Movie Review: Schindler’s List

By now, almost everyone who has had intense interest in the history of the massacre of Jews in World War II by the Nazis should have heard of Oskar Schindler.  Thanks to Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” film, Oskar Schindler is ever firmer being immortalized in our hearts.  I’ve watched “Schindler’s List” many times, and each time I get so emotional by finishing it.  The film is amazing, because it’s so meticulously painting the evil deeds that the Nazis had done.

Although the film was released in 1993, but it’s timeless.  Thanks to the fact that Oskar Schindler was a real person who had made real contribution to humankind by preserving lives while others killed in World War II.  Half of the battle is won by having a really good script, and so the other half would require great actors.  Liam Neeson is just amazing in his role of Oskar Schindler.  In the film, he isn’t overacting, and so his just right method of acting as Oskar Schindler brings the real Oskar Schindler back to life and onto the big screen.

I don’t usually like black and white movies, but somehow I’ve never felt that I’d been watching black and white movie whenever I’m watching Schindler’s List.  I like how Steven Spielberg had one particular artistic moment to be included in this black and white (Schindler’s List) movie is when a little girl runs around in a red dress.  In one of the earliest scenes, we see her in a red dress, running to hide under the bed; later on we see her lifeless body, in a red dress, carting off to be burned.

“Schindler’s List” is one of those films that I won’t mind watching over and over again.  I like to imagine when all hope is lost, there is an Oskar Schindler somewhere who would genuinely light a torch to eradicate some darkness.

The film depicts Oskar Schindler as an opportunistic man, because at first he was all about making the money.  After seeing so many Jews were killed off by the Nazis, Oskar Schindler took on the mission to save the Jews that he employed in his factories.  He went out of his way by spending off his fortune to save as many Jews as he could.  Because of Schindler’s audacity in saving his Jews, generations of Jews survived after World War II.

In summary, I think “Schindler’s List” is one of those timeless masterpieces.  In my opinion, the film does a good job on bringing Oskar Schindler’s figure back to life.  Besides “Schindler’s List” as being a good film, it has a very powerful message in which we all can treasure till the end of humankind’s time.  The message is of course, regardless of skin color and religion, lives matter.  I think “Schindler’s List” is a perfect movie for showing in a history class so the students can learn more about the horrors of World War II.

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TV Show Review: Outlander

If you’ve gotten Amazon Prime and considered to subscribe to Starz, then you should watch Outlander.  I’m in the process of canceling my Showtime add-on subscription, because I signed up with Starz add-on subscription in Amazon Prime.  It’s Outlander TV show/series which attracted me to Starz in the first place.  I’ve to say I’m not regretting this decision at all.  I think Outlander is an amazing TV show.

Personally, I’m falling in love with Caitriona Balfe’s Outlander character known as Claire Randall.  This is my first time seeing Caitriona Balfe on screen, because I don’t think I have seen her in a show before.  Basically, Caitriona Balfe brings Claire Randall alive as a World War II nurse in 1945 and as Claire Fraser in 1700s.

World War II has just ended, and Claire’s future is uncertain.  Well, she thinks with the war is behind her, things should be picking up for her and Frank Randall (her husband).  During the war, Frank and Claire got separated so often that they rarely had time to nurture a relationship.  After all, a nurse and an officer/spy would definitely be quite intense in their respectable World War II roles, and so it’s quite reasonable for them to be separated during wartime.

Things speed up when Claire and Frank decide to have a second honeymoon in Scottish Highlands.  Claire isn’t completely falling in love with archaeology, but she has sympathy for the profession since she has had an archaeologist as an uncle.  Frank though, is deeply in love with the history of his own genealogy, and so a second honeymoon in Scottish Highlands is a well planned honeymoon.  So they thought!

After the trip to Craigh na Dun (similar to Stonehenge site), Claire decides to go back to Craigh na Dun on her own to take a second look on the herbs there.  After all, Claire is very interested in herbs and medicines.  Unfortunately, this is one trip which turns her future, or shall we say her past upside down.  A fairytale ensues.

Outlander’s main plot exaggerates real Scottish history with fictional characters such as Jamie Fraser (and so on).  Thanks to wonderful actors such as Caitriona Balfe (as Claire Randall), Sam Heughan (as Jamie Fraser), and Tobias Menzies (as Johnathan “Black Jack” Randall and Frank Randall), Outlander pulls me into a wonderful historical/fairytale timeline of Scotland.  The show gets really intense in the second season, because Black Jack Randall’s perverse grows evermore intense.  Jamie Fraser’s heroic character takes a big turn when Black Jack Randall exercises his perverseness on Jamie.

In summary, Outlander is a very good TV show, but children should stay away from this show since nudity occurs quite frequently.  The actors in the show are great in their roles.  I think Tobias Menzies does wonder with his double role as Frank Randall and Johnathan “Black Jack” Randall.  It’s great that Caitriona Balfe pulls off as a modern woman who learns how to live among the Scottish people of two centuries earlier in Scottish Highlands.  In my opinion, Sam Heughan is so believable as a warrior of Scottish Highlands, and he brings amazing chemistry onto the screen whenever his role and Caitriona Balfe’s role collide.  With these wonderful actors and amazing storyline, I won’t be surprised if you, yourself, are going to be fully immersed in this fairytale.

Movie Review: Lucky Number Slevin

I think I’d seen Lucky Number Slevin before, but I forgot all about it.  Now, I’d just seen it again, and I think this is one gem that I should have not forgotten about.  In my opinion, it’s really a good movie.  Although this movie came out in 2006, it feels relevant, still, today.  After all, humans got all types of sin, and so a movie which turns both the good guys and the bad guys into one big funny, sinful dance is definitely relevant.  You don’t have to really understand what I just ranted on something about a sinful dance, because it would be such a spoiler if I just tell you the twists and turns within the movie.  You have to watch it for yourself to maybe know what I’d ranted on about.

Anyhow, Josh Hartnett plays his role so brilliantly in the movie.  After years of not remembering the plot of the movie, the movie managed to surprise me with its twists and turns.  The only time I knew I had watched this movie before was when I remembered a few scenes here and there, but I missed all the major twists and turns.  The amazing thing is that this movie feels like a comedy, but it’s not.  Bruce Willis’s coolness and Josh Hartnett’s funniness somehow make this movie a beautiful gem to watch.  The combination is quite nice I must say.

To top it off, this movie got awesome cast members such as Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, and Lucy Liu.  These wonderful actors make the movie feels real.  Morgan Freeman looks benevolent, but he is one sinful gangster, which Ben Kingsley, successfully, in his odd way, contrasts Morgan Freeman as a funny but naughty gangster.  Lucy Liu looks clueless, but she tries her best to figure out her new friend Josh Hartnett.  Sometimes, Lucy Liu looks as if she is the smartest girl in town, because she does autopsy in her awesome white clinical robe.

In summary, if you have missed the 2006 gem, Lucky Number Slevin, I think you should check it out.  Even though the movie came out in 2006, it feels so relevant still.  It got actions and funny lines, and so you won’t be feeling bored out of your mind.  Of course, movie is like art, because what matters is the beauty in the eye of the beholder.  Of course, if you’re lucky, this movie will definitely give you a good time.

Television Show Review: Humans

Humans is a show which plays with the idea of artificial intelligences known as synths.  These synths are being programmed to go one step beyond simulation, because they got consciousness.  Thus the synths act like they’re humans.  Basically, the show is trying to ask a question in which we humans are naturally wanting to know.  The question is, what our future, as a humanity, will be if there are real artificial intelligence beings?

I’m surprised to see that I’m enjoying Humans, because I didn’t expect to like it in the first place.  Nonetheless, I’m already on episode eight of season one.  In my opinion, the actors in the show are great, because their acting convinces me to feel as if artificial intelligence with consciousness can really be achieved.

I like Gemma Chan in her role as Mia, because she acts really well in her role as a synth.  She moves between being a simulated synth to a synth with consciousness rather well.  Her role is quite hard too I think, because I like how one moment she is totally human and another she transforms back into a robotic, slave-like synth.

Watching Humans, I can see myself in the future easily, because the only thing that is radically different is the synth technology.  Everything else seems to be rather normal.  For an example, cars are still being driven by an operator behind a steering wheel.  Nonetheless, I think the director could have allowed self-driven car to be the norm for transportation in the show, because self-driven car is already a real technology in real life.  A good example of this would be some buses in China are already being self-driven.

Humans’ overall plot may not be your cup of tea, but the show is addressing a very interesting fiction which may come true in the future.  As we all know it, machine learning and deep learning technologies are already available, but we as humans may be able to one day become the father and mother of artificial intelligence that is one step beyond the sorts of simulations we have today.  By then, what will become of humanity?  Anyhow, you can check out Humans on Amazon’s Prime Video service.  I checked Netflix, but I didn’t see Humans was available for streaming.

Movie Review: The Beauty Inside

“The Beauty Inside,” a Korean film, is a very well done love story.  Obviously, a love story can be twisted and bent in so many ways, but this one I think is quite unique.  What I’m going to reveal next may sound like a spoiler, but the description for the film on Netflix actually says pretty much the same thing.

Basically, imagine you have to wake up each day and become a total stranger, because your body would turn into a shape of someone else.  Waking up after each sleep, you could become a child, a woman, a man, an old lady, an old man, and a foreigner.  Before you could confuse someone else, with very little effort you already have confused yourself with such a condition.  In “The Beauty Inside,” Woo-jin has to live as a stranger after each sleeping phase, and his life isn’t normal since nobody would really know who he is.  Let me slow down a bit so I won’t spoil the plot too much here, but the story would develop even more intense when Woo-jin decides to fall in love with a woman.

As I was watching “The Beauty Inside,” I kept thinking that this film is very well done.  Different male actors who had taken on the role of Woo-jin did pretty good in acting as the same Woo-jin.  I can’t imagine how weird the main actress would feel when taking on her role as the lover of Woo-jin, because she has to interact with so many different male leads.  When Woo-jin becomes a woman, the female lead has to act as if she is in love with Woo-jin still.  Even though she is an actress, but I think it would be somewhat uncomfortable for having to fall in love with so many male leads in an act.  Perhaps, I’m just thinking how she would feel as a non-actor would have felt, and she might have a blast in taking on as Woo-jin’s girlfriend role instead.

The story is well done, and I like the pace of the film.  It could be that the story is a unique love story, and so the film didn’t feel like it’s 2 hours and 7 minutes long for me.  As I was watching the film, I was thinking they should have turned this love story into a television show so there would be more episodes.  Then on another thought, the television show would be too ambitious as they have to make sure the female lead and male leads would sync in each new episode.  Anyhow, I’d enjoyed “The Beauty Inside” a lot, and I definitely recommend you to check it out on Netflix.

The Man In The High Castle (TV Series – Season One) Review

I was so hesitated to watch “The Man in the High Castle” TV series, but boy I’m glad that I did a binge watch of it.  I got through the whole first season without missing a single minute of it.  I have to say the series is very enjoyable.  How come?  Even though the series is flipping history on its head, I must say the series is awesome in a way in which you may want to hang onto every minute of the series.

Spoiler is ahead, and so you should not read on if you think you want to watch this series for yourself.

I must admit, Juliana Crain is very pretty, but her prettiness doesn’t affect her character as if she is a weak flower that needs to be protected from the elements.  She is headstrong with a golden heart in which doesn’t destroy her feminine side as if a female wanna be male sort of things.  In the first episode, she shows that even though she is a woman, she can handle a man in a combat.  If I’m not wrong on the martial art style she has been practicing, Akido allows her to defend herself against stronger men.  Don’t let her macho side put you off if you’re one of those guys who hates to see how a female can easily beat up a male character in movies, because this side of her isn’t telling her whole story.  Besides of wanting to be loved by Frank and possibly by Joe, she is a strong woman who wants to seek out other possibilities that may present to her by chances and luck.  The world she lives in, her people are being treated as second class, because the area — she lives in — is being controlled by the imperialistic Japan; imperialistic Japan empire fought on the Nazi side and won WWII.  She reluctantly joins the resistance when she witnesses her sister got shot by the imperialistic Japanese.  Although Alexa Davalos’s performance as Juliana Crain is not Oscar worthy, but I think in season one she executes her role as Juliana Crain quite brilliantly.  Basically, she is believable in her role.

Frank Frink is Juliana Crain’s boyfriend.  The series’ trademark is about flipping history on its head, but a closer look would probably have you think that Frank Frink is rather a feminine character.  So, the series got Frank Frink as a male character who wants to live under the imperialistic regimes peacefully, because life is precious.  As the Japanese authorities seek out Juliana, they have Frank Frink in custody.  During the confinement, they torture Frank Frink.  When Frank Frink refuses to give up Juliana’s whereabout, the imperialistic Japanese authorities kill his sister and nephews.  When the Japanese authorities finally think that Juliana Crain hasn’t got what they are after anymore, they release Frank Frink.  By the time Frank Frink got his release, his sister and nephews were already being killed.  No longer a mister nice guy, Frank Frink feels the rage that he has never ever felt before from within him.  Frank Frink decides that he needs to kill the crown prince of the imperialistic Japanese empire for a payback.  Nonetheless, things don’t always go as plan for him.

Joe Blake is one handsome Nazi, but he got a heart of gold.  Although he is a Nazi who goes undercover as a resistance member, he loves Juliana Crain.  Meeting Juliana Crain helps Joe Blake changes his mind about many things.  From being devoted Nazi, Joe Blake wants to protect Juliana Crain, but his boss isn’t going to let him do anything like that.  He tries hard to protect Juliana Crain, but things can only get more insane from here.  As the story unfolds, Joe Blake is sort of a double agent, but in the end he wants to help Juliana Crain, himself, and possibly the world.  He has a heart of gold, but can he really help everyone in the end?  Season one isn’t revealing how Joe Blake will be able to save Juliana Crain, himself, and the world just yet.  It seems that he may still have to be working for both sides (i.e., Nazi and resistance) in season two.

Besides the main characters, the supporting characters are believable in their roles.  Basically, the actors and actresses in the series are believable, thus pulling you into this alternate world of theirs.  The costumes and sceneries are all very believable and nicely done.  I don’t know how much money they had poured into making the season one of this series, but the series got all these excellent qualities that make you want to watch every episode of the season one.  I’m not sure how awesome the season two will be, but I know I like the season one a lot.  As I’m writing this review/spoiler now, the season two isn’t yet available on Amazon.

In summary, I think the show is awesome, because it turns a well known, decades old historic moment into an alternate version without being dull and boring.  The show has excellent cast members, interesting storyline, great stage setups, and so on and so on.  I’ve a feeling that if you watch this series you might not be able to skip a single minute of it.