Thursday, December 21, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Dear Readers,
A most blessed and joyous Christmas to you all!

Please know, I have every intention of returning to the blog, however, this blog is also dedicated to Our Lord, and He Wills what He does, rarely with our understanding of why, including my current illness which has completely drained me of any and all energy. Yet it is in these times, most of all, we are meant to give Him glory, for He does not sow the seeds of discord, but He expects to reap the harvest of our faith and trust. I have every intention of returning as soon as possible. Truly.

I thank you with all my heart that you continue to check to see if I have posted anything, in spite of there being no proof of life, and for the many, many prayers I have received for my health from you all. With all my heart, thank you. I sincerely hope your hearts are filled with Christmas joy and peace, as well as all you love! Merry Christmas!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

TRAILER: The Avengers Infinity War Part 1

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

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Justice League Opens This Weekend,....

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

Friday, November 10, 2017

Murder On the Orient Express Trailer #2

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

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Blessed All Saints Day To You

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

Monday, September 25, 2017

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

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

Monday, September 11, 2017

IT: Pro-Socialist

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

Thursday, September 7, 2017

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

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