Music Review: Beginner Chakra tuneup

As an explorer of meditation and the power of our own energy to heal our body, Youtube has been a great source of inspiration for me.

Specifically in regards to chakras, there is a plethora of chakra musics to tune, centre and balance each of the seven chakras.

 

chakralocations

Here’s the location of your seven chakras (or energy centres as I like to think of them).

 

Each chakra is assigned it’s own sacred vowel, colour and frequency, and today’s Midweek Music Moment is one of my favourite morning chakra tuneups.

A quick 8 minutes, it runs through each of the seven chakras from bottom to top and gives 1 sacred vowel – which I try to chant alongside of the meditation.

 

 

If you’re new to meditation, this is a great beginner video and I highly recommend sounding out the sacred vowels along with the video.

I usually feel quite positive and emotionally ‘unblocked’ after sitting with this video and try to do it at least once or twice a week.

 

Sometimes this kind of chart can help me figure out where my energy might be blocked and where I need to put more awareness.

 

Let me know how you go!

Movie Review: Free State of Jones

‘Free State of Jones’ is a 2016 American historical drama that tells the story of Newton Knight’s Mississippi revolt against a corrupt confederate government.

Set during the 1861-1865 American civil war (that broke out when 7 ‘slave states’ declared succession from the United States to form the ‘Confederacy’), this is a gritty, violent story about one man’s rage against a system of oppression and prejudice.

 

220px-Newton-knight

Newton Knight and his men formed a separate government called ‘The Free State of Jones’. As well as harassing Confederate officials, they raided the over-taxation loot from the government (food, clothes and livestock) and returned it back to the local farms.

 

Matthew McConaughey stars in this film as the tenacious and driven, Newton Knight. A Robin Hood type figure, he unites army deserters and runaway slaves to form an army that uprises against the local oppressors.

 

Gone are McConaughey’s customary good looks, and in his place is an emaciated, intense, local hero who’s refusal to back down draws people to him to rage against the machine.

 

Supported by an outstanding ensemble cast that includes Mahershala Ali, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Christopher Berry, this is a confident story with an original backbone.

 

I’ll admit that I did have some trouble with the southern accents and ended up turning on the English subtitles.

 

Deftly directed by Gary Ross (‘Seabiscuit’, ‘Pleasantville’, ‘The Hunger Games’) this is a film that walks a fine line between Knight’s enormous frustration and yet great capacity for tenderness.

Despite it’s lack of success at the box office, this is a powerful film about an important period in American history and well-worth watching.

I will however, give it a violence warning for gruesome battle scenes and gritty episodes of conflict throughout the film.

Available on Netflix and here’s the official trailer for you to check out:

 

Midweek Music Moment: Mishima (closing)

Today’s Midweek Music Moment is a stunning piece of music that I heard on the radio (and had to pull the car over and listen to until it finished).

Composed by Philip Glass for the movie soundtrack ‘Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters’, this piece is the final track and closing of the film.

 

 

The 1985 film is based on the life and work of Japanese writer Yukio Mishima, who is considered one of the most important 20th Century writers of Japan.

 

Yukio-Mishima

Mishima (1925-1970) was an author, actor and dedicated bodybuilder with outspoken nationalistic views – who went on to build his own right-wing militia. He later committed ritual suicide (seppuku) after a failed coup attempt.

 

The ‘Mishima’ soundtrack is played by world-renowned string quartet, the Kronos Quartet, and carries the typical Glass markers of trance-like repetition, dramatic melodies, and atmospheric rises in emotion. It’s well-worth a listen for Glass fans.

Here’s a second track from the movie, ‘Runaway Horses’. (There aren’t any visuals on the video, so sit back, close your eyes and be carried away!)

 

 

And for those who have a hankering for something a little different, here’s the Kronos Quartet’s wonderfully lush cover of Sigur Ros ‘Flugufrelsarinn’.

 

Movie Review: Terminator 2

‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ is the 1991 sequel to the Terminator sci-fi series.

Although somewhat dated these days, ‘T2’ was highly awarded for it’s breakthroughs in CGI and human motion capture, and was actually the first film to have a partially-CGI lead character.

 

In T2, Arnie’s less-advanced Terminator has been replaced by the liquid metal, shape-shifting T1000 (Robert Patrick). Back when originally watching this in 1991, this relentless, indestructible cyborg was easily the most scariest bad guy I’d ever seen.

 

Set in Los Angeles 11 years after the original, John Connor (an annoying, overly enthusiastic Edward Furlong) is now a pre-teen living with his foster parents who’s grown up with his Mum’s ‘crazy stories’ of Skynet and Judgement Day.

 

John Connor was Furlong’s breakout role and won him a Saturn and MTV-movie award for his performance. (His script was a little too colloquial for my tastes)

 

But even more interesting than that is that between ‘T1’ and ‘T2’, Sarah Connor’s knowledge of the near-future has turned her into a wiry, violent guerrilla (in an energetic performance by Linda Hamilton).

 

Gone are the curves and the easy-going days of youth, and in it’s place is an anxious, crazy vigilante trying to save the world from a fate it doesn’t even believe is coming.

 

And lastly I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Arnie returns in this film for a second time as a Terminator, although this time he is serves in a more tender, protective capacity for John (I preferred him in this capacity). Interesting to note that ‘T2’ has been the highest grossing film of Arnie’s career to date.

 

image

Arnie with Canadian stuntman, Peter Kent, who served as Arnie’s Terminator double in in T1 and T2.

 

Overall, this is a satisfying sequel to the original and well worth a watch.

Not yet available on Netflix, but here’s the official trailer for you to check out:

 

Philosophy Friday: Being adaptable

Being adaptable is exactly not my forte, but it’s a lot easier when I stay focused on the ‘What’, and give the ‘How’ some breathing room.

 

Midweek Music Moment: Bowie & Pink Floyd

Bowie and Pink Floyd on the same stage took the musical cake (or lamington for the Aussies!) for me this week.

Today’s Midweek Music Moment is their lush rendition of ‘Comfortably Numb’ from this 2006 live performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

 

 

And if you’re anything like me with Pink Floyd musical reference points that are mostly 20+ years old, here’s a wonderfully atmospheric track called ‘Louder than words’ from their 2014 fifteenth studio album ‘Endless River’.

Completed from previously unreleased sessions with founding member Rick Wright (who passed away in 2008), ‘Endless River’ is Pink Floyd’s final album and credits Rick Wright with co/writing at least 12 of the songs.

 

 

Movie Review: Monster

‘Monster’ is a 2003 crime-drama based on American serial killer Aileen Wuornos.

It’s one of those movies that I’ve had ‘Net-listed’ for a long time – but could never quite bring myself to watch because of the gritty subject matter.

Wuornos was a Daytona Beach prostitute with a horrendous upbringing who basically cracks and starts killing the guys who pick her up.

And to tell you the truth, after such a relentless and hard life, I really didn’t blame her.

 

aileen-wuornos-160

Aileen Wuornos was executed for her crimes in 2002 after spending over a decade on death row.

 

In a spectacular performance, Charlize Theron is totally deserving of the Oscar she won for her performance as Wuornos.

Gone are her typical starlet good looks and in their place is a woman in such anger and self loathing that it’s painful to watch for much of the film.

 

Theron gained 40 pounds for the role, had prosthetic teeth, shaved off her eyebrows and underwent a serious makeup transformation.

 

In some ways ‘Monster’ is a love story centred around Wuornos and her girlfriend, Selby Wall (played with innocence and yet total self-centredness by Christina Ricci).

Yet it’s worth noting that for legal reasons, the character of Selby Wall is a completely fictionalised girlfriend, and nothing like Wuornos’ real-life lover, Tyria Moore.

 

tyria-moore7

Unlike in the movie, Tyria Moore was actually older, bigger (and probably wiser) than Wuornos.

 

monster2

The movie shows a new relationship between the two women, but in reality, Wuornos and Moore were together for 3 years already before the killings began, and a total of four years together.

 

Overall, this is an incredible movie but be warned that it’s also heart-breaking and relentless. (I fast forwarded through a couple of the more violent scenes)

Available on Netflix and check out the official trailer here:

 

Philosophy Friday: Rewards

Are you a carrot or a stick person?

Here’s where I stand on it!

 

Midweek Music Moment: Constant Craving

When ‘Constant Craving’ came on the radio this week, I couldn’t help cranking it up and belting it out!

The first release off her second album ‘Ingenue’, ‘Constant Craving’ was a huge hit in 1992 and signalled a meteoric rise to fame.

Not only did it win the Grammy that year for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, but the album itself went double platinum both in Canada and the US.

 

 

I’ll admit that in the early 90s I wasn’t particularly interested in k.d.lang’s music – until I casually stopped by her concert one day while I was working at the Sydney Opera House.

It was the best live performance I’ve ever seen and I have been a fan ever since.

 

With 4 Grammy awards to her name, Canadian k.d.lang is not only famed for her powerful vocals and charismatic stage presence, but also for her political activism.

 

I would be remiss if I didn’t include k.d.lang’s soaring cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ at his Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame induction in 2006.

Those in the audience later remarked that it was as if the entire room took one deep breath together after the song was complete because they were holding their breath in awe as she performed.

 

 

Although k.d.lang’s early material will always hold a special place with me, her newer music is a little more refined, but just as lush.

A great example of her later more developed sound is ‘I Confess’ from her 2011 album, ‘Sing it Loud’.

 

 

And for a little humour, here’s a clever and funny k.d.lang interview with Aussie personality, Dame Edna.

 

Movie Review: Terminator

‘Terminator’ is the 1984 science-fiction classic that solidified Arnie’s Hollywood career and launched the Terminator franchise.

 

Terminator

The most serious of the ‘Terminator’ series, Schwarzenegger is a ruthless machine – referred to as a cyborg but actually an android (I would suggest) – with the a relentless focus on killing Sarah Connor.

 

The first major film from Canadian Director, James Cameron (‘Aliens’, ‘Rambo’, ‘Titanic’, ‘Avatar’), this movie launched his career and catapulted him into major success.

 

After being unable to drum up enough interest to sell his ‘Terminator’ screenplay, Cameron ended up directing the movie himself.

 

Although centred around a dystopian future where robots rule the world, ‘Terminator’ does have an underlying 80’s-sap-so-bad-it’s-good love story between Linda Hamilton (Sarah Connor) and Michael Biehn (Kyle Reese).

 

the-terminator

Just the 1984 fashion alone is worth it: tie die shirts, high waisted pants, leg warmers, big hair, walkmans, high-top sneakers, answering machines…

 

lance-henricksen-1435268668

Lance Henriksen was originally considered for the role of the Terminator – because of his ability to ‘blend in with a crowd’. But he ended up being given a smaller LAPD detective role in favour or Arnie’s bodybuilding physique.

 

The first of a five-film franchise, ‘Terminator’ is the one that started it all – and still holds it’s own against the CGI-dominant films of today.

Unfortunately Netflix only currently carries the last two in the series (‘Salvation’ and ‘Genisys’), but they are available to rent on iTunes and various other streaming websites.

Check out the official trailer here: