Sunday, October 29, 2017

Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows movie review

Experience often tells us that sequels are always inferior to the originals. The Blair Witch: The Book of Shadows is often highlighted as evidence and as such it is generally despised; ratings at the IMDB and other like sites readily reflect that.

However, I don't share those beliefs. I liked it when it first came out and re-watching it the other day has confirmed my conviction that, as Jeff would put it, the naysayers only say nay.

There are two things here that work against BoS: its fundamental different approach to the telling of the story and that it doesn't give any more info on what happened to Heather's group. On the first front, the radical shift places this second installment away from the first movie, which apparently was enough of a turn-off for many. The second reason is even more insidious as we bought our tickets in search for answers, but we ended up more confused than before.

However, once we accept that the mysteries will not be solved this time around and that this movie is not an extension of the first, we end up with an acceptable fun movie that, despite the factors against it, it is very respectful to the mythology set in the original. Watching it, thus, with fresh eyes there are many, many things to like.

I'll leave you with just two things to look for for the next time you watch it. The first one is the characters. Of the trilogy, the ones from The Book of Shadows are the ones that are given the most depth on the are way more interesting than even the ones from Blair Witch (2016). Despite the messing up by the producing company, we get a good share from what the director originally intended. Josh and Kim, Kim and Josh (and to some extent Erica) make this movie. The second reason to watch is the secret message Easter egg hunt named "The Secret of Esrever". There is a secret message interspersed throughout the movie and the hints are found in the DVD extras. Most of them are really, really hard, but if you are up to the challenge, you'll have lots of fun. Oh, lest I forget, there's even a bigger bonus and that's The Shadow of the Blair Witch mockumentary that ties in to this movie. I think it can be found on your regular video sites along with the Burkittsville Seven which is also a must-watch (don't know about their copyright status though). Both are a very meaty addition to the mythology that just can't be missed.

On the whole, BOS has been widely lambasted, but If this movie had come out without any previous movie to compare it to, it would have been way more successful in its appreciation.

Worth a watch this Halloween

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Reverse book lookup

No practice excels that of browsing along a library shelf containing books on the subject that has awakened your interest, and sampling them.

Henry Hazlitt

It might not be an earth-shattering revelation, but It may prove useful someday.

Swimmingpool; taken by Benjamin Miller; source: freestockphotos.bizSometimes you have a book in your hands that you like so much, that you'd like to find more on the same topic. There's a way to do just that in your local library. You can take a look at the copyright page on the book, grab the Library of Congress classification, and use that to walk to the proper aisle and shelf and look around. Even if they don't have the very same tome you are sourcing on, the library surely has something on your topic near that area. If the source book is not recent enough to have the classification, you can still get it by running a query on it through the Library of Congress online catalog at

Here is an example of an interesting section that I stumbled upon recently. It begins with

  • No control
    • BF Skinner's Beyond Dignity And Freedom @ BF 621 S456 . You know him as the figurehead of operant conditioning branch of the behaviorist school of psychology. I find it nice that his initials match the classification number.
  • Self-controlled behavior
    • La Maîtrise de soi  by Chauchard . BF 632 C43
    • Le Pouvoir De La Volonté Sur Soi-même, Sur Les Autres, Sur Le Destin . BF 632 J33
    • Self-control :power to the person by Mahoney BF 632 M22
  • Control by others
    • Ulrich's  Control of Human Behavior. Found ten copies.  BF 632.5 U4
    • Brainwashing by Hunter- Accounts from the Korean war and elsewhere. Interesting chapter on how to resist it.  BF 633 H8
    • Thought reform and the psychology of totalism ;a study of brainwashing in China by Lifton. BF 633 L53

  • Control with help of others; counseling, interviewing
    • Applied psychology by Crane BF 636 C73
    • Peale's Power of positive Thinking BF 636 P37

  • Control of others; negotiation & salemanship BF637 and on

  • Getting to Yes By Fisher Ury BF 637.N4 F57.1991 .  A classic of negotiation. Ury's solo work Getting Past No, is even better.