Meaning and Means

I can understand, after seeing All The Money In The World, how Director Ridley Scott could reshoot the Kevin Spacey scenes, but I’m mixed after learning why and how.

This crime thriller movie, which is based upon John Pearson’s (1995) book Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty, narrates Getty’s refusal to pay the ransom demands of his grandson’s kidnappers in 1973. Getty relents in the move only after he is criticized by his employee Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg), a former CIA operative, when his grandson’s severed ear is sent to a newspaper. Even so, Getty is only willing to pay the amount that he can claim as tax deductible, and he insists that his former daughter-in-law Gail Harris (Michelle Williams) must relinquish her custody rights of his grandchildren, whom he hardly knew.  Continue reading “Meaning and Means”

Just Around The Corner

Two movies have excited me since I saw them. The first is Lady Bird, which is a sweetly sad story about the love between a mother and a daughter who is searching for her identity. The other is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which is an unexpectedly inspiring story about the grit of a woman who refuses to succumb to tragedy. Continue reading “Just Around The Corner”

Sculptors As Storytellers

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I always thought that sculptures were more like snapshots, but I learned, after exploring the Rodin exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, these art works can embody stories.

On one wall is a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson, who claimed that people were weary, in 1886, of “statutes that say nothing” and that Auguste Rodin offered statutes “that live and speak, and speak things worth uttering,” which was clearly evident in this exhibit. These selections by the AIC from its own and private collections showed me how sculpture can, in the serpentine twists, for example, of Eve’s body, evoke and create context. In so doing, it can situate these artworks in the world of storytelling and other forms of meaning-making.  Continue reading “Sculptors As Storytellers”

Obvious

I had been wanting to see Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks (1942) for some time when I finally stopped at the Art Institute of Chicago. I made my way to the back and then up the stairs where I found this painting. I stood before it, gazing and wondering, intrigued by the missing doorways and interpersonal spaces, as well as the setting, colors, and light. Once I had my fill, I left the gallery and wandered toward the stairs when my eye snagged on another painting. Continue reading “Obvious”

Not My Mother

Some critics are trying to imbue mother! with significance, but these critics seem to disagree on what this significance is.

Mother! is the new movie written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, who also directed The Wrestler (2008) and Black Swan (2010). In his latest movie, a blocked poet (Javier Bardem) and his unnamed wife (Jennifer Lawrence) live in his home that she has been restoring after a destructive fire. A dying doctor (Ed Harris) and later his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) and their sons appear, and their fight over a revised will is the beginning of a narrative disintegration that is inexplicably, and unsatisfyingly, explained in the final scenes.

Continue reading “Not My Mother”