Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Happytime Murders

The Happytime Murders open this weekend, and up to this point, I have been reluctant to provide any commentary: the moral ambiguity in the US these days--all over the world, actually--has made it difficult to distinguish what values are being upheld and what values are merely being mocked; however, two promotional trailers have recently been released which reveals the film's agenda far better, so let's take a look at the first trailer, and--I WARN YOU--this is full of graphic sexual references, but there is a point to it,... I think.
So, there are two moral problems presented: first, the two main characters are cops and, as we know, cops have received countless death threats (mostly while Obama was in office, and it has eased up, however, it has continued). The reason two cops being main characters could be targeted as a "problem" is because police officers symbolize what socialists hate most: personal responsibility. In matriarchal societies, there is no personal responsibility, people don't really get into trouble for what they actually do, unless it damages the rulers in some way (think of the Russian Gulag or in today's modern communist society of China, citizens are assigned a social "credit score" to control their behavior). The law is a system of fairness and equality: you steal someone's car, you go to prison; you break into someone's house, you go to prison; you have drugs on you, you go to prison. The modern penal code is patriarchal, because it emphasizes personal responsibility: you are punished according to the abuse of your free will you have made against society and you are held accountable for that. Police officers, more than anyone else in American society, symbolize that patriarchal sense of individuality (socialists, however, will allow crimes if they advance the Party's agenda, such as rioting in cities, or killing police officers, or even rapes committed by certain demographic groups because it strengthens the hold on "identity politics"). So, the film was all ready going to be complicated, and then,....
Jenny (Elizabeth Banks) was the only human in the Happytime Gang. We know a person's head is where their thoughts originate, and anything pertaining to the head reflects what that character is thinking, so seeing Jenny's roots--and how much darker they are than her dyed-blonde hair--reveals she is having "dark thoughts," and this one detail could be sufficient to implicate her in committing the murders of the Happytime Gang. We can also notice that her fingernails are painted red; red is the color of blood, and our hands symbolize our honor, so it's possible that the "blood" of the murders is on Jenny's hands. There is also the coat and leopard-print shirt she wears, which suggests her "animal appetites." In-between them is a candle in a purple votive holder; we know that, being light, the candle symbolizes "illumination," that is, something which happens in this scene will "come to light" and could be a turning point for some aspect of the narrative; the color purple denotes royalty and suffering, so Phil and Jenny either hold each other in very high esteem, or they don't hold one another in the esteem they deserve, and there is suffering (or they have caused the other to suffer) as a result.
When we see the puppet offering oral sex to Melissa McCarthy's Det Connie Edwards, she confesses she's not a man, then she has to do the same thing to the "Rotten Cotten" female puppet prostitutes; because transgender-ism and homosexuality have become such Left-wing trigger mechanisms, this could be seen as a defense of sexual promiscuity and sexual identity politics, especially when we realize that the puppets are treated as "second-class citizens," which is a distinctly Marxist designation (and the elevation of all "second-class citizens" has been a rallying call for the Left, even though there aren't any second-class citizens in America); however, this new trailer has just been released and it clears up an awful lot:
This "trailer" was really genius, on numerous levels: first, it provides a way to advertise the film without giving away more of the plot and gags; second, it extends the cinematic boundaries of the film to encompass the reality in which we live and receive information. What does that mean? Generally, when we go to see films, the film is a "closed narrative," that is, we don't really expect to share a space with the characters and their trials in our own world: if we see a can of Coke sitting on a counter, for example, or Ferris Bueller addresses the audience and breaks the barrier between actors and viewers, then that demonstrates the "conscious awareness" of the film. Yea, I know it sounds unnecessarily complicated and maybe even ridiculous--the film has to have a level of "self-consciousness" in order to get produced and distributed, or no one will ever see it--but what this theory describes is a means of more direct communication with the potential viewer: I know what your life is like, and I am a direct reflection of it; for example, here are the puppets reading "Mean Tweets":
Or this blind date:
Now, the purpose of "art imitating life" demonstrates blatantly that watching this film is not going to be an escape from reality, in spite of the puppets interacting with real people; it's going to be a plunge into reality, maybe even a reality some audience members have attempted to ignore, such as the plunge America has taken since Reagan left office. Did you catch that in the True Puppets trailer above? After Reagan left office, a small TV start-up turned these second-class citizens into stars and gave them all a big lift in their careers; due to a lack of personal responsibility, they plunged in their own personal lives, and we can say the same about America after Reagan left, that--just like the good, wholesome show The Happytime Gang which so many loved and learned important life lessons from--so America itself has plunged into the darkness of a lack of personal responsibility and the addictions of sex and drugs. I could be wrong, the film could take a turn I don't have anyway of knowing about, however, that specific reference to Reagan, and the lack of morality plaguing the puppets post-Happytime Gang establishes a spiral most Americans will be able to agree about (because if they couldn't then they wouldn't have made the True Puppet Story trailer). If we are still in doubt, here is another advertisement they did, this time, with Phil the puppet doing commentary for that American film and American hero, Bruce Willis in Die Hard (it's always awesome to see Alan Rickman):
So, the lingering question remains: if they have such high hopes of achievement with this film, and drawing people's attention to how low America has sunk, why fill it with profanity, sex and drugs? There are at least two answers to this question. First, there is a specific demographic in America that is only attracted to a film like this and in a film like this, they are apt to get the kind of information they actually run away from in real life; second, we tend to think of puppets as wholesome, they don't have the faults, sins and vices that humans do, they are idealized and stylized to behave in a certain way, so seeing these "wholesome characters" so degraded reflects for us the degradation into which we ourselves have fallen yet can't recognize because we have become jaded to that personal reflection.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Queenie & Nagini: Fantastic Beasts 2

Nagini, Tom Riddle's pet snake and horcrux, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Two HUGE spoilers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald have been released by the film's producers today; if you do NOT want to know anything about the film going in, then please, stop reading now.
So, at the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, we saw Queenie enter Jacob's pastry shop and smile at him. According to the producers, Jacob doesn't remember Queenie (because of the massive mind-sweep at the end of the film) but Queenie puts Jacob under a spell, takes him to England and tries to get him to marry her (because of the laws in America, she can't marry him in the states but she can marry him in England). At some point, Jacob snaps out of the spell, gets mad at her and they join Newt and Tina in Paris. This doesn't mean that Queenie isn't going to work with Grindelwald, but I think it's going to be a great example of chaos theory at work, specifically, what we see happening on a small scale, is going to translate to a bigger scale, specifically, that Queenie using her powers to get Jacob to marry her is one way of looking at how Grindelwald is going  to be using his own powers to come to dominance. The purpose of this is strictly moral: it aides in defining boundaries and teases out the audiences' own sense of morality of right and wrong, so that it can then be translated to a broader, possibly more complex scenario as well.
Ezra Miller portrays Credence and Claudia Kim Maledictus, the woman who has a blood curse and will turn into an animal. 
Second Spoiler.
Maledictus is Nagini.
Our heads are spinning now that they have revealed this, but confirmed it is. My personal thought is, maybe this part of the story line isn't going to be developed completely in this installment, but they wanted fans to know beforehand so they can see where it's going. As far as I know, the Super Carlin Brothers were the first to advance this theory on their YouTube channel (you can watch that short video here, it's quite informative especially since this has now been confirmed). Given this huge release (it's only August and the film doesn't come out until November) I think this seriously suggests that she will have a bigger role to play in future films, although, not necessarily this one, rather like Credence himself in the first film. We also have been given confirmation that Credence has a much larger role in this film and will likely survive, at least long enough to see FB3.
Knowing how a character meets their demise, even before you see how they were born, is actually an incredibly fruitful strategy for artists because it allows the audience to pick-up on clues that might have been ignored otherwise, for example, we might get some idea of why Maledictus would make a good horcrux, which most audience members might have passed in noticing, or we learn something about her that makes her afraid of swords, or the Longbottoms, as we see Neville Longbottom killing Nagini here with the sword of Gryffindor in Deathly Hallows 2. Another excellent example of this is the introduction of Nicholas Flamel, whom we first heard of in the first Harry Potter book, but knowing what happens to him and the Philosopher's Stone, we will be the "informed viewer" who will be able to better interact with the statement the film is making and the values it advances.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you will allow me, I would like to take a moment to make a rather long-winded explanation of an apology. Back when the Harry Potter books and first films were being released, author JK Rowling said nothing regarding Christianity, hence, because the books were so much about magic, most Christians, myself included, condemned the books/films as advocating magic, and the dramatic increase in those practicing and claiming to be witches and warlocks has exponentially increased with the wide popularity of the books/films. This was the reason I decided I needed to investigate the movies/books because I was shocked--from my perspective--that so many Christians would find the books and films so "entertaining" when clearly this goes against our religion, and that I needed to provide a detailed explanation as to why this wasn't Christian material.

Watching the films, I certainly saw Christian parallels, however, I thought it only to easy to "baptize" Harry Potter for the sake of convenience and I wasn't going to be swayed to an easy path. It was only upon learning of a tiny detail in the books (namely, that Harry had taken Mad Eye Moody's eye from Umbridge and buried it beneath a cross) that I did some research and discovered that, in 2005 (well after I had written her and the series off), Rowling publicly announced being a practicing Christian and the reason she hadn't admitted it before was because she thought the metaphor to Christianity was so apparent,... okay, so, I have watched all the films and have started reading the books, and I will be doing a complete series on Harry Potter, not only because of the cultural implications and the religious benefits, but also because of the total of five Fantastic Beasts films within this universe. It is very likely that this HP series will be the first videos I launch on YouTube, and thank you to everyone who voted in the poll, there is an overwhelming desire to start seeing videos so I will start those probably by the end of August, start of September.

However, I have decided to wait posting on Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them until after The Crimes Of Grindelwald is released in November: there are a few details which concern me, and I think they will be addressed in the new film, but a lot has happened in the world since the last HP books/films came out, and what was morally/spiritually true and relevant then for that story, may possibly not be true now, or with variations which are unacceptable. So, thank you, dear reader, for allowing me your time to articulate this switch and change, it means the world to me.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Monday, August 13, 2018

Buried Alive: The Nun (Coffin Trailer)

This is yet another great poster released for this film. Clearly, we have the comparison of the pure and holy with the profane and corrupt. But this is also an image of identity, because the face--which is torn in half--symbolizes more than anything else about us who we are, it's our identity, how people recognize who we are. So, we are either going to make a conscious choice to be as holy as possible or, by lack of making that conscious decision, we are going to allow ourselves to slowly be corrupted and decay. The fire, the embers we see stretched across the image, are the means by which we choose: for those choosing holiness, there is the fire of purgation, the fire that cleans away and purifies anything not pure and holy, or there is the fire of damnation, that which we feed and give into in life (the burning need to feed an addiction, for example, the fire of lust, the fire of wrath, etc.) and both are choices we make, even if we choose not to choose, we have agreed to damnation because we refuse to fight.
A brief, new trailer/clip for The Nun has been released, and it's pretty terrifying, in the way that a good horror film should be terrifying, but it also has a remarkable amount to say regarding the advancement of the spiritual life (our discussion on the first trailer can be found at this link here if you are not familiar with it). I mean, can anything be more terrifying than being buried alive?
We know that when a character is asleep, then we see them waking up, that's actually a signal that the events about to transpire have sparked a spiritual awakening within the character, they are "alive" to what is about to happen and that character is, in essence, finding their "calling in life" at that moment. When we see a character in bed, that suggests something has died in the character or has been dead but is about to be reborn because the bed is a "temporary" coffin, and the nightly sleep we take foreshadows our eternal sleep in the coffin. So, what does it mean for Father Burke to be "buried alive?"
We don't know very much about the background of Demian Birchir's character (Father Burke) who is a priest investigating the abbey in question in the film, but there seems to have been some trouble in his past; who can blame him, he's human after all? But it's probably extremely significant in the clip above--and this is assuming that the clip will be the same clip in the film, we have been witnessing "extra footage" being used in trailers that never actually make it into the films at all, so we have to keep that in mind--that Father Burke falls, and that he falls backwards. "Falling" is a symbol invoking the original fall, Original Sin in Eden, so he's battling something innately human in us all, but as Christians, we are called to overcome. The "backwards" usually invoked the past, that is, something specifically from Father Burke's individual past (from before the investigation began is most likely, but possibly something that just happens earlier in the investigation) which causes him to be "weighed down" so he can't regain his balance and avoid "falling."
As Father Burke falls backwards into the coffin, there is a mysterious flash of green light near where his head is (0:01) that goes out quickly. We know the color green either symbolizes hope and new life, or that something has gone rotten and died. This is the struggle of the spiritual life: will this battle Father Burke endures in this scene be his victory which leads him to new life, or will the green light foreshadow that he won't be able to defeat his foe and his doom is sealed? This is also the spot at which Valak, the Nun, will appear behind him, so it could be a foreshadowing mechanism that he's not alone in the coffin, but we are never alone.
First, he has a light: the "flashlight" is the symbol for the "light in the darkness" which those familiar with the depths of the spiritual light guiding them are familiar (think of the pillar of fire guiding the Children of Israel through the desert by night) so, we know from the flashlight that Father Burke is "armed" to do this battle (he even has a lighter to give more light, this suggests that he is spiritually advanced and prepared). But here is the thing about the spiritual life: God always seems to give us more than what we are capable of bearing, intentionally, because we are not meant to bear these battles alone, this brings us to the coffin.
When Father Burke falls back into the coffin, there is a string, a small piece of twine, which he pulls (0:05) presumably to ring the bell on this headstone we see. The string and the bell are two invaluable symbols to know. First, the string in and of itself suggests the "umbilical cord," and this is absolutely one of my favorite symbols to see in a movie. I know you might think it a bit of a stretch, but please trust me on this. We begin life in the womb, where it's dark, and we end life in the grave, also where it's dark, so the "womb/grave"dichotomy is important: from life comes death, and from death comes new life (or so we hope because that's what God promises us). The umbilical cord is how we are fed in the womb and, in return, we grow and are prepared to be born. Father Burke holding this string emphasizes his birth, specifically, his baptism, his dying to sin and being born to a new life of fighting Satan, and then again his ordination as a priest, again, his dying to worldly affairs and being alive to the needs of the soul and spirit. It appears that the string rings the bell (which is blurred in this image) on the tombstone to alert someone that the person is still alive (we'll just have to watch the film to get a better idea of why that is on the tombstone, we don't get enough information here), but bells have important symbolic significance: they drive away demons. If you have ever seen the Disney film Darby O'Gill and the Little People (Sean Connery's first starring role), then you might recall Darby going to fetch the new bell for his parish and, in thanks, his priest dedicating the ringing of that bell to Darby and his descendants; when the bell rings, Darby puts off making his third wish to King O'Brien, then his daughter falls sick, is about to die, and because Darby had listened to the ringing of the bell instead of making a wish then, he is able to make his third wish be that death takes him instead of his daughter (if you haven't seen it, trust me, it all works out great). Father Burke pulling the string--the symbolic umbilical cord of his birth within the church--to ring the bell--the melody of which drives demons away--suggests that he's going to come out triumphant in this battle because he has all the spiritual preparation he requires in order to defeat Valak.
We discover from the tombstone that his first name is "Anthony," and the name is the name of many, many great saints, but it also stems from the Greek word for "flower," and that's important because a "flower" is meant to bloom, it's meant to come to fruition, and it's the spiritual battles he endures, such as this one, which will cause him to bloom to the greatest possibly degree. 
"Living death" is a extremely advanced state of the spiritual life--think of the little girl who died and Jesus raised back to life, or Lazarus, and the Resurrection itself--this is the point in a person's spiritual journey when the wheat kernel dies so more can come from it, and nothing says "death" like a coffin. So Father Burke is undergoing this intense moment of spiritual death--his will, his actions, his plans, his very "I" is completely ineffectual in facing Valak-- and this reading is validated by the rock on the sides of the hole in which the coffin lies (barrenness, no dirt where something can grow, just barren rock). The purpose of this barrenness is so one can turn from "dead rock" where nothing grows, into the "living stones" that steadfast and upon which more can be built. All this sounds great, but when you're the one going through it, it's not very comforting, is it? Like Father Burke, we just want to get out of the coffin. But then, that is the moment it gets interesting.
I believe this is the third poster released for the film, and it's a good one. To begin with, it very much invokes the original horror film starring a Catholic priest, The Exorcist, when the priest stands in the fog looking up at the house where the possessed girl is. Secondly, we know that a house symbolizes the soul, because a house is the home for a body, the way the body is a "home" for the soul while on earth, and in an abbey, such as the one pictured above, where the nuns live and focus solely on the soul, this is even more poignant. We are called to become a "living temple" for the Trinity to dwell within, unfortunately, the bad decisions of one nun--rather like Judas--have triggered the downfall of the entire abbey (which only shows that none of the nuns were ready to do the battle facing them, otherwise they would have been victorious, and God chooses to work this way sometimes). So, we have two Christians--the novice nun in white, and the priest with baggage, meaning, he figuratively is bringing spiritual baggage with him to this battle--coming from the outside to face down this great evil and restore the Temple to God, and this often happens in our own lives as well. We need outside help to restore the Temple that should be within us.
Like most people being buried alive, Father Burke screams for help and pleads for this to not happen to him, and this is bad enough, but now, Valak is going to join him in the coffin. If you are paying close attention, Valak's face appears over Burke's left shoulder, the same place the witch Bathsheba first appears over the shoulder of Carolyn Perron in The Conjuring (the first film in this series). We know that hands symbolize a person's honor, and a person's face is the seat of their identity, so Valak's lack of honor (his hands) clasping Father Burke's face is an attempt to destroy Father Burke, obliterate him completely, the way Valak probably did with the nun who committed suicide.
This is another image we haven't seen before and it, too, highlights the spiritual life. Sister Irene (which means "peace") stares at a brick wall; why? When God closes something to us, He completely closes it; when He opens something to us, He opens it completely (and, for us, that includes coffins that are going to bury us alive). Something in Sister Irene's life--prior to joining the investigation or during the events taking place--was closed to her by God, and she is being called to accept that as His will for her. Does she? Well, she holds a lantern, much as Father Burke held the flashlight and lighter in the coffin trailer above, so she's armed for the spiritual battle to which God calls her. Not only does light symbolize "the light of Faith," but also the "light of illumination," and so she not only has faith in God, she is sufficiently illuminated about her own self to know her weaknesses (temptations to sin) so she can avoid those pitfalls. She appears to me, in this scene, to be like one of the ten virgins with their lamps who went out to meet the bridegroom (Matthew 25:25).
Going back to Father Burke in his coffin, when he opens his lighter to see inside the coffin, he looks down at his feet, and then keeps looking down at his feet; why? The feet symbolize the will, because the will takes us in life where we want to go (in terms of achievement, values, priorities) the way our feet take us to where we want to go. So, Father Burke, in looking at his feet with the "light of illumination" is questioning his will: "Is this what I signed up for when I was baptized? Is this what I signed up for when I became a priest?" or, it could be, "Had my will been stronger not to sin, had my will been to do God's will instead of my own will, I wouldn't be in this battle right now." And that questioning of ourselves, our motives and God's will and how we have followed or failed to follow Him is the act of discernment and how we gain illumination.
This is the point of the spiritual war Christians are called to wage: we are called to victory. Father Burke will either emerge from this battle with his identity even more firmly rooted in Christ than ever before, or he will completely lose his identity and being all together (this is what is meant by having your name blotted out of the Book Of Life, because like your face, your name is a part of your intimate identity, and to have it "blotted out" means it no longer exists). So, we will have to wait and see if he is victorious. (Complete discussion on the first trailer can be found at this link here).
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Saturday, August 4, 2018

UPDATED: Death Of America & the "Real" Fascism

Political activist Dinesh D'Souza's Death of a Nation opens this weekend. Unfortunately, when I saw the title Death Of a Nation, I was thinking of a remake by that name which was made by a man mired in a sex scandal and the release of it had to be post-poned, so I let this get away from me and I deeply apologize for not having pointed it out sooner. D'Souza has previously made films documenting the Obama's Administration's corruption in 2016: Obama's America, and Hillary's America, about the plans of the Clintons to finish the Obama agenda. With Death Of a Nation, D'Souza publicly supports President Donald Trump by comparing the devastation he inherited from the Obama Administration to what President Abraham Lincoln had facing him at the end of the American Civil War.
Here is a great clip from the film that has been released, and I am confident D'Souza made this scene a top priority for this film to battle the massive ignorance regarding history and who the Nazis were and what they were doing; this article clearly outlines the Left's sustained but grossly inaccurate attack comparing Trump to Hitler and Trump voters to Nazis. What D'Souza discusses in this scene were all items Hitler and his dictatorship implemented throughout his reign and sound sadly familiar in our day-to-day conversations with those we know:
If you are not familiar with D'Souza--and I highly suggest watching any of his patriotic and well-informed videos--here is a short documentary he did for Prager University on the true identity of "fascist politics" (this weekend the Left's Anti-Fa group [which is supposed to stand for anti-fascist] broke up a peaceful rally of conservatives there to pray, but remember, this is a Liberal newspaper reporting this story).
Again, there is a poll going on here at The Fine Art Diner. I am interested to know if readers, such as yourself, would rather see my critiques and analysis of films and art in a video format appearing on YouTube or to remain in text format such as this post here. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to vote so far! If you haven't voted, the poll is in at the top of the right-hand column, above Week's Most Popular Posts. Thank you!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Analysis Of Symbols: Halloween 2018

As discussed below, there are many changes with this new Halloween and it basically ignores all previous Halloween's except the original film. One of the significant changes is that, originally, Michael Myers was the brother of Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) and he was under an ancient curse to wipe out his whole bloodline. Because the large knife he used to plunge into his victims (the echoes of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho) and the promiscuity of Myers' victims, the "slasher films" prominent throughout the 1980s came to be seen as the moral teachings of what sex actually does to the soul and try to convince teenagers to wait to have sex. With Myers being Laurie's brother, this added an incestuous dimension to the film and, although Michael Myers is still incarcerated for having killed his older sister Judith, Laurie is not related to him, meaning that we really don't have a motivation for why he's killing,... at least not at this point. The film makers have stated that they would like to make two more films after this Halloween: those films would be shot back-to-back and be scheduled for a quick turn-around time, but they are waiting to see how this one does first; so, "final confrontation?" It doesn't necessarily have to be the "same" villain or the "same" heroine; this could indeed be the final confrontation between Michael Myers and Laurie, but one of them could be still standing at the end and go onto the next film.
POLL: Over the many years I have done this blog, people have suggested that I make videos for YouTube; I have started a poll, in the right-hand column of this blog (mobile users, please navigate to the Week's Most Popular Posts) so you can let me know which you prefer: reading posts or watching videos. Please take a moment to record your vote so I know the medium you most prefer to receive this content. Even if this is the first time you have visited this site, you are welcome to vote, but please, so there is an accurate accounting, only vote once. Writing is important to my own thought process, so even if there is an overwhelming number of readers who prefer the videos to the written posts, I will continue writing posts at this blog; however, there are times when I would be able to post more and more regularly because the writing process does take me awhile, so that is the reason I am taking a poll to discover how you want to interact with The Fine Art Diner. Thank you so much for taking the time to vote!
It's just a simple pumpkin, however, there are a number of devices employed in this image to provide clues as to why it appears more menacing then it should. First, the eyes are not symmetrical. There have been plenty of "crazy eyes" lately, but the right eye being larger than the left eye demonstrates that the right eye, being bigger, "sees more" than the left eye that is smaller. Next, the "nose" is slanted to the right side, and also fails to be symmetrical; the nose symbolizes a person's character (yes, I know the pumpkin isn't a person, just generally speaking): because the face is the seat of a person's identity--the means by which others distinguish us from the crowd--and the nose is the most prominent feature of the face, it reveals a person's sense of honor and their overall character; then there is the mouth. The right side of the mouth is much smaller than the left side of the mouth. Now, the right side of the pumpkin (lined up with the big eye, the nose and small mouth) is flat and even; the left side of the pumpkin (the small eye, basically no nose and big mouth) is slanted, and we can tell by looking at how the tree grows in the background. What we can deduce is that the pumpkin provides a visual commentary on the differences between the Right (the political conservatives) and the Left (the Liberals): the Right sees more and has a greater emphasis on their sense of honor, whereas the Left has a greater emphasis on their appetites (more on this below) and slant everything to their advantage. 
This is really a well-done trailer, and it truly looks horrifying: while remaining "true" to the original John Carpenter Halloween of 1978. Speaking of Carpenter, he has returned to guide and produce the film's resurrection, and that includes a cleaned-up time-line that basically erases all the other sequels but for the original film (so Laurie [Jamie Lee Curtis] never died, his psychiatrist didn't die, there weren't other murders, etc., but most importantly, Michael Myers has been in custody since the end of the very first film, and this is going to have repercussions for how we understand the film today. There are a few changes, however, and we will discuss these as well as whether the film appears to be socialist or capitalist.
Let's start by assuming that this film is going to go pro-socialist (I don't think it will, but let's just argue that for a moment) and see where that takes us with what we have. Michael Myers is a white male, and we know that socialists hate white males because they have been the dominant power-holders in Western civilization for a really, really long time. Laurie is female, and as Hillary Clinton declared after her presidential loss in 2016, "The future is female," so the idea of Laurie (a minority who has been oppressed by the fear of Michael Myers for forty years) killing the white male who has terrorized her for so long is finally going to destroy him once and for all is an appealing plot to those who want to start a revolution against the capitalism white male power symbolizes in the eyes of socialists. There are, however, some massive problems with the surmounting details of this trailer and while I could definitely be wrong--as always, we only have about 2 minutes of a 2 hour film--I think we have sufficient evidence to counter this pro-socialist narrative and see one that casts the villain as a socialist.
Not much is known about Martin's character at this point (Jefferson Hall, top image holding the mask) apart from being some kind of investigator/documentary film maker (does he have academic credentials in psychology, or is this just a project he randomly picked to work on?) but there is an important detail we do know: he is after facts.  Holding up the mask to Myers and trying to get him to look at it is Martin's attempt to make Myers "face reality" and hold him accountable for what he did. These are both traits the Left hates: those who want facts instead of lies, and those who look to reality rather than utopia.What does Myers do in this scene? One could argue Michael Myers does nothing, but the truth is, Myers refuse to turn around and face his own real self in the mask and he refuses to accept accountability for what he did. THIS IS THE LEFT. This is the reason Myers is "tethered" to the weight in the courtyard where this scene takes place: Martin is trying to "pin him down" and make him confirm the truth, but Myers refuses to do so; we have seen similar scenes to this in Hitman: Agent 47, for example, when Agent 47's car is speared and tethered by officials in an effort to hold him down; Dom in Fast and Furious 8 is stealing nuke codes from the Russians and his team launches tethers at his car to keep him from going anywhere and in The Mummy we see the Mummy in the forest being stabbed with tethering devices by Prodigium soldiers (there is also a scene in the new trailer for the upcoming film The Nun where a demon disguised as a nun pins a holy nun against the wall). Trying to "pin down" Liberals, such as Hillary Clinton, and make them face facts is like trying to get Michael Myers to face you and accept responsibility for what he has done.
In the second image, we see the dead body of a car mechanic who has been murdered by Myers and the mechanic is naked; why? Myers needed to get out of his inmate clothing so he stole the uniform of a car mechanic. On one level, we have seen something like this before in Man Of Steel: after having saved the crew on an exploding oil rig, Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) steals some clothes from a truck parked at a house, but this truly echoes the plight of Kent: he doesn't have an identity of his own so he is having to "steal" the identity of normal people; what about Michael Myers? IF Myers is going to be a socialist figure, then it makes sense that he would "dress himself in the uniform of the working man" to wage war against those who stand in his way to power. Now, if you will look closely at this middle image (you can click on it to enlarge) the dead man's body lies in a pool of blood, and there is a metal object on the ground beside him; it's almost like he's been castrated and the metal object is the phallic symbol; why? As you have heard me say countless times, socialists have labeled the white man as their enemy because they are the "power holders" in Western civilization, and this mechanic is skilled, he's a worker who performs a service to people who have cars, so this would make the mechanic a "worthy kill" in the eyes of Myers who wants to assume the identity--not of a skilled worker--rather, of someone who has been "left behind" in a prosperous economy and wants more of his "fair share."
The murder of the car mechanic receives greater emphasis from the bottom image: Martin, the investigator who holds up the mask in the top image, has been murdered by Myers and his dead body is now being used as a battering ram in the women's bathroom as Myers attempts to get to Dana, Martin's female partner in the investigation. Why use Martin's body? Having killed a white male, Myers has gained power because he got away with it (think of the #MeToo movement and the way men have been removed from their position simply because they have been accused, with no due process or trial, just by accusation, and the more men who have been removed power, the greater the power of #MeToo and #TimesUp has become) so the "trophy" of Martin's dead body becomes the means to be emboldened to seek out more trophies (this is discussed further below with the teeth).
Conservatives have a joke about liberals: if they want free healthcare, free food and only the cops to have guns, they should go to prison, and that is exactly where Michael Myers has spent nearly his entire life. When we see the security at the hospital where the documentary film is being filmed, those security measures are to keep the inmates inside the prison; this isn't very different from the opening scene of The Man From UNCLE when we see the security around the Berlin Wall and the measures the socialist/communist government was taking to keep "citizens" inside the Wall during the Cold War. When we see the security around Laurie's house, it's to keep Michael Myers out, it's for her personal safety and protection, and this is one of the main points of separation between a socialist and capitalist narrative of the film: Laurie is not a victim.
This top image is of the mannequins Laurie uses for target practice; notice how they resemble the mask of Myers, with their dirty, white color and the holes and decay? That's because the color white symbolizes the person whose soul is alive in faith, hope and charity, or the dead corpse of a person who is dead to faith, hope and charity (a corpse turns white as it decomposes). Laurie's greatest strength is that she knows exactly what Michael Myers is: someone who has no soul (this is symbolic because if he were an actual person, of course he would have a soul, regardless of how evil he was, but this is a fictitious work so Michael Myers is someone with no soul). This means that Laurie--who prays every night as she tells the sheriff--is protecting her soul from the soul-less-ness of Michael Myers.
On another level, we can see the difference between Laurie--who is prepared and armed to do battle--with Dana, the woman trapped in the bathroom stall by Myers and who has no protection. It would generally make sense to say that, had Martin not been killed, Martin would help to protect her, however, since Martin is dead, he's now being used to kill Dana (and this is a primary objective of socialists, to demonize "toxic masculinity" and the impulse men have to defend and protect women, because if men stop being masculine, they are no longer going to recognize the impulse to protect women, children, their homes or homeland). There is another dimension to Myers attacking Dana in the women's bathroom: the transgender problem. The last two years of the Obama administration saw legislation being forced upon schools, businesses and any public building to allow transgendered individuals to use the bathroom which they "identified with" rather than use the facilities of the gender with which they were born.
The new Halloween shares some similarities with the 2016 film Cure For Wellness which takes place in an "asylum," the doctor wears a mask to hide his real identity and, most importantly, many patients lose their teeth. Teeth are a part of the mouth and obviously allow us to eat solid food. As part of the mouth, teeth contribute to symbolizing the appetites, and we know there are bad appetites (sex, drugs, gambling, any self-destructive pursuit) but, as Cure For Wellness and Halloween are pointing out, there are also good appetites: personal success, integrity, virtue. When Myers opens his hand and the pulled teeth fall out, we don't know if they are the teeth of the mechanic who has been killed, Martin's or someone else's, but it's a terribly threatening situation, and it could be Myers (as a socialist figure) accusing Dana of a specific appetite: wanting privacy in the bathroom. (We have seen pulled teeth used in another great horror film, The Blair Witch Project, when one of the boys had what appeared to be some of his pulled teeth wrapped in a piece of his torn shirt). 
Let's take a detour. I know I have been on a Harry Potter kick lately, however, there was an important detail which links up here nicely and we have more information on it then the Halloween trailer. In Chamber Of Secrets, the Slytherin Chamber Of Secrets is located in the girls' bathroom; why? The "genocide" of the muggle-born students is a socialist agenda (think of the Holocaust launched by the Nazis and NAZI stands for national socialist party of Germany), and socialism is a matriarchal system (emphasis is placed on survival of the species rather than on the development of the individual as in a patriarchal system) so being in the girls' bathroom--where waste is disposed of--is the perfect place to release a monster that will dispose of the "waste" of the muggle-born students who Salazer Slytherin believed should not be at Hogwarts. So, back to Halloween, we have the "face of socialism" in Michael Myers attacking a woman's bathroom stall; this should be a place of privacy for her as she "disposes of her waste" but the real waste Myers has come to dispose of is Martin, the white male heterosexual documentary film maker, and now her; in other words, women who think it's okay to attack white men because of their masculine/white privilege should be wary because the same monster is apt to come looking for them as well. Rather than quelling his appetite for murder, having killed the mechanic and now the film maker only makes Myers want to kill more, and that's the problem with revolutions (as anyone who has studied the French or Soviet Revolutions knows) when the monster is unleashed, he's impossible to stop and is even likely to kill the very ones who unleashed him to begin with. In this circumstance, the teeth aren't indicting Dana, it's Myers making a statement to her that he has appetites himself and they are violent ones (because he has pulled the teeth out of the head of his victim[s]).
"I've prayed every night that he would escape."
"Why the hell would you do that?"
"So I can kill him."
This brief dialogue reveals a number of important clues regarding the universe in which this story takes place. First of all, there is a God (Laurie prays every night); secondly, there is a hell (the sheriff can't invoke a place that he doesn't believe exists). This is fundamentally opposed to socialism because socialism emphatically denies there is any god so the government can become god and create all the "morality" and ethics for that society (consider, for example, how difficult it would be in China to enforce the one-child rule via forced birth control and abortions if the citizens were Christians, the government wouldn't have a chance). But this dialogue, and numerous images in the film, also lead us to the undermining of another important socialist tenant: the government is supposed to take care of you because you can't take care of yourself.
The first shot we see of Laurie--after all these years--is the scar on her arm from when Myers stabbed her. The arm symbolizes strength, and in stabbing Laurie in the arm, Myers intended to weaken her by making her see that she is his victim and she isn't strong enough to overcome him; the opposite happened. Laurie has used that scar to strengthen her and insure she won't be his victim again.
In the bottom image, we see a young girl babysitting a little boy in bed. Now, why does Myers like killing babysitters? Because these young girls use their free time to watch the kids of couples who have sufficient expendable income to not only go out and enjoy themselves for the evening, but also to pay a sitter to watch their kids for the night. The sitter, in turn, has some extra money with which to buy things she wants/needs or to save that money. babysitting is, in other words, a service that has arisen out of the free market addressing the need of parents who occasionally need someone to watch their kids, and the need has been met by (mostly) young women who are happy to exchange their time and experience to earn some extra money (and the idea of "earn" rather than just "give" is important, because "basic income" is being touted more and more across the US, so instead of providing a service like babysitting, young women like the one above would just be given $400 a month by the government). At least in the trailer, the white babysitter and the black child appear to be getting along well; the boy asks her to shut the closet door, and she can't because Michael Myers is hiding in there. (In The Conjuring, we also saw the witch Bathsheba hiding in the armoire, the stand-alone clothes closet). It's possible that there is something specific about this closet we don't get from the trailer, however, my first thought was, "Liberals want to make blacks thinking that whites are racists, and they want to 'bring white racism against blacks out of the closet' and expose it" but, just as Myers doesn't belong in this closet--it's not his house--so that manufactured racism the Left is always talking about also doesn't belong at the feet of conservatives because it shouldn't be there, and it's only there to kill white people, not actually do anything to help black people. So, while socialism wants women to think they need a socialist society to level the playing field against men, Halloween is attempting (at least, I think) to demonstrate how socialism actually hurts women, by leaving them unprotected, not able to offer a service like babysitting or find a babysitter for your own kids when you yourself want to go out.
Laurie is armed and dangerous.
She has been training and preparing herself for this final showdown, not leaving her safety to anyone else, especially the government. Laurie has taken responsibility for herself and her property, which socialists argue people are not capable of doing: to socialists, people are dumb animals who have to have all their needs provided for them. Laurie proves otherwise. Socialists particularly want women to feel at a disadvantage and helpless since it's their plight in society and the workplace that socialists want to capture: women don't have power, socialists tell them, so give us power and we will make life better for you. The problem is, and I believe Halloween is going to do this in every scene, many people believe that socialism really wants to take care of them and really wants to make their life better, and this is the reason why Michael Myers escapes from a bus,...
Why a mask?
When we commit sins, the beauty and brilliance of our souls diminish with each act of sinfulness we make; our soul is the greatest testament we have to our individuality and our dignity. Without our soul, we have no individuality, we have no identity. The greater our virtue, however, the greater our individuality. Horror villains typically have a mask or disfigured face because they represent how sin has eaten up a soul and left it with no identity but the scars of addiction and eternal death. When we see a villain like Michael Myers, the fear comes from the possibility that, "It could be us," our soul could come to look like him: no body. Giving ourselves to addiction and sinful behaviors doesn't increase our individuality because those behaviors are self-destructive and hence, we sabotage ourselves when we commit them, rather than ennobling ourselves. 
It's rather a familiar cinematic device: a group of highly dangerous criminals are being transported on a bus and the bus crashes, allowing the inmates to escape (Fast Five from 2011, when Dom is being transported and Brian and Mia wreck the bus and The Fugitive with Harrison Ford of 1993 are two examples); so if it's so familiar, why use it again? This is the type of "silly plot point" that horror-genre critics despise, so why risk using it? "Seriously," they ask, "They take Michael Myers out of the prison on Halloween and think everything will be okay?" But this is the very point: because Michael Myers and the danger he poses has been forgotten, people have to be reminded. Even if it's a "prison bus," a "bus" most often reminds Americans (at least) of the big yellow school bus which picks kids up and drops them off after school; and a bus serves as a "vehicle of education," so when we see a bus, we are going to be "schooled about something" and, in this case, it's the danger of letting what Michael Myers symbolizes to roam about freely.
This is a part of the "documentation" of Michael Myers, and this is at least the third time we have seen "paper work" on an important character (consider James Bond's papers retrieved from the fire at his home in Spectre, and the MACUSA papers on Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindlewald). There is something very interesting about this photo (yes, he stands with his back to us and his face to the wall, and that would be an indication of refusing to "face reality" and the real world, preferring, instead, to live in a world where he can create his own reality like a painting on a black canvas [the wall]): his right shoulder appears to be severely bruised. Why does this matter? The shoulders symbolize burdens we take on, we don't take on are willing or unwilling to carry; the bruised shoulder indicates that he has a "chip on his shoulder" and the burden he has made his own is to make everyone else feel the same pain he has felt, regardless of whether that is a realistic assessment of reality or not. 
Once again, please take a moment to vote in the poll (top of the right-hand column) regarding whether you prefer reading posts or would like to have videos to watch, I deeply appreciate it and it will help shape the future of this blog. Thank you!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

POLL & Halloween Post Coming

I have been asked, numerous times, to start making videos. I have posted a poll in the right-hand corner of the blog for you to vote and so I can know what you would like! Please, only vote once, it will be left up for a week to try and get as many regular readers as possible and, if you are new to this blog, please feel free to vote as well! If you are viewing this blog on a mobile device, you will need to navigate to the right hand column (where the Week's Most Popular Posts is located). Even if more people say they would rather watch videos than read posts, for my own creative process, I will most likely continue with writing posts; I will admit there have been many times when I could have gotten a video up quicker than I could have by writing it out, so please take a moment to respond, and thank you for your participation! I am nearly finished on the analysis for the new Halloween trailer: it's loaded! This is both terrifying in the footage and fun to analyse, so here is the trailer in case you haven't seen it and I will be getting this post up tonight!
Thanks for checking in and this will be up tonight! And thank you for voting in the poll!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Mirror Of Erisid: Dumbledore & Grindlewald, the Elder Wand & Woolen Socks

We have all ready discussed this image and the importance of the details (please click here and scroll down to the bottom of the post for the discussion on this image). However, I would like to remind you that Dumbledore wears a gray coat (gray symbolizes the color of the pilgrim and the penitent, someone doing penance for a sin) and his coat covers him, rather like the woolen socks protecting his feet according to what he tells Harry he sees when he looks into the Mirror Of Erisid. Dumbledore also wears a gray hat, so his sense of penance is "on his mind" (the head symbolizes our thoughts, so anything pertaining to the head reveals what kind of thoughts that character does or does not have) and the clock on the right side symbolizes time in a general sense, the past in general or the future in general, and so Dumbledore is doing penance for things done in the past, but also possibly because he knows what he is capable of doing in the future if he himself should be the one to get the Deathly Hallows or Grindelwald should get him alone and make a convincing argument for Dumbledore to join him (we know that Grindelwald probably still thinks well of Dumbledore because he mentions it when he is disguised as Graves (Colin Farrell) in Fantastic Beasts right before sentencing Newt to execution.
Now, there is a detail I didn't mention in our previous discussion on this image: Dumbledore's beard. He obviously doesn't have the immense, flowing white beard we are accustomed to seeing him wearing, and that's because of the symbolism of beards. Now, gentlemen, please do not get offended if you yourself sport facial hair, this is about artistic interpretation and not personal style. The mouth symbolizes our appetites, and a beard or mustache forms around the mouth, so the appetites naturally come into play when interpreting a man's facial hair as a part of his larger character. It's neat and trim, but it's also young, in the sense that any man could have a beard like this, i.e., it hasn't decided what it has an appetite for. At this age, Dumbledore may have an appetite for wisdom, but he isn't old enough to have the experience requite for wisdom, and not having a lot of wisdom, he also doesn't have the handmaid of wisdom, discernment, so it's likely that Dumbledore's beard symbolizes his appetite for power ("for the greater good" sounds wise, until you have experience to really understand what that likely does not mean) as much as it symbolizes an appetite for wisdom, and his journey over these next four films will be his journey of self-discovery as much as his rise to power and defeat of Grindlewald. 
Back during Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (which Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes Of Grindlewald is going back to as well) Harry found the Mirror Of Erised and Professor Dumbledore told him that it shows the heart's deepest, most desperate desire, and that the happiest man in the world would look into the mirror and see himself as he truly is. When Harry asks Dumbledore what he himself sees when he looks into the mirror (and I think this is only in the book), Dumbledore replies, myself, wearing a nice pair of woolen socks. This has stumped Potter fans since the book came out, but now that we actually see Dumbledore looking into the Mirror of Erised and seeing Grindlewald, it's time to review that scene for a surprising answer.
Harry sitting in front of the mirror when Dumbledore has mysteriously appeared behind him and chastising Harry for looking into the mirror "again," because Harry sees the family he never had. It's difficult to tell from this image, but Harry wears a red sweater, and red as we know is the color of blood, the most valuable thing we have, so whatever it is we are willing to spend our blood upon is what we value the most. In this case, Harry would be willing to die to see his family again, and we know, ultimately, that is what happens with the Resurrection Stone. 
We know that feet symbolize our will: because our feet take us in life where we want to go the way our will takes us to where we want to end up in life, so anything pertaining to a character's feet reveals something about their will, and this includes socks because socks are worn on the feet. Dumbledore tells Harry the mirror shows the heart's deepest, most desperate desire, and some people have speculated that Dumbledore was lying, or at least telling just a half-truth; I rather believe Dumbledore was telling the whole truth, but because so little is known of him, we couldn't find the road to take to discover the real meaning.
Here it is, the Mirror of Erised and fans totally freaked out seeing Dumbledore seeing Grindlewald in it. That we see Dumbledore seeing Grindlewald in the mirror confirms the view that later, when Dumbledore tells Harry he sees himself wearing woolen socks, it relates back to Grindlewald because obviously his old friend is very deep in his heart,.... like the socks. We have all ready taken a fairly detailed examination of this image, but allow be to refresh your mind on a few details and slip in a new one: we see Dumbledore's back, and there are a great number of instances where we see Dumblefore from behind; why? Someone's back in this example can symbolize a number of things: one, it can be their history, that part of them that is "behind them," or it might not be their back, it might be their shoulders we are supposed to notice, and then that would mean their burdens they are willing to carry, or not willing to carry. A character's back also can relate to an audience how, when or why a character feels vulnerable, especially if that character is "hiding something" or is unable to see something in themselves because the back is like a shadow, and it communicates that which isn't seen or cannot be seen by the character. Dumbledore is obviously looking into a mirror, so he "wants to see" but this is a "trick mirror" and it's not what you need to see, but what you want to see. Last, but not least, Dumbledore appears to have something he wears around his left wrist. We have all ready discussed how one sleeve being raised up symbolizes his strength (the arm) he is willing to reveal (maybe Dumbledore is telling Grindlewald he refuses to join him, for example) but the sleeve covering his right arm hides some strength he does not want to reveal (maybe that he knows he can rely upon Newt to help him). The bracelet, however, will be a most interesting detail, because bracelets often symbolize something which "chains us": since our arms symbolize strength, a bracelet can be like a handcuff, something we (usually) willingly chain ourselves to in devotion or delusion that we need or want it. 
"Socks" cover the feet, and they can be used to deceive about a character's intent or reveal a character's intent, however, the detail about them being "woolen" means these are socks intended to protect the one wearing them from the cold, and this detail of "protecting" suggests that Dumbledore's deepest desire was that he had "protected" his will (his feet). Knowing the story of how Grindlewald's desire for world power through the Deathly Hallows seduced young Dumbledore, and knowing that Dumbledore has always regretted it, we could point to that as an interpretation for the woolen socks Dumbledore tells Harry he sees when he looks into the mirror; the woolen socks do not have to be related to Dumbledore's history with Grindlewald, however, the woolen socks definitely speak of Dumbledore having wished he had exercised more wisdom over his will, but this is where it gets interesting,.....
The Super Carlin Brothers have put together this incredibly well-thought out theory regarding the relationship of the Deathly Hallows to The Veil (the one Sirius Black passes through in the Department Of Mysteries) and the Mirror of Erisid, I highly recommend you watch it! These are the two wands: the Elder Wand, which Grindlewald stole on your left, and Dumbledore's personal wand on the right. Yes, they look remarkably similar, and that's an important point in the film: when does madness impersonate wisdom and how can we tell the difference? 
Towards the end of The Philosopher's Stone, Dumbledore tells Harry that only a person who didn't want to use the stone would be able to find it, which is why Harry found the stone in his own pocket. I believe the same theory is going to hold true for the Elder Wand: in other words, when Dumbledore tells Newt, "It has to be you" to move against Grindlewald, because he himself can't, I am quite confident this is the moment when what Dumbledore will later tell Harry Potter takes seed, but first with Newt: Newt doesn't have any ambition, but at this point in his life, Dumbledore still likely does have ambition, or fears he could bring his ambitions back to life if he gets the wand, any of the other Hallows or spends time with Grindlewald. It will only be at the end of the five Fantastic Beasts films that Dumbledore, like Harry looking for the Philosopher's Stone, will only be able to get it when Dumbledore has no ambition to have it at all, but it will take Dumbledore that long in order to purge himself of those desires. Remember, Fantastic Beasts are prequals, so we are starting at the beginning and working our way towards the middle ground we are all ready familiar with. I can highly recommend the Super Carlin Brothers' video on The Mystery Of the Veil and its relationship to the Deathly Hallows, and around 5:40, they discuss their excellent theory on the relationship between the Elder Wand and the Mirror of Erised, please watch this, it's great!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner