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

Archive for the ‘Movies / Videos / TVs’ Category

Along With the Gods

When people died, they will enter the afterlife and stand 7 trials for murder, indolence, deceit, injustice, betrayal, violence and filial piety over 49 days. Only those who can clear all 7 trials will be reincarnated and start a new life. If not, they will be punished in the afterlife. This is the story layout of the Korean movie “Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds”. Firefighter Kim Ja-hong, died in the line of duty, was escorted to the afterlife by 3 guardians. As a hard working firefighter when he was alive, Ja-hong was regarded as a paragon – the chosen one who had potential to pass the 7 trials. The movie wisely applies the legal system in the real world to the afterlife. His 3 guardians would defend him in each trial, in return, they would also get their reincarnation after they served 49 paragons, Ja-hong was the 48th. Why not 49th, the last one? I’ll tell you later.

So the journey in afterlife began and the trials started. The truth of Ja-hong’s life was also revealed – layer by layer through each trail. He was accused of leaving his colleague in a burning building, working only for money, writing fake letters to his dead colleague’s daughter, and beating his younger brother. Worst, he once planned to kill his mute mother. Behind each of this was a touching story that would cause you heartache. Be prepared, most of the audiences were sobbing by the end of the movie. To further complicate matters, Ja-hong’s trials was interfered by the death of his younger brother in the living world who became a vengeful spirit. Although I don’t quite understand the logic, this brought lots of amazing actions and special effects to the film. I mentioned before in Train to Busan that the special effects of Korean movies are closed to Hollywood and “Along With the Gods” raises the bar again – the visual effects in afterlife and the living world are top-notch.

“Along With the Gods” is a combination of fantasy, thriller, action and drama. All the chemicals work fine, it’s fun and also a tear-jerker. It will stay in your mind and you will feel like experiencing the trials together with Ja-hong. The leading roles of the movie are actually the 3 guardians instead of Ja-hong, each of them has a unique character, especially the little female guardian (Kim Hyang-gi) – she looks so cute. The only critic is the subplot of Ja-hong’s younger brother in the living world is unnecessary long and it will be much touching if Ja-hong appears in his mom’s dream at the end instead of his brother. So why Ja-hong is the 48th paragon? Because his younger brother is the 49th paragon and the 3 guardians will defend him in the upcoming trials. Part 2 of the movie, “Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days”, will be released later this year.

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Life is not a Marathon

It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.

The turtle beat the hare and won the running race. Most of us are living like the hare, we want things to go fast – fast food, 1-hour glasses, 30-minute photos, express posts, microwaved meals, emails and social media that can reach anywhere in the world immediately. When things do not provide immediate results, we get discouraged and quit. But long lasting changes do not happen overnight. The outcomes we are looking for rarely come quickly.

Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.

Even though our lives are not like a marathon and we may not be the champion, we can still learn from the little slow turtle. His persistence defined his success. So instead of obsessing over short-term results, we can focus on just taking the next tiny step in the right direction. The results will then inevitably show up. Take your goals and break them into small daily minimum quotas, then start executing on them every single day. Have the speed of the hare, as well as the turtle’s consistency.

The definition of “Life” in the following Japanese commercial will definitely inspire you. I’m not recommending you run off the track in your next marathon, but I especially like the girl who ran home and jumped into her bed at 1:16.

The Happy Drummer

S. White – a young drummer from Taiwan, normally performs in random locales in Taiwan. Her YouTube videos are popular and she has fans of all ages. Above is her performance with “Moves Like Jagger”. The glasses, the ponytail, her smile, singing along with the song and the amazing stick spinning are all her trademarks. But what really inspires me is her enjoyment in the show, you won’t feel bored in watching her videos and you may even consider to learn playing drums at the end.

I have learnt a few things from S. White’s videos. We should all live with passion about something. Life sometimes feels pretty ordinary and full of routines. We work five days a week and assume everything ahead will remain unchanged. But what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? S. White said she’s an introvert, but playing drums brings out the other side of her. Pick up a new hobby that you are interested to make your life more exciting. If you enjoy what you are doing, you will feel the joy and fun like S. White in her performance.

Don’t assume S. White would play the drums like this overnight. In additional to the energy she put into the performance, there are a lot of practices and hard work behind. She said she would observe other drummers and keep improving her skills. Learning is about progressing. Mastering a new skill is a sense of fulfillment, pride, and satisfaction with yourself. Learn something new. Take a class. You will then want to see more of the world. Never leave it too late that it becomes a regret.

When S. White dropped her stick at 2:45, she picked up another stick and kept playing without even missing a beat. Things don’t always go as planned in life. We don’t control everything that happens. Always have a contingency plan and stay prepared to deal with the unexpected. When life is out of control, be strong to move forward. Focus on what you can do and do it well. Life is full of hard, beautiful, broken things and wars we fight within ourselves. And they always lead to great adventures.

You can watch more S. White’s videos in her YouTube Channel.

12 Inspirational Movies

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1. Spirited Away
Schoolgirl Chihiro is inadvertently transferred to the spirit world, forcing her to work in a Japanese bathhouse to reclaim her freedom.
“Once you’ve met someone you never really forget them. It just takes a while for your memories to return.” Advice for Chihiro

2. Rush
A thrilling account of the 1976 Formula 1 season. James Hunt and Niki Lauda battled for the World Title, the latter overcoming an appalling accident in the process.
“It’s impossible to perspire through a skin graft, so sweat will never run into my eyes again, which is good for a driver.” Lauda following his accident.

3. Life of Pi
The story of Pi’s fight for survival whilst stranded in the Pacific Ocean. A volatile Bengal tiger is his sole company.
“The whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.” Pi.

4. Awakenings
Based on neurologist Oliver Sack’s book. Robin Williams stars as introverted Dr. Sayer, who discovers a drug which awakens catatonic patients.
“Another awakening took place; that the human spirit is more powerful than any drug – and that is what needs to be nourished: with work, play, friendship, family. These are the things that matter.” Dr. Sayer.

5. The Pianist
Roman Polanski’s account of Polish pianist Władysław Szpilman’s remarkable fight for survival during Nazi deportation of Jews in WWII.
“[Taking off his watch] Here, sell this. Food is more important than time.” Szpilman.

6. Life is Beautiful
Roberto Benigni’s WWII film of a father who uses his imagination to protect his son from the horrors of war.
“This is my story. This is the sacrifice my father made. This was his gift to me.” The son narrates.

7. The Truman Show
Truman Burbank lives an ordinary middle class life, unaware he’s actually the star of the most popular TV show on Earth.
“There’s nothing fake about Truman himself. No scripts, no cue cards. It isn’t always Shakespeare, but it’s genuine. It’s a life.” Christof, the show’s creator.

8. 127 Hours
Aron Ralston traps his arm whilst hiking, leading to an unnerving realization.
“This rock … this rock has been waiting for me my entire life.” Ralston.

9. The Professional
Léon is a hitman and loner. Suddenly forced to care for a child (a young Natalie Portman), he finds his humane side and seeks a change.
“You’ve given me a taste for life. I wanna be happy. Sleep in a bed, have roots. And you’ll never be alone again, Mathilda.” Léon.

10. Million Dollar Baby
A rags to riches story. Maggie, a humble waitress, makes a break as a boxer and rapidly shoots to stardom with the help of her trainer Frankie Dunn.
“It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you.” Eddie Dupris, a friend of Frankie Dunn.

11. The Descendants
When his wife is hospitalized, wealthy Matt King (George Clooney) and his family must adapt to sweeping changes.
“You give your children enough money to do something but not enough to do nothing.” Matt King.

12. Gravity
2013’s thrilling sci-fi epic. Boasting exceptional special effects, this inspiring look at space is a visual treat.
“Either I make it down there in one piece and I have one hell of a story to tell! Or I burn up in the next ten minutes.” Dr. Stone.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

The term “Jane Doe” refers to unidentified corpses. When a female “Jane Doe” arrived at the morgue, coroner Tom and his son Austin started working to find the cause of death by the following morning as requested by the sheriff. The corpse had no visible external injuries, as the autopsy proceeded, secrets were revealed from the body. As a storm was approaching, strange things started happening. Tom and Austin then realized that they were actually dealing with evil.

“The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is the type of movie that has only a few characters who got trapped in an enclosed space, it must have a good script and a good director to make the movie works. Director André Øvredal didn’t disappoint the audience. Especially the first 45 minutes, a professional autopsy was demonstrated and the suspense was well built up by evidences found in different body parts. Be prepared yourself if you don’t get used to close up scenes of body organs, they will be disgusting and gross.

The second half of the film turns to a horror movie. There was a tradition in the past to tie a bell to the ankle of a body to avoid any wrong declaration of death. So a scary moment in the film is that the tinkling bell was heard at the far end in the dark morgue – the dead bodies were raised and walking around. At several moments I thought the “Jane Doe” would suddenly come alive, but eventually it didn’t happen – a bit underused of Olwen Kelly (Jane Doe).

Both Brian Cox (Tom) and Emile Hirsc (Austin) gave a convincing performance and made the movie truly effective. However the movie rushed to a normal ghost story ending without much surprise and logic. “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is a good mix of mystery and horror. Its first half is so well made that we can forgive its disappointing finale.

How Much Can You Love?

After married for more than 50 years, my parents keep arguing every day. It seems like just the voice from one of them can simply lead to a heated argument. I wonder they may divorce one day in their seventies. Looking at them, marriage is like a process that turns a person that you once loved most to the one you eventually hate most. People would think marriage can last for a life time before, now people wonder how long their marriages can last. New definition about relationship such as one-night stand and speed dating are surfaced. How much can you love another person? How long can you share your life with your other half without feeling bored?

True love may only be found in movies and dramas nowadays. For example, even Jack knew that there was no arrangement for him to get off the Titanic, he still persuaded Rose to board the lifeboat. They looked at each other when Rose’s lifeboat was lowered down to the sea. Rose then realized that she could not leave Jack and jumped back onto the lower deck and reunited with him.

In the “Twilight” movies, Bella did not want to grow old while her vampire boyfriend Edward stopped aging at 17. Oddly enough, she asked Edward to transform her to a vampire. However, Edward did not want her to sacrifice her life for him and suppressed the temptation to suck her blood. Realizing the danger that he and his family posed to Bella, Edward ended their relationship and left with his family.

And in the Japanese drama “Proposal Daisakusen”, Ken was stuck in the situation to provide a speech in the wedding as the best friend of the bride Rei, who he loved for a long time. However, Rei was going to marry someone else. After a formal start, Ken could not control his emotion and confessed his love to Rei. Below is part of his touching speech.

“For 14 years, during happy times, difficult times, times of suffering, the one who always spent time with Rei, the one who would be able to make her happy, I seriously thought that I am the only one who could do that. The one who knows her best is me.

But in the end, these are just thoughts inside my heart, because not once have I been able to become honest about it in front of her. Though I always have been near her, the words I thought I would say someday, I haven’t been able to say it after all.

That one thing … never did I say it. I … I was in love with Rei. Honestly, if I say so, even now, I am still in love with Rei … But, she is getting married to someone today. Though it’s excruciating for me, she will get married. Because her place in my heart is so vast, the struggle for me to arrive at these words has taken an extreme amount of time.

Rei. Congratulations on your wedding. Please be happy. If you don’t … I really won’t forgive you.”

Even if it hurts and the ending is not perfect, you have to let the one you love be happy.

Adoption Surprise

In most of the TV crime dramas, police normally checks CCTV to catch criminals. But CCTV can also capture heartwarming moments. An 11-year-old Utah girl’s joy after learning her adoption was finalized was caught on the school CCTV. This video will make your day.