This blog will hopefully inspire you, warm your heart, make you smile and feel positive.

Archive for the ‘Movies / Videos / TVs’ Category

Evan

It’s almost 4 years since the shooting in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 26 people. Now a video, Evan, has been released by Sandy Hook Promise, a group made up of loved ones of those killed in the 2012 shooting.

The video shares the story of Evan, who communicated with another student by writing on the library desk. As the friendship blossomed, Evan kept guessing who the other person is. Finally they met in an end of school term event. When everyone thinks this is the happy ending of a love story, there comes the chilling twist.

The 2-minute video delivered a powerful message that gun violence can be prevented if we pay more attention to our surroundings and notice the warning signs.

Train to Busan

 

busan

I like zombie movies. A zombie is a human corpse that is revived through a virus or other methods. Zombies are fear of light, speechlessness, aggressive and like to bite people. The rule is simple: if you are bitten by a zombie, you will become a zombie. “Train to Busan” is the first Korean zombie movie. Although the special effects are not as good as Hollywood, their levels are closed. And … it is more than just a zombie movie.

A fund manager took his 9-year-old daughter to his separated wife in Busan. They boarded the train in Seoul and an injured woman got in the train in the last minute. The train departed and the zombie inflection spread. Among the passengers on the train, there are a tough husband with his pregnant wife, a selfish CEO, two elderly sisters, and a high school baseball team.

The train stopped at Daejeon which was supposed to be under the control of army. When the survived passengers got off the train, they were attacked by the infected soldiers. They retreated back to the train but were separated by compartments with zombies in between. So the father, the husband and a teenager from the baseball team fight their way for the reunion with others. People died along the way – some sacrificed themselves to save others, some betrayed others to save themselves, and some simply gave up. This makes “Train to Busan” special, when watching the movie, I wonder how I will behave under those circumstances – will I like the selfish CEO or the selfless devoted husband? It’s difficult to say as we are never in such a situation. But I think one needs to survive first before he/she can help others.

Another interesting character in the movie is the fund manager. He got the latest status update from the army through his relationship so that he could plan and formulate strategies to keep him and his daughter alive. As his daughter said, “You only think of yourself, so mom left us.” But because of his job nature – managing risk, analyzing situation, gathering information for decision making, determining the best timing for action; these made him to overcome obstacles one after another.

Instead of waiting 45 minutes for the first dinosaur to appear, the roller-coaster ride of “Train to Busan” started just 20 minutes after the movie started when the infected woman boarded the train. Several zombies attacking and chasing scenes are thrilling and breathtaking. Audiences feel like running together with the characters. The movie also illustrates the human nature under a horrified event and the drama of relationships – father and daughter, husband and wife, sister and sister. I also like the attention of details in the script – an uncompleted song sung by the fund manager’s daughter at the beginning played an important role at the end. “Train to Busan” can be the best zombie movie this year. If you are a zombie movie fan like me, it’s a must see.

Back in Time

besttime

The “Back to the Future” series are the classic in time travel movies. In part 1, Marty (Michael J. Fox) traveled from 1985 back to 1955 in the time machine built by his scientist friend Doc (Christopher Lloyd). In 1955, his mom accidentally fell in love with him and he had to encourage his dad to pursue his mom so that he wouldn’t be erased in the future. In part 2, he traveled to 2015 to save his future kid, but in the process Biff (boss of Marty’s dad in 1985) stole the time machine, went back to 1955 and gave a 2015 almanac to his younger self so that he could become wealthy by gambling. Marty and Doc then traveled back to 1955 to destroy the almanac and rewind the change. In part 3, Marty traveled further back to 1885 to save and bring Doc back from the wild west. Whenever they interrupted an event in the past, they changed the future.

If we can really go back in time, I close my eyes and visualize … I was 10 and mom was chasing me at home with a feather duster (a tool to beat naughty kids as punishment in Asia), I jumped from sofa onto table, rushed out through the door after a wall bounce (this skill is called parkour later), I heard my mom’s voice behind, Don’t study and work as a stuntman in movies, next time she would lock the door first … I learned swimming and was nearly drowned, when I was throwing up all the sea water I drank, my dad who was supposed to look after me was still chatting with the girl at the beach … I can’t hear you, grandma said, so I cupped my hands over my mouth and pretended to shout loudly, but without any voice, grandma was startled, Oh I’m seriously deaf … After the PE class I relaxed with drinking soda in a hot summer afternoon in the school playground, a football flied from nowhere hit my soda, the bottle shattered into pieces … I taught my friend how to play squash, he hit a backhand swing but I was hit in eye by the squash ball, I was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, I couldn’t see for 2 weeks with a panda eye … At work, we celebrated the project delivery in the pub after months of hard work, a year later, we drank in the same pub on the day we were all being retrenched … Another year later I drank by myself in a different pub, we finally broke up, all I had given is not enough to maintain the relationship, I understood how people treat you has nothing to do with how you treat others, Fair enough, I eventually belong to myself, at the end my vision got blurry …

But the fact is that we won’t get any younger. One day when you look into the mirror, you’ll see the evidence that time passes. The world is different from what we first imagined. Throughout the years, you started to hide the rebel and start compromise. How many times did you pull yourself together after a sacrifice? What makes you to hold on and never give up? Think of your stubborn younger self in the past, the passion to the dreams that you believe. Let’s propose a toast with the bittersweet brewed by the memories, to everyone who had a brisk walk through life together with us.

Laws of Robotics

robot

Did you watch the movie “I, Robot”? In the movie, humans are protected from robots by the Three Laws of Robotics:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

These Three Laws of Robotics are actually a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov in his 1942 short story – “Runaround”, although they had been foreshadowed in a few earlier stories. Nowadays, Hollywood seems to twist these laws and come up with new Laws of Robotics:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being unless it would make for an exciting story.
  2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except when those orders might prevent cool explosions.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not prevent the hero from killing it and saving the beautiful-but-spunky heroine.
  4. Female robots must be sexually attractive to humans.
  5. Robots must always speak in easily understood English.
  6. Robots that look like humans must be programmed to never blink or understand humor.
  7. Robots must be smart enough to gain sentience, but dumb enough to fall for quickly constructed traps.

Make Every Day Count

jack

“Well, yes, ma’am, I do … I mean, I got everything I need right here with me. I got air in my lungs, a few blank sheets of paper. I mean, I love waking up morning and not knowing what’s going to happen, or who I’m gonna meet, where I’m going to wind up. Just the other night, I was sleeping under a bridge and now, here I am on the grandest ship in the world having champagne with you fine people. I figure life’s a gift, and I don’t intend on wasting it. You don’t know what hand you’re gonna get dealt next. You learn to take life as it comes at you … to make each day count.”
– Jack Dawson, Titanic

A year has 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes of struggle, growth, progress and life experience. Make every day count.

Fast and Furious 7

fast7

I’m a hardcore Fast and Furious fan. So when the song “See You Again” was played at the end of “Fast and Furious 7”, when Brian (Paul Walker) and Dominic (Vin Diesel) drove in separate ways, when Brian’s previous scenes in the series were flash back, I was deeply touched. I like how the movie brought the character Brian to completion. He started as an FBI agent and was assigned an undercover investigation of Dominic’s crew. But in the process he developed friendship with Dominic and other group members. He eventually left FBI and married Dominic’s sister – Mia. After all the adventures, he retired for his family. If there is Fast and Furious 8, it won’t have Brian for sure. If you are interested, check this ending scene of Fast and Furious 7.

It’s been a long day without you, my friend
And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
We’ve come a long way from where we began
Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again
When I see you again

Back to the movie, there’s actually nothing much to say except it’s a showcase of Hollywood blockbuster entertainment. Deckard (Jason Statham) seek revenge for his brother who was defeated by Dominic’s crew in Fast and Furious 6. Dominic’s group worked with the government to save a computer hacker, Ramsey and find the disk drive with the powerful surveillance program that she developed – the God’s Eyes. Deckard also teamed up with the terrorist – Jakande, tried to obtain the God’s Eyes.

As each movie in the series becomes bigger and louder, cars are no longer raced on streets or freeways. This time the sites are Caucasus Mountains in Azerbaijan and the Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi. In addition to the attack from the stealth helicopter and the drone at the end, it’s action after action throughout the movie and we simply have no time to think whether the story is reasonable or not. We’ll accept no matter how the car is crashed or how many bullets are shot, our heroes will still survive. One more thing, director James Wan, your horror movies are my favorite in recent years and you surprised me with Fast and Furious 7. You had proved that you are capable of directing big budget action movies as well as thrillers and horror films. I’m looking forward to your next movie.

So let the light guide your way, yeah
Hold every memory as you go
And every road you take, will always lead you home, home

Note: Paul Walker died in a single-vehicle collision on November 30, 2013.

The Fault in Our Stars

fault

I always try to avoid movies about people having terminal illness. Last time I watched such a movie was “My Sister’s Keeper” (Cameron Diaz) which I mistakenly thought that it was a comedy. “The Fault in Our Stars” was seriously recommended by a friend.

The movie is adapted from John Green’s novel. A teenage girl with thyroid cancer, Hazel (Shailene Woodley), attended a patients’ support group, met and fell in love with Augustus (Ansel Elgort), whose leg was amputated due to bone cancer. Hazel recommended her favourite novel, “An Imperial Affliction” – a story about a girl dying with cancer, to Augustus. But he did not like the novel’s abrupt ending. They then travelled to Amsterdam to meet with the author – Peter van Houten, to clarify the actual ending of the story. In Amsterdam, they found that the trip was actually organized by Peter’s assistant – Lidewij, and Peter was actually an alcoholic. Peter was angered by their visit and refused to talk about his novel.

Although Hazel and Augustus were disappointed, the trip strengthened their love to each other. Someone has to die in the movie. Augustus’s cancer has spread. He held a pre-funeral with Hazel and his blind friend Isaac before he died. In Augustus’s funeral, Hazel was surprised to see Peter there. She later learned that Augustus had asked Peter to help him write his eulogy – his acceptance of death and his love for Hazel. In the last scene, Hazel lied on the lawn watching the stars, smiling as she was memorizing Augustus.

“The Fault in Our Stars” was well-filmed but it lacked the chemistry to create the bond between the audiences and the characters. It could not make me care and feel sympathy for Hazel and Augustus. Just like Hazel’s mum said, “You two are so adorable!” Well, may be they just look too adorable to be cancer patients. There were a number of scenes that could touch the audiences: the patients’ support group, the tour of Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the arguments between Hazel, Augustus and their parents, Augustus’s pre-funeral and his eulogy; however the director just let them slip. On the other hand, “My Sister’s Keeper” did a better job as a tearjerker. But I still prefer to avoid this kind of movie.

Finally, if you like me, are curious about the movie title. It’s from Cassius in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar:
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

The phrase is interpreted as fate is not what drives human to their decisions and actions, but rather their situation. For Hazel and Augustus, sickness was written in their stars, but it was up to them to respond and make the best of their life.