Monday, 16 March 2015

Movie Review: The Lazarus Effect (Part 1)

So, I decided that I want to watch Kingsman: The Secret Service two weeks ago (sorry for this long overdue post). Just nice I was photostating a book at Mun Xiuan bookshop outside of Sunway University side gate, I walked all the way from Monash to that bookshop due to lack of transport to SS15, a cheaper alternative at 4 sen a page.

I so happen to plan nicely how my schedule to Sunway University then Sunway Pyramid would lay out and how I will be able to make it for the show at 2:45pm. I was running a little late, but that was nothing to be worry about as there are always advertisements before the movie.

After I passed the book to photostat, I rushed to Pyramid as fast as possible. Unfortunately, a long queue awaits me at TGV. Second unfortunate thing is Kingsman was sold out. :( all that great word-of-mouth... probably I would have missed something great.

Luckily I had made furthur research on the latest films, one of them was The Lazarus Effect, Lazarus for short.

Date watched: 6 March, Friday
Time: 2:45pm
Venue: TGV Cinemas, Sunway Pyramid

What got me motivated to watch this? 
1. I decided that watching more horror movies would train my ability to sustain the suspense(s) and surprise(s), prominent characteristics of horror, so that I can safely ride through Shutter, a Thai horror film which will be screened towards the end of my semester as part of my Film Studies subject. So far I have watched Insidious and Annabelle, so far so good.

2. The story of Lazarus being raised from the dead by Jesus as depicted in the Bible attracted me to discover how does this film use this element as its theme and what kind of plot it will bring to us.

Summary of plot (Spoiler alert)
Frank (Mark Duplass) is a researcher who initially intended to find ways to cure coma - a condition marked by unresponsiveness of a person for more than eight hours and he had received a grant from the university.

However, like Frank puts it, great things were discovered by accidents, i.e. the discovery of Penicillin, an antibiotic. A serum, code-named as Lazarus, created by the team of four, excluding the videographer, remarkably raised a dead dog, named Rocky.

The serum was supposed to dissipate in Rocky's brain after a few hours but it was not the case. Meanwhile, the dean of the university found out about Frank and his team's underground animal trials, and immediately a pharmaceutical company who bought over the organisation that was funding Frank and seized all their equipments and key cards.

The team decided to replicate the experiment in hopes to claim ownership / copyright of the serum, however Zoe (Olivia Wilde), Frank's fiancee was electrocuted. Despite the aggressive behavior shown by Rocky as a reaction to the serum and the fact that the experiment was still at the stage of animal trials, Frank boldly attempt to 'revive' Zoe from the dead.

Zoe who 'rose' from the dead began exhibiting strange yet extraordinary behavior, such as able to control movement of objects, electricity (similar idea as Lucy), able to know others' thoughts and predict them before they say it. Fueled by a desire to kill to make herself normal again, we soon discover that her younger self, let's call her Zoe junior was unable to 'crossover' to the other side of the door, one in which the people in her building were stuck under due to the fire.

Frank and the rest of the team, except Niko (Donald Glover) and Clay (Evan Peters) who were killed attempted to kill Zoe using a syringe loaded with a poison used to kill lab animals.

Zoe junior opened the door and walked over to the other side as persuaded by Eva (Sarah Bolger). Their attempts failed in vain. Zoe apologises to Eva for what she had done, she dies (or appear to be). Firemen rushed to save them, however at close-up of a fireman facing Eva, it turned out to be Zoe, who had now went through dead-alive-dead-alive.

My experience
With almost all other viewers with partners hence clinging onto one another during moments of suspense leading up to the scares, I watched Lazarus alone and had only my own mental endurance to rely one. Always keeping in mind that the movie is a fiction and just imagining myself dissociated from the movie, as in not in it helps lessen the scary factor. Lazarus' plot kept me engaged most of the time. I would say it did a reasonably good job for its horror elements. The cast was excellent, Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass made the story seemed believable. But the plot lacked creativity.

Was it scary? / Horror rating: 3/10
Overall: 5/10
Would I recommend Lazarus? Not something that you will miss if you don't watch. For entertainment and a little chiller effect, it does reasonably well. Insidious is much better. Plot was so-so. Elements of Lazarus can be seen in other films as well, i.e. Black colour-filled pupils (Insidious), Lazarus project name (Interstellar), exceptional abilities (Lucy).

That's all from me for now.
Stay tuned for my furthur analysis in Part 2.  :)

Monday, 2 March 2015

10 Things Pure Focusing Can Do For You

Your conscious mind is the goal setter, your unconscious mind is the goal-getter.

This is one of the learnings from the NLP Licensed Practitioner course I attended back in January. 

A quote from NLP for Life states the following:
Goal setting is a conscious, logical process while the Reticular Activation System (RAS) of the brain plays a vital part in ones ability to achieve goals via the unconscious mind. 

Let me tell you a funny incident that happened a few years ago in Australia that can certainly give you a perfect illustration.  

In 2010, I was on a vacation in Australia. One hot day I spotted a Boost Juice Bar along the streets. I was so fascinated by it and I wanted to go get a cup. But due to our schedule, I couldn't do so.

I still wanted to get it. For the following days, even though I was walking along with the others during our tour. I seemed to only notice the streets where they might have Boost. I searched literally frantically, just looking for them, not really caring about the street view, passerby etc. For example, after visiting the Old Melbourne Gaol on Russell Street even, I was thirsty, and I didn't even thought of drinking water, I just wanted to try Boost. 

So, finally one day I found a shop and bought one. It was delicious and a amazing thirst-quencher. The annoying part is after I came back to Malaysia, I found there was just one at the airport. But fortunately when I bought that one, it didn't taste as fresh as the one in Melbourne.

In my case, I consciously wants to look for a Boost Juice Bar. While my unconscious mind will show me Boost when my brain is exposed to millions of information per second. 

This learning from NLP helped me when I set my daily positive intentions. I am glad I went for the programme as I can now use it for my learning, communication with people, overcome limiting beliefs and many more. 

Despite the apparent contradiction with traditional psychology (I'm a Psych major by the way), I find it useful to view both approaches as tools to help us understand our world better. That will be another separate post for my views on all these. 

Methods of Focusing. 

You can do this several ways. I will put this into sequential steps to be followed as a guide.

 1. Deep breathings

I personally use the 4.2.4. method but you can modify it the way you feel at ease. Inhale through your diaphragm for 4 counts, slowly, and hold your breath for 2 counts and exhale for 4 counts. Do this 424 breathing for 5 -15 rounds, depending on how much time you have. This should calm your senses down. 

2. Eliminate distractions

Remove all the things that are stimulating your five senses unnecessarily, such as your handphone, tablet, the television, computer games, music etc. If you want to achieve something, be firm and do it.
Practise delayed gratification, where you delay something that is a reward or pleasurable to allow yourself to do something more important.

3. Set a Specific goal(s)
Goals have to be S.M.A.R.T. This is an acronym for
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic & Relevant
  • Time-based
If your goal doesn't have all of these, your unconscious mind will not be able bring you your results. 

4. Work out what you need to do
Write in a list and divide them into manageable parts. And plan when should the sections be completed

5. Work towards Success!!

ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: If you notice your mind wander after a few minutes of maybe less than a minute, it's perfectly okay. You just re-focus. Be patient and practise makes perfect.

Benefits of Pure Focusing

  1. Eliminates anxiety, calm yourself down
  2. Increase self awareness
  3. Eliminate need of multitasking, which is proven ineffective here, here and here.
  4. Deliver extraordinary results
  5. Boost self confidence
  6. Allows coffee / tea / toilet breaks
  7. Fulfill your dreams in life, make them come true!
  8. Radical acceptance
  9. Perform better in marathons, not the 42KM run, but our life journeys
  10. Find your passion, your strengths, gifts and vocation

Finally, that's all from me and I hope you enjoy this short article.

Oh, one last thing, I would like to recommend a book that can help you tremendously in personal growth and create positive change. It's by Eckhart Tolle, titled The Power of Now. In Malaysia you can buy it from bookstores nationwide at around RM 46.90 or get the PDF here. I encourage you to read it with an open mind, regardless of your religious beliefs. 
A detailed methodology of life's most fundamental principles, practical application and amazing realizations.