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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Three Good Things and Three Movies

I’m now working on a weekly blog theme focusing on Positive Psychology exercises, which include gratitude, affirmation, signature strengths, etc. The founding father of Positive Psychology and current specialist in the field, Dr. Martin Seligman, opened up a delish can of worms back in 1999. It’s a baby field, really, but it’s growing and learning at the speed of light. 

The focus of Positive Psychology is to help people enhance their general well-being by looking at life from the positive side by taking it as it comes, counting one’s blessings, developing optimistic habits, etc. And isn’t this the key to success in so many self-help books? Granted, I am sick and tired of ‘professionals’ telling me what I should do with my life to make it better, but they do have a point sometimes. Trust me, I know everything there is to know about Positive Psychology and I think it's worth the shot.

Too bad I don’t take more time to appreciate the good things and sometimes flat-out forget to do it altogether, but that’s why I am cooking up this blog theme. I’ll get back to you when I’ve chosen a specific day but for now, I’ll briefly present to you one of those positive exercises I talked about.

THREE GOOD THINGS requires that you list three good things that have happened to you during the day and why they occurred. I wrote my dissertation on this subject and lots of studies have shown that this exercise does make a difference for well-being, including decreasing depression and anxiety, improving mood and happiness, etc. I might reveal more about this in the future.

For now, I’m just going to do my daily dose of 3GT. Feel free to follow suit.

1. I saw my best friend for the first time in six months. We talked about the future and I felt like a little girl again, though in reality, we spoke as grown-ups now. It’s unbelievable how quickly life takes you places you’d never imagine to be at.

2. I finally watched Red Riding Hood (2011) and LOVED it. I’ll even give you guys an impromptu review in this post because I feel like talking about movies today. It makes me happy when I watch a good movie because it takes me to a different life. I don’t know how other people experience the film art, but to me, it’s like a long-winded adventure into someone else’s mind. I don’t want to say that I prefer watching a movie to reading a book, but I often miss the visual effects when I read.

3. I ate my favorite chocolate which is made in Bulgaria and therefore cannot always make its way to the UK, so I enjoy it to the max every time I come home. I already feel fattened, jeez. But there’s nothing like food that reminds you of home when you’re old and nostalgic. All right, I’m not that old yet, but I am getting soft in my young age.

But that’s not all. For the past week, I watched THREE movies (all released this year), which I am willing to share with you today and try not to give out any spoilers, but no promises okay?

1. Red Riding Hood:

I had very low expectations because I wasn’t crazy about Seyfried’s last movies (Letters to Juliet and Dear John). It seems that she’s everywhere lately and that’s okay, except she keeps choosing those sappy teenage movies devoid of substance, so every time I see her name in the cast, I automatically think the movie’s gonna be a dud. This time, however, I was proved wrong.

The one thing that had me very impressed was the music. It was very subtle and ever-present throughout the whole movie, which is much better than the more silent films, which employ music to emphasize key scenes instead of implementing them. It was so wonderfully creepy that I must commend Brian Reitzell and Alex Heffes for their combined efforts. It was even more creesty (tasty + creepy) than Steve Jablonsky’s score for Nightmare on Elm Street (2010).

For those who love romantic stories, I think this movie will not disappoint. Vallery’s passion and devotion to Peter is inspiring, not to mention her having two very cute men save her ass from the big bad wolf all the time. Speaking of whom, you’d think that it’s easy to determine who the werewolf is exactly, but you’ll probably not know until the very end, which is a real feat nowadays. The clues were smartly veiled as Vallery looked for the werewolf in every pair of dark brown eyes she saw. Everyone was a suspect, even family and friends. Scratch that, especially family and friends.

To sum up, the movie is a rather smart spin-off of the well-known fairytale with hints of witch-hunting. It has suspense, action, romance, and mystery, all wrapped into one delicious cinematic treat that should appeal to a large audience. This movie at least did its trailer proud.

2. Sucker Punch:

There is a reason why they put the word ‘sucker’ in the title. You know where I’m going with this, don’t you? It started with an interesting backstory with rather satisfying effects and a bizarre choice of pacing, all the while some cheeky music was playing in the background. So far so good.

Then came the confusion, the ridicule, and finally, the tacky super chick outfits and computer game landscapes. Granted, I knew what the movie was about, I’d watched the trailer, and was mentally prepared for the semi-original idea. However, as far as I saw, the story was not even linked to the gaming elements and the most powerful weapon of the heroine was her killer dance routine that we never get to see!

The one thing that was good was the soundtrack, actually. The songs matched the kick-ass outfits and sweaty action, as well as the dragons and zombies, and finally, the whole subconscious element of the movie. The quote: ‘If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything’ was nice too.

Other than that, it was a big fat smelly dud.

3. Hanna:

It makes me sad when I look forward to a movie only to watch it and say ‘meh’. I mean, Saoirse Ronan is one of them good ones. I loved her in City of Ember (2008) and The Lovely Bones (2010). She’s a regular Dakota Fanning, next generation. Still, the movie… not so good.

The idea was great, but the whole genetic engineering part was vague at best. Sure, who doesn’t want to create the perfect soldiers who are low on the fear and pity departments, AND are capable of learning a gazillion languages and fight like hell. But shouldn’t there be more than that? The film was basically an action-laden account of an ‘abnormal’ girl who’d never been properly socialized and likes to stick her hands in dead animals’’ innards. Great, who doesn’t like that magic?

As for the music front, there was none. Where did the music go? Enough said.


Jen said...

I totally feel that way about movies too. I stopped talking about movies on my blog because I'm generally way behind the curve, but they most definitely affect my creativity.

I'm glad to hear you like red-riding hood. I didn't know whether or not I wanted to see it, but now I might give it a try.

I was afraid to see sucker punch and you confirmed those fears - off my list.

I haven't heard one good thing about Hanna, so I'll pass that up as well.

Anyway, this is becoming a really long comment, but I wanted to post three quick things since I'm not a great mood.

1. My neighbor brought me her famous dark chocolate no-bake cookies and I ate the whole plate, so good.

2. I actually got to spend some kid free time with my hubby today, something I'm always grateful for.

3. I have so many people that love me that I can't fit in all the activities they want me to go to next weekend for our independence day.

Okay - so good and bad, but I do feel better. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I loved the post! The 3 positive things that happened during day is a good reflective tool; I try to use it regularly.

1) I went out for a stroll.
2) I caught with my house chores (they were seriously lacking!).
3) I have been invited over to a good mate of mine for a couple of days -so I may be elusive! :)

I haven't been to the movies for ages :( so I can't comment other than great reviews!

Tim Greaton said...

Lyn: Great comments. I love the 3 things you appreciate each day and have added Red Riding Hood to my to-see movie list. Sounds like one my wife and I might appreciate together :-)

Angela Wallace said...

I wanted to see Suckerpunch, but never got around to it. Guess I won't now.

1) Saw a good friend yesterday and spent 3 hours talking about life, hopes, fears, and dreams. It was great catching up after not seeing her for a year. =)

2) Went to see RoTK extended in theaters and got free movie passes (cus the movie had technical difficulties). Just shows good things can come from bad.

3) Got to sleep in my own bed last night! I've been pet-sitting, which invariably leaves me a zombie.

Lyn Midnight said...

@Jen See, in moments like these, I feel like I've the power to make a difference... in the movie-watching decisions of others, lol.

Hmm, chocolate somehow always makes it into the lists. Yum.

@Yikici Well now's a good time to go woman! Not to the bad ones though... *sigh* I'll use my powers to do good, and tell you which ones to watch. :P

@Tim I hope you do enjoy it. It seems I'm doing some movies a favor and others not so much. Huh, is this what being a film critic feels like? :P

@Angela Yeap, I do believe most good things come out of bad... just because the Universe has a strange sense of humor. Omg, pet-sitting? I've always wanted to do that! *jealous*

Thank you so much guys to peeking in my little corner. I appreciate any and all comments. :O)

Mark Evans said...

I saw Sucker Punch very recently. Hmm. I would say it's not quite as bad as everyone makes out. I know what you're thinking, "I'm a guy, I would say that". But, it started promisingly, and though the visuals bordered on boring at times, I was really engaged by the last third of the film.
It's funny re. your comment about the dancing, I was kinda glad we never got to see the actual dance, but imagine what it must've been like based on the fighting moves (remember after the first "sequence" one of the comments was regarding all the groaning, from that I imagined the fighting WAS her dancing).
Anyway, this comment is now far too long. Sorry.
P.S. Agreed: Soundtrack was awesome.

Lyn Midnight said...

Hi Mark! It's fine if you liked it. It's a matter of taste really, and I get what you're saying. I LOVED the beginning, but as soon as the 'games' started, I was put off... Besides, I'm no gamer fan, so there you go. :P

Yes, some things are better left to the imagination, but this did not seem to be one of them. Anyway... thanks for commenting, and I love long comments, you crazy?! :D