A synopsis of Thor

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Last night, I saw Thor. Here is a synopsis of the movie: God sends his son to earth, who dies and is resurrected, saves mankind and ascends to the right hand of the father, where he reigns on high until he will return again. (In the Avengers.)

Wait. I think I read that before somewhere.

Thor wasn’t life-changing, and it was somewhat formulaic, but it was passable. There were no obvious plot holes, and there was lots of punching and smashing and attractive-looking humans. (If you’re into that sort of thing.) I recall thinking at one point that the music was partly plagiarised. Some of the things that were supposed to be funny weren’t. Oh well. I did like Loki. I found that by the end I was rooting for him, and hoping that he would turn out to be the hero in the end, through his trickiness.

A funny thing happened to me at the theatre. For those of you who haven’t seen me recently, I’ve recently buzzed my hair to a length of approximately 3mm. I blame my current hairstyle for what happened at the theatre.

A guy came in wearing a red bandana on his head. He sat down as close to me as he could (my big black leather jacket was occupying the intervening seat—thank goodness) and he asked if I was “Justin Timberlake.” (Justin Timberlake is an American musician who has his hair buzzed short in some of the photographs that I found on Google.)

I told him that I’m not. He stayed right next to me the whole time, and after the film, he tried to make awkward conversation with me a number of times. I think he seriously believed that I was this famous person. He followed me around a little but I lost him by the time I got to the métro station.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1758,
    title = {A synopsis of Thor},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-05-12,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/05/12/a-synopsis-of-thor/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "A synopsis of Thor" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 12 May 2011. Web. 29 Mar 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/05/12/a-synopsis-of-thor/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, May 12). A synopsis of Thor [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/05/12/a-synopsis-of-thor/


An alternate ending to Mary Poppins

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Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins

General review of Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews is a children’s movie, but it is still worth seeing, even as an adult. At any rate, I’m 25 and I recently watched it, and I enjoyed it. I think one of the things that I like about it is that because it is such a classic film, there is no danger of Hollywood making a gritty reboot of the franchise, as they are so wont to do these days. (I shudder to imagine a trailer for Mary Poppins Begins. That said, I am sort of curious about the nature of the previous relationship between Bert and Mary.)

Feed the Birds is definitely the best piece of music in the film. I think I like it because of the use of modal mixture. The low point of the whole movie is the extended dance scene of chimney-sweeps on top of someone’s house. Maybe it’s my warped 21st-century sensibilities, but I got bored watching them.

That’s something I find with older movies that I watch—the pacing of the movie often seems slow when compared to newer ones.

An alternate ending to Mary Poppins

In the final scene, we learn that the bank’s chairman (the villain) dies laughing at a joke told by George Banks, leaving open a position for a new partner at the bank, and it is implied that Banks is offered it. That’s all well and good, but I never thought it was a very satisfying ending.

In the actual film, we never see the body. We sort of have to trust the word of the man who, in a previous scene, punched a hole in Banks’ hat. That seems suspicious to me.

In the film, we do see the old man start to fly due to his laughter, but we don’t see his death. After Banks leaves, singing like a madman, the camera should turn back to the chairman. After a few seconds of rapturous flight and laughter, the chairman of the bank should stop, grip his chest, and then fall unceremoniously to the table.

Then we should see a close-up of a trickle of blood coming out of his mouth as his body sprawls on the table and we hear Dick van Dyke singing, “Good luck will rub off when you shakes hands with me,” suggesting that it was because of the good luck of George Banks, conferred upon him by the chimney-sweeps, that this man died.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1383,
    title = {An alternate ending to Mary Poppins},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-03-14,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/03/14/an-alternate-ending-to-marry-poppins/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "An alternate ending to Mary Poppins" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 14 Mar 2011. Web. 29 Mar 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/03/14/an-alternate-ending-to-marry-poppins/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Mar 14). An alternate ending to Mary Poppins [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/03/14/an-alternate-ending-to-marry-poppins/


An alternate ending to Inception

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General review of Inception

Warning: Don’t read this post if you haven’t watched Inception or Shutter Island and plan to, and don’t want the movie spoiled for you beforehand. There’s spoilers.

I saw the movie, Inception, this weekend past. I liked it. I don’t know if it’s one of those movies I’d watch again and again, but I’m glad I saw it.

First off, I thought that the special effects were very visually appealing, but not over-done, by which I mean that I didn’t feel like the film was driven by the special effects. The fight scene with Tommy from 3rd Rock from the Sun in zero-gravity was Matrix-esque, but for some reason, it didn’t look completely ridiculous like most of the reality-defying scenes in the Matrix. Not only that, but the zero-gravity scenes weren’t “gratuitous.” By this, I mean that often fancy special effects are added just because they look cool in the movie trailer, and not because they are needed to advance the plot. In this case, the zero-gravity scene, for example, was a part of the story.

The premiss of the film—people entering other people’s dreams—was interesting, although not entirely original, which is okay. I was engaged by it, and able to suspend disbelief throughout. I have to say, though, about halfway, I remarked that there would have to be some sort of unexpected dream-within-a-dream at some point. I felt really vindicated at the end.

I kind of think of this movie as a combination of a number of other ones. It’s 1/2 Paprika (2006) + 1/8 The Matrix  (1999) + 1/4 Shutter Island (2010) + 1/8 Ocean’s Eleven (2001). I was reminded of Ocean’s Eleven because of the way it started—the protagonist putting together this team of super-criminals so that he could pull of a really daring heist.

And of course I’m sure that I’m not the first to notice certain parallels to Shutter Island. Probably because it shared a few relevant details:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Looks really grungy the whole time
  • Goes crazy because he kills his wife
  • Wife, children haunt him from beyond the grave
  • Plot twist at the end

Alternate ending to Inception

So here is the alternate ending to the film that I propose: Just push the “stop” button about 30 seconds before the film actually ends. Et voilà. Totally new movie.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2011-1258,
    title = {An alternate ending to Inception},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2011-02-14,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/14/an-alternate-ending-to-inception/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "An alternate ending to Inception" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 14 Feb 2011. Web. 29 Mar 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/14/an-alternate-ending-to-inception/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2011, Feb 14). An alternate ending to Inception [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2011/02/14/an-alternate-ending-to-inception/


An alternate ending to Avatar

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So Avatar seriously missed out on a major marketing opportunity. I went to see it with a classmate of mine in mid-January, although during the film, I started to feel bad (headache, dizziness, sore throat, etc.) and I probably should have just gone home. Instead I saw the film and I also went out for Mexican food with them afterward. I was in so much pain. Poor judgement on my part.

Anyway. If you haven’t seen Avatar, don’t read the following. I’ll spoil the film for you.

I think a minor plot change toward the end of the film would have helped out Avatar greatly. The writer should have made Sully (the hero) permanently switch bodies with his avatar before the big action finale, rather than after. This would have produced three major advantages.

1. This would have provided a shocking moment of dramatic tension at the end of the film.

In the last struggle between the villain (whose name I’ve forgotten—Colonel Quidditch, I think?) and Sully, the villain could have destroyed Sully’s (now dead) human body, while the audience still thinks that Sully is inside it. There is a moment when all hope seems lost, and then Sully’s avatar body could spring back to action and kill the villain when he lets his guard down. Later, the audience would realise that Sully switched bodies the night before the battle, the way that Ellen Ripley tried (and failed) to, earlier in the film.

Tolkien coined a term for these moments. He called them, “eucatastrophes.” We really like it when stories end with a eucatastrophe. It’s satisfying to see parts of a well-told story come together to bring the hero to a point of seemingly utter defeat and then to glorious victory. We experience a wide range of emotion and that can be very cathartic.

2. Second, this would eliminate one of the endings, and shorten the film. We already saw the botched body-switching with Ripley, earlier in the film. We didn’t need to see it again. The movie’s too long anyway. Or maybe I just felt that way because when I went to see it I was coming down with the symptoms of a nasty viral infection.

3. The third major advantage that this would provide, is that the movie could then be marketed toward Evangelical Christians. If they had changed the plot in the way I suggest, it would suddenly become a Christian allegory.

A chosen one comes into a world from the heavens and takes on the flesh of the men who live there. He dies and rises again, draws all the nations to himself, and saves the world.

All you would need is a short Biblical message from Kirk Cameron at the end and you could probably even get Fred Phelps’ approval for this movie. Unless, according to Fred Phelps, God hates blue, spiky-eared, cartoon aliens as much as he seems to hate everything else. (By the way, did you know that God hates Twitter?)

Oh wait. On second thought, I take it back. Fred Phelps would never approve of this movie, because everyone in it smokes cigarettes. And if there’s one thing that Fred Phelps has taught us, it’s that God hates fags. That’s what he meant, right?

I came out of the theatre, and all I could think about was all the embodied mind and cognition stuff we learned in Merleau-Ponty class. Those who have read my blog know how I feel about Merleau-Ponty. Sometimes I’m afraid I will have Merleau-Ponty nightmares again. The ones where everyone speaks in Phenomenology. In my Merleau-Ponty nightmare, they all use words like:

  • Tacit cogito
  • Prenoetic I can
  • The being (sometimes as distinguished from the becoming)
  • Phenomenal field
  • Our being-in-the-world

I haven’t got a clue what any of these things mean. If someone can enlighten me, please do.

And at the end of the nightmare, everyone turns to me for comment. I shuffle papers nervously, clear my throat and scream on the inside. But there is no escaping Merleau-Ponty.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2010-623,
    title = {An alternate ending to Avatar},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2010-01-31,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/01/31/avatar-alternate-ending/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "An alternate ending to Avatar" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 31 Jan 2010. Web. 29 Mar 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/01/31/avatar-alternate-ending/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2010, Jan 31). An alternate ending to Avatar [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2010/01/31/avatar-alternate-ending/


My family’s favourite Christmas movie

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Little Shop of Horrors

Little Shop of Horrors

For some people, it’s that terrible stop-motion animated feature about Rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer, and for others it’s one of the millions of adaptations of A Christmas Carol. In the same way that there are certain smells or decorations or sounds that remind different people of Christmas, there are movies that do the same thing. It’s almost Pavlovian.

But for me and my family (except for my older sister, who likes to pretend she doesn’t like it) our favourite film to watch at Christmas-time is Little Shop of Horrors.

Five points for whoever can give me the weirdest true Christmas tradition that their family regularly observes. It has to be something real, and it has to be something that is done regularly.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2009-573,
    title = {My family’s favourite Christmas movie},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2009-12-24,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/24/my-familys-favourite-christmas-movie/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "My family’s favourite Christmas movie" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 24 Dec 2009. Web. 29 Mar 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/24/my-familys-favourite-christmas-movie/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2009, Dec 24). My family’s favourite Christmas movie [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/24/my-familys-favourite-christmas-movie/


Peter Lorre

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Peter Lorre

Peter Lorre

I’ve recently re-watched Arsenic and Old Lace, one of my favourite movies of all time. Peter Lorre is my favourite. This guy is comic genius.

If you haven’t seen Arsenic and Old Lace, I will lend you my DVD of it. It is so quote-able.

“Where am I? Oh … here I am.”

“Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops.”

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2009-532,
    title = {Peter Lorre},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2009-12-17,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/17/peter-lorre/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "Peter Lorre" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 17 Dec 2009. Web. 29 Mar 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/17/peter-lorre/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2009, Dec 17). Peter Lorre [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/12/17/peter-lorre/


I just remembered

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District 9

District 9

I just remembered why it is that I posted my review of District 9 under bioethics.

[There is a medium-grade spoiler in this post, so if you want to know nothing about the film before you see it, stop reading.]

I realised while watching the movie that my bioethical training has been having an effect on me. There is a scene toward the beginning of the film, where the main character is about to be cut up and his organs harvested for scientific experiments, against his will, while he is still conscious. When I saw that, I was struck with the horror of the idea of that happening to someone, but in my mind, all my objections were couched in the language of academic bioethics:

“He has not given informed consent for this research!”

“They are breaking the Dead Donor Rule!”

“That action is contrary to all four of Beauchamp and Childress’s principles of medical ethics!”

If you can name all four of Beauchamp and Childress’s principles, then you get 8 points. Two for each one.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2009-468,
    title = {I just remembered},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2009-11-25,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/11/25/i-just-remembered/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "I just remembered" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 25 Nov 2009. Web. 29 Mar 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/11/25/i-just-remembered/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2009, Nov 25). I just remembered [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/11/25/i-just-remembered/


It was much better than I thought it would be

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District 9 Poster

District 9 Poster

District 9 was a very good movie. I was surprised. I didn’t think that I would like it, but Pickles and I went to see it and it was certainly worth our time.

There is certainly violence in this movie, but the violence wasn’t gratuitous—it always serves the storyline.

The story itself is engaging and I found the characters convincing. The story also serves to make a commentary on human nature, generally.

This is very grown-up sci-fi, in that the aliens are not there just because it’s cool to put funny make-up on people. (To be honest, I think they were computer-generated anyway.) The way that they look is an essential part of the telling of the story. One immediately has a gut reaction against the “prawns,” due to their physical appearance. The way that one comes around to see things from the perspective of the aliens by the end of the film is a very clever bit of storytelling, and it’s worth the time to watch it.

I liked the way that it ended, with a bit of mystery. As much as I liked this film, I don’t think I would want to see it again, though. It was really quite graphic.

BibTeX

@online{bgcarlisle2009-463,
    title = {It was much better than I thought it would be},
    journaltitle = {The Grey Literature},
    author = {Benjamin Gregory Carlisle},
    address = {Montreal, Canada},
    date = 2009-11-20,
    url = {http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/11/20/it-was-much-better-than-i-thought-it-would-be/}
}

MLA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. "It was much better than I thought it would be" Web blog post. The Grey Literature. 20 Nov 2009. Web. 29 Mar 2017. <http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/11/20/it-was-much-better-than-i-thought-it-would-be/>

APA

Carlisle, Benjamin Gregory. (2009, Nov 20). It was much better than I thought it would be [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.bgcarlisle.com/blog/2009/11/20/it-was-much-better-than-i-thought-it-would-be/


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