Sunday, April 15, 2012

Movie Review: Cabin in the Woods

Here's our review in exchange for the free advance screening tickets ^_^ Big thanks to Alliance Films!





Honestly I am not really sure what to think of this movie. My analytical brain can't seem to grasp the concept at all. It's so random and I feel like I got taken for a ride. A good ride. The only way to describe it would be riding in one of those fun house roller coaster/track ride with lots of twist and turns and weird things popping up and lunging right at you. You come in thinking you know what it's all about and what's going to happen next - but wait just one gosh darn minute. It's not as simple. But yet it is.

This is the kind of movie that's hard to review without going too much into detail because it's so easy to spoil.

My review: - ★★★½ / 5
- It was hilarious, scary, suspenseful, dumb, unexpected, and totally worth watching in theatres. I loved how it took me for a ride. The SFX were fantastic and the cheesy factor present in every horror flick involving young people was just right, if not exaggerated in a tastefully weird manner. This movie is totally EFFED up. Hilarious.

The bf's review: - ★★★½ / 5
- Grrr..3.5 like mine..really?? Anyway, he liked that it was different. He also came in thinking one thing, and left with another. He can't think of anything he doesn't like.

So overall it was a success for us. Watch it. Don't read too much synopsis or else you might risk having the movie experience spoiled. Just watch it :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

YWCA fund-raising series - What's this about anyway?






If you've read my FB, Twitter and/or the previous blog post or just heard me talking about this fund raising non stop, you might have wondered:


"What is this fund-raising about and why should I be supporting it?"


First of what is YWCA?

- Acronym is Young Women's Christian Association. Though they have kept "Christian" in their acronym, they are now a multi-faith organization that doesn't discriminate on what or whether a client has a religion or not. YWCA was created in 1910 by four forward thinking women to "provide women travellers with safe accommodations". Now they have evolved to offering a more diverse services through their work with women facing domestic violence, homelessness, poverty, advocating for healthy children and families and promoting nurturing the mind, body and spirit as a whole.

YWCA Mission: - To intervene when and where women need us most. They are committed to social change and work to build a healthy community by building strength and capacity in women.

What is "Keep a Roof Over Their Heads?"

- It is a donation based fund-raising event that brings awareness and raises funds so YWCA can continue with their work. In the past four years, Keep A Roof Over Their Heads has raised more than $900,000 with $125,000 raised last year alone!


Oooookkkk....but what exactly is it? What does it look like? What actually happens?

- Well at the moment I am currently looking for sponsors to donate to my page here. Any and all donations made will go towards YWCA. On event night, myself and a bunch of other fund-raisers,  armed with only the clothes on our backs, pillow and sleeping bag will be lining up in the cold to wait for a spot on the gym floor. We will be provided with a light soup supper and an engaging discussion "to explore the unique challenges that women who are homeless face and their battle against poverty."

If you want a sneak peek...here it is taken from YWCA's webpage:

Event Night


When: Friday, April 20, 2012
Where: YWCA of Calgary, 320 5 Ave SE, Calgary, T2G 0E5
6:30 p.m. Line up to guarantee a safe place to sleep for the night
6:50 p.m. Check-in opens
Meet and mingle
Program begins: includes light supper, discussion about poverty and the choices women face.
Time TBC Lights out
Security guard on duty
6:30 a.m. Wake up call
Coffee and breakfast snack provided
Program: award presentations and closing ceremonies
Approximately 7:30 a.m. Departure
What the YWCA will provide: Mat to sleep on, locker for your valuables, light supper, entertainment
What you need to bring: Clothes on your back, sleeping bag, pillow
Electronic Devices: We encourage you to utilize social media networks on event night to raise awareness and solicit donations. However, we do request that you refrain from playing games or answering phone calls on event night.
Parking: Onsite parking is limited. We encourage you to make alternate arrangements to get to and from this event.
Designated smoking area: Provided
Donations: Please bring your offline donations

Do we interact with the clients?

- I was hoping this was this case but not so. YWCA utilizes Mary Dover House and YWCA Sheriff King Home that helps clients transition.

Is there anything I can do?

- YES! You can sponsor me and my team members by donating. You will receive a tax receipt for donations of more than $20 or more. Low on funds? No worries! You can still help by sharing this with your family, friends and co-workers. If their company or yours offers donation matching, then how awesome would it be!!!  Also, a nice encouraging message on the fund-raising page is always appreciated ^_^


Here is my fund-raising page: http://community.ywcaofcalgary.com/mgracelyn

So yeah....Hopefully that answers most people's questions. If not, leave a comment below.

Monday, April 9, 2012

YWCA fund-raising series - Route to Registration

I finally did it.

I bit the bullet and registered for YWCA's "Keep a Roof Over Their Heads" fund-raising event to raise awareness and funds towards helping women and children overcome homelessness. This was something I wanted to participate in last year but I let my fear of the unknown get the best of me.

Here is my fund-raising page: http://community.ywcaofcalgary.com/mgracelyn


So this year when I spotted this on my Twitter feed, I was determined to NOT let fear win again. I took a deep breath and called YWCA and had a great conversation with Lisa Simon, the Special Events Officer for YWCA. She was so kind and helpful answering my billion and one questions and very gentle in comforting me when I relayed my concerns. You know the normal things that goes through most people's heads when you are doing something on your own for the first time. What if I can't get anyone to sponsor me? Who am I going to talk to if I'm doing this on my own? Can I even do this at all? Etc. etc.

After speaking with her I registered RIGHT AWAY before anxiety could have a chance to talk me out of it. I signed up as an individual with a $300 goal. The recommended requirement is $1000 but I just feel that amount is too lofty for my first try. $300 was the first amount that popped in my head and my comfortable number.

I finally finished my page tonight and began my social media marketing blitz. Utilizing all my social media tools available including emailing people in my contact lists. I've told some friends face to face and on the phone, and have solicited the help of the social committee at my office. Hopefully through word of mouth, not only will the fund meter on my page climb higher, but awareness of this event and homelessness in women and children.

I am so excited, nervous, grateful, inspired - among all these other emotions - to be a part of something productive and pro-active. It will be a great experience to support the YWCA so they can intervene, empower and lead when and where women need them most. 


Here is my fund-raising page: http://community.ywcaofcalgary.com/mgracelyn

Next post - more on YWCA Keep A Roof Over Their Heads fund-raising facts, and what and how the money is used.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Raid: Redemption - Movie Review


Tonight, the  bf and I watched The Raid: Redemption's advance screening. Here's a synopsis from IMDb.com

"Deep in the heart of Jakarta's slums lies an impenetrable safe house for the world's most dangerous killers and gangsters. Until now, the rundown apartment block has been considered untouchable to even the bravest of police. Cloaked under the cover of pre-dawn darkness and silence, an elite swat team is tasked with raiding the safe house in order to take down the notorious drug lord that runs it. But when a chance encounter with a spotter blows their cover and news of their assault reaches the drug lord, the building's lights are cut and all the exits blocked. Stranded on the 6th floor with no way out, the unit must fight their way through the city's worst to survive their mission. Director Gareth Evans (Merantau) and rising martial arts star Iko Uwais reunite in this adrenaline-fueled action film."




My review:

Basically it's a slaughter. The film is 90% action. I counted only 3 girls on this film and all of them were bed ridden one way or another- one being pregnant, one sick and the other was just sitting by the bed doing Lord knows what. Also, there were no sex scenes or women being naked. Sad that I would be watching out for those but in a world where sex sells, it's pretty surprising to find a movie that does not rely on this marketing practice.

The film showcases the traditional Indonesian martial art, Pencak Silat. As an Asian, I felt so much pride watching the talent and the old art of fighting using your just your fists and wits (and legs and whatever else). There was a line in the movie where "Mad Dog" (a super baddie) puts his gun down when he could have easily killed an officer, and fights him in martial arts combat. There's a reason why it's called martial arts for a reason.


Overall, out of five stars, here's our rating.

Me - ★★★/5 
      - I loved the martial arts but it was too much gore for me. Bones cracking and blood....eeew. I spent ¾ of the movie hiding underneath my jacket. Definitely a guys movie for sure (not that girls can't take action but it's a guy movie) I also thought the story could have been cleaned up a bit more. I do applaud it for not resorting to degrading women by making them into sexual objects. *Three cheers for you*

Bf - ★★/5
     - To my surprise he wasn't very impressed with this movie. In his own words "meh". He found the quality to be "Netflix material" and that it was too fast. Granted it is an Indonesian movie with English subtitles, it can get pretty frustrating to follow a fast paced fight scene and having to read the dubbed captioning at the same time. He also thought there could have been more to the story.

It's a simple movie, with a simple plot. And that I believe is what makes it a good movie to watch if you are an action buff. This also proves that when you take the girl out of a movie, there's less drama and the movie progresses a lot quicker and smoother. Hard to admit but true :(

Other ratings as of Apr 2 at 10:15pm:

  • IMBd Rating: 8.4/10 - 4,005 votes
  • Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 4/5 - 85% - 72 reviews
  • TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) winner, Sundance Film Fest & SXSW official selection

I would like to thank Alliance Films for giving me 2 free tickets to watch the special advance screening of The Raid: Redemption.

If you've watched it, let me know your reviews/comments below.


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