the film will show how the story of America's success, American Greatness, is also the story of personal greatness, including those who have bemoaned that "America was never great," or America being great means putting black people back in chains. We've seen examples of how liberals will re-write history to leave out things which are embarrassing to them or contradict their idea of what history was, as in the films Fury, The Monuments Men and Argo, so a film like Hidden Figures, I hope, will not only accurately reflect the historical record, but offer contemporary critiques on movements such as Black Lives Matter. While Hidden Figures certainly won't be a big money-maker, sadly, it won't be a critical success either: if it's not brainwashing everyone about victimhood and how bad white men are, no one in Hollywood is going to stand up for it. Sadly, even those in the film,...
I don't do this very often--and by "very often," I mean I may have done it once before, possibly twice, possibly--and that is, one, I am going to make a year-long prediction about films coming out in 2017, and, two, I am going to directly contradict this article from a Cinemablend writer who makes his own predictions and which I feel are seriously off, because of his liberal leanings; if you don't want to have to click on the article, that's fine, here is his list of the biggest grossing films he predicts for 2017:

1. Star Wars VIII
2. Beauty and the Beast
3. Guardians Of the Galaxy II
4. Despicable Me 3
5. Spider Man Homecoming
6. Justice League
7. Logan
8. Wonder Woman
9. Transformers: The Last Knight
10.Fate Of the Furious

So, what's my beef with this list? I think there are three films on this list which don't belong.
Beauty and the Beast might do much better than I anticipate, however, it's going to be terribly pro-socialist, and audience members may pick up on that. The special effects might be enough to pull people in, but given the terribleness of the character of the Beast, and his aristocratic standing, people might shun the film. There are some other family films coming out, for example, The Smurfs Lost Village, and that probably won't do poorly, but given the numbers of audiences attending films these past couple of years, families are going to want to see films together, so which films will those be? 
I don't think Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, is going to do very well. Why? Because of the exact same reason this Cinemablend writer thinks it will do well:

Most movie fans would have you believe that the DC Extended Universe needs a hit. Considering that Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad made a combined total of $1.68 billion at the box office last yea.r the DC Extended Universe's crisis isn't quite as bad as it seems. Still, it would help to quash a lot of nerves over at Warner Bros if Wonder Woman was the DC Extended Universe's first critical hit, as the first installment Man of Steel was divisive, too. It would also help to keep the Neanderthal misogynists that scuppered the success of Ghostbusters before it was even released quiet. With Gal Gadot leading the way after being one of the few bright sparks of Batman v Superman, as well as the trailer suggesting that Wonder Woman will be a whole host of fun from a unique point of view, there's a very good chance it will be the one to stem the tide. We'll find out when Wonder Woman is released on June 2

That "unique point of view" is that of a feminist, a gay feminist at that (yes, Wonder Woman is gay, it might not come out in this film, but it will), and that viewpoint, as a woman myself, was rejected November 8, 2016. There is a definite movement on the Left to dethrone men, especially white men (please see this shocking article about a new college course for "male identify" people to discuss masculinity openly and how they can construct a sense of security even though they are vulnerable). This isn't a question about misogyny, rather, it's about "wealth redistribution," and even though, obviously, Wonder Woman has always been played by a woman (so it's not taking a male character and making it a female character) Wonder Woman was heterosexual, and not a feminist, the intent of Wonder Woman in today's pop culture atmosphere is political, to take rights away from men by stripping them and adorning her, which isn't fair to anyone. I don't think Wonder Woman is going to do particularly well, so I'm taking it off the list. I'm also taking Spider Man: Homecoming off the list.
Transformers just keep getting bigger and better. Adding Anthony Hopkins and crossing with the first three films is a genius idea, and I think it's going to be an excellent film, it could likely do even better than I anticipate, which I hope is the case. The voice over which is done by Hopkins' character in the first trailer is pure beauty. There is something important which Transformers: the Last Knight and Fate Of the Furious share: betrayal. The leader has betrayed those who believed they could always depend upon the leader, and given the election results, and results from around the world, I think 
Just because it's a Marvel film, doesn't mean it's going to be a massive blockbuster--look at Ant-Man which landed like #14 for the year--but I think there are three reasons for this: first, I think people are tired of the Peter Parker origin story, not tired of Spider Man--Tom Hollande did a great job in Captain America: Civil War--but the willing suspension of disbelief of audience members can go only so far, and to have to hear the rigmarole again is putting us through too much. Secondly, there is no real talent connected to this film. Apart from Hollande himself, Downey Jr and Michael Keaton, there isn't a great director or screenwriter to bring something new to the table. Robert Downey Jr., having made the infamous PSA voting for Hillary Clinton, has earned the life-long boycott of many fans, and that is going to take out a chunk of profits there. Additionally, and no, this isn't racist of me, Zendaya, who portrays Michelle, the main female in the film, is half black, and I don't think audience members want inter-racial relationships pushed down their throats.
I'm also taking Logan off, and here is why: I have truly liked The Wolverine films, and I like the X-Men series, but I don't think that Logan will do as well financially as is being projected because it's Logan's end. Let's face it, Wolverine was Wolverine because he could always come back, and now he's "Old Man Logan" who is just barely hanging on. Basically, this is going to be a sad film, and I think with all the big blockbusters coming out, people will not want to see a sad film. The X-Men films in general, even the great ones, just haven't done as well the past couple of years, and without any of the others, I don't think Logan is going to be able to compete against all the amazing films coming out. This doesn't mean it won't be good, but right now, we are talking about who is going to bring home the biggest money-wins.
So, where is my list? Here it is. I keep making a lot of changes to it, but I have added three films the other writer didn't put on: Thor 3 or Thor: Ragnarok, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and I think there is an excellent chance that either Tom Cruise's The Mummy or Guy Ritchie's King Arthur could land number 10, and here is why.

1. Star Wars VIII
2. Guardians Of the Galaxy
3. Fate Of the Furious
4. Justice League
5. Thor: Ragnarok
6. Beauty and the Beast
7. Despicable Me 3
8. Pirates Of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
9. Transformers: The Last Knight
10. The Mummy or King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword

Tom Cruise is a proven box office performer. Mission Impossible Rogue Nation made it into the Top Ten and the reason the lucrative performer has been around so long is because he's lucrative. I think Alex Kurtzman and Universal have a winning picture with The Mummy. On the other hand, Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword has gotten a better release date. From March, it's been moved to Mothers' Day opening weekend, meaning, the suits at the studio are confident this is a great film that can bring in movie-going audiences. Pirates Of the Caribbean? In spite of his string of failures, Johnny Depp still has a lot of fans, and it's been a long time since the last Pirates film, all which have been huge block busters, so even though I don't think it will be particularly good (and I'm pretty confident it will be pro-socialist) I think there will be a huge draw, more so to Pirates than to Spider Man or to Wonder Woman.
So, what about Thor 3?
There are plenty of films that will do well, just not well enough to break into the Top Ten, like the sequel to The Kingsman, which I think will be an excellent film, not to mention John Wick 2, and Cars 3. Brad Pitt's zombie film World War Z has its sequel coming out, and Dwayne Johnson has Baywatch coming out, along with Pitch Perfect 3 scheduled, Christopher Nolan's massive World War II epic, DunkirkThe Lego-Batman film, Kong Island, Alien Covenant, Power Rangers, Fifty Shades Darker 😱 Triple X Return of Xander Cage, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, and many, many others. A bit of a problem with next year is the seemingly lack of animated films for families. It's very possible that Cars 3 will break into the Top Ten, just because families need something they feel they can all go see together, and without a Finding Dory or Zootopia to go watch, even sub-par animated films may get more money than any of us bet on. It's very possible that Beauty and the Beast will do far better than I imagine, and I am sure it will make it into the Top Ten, and maybe in lack of other "obvious" family films, it will do much better, but The Jungle Book seemed to be the exception to the rule (placing sixth on the Top Ten) while Cinderella barely made number 10. For as funny as I think the Minions and Despicable Me 2 has been, they have done well, but not as well as I would have thought. 
Unlike Spider Man and Wonder Woman, Thor has two-solid stand-alone films under his Asgardian belt, as well as Avengers and Age Of Ultron, not to mention a great stand-alone short with his room mate Darryl. This won't be the last time we see Thor, but this will be Loki's last film, and his fan base is considerable, not to mention that these events feed into The Infinity Wars. So, why am I putting Fate Of the Furious so high?
Why am I putting Guardians Of the Galaxy so high, at number 2? Because it's funny. People need humor in life, and while some films might have their funny moments, Guardians IS a funny moment. It has the action and excitement of other blockbuster films, but doesn't take itself seriously, so even if it doesn't come in second, we can expect it to be in the Top Five, and who doesn't want to be there? 
The F & F franchise has invested: characters, time, money, narrative, bonds and talent. There is incredible charisma between the characters and the audience, and chemistry between the characters. Each film sees them making incredible adjustments and bringing on more and more talent: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren. They just keep getting better and they keep giving audiences a reason to come see the films. The cast and crew poor all of themselves into these films, and I think audiences are going to respond.
What about Justice League? How can I say those things about Wonder Woman and then think Justice League is going to do so well? The narrative won't be focused on Diana Prince and her living on the Isle of Lesbos, and I think enough people saw how good Batman vs Superman was that they will be willing to go out and see Justice League, which is far bigger than any one of the characters. Again, my theory of why Batman vs Superman didn't score as lucratively as what the studio hoped is two fold: first, a large portion of politically conservative audience members decided not to go see it the moment Ben Affleck was announced as Batman; why would conservatives refuse to watch Affleck? Because of the huge, massive snub Affleck made to Ronald Reagan at the closing of Argo in intentionally not reminding audiences that the Iranian hostages were released the day of Reagan's inauguration. That was a huge deal, and add Affleck's affair with his kids' nanny on top of that, then Affleck is a pretty rotten guy to conservatives. So, that's why it didn't do well with conservatives, who would have made up the massive backbone of people going to see the film. THEN, opening weekend, all the liberals went and saw it, and understood that it had been made for a politically conservative audience--that wasn't there because of Affleck--and when the liberals started complaining that it "wasn't any good" because it was politically conservative, then conservatives who boycotted felt justified in not having attended. That's my theory, anyway.
This leaves just Star Wars VIII. There is a possibility that Star Wars won't even be in the top five, however: you may recall a nasty rumor started by Mark Hamill that Luke Skywalker is gay. IF the franchise writes this into the story line, there will be a consumer backlash. It will still do well, but it won't be the top grosser of the year. People do not go out to support gay actors/characters, but they will stay in to boycott them. IF they don't mess up the story line, Star Wars is likely, again, to be the top grosser next year.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner