Wednesday, December 25, 2013

47 Ronin Pre-Review; I, Frankenstein, Expendables 3, Transcendence & Her

This character doesn't get much screen time, but adds an important morsel of commentary.
Of all the films opening that I could have gone to go see, why did I choose 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves? It's the only one that is pro-capitalist (unless you consider The Hobbit, which opened a couple of weeks ago). This has anti-Obama written all over it, and in a number of important ways, including why Kai (Reeves) is a half-breed. Did you ever see that film The Deer Hunter with Robert DeNiro and Christopher Walken (1978; it's on the AFI 100 Best Movies Of All Time list)? There is a remarkably well-done reference to that in the film not to mention some of the spectacular special effects. Sadly, I saw it in 3D and, in spite of the great special effects, the 3D didn't seem to be really worth it (it was all done well, it just didn't seem there was enough of a 3D experience to bother seeing it in 3D again). In short, 47 Ronin did not disappoint: it is full of patriotism and--like what we saw in Thor the Dark World--a call to commit treason against injustice.
Let's take a moment to consider a film coming out in February that I am exceedingly interested in:
So, what's the key to understanding this film?
200 years ago.
Since the film will be released in 2014, what happened in 1814? The War of 1812 officially ends with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent (even though there was still the Battle Of New Orleans to fight) and, even though this is America's "forgotten war," it was the second time America won independence from Great Britain which is why Frankenstein (Aaron Eckhardt) says, "I was given life," because--if America had lost the War of 1812--we would have gone back to being a British colony and would have ceased to be the United States of America; more importantly, however, since we just saw Aaron Eckhardt in Olympus Has Fallen, it might be the Burning of Washington we are supposed to be considering during the film, and how Washington is being burned today. The qualities of Frankenstein could be said to be true of the American economy (at least before 2008) and, when Frankenstein says, "This ends tonight," that echoes what we hear in 47 Ronin, just before the attack on the enemy's city.
Now, let's see if you know what famous film the teaser for Expendables 3 references:
Congratulations! The Bridge On the River Kwai (1957) is correct (well, no, technically, The Breakfast Club isn't correct: while it was referenced in that film, The Breakfast Club, too, was referencing The Bridge On the River Kwai, so you only get a half point for that one, but at least you remembered it!). Why reference that film? It's about a vicious captor trying to break the will of military men who have extraordinary virtue, and why self-sacrifice is so virtuous (which we see also in 47 Ronin and The Hobbit: the Desolation Of Smaug).
If you like the super controversial, and philosophical and "dangerous," you might find this interesting:
I don't think it's just that Morgan Freeman is in this that makes me think of Oblivion: the Tet was consuming resources the way (it appears) the intellect starts consuming knowledge and technological power in Transcendence. BUT, there is a larger issue being communicated with this, and it is conveyed even more aptly in this trailer:
It's not just the "animation" of technology, but the dehumanization of humanity. We all know what a liberal Joaquin Phoenix is, and we should keep this in mind since he is being seriously rumored to play Lex Luthor in Superman vs Batman (with Ben Affleck). In some other films news, Clash Of the Titans 3 appears to have been cancelled (I thoroughly enjoyed Wrath Of the Titans, so that's disappointing). There appears to be a Western in the making: the Magnificent 7 which originally starred Yul Brenner and Steve McQueen; Tom Cruise has reportedly dropped out of filming for that project.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas! The Mystery of the Gift

Basilica di San Francesco, Lower Church, Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337), La Nativit√†. This image often confuses people because of the two women in the bottom-center holding the Infant, since there is no mention of women attending the Blessed Virgin, which provides the crucial hint we need to understanding the image: they are allegorical figures, not literal. The woman in green, holding the red cloth (it's supposed to be red) symbolizes Mary's hope, and because she so fervently hoped for the coming of the Messiah to free Israel, her hope gave birth to love for the Messiah, which aided her in receiving the Angel's message that she would bear the Christ Child. The woman in white symbolizes Mary's faith, purity and innocence (from sin). As we know, the "swaddling clothes" the Infant Jesus is wrapped within foreshadows His Death and Burial (because Mary all ready knew He was born to die). The "bowl" between the two women probably--although I could be wrong about this one--foreshadows the Chalice at the Last Supper (the "Holy Grail") and Christ shedding His Blood for Humanity (in the right side of the image, there is a small gold tree, which reminds us of the Tree of the Cross).  Mary, in the center of the panel holding Jesus, is wrapped in blue because blue is the color of wisdom, and she has turned her new Motherhood into instant Discipleship in contemplating the Word made Flesh. Her reclining position foreshadows how Mary, like Christ lying upon the Cross, will offer herself in suffering for the redemption of Israel. The ox and donkey remind us that Christ has been born in a smelly, dirty animal-shelter, but they symbolize our own animal passions and sins, which is what makes the Nativity timeless: Christ is always being born within us (the stable/manger/cave being a symbol for our soul). Each time someone comes to Christ, the Nativity has taken place within their soul; each time we overcome a sin, we have cleaned up the stable for Christ, making it come to more closely resemble the new tomb Christ was laid in after His Death, because no one else (the devil) has been in there. The flock of sheep and rams in the bottom, right-hand corner symbolize Christ's flock and how He will call Himself the Good Shepherd, and identify with the lowly shepherds who have gathered there to adore Him and hear the Angel's Good News. St Joseph, in the bottom, left-hand corner, seems cast off to the side; that's hardly the case. We are like St Joseph: seemingly removed from what is taking place, we are still called to contemplate--in our own way--what is taking place, and our own role as we, too, are involved in the Nativity, each time we our converted or our prayers for the conversions for others takes place.
On this eve of Christmas, I wish you the very warmest blessings! Like everything in Christian culture, Christmas receives a lot of bashing: it's so commercial, it's only about gift-receiving, you get so busy you can't really enjoy it, etc. As we know, a lot of that has to do with our own selves, but that stems from our failure of "entering into the Mystery" Christ wants to share with us. Many think the gift-giving at Christmas symbolizes the gifts the Wise Men bring Christ (the Feast of the Epiphany, which we will celebrate Sunday, January 6, and contains its own mysteries), but we are wiser in considering that Christ IS THE GIFT. Without Christ coming to earth and taking on flesh, we would not be able to hope for salvation, we would knot know the Way of Life (and when we see those who are lost, we can appreciate that we know the Way) and--among countless other blessings--we wouldn't even be able to know ourselves. Recognizing that Christ is the Gift, also helps us to remember that WE, TOO, ARE A GIFT to others: our family, our co-workers, neighbors, and every single human being on earth. Likewise, they are gifts to us, which brings us to the tradition of giving gifts on Christmas.
A later Nativity, also by Giotto.
It's happened to you at least once: you got a gift you absolutely hate. Without saying it, many of those who criticize Christmas, are criticizing this very thing, receiving a gift they don't want and didn't ask for. As Christians, we can understand how this reflects a part of Christmas if we are willing to enter into the Mystery of Salvation: Christ gives us gifts we don't want, and they usually take the form of Crosses. No one wants to suffer, the same way no one probably wants that heavy-as-a-brick fruitcake, or that horrid sweater. Culture says, that person shouldn't give that gift; Christ says, accept all I send you. Why? Gratitude. Just watching TV should alert us all to what a rare and exceptional virtue Gratitude has become, and all the ills that would be eradicated with such a simple When we are faithful in small matters, we will be faithful in greater ones, and none of us are made perfect but through the Cross. Why is that important? Being cleansed of our sins, it's easier for us to live with ourselves (if you know someone who makes terrible decisions, or generally lives a life of sin, you know how miserable they from their own doing), it makes the world a better place and--you not only go to heaven--but consider this: heaven becomes an even better place because you are there in all the glory God destined for you and you alone.
By Rembrandt, the Angel Appearing to the Shepherds in the field.
There are also the Christmas gifts we did ask for and receive that forms part of the Mystery of Christmas: Israel had been praying for generations for the Messiah to come, and finally, finally He did come. When you receive the gift you asked for, remember all the prayers you have said that God answered, regardless of how long God took in answering it, or still hasn't answered, but will; again, practice gratitude, not for the thing, but that your hope was rewarded. This brings us to the "exchange" that takes place during Christmas. As is said at every Sunday Mass before the Offering is taken up, "At every Mass, there is an exchange: God offers me His Son, what will I offer God?" Of course, the Church wants you to offer money, because that's part of their mission, but at Christmas, there is something God specifically wants you to offer Him: your sins.
Adoration of the Shepherds by Rembrandt, 1646. One of the complaints people lodge against Christmas is that they are depressed, or there is nothing merry about it. More often than not, this sadly reflects what is--or is not--in that person's heart, because Love is the first gift to always be given at Christmas, but either we cannot receive it, we don't want it or we don't want to give it, which dissipates our ability to experience joy at Christmas. Most of us know, there is a big difference between joy and fun, and people will often mistake the emotion (fun) for the spiritual gift (joy). There have been three people in my life I have known who had the spiritual gift of joy, and each in a different way. Joy is a direct result of the Holy Spirit, it's not something we can summon within our self or force upon others. On the other hand, just because we don't have joy doesn't mean we are devoid of love; it's a Gift that is given at God's discretion to those who He deems He wants to give it to. The Gift of Joy is something we can pray for, but because it is a Fruit of the Spirit, it is one that often must be waited for with great diligence.
When you die, God wants your soul to be presented to Him as pure and humbly as Mary offers the Christ Child to the Shepherds: in total purity, love and forgiveness, without a single spot of sin. How do we offer our sins? By resolving to do better on those areas we know temptation usually gets the better of us, but also to give Jesus our sins through exercising the virtue opposite of our sin: if we tend to get angry or hold grudges against people, you can give Him that blotch on your soul by forgiving, which is one of the greatest of Christmas Mysteries: becoming God in the Newborn Child. You don't have to say anything to that person(s), just tell God what incident(s) you offer to Him, and that you want to forgive that person, as God has forgiven you for your own sins, and when Satan tempts you into holding onto that grudge, humbly offer it to God again, and again, and as many times as it takes to get rid of it.
Which brings us to the last point,...
Only you get to experience this Christmas.
This Christmas, with all its particulars and intimate details, has been created for you and you alone by God to provide for all you need right now; next Christmas will be different, and the next Christmas, but this Christmas is to provide what you need at this point in your journey. There may be things you want, but you don't need, or there are things don't want, but do need and only God knows what you need, and He will provide for you, just as shelter was provided for Joseph and Mary when there was no room at the inn. But you must be open to receiving the Gift He wants to give you, all the gifts, not just some of them. With that, I pray God, in His infinite goodness and abundance, will bless you with that Gift of Wisdom, the greatest gift for which we mere mortals can hope. May the richness of Christ's blessings be upon you today and all time!
Merry Christmas!
The Fine Art Diner

Sunday, December 15, 2013

How Is The Desolation Of Smaug?

I don't even know what has happened to the formatting of this post. I do apologize; some of you are probably like, it's been so long since she's posted, she's forgotten how; I don't blame you one bit for that,...
Gandalf has a stupendous role he has to balance in this film: with his role, we see an articulation in the difference between magic (like in Harry Potter) and power (which will come to full blossom in The Lord Of the Rings, after Gandalf has his huge fall and emerges as Gandalf the White). When Gandalf walks through Dol Guldur, the lines he says are similar--if not exact to--the prayers of exorcism; coincidence? I think not. There is really no way, between the Necromancer and the corrupt leader of Laketown, to not read this in a political context: spies, taxes, corruption, riots. But, more than that, is the overall structure of the soul's journey: who we are and who we become; as Gandalf tells Bilbo, he is no longer the same hobbit who was in the shire a few months ago.
This screenplay is just superior to what we saw in The Lord Of the Rings. It just keeps getting better, it's nearly 3 hours, and yet, when it ended, I felt my stomach fall because it was like, "NO! It can't be over yet!" The story line was excellent (even when it veers from the original narrative by JRR Tolkien) demonstrating that the numerous writers genuinely have a handle on all the dimensions of this story. I thought the acting was very good, especially Orlando Bloom who has an unusually strong presence on the screen, as well as Luke Evans. As you can imagine, Martin Freeman and Ian McKellen were outstanding; Benedict Cumberbatch is a perfect dragon. There is a TON of stuff going on in this screenplay (I do suggest watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey before The Desolation Of Smaug, if you can; the third installment is There and Back Again, due out in exactly one year) and overall, I am exceedingly pleased. It's just one more outstanding film for the year.
The last scene of An Unexpected Journey was that of a thrush banging a nut against a stone wall of the Lonely Mountain, deep within, Smaug awoke, hearing the noise; the question is, however, was it the noise, or something else waking Smaug? In this part of the story, from what Smaug discusses with Bilbo, it was the start of the prophecy falling into place, from the smallest details, to the grandest. No one experiences a "wilder" ride in this film than Thorin (pictured). When, towards the end, Thorin uncases stone surrounding a giant (and it's giant) statue of a pure gold dwarf king, that's Thorin, it's even Thorin's very soul at that moment (and that's why Smaug looks at it in such curiosity, it's not the Thorin he recognizes) but Thorin has done everything right (after holding a blade to Bilbo asking for the Arkenstone) and Thorin will not have a greater moment after this, it's because he has been such a brave, self-less leader during their attempt at killing Smaug that Thorin's stature has increased so much; sadly, however, it's not going to be enough. Bilbo and Gandalf, on the other hand, have purged themselves of so much sin and weakness, they really can't be killed, there is no evil/power/temptation strong enough to overcome them; we will probably see the exact opposite with Thorin however, given that Smaug has all ready predicted for us what will happen.
It's sad, however, the list of ultra-liberal films nominated for the Screen Actors Guild (a "guild" is a modern union); why is that important? Because actors are, essentially, voting for the roles they like the best, advertising the roles they themselves would like to be offered and play in so it increases the likelihood that more such roles will be written for dominating actors (because they hope if you have a big-name actor in a role, the film will do well, so to get a big-name actor, offer them the type of role they seem most likely to take, which is on display at the SAG awards). I am also disappointed to discover that in American Hustle, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence kiss each other, which leads us to something else that has happened this past week,....
Talk about a complex character: when he's trying to strike a deal with Thorin, and his skin melts away to reveal horrible burn marks from dragon fire, it adds a truly sinister dimension to this character. When he and Legolas question the Orc they have captured, and he promises to free the Orc, then kills him instead, it suggests that this act, like the burn marks on his face, "exposes" his real "decayed" state beneath his royal robes (rather like the Stewards in The Lord Of the Rings). We should be prepared for him to have to battle a villain in the next installment because Legolas is battling an Orc with a blind eye, revealing to us the audience that Legolas himself has been "blinded" regarding Tauriel and her affection towards Kili; when Legolas realizes the battle with the half-blind Orc has caused his nose to start bleeding, I think he has pulled himself together and decided he's not going to be ridiculous, but what happens with Tauriel and Kili remains to be seen because that isn't in the book (and maybe Legolas realizes he can't be with Tauriel anyway, since she doesn't appear in The Lord Of the Rings).
Rest in peace, Paul Walker, who was laid to rest this weekend, Peter O'Toole, who just passed away today, and Joan Fontaine who also passed away: Eternal rest grant unto them, O'Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them; may they rest in peace. Amen.
The Fine Art Diner

Thursday, December 5, 2013

300: Rise Of An Empire Trailer #2 & Other Film News

(This is an old post; for my complete review and interpretation of all the elements of the film, please see A Call To Rebel: 300 Rise Of An Empire).
Oh, yea,...
Why start out with a prophecy?
Why start out with a prophecy about the end?
Why start out with a prophecy about the end that only stout wooden ships can overcome?
Because it's about America's legacy as a super-power.
Just as we will quote movies in our daily conversations, the movies also quote movies: films want you to know that they know you are an educated viewer, you have seen films, you remember scenes and you have bonded with characters. When we see instances in 300 Rise Of An Empire that reminds us of 300, it's because it wants us to remember that film, it wants us to remember what happened and why and how we felt about it. When we see scenes or hear dialogue in other films that make us think of 300, it's because those films want to be "linked" to 300, in what it said and why (like 47 Ronin). The world is an entirely different place today than it was when 300 came out in 2006. Why focus on a naval battle? Well, one history student might respond, because that's what happened. That might be correct historically speaking, however, if there were not some real reason for today's needs, film makers would have ditched the "stout ships" and gone for another "foot soldier" film like we saw at the end of 300 with the 10,000 Spartans charging the invading Persians. So, why the ships? America has always been protected from "invasions" by the Atlantic on the east, and Pacific on the west, one of the main reasons we have enjoyed peace for so long. It's was through its naval power that ancient Greece was recognized as a super-power, and why Artemisia (Eva Green) says only a god can defeat the Greeks, because their ships were of superior technology and their navy's skill unsurpassed, so we can easily see Greece as a metaphor for America's former role as a super-power in the world. Put this thought on hold; what image do we first see in the trailer? A man hurling a flame out into the water and it catching fire; why? This probably invokes the famous Greek fire, one of the great mysteries of the ancient world. Why is this important? Technology and innovation. You have a democracy, Athens, that is also a super-power because of it's technology and innovation, being invaded by an army using brute force and fear as its weapons.
There are lots of films coming about the end of the world--Pompeii, This Is the End, World War Z, Ice Age 4, The Croods, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, X-Men Days Of Future Past, etc.--but this is the film about stopping the end of the world. As we have said numerous times, history films are never ever never ever never ever never EVER about history, in this case, the invasion of the Persians, rather, they are ALWAYS about the here and the now, because we aren't interested in another people, we are really only interested in ourselves, and the historical events being depicted are merely a vehicle for us to understand what is happening in our own day, our own time.
Greece falling is a metaphor of the United States falling.
How can we say that?
What's that on her back? Spikes, like a reptile's, like a dragon's, meant to communicate that she is an animal, a cold-blooded animal. There have been a number of dragons making appearances lately and we shouldn't think this is a coincidence (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 47 Ronin, Maleficent, and the serpent in Noah). Likewise, we have recently seen another female with a bow wanting to bring down a government: Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games). This is a war movie, but this is a war between women: Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) goes up against Artemisia (Green) who--from what I understand--wants revenge on the Greeks because they killed her family. We could sit back and say, that's so trite, what film doesn't erect that as a narrative device, but examining how she is being portrayed (and yes, Artemisia I of Caria was a real woman, who really controlled a navy for Xerxes and was a queen after the death of her husband because her son was too young to take the throne for himself, but we don't know if that will play into the film's story or not) will tell us exactly what was killed by America; we have all ready seen this in Olympus Has Fallen, when the North Korean wants to turn America's own nukes against it because his family was killed when he was a child (read: when socialism was still young in the world, America killed Marxism, socialism, fascism, Nazism and all the others, so now, they are going to take revenge on America). How can I make this about class so soon? Well, it will have to get around to that at one point or another, because Themistocles is from Athens, a democracy, whereas Gorgo is from Sparta, and while Sparta was a champion of democracies in other parts of the world, and fought against tyrants, Sparta's own government was based upon a complex system of those who were free and those who were enslaved. Part of the class conflict, however, probably won't focus on the differences between the Athenians and Spartans, rather, upon the Greeks and Persians: more rights were enjoyed by a greater majority of Greeks than by Persians who were utterly enslaved; Artemisia may look like she enjoys a lot of modern "women's rights," but the differences between her and Gorgo will be the important sub-text of the film.  
To begin, 300 (which we will discuss fully prior to the release of 300: Rise of An Empire in March) was clearly a metaphor for the damages done to the United States by the jihad of 9/11 and the vast differences in the cultures between those who crashed the planes into the World Trade Centers and the culture that built the World Trade Centers with the incredible physiques of the 300 Spartan soldiers representing, first of all, their spiritual/moral strength as well as the strength of the American economy because men generally symbolize the active principles of production (again, we'll go more into it later). But here's the obvious contradiction: 300 Rise Of An Empire is "the rise of an empire," not the end and downfall of an empire this second trailer opens with, so why are we talking about the end? Because when threatened with demise, we will rise up and be re-born; that's how it is, and we will see the same themes in both 47 Ronin (Keanu Reeves) and The Hobbit: the Desolation Of Smaug. Which leads us to the role Leonides plays in the film, even if Gerard Butler isn't in it,...
What about this guy? What about the guy who is the 10-foot "god king" who couldn't make a Spartan bow and worship him? We see Xerxes in this newest trailer emerging from a "golden bath," (0:38) rather like the Queen (Charlize Theron) in Snow White and the Huntsman emerging from a thick, white liquid. In SWH, the queen had to artificially concoct a substance that would artificially endow her with similar virtues to that of Snow White (the liquid, in essence, being a bath to make the queen as "white as Snow White" but only being skin-deep) and, we could say, we see Xerxes bathing in the golden liquid attempting the same in being a god: if I bathe in gold, I will be like the immortal gods. In a different direction, we have Xerxes calling for war in the trailer, and Artemisia wanting war; why? IF we can take America to be represented by Greece, then this serves as a defense, since America doesn't start wars, others start war with America (the city-states of Greece are prosperous, but peaceful, because--as we have noted on different occasions--peace is necessary for trade to thrive, whereas war is necessary for a slave state (such as socialism) because the leaders more easily justify their tyranny in a state of war, as well as the vast consumption of resources they don't want going to their citizens (if citizens are healthy, they will overthrow the tyrant).
"Let's pray they're that stupid," Leonides (Gerard Butler) tells one of his bodyguards, because if the Persians are dumb enough to kill one of the Spartan kings, that automatically means Sparta is at war with Persia, regardless of any festival or holiday--hence, the sacrifice of Leonides for the rest of his homeland. So, what we have, in effect, is the logical game created by Leonides who knew war with Persia could not be avoided. At 0:42 in the trailer, we see Xerxes calling for war (probably some kind of a flashback) and Artemisia saying "war," and then Xerxes saying, "war" which suggests that Xerxes is Artemisia's pigeon, her plaything, and she can get him to do whatever she wants, unlike Gorgo and Leonides whose relationship was based on mutual respect. This won't just be about class relations, but also sexual relations, and what happens when male/female takes an unnatural part in a relationship and the consequences of that (because we certainly see that in today's culture).
When they aren't wearing much, every little detail is important. Whereas the Spartans of 300 wore their red capes, the Athenians wear blue. Red, as we know, symbolizes blood: either you love someone to the point you are willing to spill your bold for them, or you are so angry/hateful of that person, you are willing to spill their blood for your own appeasement. With the Spartans, they loved their country so much, they willingly gave their lives for their king and country. What about the Athenians? Blue denotes both wisdom and depression: the path of wisdom is often filled with the hardships of experience, which is usually depressing, so whereas the Spartans had their bodies as weapons, we should probably look to the Athenians for using the hearts and minds as their weapons.
This is definitely a film creating dichotomies on numerous levels and two more deal with how to face death and who we are as individuals. "Look deep into your souls," Themistocles says, and that's because he believes we have souls; someone like Xerxes believes he is a god, but doesn't believe the "underlings" beneath him have souls, they exist solely to serve his whims and cease to exist when they don't serve his whims (Artemisia echoes this when she says, "Today we will dock on the backs of dead Greeks," comparing them to planks of wood); so, defining the "individual" will be one of many dichotomies created. Additionally, how the two sides view death will also be a philosophical point: "If death comes for me today, I'm ready," Artemisia says, while Themistocles says, "It's better to die on your feet, than live on your knees."
What's the difference?
Maybe it's just me,... does she ever look like a zombie in these scenes to you? I mean, the heavy, dark eye make-up and pale skin, the long, straight hair and gothic clothing? Well, if she has sold her soul to death himself, that pretty much qualifies her as a zombie. IF the film takes her in such a direction--and it would be somewhat difficult to prove--why? Well, the Immortals standing behind her in this scene (the ones who wear the face mask) support this theory because they have abandoned their own identity (in wearing a mask and slavishly obeying Xerxes) to obey without question. So, since--at least in this scene--we see Artemisia standing with those who have abandoned their identity, we will have to ask if she, too, has abandoned her identity. We know that black (the outfit she wears) symbolizes death: their is good death, as in one is dead to the world and worldliness; then there is death that is dead to the spirit/soul but alive only to the world and worldliness. If Artemisia is after power, the way it appears to me in this trailer, then that would be appropriate. Themistocles, however, isn't after power--he wants Greece unified--but he certainly doesn't want this war where everything they have all worked for is going to be destroyed.
We kind of know what the difference is: Artemisia has "Sold her soul to death himself," meaning, roughly, that she is all ready dead regardless of how many more years she might live; why has she struck such a bargain? She has sold her soul so she can force slavery upon others, giving her soul in slavery so she can force the bodies of others into slavery, hence, Themistocles telling his soldiers to steady their hearts and look deep into their souls, because their souls will remain free, whereas Artemisia is all ready enslaved.
I have no idea who this guy is, but his caption reads, "War is in my blood!" This offers an interesting juxtaposition against the Spartans who spend their whole life training for battle and a glorious death, so what's the difference? We'll have to wait and see but I am sure it will be one more incredible layer of characterization the film provides!
In other film news,...
The writer for Life Of Pi is doing the screenplay for the next Chronicles of Narnia film, The Silver Chair, which will be awesome!  Bryan Singer, producer of X-Men Days Of Future Past announced via Twitter today that the next installment, X-Men: Apocalypse will be released May 27, 2016, which will be awesome! There will be a fifth installment of The Bourne Identity coming out in 2016, again starring Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy). Gal Gadot, who plays Gisele in Fast & Furious 6 has won the role of Wonder Woman in the upcoming Superman vs Batman film starring Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck (it's rumored that Wonder Woman is/was romantically involved with Batman). Producer Christopher Nolan has his written/directed project Interstellar making its trailer debut at The Hobbit: the Desolation Of Smaug December 14 (I didn't even know they had finished filming!).
Jamie Foxx presents one of those interesting casting decisions: people, especially white people, know that Jamie Foxx hates us and pretty much anyone who is not a gay black male; so why would he be cast as a villain, unless the film makers also view him as a villain? This is one of those instances of "reader response" theory: the film makers know we have seen other films, like Django Unchained, and possibly--though not likely--White House Down, so casting Jamie Foxx as a villain is like casting those films as villains. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am about this one, I think--with making Electro that shocking blue color--we are meant to think of liberals and what they are doing to the country. But isn't Andrew Garfield a liberal, too? Sure, but has he been in racially charged films calling for violent revolution against a certain segment of society either based on skin color, how much money they have or both? No, he hasn't. In fact, what else has Andrew Garfield really been in but this? I think we will see the same type of incorporation of actors in Nolan's Interstellar, which, from what I understand, is about Matthew McConaughey, Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Ann Hathaway and some others going into a wormhole that has created new possibilities for humans in space travel, also creating a possibility for time travel; it's my understanding they all die. Anyway, film makers know that actors come out in support of politics of the liberal nature, but I think we need to trust the ultra-conservative Mr. Nolan; when he decides to say something, we should all listen, respectfully, and given how superior The Amazing Spider Man was to anything I was expecting, I think this film deserves our total attention as well.
The first trailer for The Amazing Spider Man 2 has been released and it looks like it's going to be quite spectacular.
The opening monologue,... couldn't we take that to kind of be a good statement of self-summary of the US? We try to save people, we try to help countries and do good, but we have made all these enemies out of the socialists and Muslims and have we finally come up against an enemy too powerful to overcome? We'll discuss this much more after the release of the second trailer, but I think the scene at 1:40, where Spidey has the cover of a man-hole he's using to break the robotic monster (rather like the robotic samurai we saw in The Wolverine) is a great summary: whatever that robot symbolizes, it belongs in the sewer.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Oscar Wave Begins: New York Film Critics

Who are the New York Film Critics?
Critics who write and appear in various medium throughout New York, and who get together to try and agree on something one time a year, then announce it to the world. Today they announced that they have voted American Hustle as the Best Film Of the Year, along with Best Screenplay and Jennifer Lawrence receiving Best Supporting Actress. It was noted that there was a record number of good films being offered, but another important event happened as well: a rare tie-breaker. It appears there was as much support for 12 Years A Slave in the same category (Steve McQueen won for Best Director). Other notable winnings of the group went to Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club, Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, Robert Redford for All Is Lost, Best Foreign Film went to Blue Is the Warmest Color and Best Cinematography went to Inside Llewyn Davis.
Why should we care about this?
Well, we don't necessarily have to.
12 Years A Slave
For smaller films, or smaller/lesser known actors who haven't received critical accolades, an award is an award; a second reason this is important is that American Hustle hasn't even come out yet, so being able to flaunt it has all ready won 3 awards will likely increase the traffic it gets opening day (December 25) as people are wanting to be "in the know" when it comes to potential Oscar nominees. Lastly, in Hollywood, any publicity is good publicity, but that doesn't mean it lasts. In the grand scheme, just because a film starts out strong, doesn't guarantee a strong finish (remember Zero Dark Thirty last year? It was the darling of critic circles and it hardly ended up with any Oscar noms and only won like 1 technical award; Argo didn't start out so well, but ended up with Best Picture, not that it should have; Daniel Day-Lewis started strong with awards for Lincoln, and ended strong, so it's impossible to tell).
The best way to view the various "critics circles" who will be announcing their choice for films in the upcoming months is as different cliques, and the reason there are so many different cliques is because there are so many different tastes. There have been a record number of films the last 3 years, which means that who wins what is more a matter of politics, morals and taste rather than definitive aesthetic judgment; we all ready knew that, because that's what happens every year, with every award given, but as we have noted previously, those who win awards are likely going to be the first ones hired to do upcoming films (nothing succeeds like success) so their influence, their agendas are going to be spread even more as they continue accelerating their talent and goals throughout different projects. Ultimately, that's the main reason why we should care and why this--and every other award is important: the films getting awards today, will reflect the films being made tomorrow.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Bent Bullet Theory & X-Men Days Of Future Past

Is this actually going to play a role in the film? Recall, if you will, Prometheus did something similar with the big pre-release that Guy Pearce did as the big-time business owner who had funded the space trip but not a second of that was in the film; it's an interesting way to launch viral videos, sure, but I think that's a rather sarcastic way of looking at it; these videos (the Prometheus and the Bent Bullet video) are really gold mines of character information; how? Well, the Guy Pearce character was important, but there wasn't much time to develop his character, so the viral video added important background information we would not have received otherwise; why is that important? It's the movie industry validating film as art, that they know these are characters who are contributing to cultural identities (no, not like people dressing up as them for Halloween, or buying the products from a marketing line) that their characters embody ideas, concepts and entities, that they are metaphors for people or ideas in our own day and age and the film makers want us to know that so they take the extra care and time to craft additional material to increase not only our enjoyment of the film--because, having taken the time to watch the video and read the articles at this new website, we then become the "informed reader," the one catching the references outside the strict "text" of the film's narrative being provided--but, even more importantly, to deepen our bond with the film and characters so we want to interact with the narrative on an ever-deeper level (we are given a taste of honey to make us want more). The film makers don't make money off these videos, this website and trailer are purely for us, the viewers, and the quality of our interaction with what will unfold in the film next year. Some cynical people might comment (as one all ready has) that this is purely to "cash in" on historical events," but the gravity of these events, and how they are still shaping the identity of this country and the political atmosphere, invite commentary, and because no money is being made from this video and webpage, we should take them as commentary, not marketing ploys.
One reader commented he thought this a shameless way for X-Men Days Of Future Past to make money and attention off the Kennedy assassination and found it terribly tacky; I couldn't disagree with him more. Rather than mocking or capitalizing on that terrible day fifty years ago, X-Men Days Of Future Past seems to be making an imperative statement about who Kennedy was and why his being killed was so terrible for the country; not everything in this video is what they want you to see, so we will discuss it below:
If you go to the full article written on the "Bent Bullet Theory" and Magneto, it's a rather long yet worthwhile article setting up an entire, somewhat "alternate" universe in which it's probably Mystique/Raven who killed Kennedy while Magneto was contained in his plastic cell. The question is, "Why are they telling us this?" and the biggest clue is contained in two details:
The bloody speech (below) supposedly removed from Kennedy's body.
The first detail is, according to film makers, the speech Kennedy was going to make before he was gunned down:
"My friends, and fellow citizens", he would have said, "America today is stronger than ever before. Our adversaries have not abandoned their ambitions. Our dangers have not diminished. Our vigilance cannot be relaxed. But now we have the strength to do whatever must be done to ensure the preservation of all our citizenry. A citizenry that is ever-changing, shaping the unique landscape of tomorrow's America. Now we can choose to accept that change and allow it to make us stronger. Or we can choose to be throttled by fear of the unfamiliar. I ask that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility. That we proudly accept these differences, be they of race, creed, or genetic background, that we may achieve in our time--and for all time--the ancient vision of 'peace on earth, good will toward men.' Toward all men and all women and all our magnificent and unique abilities."
The film makers remind us of the Civil Rights movement and the terrible "summer of hate" that engulfed America, and even Kennedy's visit to Dallas. When the first trailer for X-Men Days Of Future Past came out, we saw the posters featuring the "cross-over" of the older Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and the younger Xavier (James McAvoy). Why? The film makers want to drive home the point that every decision we make--even those in the deepest parts of our hearts--and every word we say, has consequences and shapes who we are today and tomorrow and who we are 20 years from now, us as private individuals and we as a country. What happened then has shaped who we are now: our troubles, our turmoil, the direction we are going and who our enemies are and how they are beating us. We never get "beyond" anything as a society, it always haunts us, but the past contains lessons from which we are also always learning (consider the 1964 stop-motion, Christmas time favorite, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: the Island of Misfit Toys is very much a metaphor for politically disenfranchised groups of people during the 1960s and how Rudolph--himself something of a "genetic mutant"--was able to help a white and polka-dot elephant because of his own rising in the ranks to Santa's team of reindeer; the story is as popular today as it was then, in large part because this is the story of America itself and why we have survived for as long as we have: we believe in the natural uniqueness of the individual and the role they have to play in society and history.
The second detail.
Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963; the date Magneto gave himself up and was formally charged by the FBI is, according to the mug shot picture above, February 2, 1964; why that date? On that day, the US Federal Government authorized the Twenty-Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution; what is the 24th Amendment you ask?
It's about taxation.
According to the website, these are the articles of impeachment that were going to be presented against Kennedy. Article 1 reads: 1) Betraying the Constitution (which he swore to uphold). He is turning the sovereignty of the U.S. over to the mutant-loving United Nations. I think this is going to play an important role in the film because Trask Industries has created Sentinels (robot soldiers) to hunt down and kill the mutants, so if Kennedy was really in a "Agenda 21" type arrangement with a mutant-loving United Nations, why would Trask be allowed to hunt them down? We don't know details, but these questions will enlighten our experience of watching the film and understanding the message film makers want to convey.  
In the past, the poll tax was a means for a government to tax the population based on the census, rather than an act (such as trade or purchasing certain goods), a person could be taxed because they were a person and the tax amount was fixed, regardless of income or social status; in the past, it was recognized as occasionally being used as a political weapon to keep minorities from voting: if you can't pay the poll tax, you can't vote. Why is this important? Well, we all ready saw a poll tax be the demise of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady (Meryl Streep) but this merely reflects that the biggest tax in the history of this country has gone into effect, Obamacare, and, in the Wall Street Journal in 2012, "historian and author Dr. Paul Moreno argued that the requirement of all Americans to purchase health insurance or face a penalty could be construed as a direct tax that must be apportioned and thus unconstitutional. Chief Justice John Roberts rejected this reasoning and this rationale was not cited in any dissenting Justice's opinions" (Wikipedia, Poll Tax).
I'm not the one bringing this up, Magneto is.
And the reporter.

Why on earth would Magneto, as he seems to contend, be there on the grassy knoll to save Kennedy, and--if he is Magneto--why couldn't he? Why wasn't Magneto able to control the bullet to divert it from Kennedy altogether, as the testimony of the little girl clearly states she saw him physically controlling the bullet? When I was an undergraduate, my professor of Old Testament studies passed on one of the most valuable lessons I ever learned: the Bible answers all of our questions, if it doesn't, then we are asking the wrong question. The Bent Bullet Theory is a far cry from Holy Scripture, however, they have gone to great lengths to create this alternate universe so if the questions we are asking don't have answers, they must want us to search for the questions they have provided answers to, namely: is Magneto hiding from Mystique (and others) rather than being imprisoned by humans? We know from the article that he surrendered, had a show trial, and has destroyed several prison cells, and the final one is so strong, if there were a nuclear war, "Only the cockroaches and this guy (Magneto) would survive," so why--as the most dangerous man in the world--go voluntarily into prison for a crime he didn't commit when he could easily be out and bringing Mystique to justice? In the trailer, at 1:52, Magneto (Fassbender) draws Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) towards him,... oh, I would so hate to be her in that moment! Does what we see in the film above, and what we read at the website, and then see in the trailer, does all this fit in? OR, is Magneto harboring some terrible, evil plot while in his cell? If the film makers wanted us to believe that, I don't think they would have included the bit about Magneto telling one of his guards to go to the infirmary (the guard had too much iron in his blood) and surely, Magneto could have used that to help himself, couldn't he? That was a pure act of altruism, someone condemned to two life sentences, telling the guard keeping him there that he's sick and needs medical help,... this is all a deeper characterization for Magneto that we will be privy to going into the film and our knowledge will be rewarded, I am sure! By the way, the outfit Magneto wears in this shot is the same outfit he wears in at least two scenes in the trailer (posted at the end). The gray of his overcoat and neck scarf (like the one Gerry Lane [Brad Pitt] wears in World War Z?) suggests one of two possibilities: gray is the color of ashes, which pilgrims would wear as a sign of penance; is Magneto doing penance for his crime or a crime he aided (this fits another Ian McKellen character, Gandalf the Gray, from The Hobbit, who does symbolize the pilgrim)? On the other hand, gray is also the color of the novice, as the life the novice has left behind has been burned to ashes before starting their new life (in whatever vocation they are entering) so are we to somehow view Magneto as a kind of pilgrim in some way? The blue shirt Magneto wears suggests wisdom and depression, that he is going to be making some kind of "act of penance," possibly at the cost of Mystique (we will discuss why she is blue later because she is her own philosophical dilemma) in order to end a war before it starts. 
How is the reporter brining it up?
In the article at the Bent Bullet Theory, part of the web of conspiracy created by "the real JFK killer" (Mystique) is that Jack Ruby was injected with cancer cells in Parkland hospital (please recall, a film called Parkland about Kennedy's assassination has just been released) after shooting Oswald, and Ruby, Oswald and Kennedy all died at Parkland hospital. (PLEASE remember, this is a universe the film makers have gone to considerable trouble and expense to create in addition to X-Men Days Of Future Past; they are not saying there was actually a shape-shifter, this is all METAPHOR to express something that has to be expressed in today's society but can only be expressed through art; just so know one thinks I believe this stuff, this is just for the film). 
A normal bullet and the "bent bullet." The website makes a point of Magneto's hurried trial and how he was convicted upon circumstantial evidence. Why? Well, we have to admit, it certainly makes the government look bad, and Democrat president, Lyndon B Johnson, who called Magneto, "The most dangerous man in the world."  
Why should we care about all this?
What's the point?
Is this all an elaborate anti-Obamacare ploy? It could be, however, I think there is going to be a far greater political and cultural commentary offered by the film and the Bent Bullet Theory is a springboard for that. At least part of the purpose of all this is, is to create a violent conflict in the dichotomy between chaos theory and "evolutionary" theory. When we think of the mutants in the X-Men series, we tend to think of evolution (as roughly conceived by Darwin and mutilated at will by modern scientists still trying to make the unworkable work) and some kind of general "survival of the fittest" scenario when we mere humans are not the fittest. Chaos theory, on the other hand, deals with details--the tiny and insignificant is its area of expertise--and how details effect the larger picture (think of, roughly, the butterfly effect). So, what the Bent Bullet Theory presents us, is a tiny bullet on one hand, and a superior being to all other beings (Magneto) on the other; comparing this is like apples and oranges,.... or is it?
A scene like this, of the powerful Magneto being powerless and inactive, has to make us question what is going on. Has Magneto being imprisoned actually limited the harm and danger Mystique can accomplish by not having Magneto to blame for it? I did find a note from a commentator who said that, if Magneto has been in prison all this time, that meant the events of X-Men the Last Stand didn't take place. Again, the film makers promised us that any and all "inconsistencies" would be reconciled and put aright by Days Of Future Past. I can't help but think of another Fassbender film, Prometheus, when he plays a robot, David, but should we also consider Kahn (Benedict Cumberbatch) from Star Trek Into Darkness? Kahn was a human-created superior human, whereas Magneto naturally had the x-gene causing his powers. 
Honestly, we can't know until the film comes out, or until more teasers have been released, however, I think we have to think in terms of the very big and the very small and asking these questions now provides our minds with the critical thinking which will allow us to pick up on details later that we might have overlooked otherwise; to be perfectly honest with you, I think this film is going to reach to the greatest heights of art--philosophy and theology--and every second we spend thinking about the metaphor they are going to present to us will be well rewarded.
We see this painting (Liberty Leading the People by French artist Eugene Delacroix) in the trailer (at about 1:03, re-posted at the very end of this post) which Magneto (Fassbender) stands in front of while firing a gun. In the trailer, however, the little boy on the Liberty's left side holding the guns, has been moved to her right side, where a person looks up to her from their knees. Why? This is one of those paintings that is so famous, you learn about it in Modern Art Hist 101, being a celebration of the French Revolution. Having "inverted" the painting's formal arrangement begs the question: are we supposed to "invert" the film as well? Magneto wears the same outfit in this scene as he does in the black and white photo still of him above on the grassy knoll, supposedly when he's killing Kennedy. In the trailer, he holds a gun, just as the young boy behind him in the painting holds the gun. In the trailer, given that Magneto doesn't need a gun, just a bullet--or anything metal, for that matter--why does he bother to shoot a gun? To tie him in with the painting which is going to act as commentary on this scene and the events surrounding it. So, when we watch the film and that scene comes up, we know what to be looking for. 
What we can say, with absolute certainty, between the first trailer released of the upcoming film and this Bent Bullet Theory information provided to us, is that extreme emphasis is being placed upon the individual. Free will and consequences are themes we have seen in films, from Man Of Steel to Beasts Of the Southern Wild, Monsters University to Iron Man 3, and they are themes which are wholly incompatible with socialism (socialists contend that humans are animals not capable of making their own decisions, and--lacking free will--are too easily manipulated by advertisers and society, so they have to be indoctrinated in socialism to then start making decisions for the good of the state (read: self-sacrifice, like the sacrifice of the contestants in the arena of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire). But free will is one of those characteristics separating the human from the non-human, a theme which will be important in the upcoming film:
Fifty years ago was the assassination of Kennedy, and the question is, knowing that Trask is the manufacturer of the materials used in Magneto's cell, are they--like the artificial constraint used on Wolverine's heart (Hugh Jackman) in Wolverine--a means for artificially maintaining that which should not be maintained? The Bent Bullet Theory, above all, qualifies as a "conspiracy theory," and will probably make us question if other "conspiracy theories" are also just conspiracy theories.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

A most blessed and joyous Thanksgiving to you and yours!
In the upcoming year, may Our Lord cause His glorious face to shine its Light upon you and all you love, and bring you peace and prosperity, according to the promises He has made His people. May you fulfill your destiny everyday of your life and always walk in the light of knowledge, wisdom and love. May God bless you today, and everyday!
Amen!
P.S.--I couldn't put up a post without something about the movies! If you and your family love films half as much as my family does, you might want to check out the People's Choice Awards for 2014 and vote for your favorites! There are some pretty close calls: did I like Iron Man 3 better than Star Trek Into Darkness? Um,....

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Maleficent Discussion & The Hunger Games Catching Fire

I thought when I published the updated Maleficent discussion, it would load here, instead, it loaded where I originally had it; I have re-worked a number of themes significantly, so please click here to go to Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie. I am on my way now to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which I would rather not, as you know, however, if you haven't seen it yet, and you would like to read the synopsis before heading into the film, the entire plot is here, if you are like me and want to know what is going to happen.. I'm still getting stuff uploaded on the new laptop, and getting used to it, but it's a great computer, so I am really happy to have it! Keep warm!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Happy, Happy!

I got my new laptop! FINALLY! Sorry about the delays! I am getting it set-up! So grateful! Thank you for all your prayers!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What's Wrong With Noah? Aronofsky's Epic Socialist Manifesto, Or, Trailer #1

Let's start out this discussion by reviewing the trailer for Pompeii from about 2 months ago; please note, at 0:29-0:37, the figure has, on their shoulder, an eagle, the symbol of America, and the next figure has their right hand over their heart, the way we do when we pledge our Allegiance to the American flag:
Here is the trailer for Darren Aronofsky's Noah which was just released:
And here is, released at about the same time a day ago, just a slightly different trailer but with some additional imagery:
"It begins," Russell Crowe's Noah says, and we have heard "this" at least two other times: in Star Trek Into Darkness, Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) asks Spock, "Shall we begin?" in the exchange of his crew for the bombs Spock has planted, and in Thor the Dark World, Loki asks Thor, after Thor has come to Loki for help, "When do we start?" We might also add the tagline for Maleficent posters: "Evil has a beginning." With Keanu Reeves' upcoming release 47 Ronin, one of the samurai, after gathering those who are going to fight against the evil that has taken over their land, says, "Now, the time has come," which is similar but I think we need to wait to discuss that one.
What does this mean?
Where have we seen this poster before? World War Z: Brad Pitt's Gerry Lane peering out of a helicopter with his back to the viewer, scanning a "sea" of zombies, is not much different than Noah with his back to us scanning the sea of destructive water (I would put up a side-by-side comparison, however, I don't have access to Photoshop, it was on my laptop, sorry). Noah standing on the rock, holding the spear, looking at the crashing waters, is probably meant to invoke the image to Jewish and Christian viewers of Moses standing on the rock at the shore of the Red Sea, stretching out his staff to SAVE the people from the raging flood, whereas Aronofsky's Noah is going to let everyone die. Regrettably, one of the files on the stolen laptop that is now lost to me forever, is the list of topics and corresponding films: so under my topic of floods and water, I took notes to remind me of moments in films like Skyfall when water plays an important role in the film (towards the end, before M dies, when Bond goes under the icy water and kills the bad guy, then goes into the chapel). So I have to go off memory rather than notes, I do apologize for the sketchiness of this commentary. Another important moment we can recall from water and death is Olympus Has Fallen when the president (Aaron Eckhart) and first lady (Ashley Judd) are en route to a Christmas party, the car crashes and the first lady plunges to her death in the icy water below; likewise, in The Descendants (George Clooney) his wife is put into a coma during a boating race on the water. Why is this important? It's a recurring image that our analysis reveals is being used by both sides--the socialists and the capitalists--to communicate their beliefs about what the other is doing. For capitalists, the deadly "flood waters" came around 2008 when the Lehmann Brothers and Bernie Madoff, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae (from whom Senator Obama received tons of money to engineer legislation to cause their collapse, as reported by the Canadian press) flooded the markets with worthless assets and mortgages that never should have happened, and then stimulus money began artificially flooding the market due to Democrat legislation and now food stamps, Obama phones and unemployed have flooded the markets. For capitalists, these are the sings from the heavens that we are being destroyed. Socialists, on the other hand, look at these troubles and devastations as "good things" because they want the end of America and the beginning of the "nanny-state" when politicians decide what people do and don't need. Noah is not much different than World War Z--recall the part in the trailer when Noah says that people will come and they will be desperate, and he has to fight them off to keep them from overtaking the ark, that's pretty much a portrayal of a "zombie apocalypse"--and like next year's film release Pompeii which correlates the end of the tragic city with the demise of the US. In films like Ender's Game, Iron Man 3, X-Men Days Of Future Past, Star Trek Into Darkness, Men In Black III, Man Of Steel, Les Miserables, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, Thor the Dark World, the world is worth fighting for and ruin is something to be feared, the preservation of society and freedom is worth fighting and dying for; films like World War Z, Noah, Pompeii, The Croods, The Great Gatsby and Gravity say, "Let America die" because socialism and the New World Order can't live unless capitalism and democracy dies.
Redundancy is an important tool in communication (we are going to only site a specific item here, but there is much more to this discussion). When we see something over and over and over again, that becomes redundant and it can brainwash us into accepting whatever it is that is being repeated; on the other hand, it can also make us see a pattern where we didn't see one before, like the "beginning" of evil, a starting point, a specific moment in time which we should be made aware of; without the redundancies listed in the paragraph above,  it's likely we would miss this topic of discussion.
So, what's to be discussed?
Ray Winstone plays the villain of the film, Tubal-cain who is mentioned in the Bible as being the first smith (or "chemist" in some translations), the first to fashion artifices from bronze and iron, but is not connected to Noah in the book of Genesis where the Flood story is recounted, which is fine: there has to be artistic license allowed in the interpretation of stories and the translation from print to film; however, it provides a real glimpse into the real motivations for making the film. Of all the figures of Genesis Aronofsky could have incorporated into the story--or just made up someone, like the Emma Watson character who is Noah's adoptive daughter (no, Noah didn't have an adopted daughter, but that isn't important to Aronofsky)--Tubal-cain is a capitalist, he makes things, he is a skilled worker, he provides a service and items that others cannot so he trades and has obviously become powerful in the community and is a symbol of progress and civilization. We know there is a fallen angel in the story and, from his tweets, Aronofsky has incorporated the story of the giants before Noah. Where else have we seen giants? Jack the Giant Slayer, when the giants were the "giants of society," the 1% who live above the rest of us. In the Bible, it was the giants who descended from the fallen angels mating with the mortal women who taught men skills they would not have learned otherwise, skills like blacksmithing (the angels are giants who have 6 arms in the film). These skill sets led to skilled artisans who formed a class that started capitalism, so if Tubal-cain is a part of this, that's clearly what Aronofsky wants to attack as being "unworthy" to be saved when Obama's flooding of American society happens and only a few "loyal to the fuhrer" will be saved.
There have probably always been "disaster" films, whether on a small scale (like a building engulfed in flames and a small group of people being threatened, or an international threat where the hero must save the woman he loves--symbolic of the "motherland"/ the future--and the world) but the Obama legacy highlighted by the art of our day is doom and gloom: have there ever been so many films racing to describe to audiences the end of the world, the end of days? Obama means the end of the world as we know it, but his supporters see it one way and conservatives like myself see it in a very different way even though it's the same thing; the point being, all of us know it "started" in 2008 when he took the White House and started issuing executive orders. The difference is, socialists want this beginning, this "starting" to their world order, whereas conservatives dread it, which is why socialists so happily announce, "It's started," is because they believe their time has come to destroy the country, the world, and humanity with it.

Two points need to be made: first,  artistic license, and, secondly, the time period.  Artistic license is necessary in all mediums and genres of art: artists have got to be allowed to interpret and stretch things and, we the audience, in willingly suspending our disbelief when we sit down to watch a film, grant that license in exchange for the pleasure, entertainment, escape, education, etc., we hope the film/art will provide. So, in other words, I don't expect a slavish interpretation to the meager Genesis story, however, there is a difference between license and lying, and when someone has taken a biblical subject and intentionally turned that subject against even the most basic precepts of religion, that qualifies as a lie, which is exactly what has happened with Noah. Regarding the second point: Emma Watson did an interview in which she expressed how there wasn't any real time-period attached to the film: although it takes place in ancient times, Watson says you get the feeling it could even happen in the future because of the way the sets are designed, which is something like what we saw with the utterly confusing Cloud Atlas. Watson's character in the film is an adopted daughter and SPOILER ALERT at the end of the film, Noah tries to kill twin daughters who have been born so the world won't be re-populated and there won't be global warming. Women, in other words, don't fare well in the film, and we could say that's indicated by the pants Watson wears in the scene above: pants were worn in ancient times, however, pants were not worn by women until the 20th century, and then, they were still frowned upon, meaning, we will probably see Watson's character exhibiting more masculine--therefore, barren or fruitless--qualities since women are so terrible (being a woman myself, I think I will stay a conservative Catholic).
Another element repeated in both the Noah trailers and Pompeii is that of "desolation," just as we have seen in The Hobbit: the Desolation Of Smaug, The Lone Ranger (the nothingness Tonto walks into at the end, leaving behind civilization), Pompeii, Iron Man 3 (Tony pretty much loses everything), Thor Dark World (Asgard is almost destroyed), Skyfall (Bond "dies" and MI6 is bombed and blown to smithereens), World War Z and the end of the world, and others. What is the difference between Iron Man 3 incorporating desolation and Noah?
Anthony Hopkins plays Methuselah, the oldest person who has ever lived and Noah's grandfather who dies seven days before the start of the Flood. Why does Noah go to him after he has these dreams? It is, quite simply, another re-writing of history and, specifically, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all three religions who adhere to this history. In Noah, Methuselah--according to sources who have read the script--tells Noah that God is going to destroy the world because man destroyed the world. IF this were the only sentence that was not in-line with religious teaching, JUST THIS ONE SENTENCE would be enough for me, personally, to condemn the film: man was created in God's image, not the world, therefore the world was created for man, man was not created for the world. This topsy-turvy "logic" is what Aronofsky would have you to believe, so much so, in fact, that it justifies the extinction of humanity at humanity's own  hand (Noah sacrificing the two girls). There have been charges of paganism against the film, and this one line sufficiently proves it: in reversing the role of the importance in the balance of the earth and humanity, by making the earth more important than humanity, rather than humanity more important than the earth, they have essentially erased God from the equation EVEN AS they maintain that these visions come from God. The reason is: a human being has an immortal soul that will continue throughout eternity, made in God's Own Image; the earth, on the other hand, is not created in God's image, nor is it eternal, it had a moment of beginning and it will someday end; God did, however, make the earth and its resources a gift to man to be good stewards of the gift for ourselves, our neighbors and future generations. There is NOT TEACHING in any branch of Christianity, or any of the other religions that I know of, which encourages irresponsible or damaging abuse of nature and the earth; when that happens, most people agree, that is a violation of society's laws and those people/corporations should be punished. In one scene, I understand one of Noah's sons accidentally kills a lizard, thereby, ending that species because only two of them had been saved, and Noah violently reprimands the son for it, putting an animal above the human, putting the perishable above that which is eternal. We're not done with this topic, please see below for more.  
The end result.
Specifically, it has to be detailed, the end result in the soul. For conservatives, like myself, desolation isn't good in and of itself, but good can come from it in that when we face trials and difficulties in our life and circumstances, we have to become stronger as we are being purged of that which is weak within us (Captain Kirk's "resurrection" in Star Trek Into Darkness is a perfect example or, in the trailer for 47 Ronin, one of the warriors asks Keanu Reeves' character where he learned to fight like that, and he responds, "Demons"). For liberals, desolation and ruin is a weapon to be used to destroy the power base that keeps them from being able to take over, as with Malekeith destroying Asgard in Thor the Dark World, because if Odin and Thor are powerful, they can stop him more easily; we can see this same strategy employed by Obama in accumulating a $70 trillion dollar debt, a part-time work force and the ridiculous Obamacare package that is going to keep people from getting medicine and health services they need. So, rather than Iron Man's Tony Stark being "built up" and becoming a stronger man, Noah will show us the desolation of the earth so only a few survive who are all like-minded (totally wiping out freedom of speech and diversity, because if you don't stand with them, you are against them and they will destroy you for that). Noah is a case of self-extinction which has nothing to do with Judaism or Christianity.
There is an important anti-Christian angle from which we need to consider this--and yes, it's relevant because Christians are the primary audience film makers want to target to make their +$130 million expenditure back: the role of prophet. Noah, with all his faults, was still a prophet; likewise, even though he was a prophet, he still had faults. This has two repercussions. First, as we discussed in The Passion Of the Christ, the reason certain things happen in Jesus' Life and Death is to demonstrate that He is the Messiah, the One who could do what none of the prophets could do, which includes Noah. Noah saved animals from the Flood, not because the animals are more important than humans, but because Noah was not righteous enough to save humanity, only Christ is righteous enough to save humanity from the Flood of Sin, which He did upon the Cross for the Bark of Peter (the Church that teaches Christ's Wisdom) which replaces the ark of Noah and into which all who will be saved have entered so they will not be swallowed up by the world and the flood of sin. Likewise, Moses, whom this poster invokes as discussed under this image at the top of the page, was a precursor to Christ because Moses stretched out his arms and a man stood on either side to hold his arms up so the waves would be parted and the children of Israel could pass through the Red Sea on dry land; Christ had the Holy Spirit holding His Hands up to the Cross so that all who want to escape the destruction of their sins can pass over to Him (the "New Feast of the Pass Over"). We know that the "drunkenness of Noah" is going to play into the film's events, because that's one of the aspects of the story Aronofsky likes and admires about Noah, but--again--this is an example of Aronofsky choosing the bad and not the good because he lacks wisdom. The story of Noah's drunkenness is important because it shows us--not that Noah was a sinner--but, again, why Noah was insufficient to be the Messiah we have in Christ Jesus: it's easier to take than to give, and in this case, Noah took the wine and too much of it, but Jesus gives us Himself Transubstantiated Wine that is His Blood through which we receive Salvation and Redemption. When Noah's sons see him naked, it foreshadows Christ's nakedness upon the Cross; the son Ham seeing his father's nakedness is mocking his father, whereas the other two sons respectfully clothing their father foreshadows the disrespectful guards at the foot of the Cross who would draw lots for Jesus' cloak to take it from Him (for more on how different prophets foreshadowed the Labors of Christ, please see The Passion Of Christ & the History Of Salvation). Noah's tagline, "The end of the world,... is just the beginning," is therefore meant to communicate to us that Noah is the founder of the world, not God (another important point is when Christ tells the Apostles, "I make all things new again," that, too, was a reference to the "recreated" world into which Noah and his family settled, but the better world, not just of flora and fauna, but of Salvation and Redemption).
Noah, much like The Conjuring, is a politically motivated film providing a thin veil of religion to trick us into accepting the religion of the state. Don't forget Cloud Atlas, that terrible film which paraded "Pitch" (a satan figure) and some little girl that was supposed to be a messiah figure, to lead Christians away from God and towards the state enshrined as Mother Earth. Please recall, the (somewhat distorted) maxim of Karl Marx: "Religion is the opium of the people," and. therefore, religion must be abolished; but we must remember that opium is the religion of the state (drug use, alcoholism, sex, birth control pills, abortion, "free" healthcare, etc.) and we have to choose which we are going to embrace. We are not without real options, as the History channel's Bible series is being made into a film focusing on the Resurrection of Jesus, and coming out in February (I believe) and this new film Heaven Is For Real, but, it could also be titled, I Am For Real because it reminds us of God-within-us:
UPDATE TO THIS POST, MARCH 1, 2014: the studios have statement, or "disclaimer," telling potential film-goers that the film uses artistic license, and is inspired by the story of Noah, and they think it contains the essence of the Biblical account. Well,... no. Artistic license does exist, and it needs to be permitted by audiences, but there is a difference between "artistic license" and propaganda, propaganda being the destruction of humanity, and trying to convince us it's a good thing. We will always be tempted with false gods, sometimes the temptation will be stronger than at other times, and one of those times is now. Brian Godawa has read the script and written up a full, pro-Christian analysis of the film, Darren Aronofsky's Noah: Environmentalist Wacko with which I am in total agreement, so if you doubt what I say, please, click on his article and at least glance over it.
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The Fine Art Diner