Category Archives: Stories

Into The Woods

Into the Woods is a highly entertaining and award winning film (musical).  An adaption of the acclaimed Broadway piece in the same title, it is brought to life by a star-studded cast and a great ensemble.  This masterpiece is definitely one of my Top Ten Movies.

Synopsis

The tale is of a Baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) who sought to reverse the curse of childlessness placed on their family by a Witch (Meryl Streep).  In order to do so, the couple need to go into the Woods to assemble a list of items the Witch required, in time for the blue moon’s appearance on the third night.

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Intertwined flawlessly with the main story are plots and impeccable details from Brothers Grimms’ timeless fairy tales: “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Cinderella”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, and “Rapunzel”.  What’s so engaging is the seamless storyline, riotous humour, sophisticated yet realistic twists and ironies. Not least the brilliant portrayal by the talented cast who fleshed their characters with great depth and charm: the human frailty, aspirations, inner most fears and imperfections.  And all while keeping in good rhythm and step of the luscious soundtrack!

I Wish!  (More than Anything, More than the Moon, More than Life Itself!)

Every Character in the movie each had their all consuming Wishes.  The Baker and his wife longed for a child (“more than the Moon”).  The Witch wanted to regain her beauty, and to keep Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy) in her care/company.  Cinderalla (Anna Kendrick) dreamt of going to the King’s Festival, and to meet her Prince Charming (Chris Pine). Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) was perpetually hungry, and easily distracted by pretty things. The Wolf (Johnny Depp) was on the prowl.  Jack (Daniel Huttlestone)  wanted to keep his cow and friend “Milky White”, his mother (Tracey Ullman) wanted her sold for gold coins. etc.

To savour the expressions, nuances and imagery, please go Full Screen.

I Know Things Now!

Like in a good tale, everyone cut their corners, told their white lies etc.  And like a good story, everyone got what they wished for, only to invariably discover the ironic irrelevancy.  Worse, the consequences of their selfish actions during the course of getting their wishes were so disastrous, they lost the things that actually mattered.  Nevertheless, in the end there was redemption of sorts; yet also a hint that the hard won lessons have not fully sunk in.  It can’t get more real than this!

My Thoughts. 

Look out for the different stations of Life that each character or group of characters represent e.g. the childless couple, the woman pining for Prince Charming etc, what they did and the results!  It is amazing how similar the movie is to some of Life’s drama…

As Emily Blunt puts it, “The theme very much is “Be careful what you wish for”.”  To know what we really want in Life, to appreciate what we have, and to know the real consequences of what we wish for.

Two words. “Highly recommended!”

Here is another snip of the musical and opinions.

On Doing it Right

“Into the woods, but not too slow- Into the woods, it’s nearing midnight-
Into the woods to mind the Wolf, To heed the Witch,
To honor the Giant, To mind, To heed, To find, To think,
To teach, To join, To go to the Festival!

Into the woods,Into the woods, Into the woods,
Then out of the woods And happy ever after!”

Media Credits : Disney

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Gravity

Sometimes, literature and movies illustrate Life’s lessons in the most poignant and touching ways.

In my view, the story of “Gravity” portrays how we should be positive and grateful regardless of the situation, and look towards getting the best outcome always.

About The Film

“Gravity” is an inspiring story about how a novice Astronaut overcame her deepest fears during a space disaster, through the guidance and encouragement of her Mission Commander.  The movie captivated audiences worldwide and won 7 categories at the 86th Academy Awards, including best director, best cinematography and best score.

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Short Synopsis

An accident occurred while Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), Mission Commander Matthew Kowalski (George Clooney) was out of Space Shuttle Explorer on a mission to repair the Hubble Telescope.  The Russians decimated one of their own satellites and the satellite debris orbiting around Earth at high speed became sharpnel, shredding other satellites in the way.  

At the first impact, crewmate Shariff died immediately, and Stone was flung out into space.  The ever-positive and cool Kowalski retrieved Stone through the use of jetpack propulsion and tether, all the while re-assuring and guiding the despairing Stone .

On return to Explorer, Kowalski and Stone found that they were the only survivors. All their crewmates died horrifically, and the space shuttle was damaged beyond repair.  Kowalski and Stone had to make their way towards the International Space Station a few hundred miles away to seek rescue, despite the depleting jetpack and low oxygen levels.

“Beautiful, don’t you think?” Kolwaski to Stone, to keep Stone from her panicky thoughts, while dragging her towards the ISS, a few hundred miles away.
“What?” replied the perplexed Stone.
“The sunrise. That’s what I’m going to miss the most.”

Warning: Visuals can be very graphic

At the midpoint of the film, due to a shortage of jet fuel, Kowalski and Stone faced difficulty entering the ISS.  In an act of sacrifice, Kowalski cut off his tether to Stone despite her pleas for him not to, to avoid weighing her down, and to enable Stone to make it alone into the ISS.

Moral

As the movie unfolded,  Stone grew out of her fear and despair through the constant encouragement of Kowalski. She slowly became grateful for what she has/had, and gathered her strength to keep focused on surviving.  In her “monologue” during the attempt at re-entry into Earth, Stone triumphed over her own emotions: her panic was gone.  Having done what was possible and grateful for what she had, she was ready to embrace the outcome, whichever way things play out.

“All right, the way I see it, there are only two possible outcomes: 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. Ahh! (Capsule Shakes) Either way, whichever way… no harm, no foul! Because either way, it’ll be one hell of a ride! I’m ready.”

The story’s moral is on how the pessimism and panic distracts us from appreciation and opportunity, and how Positivity and Gratitude helps us overcome our fears.  Suspenseful and touching, it is a big favorite amongst movie goers, and a recommended movie must see.

Media Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Your Career – Love it or Hate it?

I knew of someone who was plagued with doubts about her choice of career. She thought the job was administrative, boring, tedious etc. There were a hundred things she didn’t like.

Chance Encounter

One day, she chanced upon a reality series featuring occupations. Two celebrities were tasked to a day’s work in a new and different occupation each episode.  One a “difficult” job e.g. construction work, and the other “nicer” work e.g. engineering and audit. The celebrities got to immerse themselves in the daily “grind”.

The series was hilariously funny, yet meaningful in a touching way: reactions range from relief to horror as job duties are explained. Shock, joy, fear, disgust.  An example was a job to rescue strays of the street.  Reactions range from “I love dogs!” to “ew, tons of dog poo to be clean daily?!”. Bloopers or even outright fatigue through the day.  The light-hearted jibes with their “work buddy”, and the end of day interviews on what their buddies love or find challenging about the job.

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Enlightenment!

After several episodes, a realisation struck: she wouldn’t be caught dead in any of the occupations in the series, even the “nicer” jobs and professions. Either there were daily safety concerns, pay was poor, uncertain (sales based), odd working hours, uncomfortable working conditions, smell, heat, dust, true tediousness etc or all of the above. The beautiful in her own career/daily work became evident.

The series changed her life. She not only grew to appreciate her job, but also daily services previously taken for granted e.g. the underground. The effort and sacrifice other people make daily to keep the things like clockwork was now apparent.  This is a true story!

Bottomline

There is always something to dislike in an occupation.  Every job has its “tediousness”. But each job also has its merits and exciting opportunities, though one has to strive for it.  Striving may mean doing constant skills upgrading, critical to qualify for more varied and interesting roles or higher pay. To remain relevant / maintain an lifelong learning habit.

Or simply staying determined to produce high quality work each time, regardless how difficult or unfavourable the short term circumstances are!

Everyone has a different job preference.  What do you like and dislike about your jobs?

Image Credit: Unsplash, Stephan Geyer