California Literary Review

Psychology

Halloween Home Video #4: Alexandre Courtès’ Asylum Blackout

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October 15th, 2012

Welcome to Halloween Home Video (2012 edition), a special series of home video reviews for this year’s scary season. Week 2 begins with the simple, hard-hitting thriller Asylum Blackout by Alex Courtès.

Blu-Ray Review – Battle Royale: The Complete Collection

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March 26th, 2012

Quentin Tarantino proclaims ”My favorite movie of the last 20 years! I wish I had made this movie.” That is as perfect an endorsement as a film distributor could hope to have, especially when selling a film like Battle Royale to a hungry cult audience.

Yes Academy, We Do Need To Talk About Kevin

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February 9th, 2012

This film will upset you. This film will follow you home and haunt you. This film takes courage to face. You will not forget We Need To Talk About Kevin.

Movie Review: A Dangerous Method

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December 17th, 2011

However, what defines Cronenberg’s nearly 40-year long career is his obsession with, well, obsession. Whether getting hooked on bug poison, intermingling sex and car accidents, developing bizarre gynecology instruments, protecting one’s family/identity, solving a mystery, or stopping a crime syndicate, his best characters tend to showcase the alluring and destructive passion of obsession without serving as a cautionary tale.

The Weekly Listicle: A Question Of Identity

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February 18th, 2011

Identity is a wonderful device for deception and suspense in storytelling. In some cases a whole plot hinges on whether or not someone is who they claim to be. The quest for identity, whether inwardly or outwardly direction, may lead to all manner of obsession, danger, and mischief.

Valentine’s Day Fallout, Chapter Two: Love Most Peculiar in My Dog Tulip

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February 15th, 2011

It is difficult to describe the feeling that My Dog Tulip leaves in one’s heart once the lights come up. The best answer is that you will probably feel several, which may contradict one another. That, and not really the questionable content, is what makes it a love story for grown-ups.

The Weekly Listicle: Ballad Of The Soldier

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January 21st, 2011

This weekend, Peter Weir graces us with The Way Back, a tale of daring escape by prisoners of war. In due fashion this week’s Listicle salutes the soldier in film. From comedy to adventure to stark, sobering drama, soldiers have faced a great deal on the movie screen.

No Right to Remain Silent: The Tragedy at Virginia Tech by Lucinda Roy

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May 11th, 2009

After mailing a package of video files and documents to NBC, Cho left for Norris Hall at 9:45 a.m. and chained the entrances shut before opening fire in the halls and classrooms. For nine minutes he attacked faculty and students alike, finally committing suicide with a gunshot to his head.

Love Junkie by Rachel Resnick

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November 12th, 2008

It takes an enormous amount of courage for Resnick to put her life story on the page. Her writing is as stripped, raw and intense as her emotions, and at times you don’t want to read further. But you do, anyway, with a kind of abject horror. The two main men that parade through her life, who ultimately woo, use and abuse her are truly the type of guys your mother would warn you to stay far away from.

School Rampage Killers: A Psychological Portrait

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October 27th, 2008

The shooter had convinced himself that killing was gutsy and masculine. Based on his misreadings of Nietzsche and from repeated viewings of the Oliver Stone film, Natural Born Killers, he had convinced himself that the killer was a kind of superior being, and that killing constituted a form of “Natural Selection.”

Mania: A Short History of Bipolar Disorder by David Healy

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September 10th, 2008

He refuses to accept the dominance of money over medicine and the alarming diagnoses of bipolar disorder in infants. ‘We now have a system that inhibits our abilities to find cures while encouraging companies to seek short-term profits by co-opting bipolar disorder for the purposes of increasing the sales of major tranquilizers to infants. Giving major tranquilizers to children is little different from giving children cancer chemotherapy when they have a cold.’

Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness

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September 4th, 2008

Jaynes, a psychologist who taught at Princeton up until his death in 1997, showed how ancient peoples from Mesopotamia to Peru could not “think” as we do today, and were therefore not conscious. Unable to introspect or contemplate metaphor-driven scenarios, they experienced auditory hallucinations — voices of gods actually heard as the Old Testament or the Iliad — which, emanating from the brain’s right hemisphere, told an individual what to do in circumstances of novelty or stress.

Jill Bolte Taylor’s Right Brain Wants to Tell Us Something

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July 2nd, 2008

“I had a rare congenital malformation in the blood vessels of my left hemisphere and at the age of 37 the malformation (AVM) blew and resulted in a major hemorrhage in the left half of my brain. On the morning of the stroke, I could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of my life. I describe myself as an infant in a woman’s body.”

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.”

What is intelligence? by James R. Flynn

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November 1st, 2007

‘The Flynn Effect’ was the phrase Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray coined in their book The Bell Curve, to describe the enormous gains in IQ scores in the 20th century from one generation to the next, which James R Flynn, Professor Emeritus at the University of Otago, did so much to measure and document.

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