Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Opening This Week: The Dark Tower, Detroit, Wind River & What Happened To Monday?

A shot like this is nearly always a good idea; why? It provides us with a tangible expression of what is happening to the character, and yet, it's still abstract, so we are able to "feed it" with our own emotions, our own experiences and use a shot like this to strengthen our bond to the character(s). Obviously, it's a barren desert, there is nothing but rocks and mountains. The hero of the film, young Jake Chambers, has unknowingly entered this desolation. As a young man, Jake symbolizes the future (youth) of the economy (male, the active member of society), and it's bleak. Understanding Jake as the future of the economy is re-enforced by part of the story taking place in New York City, which is the financial capital of the world. I hope, but I am in no way certain, that the film makers will want to pose the question to audience members: would you rather live in this world (pictured above) where the progressives do away with technology and the free market, or the world of capitalism, where there is the free market and technology?
Staying on this same note, but a different key, any kind of desert or wasteland scene, including snowy wastelands (which we will address in a moment with Wind River) also operate on a spiritual level: there are demons in the wasteland, yes, but it's impossible for them to hide here. You have been stripped of everything you love and hold dear to your heart, so they can't mimic being a part of you, they show their ugly face and you battle them until they win or you do; it isn't a fight to the death, it's a fight to eternal death. Every rock you see in the image above is a sin; every hill is a sin, every mountain is sin. That is why the holy life is a life dedicated to overcoming all of our imperfections, so we don't multiply our sins because the image we see above, is a soul devoid of God's Grace, there is none of God's own Life in this wasteland. When saints "go into the desert to do battle," their desert looks much like this one, however, they have the angel of the Lord protecting them and aiding them in discernment so they can be victorious; a sinner in a landscape such as this (an unrepentant sinner) is in the desolation of their very soul: their sins have destroyed the Grace of God within themselves and there is nothing but a barren wasteland. So, what does your soul look like?
On a different note, The Dark Tower weaves all of King's stories together, this being their place of origin, and so we are going to see the "birthplace" of Pennywise the Clown from It, and a photo of the Overlook Hotel from The Shining, among other references. I haven't read any of King's works, so I will not be able to pick up very many, if any at all. This is called the "informed reader," the film makers have targeted fans of King's because they are in the know and will be able to catch references that people like myself who are not "in the know" won't be able to.
Traditionally, August isn't that great of a month for films: with kids getting ready to go back to school, audiences are taking vacations or enjoying the last days outside by the pool instead of being in the dark theaters, so with August, the "summer block-buster season" is theoretically over. Three films open this week: The Dark Tower (the Stephen King adaptation), Detroit and Wind River. If it opens in my area, and I was only going to pick one of these three films to see this weekend, it would be Detroit. Why:
Two words: Kathryn Bigelow.
As usual, while Detroit takes place in 1967, it's not a historical film; they never are, because they can't be. Regardless of how many times you hear a film maker say, 'We really studied the history and tried to make it as authentic as possible," there is ALWAYS, ALWAYS artistic interpretations taking place; for example, the very "highlighting" of that topic/subject matter being brought into the public arena of discourse at this specific time (the very fact that Bigelow made a film about the Detroit riots is and of itself an artistic interpretation because she's taking a specific moment and event from the historical record and re-creating it in today's world; why? Because of all the rioting Liberals have been doing the past couple of years). Even if a film maker has an exactly accurate dialogue that took place between one or more real people, and incorporates that very same dialogue into the film, the director chooses how that dialogue is delivered and how the characters react to it, as well as the greater context around that dialogue.
So, how do I think this film will play out? Remember, if you will, that Zero Dark Thirty, we saw a news conference with Barack Hussein Obama, but he was no where to be seen or heard during the actual attack on the compound where bin Laden was hiding; this is probably what cost the film, and Bigelow, their deserved big wins at the Oscars. Had they given Obama "air time" and made him look like an active participant, rather than just taking credit for it the morning after, Bigelow would have won the second Oscar for Best Director and the movie Best Film. So, Detroit: the film will probably start where, historically, it is said to have started: a blind pig. "Blind pig" is slang for an illegal bar, and that "blind pig" was the basis for a large party being raided by the Detroit police. That's it. Some people were having a welcome home party for their returning Vietnam War veterans, and they had an illegal bar at this party; and they were black. As the officers were arresting party-goers, more black people became upset,.... because the hosts did something illegal? No, because the police did their job in carrying out the law, so that's when the riots broke out, because the hosts of the party didn't have to have an illegal bar, but they chose to have an illegal bar, and rather than face the consequences of their terrible decisions that broke the law, they blamed society and began looting and setting fires, which ended with several dead people and even more seriously wounded. Riots, accomplish nothing. Sure, bad things happened after that, but had the riots never started--because there was no just cause for them to have started--none of the other bad things would have happened, so they really brought it down on themselves. What is so sad is, while many people learned a valuable lesson, so, too, did Democratic leaders: make them riot, and then they will really feel like victims, and they will really depend upon us to save them, because that kind of thing is still going on today.
When Bigelow does something, she goes all in: The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty are not only to her credit, but all of cinema has been enhanced because of the work she did on those two films. I am confident that an exceedingly controversial topic like the riots of 1967 will be expertly handled and most likely from a conservative standpoint to remind audiences why Detroit of today is the way it is: because of how it was in 1967 and because things haven't changed. By the trailers that have been released, it is likely to turn off conservatives, however, but will probably draw in Liberals, like what we saw with the Ghostbusters reboot (Melissa McCarthy).
At first glance, you probably don't see the figure of Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) on the left side of the screen dressed in his white hunting suit. Sure, there are trees, but there is also a ton of snow, and it would be very difficult for anyone to survive on their own in this wilderness without help, just like the desert at the top, even though this is a different type of wilderness, a different type of desert. How? In the desert scene above, there is no water; water is necessary for reflection because we cannot properly see ourselves unless God grants us the Grace to do so; snow is water solidified, so the reflections we have (water) have gone from being observations to something we have acted upon or can act upon. As we said above, devils can't hide in the desert, there is nowhere for them to hide, and Lambert is a hunter, literally, so he's hunting down these demons. If you notice, there is a really cloudy sky, and clouds, being made of vapor, are also water, and when there are clouds or fog, it suggests that things have become blurry and uncertain, the character(s) being doubtful about what to think or how to follow up on what they have learned. What about the trees? Trees symbolize the cross, and because these are evergreens, we know that Lambert has made many sacrifices in his life, so he's going to be painted as being a good guy who has been through a lot, and his virtues are going to be what gets him through the murder investigation he has in this film. "Lambert" is an interesting name, for one, because it reminds me of the cartoon, Lambert the Sheepish Lion (you can both watch the original cartoon at this link, as well as get my analysis). Even without the reference to Lambert, the "lamb" parts suggests that Cory is a "lamb at his core." What about Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen)? "Banner" invokes Dr. Bruce Banner, aka, The Hulk, from The Avengers, and because both Renner and Olsen also portray Avenger characters, it's not a leap of the imagination to see that the rookie FBI agent starts out as a "Plain Jane," but transforms into The Hunk (Banner) by the end of the film, undergoing the necessary evolution to protect herself and carry out justice; the question is, how will "justice" be defined? That' also the question Detroit will be asking of us. 
I'm quite interested to see Wind River, but it appears the film will have a slightly more limited release than The Dark Tower or Detroit (which is limited release as well, so if it's not playing at your local theater this week, check back with them over the next month, because there is a good chance it will make its way there). It's highly likely--although not definite--that the film will be on the liberal side; Taylor Sheridan, writer of Sicario and Hell Or High Water, makes his directorial debut with Wind River,.... it's likely that Wind River is going to be liberal (they wanted Chris Pine to play the lead, but after he dropped out, it went to Jeremy Renner; Pine has become Hollywood's biggest pantie-waists, next to Armie Hammer), but,... we'll see. Earlier, we looked at the first trailer for What Happened to Monday? and the Netflix drama has added a second trailer, with the announcement that it will be released on Netflix on August 18; I might just have to subscribe to Netflix again to watch this one!
Of course, the point is, what is the point in population control, when the population remaining lives in fear and slavery? "What happens to one of you, happens to you all," and if that isn't a case for lack of individuality, I don't know what is. Can you imagine that what happens to your co-workers, with the bad decisions that they make, also happens to you, and you have to adjust your life based on their bad decisions? Or they get to enjoy the promotion you earned because of your good decisions? Yea, socialism: I hate it.  So, to make a long story even longer, I know I will be posting this weekend, I just have no idea what I am going to be seeing.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner