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The Daily Flower


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Matt Reeves’ The Batman was an interesting interpretation of the character and world. However, all in all, the film as a whole did not leave much of an impact. The opening showed so much promise but I think it unfortunately just went downhill from there. The biggest takeaway I get from this film is that the director is clearly skilled at visual directing. The visuals and shots are great and perfect. In that respect, the film is a masterpiece. However, it is in the actual dialogue and plot where the film disappoints. It’s an overall 6 to 7 out of 10 whereas something like Eyes Wide Shut is a 10.


Spoilers:


Something that I adored from the very beginning was the opening scene. It was just perfect and sets the tone perfectly. Because we’re looking through this parascope and we don’t even know what we’re looking at. We see this red figure and I originally thought that this is the killer. But it’s just a child in a Halloween costume. All in all, it was done brilliantly, and the Ave Maria in the back was great. The first kill by the Riddler is wonderfully done, as it maintains this creepy eerie feeling. And the first description of the city’s view on Batman was also masterfully done, explaining how criminals are fearful that he’s always lurking in the shadows. However, the film just goes downhill from there.


I wish this film was darker. And there are several reasons why this film was not as dark as it could have been. First of all, I wish that Batman was a more mature Batman. There are many scenes of police officers not trusting the “Bat freak” and a part of me is just bored by that now. We’ve seen these scenes so many times already. “Hey Gordon, you’re going to let this Bat freak into our crime scene?” We know how these scenes play out. Now the director may have personally wanted to explore a younger Batman, which is fine. The only problem is that it takes away from what should be a macabre plot. The director clearly wants to tell this grisly murder story, and I think these scenes of Batman having to argue with Alfred or police officers just takes away from the story. Because I think with such a mature and interesting premise with this deranged but intelligent murderer, it would have been much more interesting to see this film as some noire crime thriller.


The film is promoted on the fact that Batman is a detective, but he does no detective work in the film. This is the problem. And this is why I think the film could have benefitted from cutting out parts that we’ve already seen. Batman barely does any actual crime solving; I wouldn’t even say he’s portrayed as intelligent. It’s mostly just him being led by circumstance from point A to B to then fight more mobsters. Of course, it’s not easy to write an interesting murder story with a clever villain, which is why Se7en is actually quite an admirable achievement.


This leads into my critique on the Riddler. In the first scene we see him, he is perfect. Unspeaking. Lurking. Terrifying. But after that, they just make him a loser. Literally. I think this harmed the film so much, because he completely deflated any tension whenever he would do his “deranged screams.” In my opinion, he talks way too much. I also personally just find this whole story of “exposing the corruption of the city” a tired plot idea. It’s not as though it can’t be done. I wish it was done smarter then, because Riddler does not exude this mad genius air, as he should. Instead, he comes across as some loser who wants to just lash out. I understand that that may have been the point but even so, that’s a bad route to take in my opinion. I think the film would have been so much more interesting if the Riddler was more like Zodiac. His costume is already there. And also, the actual Riddler himself, without the mask, looks much too unthreatening. And it takes away from the film, because you actually can’t stop laughing, especially when he starts to sing Ave Maria.


Another odd choice in terms of the story is that the Riddler, after going on about how he hates the corruption in Gotham, goes on to flood the entire city, which likely killed at least hundreds of innocents, or at least could have. This leads into my critique of how the film has muddled messaging, which the film then tries to correct through much narration in the end, narration that literally spells out the moral of the story. I don’t really know what the film is trying to say. And not all films even have to say anything. But this one clearly wanted to, which, in my opinion, was unnecessary. If this film was a solid crime thriller with a demented killer and a hardened serious, grim Batman chasing him, the film would have been great. But I think it has too much action and not enough of an actual story. The characters are not that interesting. And the villain is not that clever.


The director shows a lot of promise though. He clearly knows how to build scenes and situations. He knows how to build an atmosphere. So he is brilliant at that. I guess my big suggestion would be to just go further with the darkness and seriousness, if you’re already wanting to go there.

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Eyes Wide Shut is my favourite film. It was directed by Stanley Kubrick, and it was his last film. To me, Eyes Wide Shut has been like a well of never ending inspiration and feeling. The interesting thing is that I knew all about the film even before I actually saw it, and yet it still affected me. In the film, Kubrick tackles the subject of lust, through the character of Bill Harford. Bill is a wealthy doctor living in New York with his wife and daughter. His life is normal enough but he eventually is set off on an odyssey where he learns an important lesson on lust, or doesn’t, depending on how you look at it. The story has many unique shots and circumstances and will be unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Something I especially appreciate is the “dreamlike smear” quality of the film. It is set during Christmas time, so Kubrick makes use of all the festive lights, and shoots it in a way so that all the lights kind of “blur” the screen, making the final shots very smooth, soft, and warm. The film feels very personal, as opposed to something like The Shining which was definitely more grand. If you are looking for a great experience and a film that shows the possibilities of the art form, Eyes Wide Shut is one to check out.



Spoilers (some for The Shining as well):


Some call this film nothing more than a simple disappointing film not really about anything that extraordinary. But I disagree. Something I find genius is that the film was marketed on the hype that fans would be able to see Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman be intimate, thinking that Eyes Wide Shut would just be a very thrilling, rousing film. But Kubrick delivers the utter opposite. Maybe the first 15 minutes are like that, but after Tom Cruise receives the revelation from his wife about the naval officer, the illusion of the allure of lust is broken. And the film just gets dark. All the time leading up to the most breathtaking scene in the film, the ritual. It is just directed so well. The cuts, the lead-up, and the actual choreography all culminate in this scene that just fixates your eyes and mind. It feels like some revelatory awakening, as now we are seeing what lust really is. Perhaps, a religious person would find this scene more interesting than someone who isn’t, but nonetheless these kinds of things are just so fascinating. When you look into what the chant is actually saying, it is even more interesting. And then Bill is promptly kicked out after being discovered, in such a tense and captivating scene. The next day is the aftermath of all his escapades, with one revealed tragedy after another. He eventually finds out that his adventures have resulted in the death of another human being. At the end, asking his wife for some advice after all these crazy events, she simply suggests sex.


The film is so personal and simple, and yet it touches on such large themes as lust and sin, which I absolutely love. I could go on and on about this film but I already have in many other places and times. Despite all of the film’s darkness, I agree with Kidman when she says that the film is ultimately a hopeful film. At the end of the film, we are not filled with dread, as we might be after seeing The Shining. After The Shining, you just feel horrible because you just think about what Wendy and Danny went through, and how the last time we see them, they’re going off alone in the snowcat into the dark blizzard. We don’t really know if they even survive. Perhaps this is why Kubrick decided to cut the hospital scene with Wendy and Danny, to add to the film’s misery. An interesting note by the way is that in the last shot of The Shining, Jack’s arms are posed like how Baphomet, the pagan deity, is depicted. I don’t think this is a stretch as Kubrick is clearly interested in religious themes, as is evident in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Anyways, despite the dire events Bill is witness to, the film ends up being kind of positive in the end. I don’t really know how he did it, because if handled by a less experienced director, the film could’ve just ended up being miserable all throughout due to the plot. I think one aspect of it could be the personal quality of the film. It is a very warm film all throughout. There is no crazy acting like Jack Nicholson; rather stripped down and real, but also fantastical enough so that it is an engaging film. I think another aspect of the positiveness of the film is the fact that the viewer learns something positive after watching the film, along with the characters.


I would have just now compared Eyes Wide Shut to The Shining and argue that the viewer doesn’t really learn a lesson after seeing The Shining but does after Eyes Wide Shut, but I disagree with that now. The Shining does differ, however, with Eyes Wide Shut in one way. The Shining teaches one about the dangers of laziness and neglect, but through a negative medium, by showing the extreme horror of what happens when not being considerate. Eyes Wide Shut on the other hand is not as scary or dreadful, instead being a kind of pleasant and calm journey. A journey leading up to an ending that just hits you. Eyes Wide Shut is an immensely interesting film and I think it only gets more interesting when considering each and every part of it.

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Entertainment has now washed over us in such a way where our lives have become more and more revolved around seeking it. It’s as though entertainment has become our religion. However, I’d argue that we don’t consciously make entertainment our religion; rather, we have unconsciously given it that status. We’ve been sucked down into the vortex of entertainment, which, with all its forceful winds and gushes of water, has numbed our brains, keeping us unconscious and trapped within.


Our lives have become about nothing. We now spend our time dancing on TikTok, watching movies, watching YouTube videos about celebrities, etc. We now patiently await for new video games, new episodes for our favourite tv shows, new albums from a rapper, etc. All of this stuff is slowly becoming the bedrock of our existence. Entertainment has become our religion. We even carry out our own kinds of religious rituals. We now ritually take pictures of our food, ritually make Instagram stories if we go somewhere nice, ritually take selfies, etc. These fleeting pleasures have taken the focal point in our minds, where we now think of nothing else other than how to further these fleeting pleasures. We have become more small-minded and so, we have started to value these smaller things. We now value bodily pleasure over spiritual pleasure.


Religion and belief in God is fading, and even some who claim to believe in God are slowly inching further and further away, even if they still claim that they are a believer. But I don’t think that the rise of atheism is due to the fact that people are now consciously deciding that they don’t believe in God. Rather, religion has now become a topic that we don’t even really pay any mind to. It’s become irrelevant now, due to just how much entertainment we have to occupy ourselves with. So it’s not that we have chosen to become atheist; rather, we don’t even think about these things because we’ve got things like Marvel movies to worry about. And the default position we then consequently fall into is atheism, because it “makes the most sense.” Instead of just mindlessly defaulting to a belief, we should strive to actually consider and study deeper topics such as religion and make conscious decisions regarding them, as opposed to just being mindless apes who default to a certain belief because of a lack of knowledge. We should strive to be conscious of all our beliefs and notions and strive to examine all of them under the harshest light, to see which of them are rational, and which aren’t. We shouldn’t scorn or dismiss the topic of religion and see it as nothing more than a bunch of irrelevant fables, as it’s likely that we haven’t even really given it any actual thought or contemplation. Francis Bacon, called the father of empiricism, once said, “It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s mind about to religion.” With this paragraph, I’m not trying to advocate for the belief in God; instead, I’m trying to advocate for the rumination of deeper topics such as religion. Religious people should also aim to become more conscious of their beliefs and ask themselves why they believe what they do and why they’re following one religion over another. But with the invasion of entertainment, our minds have become more interested in physical pleasures, rather than the pursuit of knowledge.


We have now become infatuated with the body. Pornography is just one cause of this. The immediate access that we now have to these sites allows our mind to become so tethered and addicted, resulting in pornography taking up more and more of our mind’s precious real estate. And the content of pornography has not just stayed on these sites; it’s slithered its way, in one form or another, into everywhere. You’ll see YouTube thumbnails with half-naked women in them. You’ll see music videos where there are flocks of partially dressed women surrounding the rapper, to exemplify the rapper’s supposed manliness. On Instagram, you’ll see many people whose whole gimmick is showing off their body for people to gawk at. Out in public, you’ll see people wearing more and more revealing clothing. All of this sexuality that we are bombarded with everywhere then influences others to unconsciously follow in these same footsteps, thus perpetuating this cycle of debauchery. Have we become wiser as a result? No. Instead, we’ve become more animalistic, thinking of nothing else other than our bodily senses. We serve our bodies now, instead of our soul or our mind. We’ve become animals, and in a way, less human.


Some may argue that they feel a special bond to certain pieces of entertainment, such as the work of a particular film director, or the work of a particular musician, where they feel like these pieces of entertainment are not just satisfying their body, but also their soul, as though this piece of entertainment has managed to capture some sort of truth within itself. But something to consider is one of Socrates’s ideas in Plato’s Phaedo. He talks about how “violent pleasure or pain or passion does not cause merely such evils as one might expect, such as one suffers when one has been sick or extravagant through desire, but the greatest and most extreme evil.” When asked what that evil is, Socrates responded, “That the soul of every man, when it feels violent pleasure or pain in connection with some object, inevitably believes at the same time that what causes such feelings must be very clear and very true, which it is not. . . . Because every pleasure or pain provides, as it were, another nail to rivet the soul to the body and to weld them together. It makes the soul corporeal, so that it believes that truth is what the body says it is.” So reflect on whether these pieces of entertainment you feel such an attachment to are actually pleasing your soul in a special way, or if they’re just objects providing such a great amount of pleasure to the body that it results in you mistaking your body for your soul.


We should ask ourselves just how much space entertainment takes up in our lives and ask if it really deserves that space. We should ask what part of us entertainment serves and ask if such a