Thor: The Dark World (2013)

I’m not sure what the theme was, but the fantasy/action plot was suitably, um, suitable for a superficially fun fantasy/action movie, there were some good laughs, and although the dialog was somewhat predictable, it didn’t sound cardboardy—except when it was describing the evil magical stuff.

Keep reading for a plot summary with SPOILERS in the form of a beat sheet in the style described in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat.

Continue reading Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Ex Machina (2014)

This is not the kind of thing I typically watch, and it is creepy. Very well done, very thought-provoking, but in the end, creepy as all heck.

Tomorrowland was a cheerful attempt to show technology as ultimately good, which is not a popular thing to do, and might not have succeeded. Ex Machina is an attempt to show technology as ultimately scary, which is maybe also not easy, but more often succeeds—certainly it succeeded in this case.

There are only a handful characters in the movie, but their interactions are fascinating. The dialog does a better job of exploring the “ghost in the machine” theme than either of the Ghost in the Shell movies. The movie tackles the nature/nurture debate from the standpoint of art, using a Jackson Pollock painting as a metaphor for choice. The setting, which serves to underscore the contrast between man and machine in the movie, is a supermodern forest retreat which (as I surmised) actually exists.

Below are some thoughts on this movie and other android movies, as well as a plot summary with SPOILERS in the form of a beat sheet in the style described in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat, because even indie movies have a rising-falling plot structure.

Continue reading Ex Machina (2014)

Plural noun adjuncts again

This sign in the lift at Kent Vale says

Pre-loved Items Collection

Which sounds weird to me because I would have said

Pre-loved Item Collection

even though obviously they will be collecting more than one.

It’s an example of a tendency to pluralize nouns being used as adjectives, which I’ve posted about alreadytwice.

Spot the homophone (plus a lesson in contest statistics)

This advertisement (which was designed to be hung on a horizontal pole on a bus or a train) says:

West My Golden Ticket?

The idea for this jokey name is that the word “west” in Singlish has the exact same three sounds as the word “where’s” in Singlish.

Yep. They’re both pronounced “wes”.

Below is some explanation of what the advertisement wants you to do (spend money, duh) and how the math works.

Continue reading Spot the homophone (plus a lesson in contest statistics)

Pierre Cardin and the Apparels of Ecclesiastical Vestments

This sign at OG says:

Pierre Cardin

Now, I used to think that the word “apparel” had no legitimate plural form, but it appears I was wrong.

Google’s dictionary says:

However, I don’t think Pierre Cardin is offering 20% off on embroidered ornamentation on ecclesiastical vestments. I think they’re offering 20% off on men’s shirts.

I was wrong, yes, but the sign was also wrong, unless “apparels” is a verb, and the sign is really saying that someone named Pierre Cardin is in the habit of appareling or clothing others… which, in a sense, he is, I suppose.

Below is an example of writing that uses the word “apparels” in the technically correct sense. Note that the plural does not refer to the ecclesiastical vestments or articles of clothing themselves, only to some bits of decoration on them.

While embroidered pieces known as apparels were used on albs, dalmatics, and tunicles to represent Christ’s stigmata when placed at the end of sleeves and at hems, the practice of incorporating this form of ornamentation on vestments was gradually replaced by the use of lace in Western vestments during the sixteenth century.
Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion

So unless you are knowledgeable about albs, dalmatics, and tunicles, steer clear of the word “apparels”.

Tomb Raider (2001)

To me, this movie was always “that famous one about the hot female character from some video game I’ve never played because (a) I’m not a guy and (b) I prefer games where I get to make colored shapes disappear.” Even after I went to Cambodia and poked around in the tree-covered fallen temple famous for having been in the movie, I didn’t really much care whether I ever saw Tomb Raider or not.

Now that I’ve seen it, I understand what all the fuss was about: this movie launched Angelina Jolie’s career. The character is awesome, and the stunts are awesome, and Angelina Jolie is awesome for playing the character and doing the stunts.

Nevertheless, the whole thing felt like an expensive, lame joke. I think I enjoyed Prince of Persia more. The movie I was most reminded of was the lopsided 2017 China/India project Kung Fu Yoga, in which Jackie Chan unleashes his inner Indiana Jones.

I live in Southeast Asia and have been to Cambodia multiple times because Angkor Wat is the awesomest UNESCO heritage site in the region. See below for more of my thoughts on the movie’s setting.

Continue reading Tomb Raider (2001)

English Is Not Easy by Luci Gutierrez

If you are looking for an illustrated, sexually explicit, New York–themed guide to learning English as a second language, look no further than English Is Not Easy.

The pages include generous amounts of whitespace, the lettering is varied and attractive, and the examples and red-and-black illustrations are… memorable.

When and Why I Read English Is Not Easy

This book was a gift from Spain from my father-in-law.

Genre: non-fiction (language/reference)
Date started / date finished:  29-Aug-17 to 30-Aug-17
Length: 335 pages
ISBN: 9788494140945
Originally published in: 2013/2017
Amazon link: English Is Not Easy