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Monthly Archives: September 2016

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Gifts for Anyone

Rating: PG-13
Length: 114 minutes
Release Date: Jan. 4, 2013
Directed by: Juan Antonio Bayona
Genre: Action/Drama/ThrillerTales based on a true story can easily fall into the trap of dry storytelling with few emotional hooks or pure sentiment with even fewer moments of excitement for moviegoers. “The Impossible” manages to avoid these pitfalls but is still afflicted by the occasional hiccup common to the genre. Those looking for an action-adventure film may not immediately be enraptured by the story, but it builds nicely from a dramatic base and encompasses many elements familiar to fans of action and thriller movies.”The Impossible” tells the story of a family that survived the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. The movie focuses on Henry (Ewan McGregor) and Maria (Naomi Watts), from their arrival in the island nation to their final departure to Singapore after the harrowing events. The couple’s children (portrayed by Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, and Oaklee Pendergast) also go through a growth period and face traditional coming-of-age challenges throughout the film. The family sustains injuries as a result of the floodwaters and the resulting unstable environment. The family also faces separation and learns firsthand the potential consequences of Christmas travel to a nation without the best in first-world healthcare.The acting in “The Impossible” is top-notch. McGregor’s portrayal of a well-to-do European father avoids cliché and instead provides a key emotional hook for many moviegoers. Likewise, Watts delivers an excellent performance, showing how a woman of means may find herself a fish out of water in completely unfamiliar circumstances. The children have much smaller roles than the parents, but Holland, Joslin, and Pendergast all deliver meaningful performances. The cameo of Geraldine Chaplin stands out as one of the best-delivered scenes in the movie and as a point where both acting and cinematography blend together brilliantly. The Thai people who played supporting actors in a few of the scenes, many of whom are not credited, steal the show on more than one occasion. The most heartfelt performances seem to come not from the actors, but from those living in Thailand during the filming of the movie.Cinematography is another area where the movie shines. Viewers are likely to feel themselves stranded along with the main characters in a foreign land with no access to immediate medical care and relying on the goodwill of complete strangers. The camera angles and transitions are very smooth, creating a sense of cinematography that may stand the test of time and make this film a classic within its genre.The screenplay only tangentially follows the original story, however, replacing some characters and background stories in such a way as to resonate more with affluent European or American viewers. The writing falls flat on occasion, primarily due to the time constraints of a movie when characters occasionally have epiphanies that do not always flow naturally from the story told on the screen. The character buildup is not nearly what one would expect from a novel or standard docudrama, but this is likely the result of paring down the screenplay to fit a shorter timeframe. This is more or less forgivable, however, as the story is still gripping emotionally and only occasionally suffers from these moments.The film’s directorial choices seem a little jarring. The decision to cast an almost entirely Caucasian set of actors in roles that were originally filled by dark-skinned Spanish men, women and children, or by and large avoid stories and events involving the Thai inhabitants, may strike an off chord for those familiar with the original story or events surrounding the tsunami. The actors sometimes deliver lines in a manner that seems out of place, though this may be a matter of showing just how helpless the normally affluent characters are when faced with such trying circumstances. It is not clear, however, if the director wished this to occur or if it is a minor happenstance. The direction does begin to shine toward the film’s climax before the family is whisked away to Singapore for modern medical care. Overall, the director does a good job of telling a cohesive story.”The Impossible” is likely to set the standard for cinematography and acting in action films based on a true story. The occasional hiccups are not enough to keep it from being a good film, though those who do not like the docudrama style of storytelling may not find it as endearing as those looking for a genre piece. The film will likely find followers among docudrama fans but may struggle to reach action or thriller aficionados. “The Impossible” makes a great movie choice for an evening with close friends or other fairly somber social occasions.Rating 3 out of 5

New Year Resolution. Sounds fancy, isn’t it?The truth is, by Spring a lot of people usually falls through on one’s Resolution. Can’t really blame them. After all, when an intention starts with “This year I will…”, what we usually forget is one year consists of 12 months. That equals to 52 weeks, or 365 days.Who can guarantee they will do something repetitively in the course of the next 365 days?If you’re saying that you have New Year Resolution because everyone else does, and you don’t really mean it, this article is not for you.But if you are seriously getting tired of feeling helpless when it comes November, every year, that whatever you planned at the beginning of the year never came to fruition, it’s time to change your technique.Let’s start by not using the term of “New Year Resolution”. Let’s use “Goal Setting”.The difference, goal setting could be made in stages. New Year resolution is too big of a word, it is as if saying if you don’t achieve your goal in its entirety, you’re not achieving anything at all.Let’s start with losing weight as an example of a goal.Exercise is a must, that’s not a discussion.Let’s start by enrolling to a gym membership. The keys:
Do NOT enroll and paid in advance for an entire year. No matter how tempting the deal sounds.
Do NOT be tied to a contract for a full year, even if the charges is upon you monthly.
Buy a 3-months package and pay it in full; if they don’t have 3-months package
Pay it monthly and plan to go just for 3 months, January – March.
Hang on…please read on.The applications of going to the gym:
Go 3 times a week for 1 hour exercise each day. That’s the ideal.
If you can only make it twice a week, do the exercise 1.5 hours each time. Don’t make this a habit though.
If you have plenty of times in your hand (or a fix schedule of the day), you can go 4 days a week for 45 minutes exercise every time.
Could you do more in one day and less on the other? Sure you can. But don’t. The key to achieving something is not how much you put in a day randomly. The key is consistency. I can’t emphasize that enough.If you do exercise for 2 hours in a day, and the next day you don’t feel like going, what you did in the previous day did NOT make up for it. Not only you’re setting your body into a confused mode, you’re also setting up your mindset that working for your goal is optional.If you want it, make up your mind and work with your will.Now the question, why March? That’s the answer. It’s a short-term goal.Here’s what you need to do. On the very same day after you enroll for that 3-months gym membership, later on that night, make an awesome plan for March/April.A plan that would require you to show off the result of your hard work. It has to be something that you’ve always wanted. Some examples:
A weekend getaway to a most popular beach nearby.
A quick trip to New York City (or any big city if you live in rural area) to pick up the latest Spring fashion.
Set up a reunion with some old friends that you haven’t seen in a while, just so that they can say “You look good,” and you cay say, “I feel good”.
Whatever your plan is, it MUST be something that gets you excited and much looking forward to. Something that rewards yourself. Don’t be stingy. Splurge a little. If anything, this is paving your way to a real New Year Resolution achievement.Some key pointers:1. It’s not going to be easy to stick your goal, things will come up; but at least you know, there is something at the end of the tunnel. And that tunnel isn’t that long.Just do it. Get up, in an hour you’ll get this over with. After that, 3-months will go by before you know it. Haven’t you noticed how quick time flies by lately?2. Particularly for this example, EAT AS NORMAL. If you have another plan to eat healthier, good for you. Use the same technique, cut the portion (and choices) down in stages. Personally, I’ll eat just like normal.1 goal at a time, especially a big one like this. Unless you’re a really horrible junk-food eater, routine exercise itself should help to lower your weight and make you healthier.3. This is a spoiler, but if you’re willing to deal with the sore for the first 2 weeks, after the 3rd week, you will absolutely feel better. You will sleep better at night, and you will have more energy during the day. I proved it.4. Are you self motivated? If you’re not, work with a Personal Trainer. Personally, I don’t use one. When my mind is set to think, “I paid this fella, I better go,” want to turns into have to. And that’s pressure. I don’t need more of those after work, thank you very much.However, everyone is different, and it also depends a lot on the Personal Trainer. So use your best judgment on this, really.5. When you know your goal is do-able, when you proved that you can do it for 3 months, there is no reason you cannot do it for the next 6 months.Yes, take a break for a month or 2, and then go back to the gym and this time, enroll for a 6-months package. Repeat the same pattern, reward yourself for the holiday season. Sure splurge a little, it’s holiday season anyway, everyone lets loose voluntarily or not. You might as well make it enjoyable by knowing that you earned it.6. Around this time next year, you know New Year Resolution is not an impossible mission.