Random Friday Ramblings: Satisfied

He tossed left and right until he could find a comfortable spot on his bed.  He was tired and felt sleep beckoning but each time he closed his eyes, he would find himself with his eyes open.  He wanted to try taking sleeping pills but was worried he might suffer some sort of side effect later in life.  Finally giving up, he sat up in his bed.

He looked at his night table where his alarm clock sat.  In bright neon green, it read: ‘2.45AM’.  He sighed thinking about what he could do to fall back asleep.  He could run around his apartment and tire himself out.  Or he could do the cliche thing of closing his eyes and counting sheep.  As he was just about to get out of bed to Google ‘ways to fall asleep’, he felt his stomach growl.  Realizing that the reason behind him not being able to sleep could do with his hunger, he swung his legs off his bed and got up.

He padded over in the dark towards his kitchen and put his hand on the refridgerator door, pulling it open.  The light from the fridge illuminated the near surroundings.  He leaned down a little to get a good look at what’s inside.  Expecting to find some cheese or ham lying around, he felt disappointed seeing only a milk carton sitting in his rather empty fridge. Sighing, he picked up the carton and drank it.  Tasting the sourness of the milk on his tongue, he immediately rushed to the sink to spit out the milk.  Glancing at the expiry date on the milk carton with the light from the fridge, he felt stupid for thinking it was fresh milk.  Having been busy for the past week, he never had enough time to get to the supermarket to restock his kitchen.  Annoyed, he threw the carton in the bin and was just about to close his fridge when he spotted a flyer stuck on his fridge.  Pulling the edge of the flyer, it got loose from underneath the magnet that was holding it up.

Using the light from the fridge, he got a good look at the flyer which read: ‘No time to shop for groceries during the day or after work? Or did you just realize there is nothing in your fridge? Come on down to the new 24-hour Supermart! We do things fresh and you’ll never leave here unsatisfied!’

A 24-hour Supermart sounded like an answer to his current problem.  Motivated by the prospect of groceries in his kitchen, he closed the door to his fridge and padded over to the front door.  He picked up his keys from the bowl and took his hoodie that hung from the rack positioned by the door.  In exchange with his bedroom slippers, he slipped into a pair of comfy TOMS and headed out.

~ * ~

From the address he memorized from the flyer, the 24-hour Supermart wasn’t far away.  In fact, it was just three blocks down from where his apartment was.  As soon as he was out of his apartment building, he hurriedly put on the jacket hood to prevent his face from icing off when the cold wind blew.  It wasn’t Winter yet but when the night came, it almost felt like Winter wanted the night shift until its rightful turn.

The walk to the 24-hour Supermart was fairly quiet and the more he walked, the more tired he felt.  This might just prove to be an effective method to fall asleep.  But just as he seemed to find a solution to one problem, another one started.  His hunger grew a little more and he cursed himself for choosing to take the healthier option.  Salad-schmalad.  So much for trying to stay lean and healthy.  Those few pieces of chicken in his salad clearly didn’t provide the much needed weight to keep his stomach happy.

After an internal rant with himself, he looked up to see the 24-hour Supermart directly opposite him.  He smiled from relief; happy that he could finally get his late-night snack and get out of the cold loneliness from his walk.  He crossed the street walking twice as fast and reached the entrance of the 24-hour Supermart.  He picked up a basket from the mountain of baskets by the entrance before walking in.

As he passed, he spotted a couple of cashiers sitting by their cash registers – 3 to be exact.  One had his earbuds plugged in and was apparently catching a wink while the other 2 cashiers; one male and one female seem to be in very deep conversation with one another.  Figuring that’s probably what they do every night (since there wasn’t much of a crowd), he headed straight for the biscuit aisle.

~ * ~

Brand after brand of biscuits lined the shelves, making it hard to choose. He had never seen a collection that big before.  He was surprised that the Supermart didn’t have more people since they seemed to have a large variety.  Feeling kind of special that he was the only one, he took his time, walking up and down the biscuits aisle, picking up different boxes to read their contents.  He eventually settled on his favorite brand… Deciding that he wasn’t feeling that adventurous.

He was just about to leave the aisle when a young woman with platinum blond hair stopped him.  Looking at her, he noticed that she looked rather bright and cheerful for a time like this.  It was about 3 in the morning but she looked like it was 10 in the morning and sunlight replaced the darkness outside.  He gave her a small smile and was about to bypass her when she spoke.

“Hi there!” She said. “Welcome to the 24-hour Supermart! My name is Kayley.”

He gave her a polite smile as a reply since he really just wanted to get the items he need and head out.

“I see you’ve got a couple of biscuits you’ve selected from our wide variety. I just have a few questions to ask you.” She said.

Realizing he didn’t have much of a choice, he replied. “Yeah… You’ve got a wide variety here.. But I kinda just want to get the rest of the items on my list and head home. It’s pretty late.”

“I understand. But these questions will only take you a minute or two.”

Feeling slightly annoyed, since he was feeling tired – the kind that could effectively give him a good night’s sleep, he decided to answer the questions to get her off his back.

“Fine.” He muttered.

She smiled widely. “Great! Are you satisfied with the Supermart on a whole?”

“Yeah… It’s pretty big.”

“Are you satisfied with the services rendered by the staff?”

“Uh.. I’m not sure how that applies?”

“Are you satisfied with the selection we have?”

Looking at Kayley, he realized that she was just asking the questions but not noting down his responses.

“Yes.. Um… Kayley, right? Look… I’ve got an early morning tomorrow and I just wanna purchase my items and head home. Maybe I’ll do your survey some other time, ok?”

Not waiting another second for Kayley to respond, he hurriedly walked past her towards the dairy products.  He pulled out a carton of milk and turned around to see Kayley right behind him.  Surprised, he dropped the carton of milk and it fell to the floor, spilling open as it lay on its side.

“Shit! You scared me!” He said. “I told you that I don’t have time for your surveys!”

“I just had one more question.” She said. “Are you satisfied?”

Frowning, he shouted. “No! No! I’m not satisfied!”

Kayley straightened and smiled. “Thank you for your comments.”

Feeling pissed off, he put his basket down and was just about to leave when he realized the Supermart had gone quiet.  He looked back at Kayley who was still smiling creepily at him.

“I’m afraid you can’t live until you’re satisfied.”

“What-”

~ * ~

“Morning! Welcome to the 24-hour Supermart! We’ve got some fresh meat that just came in a few hours ago and somemore new male apparel. Trust me when I say you’re never going to leave here unsatisfied!”

She smiled widely at the morning crowd entering the Supermart and followed after them.  As she walked past a mirror, she noticed a drop of blood on the top of her eyebrow.  Worried, she wiped it away with her thumb before putting a wide smile back on her face as she headed to approach a housewife.

Tomorrowland Review: Disney takes you on a journey

 

I just came home from an evening screening of Tomorrowland and I gotta say.. Stepping into the cinema made me a little anxious.  I did a movie review search the night before and had been swayed from thinking it be a good movie to thinking it was gonna blow.  But after watching the film, I have to say… I actually thought it was pretty good.

Contrary to popular belief, Tomorrowland isn’t based off the Disney World / Disneyland attraction of the same name.  Instead, it is about a place in another dimension where nothing is impossible.  With Tomorrowland as the centrepiece, Frank Walker (George Clooney) and Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) are brought together by an Audio Animatronic, Athena (Raffey Cassidy) to find a solution to stop the world from ending.  Having been previously exiled by Governor Nix (Hugh Laurie) from Tomorrowland and hurt by Athena, Frank was hesitant to join the crusade.  But, having seen something that ultimately swayed him into changing his mind, he agrees to go back.  Together, they try to change Governor Nix’s mind with the hope of changing the world’s destiny.

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“I’m pretty sure I had more than this when I came in.” Source: Walt Disney Pictures

For a young age of 13, Raffey definitely had some huge shoes to fill.  Her character embodied so much maturity and properness but yet kept the innocence that Raffey naturally has.  Having to have some sort of unresolved feelings with George Clooney was definitely not an easy feat but she does it so naturally that you could almost believe that she was some sort of human animatronic that cheated George’s feelings.  Britt Robertson was another natural as I could easily imagine her being this way in real life.  Her optimism really rubbed off on me and I left the theatre with a new found perspective.  But the surprising star of this show for me was none other then Mr Tim McGraw.  As soon as he appeared on screen, I started to have an internal debate.  I knew I found him familiar but could it be?  I resisted all urges to whip out my phone to confirm.  So when the credits finally rolled and I saw ‘Tim McGraw’, I was like ‘Damn! Tim don’t just sing ’em Country songs… He can act too!’  And a pretty good one if I might say so.

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“I’m good looking no matter what character I play!” Source: Walt Disney Pictures

So, unlike other viewers, I really enjoyed this movie from start to finish.  I honestly couldn’t see any bad moments.  Sure – Maybe the duration of the movie is too long.  But I felt it was necessary to ensure the full understanding of the film.  Yes, there was not much action as one would expect but the visuals and funny dialogues made up for it.  I mean… The chemistry between the actors were pretty good.  I could really see the banter happening like as if it were just them being themselves off camera.  To me, Tomorrowland was much more then a film.  It had an underlying message that was waiting for the audience to pick up on.

I think others might disagree with me but when Hugh Laurie’s character was explaining himself with regards to his selfish decision to keep Tomorrowland from others, I couldn’t help but agree with him.

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“Hiding in the bathtub is effective during times like these!” Source: Walt Disney Pictures

His character stating his fear for the people living on Earth, ruining the sanctuary he had built away from them was kinda justified.  Yes, he was selfish but he was only doing it because he knows what will happen when the bad kind of people discover the monetary potential in living there.   And Tomorrowland will have a fate that is exactly like Earth’s.

Of course I don’t entirely agree with his assumption that all humans have selfish intentions.  Not all of us only care about ourselves.  Not all of us value wealth and power over good values and morals.  Not all of us watch disaster films and continue to live the way we do – bringing us one step closer to the same ending of ‘2012’.

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Who wouldn’t want to live in Tomorrowland? Source: Walt Disney Pictures

Unfortunately, we do live in a world where instead of finding a solution to a problem or trying to stop a situation from escalating further, we begin to fascinate ourselves with the probability of it happening.  Climate Change is an issue that we have yet to tackle.  Our non-stop fascination with the end of the world can be seen through Hollywood constantly churning out disaster flicks to do with natural disasters; even when the signs are present in real life.  We all fail to realize that all of these problems can be somehow lessened or curbed if only we did something TODAY.  We are all so preoccupied with ourselves that knowing the outcome has sort of made us find ways to survive the disaster as oppose to preventing it.

All in all, Tomorrowland is a visually-stunning, entertaining and pretty impactful film which I encourage everyone to watch.  It tells you to continue dreaming of a better and brighter future because it can happen if you let it.  Dreamers have to stick together and we are all dreamers in our own little way.  If we worked together, doing our little part here and there, we’re already saving our own world.

Don’t fix it tomorrow; fix it today.

Rating:

starstarstarhalfstar

Pitch Perfect 2 Review: Aca-tastic!

 

I had been waiting a long time for this sequel and I had been counting down the days since the trailer came out.

Pitch Perfect 2 brings the Barden Bellas back on-screen once again on the road to redemption after getting suspended by the National A Capella Association, following their unfortunate accident with Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) at the Kennedy Center while performing for the president of the United States. Because of that, the Barden Bellas were to be taken off their victory tour and be replaced by Das Sound Machine, a German acapella group. Feeling unfairly treated for an accident that occurred, Becca (Anna Kendrick) asked if they could be reinstated if they went to compete at a world acapella competition and came back champions. Thinking it was a joke, John (John Michael Higgins) and Gail (Elizabeth Banks) told them that they would accept that condition only if they truly succeeded.

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“SLUMBER PARTY!” Source: Universal Pictures

With this new goal in mind, the Barden Bellas set out to overturn the suspension ruling they got. While Chloe (Brittany Snow) starts giving out advice to everyone on how to stay focused on winning the world championships, Becca gets a call from a music studio who tells her that she had been selected for the internship with them. She accepts the offer and decides to keep the news to herself as she juggles with focusing on her internship and the upcoming championships. At this point, the Bellas had gained a new member, Emily (Hailee Steinfield), who was the daughter of a legacy Bella, Katherine Junk (Katey Segal).

The first thing that the Bellas had to do was scope out their competition. So, they decided to head to a car show where Das Sound Machine had replaced them as the performers. Seeing how good their competition was gave them the determination to match the standards that Das Sound Machine were at. Unfortunately for them, each time they tried to face off with the German group, they would always lose. Thinking that they needed a team building session, Chloe suggested they take a retreat. Together, the girls head off to a retreat run by a previous member of the Bellas, Aubrey (Anna Camp). As they went through different bonding activities while harmonizing as a group, Becca started to feel the pressure of keeping her internship a secret. She eventually snaps and attempts to walk away from the Bellas when she gets caught in a bear trap. Chloe takes the opportunity to taunt her a little to express the betrayal she felt. But it was cut short when the branch holding Becca’s weight attempted to break. Eventually, they managed to free Becca with the help of Lilly (Hana Mae Lee). The Bellas eventually mended their relationship with each other; finding the special thing about them that made them a successful acapella group.

With the sound that they’ve found again, the Bellas head to Copenhagen to win the world championships.

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“So here we are. The second film.” Source: Universal Pictures

Needless to say, I really enjoyed Pitch Perfect 2. I felt that it had a simple storyline with adequate amounts of heart, songs and laughs. It was nice to see that they gave it a rounded ending (hopefully) to the Pitch Perfect franchise.

Despite it being a movie made for entertainment, I felt that there were parts in the film that related to real life situations young adults face today.

1. Passion does not always equal dream job
This would be the scene where Becca asks the music producer what he thought of her demos. Since she had the passion for the industry, she was looking forward to the producer giving her compliments. But instead, he tells her that her mash-ups were good but not what he was looking for. He goes on to explain that what she can do is what the other people in the studio can do too. He wanted to see something that he hadn’t seen before that had something special.

In reality, we often think that having passion alone can get us the dream job we want. But more often than not, what we do out of interest and love are not what people are looking for. Plenty of people have interests that are similar to ours but what about our interest makes us stand out? Having a passion for the position doesn’t always entitle you to it. A dream job is something that we get it we’re lucky.

2. We all have to grow up eventually
Becca’s breakdown during the Bellas’ retreat kinda shows what we all struggle with during the end of our college years. Despite having fun and enjoying our time with friends, the realization of leaving school life hits us. We all have to graduate eventually and setting up life after college is important. Everyone wants to leave in the ‘now’ without worries but reality doesn’t work that way. Paths need to be set to ensure a good future. I used to hate people telling me to plan for the future but ever since I graduated, I now understand how important it is.

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“We are like definitely the best-looking couple in this film.” Source: Universal Pictures

The songs in this film were definitely catchy and well-mashed. I was pretty much bobbing to the beat while mouthing the words to the songs throughout the movie. ‘Flashlight’ especially, grew on me as the movie ended.

Despite being able to sing, I felt that the character Hailee portrayed was tailor-made for her. She not only embodied the freshman persona but she had pretty good chemistry with the rest of the cast. But of course, no one can beat Adam DeVine and Rebel Wilson who portray my two favorite characters – Bumper and Fat Amy. Both of them had impeccable comic-timing which kinda gave them the ultimate spotlight – especially with their rendition of Pat Benatar’s ‘We Belong’.

All in all, Pitch Perfect 2 is an aca-awesome film and even if you haven’t caught the first one before, you can still enjoy it. I do hope that this will be the last Pitch Perfect that they do.. I mean… Where else can they compete now that they’re the world acapella group champion?

So, dear Hollywood… Please leave this franchise alone. Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2 are good as a pair… Let it stay that way.

Rating:

starstarstarstar

Unfriended Review: Never take candid videos of your friends

 

So, I recently caught the film that I’ve been waiting to watch since I first saw the trailer.

Unfriended is a horror film about 6 teenagers who are being taunted through Skype by the spirit of Laura Barns, a girl from their high school (whom they know), who committed suicide.  Laura’s spirit seeks to uncover the truth with regards to her video being posted onto YouTube.  Through the use of social media, Laura’s spirit makes quick work of her school mates and slowly kills them off one-by-one; making it look like a suicide.

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“In favor of getting that default Skype picture removed say I.” Source: Blumhouse Productions

The cool thing about this film is that I feel like it’s the first of its kind.  Using just the desktop of a MacBook and Skype video calls, the film made viewers feel like they are the MacBook user – like they are a part of the film.  It also showed a different sort of haunting that teenagers seem more attuned to these days – Social Media.  I like the clever way they used social platforms like FaceBook, forums and YouTube to act as the storyteller on behalf of dialogues between actors.

With their lives on display through FaceBook, it is easy to see how quickly the groups’ unity dissolved.  Each of them outing each other’s secret and eventually giving up their secrets before the other party does, just to save their own skin and their social status (they didn’t want socially damaging photos or videos of themselves get mysteriously posted onto their FaceBook page).

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The poster child for the dangers of Skype. Source: Blumhouse Productions

The last part of the film led me to think that the main girl had more than one thing on her mind as she comes to realize that her whole world fell apart in the span of one night.  She not only just lost her boyfriend (because she gave him up), but she also had a permanent post on her FaceBook page – a video that showed her filming the infamous video that pushed Laura to suicide.  She wasn’t just crying over the guilt and remorse she had over Laura’s death but also the overall reality of her lost of her friends as well as her social status (as negative comments begin pouring in under the video post.)

All in all, Unfriended is a refreshing take on a horror movie and it helps that the film wasn’t long-winded or had too much dialogue.  It was quick and to the point, telling the story easily with that element of reality as we are all truly very involved with social media.

To be honest, it might even make you worry for a second when you look at the default user picture on Skype… Is it really your friend or someone else?

Rating:

starstarstarhalfstar