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Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death
Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death
by Robert Lanza
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.63
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars CICERO KNOWS BEST!, May 19, 2016
In arguing one of the core tenets of their biocentric belief that nothing exists without consciousness to create it, we find this on page 120 of Lanza and Berman's new book: "But, you may protest, aren't there two worlds? The external, 'real' world, and then another, separate visual world inside your head? No, there is only one. Where the visual image is perceived is where it actually is. There is nothing outside of perception. How could there be?" The authors contend in this same section that "that framed art hanging 'over there' across the room is actually inside your head." Curiously, however, just a few pages on we find this seeming concession from the authors: "It is not necessary to negate the external world. We needn't say that it doesn't exist." Okay. But two paragraphs down is this biocentric bounceback: "Everything we see is the mind. The silverware on the table might be thought of as being situated in front of you, but its actual location is inside our heads." My head is dizzy just trying to follow the authors' thread of thinking! In Appendix 1 -"Brain Versus Mind" we find this: "The brain is a physical object occupying a specific location. It exists as a spatio-temporal construction, and other objects like tables and chairs are also constructions which are located outside the brain." So is there a painting on the far wall or is it only in my head? Here is their answer: "However, brain, tables, and chairs all exist in the 'mind." Eureka! "The mind is everywhere. It is everything you see, hear, and sense - otherwise you couldn't be conscious of it. The brain is where the brain is, and the tree is where the tree is. But the mind has no location. It is everywhere you observe, smell or hear anything." And so ends the book.

Boiling the rest of it down, it seems that consciousness - the mind - is key to understanding the big picture. The authors make a solid scientific case for the logic and need to include the observer in any and all interactions with the observed - and to neglect to do so not only limits the big picture, but confuses what is seen of it as well. According to this book, consciousness, mind comes first and from that comes brain and it is the brain that sees a world outside itself, fixed in time and space, yet time and space and the external are all just illusions, and there is, in truth, no space, no time, no birth, no death....just the eternal mind. Much of this makes sense, solipsistic though that sense of reality be. Mind over Matter. But whose Mind? Is it the Mind of God or Devil? Is it Dr. Jekyll's mind - or Mr. Hyde's? Is it a good mind, generally speaking, or a wicked one? Is it primarily a thinking mind or a mind moreso founded on pure sensation? Is it a wave or a particle? Sane - or insane? And if the Mind is One and One for All and all that, why did it fragment? Why is a bit of it massaging my illusory brain with portents of Mind? And if plants have consciousness - as the authors believe - is the ultimate reality what they sense when I touch a flower only in their vegetable mind, just as the feel and look and fragrance of a flower exists only in my animal mind? When I look at the painting across the room - does the painting look back at me, being - as it is - a product, surely, not solely of my bit of Mind, but of the One Mind that exists beyond Time and Space? Was the Universe or Omniverse and the Life that is its prelude, precept and purpose a colossal and diabolical mistake? When slumbering Mind yearned during its timeless sleep to feel itself as the Other, to have a mirror in which to regard itself, to have itself touched by Another, did Pandora's Box beget the Big Bang? If the Mind had a blueprint in its predawn "mind," why is the construction of its dream and desire so replete with horrors and brutalities? Why is the cornerstone of Life... Death? The death of others in a spatio-temporal construct where Appetite is the cardinal law of the land? Where everything eats everything else? And if we human beings sit proudly atop the food-chain pyramid, sometimes wonder if we are not being eaten all the same. Who knows if Mind doesn't relish our dreams and nightmares, our pains and pleasures, our hopes and fears as its spiritual sustenance. Perhaps we feed the holy hunger. Perhaps we are but...delicacies on the Menu of Mind. Mind a growing thing? Growing from a brutal dinosaur mentality to the aesthetic heights of the best in Man? Is Mind's growing only possible through its myriad incarnations? Are we all part of an experiment whose outcome even the Supreme Scientist doesn't fathom?

I read the first BIOCENTRISM book of which this one strives to go 'beyond.' But much of this current volume is a rehash of the first. There are new discussions of plant consciousness and artificial intelligence and some newer experiments in quantum physics. But at least half the book goes over ground you'll find in any and every book about QP. I mean, unless it is unplowed ground to you, how many times must one read about the double slit experiment and wave-particle duality and the collapse of the wave function? I also find that the authors go overboard in positing that space and time and the world out there doesn't exist. Look, when I bang my leg into a table, the table exists - and if only in my mind (which is a fragment of everything) then it is relatively real to me. Just as are Time and Space: maybe not in the ultimate sense, but ultimate enough for the human being I - for some still inexplicable reason - am...until I'm not. OK, there is no Death, the authors assure us. But there are many kinds of deaths - just as there are many kinds of life - and myriad variations on time and space - all valid, all 'real' in their way. See, that is the problem with a book like this. Words such as 'death' and 'life' and 'space' and 'time' and 'consciousness' and 'mind' are bandied about as if they truly tell us anything. But if all these words are akin to umbrellas, there is an awful lot of rain soaking an awful lot of "reality" that they fail to cover. If, as the authors contend in their closing, 'mind is everywhere' - the question that is the King Kong on the Empire State Building that isn't discussed is... What is Mind?

On page ix of the Introduction is a quote from Cicero from about 44 BCE: "Why do you insist the universe is not a conscious intelligence, when it gives birth to conscious intelligence?" For my money, Cicero said it best!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 27, 2016 10:58 PM PDT

The Twilight Zone FAQ:All That's Left to Know About the Fifth Dimension and Beyond (FAQ Series)
The Twilight Zone FAQ:All That's Left to Know About the Fifth Dimension and Beyond (FAQ Series)
by Dave Thompson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $18.73
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ZONED OUT, February 4, 2016
If you wish to read one book about Rod Serling's classic TV series THE TWILIGHT ZONE...steer clear of this one! For one thing, near 100 pages of Appendixes are Episode and Cast guides. The cast guides are structured vertically and so take up huge unnecessary amounts of space and the episode information only includes the full cast of characters and actors names and not production details. Directors and writers are listed elsewhere in the text whereas all of this episode info should simply have been consolidated in the appendixes. But one of many flaws with the book is the needless amount of filler within its pages. One example: five pages on the history of UFOs that go nowhere with respect to the rest of the text.

The book is also extremely poorly structured. Instead of a chronological journey into the Zone, Mr. Thompson clumps episodes under chapter umbrellas such as those shows dealing with monsters and robots and time travel, etc. This may have worked in the hands of an able author - but Mr. Thompson is not up for the task. His episode discussions are primarily simple synopses of the shows! Totally needless filler! Yet even more egregious than that are the innumerable errors of fact littering this volume. If an author is writing about a subject, is it too much to ask he bone up on his presumed knowledge before putting pen to paper? In other words, why didn't Mr. Thompson watch the shows before writing about them? Here are just a few examples:

1) Page XIV: In discussing 'Walking Distance" our author says that the main character walks off to find a gas station after his car has broken down and this leads him into the past of his old hometown. Of course, this is not the case at all.

2) Page 87: In discussing "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" our desultory tour guide to the TZ claims the Martian is - in the end of the show - revealed to have three arms and a third eye under his hat! Again, a simple viewing of the show before writing about it would have been nice.

3) Page 59: In discussing "Back There" we learn that the night of Lincoln's assassination was April 15, 1865. But it wasn't. It was April 14th.

4) Page 96: In "Long Live Walter Jameson" our historically impaired writer writes in his analysis: "Jameson's grasp of history was not as flawless as he liked to think. Either that or the script writers got it wrong. Teaching the events of the Civil War to his class, Jameson insisted that it was the Confederates who were responsible for that fearful torching. Of course, it was the Union, and, needless to say , a lot of viewers wrote a lot of letters, chastising the show for that goof." If Mr. Thompson had bothered to watch the show before writing about it, he would have heard Professor Jameson quite clearly begin his lecture by saying "The Union soldiers burned Atlanta."

5) Page 108: With regards to 'The New Exhibit" our historically deficient author informs us that Albert W. Hicks - one of the wax figures - was a 20th century murderer. He wasn't. We are also told that Hick's presumed victim is Martin's brother. He wasn't. Dave was the brother to Martin's wife. His first line to her is "Listen to your brother..." by way of identifying himself to viewers. Too bad Mr. Thompson wasn't watching and listening!

I could go on and on like this - but these examples should suffice. The book is in the FAQ series - yet for a book about the Zone to not even have Jerry Goldsmith, Marius Constant, or John Brahm in the index - well, this addition to the FAQ library leaves more questions unanswered than answered! I have one: why was this book even written? If you want to know more about the TZ, get THE TWILIGHT ZONE COMPANION by Zicree or A CRITICAL HISTORY OF TELEVISION'S THE TWILIGHT ZONE.

On the ABOUT THE AUTHOR part on the back of this FAQ book it proudly boasts "Dave Thompson is the author of over 100 books." Sadly, it is not quantity that counts. It is quality - and that is what this zoned out book is sorely lacking in every respect.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
Price: $19.99
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52 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHERE WAS THE REAL CARTOON?, January 19, 2016
Relatively early on in 13 HOURS is a blink-and-miss it, completely wordless scene that is more deafening than all the explosions from mortars and RPGs and all of the AK-47 and machine gun fire in this film combined. That one extremely brief scene speaks volumes - and, again, without words, only an image and a caption. It is a scene happening not that long into the movie, when the terrorist attack is just getting underway in Benghazi. The scene shows the White House and the caption tells us the time - roughly 3:40 pm EST - and informs us that POTUS has been briefed. That is the only time throughout this entire two and a half hour film that we ever hear about POTUS - and the silence is overwhelmingly deafening. Where was he? We know he was not in the Situation Room - not ever during the time of the attacks on the diplomatic compound and CIA annex. Once the administration's smoke and mirrors were breached by those who know that Truth ultimately matters, it became clear that more important than immediate action directed to the ongoing 13 hour crisis in Benghazi, POTUS and his people were more concerned with readying the cartoon story to hopefully explain away the Islamic Terrorist attack that killed Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty and wounded ten others. One thing is clear: the Administration was asleep at the wheel. And contrary to what a certain somebody now running for the highest office in land said, it makes a difference! All the difference in the world! Who in their right mind would wish more of the desultory same?

13 HOURS should be seen by every American. But given that fantasy trumps reality in the mindset of a vast majority of filmgoers, STAR WARS is the war picture of preference to the vast public. But 13 HOURS is a vitally important chapter in recent American and world history. The movie takes us to that hellish place and time and is as close as we can get to what happened without actually having been there. And we have to go there - even if just through a movie - to get a visceral understanding of what is massing at our front gate, just as the terrorists massed at the gateway to the safe haven of the American diplomatic compound wherein Ambassador Stevens wished to be as safe as the room intended to be. The terrorists couldn't break down the gate, so they set a fire that smoked the Ambassador out - and killed him. If America is likened to the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, let us pray and hope that we never need a safe room to retreat to. But if we do, let us prepare it so that it will serve us inordinately better than the safe room in Libya served Ambassador Stevens.

From start to finish, the movie is completely gripping. Do the restroom before sitting through this one, as you will not be able to leave your seat once the movie has begun! I only wish that 13 HOURS had more to offer by way of backstory. Ambassador Stevens was there that day to talk of building a hospital and cultural center! More backstory on the American heroes of that day would also have been wonderful to see before the action begins. But these are smaller matters given what the film actually aimed to show us - and that is what it means to be brave, what it is like to truly battle Evil and what the Future holds for us if we don't have a plan and a purpose and a passion to conquer a culture that wants to end Civilization as we know it.
Comment Comments (11) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 15, 2016 5:26 AM PDT

Inventing Custer: The Making of an American Legend (The American Crisis Series: Books on the Civil War Era)
Inventing Custer: The Making of an American Legend (The American Crisis Series: Books on the Civil War Era)
by Edward Caudill
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $40.00
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DISPARITY BETWEEN TITLE AND TEXT, January 17, 2016
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Sadly, the gulf between theory and execution in INVENTING CUSTER: THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN LEGEND is immense. The title and subtitle sounded absolutely intriguing and enticing - but now, having read the book, I am left feeling empty. The main problem is that for the bulk of the book we are treated to a truly dessicated account of Custer's life with a special emphasis on his Civil War years. Instead of using this near 200 pages of biographical backstory to focus in on the purported raison d'etre of the book - and that would be the "invention" of Custer - we are given a plethora of names and places and dates and commanders and brigades and roads and rivers and numbers of troop strengths and casualties goes on and on, in a dry, deadly manner, without a laser focus on its titular subject, no, it reads more like a general and boringly told history of the Civil War instead. If the biographical material that makes up most of this work were only a tenth as good as T. J. Stiles' literate, incisive, evocative approach to Custer as evidenced in the quite epic CUSTER'S TRIALS, the slog through it all may have been worth something. But it isn't. The writing in INVENTING CUSTER is what George Armstrong Custer's life never was - and that is...boring.

The rest is a strange smattering of stuff that seems to have been collated just to fill out the rest of the book. There is no discussion of substance of how the invention of Custer continued via paintings and poetry and film. There is a needlessly dense two-page synopsis and brief analysis of THE TWILIGHT ZONE's Custer episode but no analysis of any merit or even mention of many of the entries in Custer Cinema. No discussion of SON OF THE MORNING STAR, CUSTER OF THE WEST, LITTLE BIG MAN and only a blink-and-miss look at THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON. These films are essential building blocks in "the making of an American legend" - but one wouldn't know it by reading this work. There are three and a half tortured tangential pages about Hemingway and Custer that actually go nowhere - yet the authors bizarrely bypass Walt Whitman's very germaine to the "invention" angle laudatory poem about Custer's Last Stand which was inspired by an unmentioned painting that, due to its realism, Libbie Custer could not bear to see. Much is bypassed in this hodge-podge book. On page 299 is a nice photo of David Wright who portrays Custer in reenactments and educational films, but is the "living history" performer interviewed at all? His insights would have been interesting, I'm sure.

In summation, the book wasn't cheap. And given its price, there just wasn't enough bang for the buck, not by a long shot.

The Hateful Eight
The Hateful Eight
Price: $14.99

21 of 45 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars PREDICTABLE IN ITS UNPREDICTABILITY, January 11, 2016
This review is from: The Hateful Eight (Amazon Video)
Someone once said that "Repetition is Death" - and if this is true, then Quintin Tarantino is dead as a director. His first films were bold and fresh - but over time the writer/director has pretty much revealed himself as a one-trick pony. One of the problems when taking in the totality of his film output is that - given he is the writer of his material - everyone, and I mean every single character in every single one of his films, talks virtually identically and the voice is that of none other than the overly verbose Mr. Tarantino. The other prime ingredients in the majority of his movies are messing with linear time, excessive violence and the use of the 'N' word ad infinitum, ad nauseam. Now Mr. T is said to be a cinematic encyclopedia. Therefore, can't he ever pick up a different palette when he makes a new film? Is he perhaps afraid that once he is branded with one type of film, he dare not try something different? Fear of box office failure perhaps?

All I know is I just came out of seeing THE HATEFUL EIGHT and found it to be a hateful film. Oh, yes, there are nice blizzard vistas and a terrific set where most of the action takes place and a roster of great actors and terrific music by the always terrific Ennio Morricone - but to what end? Simply to bear witness to more of what are Tarantino's psychological obsessions? Or perhaps he just caters to his audience and tosses in all the things he believes will still continue to push buttons and make his movies cutting edge and cultish financial hits? But with this film it seems the glory days have passed. Mr. T is no longer shocking or inventive or daring. He is formulaic. He is repetitive. And - if the adage is true - he is directorially dead. As dead as the myriad corpses that litter his predictable films.

Some spoiler alerts and concerns and questions: Would the gang that comes to the haberdashery to free Daisy actually create a blood-bath in the place by killing its owners and employees and stagecoach staff within its walls? Imagine the clean up to make it look innocent and normal when John Ruth is set to arrive with captive Daisy! Wouldn't they have more methodically led them to the well and dispatched each and every one of them then and there? Of course they would, in reality! But being this is a Mr. T film, such an orderly mass murder just would not suit his cinematic cravings. The thing with most films by Mr. T is that he makes no bones about trying to fool his audiences into thinking his works are anything other than movies - hence his annoying narration at certain times in this flick. Those moments were more jarring to me than the acts of sudden violence! And take note of how whenever two people are talking to one another, all the rest of the snowbound characters are stock still and silent for the most part. Very indicative of a writer in love with his own voice. And the N word. Why? In PULP FICTION it was ear-opening. All this time later it is simply...embarrassing and in extremely poor taste. As was the pointless flashback to Major Warren's gratuitous blow in the snow. Enough said about that. Also gratuitous were the reactions to the poisoned coffee. During that sequence, I felt like I was watching some sleazy horror film instead of a supposed Western.

Don't get me wrong. Mr. T has enormous talent. But when once he was brave, now he seems too afraid to try new recipes. Therefore, there just isn't much new on his menu. And if he can't cook up something new, then only the dietary die-hards will continue to visit his restaurant and gorge on his future fare.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 26, 2016 3:29 PM PDT

The Shining Scene-by-Scene
The Shining Scene-by-Scene
by John David Ebert
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.95
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DISAPPOINTING & DULL, October 11, 2015
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Anyone who would read this book more than likely already knows the storyline of Kubrick's THE SHINING, and most probably backwards and forwards. So why is the bulk of this book comprised of probably near 70% synopsis? It is padding, pure and simple, and makes for a terrific yawn to read as well. The author's philosophic insights, if distilled from the book's entirety, would amount to a short essay and fill perhaps ten pages at best.

But not only is the needless scene-by-scene synopsis irksome. There are errors of interpretation and fact as well. Examples: on page 49 the author writes that, after being shown the living quarters in the Overlook where the Torrances will reside, that "the Torrances seem pleased." Well, actually no. They seem...embarrassed! Especially after having just toured the rest of the lavish and opulent Overlook where "all the best people" sojourned throughout the years. Not only are they obviously embarrassed when they tell Ullman the small rooms are "cozy" and "homey", but the last comments in this scene are made by the Torrances whilst standing in the bathroom wherein, of course, Wendy will be locked and scared near to death as Jack breaks through the door with his axe. Notice also that when they see the bathroom for the first time, Jack looks down at the shower-curtain hid bathtub which will later - in another room - play a huge role in his erotic fantasy of a better life. To view the Torrances as "pleased" misses the point of this scene entirely.

On page 60, the author informs us the Steadicam was "invented specifically for Kubrick's film." But this is simply not true. Garrett Brown's Steadicam was first used in 1976's BOUND FOR GLORY, some years before it was used in THE SHINING. What was new in Kubrick's film was the innovation of using the Steadicam to shoot from very near the floor in the scenes following Danny riding around on his tricycle. But, again, it wasn't specifically invented for THE SHINING as we are led to believe by this author.

On page 84, the author tells us that once Danny is subsumed by Tony, Danny's "normal personality does not resurface for the rest of the film." Actually, however, it does. The old Danny comes back right after the revelation of the REDRUM enigma.

On page 99, in describing the immediate aftermath of the argument over Danny between Jack and Wendy, the author says that as "he storms angrily out of the apartment, Jack glares menacingly at the camera..." Actually, he doesn't actually look at the camera, but just beyond it - and what he is looking at with hate-filled eyes is Danny's bedroom - with his son in it!

On page 112 we are told that in the scene at Durkin's Auto Supply we first see Larry Durkin "climbing out of a car" - and this is simply not the case. The owner of Durkin's is first seen at the driver side window of a car whose driver either stopped for gas or directions or both.

Page 125 tells us that "Wendy is asleep on the bed with Danny, who presently climbs out of it, chanting the word 'Redrum'." But Danny is not on the bed with his mother at the beginning of this scene.

In brief, if one is going to devote a preponderance of pages to a dull and largely needless recounting of a movie's storyline, at least be sure that the details are accurate. In the author's interpretation of the film as a whole, he leans heavily towards the notion that the ghostly, evil forces of the Overlook take over a rather normal man to use for their own nefarious ends. The fact that Jack Torrance already has latent homicidal tendencies is hardly analyzed within the narrow focus of the book's primary premise. In short, this book is - at best - a short, none-too-informative essay stretched to a short book-length that is overbalanced with a plodding recounting of the actual movie's storyline and therefore amounts to a basic bore.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 20, 2016 11:02 PM PST

Studies in the Horror Film: Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
Studies in the Horror Film: Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
by Danel Olson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $32.91
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DON'T OVERLOOK THIS BOOK!!!!!!!, August 23, 2015
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Why is Stanley Kubrick's film THE SHINING the voguish vortex that it has become over the decades, since its first appearance on the silver scream-screen in 1980? Why is it so loved and embraced by so many? What is the reason for the mystic chord that binds and pulls myriad movie mavens to this horror film? It speaks to them in symbols and secrets which they then decode and deliver unto us, the supposedly uninitiated, the baffled and perplexed - even though many of their readings of the film are more off-the-wall than anything in the actual Overlook Hotel itself! (One reading has THE SHINING as Kubrick's secret confession for having faked the moon landing.) And because Stanley Kubrick has a overly inflated reputation for being a perfectionist in his films, his movie mistakes are mistakenly interpreted by his acolytes as having much more meaning than Kubrick ever intended. (Perhaps, though, he would have ultimately preferred his mistakes to be re-imagined as artistic intentions.) But mistakes were made in his movies! He was NOT perfect. One only need watch the first shot inside Claire Quilty's mansion in the opening of LOLITA to see the major mistake of someone - perhaps Kubrick himself! - quickly leaving the scene before the entrance of James Mason. Unless, of course, Kubrick's over-arching plan all along was for his films to be viewed as a canon, as chapters in a book rather than simply individual films. In this interpretation, coming events cast their shadows before. Perhaps the ghostly figure in the beginning of LOLITA is NOT a mistake at all, but rather a precognitive, subconsciously generated image of the ghost of a guest from the Overlook Hotel, the lost soul of a perpetual party-goer popping up at the Overlook's 1921 Fourth of July party and then haunting Quilty's gothic mansion decades later. Wait! Hold the phone and freeze the frame! Is that possibly Jack Torrance himself hurrying out of the scene, leaving an evil whiff of his influence for Humbert Humbert to inhale and thus follow in the murderous footsteps of Grady and Torrance and all killers whose dark destiny in Life is to celebrate Death?

There are mistakes in THE SHINING as well. Continuity errors and even questionable approaches to the direction. Why have ominous music playing before Danny on his bike turns a corner and sees the Grady ghosts? The same with the scene wherein he first sees them: why the tip-off music and the phony zoom shot onto his face as he sees them before we do? Why the Spirit Store skeletons in the lobby that Wendy sees that look like something out of any Halloween haunted house attraction? In Vivian Kubrick's "Making of..." documentary, Stanley is seen adamantly insisting to a brow-beaten Shelley Duvall that what she is doing with her character in a certain scene looks fake. Well, someone should have had the courage to tell him that the corpse dummies in the lobby looked fake! And didn't add, but rather detracted from the ghostly ambiance he labored so to create. And why are ALL the lights ALWAYS on in the Overlook? Didn't the Torrances consider - before they all went batty - Ullman's electric bill once he returned to reopen the place come spring? Why would 70 year old Dick Hallorann cross the country in plane, car, snowcat and on foot and go to the Overlook in a blizzard knowing well enough of the probable dangers in store and NOT take any help with him? Larry Durkin probably would have accompanied him if asked! He looked like a powerful backup to take along! And simply as a horror movie, I never found any of it frightening, despite Kubrick's avowed intent to make the scariest horror film ever. No, it was always too much The Jack Show for it to ever be taken seriously. Jack Nicholson and Jack Torrance were way all over the place, and to me that both made the film - and also diminished it. Anyway...

Despite it all, I love the movie! Even though that love is a bit like Jack T's purported love of 'the little s.o.b.' that is his son. And having this love/hate relationship to the movie is actually a mirror to the movie and its many messages itself - and the movie is replete with mirror images, reflections, doublings, contrasts. The movie is about love and hate, life and death, warmth and cold, all of the contrasts that make life the conundrum that it will always be - and even, most likely, will continue to be once we ourselves pass over. Contrasts, yes. So we have Hallorann's first appearance as he walks from the same direction that Grady's ghost will later come from and collide with Jack. But the cook is all about life and health and being happy by staying regular with prunes. This is why he talks to the mother and child in the kitchen, in the food storage, amongst the very staffs of life - whereas Grady talks to Jack in the toilet after having spilled and soiled the man carrying the soul he and the Overlook aim to steal. Life and Death, the Kitchen and the Crapper. "Great party, isn't it?" even though the ghost who says this has a split, bloodied head!

This book is magisterial! It is beautifully designed and published, handsome and hefty to hold. It is overflowing with insights, interviews, photographs and then some. I only wish that Danny Lloyd had taken part in this epic production. A map of the Overlook would have been wonderful as well. But with Halloween fast approaching and then after that the cold and snow of a winter at the Overlook, I can think of no better book to curl up with and devour - even as it will undoubtedly be devouring you!
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 21, 2016 9:46 AM PDT

How UFOs Conquered the World: The History of a Modern Myth
How UFOs Conquered the World: The History of a Modern Myth
by David Clarke
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.46
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars CLARKE'S COGNITIVE DISSONANCE, July 7, 2015
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Reading this book is probably an experiential equivalent to being in a strait jacket for several hours. Why do I say this? Because for whatever reasons author David Clarke - believing himself comprehensive in his approach -is anything but! Yes, there are millions of quacks in this world - but there are also many totally professional, on-the-money physicians who are the real thing! Clarke focuses his myopic attention, sadly, mostly on the quacks - and cracks - in the UFO story. Or when he addresses a hot topic, he drowns it in the cold water of his presumed logic first, watering it down so that it will better lend credence to his skeptic's premise regarding the man-made mystery of the UFO.

Here are some examples: In his Introduction, Clarke addresses NASA astronauts and their relationship to UFOs and knocks the generally held belief that astronauts have reported UFOs. He mentions Edgar Mitchell, the sixth human to have walked on the moon, as "one of those who have succumbed to the UFO syndrome." Rather snide, eh? Clarke then discusses Buzz Aldrin's sighting of a UFO and its probably prosaic explanation. However, never even whispered of is Gordon Cooper, one of the seven original Project Mercury astronauts, and his own UFO sightings and knowledge of photographed evidence that was sent to the Pentagon and never seen again. To his dying day, Cooper held fast to his conviction that the government "swept under the rug" all the hundreds of visual and radar sightings reported by fellow pilots. Here is another example that this book was written by an author in a strait-jacket of his own design: In his coverage of the famous UFO flap over Washington D.C. in 1952, Clarke writes that after blips were seen on radar "Aircraft were scrambled to intercept, but their crews saw nothing." This is simply not true. Even Wikipedia covers this still unexplained event far better than it is portrayed in this book. Here is another: In his analysis of the famous Rendlesham UFO incident, he informs readers of the prosaic explanations for the mystery lights as being a combination of stars, a fireball and a lighthouse - but fails to inform those same readers of the sighting of the purported landed craft by one of the US military personnel. As a matter-of-fact, former employee of the British Ministry of Defense, Nick Pope recently wrote a book about this incident - and curiously, given that David Clarke goes into the MoD UFO files in some depth, he never makes any mention of Nick Pope! Perhaps Nick Pope has been abducted? Another example of Clarke's attempted accentuation of the negative at the expense of the positive in his clear obsession in applying Occam's razor to everything and anything under the sun and moon: He highlights the hypnotic regressions in the Betty and Barney Hill abduction case, and tries to explain the recalled events as imaginative reconfigurations of popular culture imagery found in shows such as THE OUTER LIMITS and INVADERS FROM MARS, yet barely considers that the initial sighting of the UFO and its occupants by the Hills was a conscious happening, an event in real time and not hypnotic recall. One last example of Clarke's himself trying to conquer the world of UFOs and that is his open and shut answer to the Captain Mantell case wherein a pilot died chasing a UFO that Clarke has unequivocally mandated was a balloon. But, truth is, the jury is still out on that.

Clarke goes into the more modern alien abduction phenomenon, but timidly. Sleep paralysis is offered as a possible explanation for the experiencing of aliens and assorted entities, but the thing is it is all too easy to say the sleep paralysis episode is a product of the imagination. Indeed, the Imagi-nation may be just that - a Nation all its own. If Vallee's Third Realm and Keel's ultraterrestrial (multi-dimensional) worlds exist, who is to say that during an episode of sleep paralysis our consciousness isn't bridging two realms? If the aliens are, indeed, from another dimension, then perhaps they can enter our plane of existence as easily as we can dive into the ocean? On page 249 Clarke says that "in 2005 an independent group of American scientists insisted that recent advances in scientific knowledge had made the case for extraterrestrial visitations stronger not weaker" and that "ideas such as parallel universes and wormholes placed the extraterrestrial hypothesis back on the scientific agenda and that some evidence of the aliens' presence might be found in certain high-quality UFO reports." And then Clarke adds a most astonishing coda to this. He says "I worried this sort of open-ended speculation would ultimately lead us back to John Keel's ultraterrestrials." He worried??? Why would this be cause for Clarke to worry???? Because it would make him realize he couldn't contain the ocean in a bottle? What if it were the truth? What if all the current talk of bubble universes and multiverses and multiple dimensions were the ultimate reality? Life is on land and in the ocean, in the coldest and hottest recesses of this world. Might it not also, then, flourish in those other hypothetical realms? And might not the denizens of those other wavelengths of ultimate reality be able to access our space as easily as we are able to explore the ocean's depths and space's airless realms? Why would Clarke "worry" when absolute Truth may be at stake? On page 254 Clarke waxes ecstatic about scientific proof and declares: "Any theory that invokes supernatural forces cannot be disproved and is therefore incapable of advancing our understanding." I meet people and go places in dreams every night - yet can never bring back tangible proof from the people I've met and the places I've gone for testing in our limited labs! But...the dreams happened all the same. As for "supernatural forces" - why dismiss the supernatural, if it be simply the 'natural' that it not yet understood as such? Like accepting a round instead of a flat earth, to do so required a real stretch of one's concept of reality back in the day. Nonetheless, the round earth was the "real" reality and the flat earth the accepted consensus of what constituted reality back then, even though it was flat wrong - pun intended! Clarke goes on: "The extraterrestrial hypothesis may clothe itself in science but its logic is that of the supernatural, and as a result faulty conclusions naturally flow from it." Again, Clarke doesn't seem able to grasp that today's 'supernatural' may be tomorrow's 'natural.' In case Mr. Clarke also doesn't know, science cannot even explain Consciousness or the mystery of Time. How then can one expect it to account for the ultimate source of Consciousness and all of its experiences, especially those that cannot be put under a microscope? That is why I said that reading this book is like being in a strait-jacket. Yes, there are quacks and madmen and phonies and frauds and all sorts of nonsense involved with the UFO and any aspect of this bizarre thing called Life. But...there is much more to it all than meets the myopic eye. Or, to paraphrase the Bard, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Mr. Clarke, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
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Stranger than Fiction: The Life of Edgar Wallace, the Man Who Created King Kong
Stranger than Fiction: The Life of Edgar Wallace, the Man Who Created King Kong
by Neil Clark
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $23.86
43 used & new from $14.13

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Here is what I do NOT like about this book, June 20, 2015
Here is what I do NOT like about this book: the blatantly misleading and erroneous subtitle!

This from Wikipedia:

The King Kong character was conceived and created by U.S. filmmaker Merian C. Cooper.

And this from author Joe DeVito: "From what I know, Edgar Wallace, a famous writer of the time, died very early in the process. Little if anything of his ever appeared in the final story, but his name was retained for its saleability ... King Kong was Cooper's creation, a fantasy manifestation of his real life adventures."

Give credit where credit is truly due - as in the subtitle to Mark Cotta Vaz's sublime biography of Merian C. Cooper: LIVING DANGEROUSLY: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper - Creator of KING KONG

I'll repeat that: Merian C. Cooper - CREATOR OF KING KONG! To argue otherwise is tantamount to believing Carmen Nigro played King Kong!!!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 13, 2016 7:41 PM PDT

Jurassic World
Jurassic World
DVD ~ Chris Pratt
Price: $11.56
66 used & new from $5.93

13 of 49 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WHEN???, June 15, 2015
This review is from: Jurassic World (DVD)
When does it end? When is enough enough? When will bloated, gargantuan, grotesque movies go on a diet? When will the cliched, cartoonish, CGI enslaved crapola of current cinema cease? When will minds be fed as well as eyeballs? When will the dumbing down stop before fatally crashing to rock bottom? When will words and genuine human emotion matter again? When will movies be the measure of what is best in civilization and creativity and not be fueled by the greedy popcorn-and-circuses mindset of the harlot Hollywood?

Before the main attraction, there were the previews. FANTASTIC FOUR and then SUPERMAN VS BATMAN (or was it BATMAN VS SUPERMAN, not that it matters!). Both previews went in one eye and ear and out the other. Both previews I have seen countless times before. Explosions and phony special effects and macho guys and sometimes even more macho gals and everyone with an attitude and a big weapon on hand. Laughter and smiles are as rare in movies anymore as is melody in its music. Movies anymore don't want to be good as much as they want to be badass. Movies don't want to be meaningful, they want to be mindless. In subconsciously trying to be cathartic to "help" us better control our worst fears - of explosive, anonymous, apocalyptic Death - by making the fireball explosion the trope of today's entertainment, the collective mindset of the movie-going public is slowly but surely using fantasy to accept a potential reality and,like a self-fulfilling prophecy, the apocalypse is slowly becoming more and more acceptable and even... darkly desired. Feeling so helplessly insignificant and out-of-control anymore in this madhouse world, people need to imagine themselves powerful enough to survive the ultimate blast - and one way to do so is through our comic book gods, our Greek myths courtesy of Marvel and DC. Less entertainment anymore, however, these movies are more akin to inoculation! But on a simpler level, when did Superheroes stop being fun? Now they are lugubrious, lumbering, ponderous and pontifical odes to the Other. And all overwhelmed by CGI and explosions and kick-ass violence and a seriousness that is sickening. 'Do you bleed?' Batman asks Superman in one clip. And the music to these movies? No more love songs that soar or powerfully composed action sequences of genuine music a la John Williams, but all Zimmery death knell percussion, notes like body slams, chords like karate chops, racing rhythms piston-fueled by anger and more anger and...sound and fury, signifying...nothing.

So now the main feature! Part four of the Jurassic Park saga. And what a stupid film unfurls itself like a proud flag of ignorance across a screen dulled to sensitivity, blank to genuine feeling, dead to any semblance of reality. Not a single character in this story is more than a cliched concoction sprung from some smarmy scriptwriter's witless brain. Not a moment's pause is given to the poetic promise of the story's premise. The one scene that could have elevated this flick just a smidgin is a blink and miss it shot of folks kayaking down a lazy river with the gentle giants, the veggie dinosaurs, meandering about - but it is over before it begins. Other than this there is not one visually and emotionally memorable moment in all of the endless action that doesn't exit one eye as fast as it enters the other. Not one set-piece that will survive the summer and become iconic. The first JURASSIC PARK had genuine thought and feeling intermixed with the action - and it had its share of memorable moments. This risible redux has none of that. And the storyline itself is complete comic book, without a believable moment whatsoever. One example: are we to believe that the ruins of the old Jurassic Park would still be left on the island? But, alas, this is worked into the paltry plot just so the boys can find themselves a twenty year old jeep and stunningly get it going once again. There is also nothing truly new or original in the entire film. We've seen it all before - in the three previous installments. I'm raptored-out by now, big-time. Come on! Unlike JURASSIC PARK, leave your minds at the door when entering JURASSIC WORLD. This is a big bucket of sickeningly slick covered fake butter popcorn, that's all.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 16, 2015 6:57 AM PST

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