California Literary Review

Mythology

Halloween Home Video #7: Darren Lynn Bousman’s The Barrens

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October 22nd, 2012

Today’s Halloween Home Video – Darren Lynn Bousman’s The Barrens – a contemporary fable casting the ideal family getaway into hell.

Blu-Ray Review: The Cabin In The Woods

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September 19th, 2012

© 2012 Lionsgate This super-secret brainchild of screenwriters Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon came shrouded as carefully as Super 8, surrounded by many a dark rumor but giving maddeningly little away. Goddard and Whedon began laying it out during their time working on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. Then, in a blaze of energy, […]

True Blood Recap: Season 5 Raises The Stakes

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August 28th, 2012

True Blood has tightened up considerably since the meandering adventures of Season 4, despite the fact that its protagonist is now a background character. Remember how the show used to be about vampires? That is happily the case once more.

Blu-Ray/DVD Review: The Wicker Tree

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April 24th, 2012

The rites themselves have changed in practice if not in spirit, and the movie rekindles enough of its ancestor’s spirit that it’s hard to imagine a better result. What more were all the naysayers expecting?

Book Review: Ragnarok: The End of the Gods

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February 6th, 2012

Obsessed with the idea of apocalypse, the child whose world is on the verge of unwinding takes comfort in the fantastic tales of sea serpents and ravenous wolves, tortured demi-gods and Yggdrasil—the tree that holds the world in its branches. The thin child finds a way to live in these stories, which vividly reflect the terrors, uncertainties, and vicissitudes of life in a way that both “the sweet, cotton-wool meek and mild” Jesus and “the barbaric sacrificial gloating” Old Testament deity fail to do.

True Blood Recap: Season 4 Bites Deep (But Doesn’t Suck)

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September 12th, 2011

For those who have not been scared off by now, I think we could all use a stiff drink before tuning in next summer for Season 5. Which I know I will. Season 4 had a few too many stops, starts, and jerky turns, but True Blood seized its bloodthirsty mojo back at the finish line.

Movie Review: The Troll Hunter

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June 11th, 2011

The idea of hunting mythical trolls with the technological advantages of modern storm chasing and large game management is a clever one. The development and execution of the story, however, fall flat in one sequence after another. Thomas, Kalle, and Johanna are students roving the breathtaking Norwegian countryside in search of a bold, incisive scoop for their documentary on bear poaching. Instead, they meet up with a gruff, mysterious character named Hans, who is after something else entirely.

What Is Best In Life? Not Conan 3D, Barring A Miracle

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May 3rd, 2011

Borne on the crest of the wind, I hear already the lamentation of women. Women whose dates have dragged them, possibly by the hair, to the late summer picture show. By now many of you know that Lionsgate will soon release a new film entitled Conan The Barbarian. Most of you will recall a cult classic by the same name from 1982, which was the breakout role of a certain Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Weekly Listicle: Worlds Of Fancy And Other Wondrous Places

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November 19th, 2010

A cleverly rendered fantasy world has the power to make us believe astounding things, and to transport us to places we may never have imagined ourselves. In the history of film there have been countless attempts to take real-world places and performers outside the realm of what has been seen before, and into far-off lands where the amazing, the terrifying, and the marvelous lurk around every corner.

Book Review: Myths from Mesopotamia by Stephanie Dalley

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June 16th, 2010

I asked them why they, unannounced, wished to meet with the director and they told me that they had just discovered Noah’s ark in Turkey. As I had met a few others along the way conning people with this ark stuff I asked to see the proof. He immediately pulled out a black and white photo showing what looked like a rock cliff and asked, ‘What do you see?’ I looked at it closely and replied, ‘All I can see is that someone took a ballpoint pen and drew a photo of a ship on the rock face’. They replied, in that charming Tennessee accent, ‘Well, it’s a bit hard to see so we’all took a ball point pen and highlighted it for ‘y’all.’

Movie Review: Clash of the Titans

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April 3rd, 2010

Some films were meant to be viewed in three dimensions, but this one wasn’t. Clash of the Titans was not made for 3D, but converted after filming. Director Leterrier says, “The conversion to 3D adds incredible depth to each scene, enhancing the story and providing an all-encompassing ‘Clash’ experience.” That’s debatable: seeing this movie, audiences may wonder for the first time if Avatar (which also starred Worthington) changed cinema for the better or for the worse.

Gaia

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December 8th, 2008

‘Can there have been any more inspiring vision this century than that of the Earth from space?’ exclaimed Lovelock, looking back. ‘We saw for the first time what a gem of a planet we live on. The astronauts who saw the whole Earth from Apollo 8 gave us an icon that has become as powerful as the scimitar or the cross.’

Notes from Italy: A Homer of the Dolomites

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April 28th, 2008

Some say that the story of the Kingdom of Fanes is an epic that goes back to the Bronze Age in the Dolomites. How could such a story come down to us? No one in those parts knew writing, three thousand years ago or more. We don’t even know what languages people spoke then in the Dolomites. And what kind of kingdom could that have been?

Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness

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January 17th, 2008

“In waking we tend to think The Dream vanishes, evaporates in daylight like morning dew on grass. But it doesn’t. The unsettling Matrix-esque truth here is that we all live in world-simulations, pretty much all of the time. The brain isn’t out in the world; it’s locked in a dark box in your head. Patterns of information ting against our senses and get routed into the brain for model assembly. One of the core insights of the science of perception is our models of the world are heavily interpreted—our own expectations and cultural mores and personal history shape “The Real,” so that in some ways our personal little submarines move through an ocean of our own making.”

My Thousand & One Nights by Raja Alem and Tom McDonough

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December 10th, 2007

In Alem’s world-view, one might expect to see objects morph into people, animals writhe in henna tattoos, and stones grant bearers restoration or doom. There are no rules of physics in this vision of Mecca and the city springs up like a character itself, imbued with its own sacred significance.

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